Monday, December 31, 2007

The Seventh Day of Christmas = New Years Eve

But Dad I don't want to make a new year's resolution. Oh, alright, if you insist, I will make a baby resolution for the new year. I resolve to learn to drink formula from my baby sippy cup.
Update: 7:00 P.M. on east coast and 3:00 A.M. in Iraq.
Happy New Year to all our men and women in Iraq. Stay safe in 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Powder Room Jacque's Pick

Powder Room Jacque has been surveying all the Christmas cards I have posted in the powder room on three French memo boards and he has discovered his favorite Christmas card for this year. It is the card from my nephew Kenny and his family. Kenny's wife graduated from Ohio State. Look closely at the front of the card and you can vaguely see a snowman with Ohio State written on his front. Now look at the photo. Kenny's four children are wearing Ohio State elf hats and are surrounding a dumb waiter of Santa Claus who is holding an autographed Ohio State football. Now who knew that Santa's favorite team was the Ohio State Buckeyes! I also like this card because the kids got in the act with everyone signing their own name to the card.
Twas the night before Christmas
And all thru the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a Buckeye mouse!

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Traditionally on the sixth day of Christmas one begins looking both forward and backward because the sixth day of Christmas is also the Eve of New Years Eve. The media gives us lots of photos of what happened in the current year and makes predictions and commentaries for the new upcoming year. And since we will be electing a new U.S. president in 2008 there is plenty, alas, almost too much coverage of the parties and candidates in the race to the White House.

So where do you see yourself in the new year
---literally, finanacially, romantically, , spiritually, socially, etc? Likewise down what roads did 2007 take you? Jack and I had the best year ever: a cross country road trip with a cruise to Alaska, a trip to Florida and the deep south, visitors to Virgina and visits to friends in Delaware and New Jersey and the birth of our first grandchild, Baby Jack!

Do you have plans to travel next year anywhere? Well, then you must go to the url I posted above to meet Galen R. Frysinger of Wisconin who has been photographing all the places he has been to in the last 45 years. And boy does this guy travel! He has been to 170 independent countries and 91 dependent territories around the world. His photos are amazing! I have never looked at all of them because there are so many and I eventually have to take a break for food and drink. But take a look. Check out your home state and states you have visited. Then check out the countries you have been to like Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy,Japan, China, etc. I think this man has been to every country in the world. Wouldn't you just love to sit down and talk to this well traveled man?

This site also has lots of travel info posted that you can use . I checked this url several times before we made our big road trip this spring and I have returned to the url to relive pleasent moments of our road trip like our Alaskan cruise and the Crazy Horse Memorial outside Rapid City, South Dakota. In addition you will get to meet Mrs. Frysinger who in retirement from elementary school teaching is becoming a passionate quilter. You must check out the quilts that she has made and the quilts Mr. Frysinger has collected. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Fifth Day of Christmas

The Fifth Day of Christmas is always my son-in-law's birthday. Terry is one of those unfortunate people whose birthday falls close to Christmas Day so that their birthday celebration always seems diminished with all the Christmas hoopla. Now Terry's father didn't mind. He got an extra tax deduction at the last moment. I must admit that the extended family celebrated Terry's birthday on Christmas Eve. Terry blew out the candles on the red velvet cake and we all had a piece with a scoop of ice cream. Now I don't know what Baby Jack has planned for his Daddy today.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Ornaments Part 2

Our Christmas ornaments are all special to us. Jeanine's godmother, Nancy Freauff always sent Jeanine a handcrafted ornament. We could always tell what Nancy's latest passion was by the ornament: smocking, cross stitching, sewing, embroidery and tole painting. Can you find examples of these on the tree? Can't find the tole painting ornament you say. Alas, it didn't survive a summer of flying up an down the staircase on a little Christmas tree when the girls were playing "Christmas". In recent times we have received White House Ornaments from daughter Jennifer and Secret Service Ornaments from daughter Jeanine. Secret Service Ornaments? Who knew they even existed!

Christmas Ornaments Part 1

Does your Christmas tree have a theme to its ornaments? Our big tree in the living room now has several themes going at the same time but originally it began in 1975 as a Raggedy Ann and Andy Theme Tree with ornaments from Hallmark. Why? Because we planned to welcome our little baby boy or girl home to a Raggedy Ann or Andy Nursery. The stocking with the question mark was used in 1975 by the fireplace to annouce to the world that we were expecting but we didn't know what. No ultrasounds in 1975 to learn the sex of the baby. None in 1979 either when we learned we were going to have another baby.

For several years we collected Hallmark's Raggedy Ann and Andy ornaments. Then all of a sudden Hallmark stopped making them so we had to jump to some other Hallmark ornaments for the main tree. In addition over the years we have had smaller trees with special themes: the bird tree, the corn husk dolls tree, the kitchen utensils tree, the German ornaments tree, the tiny books tree, the angel tree, the Cabbage Patch Kids tree and the teddy bear tree.

Our big tree in the living room is now a depository of family memories. I have always selected at least two new ornaments each year (for each daughter) and those selected ornaments reflected what was going on in our lives that particular year. So looking at my tree in the living room this is what I saw and photographed.

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Are your kids enjoying their new toys? Our grandson can really make his Baby Einstein Playset go. Watch Jack jump and jump and jump and grab and grab and grab. Mr. Merlin Cat likes to watch the action and sometimes gets a baby foot kick.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Third Day of Christmas

Well, I try not to be too materialistic but I must admit that we hit the stores today for some after Christmas sales. We got our Christmas cards for next year--50% off. I can't wait to send them! They are a hoot! We also got our wrapping paper for next year--50% off. Final thought: there seemed to be less people shopping this year--either before or after Christmas. So I am afraid that our economy is slowing down. Even here in Northern Virginia which has one of the highest per capita economies in the nation.

The Second Day of Christmas

We did a little after Christmas shopping at Kohls with Jennifer and Baby Jack. Grandma's senior status got us an additional 15% off our purchases.
Then we went home to eat Christmas leftovers. Hmmmmmmm....good.
Jack and I then went to a Holiday High School Basketball Tournament.
Here's my question. Is your high school playing in a holiday tournament? I think you can tell how good the team is by how far they travel to play in the tournament. If they head out of state, like the girl's basketball team of Edison High who are in Port Lucie, Florida then you know that you have a good team. If they stay close to home, maybe not so good.

Basketball Update: Hayfield is playing for the championship in the Mount Vernon Boys Holiday Tournament. Go Hayfield! Go Hawks! (We have followed Hayfield Boys Basketball since 1991 when Jenn was an athletic trainer at Hayfield.)

The First Day of Christmas

First Day of Christmas
We spent the day with our immediate family: eating, opening presents, enjoying each other's company and checking in by phone with relatives in Ohio and Missouri

Jeanine's Christmas Smile

Jeanine spent three nights with us. Her Daddy fixed his famous light and airy pancakes from THE JOY OF COOKING. (The secret to light and airy pancakes is separating the whites from the yolks and beating the whites to a light and fluffy consistency.) Christmas Day she got a call from Iraq from a certain Virginia National Guardsman serving there. That really put a big smile on her face.

"Is That All The Gifts, Mom?"

Is that all the gifts, Mom? or are you still celebrating Christmas?

This family celebrates Christmas thru January 6 which is the Feast of the Three Kings. When my older daughter asked in 1980 after we had opened our presents:"Is that all the gifts, Mom?"; I decided that the following year I would do cheap little stocking stuffers for the 12 days of Christmas plus 1 to keep the celebration going to January 6. I continued this stocking stuffer tradition for over 25 years. What gets overlooked on Christmas Day (socks, pretty panties, hair ribbons, coloring books, new crayons, etc) does not get overlooked on Day 2 and by golly, by Day 6 the girls were downright delighted to tell their friends that they were still opening Christmas presents and would be until January 6! I highly recommend this tradition if you have kids who ask that question after opening all the gifts: "Is that all the gifts, Mom?"

So each morning after Christmas each girl would race to the fireplace to find what I had placed in her stocking that day. I would traditionally wrap the presents in white tissue paper decorated with gift ribbon that I would have fun tying in different ways. Before Christmas the girls would go to the dining room and living room where I displayed these wrapped stocking stuffers and look at them and wonder what could be inside. And when feeling the gifts sometimes they would announce that I think I know what is inside that package. Sometimes they guessed right and sometimes they didn't because Mom learned to make the sock packages feel hard. I would label each gift in this fashion: To: Jennifer, Day 1; To Jeanine, Day 2; etc. And here is the best part--neither girl caught on to the fact that some of the gifts didn't show up until after Christmas. Day 5 might have been something I picked up after Christmas on sale when the merchants were pushing the holiday merchandise with good mark downs.

Looking back I love thinking about how these stocking stuffers progressed from crayons and coloring books to Barbie doll clothes to Cabbage Patch doll clothes to fingernail polish and lipstick to items for their first apartments and first cars. Eventually they reached the age where we could legally give them a nice bottle of wine. When they left for college and to their own apartments they would take the stocking stuffers to their home and promise not to open until the appropriate day.

I did this for over 25 years and it was fun. Last year I finally stopped. Not because of the expense but because they both live in small quarters and don't have space for a lot of stuff and I no longer know their intimate apparel sizes. But because of our family tradition I still do a few stocking stuffers for each girl. I hope they will each be able to start to do this tradition when their oldest child is old enough to ask: "Is that all the gifts,Mom?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Highchair Hijinks

Lunch at Grandma's house. They put me in the big high chair for the first time today. I got to watch them eat while I played and chewed on my baby bug. Hmmmmmm----baby bug tastes great. I recommend chewing on a baby bug. It will make your toes curl! After lunch I recommend a nap with my mommy close by. I needed some shut eye time because I was going off to Daddy's workplace to visit my Daddy and be the junior CFO.

"My Christmas List of Blessings"

My Christmas List of Blessings

Written by Vicki J. Kuyper

My Christmas List is more

than just a way to keep track of

The special people God has brought

into my life to love.

It's like a treasured scrapbook

filled with pleasant memories

Of all the times God's answered prayer

through friends and family.

Every name's a touchstone

that leads to a place and time,

Where God has used another's heart

to reach out and touch mine.

It may have happened years ago

or even yesterday,

But every person on my list

has changed my life some way.

through simple conversation,

a warm hug or a shared meal,

Every person on my list

has helped me grow or heal,

Or laugh or love or learn or smile...

the blessings never end

As God allows our paths to cross

as family and friends.

So please know that this greeting

is more than a Christmas wish.

It's a "thank you" card to God

for putting on my list

Each and every one whose name

I've come to hold so dear...

Those who've shown me Christmas joy

each day of the year.

The above poem was in the Christmas card we received from Mr. Tom McKinney this year. It expresses my sentiments succinctly. I would like to add that some blog conversations through comments left on my blog have been an added treasure this year. These unseen folks have shared their thoughts with me and have given me joy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Knock, Knock. Who's There?

All my Auntie Jeanine wants for Christmas is a certain VA Guardsman on leave from Iraq knocking on her door in January.

Red Socks

All my Daddy wants for Christmas is a Patriots Super Bowl win to go with the Red Sox World Series win. I can help the cause by wearing my red socks.

Fancy Feet

All I want for Christmas is time to play with my feet.

Silent Night

All my Mommy wants for Christmas is a Silent Night.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday Night Book Club

Last night I went to our monthly neighborhood book club meeting. The top photo my husband snapped of me before I headed out the door to go to Haelie's house for the meeting. The next photo is of one of the many homemade treats that Haelie prepared for us ladies. It was a savory cheesecake appetizer that she decorated with an edible Christmas tree. Can you see the chopped green, yellow and red peppers in the design? The trunk was chopped black olives in case you couldn't guess. Haelie outdid herself.

Haelie had at least five savory dishes that I must somehow or another get the recipes for immediately. One dish(bacon wrapped shrimp with a snow pea) was so outstanding that I took time last night to grab her cookbook and write down the recipe. The next photos are candid shots of some of the ladies enjoying the delicious food with a glass of wine. The last photo is a happy Haelie attending to the food bar for her guests.

I love my neighborhood book club! I joined the group December of 2001 and it is the best thing I have done in retirement.

The big question now is how do I get Haelie's great recipes?