Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas to all!

We have survived the first two rounds of Christmas and only have one left. I actually saw a little snow on the way to the in-laws - probably all the snow I'll see this year. It was so funny to watch my little man open his presents. Thomas the Tank Engine is his "thing," so that dominated the Christmas gifting for him. As he opened each gift, he would select everything that was the same size and shape and open each package - insisting that every scrap of wrapping paper be removed from the box before he opened it. I have never seen a three-year-old so meticulous about opening presents. Even funnier was that he arranged like objects into rows on the floor. Movies were in a row, trains were in another row, clothes were neatly piled together, and cars were lined up like they were in a parking garage. He is so Type A!

We are currently in WV, enjoying the unexpected DSL access (it will be so tempting to log into work, but I am not going to allow myself to do that!) and waiting on the rest of the family to arrive. I think this is the first time that we got to Grandma's first. Should be interesting.

If I don't get to log in before I get home, I hope everyone's holidays are beautiful, relaxing, fun, and stress-free. Love you all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sick Kids and Christmas

I am convinced Murphy's Law was written specifically for me. I'm struggling to get everything done, and my baby comes down with the flu. He doesn't want to do anything but cuddle, leaving me to feel like a rotten mommy because I can't enjoy the snuggle time for worrying about getting everything done.

Poor little guy. He's only puked twice, but it's obvious to anyone that he's just miserable. I hate to see him feeling poorly. Selfish me - I'm praying I don't wind up sick, too. Pulling everything together is going to be rough if I'm pukey, too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Questions about Mary

Unless you are Catholic, you probably haven't given Mary much credit. Because I grew up in a faith group that doesn't typically celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, it wasn't until I became a mother that the story of Jesus' parents really began to mean something to me.

What was it like to be Mary? She held a wrinkled newborn baby in her arms - one that was not conceived by any man, but was somehow perfectly human. Jesus had the same messy birth that we all did. His bed was a simple feeding trough. What did it do to Mary to put her newborn son into that old manger? What was it like to hold that baby in her arms, knowing his origins were unlike any other baby's, knowing that his destiny would be something great? When she marveled over his tiny hands, could she have possibly imagined that the day would come when nails would pierce them? Could she have understood then that she would live to see her son die? That the baby she suckled at her breast would one day turn away the vinegar offered to him on a splintered cross?

The day he died, did she go back to that quiet night in the cave when he first came into this world? Did her heart ache to go back to those days as something more peaceful, even though they were on the run from Herod? I think we forget that when God sacrificed his son, it meant Mary had to sacrifice him, too. What mother could bear to see her child suffer the agony that our Lord did?

Mary witnessed the most tender moment in history - his birth. She was there to see the most heart-wrenching moment - his death. When the angel came to her to bring the news of her impending pregnancy, she was willing to do God's will. The day the tomb was found empty, God's amazing plan was complete. Was she there to see him ascend back into heaven? This amazing woman - barely a teenager, with an unremarkable background - became the mother of a King. Let us not forget her part of the story.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Gospel in a Song

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies.
With the angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th' incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman's conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent's head.
Adam's likeness, Lord, efface;
stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:8-11

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Oh, My....

I organized my to-do list into a calendar for next week.

Heaven help me.............

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Trouble with To-Do Lists

When circumstances push me to the point of making to-do lists, you know things have gotten bad. My usual modus de operandi is to skip happily through life, all the while praying under my breath that I remember to do everything I need to do.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that I usually manage to forget the most important stuff.

There are times, however, when I simply don't have a choice, and the Dreaded List becomes a necessity. Actually, it feels good to put to paper the tasks I need to accomplish. I get a small sense of peace in having a plan. (Never mind that the "plan" rarely works out as. . . well, planned.)

So, in the spirit of peace of mind (hey, isn't Christmas about peace on earth anyway?) and the dreaded-but-useful To-Do List, I shall post for you what simply must be completed in the next 8 days, 16 hours, 10 minutes, and 37 seconds.

1. Finish recipe books for SILs
2. Attempt the craft for Mom, MIL, and G-MIL.
3. Buy gifts for the men in my family (I hate that part!)
4. Wrap gifts for 20+ people
5. Finish Christmas cards
6. Mail aforementioned cards
7. Mail Grandma's handmade journal
8. Plan out baking schedule for next week
9. Go grocery shopping for all the necessary ingredients
10. Do the actual baking and candy-making
11. Figure out what in the world I'm going to do for "adopted" grandparents
12. Clean entire house
13. Clear out trunk and wash car
14. Get an oil change in said car
15. Laundry
16. Pack for myself and DS
17. Gather scrapbook pages into one album to exhibit
18. Buy No-Doze

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rain to End the Drought

It's been a long time coming, and I didn't even realize I missed it. My magazine subscriptions had gone unrenewed, my supplies got dusty, and my muse went on vacation. The Funk that I've been in took over everything.

Thank goodness - it's started to rain!

In the last two days, I've finished five layouts. I can't even remember the last time I dug out the scrapbooking supplies. I'd forgotten how much I love the creating process - glue on my fingers, tiny brads falling off the table, leftover paper scraps all over the place. It just felt so good to scrap again. Never mind that I don't really have time for it - I learned long ago that when inspiration calls, I'd better answer.

I hope the rain lasts long enough to catch up on the pictures that have been piling up for the last few months!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Random Christmas Musings

Holy cow, this time of year is insane. I had the brilliant idea to make gifts for most of the people on my list. Add that to the homemade cards that still need to be finished and mailed, the cookies and candy left to bake, and the rest of the parties to attend – and I am teetering dangerously close to the edge of insanity. If it ever got to the point where I couldn’t enjoy myself, I’d just quit. For now, allowing the creative fruits to be juiced is cathartic. It’s been far too long since I let loose and just made stuff.

The cards are simple affairs, as always. Even so, assembly is time-consuming. I’m only making 35 or 40 this year, but each one has six punched squares to assemble, plus an additional 4 stamps and the greeting inside. Intelligence finally struck a couple of years ago and I turned the whole process into an assembly line – punching all of one piece, stamping all of the next, and so on. Believe me, it makes it much easier.

The recipe book is nearly finished. I have to turn in the final draft to the printer tomorrow. All that’s left is throwing in the last few recipes and proof-reading to make sure I didn’t say 3 tablespoons of cayenne instead of 3 teaspoons. This turned out to be a gargantuan undertaking, but well worth the effort. It should be easy enough to add to the book as time goes by and I keep trying new recipes.

One more random tidbit – yesterday I received my first Christmas card of the year. It came from a dear old friend – a retired music teacher who took me under his wing years ago and taught me that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to doing. To the Mr. Gilkeys of the world – thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Munchies and Other Food-Related Ramblings

I have had food on the brain. It's partially because I should be dieting and I'm not, but the real reason is that I came to the brilliant conclusion that a recipe book would be the ideal gift for my sisters-in-law for Christmas. I've currently entered over 135 recipes, the vast majority of which I've made myself. The few I haven't are family classics that I just let somebody else prepare for me.

The problem with all this recipe talk is that it makes me hungry. It would be a slight understatement to say this is detrimental to my half-hearted diet plans. Sifting through hundreds of recipes in cookbooks and scrawled on notecards has left me with a severe case of the munchies, and an overwhelming urge to bake something - anything. The desire will not go unfulfilled - I have a Christmas party Friday for which I am required to bring goodies. The real dilemma will be deciding which little bite of heaven I will concoct.

In the meantime, I thought you might be hankerin' for another recipe or two. I might even throw in some of my favorite kitchen tips - if it turns out that the stars are properly aligned for such a thing!

Peanut Butter Crinkles

1 c. margarine
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
additional sugar
Nuts, jam, chocolate stars, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl with mixer at medium speed, cream first six ingredients until fluffy. At low speed, beat in the next four ingredients. Shape into 1-in balls; roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press nuts or candies into cookies. If using jam, press a dent in the cookie with your thumb and fill with jam or jelly. Cool on cooling racks and store in airtight container.

Notes: These cookies make a great project for younger kids. I use Brach's chocolate stars instead of Hershey Kisses because they store more easily. Strawberry jam is my other favorite. You could also try hazelnut spread, pecans, or anything else that suits your fancy.

Cappuccino Slush

1 can Eagle Brand milk
2 c. water
1 c. ice cubes
2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Notes: This tastes a lot like frappuccinos you get at Starbucks. I like them with caramel syrup, but you could use chocolate or strawberry syrup, mint, almond, or vanilla extracts.


2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
1/4 lb. sliced cooked ham
1/4 lb. sliced pepperoni
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 jar pizza sauce, divided
1/4 lb. sliced mozzarella
1/4 lb. sliced bologna
1/4 lb. sliced hard salami
1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch dough down. Roll loaves together to form one 15x12-in rectangle. Layer ham and pepperoni lengthwise on half the dough. Sprinkle with onion and green pepper. Top with 1/4 c. pizza sauce. Layer mozzarella, bologna, salami, and swiss over sauce. Sprinkle with basil, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper. Spread another 1/4 c. pizza sauce on top. Fold dough over filling and seal edges tightly. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Heat remaining pizza sauce and serve with sliced stromboli.

Notes: So I don't always follow the recipe. So what? Hubby and I like different toppings, so I sometimes make a smaller loaf for each of us. I like canadian bacon, roma tomatoes, banana peppers, and red onion. Feel free to experiment to suit everyone's tastes.

Are you ready for the intuitive, highly intelligent cooking tip of the day?

Do you hate having hands that smell like onion when you've chopped up one of the odiferous vegetables? Rub a metal spoon over your hands under cold running water. Voila! The smell will disappear, ensuring that folks believe to be some kind of kitchen wizard.

T-t-t-th-tha-that's all, folks!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Rest of the Hundred Things

51. Snow makes me happy. What a joy it is to watch the tiny puzzles of frozen water dance on the wind!
52. I never drive the speed limit. I always add 5 to the number on the sign.
53. The only time my house is neat is when I’m expecting company. I have more important things to do than boring (and time-consuming) old housework!
54. I enjoy singing, but I don’t do it well. Years of marching band took their toll on my hearing, and consequently I have trouble staying in tune.
55. Because I’ve got roughly 50% hearing in my right ear, I sleep on my right side. With my good ear mashed into a pillow and the bad one to the world, it’s amazing how much sound I don’t hear.
56. My hands are huge – every bit as large at my dad’s and my hubby’s. I can’t wear those cute bangle bracelets, but I can spread over an octave on the piano!
57. At the moment, I work for a company that refurbishes old drink machines. It’s a unique company, with only one or two competitors in the country.
58. I have traveled to Scotland and London. (And Amsterdam, if you count a layover in the airport.)
59. Places I want to go before I die: Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Egypt, Anarctica, China, Russia, Spain.
60. Places in the US I want to visit: Maine, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Montana, the Redwood Forest, Disneyland, the Vegas strip, the Space Needle.
61. My favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh
62. I love Star Wars, but my husband is a true aficionado. He knows everything – even down to the names and engines of all the aircraft.
63. I have never broken a bone – just chipped a tooth.
64. Someone once asked me if I taped my ears to my head at night, because they do not stick out in the least.
65. When I was fitted for teeth whitening molds, they had to use a child-size mold because my mouth is so small.
66. If I don’t talk to my Mom on the phone at least once within a 24 hour period, she panics and calls to make sure I am okay.
67. I love spiced chai tea and Starbucks caramel Frappuccinos.
68. I am an extremely sentimental person.
69. The very first time I saw my husband, the old song “Today I Met the Boy I’m Going to Marry” popped into my head. No joke.
70. When I was in college, my roommate and I decided to crawl around the catwalks of the Admin Auditorium. We were a little bumfuzzled when someone turned the lights out and all we had for light was a tiny Indiglo watch.
71. My eyesight is horrendous. I am blind as a bat without contacts or glasses.
72. I am a staunch patriot. I love my country, and am very proud to be an American.
73. I have more than a little bit of hillbilly in my blood.
74. Divergent from my scrapbooking hobby is my love of altering things – any thing. I’ve done journals, paint cans, boxes, Pringles cans…..
75. Hubby and I like to play Scrabble. We both like thinking we’re more verbose and smarter than the other, but the score is really about 50/50.
76. There is a digital Nikon that is calling my name, but I don’t have the $800 to answer it just yet.
77. I make my own Christmas cards.
78. My favorite shoes are the fuzzy red slippers that still turn my socks pink after two years of wear.
79. I have nine nieces and nephews.
80. At the age of ten, I was baptized.
81. Sometimes I struggle to meet with God, even though I know He wants me to be there.
82. My favorite verse in the Old Testament is Jeremiah 29:11 – “’For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.’”
83. My favorite verse in the New Testament is Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
84. I like change. I get bored quickly with nearly everything – exercise, domiciles, music, even some people.
85. I regret not going to Florence when I had the chance.
86. My daddy’s my hero. He is the most giving man I have ever known.
87. I am unreasonably addicted to Free Cell. I just can’t quit playing it.
88. I don’t gamble because I know I couldn’t stop once I started.
89. My future is a complete blank for me. It’s a black hole, an empty box, a Big Fat Unknown. So many questions without answers. Frustrating, really.
90. I really hope that I can eventually talk hubby into moving back to Indiana.
91. As much as humanly possible, I make the gifts I give at Christmas.
92. My mom’s grandmother was the same age as my Dad’s mother.
93. Nothing on this big sphere frightens me more than tornadoes. I lived in Tornado Alley for too many years and saw far too many horrors. I only have to hear the words “tornado watch” for my mind to shut down in terrified convulsions.
94. I really love to cook – I’m sorta like Rachael Ray in the kitchen. Stuff just gets thrown in without ever seeing a measuring cup.
95. The best present hubby ever gave me was a day at the spa – manicure, pedicure, massage, wax treatment, and hair conditioning.
96. My Nanny died when I was 16, and I still miss her. I would have given anything for her to have seen my son.
97. I can’t stand plain white walls.
98. I wish I could go back to about 14 years old and do everything over again. There’s so much I’d change.
99. I’m not afraid of turning 30.
100. I hope that I can live up to all the plans the Lord has for me.

Monday, December 4, 2006

100 Things

I'm cheating. I know, I know - take me out behind the barn and just shoot me now, because I am about to unashamedly plagarize an idea from a friend's blog. Hog-tie me, tar-and-feather me, do whatever makes you feel better. Done? Good. Drum roll, please..... it's time for 100 things about me!

  1. I have a black thumb. The only plants I don't kill are cactus.
  2. Speaking of cactus, I haven't been very far west. I once flew to Arizona, and that's as far as I've gotten.
  3. But I have been in all states east of the muddy Mississip - except Florida and Maine.
  4. I am officially a scrapaholic.
  5. I love Big Band and Swing music, and if I ever lose enough weight, I want to take swing dancing lessons.
  6. My hair is naturally this undefined color somewhere between dishwater blond and mousy brown. I've looked, but I've never found a coloring bottle to match it.
  7. I have eyes the color of a Special Dark Hershey bar.
  8. At the age of ten, my appendix burst and it was more than a week before anyone realized it.
  9. I like symmetry and clean lines - the simple yet classy look.
  10. Almost everything in my closet is some shade of red of pink. Everything in my drawer (T-shirts, to be exact) is gray.
  11. I am terrible about remembering birthdays and anniversaries. If my own birthday wasn't on a holiday, I'd forget it, too.
  12. When I fly, I take along logic puzzles so I can pretend I'm really smart.
  13. I have serious problems with self-control. Or is it willpower? Hmm... motivation sounds nicer.
  14. It's weird, I know - but I like the smell of Pilot Precise ink.
  15. I won two writing contests when I was in school - the only two I entered.
  16. After extended hours of labor, I can draw some cartoon characters, but otherwise I am no artist.
  17. Someday when I strike it rich (haha!) I will buy a small fountain machine for my kitchen. It will dispense Mountain Dew, Diet Coke, and Dr Pepper (for dear hubby).
  18. I actually despise Dr. Pepper. As far as I am concerned, it is nothing more than carbonated cough syrup. I refuse to allow hubby to kiss me after he's been drinking Dr Pepper. Awful stuff!
  19. My allergies work me into sinus infections at least four times a year.
  20. I once was a guest player in the United States Air Force Band.
  21. My family's history is fascinating to me. I've been doing preliminary work for some time and I hope to get "down and dirty" within a year or so.
  22. I love browsing through office supply catalogs.
  23. The all-time best job I ever had? Working at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I learned to make 10-lb batches of decadent fudge with a 5-foot spatula on a marble slab. Talk about fun!
  24. I still am not sure what I want to be when I grow up.
  25. Three words: Krispy Kreme donuts.
  26. On that magical day when I strike it rich, I want a 1977 Bandit Trans Am - just like the one in Smokey and the Bandit.
  27. I am terribly shy. One-on-one encounters I can navigate, but I become petrified wood in a crowd of unfamiliar people.
  28. One of my most intense desires is to adopt. I will take as many children as the Lord will allow. To start, I'd like one from China, Ethiopia, and Central America.
  29. I really love working in Excel. I can write simple macros and even use pivot tables.
  30. As a child, my recurring nightmares were always about fire.
  31. My son makes life worth living - and he doesn't even realize it.
  32. I hate my feet. They measure a 7 1/2 D. No shoe manufacturer makes that size, so I have to settle for a 9.
  33. Every single year, my mother buys me a cat calendar for Christmas.
  34. I am a Smallville junkie. Thursday night is my favorite night of the week.
  35. I work at home.
  36. My house is not very well-insulated. That was dishonest - let me re-phrase. My house is not insulated. It is a nippy 61 degree in my office right now. Praise the Lord for space heaters!
  37. I like to see myself as witty. Whether that's true or not is another story....
  38. I am in the midst of a major battle with my weight. I lost almost 80 pounds on Weight Watchers, then life happened. Again. I found myself falling into the familiar ruts of overindulging, and I am finding it nearly impossible to pull myself back out. I do not want to be a yo-yo dieter, but it appears that is precisely what is happening.
  39. The last time I was job-hunting, I did a typing proficiency test that clocked me at 136 wpm. The office staff was shocked.
  40. Despite pushing 30, I still love Kool-Aid. I always keep sugar-free Tropical Punch, Strawberry, and Pink Lemonade in my pantry.
  41. Though I haven't been in some time, I actually enjoy shooting. I've handled everything from a .22 to a .45. My favorite caliber to shoot is a .40 - makes me feel tough.
  42. My high school years saw me as the quintessential band geek. I lived and breathed music, winning 21 Solo and Ensemble medals and soloing with the Columbus (Indiana) City Band.
  43. I wore a denim-and-lace saloon girl dress to my senior prom.
  44. I am severely hypothyroid. My doctor said it was only 5% functional.
  45. Home is not easily defined. I've lived all over Arkansas, in Indiana, and most recently in Tennessee. I suppose if I had to choose, Indiana would be the site of my elusive home.
  46. Turner Classic Movies is my friend. I love to spend a rainy Saturday curled up with hot tea and cookies and wonderful black-and-white movie.
  47. At 5'7, I am the runt of my family. Dad is 6'5, Mom is 5'10, sis is 5'8.
  48. DS is not yet four, but he's nearly four feet tall.
  49. Buddy is my dog. He believes it to be his calling in life to bark. Incessantly.
  50. I am rather proficient at sticking my foot in my mouth.

To be continued. . .

Friday, December 1, 2006

Molasses Cookies

I really get a kick out of baking. Mind you, I'm not fond of cleanup, but there's something cathartic about creaming buttery mixtures to death with a mixer on warp speed. Cookies are my favorite, with fudge breathing down their necks in a close second. Some of my favorites go way back to when I was a runny-nosed kid; others are more recent treasures discovered from the 'net and my overflowing cookbook collection.

If you're lucky, I might some day decide to share my famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. The original came from my college roomie's sister-in-law, and I spent the next ten years tweaking it to utter cookie perfection. (Ask anyone who's had one lately.)

But not today. Instead, I will be sharing a recipe for molasses spice cookies. They are easy to make, and the smell! - it works its way into every little corner of the house, giving new meaning to the phrase "Christmas in the air." I only make these babies around the holidays - I have to limit myself somewhere! These maple-colored medallions are light and have just enough crisp to melt in your mouth. Mmmm... good thing I've got a batch of dough in the fridge now. Sometime between the parades, lunch with friends, and frantic Christmas card-making session tomorrow, I'll find time to pop a few in the oven. Betcha they won't last past the weekend!

Molasses Spice Cookies

3/4 c. butter, melted (no substitutes)
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
granulated sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, molasses and egg. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. (I run them through the sifter, then take a wire whisk to combine the ingredients thoroughly.) Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Shape into 1/2-inch balls and roll in sugar; place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Christmastime!

Those who know me well know that I get a little crazy at Christmas.

Maybe "crazy" is an understatement.

I'm the type of person who plays Christmas music all year long, much to the chagrin of my dear hubby. The instant the first decoration hits the shelves at Wal-Mart, I'm there. I plot and plan and scheme for months leading up to the Big Day, and most likely drive everyone crazy who's unfortunate enough to be in a 50-mile radius of me.

This year will be different.



Why? Because I have a 3-year-old who is (if it's even possible) more excited about Christmas than I am. His enthusiasm has been great - we can now go into Wal-Mart without buying a toy, as long as we browse through the Christmas section. When Jeff dropped him off at the sitter's (who had recently decorated for the holidays), Bebo exclaimed "Look! The house has Christmas on it!"

Who would have thought picking out a Christmas tree would be a world-class event? It was just a $30 skinny pre-lit tree, but he was practically bouncing out of the cart with excitement. As more people are decorating their homes, the rides across town are becoming quite entertaining. He'll burst out with excited commentaries about the lights, inflatable Santas, and plastic reindeer he sees. Every minute is a new joy for him.

Braeden's wonder of the season is bringing back all the wonderful memories of my childhood Christmases. I walk down Memory Lane every year, but somehow this year is different. His joy is allowing me to re-live my past experiences, rather than just remember them. I can feel the same excitement for the overdone yard displays. I can smell the cookies and candy baking (and sometimes burning) in the kitchen. I can see Nanny and Pa unloading presents from behind the backseat of their old blue pickup. I can hear Linus reciting the Christmas story for the hundredth time on TV. All those memories meld together in my mind in a big happy blur. It's why I love Christmas so much.

And it's why I want Braeden to have his own set of special memories. So I'll do my best to make a little Christmas magic this year - the first year he will really begin to grasp the concept. And maybe in another twenty or thirty years, he'll being watching his children clap their hands in excitement, reliving - like I am now - the Christmases of his own childhood.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Post Numero Uno

Well.... here we go! My official attempt at a blog!

I'm not entirely sure how I want to use this. I think it may just be a hodge-podge of who I am, what I like, and what I'm thinking about for the day.

So, that being said, here's what's on my mind this morning:

The scrapbooking bug has hit again this morning. I am feeling inspired - but I don't have any pictures to work with! I'd like to do some fun, less structured stuff, but I've taken very few pictures lately. I did get some developed yesterday, but they weren't especially good. It's hard to take pictures in my house. We have terrible lighting problems.

There's so much about Bebo that I've missed scrapping in the last few months. I want to document some of the funny things he's been saying - and some of the funny things he's quit saying. Take "wewo," for instance. "Wewo" means "I love you." Bebo said it for a long time, puzzling us all. We knew he was perfectly capable of saying "I love you," but for some reason he liked "wewo" better. We all grew to love it - his sweet little voice saying that word would make you feel all fuzzy inside. Sadly, in the last few weeks, he's begun to outgrow it. He said it once to me the day after Thanksgiving. We were driving home from a trip to see Granny and Papa. I said "I love you," and he responded with "wewo." I nearly cried - I'd forgotten how much I missed it already. I suspect it's the last time I'll hear it. Even so, I know I will never forget how sweet it was to hear a sleepy "wewo" from a little boy freshly tucked into bed.