Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Old Year Ends & A New One Begins

It's time to say goodbye to 2008. What a year it has turned out to be. As I look back over this year I realize how thankful I am. I am thankful to have a strong family who loves me and supports me through the good and the bad. My good and my bad.
Last year I started it with a "word" - a word to "live" by. A word that would remind me each day how to "live". My word - "LIVE" - followed me through many stages. It made me think of how to handle & face each day.
In April, when my dad passed away so suddenly, this word was very apparent to me. I chose to live my life never forgetting who my dad was to me and who my parents raised me to be. It was a very difficult time for me, but because of the values instilled in me by my mom & dad, I leaned on God and learned to live each day with His guidance.
In June, my youngest son Shaun graduated from high school. It was a great accomplishment, as it is in any teenager's life. I saw through him how to live in the moment, how to enjoy what was right in front of you. I listened with great pride as he stood at his commencement and instructed his classmates that "All things are possible for those who believe in Christ". Shaun lives his life for Jesus.
I was able to "live" out a dream on a trip to California in late June. To meet 9 other women whom I've become very good friends with through the internet. We were finally able to meet in person & create some great memories. We were able to "live" out a dream that we had only talked about for 2 or so years prior.
Then I was able to see my older son's, Chad, dream of being accepted to the local automotive academy come to life. He was finally going to be able to "live" each day with the satisfaction that his future is going to be achieved through this academy.
In November I was faced with the fact that I have cancer. I learned through this experience that each day is a true gift and that I should live it to it's fullest. To cherish & relish each moment. To slow down, to not take things for granted, to not get so uptight about the little things. I am thankful to God that I'm now cancer free and that I will be able to live a long life with my husband & children.
This year - I have a new word.......Believe. As this year has come to an end, I realize that my faith, my belief in God has carried me through so much. I am chosing this year to believe in the positive, the good and all that surrounds me.
Thanks for reading along with my ramblings.....thanks for letting me share. I believe that this new year is going to be great! What do you "believe"?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cards for the Soldiers

My nieces spent the night last night & we watched Mama Mia. What a fun movie. Today we went to Pizza Hut for lunch and then picked up a few supplies to make Valentine Cards for the Soldiers overseas. My friend helps out with this project all the time, so I decided to jump on board. We stamped & cut & glued together about 30 cards to get them mailed out in time to California so they can be sent to the soldiers overseas so that they are able to write in them & send them home in time for Valentine's day. While making cards, we watched Horton Hears A Who.
Now that the Christmas rush is over & I still have a week before I go back to school, I think it's time to reorganize my work space. Wow - does it ever become a disaster zone after the holidays. I think one project ends up getting dumped on top of another one when this time of year comes around. I also think I need to rethink my current organization and work on improving it & adding more storage space in some way.
Well, as soon as the girls' go home - this will be my next project. Maybe while I'm waiting for my sister to come & pick them up I'll start working on ideas in my head as to how I can arrange things better before I actually get started on it all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Memories Made

Christmas morning started early for us - at least according to Chad & Shaun. Steve had made plans for us to go have breakfast with our friends at 9:30am-ish, so our big kids' at home had to start early.

Libbi got right into the stockings - she'd been sniffing around hers all night, ever since Santa delivered it! The funny thing is, there was a special bone in there for her, but she wanted the squeaky tennis ball at the bottom of her stocking! But, once she realized what the bone really was, she settled right down on her new snuggly blanket and got busy!

Chad & Shaun followed suit and soon were ripping through their stockings too! Since they both got their big gifts before Christmas this year, a snowboard for Shaun & new wheels for Chad, they only had their stockings & the small stuff - like clothes - left to open. They didn't complain when they saw that Santa had put a couple of gas cards in each of their stockings!

Steve surprised me with a wonderful, warm pair of Sheepskin boots! Since our winter has been so snowy this year, he decided I needed something other than my hiking shoes to wear around. But, we had 60 degree temps & rain yesterday, so today the only snow on the ground is what is left in the piles where it was plowed too along side the curbs & driveways! I don't care, the boots are super comfy, they feel like marshmallow fluff when you step inside them!
After several years of being absent from the slopes, Steve has picked up skiing again & so the boys' surprised him with a new pair of ski's. His are VERY old (so are mine), and so today he & Shaun are at the sporting goods store picking out the boots & bindings. I told him that was my gift to him. It's real hard to buy those items without him there to try on & such.

At around 9:30, we headed over to our friends' house who still have little kids that really have fun on Christmas morning. While Steve & Jeff made omelets, bacon & hash browns, the rest of us played a few games on their new Wii system. It was pretty fun! Now Steve thinks we need one!

After breakfast the Jori, Matthew & Drew opened their gifts from us. Matthew was so excited that Uncle Gooch had bought him a marshmallow shooter!!! He was nearly ecstatic - his friends just wasn't going to believe him when he told him he got a new marshmallow shooter for Christmas. We also made sure that Drew & Jeff (the dad) each got a new shooter too so there was no fighting over the guns, just with the guns against each other. It wasn't long before the marshmallow wars began. Cody, the dog, loved these gifts just as much as the kids. It didn't take him long to figure out that the ammo was edible.

Jori collects angels, so this year Aunt Patti bought her her 1st "Willow Tree" angel. Jori had juvenile diabetes, so I thought it was only appropriate to give her the "good health" angel. She truly loved it!

Our day ended at my sister's home. This was our 1st Christmas without our mom & dad, so needless to say, it was very emotional for all of us. But we continued on with a family tradition that I started a few years' before my mom died. We ended our day together with a family photo. We all know mom & dad were with us in spirit & smiling on each of us from their heavenly home.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas.

The holiday rush is over, right? Especially in Michigan today. NO one is going anywhere in a hurry today. We've been slammed this morning with freezing rain. My DH came home this morning from work & had to park at the bottom of the hill and walk home to pick up something he forgot because his service truck couldn't make it up the hill due to the ice.
A while late I hear some commotion outside & I look to see this garbage truck sitting in the middle of the intersection outside of my house. The driver was walking down to the neighbors, so naturally I ran & grabbed my camera. He came back a few minutes later with a bag of sand to throw under his tires to get traction. I never opened the storm door as he wasn't too happy with the people driving around him, slipping & sliding as they did. He was actually yelling at a car coming down the very steep hill to the right of this pic to turn into the snow bank because they couldn't stop! They took his advice, good thing, as he just stood at the bottom of the hill while yelling. If they hand't turned, he wouldn't have been standing there much longer!
I thought if he saw me taking pictures of his perile, he might just come and hurt the paparazzi! :)
We had a very nice Christmas day - did you? I will be back later to post more on that and maybe some pictures.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merriest Memory of All

One of the most vivid memories I have growing up was going to a Christian school. It was here, along with our church, that I learned of Jesus. I learned the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. It's a birthday party for Jesus.
Each year we had a "Bible" class and each year we memorized the passage from Luke 2: 1- 20. I still remember most of it and when Linus recites it on "A Charlie Brown Christmas" I recite along with him.
"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: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
This child, this precious baby, was God's gift to me and you. To save us all from a world that has gone so wrong in so many ways. To offer us hope for today & our tomorrows, life everlasting. It's a gift for everyone......if you just believe.
Thank you for taking this journey with me this past month. All the memories have been wonderful for me & my family as they have read along. It has been a healing process in that I am facing my 1st Christmas without either of my parents, I am reflecting on the fact that I am now cancer free. These memories have brought so much joy to my heart and my mind. Thank you for letting me share.
From me to all of you.....may you truly experience the joy of Christmas & may you be blessed with the happiest of New Years.
From my family - Steve, Chad, Shaun & me (oh & Libbi too).
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Libbi's Christmas Tradition

Much to my boys' dismay, Libbi & I have a tradition every Christmas. We do our very own photo shoot.
I pull out the reindeer antlers and we "run around the house" and take pictures. You can tell by the end of the shot that she is quite board with it. Actually she looks quite angry or maybe if you look at her just right, she actually looks like she's laughing at me! Yeah, that's it, she's having a great time with it now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Visit With Santa....

Now how cool is that? Santa comes right to your pre-school? Like with any 3 year olds - this was a very exciting visit! Chad doesn't look all that sure of things on Santa's lap, but believe me, his list was a mile long that morning before we went.
The kids' in his class were just as excited as you can see from some of their faces. Oh, and then the mom's loaded them all up on punch, cookies and candies. Now that was a fun filled event!
I love the thought of Santa because I feel it brings out a child's imagination. It teaches them to believe in things - to stretch their minds.
I still believe - I believe in all the things that my mom and dad taught me. To believe, to reach, to dream. Do you still believe?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family Christmas Photos - A Yearly Tradition!

It is a yearly tradition ever since the boys' were little to take the annual family photo for the Christmas card. I've spent the last few days tracking them all down. We took photos every year with the exception of 1997 and 2003. I'm not sure what happened those years - but the photo never took place.
We started this tradition in 1989 - that's the photo in the top left corner. Chad was just a little over 2 and I was about 4 months pregnant with Shaun. That's why my sweater looks so big. :)
If you continue left to right in each row you will go in chronological order from then till this year, 2008. (If you click on the image you will get a full size view of the mosaic)
There are 2 photos for the year of 1996. The boys' are with Tigger & then we have a family shot of us with Mickey Mouse. That was the year that we went on the Big Red Boat for 3 days and then over to Orlando and spent 3 more days at DisneyWorld. I had earned this trip through the company I was working with and we took it the 1st part of December that year! It's funny, but it was 70 degrees in Disney and we were cold - we all had sweatshirts on at one point! Reality really set in when we returned to Michigan and the normal December temps! Now that IS cold!
Steve laughs at these pictures because of how much my hair has changed over the years! Mine? What about his?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nochio - I Want Nochio For Christmas!

Pinnochio was Shaun's favorite Disney movie this year. All he wanted to watch over and over again was "Nochio". When he went to visit Santa he told him he wanted Nochio for Christmas.
Well, Santa true to his word, delivered Nochio on Christmas morning. He slept with him every night until Woody from Toy Story took his place!
Do you have a favorite toy that you remember Santa bringing you? Do you still have it?
Enjoy your weekend everyone - Christmas is almost here!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Real Winter Wonderland - Maybe A White Christmas In Store?

A real winter wonderland is what I awoke to this morning. We had a pretty major snowfall on Wednesday and we were put into a major Winter Storm Warning yesterday to start at around 1am today. Well, I was up at 1:30 and the snow hadn't started, but when Steve's alarm went off at 6am & I got up to take my medicine, it was going full blast!
This is my neighbors barn across the street at about 10:30am today. It was snowing so hard, you could harldy see across the street. I actually walked across the street to the corner to take this! The picture below is looking down the street, I had to move my camera to find an object to focus on because the snow was causing white out conditions and my camera wouldn't focus enough to take the picture. We are predicted to get 6-10 inches today. I think we've exceeded the 6 and are well on our way to 10. It hasn't stopped snowing yet!

I must admit that I do love it when it snows like this, especially this time of year. I love a white Christmas. It makes the holiday that much more cheery! But then comes New Years & I'm ready for all the snow to melt and a return of spring can't come soon enough for me!!! That must mean I'm getting older because I never used to mind winter, but now.......I just don't like it to be as long!

Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008

I had my mind on way too many other things yesterday & totally forgot to post. I had something all figured out, but time just got away from me.
This memory brings back so much to me. This is Chad's 1st Christmas! He was so enamored by all the lights, tree, decorations and just everything! He would proudly set himself under the tree and just sit there quietly. I guess he's telling Steve & I that he is the REAL present under our tree that year!
I've been having so much fun doing all these Christmas memories - I've been digging through old boxes of photos & getting out the kids' scrapbooks. Wow - I can't believe I actually used to cut the pictures up as I did this one! I'm sure we all went through that phase - it was most of ours introduction to scrapbooking, am I right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Memories.....True Colors Shine!

Every year my church holds a "Candlelit Christmas". It is for girls only! It's an evening where several women from the church sign up to "host" a table and then we decorate them with different themes! It's amazing the creativity that flows in the room and the many, many different themes on all the tables. Each table MUST contain candlelight of some sort though - hence the name of "Candlelit Christmas".
As a hostess, you are allowed to invite 2-3 women from outside of the church to join you at your table of 8 and the remaining seats are left for women from church to sign up for at their choosing. There is always a waiting list for a spot a table. I hosted a table for about 3 years & would invite my mom & sisters to join me.
The evening was centered around some form of Christmas entertainment, generally a fairly well known Christian singer from Michigan. Each hostess was expected to supply her table with coffee, teas, water and of course, dessert. It was always so much fun to shop throughout the year to come up with a new theme for my table.
This picture is of my sisters, me & my mom showing our TRUE colors. We always enjoyed the Christmas season and this was one more way for us to share it together.
With my mom gone to heaven now I really cherish these memories and photos of times we spent together. I have more happy memories than I ever thought! This month of blogging my Christmas memories has been such a great joy to me. It has really made me think of the good in my life. I'm so glad that I've been able to share with you all and that you are allowing me to share.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Too Early A Christmas Morning.....

Remember how I told you the kids' would get up so early on Christmas morning? Remember how early you used to get up? Well this is proof of how early that was for my boys.
All the gifts were unwrapped and all the toys had been opened & inspected and moved to the play room in the basement.
Steve & Chad were busy assembly whatever needed to be assembled and Shaun had climbed up on daddy's back to watch. He soon rolled over to get more comfortable and before you knew it, he was sound asleep. I mean wake the dead sleep. They were in the basement and I was upstairs in the kitchen fixing Christmas dinner & Steve yelled at me to bring the camera down. It never woke him up! Priceless!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A New Sled For Christmas

If you live in Michigan, you learn to love the snow. Or at least make the best of it & have fun when you can.
It seems every little kid wants a new sled or saucer for Christmas. Heck, what am I talking about? Big kids want sleds too......they come in the form of snowmobiles.
This is Shaun's 1st Christmas in 1990 and of course he had to have a new sled! I know he's bundled up pretty good & probably couldn't walk if he wanted too, but my baby can't catch cold! He loved this little sled and loved being outside with his brother. To this day they both enjoy the snow, not the cold so much, but they do have fun in the snow. They actually went snowboarding together just this past Saturday!
I remember this huge hill that all the kids trekked to every winter in the area I lived. There were even kids whose parents would drive them from across town to sled here. It was Ravine Hill, complete will "Dead Man's Gulley". It was just that, a gulley on the one side of the hill & if you were brave enough to take it from the top, you were very lucky if you made it all the way to the bottom in one piece, with no bruises or broken bones.
My sister & I used to walk to this hill every winter and one year we just had to have new sledding apparatus! So Santa surprised us with state of the art red metal (not plastic) saucers! We were the envy of everyone because they didn't crack and they were slick as a whistle. The fact that my dad would wax up the bottom of them before we'd go sledding was a "family secret". Man could those things zing down the hill! They lasted for years and had the dents to prove that Pam & I would try our luck on the "gulley". Usually we'd slide half way down the hill, stop, and then jump over to the gulley and ride it the rest of the way down. But we did it! I think we both got brave enough one year to try it from the top. I don't think my butt had feeling in it for several weeks after that ride!
Now I know my friends in California probably don't share this type of memory, but maybe you can relate it to surfing or something of that nature??

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Christmas Country Spelling Bee..

I remember when I was a little girl the annual Children's Christmas program at church. Every year all the kids in Sunday School would participate in it. Some of us had speaking parts and all of us would sing in the choir! What is more angelic than little voices singing their praises to their Lord & Savior & celebrating the birth of Jesus?
Today was our yearly children's program at church. They did a phenomenal job - oh, it was so, so cute. And the baby Jesus was a real, live baby!!!
I remember every year after our program when we were little that all the kids would gather at the front of the church and each of us was given a small stocking with Christmas candies in it and an orange! It was something I looked forward to every year - my Christmas orange!
Life seemed so much simpler then. It didn't take much to make a child happy at Christmas then it seems. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older?
No matter what, the pure innocence of children at this time of year is something we all need to stop and reflect on. To have the childlike faith in God and all those things around us. To make life simpler.
May you all enjoy a blessed Christmas - may we all remember the simpler things and may we all know that Jesus is the reason for this beautiful season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Baking Bible....

Every year on the Saturday's before Christmas you could find my mom & my grandma before her, in the kitchen making Christmas cookies to eat & share. We would literally spend the whole day baking. The cookbook above is my grandma's, my mom's is peeking out from behind. Grandma'a has recipes marked & recipes written inside the covers - both front & back. In my mom's I even found a recipe written in her handwriting for her Macaroons.

2 8 oz. packages Shredded Coconut

1 15 oz. (1 1/2 cups) sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix ingredients. Drop from teaspoon on to a well greased pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Cool slightly - remove to rack.

Out of these cookbooks came creations such as frosted sugar cookies, gingerbread boys, pinwheels & candy cane cookies. Out of the recipe box came things such as mom's famous fudge & divinity. Yummeeeeee!

So, I'm off to take a shower & then get some packages ready to mail out to some special friends & then I just might crack open the "baking Bible" and make some goodies this afternoon!

I sure hope you're enjoying these Christmas memories of mine & that they are bringing back many of your own!

So I did get a little ambitious today = I baked 6 dozen cookies & a made a batch of mom's famous fudge.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More of My Mom's Creativity...

This is my Nativity set. I cherish this. My mom and sister Pam used to take a ceramics class once a week when I was in junior high. I remember it took my mom a long time to make this. The date she etched on the bottom is 1975. Does that make it an antique now? I have seen several of this same set over the years at different craft shows and other places, but I must be honest when I say that none compare to the work my mom did on this. She put such detail into each piece, the colors, the shadowing, the antiquing. It is priceless.
I have had this set for over 18 years now. My mom got to the point where she just didn't want to put it out anymore, so she gave it to me & I cherish it every Christmas when I pull it out.
Thanks mom.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Present Christmas Past

This is my baby doll from a long ago Christmas. Yep - I saved her because I knew she would be the last baby doll I would get for Christmas because of course I was getting too old for such childish toys you know.
Dancerina.....she could peroet (sp?) and she could walk on her ballerina tippy toes & she could just keep me company for hours & hours. Oh how I loved her - and she hasn't aged at all? she still looks all of 3 - how did that happen?
I remember finding her under the tree that year. Santa always left our presents from him wrapped in special Santa Paper - those elves thought of everything! Our biggest and main present from Santa was usually tucked to the back of our gifts so that it would be the last to open. She was so special and I felt so lucky to have gotten her. I wanted her more than anything!
So, do you remember your most special present from Santa? Do you still have it or do you just cherish the memory?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I love old movies - especially old Christmas movies. There are some real classics! My sister Pam loves "It's A Wonderful Life". My other sister Robin loves the newer "classics" such as "Elf". Me - I'm a sucker for Bing Crosby & White Christmas. I have the DVD & every year I watch it at least twice, and then again if' it's on t.v. MY hubby & sons just groan & go watch their soccer channel on the t.v. downstairs because they know that they won't be able to watch anything while I'm watching White Christmas.
I tried to upload the video, but was only successful in uploading the link. It's one of my favorite parts of the movie - right behind the "Sisters" act by Danny Kaye & Bing Crosby.
You just gotta love the classics - they sure don't make 'em like that anymore!!!!
What is your favorite holiday movie - old or new?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Skis

When Chad, our oldest son, was about 2, we bought him his 1st pair of skis. It was the beginning of a life long love for him. He was skiing in no time & riding the lifts with no problem. As he grew older he changed from skiing to snowboarding.
I remember when it was first starting up and it was so hard for kids' to be able to snowboard at most ski resorts here in Michigan. You didn't see too many on the slopes & the resorts were very cautious about this new "fad". Now I think you see more snowboarders than skiers!
On my list of 101 things to do is learn to snowboard. My boys' think I'm too old, Steve laughs at me, but that just makes me more determined to learn.
We saved the skies for when Shaun was old enough & by 2 1/2 years old he was also mastering the slopes and like his big brother, soon traded to 2 skis for one board.
My boys' love the outdoors, they don't like the cold so much - but when they are on the slopes doesn't seem to matter what the temp is outside.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas' Past..

This is from way back.....way back when I was really little because this is the 1st house I ever lived in. This is my Grandma & Grandpa De Vries. They were my dad's parents.
I'm thinking a lot of my mom & dad right now. It was 8 months ago today that my dad passed away very suddenly & 3 years ago tomorrow that my mom went into the hospital and we would begin the final journey of her life.
My dad had 2 brothers & 3 sisters. He was the 3rd in line, with 2 older sisters. Every Christmas for as long as I can remember we had a De Vries Christmas party. One of my aunt's lives in Canada, so she & her family were rarely here for those events, but every one else was! All 5 siblings, their spouses, their children & even grandchildren because of the age spand. We would gather every year on the last Saturday before Christmas & have a huge family potluck. All the cousin's would draw names and exchange gifts. The sister's & sister in law's would share their crafts that they had made through the year with each other. Knitted potholders, ornaments, painted family signs and more.
My grandma & grandpa always bought presents for all of us. Every year at Christmas I knew I would get new underwear & a pair of pajama's from them. Even in 1974 when my grandma died on Dec. 1st, my aunt's found our pj's & undies all wrapped in the closet & ready for our family party!
I have so many memories of those parties. My cousin Alice was never around - she would take her book & find a quiet bedroom in whosever's house we were at & read the night away until we would drag her out for presents. Uncle Bob would try to feed the little kids raisins (ahem - they were rum soaked raisins!). My dad could be heard from anywhere in the house as he told one silly joke after another & then his big belly laugh would fill the house.
There was ALWAYS plenty of food to go around. Oh my goodness, more than enough!
We carried on this tradition for years until my grandpa passed away......families grew up and away. We did resurrect this tradition the last 2 years again for my dad and he so enjoyed getting together with everyone.
What kind of family parties have you had in the past? Were they big or small - everyone or just those closest to you? Treasure those times - they are true gifts from our past.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One of Our Christmas Traditions.....

I remember when I was a little girl my sister Pam and I would wake up at 4 a.m. or so on Christmas morning. We would rush out to the living room all full of excitement & giggles. We also knew not to wake our mom & dad up at that hour or we would not see Santa's gifts for a very long time. We would rummage under the tree, careful not to move anything, lest mom & dad would think we were peeking & check out how many gifts Santa left for us. We would try, very quietly, to guess what was in them.The time would seem to pass oh so slowly until we could wake our parents up at a reasonable hour and more times than not, we would fall back asleep under the tree until mom & dad would come out & wake us up.
Well, when I became a mom & we had 2 little rambunctious boys in the house, Santa set up a boundary so that they couldn't get under the tree & all it's goodies until we woke up. Every year, Santa would cordone off the living room with a red ribbon tied across the entry way to it. In our 1st house when the boys' were very young, he would tie it at the base of our staircase. Chad & Shaun would sit on the stoop until we woke up & then we would have "ribbon cutting ceremony" to enter the living room. At our current house, Santa would run the ribbon across the large entry to the living room & the boys' were still able to get into the kitchen & get breakfast until we woke up.
The boys' were never any more quiet than I was with my sister Pam & then Robin when she came along. They would try their best to stay quiet, but how can little kids' contain so much excitement on such a fun filled morning?
What was the earliest YOU ever woke up on Christmas morning?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

David Bowie Meets Bing Crosby

Here is a link to a You Tube video of Bing Crosby & David Bowie singing Little Drummer Boy. What a classic.....
Enjoy everyone......

Christmas Music & Classic Christmas Shows

The sound of the classic Christmas songs always brings a smile to my face. Yesterday while driving home from a hair appointment I was listening to a local radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7. They actually start playing it in mid November!
Well, the classic song, "Drummer Boy" comes on. Immediate images float to my mind. The claymation program that was on every year, the rendition that came out by Bing Crosby & David Bowie, watching the Christmas specials on t.v. by Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope.
I remember the big stereo my mom & dad had in the living room. It was in front of the living room window and was huge! Every Christmas my mom would pull out the old LP's/vinal albums for us to listen to as we decorated the tree & house for the holidays.
The Little Drummer Boy was one of my all time favorites. The sweet voices of the women as they sang, "Come they told me"......the men as they sang, "pa rum pa pum pum".
A new born king to see...
pa rum pa pum pum.
Our finest gifts we bring....
pa rum pa pum pum.
To lay before the King...
pa rum pa pum pum
rum pa pum pum
rum pa pum pum you're singing along too aren't you? I love listening to those old songs, but I do have a favorite that I listen to every year & just love every version of it, from Ertha Kitt to Madonna...
Santa Baby
Slip a sable under the tree
for me.
Been an awfully good girl
Santa Baby
Hurry down the chimney tonight!
Now go get out that Christmas music and dance your way through your day to the oldie but goodies & maybe a few of the new ones too!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Today is Dec 5 and This Memory Comes to Me.....

Each day I pull out a few more decorations to put up for the holiday season and more & more memories come to my mind. Most of them revolve around my mom - she loved Christmas. These are pictures of her creations & items that I truly cherish. My mom was a knitter - she LOVED to knit and was always looking for new patterns & bigger challenges. She got into this kick of Christmas stockings for a few years. The stocking in the middle was her one of her 1st patterns & the other 4 are the final products that she produced for all of us! She did beautiful work - sweaters, hats, baby dresses, blankets, you name it, she had a pattern for it & had made it at one time or another.

The Giant Mitten & all the little Santa's, snowmen & stockings were another craze she went through. I love to pull them out every year & just look at the time & detail she put into them. I am trying to learn to knit, but I doubt that I'll ever be able to achieve the level that my mom did. One of the things of my list of 101 things is to learn to knit mittens. I'm still looking for that perfect pattern for a beginner.

What special memories do you have of you mom at Christmas?? I'll bet you have lots too!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Dec 4th Today & This Memory Came To Me...

Today's memory takes me back to when I was little and going to see Santa. Santa was SO real when I was growing up. (I'm not saying he still isn't)....

We had a department store in downtown Kalamazoo called Gilmore's. Now that was in the day way before malls and everyone shopped downtown. Every year my mom & dad would take my sister Pam & I to the Gilmore Christmas Parade & following that we would walk down to the store. They had a seperate toy store section where Mr. & Mrs. Claus would be in the very front window! We would get so excited to walk past the window & see him sitting there on his big red throne!

Of course, the line would be forever long, but oh when the moment finally came to sit upon his lap & tell him all that you wanted. He was so happy & jolly & Mrs. Claus was always right there beside him with her sweet little smile & a little candy cane to give you when your visit was done. After we had our time on Santa's knee, mom & dad would let us browse the toy store & then we would go down to the sandwich shop in the basement. It had the real soda fountain feel.

If the weather & time permitted, we would always walk the few blocks to Bronson Park and see all the pretty Christmas decorations, walk through Candy Cane Lane, count how many Christmas trees were lit up & then we would end up at the Nativity Scene and reflect on the baby Jesus & the real reason for the season.

I'm so happy to have these memories - what does today make you think of?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On the 3rd Day of Christmas......

Inspired by my friend Sue in Colorado & her month of thankfulness in November, I've decided for December I'm going to try & post daily all my memories of Christmas present, past & future. With both of my parents gone this year, the memories mean even more to me. Hopefully they will make you think back & think of the now & the memories you can still create for your children's future.
Above is a family treasure. My mom had 6 of these - Angel Hair Ornaments. Each was filled with a different color. My sister Robin had 3 of them left & gave one to each of us 3 girls. It is hung right in the front & center of my tree.
I remember every Christmas my sister Pam & I fighting over who was going to get to hang them & then passing that tradition onto our much younger sister, Robin. My mom would put angel hair everywhere! Around the nativity, the ceramic tree, the santa's and anything else she could find to put it on. It was pretty & every time I look at this ornament I think of my mom & all the "angel hair" she is surrounded by every day now.
Do you have a favorite ornament on your tree that brings back memories?
I managed to get my tree decorated today. Boy do we have a lot of ornaments! So many of them are for Chad & Shaun. If I ever decide to give them to them, my tree will be bare!
So, this is a new year, a different year in many ways - my mom & dad are gone, Steve & I are kinda empty nesters & all the Christmas prep is ours again. Much like when we were 1st married! Time to start making more Christmas traditions.

The Bandages Are Off......

The picture on the left is from 2 weeks ago - after surgery #1. The picture on the right is of this morning. Ouch - a little more bruising going on this time. I head back to both my doctor's tomorrow for follow up treatment now. The next step in all this is the radioactive iodine treatment. I've got all kinds of questions regarding that one! I also feel like I'm starting to come down with a cold, so I need to call the pharmacist & see what I can take that won't react to my other meds I'm now on. Geesh - does that make me sound old?
Well, once I take care of that, I'm going to be decorating the Christmas tree. Steve took me on a little adventure to Wal-Mart last night to buy new LED lights for the tree. We decided to take a step back into the past & we bought the big colored bulbs. Actually, they look like colored pine cones, but they bring back some memories from when I was growing up & the only lights you had were the big colored ones! They do look real pretty. I'll be sure to post pics of the finished product.
As for yesterday, I started 2 of the things on my list & completed 1. I DID take may nap after my little walk, so after the tree is done today I will be starting on #4 of yesterday's list.......get the Christmas cards done!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A New Day.....

We have received about 4 inches of snow or so in the last few days. Yesterday I had a very rough day. Extremely tired & dizzy, no energy at all. So today when I woke up & saw a fresh blanket of snow I sat down & wrote in my journal. One of the things I decided was that each day is a new day & I must face it head on. So I wrote a list of 4 things that I want to start and/or accomplish today.
Well, so far, I've got 2 of them started & the 3rd accomplished. The 1st two are Christmas gifts I'm working on online & the 3rd was a short walk around the block. Libbi has been dying to get out in the snow & play & so I gave her about 15 minutes to romp & play before tucking her in the porch & going for my walk. It was refreshing and tiring at the same time. But a good tired.
One more thing on my list - but I will get to that after a short nap. I need to recharge!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Surprise Visitors!

Yesterday afternoon Steve & I were pleasantly surprised by a visit from my Aunt Nancy & Uncle Jack. They now live in Arizona & are home for about a month visiting their 3 daughters. Uncle Jack is my dad's brother - they were very, very close. They are like my next set of parents, my sisters & I were very close to them & my cousins growing up.
We spent about 2 hours together & Uncle Jack spent time with me going through a family photo album that we found when cleaning out my dad's house last spring. He was able to identify a few of the relatives in it for me & give me a better idea of who they were. Now I can get started on a heritage album at some point. I just need to get the "plan" figured out in my head & start jotting down my ideas.
Before they left, Uncle Jack pulled out his harmonica & serenaded me with "How Great Thou Art". He made me cry. He played it beautifully. My Grandpa De Vries used to play the harmonica & Uncle Jack has followed in his footsteps beautifully.