Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's almost 2012...Happy New Year y'all!!  Looking forward to sharing more, learning more and getting to know you more!  ..."forgetting those things which are behind, press toward the mark..."  Happy 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Madness, Mourning, and Meaning

If you have read my blog you know that I follow the news closely, especially stories that are different, sad, or interesting.  There have been some interesting news stories this Christmas season.  Sadly, there are the madness stories, you know the ones that I'm sure you have heard of from Black Friday.  People standing in crazy long lines to get that deal, then rushing in the doors, pushing and shoving trying to get where they want before someone else gets there.  This year there was the normal (which is NOT normal) stampedes, and people getting trampled and a bit knocked around.  But the one thing that made my jaw drop was the story of the woman who decided to pepper spray a crowd of people so they would not get the game or toy, or whatever it was that she wanted.  I just don't understand that mentality.  I don't think the idea of a season of giving includes pepper spray to the masses so that you could get what you really wanted.  And just last week there was the story of another group of people....who took a door off of its hinges, trampled over each other and had some fighting matches with each other all because of.....sneakers, yes, you heard me right, I said sneakers!  They were the new Michael Jordan sneakers that cost about $200 or so.  There was only a limited supply of them, so after all of that some people never even got them.  One guy even bought a pair of kids sneakers, even though he said he doesn't have kids yet.  He was just happy to have them for maybe someday.  Another unbelievable story of want.
Then there are the sad stories, stories of mourning that break the heart during this time.  Stories of houses burning down, or people losing their loved ones right before or after or even on Christmas.  Well, this year my heart just broke as I heard the news story of five people in a house who lost their lives in a fire.  Of course stories like this always break my heart, but this one had a few key elements that really got to me.  First, there were three little girls who were killed in the fire (7 yr. old twins and their 10 yr. old sister), their grandparents who were visiting were also killed, the mom and a friend were the only ones able to make it out alive after trying to get the rest of them out, and this happened early Christmas morning.  All of those things just really made me think.  This was a million dollar Victorian home...beautiful, the mom was a well known ad executive in New York.  So here is this successful woman, with a beautiful home and 3 beautiful little girls, and wonderful parents, getting ready to have a special Christmas day with her family.  Little did she know on this special day at about 4:30 in the morning her life would forever change.  Tragedy doesn't know success or money or status, it visits all.  It made me think of all the people pushing, shoving, fighting, pepper spraying, just to get the best gift for themselves or their family.  Would they see the foolishness in their actions after hearing of a tragedy like this?  Is that really so important now?  The paper quoted the mother as saying that her life was in that house, as the firefighters had to drag her and her friend away.  They had still been trying to get them out of the house.  It seemed that the grandfather was trying to help his granddaughters get out.  The firefighters said they found a stack of books by the window as if he were trying to help them get up to the window to get out.  They found the bodies by the books.  It was later found out that the cause of the fire was from embers from the fireplace.  It was also said that the mom was redoing some of the house and the fire alarms probably weren't set up.  Not only was the mom well known, but her father (the grandfather) was, too.  Just earlier that day before he got to their house he was doing his favorite thing for the holidays, dressing up as Santa at the mall.  Little did everyone know several hours later that he would be fighting for his life while he tried to save his grandchildren and wife.  What an awful tragedy!  Many of the firefighters were really struggling with this.  The chief spoke to the media and broke down a little.  They brought in grief counselors for these firefighters.  This will be a difficult thing for them to get over I'm sure.  As I think about this poor mom, Christmas will never be the same for her again.  But it also made me think of what Christmas means to people.  For some it's all about the decorations, the shopping, the gifts, for some it's the time with family and friends, for some it's celebrating the birth of Jesus, and for some it may be all of these or a mixture of some of them.
That's where the stories of the meaning of Christmas come in.  Now, as a Christian of course the real meaning of  Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  But Christmas is also about giving and sharing and showing love, and enjoying time with family and friends.  So the next couple of stories embody some of those things.  One thing I heard, not once, but actually a few different times is that there were "secret santas" who were going around paying off people's layaway items.  Some people went to the stores to either try to pay off their layaway items or to cancel them, only to find out that it had already been taken care of.  I heard of a couple of moms who actually went to the store to cancel, but weren't sure what they were going to be able to afford for their kids, when the person at the layaway desk told them their account had already been paid.  They were so pleasantly surprised and so thankful.  What wonderful Christmas spirit!  The last story was something I heard at the end of the 6:30 news.  It told about students from a certain school who had a special Christmas party where they all got just what they had asked for for Christmas when "Santa" showed up...all except one.  There was one little girl who didn't ask for anything, she didn't want least nothing that could be bought.  The only thing that she had asked  "Santa" for was for her father to come home from Afghanistan for Christmas.  That's a tough order for anyone.  So that day when "Santa" came to the classroom to give the other kids their gifts, the teacher had the little girl go sit on "Santa's" lap to tell him again what she really wanted for Christmas,which she told "Santa" again was her dad.  She had only seen him for two weeks in the past two years.  When she told him what she really wanted, "Santa" took off his cap and beard to show her that her Christmas wish had come was her dad!!  She cried and just hugged his neck so hard....and I just cried...and cried!  Mom even came out to the kitchen to see if I was OK.  What a beautiful Christmas story!  
Lord, it's so easy for us to get caught up in all the madness of the season.  Sometimes mourning takes over, as well,  and we forget to just focus on the meaning.  Help us to think of the meaning and be willing to share with others as you shared with us!  Help us to be careful not to let the madness or the mourning, crowd out the true and beautiful meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Merriment

After a wonderful service at mom's church, we went home to take Bella out for a bit and get changed before going over to Uncle Cephus and Auntie Ann's house. We got there and were spoiled with more gifts. Mom was given a hat, scarf, and gloves from cousin Chris. Funny enough we were just talking about the fact that mom needed new gloves! Then we both got beautiful, wonderfully soft robes from my aunt and uncle.  My cousins Karen and Yvonne spoiled me with a very generous gift card.  We enjoyed some cheese and crackers, then not long after also enjoyed some fruit with fruit dip. Slowly the family started to arrive. Cousin Chris was already there. Then Uncle John and Aunt Bertsie came. A little later Mike, Kelly, Amy, Amy's four kids (1 girl about 12, and three boys, I think 4, 3, and 1 1/2, who all look very similar:)), Cousin Cephus, and his wife Sally all came. My cousin Karen was already there helping her mom out, and my cousin Yvonne and Uncle Cephus were delivering food to family, and arrived back home later as well. We then enjoyed the main meal...turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, collard greens, yams, salad, and lasagna...oh yum! We ate very well, talked, laughed and enjoyed one another while watching the Celtics play. There was disappointment all around when they lost by two points. Dessert was soon brought out, and if you thought the meal was something, that was nothing compared to dessert. My cousin Karen does most of the baking for that, and she definitely went all out this year. There was Lemon Meringue pie (my cousin Chris and my Uncle Cephus's favorite), raspberry pinwheel cookies (my favorite), strawberries cut in fours with cream cheese inside (my other favorite), Baby Ruth bar cookies (my Aunt Bertsie's favorite), shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzled on top, chocolate chip cookies, coconut cake (made by my Auntie Ann, that was always my pappy's favorite), pecan crescent cookies (also my pappy's favorite), gluten free pumpkin cake, pound cake, and German chocolate cake...phew, I think that was it!  Can I just yummy fullness!!  But be proud of me, I didn't over indulge at all!  A little after all this goodness came out, my cousin Derek and his girlfriend came.  They are a great looking couple, and she is sweet as can be, and fit in very well with the family!  My cousin Cephus Jr. surprised me by mentioning my blog to everyone.  He read my blog The Gang's All Here and shared some of it with the family.  What a wonderful compliment!  We enjoyed some more time just relaxing and talking and watching more basketball.  Of course the little boys were quite entertaining!  My uncle calls them one bear, two bear and three bear (his Indian names for them).  Mom kept wanting just one more cookie, her stomach seems to be a little endless lately.  Think I'm over-exaggerating?  Just you wait to hear what else I'm going to share.  Of course we were told that we needed to take some things home.  Of course I had to take some of the raspberry pinwheels home with me.  As I was filling my plate, my Uncle Cephus told me to take more, he told me not to stop until he told me to.  I kept putting more on the plate and when I looked over at him to see when he was going to tell me to stop....he was.....ASLEEP!  Haha, yup, he had started dozing, so I had to give him a hard time telling him he forgot to stop me.  Well,we got 3 or 4 plates of food to take home.  We had our gifts, our food, said our goodbyes and were on our way.  But unbeknownst to mom we weren't quite heading home to her Bella.
After we left our family's house we headed about 15-20 minutes away to visit with another family.  I have known this family for years.  I had 3 of the 4 kids when they were in third grade.  But I had her oldest as well, for music when he was in fourth grade.  She has always kept in touch with me and invited me to the kids graduation parties and things.  She had asked me a few days ago about coming over.  I told her about our family time, and that it would be much later before we could come over.  She said it was fine and just wanted us to make it over.  So we did.  Her other friend that was visiting was just about to leave when we got there.  And it wasn't good enough for us to just come visit, she also wanted to feed us as well.  She had lasagna, chicken, rice with a tomato-type sauce to go over it, fried plantains, salad, and rolls.  So we got a little lasagna, some plantains, and rice and sauce.  It was delicious, but I felt that I was probably going to explode soon.  Mom ate most of her plate, just left a little lasagna, but she also had a roll.  We talked for a little while, and then she told us we each had to have a piece of cheesecake...huh???  .....Uh...ok... We each had a piece, mom ate a few bites of hers and I tried to eat as much of mine as I could, but I had to leave some.  When we finally convinced her that we needed to go, she started packing up some food for us to take home.  While she was doing that, mom ate the rest of my cheesecake!  When we got into the car I was finally able to groan loudly from my discomfort.  Mom didn't know why I was so uncomfortable, she said she wasn't full...what??  We finally got home and got comfortable.  Once mom had her pj's on, she asked if we were going to have dessert.  I ran down the list of all that she had already eaten that day, she was surprised.  But she did have another cookie.  Oh my...what a day of merriment and fellowship, and fun.....and fullness!
Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift of family and friends to celebrate this special day with!  Thank you for good food and good fellowship.  Thank you for a great day full of great memories!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Morning

The morning started with getting up (obviously), taking Bella out (as usual), and having breakfast (again, nothing unusual).  The thing that did make it a little different was obviously it was Christmas breakfast, and I wanted to try a new recipe for  breakfast.  My new love, pinterest, had a recipe that someone had pinned and I found from, for Christmas Eggs.  This recipe from 2008 looked delicious and was simple enough, so I decided to try Christmas Eggs for Christmas Morning.  It ended up being just as delicious as it looked in the picture.  I also had some wonderful caramel bread that I bought from one of the girls at school who was selling bread for a fundraiser for her group she's in.  Of course, if you know me at all, of course we had cereal too.  Definitely a breakfast worthy of a Christmas morning!  After breakfast mom, Bella, and I went downstairs to open gifts.  Mom was surprised by the presents under the tree, I put a few upstairs and I think she thought that was all of them.  So she was pleasantly surprised to see more.  I did what has always been my job, go under the tree and call off the names on the gifts and pass them out.  Mom had a nice little chunk by her, I had a few and Bella had a few as well.  Yes, hers were wrapped, too, she is great at opening her gifts and I love watching her!
And obviously videotaping her as well!  She definitely seemed to enjoy her gifts.  

Mom seemed to enjoy hers also as she slowly opened them.  I enjoyed watching her as well,though I kept looking at the time since we would need to get ready for church soon!  When mom finally finished opening all of her gifts we went upstairs to get ready for church.  Mom was planning to just wear what she had on, which she wears quite often.  I told her that she could not wear that on Christmas morning.  I had her put on one of her new sweater and skirt sets, and got her all put together before her ride came.  By the time I finally got her together and ready, her ride was here.  Thankfully I had already started getting ready, though it didn't help much.  I was supposed to be at church by 10:25 for choir practice before church, which started at 10:45.  Well, by the time I got mom out to her ride it was about 10:30.  By the time I got ready to leave it was already just about 10:45.  If I went to my church I would have been quite late, but mom's church wasn't starting until 11. So after some indecision, I finally headed over there.  It ended up being a nice surprise for her, and it worked out just right because I got to spend the whole day with her.  We enjoyed a great service at Grace...God is the Giver and We are the Takers.  God has given us the precious gift of his son, and we should be willing to receive that wonderful gift.  It was great to be there to see some old friends and to meet some new ones.  Pastor's new baby boy was in church for the first time too.  It was great to see that precious little one.  We had a wonderful, indecisive, crazy, busy morning, and made some great memories.  That was just the beginning, with more to come.
Lord, thank you for a fun, crazy, interesting, wonderful morning....together!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Festivities

Here I sit after a looong day of Christmas festivities, trying to keep it all together, as I am still so incredibly, miserably full right now!  I, of course, want to share about our great, wonderfully crazy Christmas day!  But, I must confess, one of the reasons I am writing this now is because I'm pretty sure if I try to go bed right now, I will greatly regret it.  As full as I am, I will either wake up sick or wake up with some crazy dreams.  That's not how I want to end my Christmas.  This is a much more fun way to end my Christmas.  There was so much that went on, though, that I just don't feel I can write it all right now, so I will start with a general overview, and then go into some more specifics.  Maybe the food has crowded into my mind!  Our day started with breakfast, with some special touches.  Then on to opening our gifts, have some great pictures and videos from that!  Next, it was getting ready for church, getting mom ready first, then trying to finish getting myself ready.  Then off to church, which ended up being different than expected.  After church we came home to take Bella out and to change to go over to Uncle Cephus and Auntie Ann's house.  We enjoyed some quality family time over there, and some great food, even talking about my blog a little bit.  After leaving the family, we had another stop to make.  A mom of some of my former students wanted to have mom and I over as well, where there was more food...oh my!  There had been even one more invitation from my friend Amy, but we just were not able to do that one.  Mom was getting pretty wiped out by the time we left that family's house.  I was also getting pretty wiped out by that point.  So, here I sit hoping to digest a bit before bed.  As I said, I'll write more specific parts later.  Hope everyone had a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Mom and I did!
Lord, thank you for another blessed Christmas day.  Thank you for mom and Bella to be able to share it with.  Most of all, thank you for sending your son here to earth to be our precious gift...the reason why we can celebrate this special day!   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Just Sayin'

One of my favorite phrases lately is "Just Sayin'". You know..."This has been such an amazing Christmas break so far, Just sayin'." Or..."I really need to brush Bella's teeth, Just sayin'." Or even..."Sorry you missed out on that cupcake, it was pretty incredible, Just sayin'." Between that and "Seriously?!"...those are my staple phrases lately. I even have mom saying, "Seriously?!". Well anyway to the real reason for this post, just a little comic observation from my crazy mind. Sorry to do this to you on Christmas Eve.:) But...I just discovered/realized as I listened closely to a popular, favorite Christmas's not such a nice song. Let's think about this for a minute, it starts off nicely enough...We wish you a Merry Christmas. Sounds nice, right? We sing it to each other with the idea to simply wish a Merry Christmas. But what about the next part of the song, it says, Now bring us some figgy pudding. Ok, that's where my problem comes in...who is going to come to my house for a Christmas party and then demand that I bring them some figgy pudding?? Umm...first of all, did I hear a please?? I better hear a please somewhere in there. I can't have kids singing this! Then it gets even worse, not only did they not say please, but in the next verse it says, We won't go until we get some, so bring it out here! ...Excuse me??!? How are you going to tell me you won't leave until I give you what you want? Seriously?! I don't even think so! This is my house, you should just be thankful I invited you over. I may or may not have figgy pudding, and if I do, I may or may not want to give you any, especially if you don't ask nicely... use your manners! Then, even if I do have some, but don't choose to bring it out, you will not just stay up in my house rudely waiting for me to bring you some...oh no, I will not have that! Just sayin'. Well, I do wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and good tidings to you and your kin! Thanks for indulging my crazy mind! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!

No, it's not my birthday! It's not mom's birthday either...a little too early for that. Not pappy's birthday either, just a tad too early for his. So that only leaves one special birthday girl...that would be.........Bella!! Yes, Bella is 7 today! 3 years and 3 days ago we were blessed with her in our home, and just 3 days later we are celebrating her 7 years of life. She definitely got spoiled if that's much different from any other day. Well, today mom and I took Bella to Evergreen Walk. We had to take a trip to one of our favorite places Leaps and Bones. That's where we get Bella's birthday cake. We walked around a bit more before mom was ready to get in the car. Bella wasn't quite ready, though. Once mom got situated in the car, Bella and I did some more exploring. An older lady saw her and thought she was so cute and petted her a little, and it seemed after that Bella kept looking at people as they walked by to see if they might want to indulge in a little petting session as well. The funny thing is that whenever people come to the house she tries so hard to get their attention to pet her and hold her. She would be content to just sit in their lap the rest of the day. Yet when she is out, she's so busy that she can only give people a few seconds of her time. But she really seemed to be looking for the next person who would be enamored by her cuteness to want to pet her. She would walk by people and look up at them or sniff at their feet. She did get a couple of others to acknowledge her. We went into my other favorite new store that I wrote about before, Ten Thousand Villages. A little 3 year old boy came in and Bella just wanted to go see him. She was finally able to and she did well, although she once again could only spare a few seconds of her precious exploration time. We did have a nice little chat with this adorable boy and his parents. We finally got back to mom in the car and headed home. My mom's brother came over a little after we got home and Bella got her wish, to sit on his lap the whole time he was here. Then tonight Bella indulged in a little bit of her cake, while mom and I shared a little ice cream and a cupcake with her.
And after we were done oddly enough, mom ended up indulging a little more, but not with ice cream and there were no more cupcakes you see where I am heading with this?? Why yes, she indulged in a small piece of Bella's cake. She liked it seeds and all...oh my. Now my sweet little girl is snuggled up right next to me on the recliner, love these moments. Happy Birthday little girl!
Lord, thank you again for Bella. She's such a wonderful, sweet, naughty, spoiled, fun, crazy, bad, terrific, wild, enjoyable blessing for us! Please allow us many more years to enjoy and spend with her.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

3 Years Ago Yesterday

It seems hard to believe that it has been three years since I was able to have the Christmas gift that I had been wanting, and waiting for for over 20 years. Three years ago yesterday Bella came into our lives. Seeing as neither one of my parents ever wanted a dog in the house, this was a definite miracle! It was amazing how things came together. I had hoped and prayed that after pappy died that we could possibly get a dog for the house. I knew it would be a great addition to the house. It would give mom a purpose again, and since it was just the two of us now, I would feel safer having a dog around, plus I've just always really wanted one! I love dogs! A wonderful friend from church, Maria, not only talked to me about what I had been thinking and praying about, she also gave me a couple of great books where I could see some of the pros and cons of the different breeds to see which would be the best fit for us. I learned so much, and had narrowed it down to a few different breeds. I knew it could not be a big dog, mom would never be able to handle that. I don't think mom could handle it if it was a puppy either. I knew that would be hard for both of us. It couldn't be too energetic, needed to be a good companion, a lap dog, also thought it would be good for it to have hair...that way mom couldn't claim (as she had tried to do before) that she was allergic. I had been looking on Petfinder, I had gone to the Humane Society a couple of times. (As a side note: the very first time I went to the Humane Society was about a week after my pappy had passed away. I was home with mom and we had just been doing some different things that day. I thought it would be clever to go look at the different animals, but especially the dogs of course, to see if she would soften to the idea of getting one. As we drove into the parking lot, mom saw the name Humane Society and started getting nervous. She asked if I was bringing her there to put her in there. Aww, I told her of course not, plus it wasn't for people, it was for animals. She said she didn't know, now that my pappy was gone, maybe I was going to put her someplace. Poor thing! Then wouldn't you know it, the only dogs that were there were pit mixes that were barking and jumping a lot! We didn't stay for much for that idea!) I even went to the Puppy House, or something like that and we looked at a couple of dogs and you almost touched one, but I could tell I still wasn't really getting anywhere. Next thing I know, my friend, Maria, took good care of me again! She told me one Wednesday night that her boss was looking to give her dog away because she and her husband were not dog people, and the son who the dog belonged to was in college and was rarely home. The dog spent most of the day in a crate. Maria asked me if I wanted to pray about it, I told her that I had already been praying about it, so I just told her to tell her boss we would take the dog. I couldn't believe what I was saying! But this dog was a Maltese, that means she was small, she had hair (mom couldn't say she was allergic to her), she wasn't a puppy (she was 4), and the very best part.......she was FREE! This just seemed to be the answer to my prayers. I was excited, but didn't know how to tell mom what I had just done. So...I didn't tell her. I tried, believe me, it just never quite came up easily enough. So, here it was December 19, it was the half day left before Christmas break that year and it was also 11 months to the day after pappy died. I was so excited to hear that she was on her way to school, Maria's daughter, Lani, had her and brought her to me. I couldn't help but break down a little when I finally met her and had her in my arms.
My prayers had finally been answered. She came and hung out in the classroom with the kids, in her crate, while we finished our party. I finally brought her home...quite nervously I might add. I didn't know how mom would respond. When I got home she didn't believe me when I said she was ours, she thought I was maybe just dog-sitting for someone. Then the miracle happened! As I was showing mom the gifts from the kids, I put Bella on the bed near us, and not too long after, mom moved her hand and started petting her. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! I didn't even want to breathe so as not to break the spell. From that point on, our little Bella has been the biggest blessing to us! So thankful for the past 3 years with her and pray for many more years ahead.
Thank you, Lord, for working things out in a way that I never would have ever been able to imagine. You truly blessed us! You knew all along this special blessing you had for us, and you knew how much we would fall in love with her. Thank you for the right girl, in the right time, and in a way that you worked out so perfectly. Hmm...maybe I should remind myself of this when I stress or worry about some other things...I'll try.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Gang's All Here!

I had such a nice surprise this morning. Mom and I were told that the family was getting together at Hometown Buffet this morning. We have done that before, but there was really no reason that I knew of for this get-together. We got there and met my aunt and uncle that we spend a lot of time with, so mom was comfortable. As we were standing in the crazy long line, I heard something behind me. I turned to see my cousin Lou, she was yelling up to my uncle to say "Hey". She is so funny and loves to give my Uncle Cephus a hard time. That's where the surprise came in. She is from Georgia, but here she was in Connecticut! I looked around and saw more cousins and then my dad's dad's brother. I had no idea they were going to be up here. I was so glad to see them, I got quite emotional. I haven't seen them for a couple of years and didn't know when or even if I might ever see them again. What a blessing to see them! My Auntie Alberta is 87 and my Uncle George is 88. So, all of my dad's sisters and brothers that are still alive were all together again. That was so special. I had to get pictures. Life and time go by too quickly, I want to capture these special moments all the time now. My Auntie Alberta was also able to be with 3 of her kids that live up here. A little bit later some of the grand children and great grandchildren also came in. So there were probably 10 or so of them that came up from Georgia. I had no idea all of them were coming! I'm so glad I got to spend some time talking with Auntie Alberta. I asked her if she still lived in her house by herself and if Uncle George still lived on his own too. She said they both did still live alone. She said she still planted her garden during the summer, with bell peppers, hot peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and collard greens. She does it all herself. She said she still drives her car, goes to get groceries, and then cooks for Uncle George too. Uncle George's health has gone down, and he also struggles with demetia, but she and her daughters that live down there help take care of him. We had a nice section of the restaurant for the bit of the family that was there. There were quite a few that were unable to be there, but we still managed to have 3 rows of tables. I love my big, crazy, fun, amazing family. Dad's sister, Auntie Ann, with mom
Dad's sister, Auntie Alberta (87), talking with her sister-in-law, brother-in-law and sister, Ann

Dad's brothers, Uncle George (88), and Uncle John

Dad's brother, Uncle Henry with Uncle George
Cousin Lou with her granddaughter, Auntie Alberta's daughter and great granddaughter
Lord, thank you for this time with my family. Thank you for keeping them well so we could see them again. Thank you for allowing me to have such an amazing family. I miss my pappy at times like this, but it's special to be able to be around his brothers and sisters to bring some great memories. Thanks for new memories.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Beginning to Look.....But Not Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

It's that time of favorite time of year! Celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus, singing wonderful Christmas carols, being cozy on cold winter nights with family and friends, decorating, watching great Christmas movies, listening to some of the most beautiful, and some of the most fun music, watching the snow gently fall to the ground. Well, I guess 5 out of 7 isn't bad, though for me it is a bit sad. We had our crazy snow storm at the end of October, but now have not seen any snow since then. For someone who lives for the stuff, it's been rough. Yes, feel bad for me! Also for someone who really, barely...endures the hot summer days in anticipation of the cold this time of year brings, these 50 and 60+ degree temperatures are making those really cozy nights difficult. It does get down a little bit at night, but could be a little cooler. The kind of cold that makes you want to rush inside for a nice cup of hot chocolate. So even though I have seen people putting up their Christmas decorations and lights in shorts and T-shirts, which seems pretty pitiful, I have still already pulled out the trees and semi-decorated them. Though it may not FEEL like Christmas outside yet, it does look like Christmas (and has for a while) in many places, and now also in my house. I love driving around seeing the lights on houses and in yards, going to the mall to enjoy the decorations there, and hearing the music all around.
Here's a little glimpse of our trees, not sure how much more will be done, but love looking at pretty Christmas trees lighted up at night. Mom has definitely really been enjoying the one upstairs and thinks I am a master decorator, even though it is a pre-lit tree and all I basically did was drag it up from the basement and put it in the living room. I only added a few ornaments to it, hadn't even really finished it yet, but she's ready to call all the friends, family, neighbors... and decorating shows to tell them to come see the beauty I created, hee hee. She's pretty interesting/funny lately. She has told me a couple of times that she told my aunt, who lives in Virginia, that she needs to come see the tree...a fake tree...that was already pre-lit...has some gaping spots where it hasn't quite been fluffed out enough (or can't fluff out because it's so old)...has a few crazy bling ornaments on it...and leans awkwardly to the side, not thinking it would be worth all that trouble! long as mom likes it, that works for me! I did find some fun blinged-out decorations for the trees, so that has been fun. Now if the weather would just cooperate, that would be swell! Love the color and bling factor of these ornaments from Michael's!

Love this bright pink feathery bird from Pier 1!
And how much fun is this butterfly?! Couldn't resist!