Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Let the Good Times Roll

One of my students asked me to tell her my favorite thing about Christmas break and why.  I responded that I love when I have a minute to hang out with friends.  It seems from day one of the new school year, my days just disappear into the mist.
I didn't waste any time this year and headed straight from our last day of school to the coffee shop to  meet up with a friend. Yesterday friends came for soup and sandwiches and today I had not only breakfast with one group, but lunch with another friend girl.  So happy for that sweet time.
No time for rest after that first friend meeting as much had to be done for our children and grandchildren's Christmas on that Sunday.
Lots of good food and song, and laughs.  It must be a twin thing, because even  though their lives are no longer much invested in one another, Rae and Drummer Boy will inevitably fall back on a sarcastic humor they share, that still makes me laugh.  I love when someone pulls out the guitar and someone else sings.  We like songs that are not in keys we sing in I fear, but it is still music to me.
Drummer Boy questioned why I wasn't yet accomplished on the guitar myself.  I told him there needs to be a few weeks without a crisis of one sort or another and I will happily get right on that.

I absolutely love me some gramerlings in their Christmas best, with their hair spiked up or fashioned in some little springerly curls.  It was my joy to dress up my kids for the holidays.  So. Stinkin'. Cute.
 Someone must have shown this boy how to squeeze a bag to pop it open.  So instead of saying, "Help." He is squishing the daylights out of his fruit chews and saying, "Squeeze!"

 Lands, next year this boy will be as tall as his Dad.
 Giddy-Up looks like a ventriloquist doll in this picture.

 They felt the need for a little dance party, complete with the Limbo.

They were happy to find a new kind of building material under the tree.

Michael and the rest of us enjoyed his new beard game.

I thought this little Missy needed something monogramed. I know what it is like to be the caboose of a bunch of girls.

 I often find Bean with a kid or two and a book.  Ahhhhh.
 The kiddos are welcomed to spend the night. It is Jiffy-Pop, chocolate milk and my favorite Christmas movies.
  Giddy-Up is, well excitable and so thrilled to be having a sleep over.   Bean found knitting needles and yarn in his stocking. I told him that would be our winter project for later.  Bean wanted just a little lesson, so I showed him and in a few minutes he was knitting. Gee, wish it went that way in my classroom.

When Ceece arrived the next day, Giddy-Up said, "We're still having the sleep over." Mr. Smiley is snuggled up with his Chex mix and all his remotes and telephones that he packs around.

Of course, I always miss whoever is not present, and this party was no exception.  Life, amazingly wonderful with a splash of heartache don't ya know.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Rest, what a novel idea- NOT!  Wouldn't you think if the God of the universe commanded you to rest one day out of seven that you would get the hint.
I often wonder if all the stress related mental illnesses and diseases have been exacerbated by this lack of resting the mind and body.
I'm guilty. It is hard for me to do.
I didn't find it so hard Saturday when I wasn't just running low, I was empty. I slept until almost nine. Something that happens about two times a year. Handy Man was off and we just hung out, ate leftovers, read, worked a puzzle. I colored in my new coloring book. I'm still five when it comes to new crayons and colored pencils. Love. Them.  And I got the biggest box of crayons with color names I haven't heard before. I journaled in my new Bible.  We took a big nap, and I actually slept for a long time.  We watched The Hobbit, again.  We had popcorn for supper. I never got out of my pajamas.
Did you know when my tank is empty, Tolkien is my lovey.  I don't know why.  Movie or books, doesn't matter, that's my go to.  What's your go to?
Before dark, the guilt horse comes galloping through my mind and I determine that I will do something productive the next day.

But the next day, today, rides in with black clouds and pouring rain, another good reason, after church, to find my book and another long nap followed.  More leftovers.  But as dark came on early I knew I couldn't let this day slip by without some work to show.  I put all the Christmas shirts in the washer, ready for their long year's rest.  Since there wasn't one more spot to cram anything anywhere, I cleaned out the frig. I will have some happy chickie girls in the morning.  I spent some time perusing creative writing sites to see if there is anything I haven't tried with my students.  I tried to delve a little deeper into the mystery of how red dye affects the brain.  Enough work to make me feel better.

In my red dye search, I felt frustrated, as I often do when I read about the vaccine/autism situation.  To my knowledge, none of my children were adversely affected by  red dye.  I have twelve grandchildren and only one is affected.  When he has red dye he is so out of sorts, it is pitiful.  Research doesn't show a definitive correlation between red dye and behavior.  I. Don't. Care.  I know. I have made kids my business all my life and it is not a figment of our imagination that he reacts poorly to red dye. It is always fascinating when the research doesn't show something, but suddenly thimerosal is removed from vaccines and now companies are taking notice of the red dye situation.  Did you know farm raised salmon swim in it so they'll look to you as red as wild salmon?  Did you know it is in biscuits and vanilla cake mix?  Ground beef?  Ugh.  It is very hard to avoid.
Gee, a long way from the rest situation.  We need rest.  God said so. I believe Him, but it surely is hard to make it happen sometimes.
Wishing for you some good rest.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas is Here

That's the song playing on Pandora this morning.
 I'm glad it's finally here and that tomorrow the celebrating, furious wrapping, cooking, baking and schlepping will be done for a minute.

These first Christmases, when a standard fixture is missing, are very strange.  Do you talk about them?  Do you paste on your face a smile for the little ones?  Yes, you do.
To make yourself feel a little better, do you do some sort of remembrance? I do.
 After mom gave up cooking, Auntie Glou (aka Glenda) took over as the potato candy maker.  Now that job has passed to me.
So here is Glenda's Christmas tray.
Even when it is the second, or third, or fourth, it is still strange.
 Kaye made the cheeseball, this particular kind of cheese ball.
That is the last gift she gave from her own hands, before the heart attack and all the awful that followed.  She made them for Rae's wedding reception.  She had black hair and gave me this sweet little card a very long time ago.  It usually hangs on my tree.
I didn't manage to get cards done this year, but here is my crew from our party last Sunday. The above are from the party we had at Mom's last evening.  Lots more pictures, but they will wait as I need to pack up for Mom's this morning.  Taking a turkey, pulling out the leftovers and opening her door to whoever needs something good to eat and someone to talk to today.
 The Christmas Eve service at church was so grounding for me.  I was tired, but I'm so happy I went. Hearing the scriptures, singing those carols that have been sung for hundreds of years, really celebrating the Savior, the candles and the bells,  renewed my hope of a better day.

For everyone who find this day a challenge and a heart break, I am sorry.  I hope peace, love, comfort and joy find you.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Christmas Bus

Ever feel like you've kind of just been run over at Christmas?
Missy Bugg and I finally managed to get ornaments on the tree that's been in the stand in the living room since a few days after Thanksgiving.  So glad she loves to decorate.
My job consumes me in December.
But today, ahh, today was sweet.  The Christmas program was over and by 9:30 this morning, mass was practiced for tomorrow.  Gardener E. came to admire their beautiful angels and brought the handmade stamps from India for them to create beautiful wrapping paper.  We stitched and stamped and wrote gift letters and it was a peaceful day.
On Tuesdays this month, I've taken a treat to Mom's and invited a few ladies for tea or coffee.  I think it has helped her get to know them better.  She's adjusting, but not in  any hurry to make herself comfortable there.
Her house was signed, sealed and delivered to a very excited young man purchasing his first home.
Handy Man and I went Monday evening to get the very last of the things.  That home undoing was a long and arduous job that I wasn't really sure was ever going to end.  Honestly, it hasn't.
So much of it is here.  It looks like the Squatly's have taken up permanent residence at my house.  I am hopeful I can get it somewhat managed over break.
Last Saturday, Handy Man had a work party, so I used the time to turn out the Christmas fudge, which required me going through my recipes.  I decided to try and part with a few more of my recipe books.  Going through my recipes brings back so very many memories.  Looking at recipes stored on my computer, just does not have the same affect.
This was a recipe and a book from Kaye.
 This old Good Housekeeping houses my favorite cookie recipe of all time. Poor Santa is looking a bit worse for wear.
 This old recipe from Mom, written on a White Castle napkin, which is what I could find in her house at the time.
 Somewhere along the line the Cpt. tried Bananas Foster and ordered them for his birthday breakfast.  He was a teenager. Thankfully, the recipe showed up in the newspaper.
 We did have a Playdate sometime, and I was trying to tempt a chip away from my Little Chip Monster.
He'll take chips over candy any day, and all you will allow him to have.
This year I've received two very tiny gifts.  Gwanfader brought me something in this little red box. I couldn't even imagine what was inside.
 A cutest wee blown glass chicken.  So stinkin' cute

 Rae found Ninjabread cookie cutters, so we got busy making some.

 Too funny!
Hope you are having a Happy Christmas time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Candy Houses

For no good reason, I would like to know how many of these little houses I've made over the past thirty years.  About the time the kids are of the age to work on them completely independently, they aren't so interested anymore. Ah, life.
 Bean and Bugg helped me put them together.


 This newest little pixie wasn't sure what to think.  Those brownest almond eyes and tiniest nose are so very petite and pixieish.
 Giddy-Up was so very excited make  his house, and even more excited to eat it.

 I'm not often at a loss for words, but I think I've about said all there is say about candy houses before- several times. The little pictures, as I'm guessing you've already figured out, are pictures from six years ago.
After getting everyone fed sausage, biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls, then the houses, I turn them out to the most beloved activity- Chicken chasing.

"Hold it, hold it."  "Bawk, bawk."

 And then we need to set traps to catch more chickens.  Sadly, this did not work as well as hoped so
 the chase continued.
 Mr. Smiley loves my glasses.

It was a big fun time and like usual of the last few years, I wonder if I've lost my mind doing this again and then am happy that I did.
I've been having Tuesday Christmas Tea at Mom's.  We decorated more houses.  Just no end to the busyness around these parts.