Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I said I would be gone until the first, but...


I miss talking with everyone.

Our family would like to wish you all 

The Happiest Of New Year's.

 A year full of hope and promise,

of joy and laughter and above all,

image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Talk to you next week!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Thank you for such a wonderful year here in Blogland. What an amazing group of people you are. You listen, encourage, hope and love along with the best of them. For that, I am so very grateful.
I thought I would post one of my most favorite Christmas songs for you, in hopes that you will find Grace and Peace wherever this Holiday season finds you.

I will be taking off until January 1 to enjoy time with family coming in, but I'll make sure to catch some good pictures of Rudolph making his grand entrance.

And can I just take a moment and say thank you for all your encouragement on this sweet life road with our Miss Brenna? Because of your words and comments, you all have made my heart sing and my eyes have been opened up many, many times to the grace that abounds with the life we have with her.

Merry Christmas.

Welcome To Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence

Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us

Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jack In The Boxes

My Aunt Jerrie has a son-in-law named Ed. I think it's really Santa, but for now we will stick with Ed.
Ed happens to be a manager for Lowe's.
My Aunt called him and told him about my Rudolph Saga.
Ed told her he would check it out and see if there were any more Rudolphs left.

About a week ago, my Aunt called me and said there were three Jack in the Boxes left. 
In the Nation. 
And they only had Tigger.

Call me nuts, but I ok'd the Tigger to be shipped to our house and told her to give Ed a big hug.

We received a box two days ago from Lowe's and I just got to it today. I thought about just wrapping it and putting it under the tree, but decided I should check out Mr. Tigger and see if he functioned well.
Considering the past and all....

The first thing I found was this:

I am totally serious.
I thought it was a joke at first, then I quickly recovered from my shock and
I ran to my closet, shut the door and wound the handle to see if he worked.
He did-like a charm!!!!
There weren't supposed to be anymore Rudolphs!!! But I had one in my hands in the closet!!

Guess what else was in the box?

They are now wrapped and ready to be put under the tree. My Aunt and her family had money on if I would cave and give it to Brenna before Christmas. No way. I can't have another Rudolph break on me before Christmas...

I believe, do you?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Have A Holly Jolly Christmas

Have a holly jolly Christmas
It's the best time of the year 

Well I don't know if I'll loose my mind,
But have a cup of cheer 

Have a holly jolly Christmas
And when you are in your kitchen
Say hello to friends you know
And wonder why your eyes are twitch'en

Have a holly jolly Christmas
And in case you didn't hear
Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas
This year 

O.k., I'll stop.
I just get a little slap happy when I bake this much....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Little Bits of Christmas

Well? How's everyone holding up?
Are you enjoying your days?
 Or are you ready to scream at the car in the grocery store parking lot that just took the last space for the next 30 miles?
Today, I just gave many, many thanks that I don't work in retail.
Then I told each check out person to have a great day and made sure I thanked them. 
I listened to lots of Christmas music, made myself laugh and gave more thanks that I don't live in Canada right now. Or anywhere where you all have that "lake effect snow". YIKES.

Here's one way I made myself laugh today.
I collect the coffee sleeves from my Starbucks cups.
It's cool cardboard and it just seems a waste to toss them.
Plus, I pretty much keep the company in business by my decaf addiction alone, so I figure it's just wrong to toss all those cool pieces of cardboard.
O.K., I don't save all of them, but that might change, now that I've found something to do with them:

I found this idea from Roben-Marie's blog. It's a fantastic blog, you will have to take a look.
I also signed up for a gift bag class. Not sure when I'll get on that one, but it's gonna be good when I do!

Just cut up those little sleeves, add some pretty bits of ribbon, a piece of muslin and sew the edges.
Then stamp the gift recipient's name on the muslin.
Here's the funny part. I DON'T SEW.
But between the gift bags and these cool tags, I'm feeling like a seamstress.
If anyone wants a skirt made out of paper bags or coffee sleeves, I'm your gal!

Then I got all original, got out my crop-o-dile and put a hole in the tag and the bag and fastened the tag with a snowflake brad.

While this next idea is not original, it is the best gift to do. Well, once you get the hang of running tissue paper through your printer. And realizing that there is a wrong way and a right way to put the pattern on the candle. (Wrong way = wording upside down.)
This I found on Gail's blog, http://www.cantstopmakingthings.com. Very fun place to visit!

Cool, yes?

Now, if I could only learn to begin these projects in October. Not even in the summer. But October would be good.
Last year I swore I wouldn't start my sister's gifts two weeks before Christmas.
Well, Carol and Sue....
I didn't learn very well!!

Hope you are all finding joy and peace in your days and maybe even making yourself laugh!

linking this post to Sweet Vanessa's blog for 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Christmas Musings

Why is the last ornament the hardest to hang on the tree?
It seems there isn't the perfect spot for it and I agonize where it should go.

Is it o.k. to have thoughts of putting my dog to sleep and telling my family she got really sick and rather than spending thousands of dollars in emergency vet bills, we opted for the kind way out. Which might happen if she DOESN'T QUIT CHEWING MY DOOR.

see where we had to cut out the previously chewed part? and she likes door frames as well.

not sure why miss party needs into this room. oh, wait. she likes to shred my artwork.

I can never, ever remember where canned pumpkin is at the grocery store. Every year it is the last thing on my grocery list that I go round and round the store isles looking for and every year I ask a clerk where it is and we go round and round again. I guess I could chalk it up to being my exercise for the day.

Why is it my mother can put 6 gazillion ornaments on her tree and have it look beautiful and when I add more to my tree it looks awful? Then when I don't add a lot, and the tree is in the house for a few days and shifts shapes it looks like it could use several more ornaments....

Do you have a real or a fake tree? We broke down and bought a fake one 3yrs. ago. My eldest daughter thought it was so awful she refused to help decorate it. I don't think it's quite that bad. But I did give in and buy a small real tree for the family room. So now I have TWO trees to decorate by myself.  Since being in college, she's never home to decorate the tree anyway.

What do people do with their silly White Elephant gifts? Do they find room for them on a shelf and plan retribution for the next year? (I do.)

My husband thinks a basket full of tree trunk cuttings makes a great Christmas decoration. He usually puts the basket in front of a sweet vignette I have done. I don't think he realizes that I move it. Truly, he loves his tree trunk cuttings. I guess I can allow him that...

WHAT do you do with your Christmas cards you receive every year????? Do you save them or toss them? Is it o.k. to skip two years in a row in NOT mailing cards out? Probably not. I think we will have New Year's cards this year.

I'm wondering if I fully realize that even though my house is ready for Christmas, I'm moving my daughter home from college and we have to get all her STUFF put away before the 24th.

Do you feel like you have to have the perfect dessert that everyone will like for Christmas dinner, or does it not bother you? I come from a home where my mom likes to make sure everyone is happy for dessert and one year she had (no joke) at least four pies, brownies, and half of a container of peppermint ice cream from Baskin and Robbins for 4 adults and 2 teen-age girls and one child who barfs when she overeats.

Peppermint Ice Cream.
Need I say more?

I wish when we buy Christmas gifts that they came pre-wrapped.

Today I had to figure out how much 7-Up and apple cider to buy to make punch for 120 high schoolers. I quit helping Lauren with math when she was in 4th grade, so this was a big deal for me. I think I got it right, but I might be making a mad dash to the store in the middle of the party tonight. Maybe I should buy a bottle for each person...kinda like dessert.
To make this more fun, I will tell you about delivering 24 bottles of 7-Up and Apple juice to the church. I thought I was pretty smart finding a cart from the kitchen and loading the drinks on it. But when 3 of the litre bottles of 7-Up fell off and landed on my foot, and I watched one roll away down the church parking lot, (which I then had to go chase) I was not feeling so smart anymore. Not to mention that I KNOW I bought 12 bottles of 7-Up, but when I got to church there were only 11 in the car. 
How does this happen?

I think that's it.
How's your Christmas coming along???

Sunday, December 12, 2010


First off, allow me to express my thanks for all your kind and thoughtful comments concerning the Rudolph Jack in the Box!!! You are such an encouraging group. Brenna teaches us every single day the meaning of joy and simplicity. Some days more than just that, maybe even some boundary setting and stubbornness thrown in. But for the most part, joy is a big deal around here! I am waiting to hear what my Aunt says about another Rudolph for Brenna. Seems her son-in-law is a manager for Lowe's and "if anyone can find Rudolph, he can!" We did try some other boxes at a smaller, local toy store in our area. I tell you what. They just don't make them like they used to. The metal is very thin and the figurines either didn't pop up when the lid opened, or the lid never opened. OR, Brenna couldn't get the silly thing stuffed back into the box. Who knew a Jack In The Box could cause so much commotion??

Do you all put up Christmas lights on the outside of your house? My sister told me her neighbor has a reindeer with a swinging head on their roof. Just in line with her bedroom window. ACK!!
One house in our neighborhood has switched to all blue lights. Kinda frosty!
My husband keeps up our tradition of lining our house with lights and then adds a little bit extra...

It used to be a tradition on our cul-de-sac to have a line of lights across the street from house to house. At one point, we had five strands going across the street, 10 houses involved. Families have since moved and the neighborhood has changed, but guess who still has their strand of lights and is still brave enough to hang them each year?

We call him Santa Doug around the neighborhood when this happens. Sometimes he wears a santa hat while stringing the lights.
This year, our neighbor, Dirk was kind enough to volunteer to help. It gets very scientific with all the steel cable and extension cords and pool poles and all...

Actually the pole comes in handy to take off the extra weight for Doug as he pulls the cord to our house and fastens it to the sidewall. 
It also comes in handy if a car is too tall for us to let through the easy way.

I'll have to ask my other sister how to take pictures of the lights at night. It's quite pretty..

Especially since it's been so clear out here. Oh, and HOT. It was 85 degrees today!!!! What is that?

Hope you are all having a peaceful holiday time!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jack-In-The-Box (A Little Christmas Story)

When purchasing presents for Brenna, I have to say, it can be a challenge at times.  When you ask what she might like for her birthday, for instance, her usual reply is, "I don't know." One might give some suggestions that she could agree with, or not. When she was little I would ask people to give us a park with nice kids in it. Including swings and perfect weather. Not that we ever got it, but I thought it was a great idea.
 For years the answer was, "A baby doll." Then she would get several and be overwhelmed and not play with any of them except for one or two of her favorites. 

Brenna is not one to have long lists that she makes . She doesn't particularly recall what she does have unless she sees it. (Geez. She sounds like me.) She isn't really focused on any one thing right now, and is very happy to get gifts, no matter what they are. Sometimes she will be specific about something she would like, but not in general. She isn't one to play by herself. We have a WII, she has a Nintendo DS, and educational computer games, but they just aren't fun for her unless someone is doing it with her or watching what she is doing. The girl does love an audience.
Games are good, gift cards are fun at this age, clothing not so fun.

 Which brings me to the subject of age. What is an appropriate gift for a 16 yr. old? Well, I think back to Lauren and recall music, jewelry, clothing, crafts, etc. But there is a fine line with Brenna and her likes and dislikes. Is it "appropriate" that she still loves to play with her baby doll? Or is it "appropriate" that one of her favorite games of all times is still Candy Land? Shouldn't she be on to bigger and more age appropriate things? Isn't it my job to guide her in those directions?  Then again, why would I push her in the direction of something she isn't interested in?
I actually have come to despise the word appropriate. Well, O.K. when she uses her pouty face and tears to get her way, that's not so appropriate....but for the most part, if left to her own devices she is very happy and fun-loving, isn't politically incorrect-and she tends to disarm people with her frankness and they realize that a lot of societal "no-no's" aren't really that big of a deal. But I digress.

This year, Brenna surprised me and said, "Mom. I know what I want for Christmas." "Really?" I replied. "Yup. I want a Jack-In-The -Box." " A what???" "YOU know, like the one that the guy in  that movie Elf played with." What the heck am I supposed to say to that? It's a grown man, thoroughly enjoying toys and loving life with the simplicity of a child. Plus, she hasn't seen the movie in a year. Where on earth did she conjure up THAT memory??  Well, the practical side got ahold of me and I said, "Oh, Brenna. I think you are too old for a jack-in-the-box." Dear Lord. You would have thought I told her there was no Santa by the look of disappointment on her face. (Now, there's an age appropriate topic for you.) "Oh." was her dejected reply. "But it would really be fun." Fabulous. I re-directed the thought process by suggesting movies instead. You know. More appropriate things.

Today I was in Lowe's Hardware store. I never go there, I usually go to Home Depot, but they built a Lowe's close to our home and it's handier, so in I went to get some spray for decopauging an old t.v. tray I found. I wandered into the Christmas isle. I always like to see the sparkly decorations. As I was meandering down the isle, guess what I saw? Oh yeah. Of course.

 Staring me down like a big dare was a cherry red Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer Jack-In-The-Box

Now, I'm not usually one who is prone to swearing, but at the sight of that reindeer I confess. I did. Not out loud, but I did. NOW WHAT???? Do I give in and bring home a not-too age appropriate gift to my child or do I hold firm and steer her to something that other 16yr. old girls like? Like a car? Right. Like Justin Bieber? Not in this lifetime.

The reindeer won out. Big time. Without another thought (besides "what the hell,") I put it lovingly in my cart, paid for it and brought it home. Then I gave it to my daughter as soon as she walked in the door from school. I did! I didn't put it under the tree, I didn't wait, nothing. I had Brenna close her eyes and put out her hands and when she opened her eyes and took the Lowe's bag and opened it....oh., my. You should have seen her face.  Utter surprise. Sheer joy. Brenna took it to the table and set it down and began to wind it. It plays just like a Jack-In-The-Box. You know, the little tinkly music that goes slow or fast depending on how you turn the handle?( Except this tune isn't Pop Goes the Weasel, it's the actual song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.)

 Then, BAM!!!! Out pops Rudolph and his red nose. Wheeee! What fun! What laughter!!!! What surprise and shock!!! Brenna then got up, came over to me and put her arms around me and said, "Thanks, Mom."

So. Age appropriate? A new collection for Christmas, perhaps? Who really gives a flip in the long run? It will come out at Christmas time every year and I hope we all still get the fun shock of seeing that silly red nose pop out of a bright red box.

I am adding to the end of this story....four days after writing this, Rudolph ceased to pop out of his box. No joke. We took him back to Lowe's to exchange it for another one, but - oh yeah. Of Course. THEY WERE SOLD OUT. No, you cannot find them on the internet. 
I looked at Brenna and said, "Are you O.K.??"
"Yes," she said, "But I'm a little sad."
We do have one more Lowe's in town and I will be going there today to see if they have any Rudolph Jack-In-The-Boxes!!!
Wish me luck.

(this story will be linked up to Inspiration Friday over at Vanessa's place, Southern In My Heart. Come join us!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Magic

Hi, Friends!! 
The Christmas magic has entered our home!!! The trees are up, the decorations are out, the lights outside have been hung.

We have even had a Santa sighting in our home.

Oh, yes. FIVE A.M. on Tuesday morning. Yep. Brenna woke us out of a sound sleep, yelling, "MOM!!! DAD!!!!" "I heard JINGLE BELLS!!!" "He's here. He's HERE."

Really, Santa? 
Being the loving mom I am, I said, (without opening my eyes.) "No, Brenna. It's too early for Santa. It's not Christmas Eve."

Her reply:

Again, being the loving mom I am, I answer (Without opening my eyes. They are pretty much glued shut.) "I. Don't. CARE."

My sweet husband got up with her. I still didn't open my eyes. Sometime later, he came back to bed. "Apparently he waved at her" was his statement.

Being the loving wife I am, I muttered, "Nice." And promptly fell back asleep.
Later, (not much) Brenna gave us the low-down during breakfast.

Here is the gist of our conversation:
Me: "So, B." "You saw Santa, huh?"
B: "Yep." "I was singing Christmas songs and then I heard the jingle bells on the roof."
I looked at Doug. 
"She had been up singing Christmas songs???"
Doug: "Don't you remember she woke me up at 4 to fix her blanket?"
I sighed. How long had this kid been up??
Doug turned to Brenna: "What did he look like?"
B: " He had a hat, and a black belt and a red coat and boots."

Me: "Brenna, don't you think it's a little early to be seeing Santa? It's not Christmas yet."
B: "No Mom."
 (interpretation: DUH, Mom.)
Me: "Well, what was he doing here??"
B: "Checking out our tree."

So much for my stupid question. She had me on that one.

Being me, I kept going. "Well, did he like it?"
B: "Yep."
I mean, really. If I'm going to be graded this year, I'm glad he at least liked the tree.

I think by this point, Doug just rolled his eyes and left for work.

Later that day, I learned she told everyone at school. Buddies, students, teachers, office staff, you name it. They all knew Brenna had seen Santa "in the middle of the night."

People thought it was pretty cool. I guess he doesn't visit everyone's trees.

Who knew?