Monday, December 26, 2011

The Bag, part 2

Remember this blog entry?

Well, how loud did I yell when I looked down into the gift bag at my feet and saw this:

What a merry Christmas!  I am so easily amused.

And I don't think that's a bad thing . . .

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my crazy family to yours!

S'on Jeremy, Preschooler D, CAAB Rachel

Favorite S'daughter Shelby
 (who has a hard time smiling and keeping her eyes open.  We took 20 pictures to get this one.)


Big Daddy and me, your crazy hostess

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is a Time for Miracles

The tile guy was here!  The tile guy was here!

I had to choose the color of my grout.  This decision sealed my choice to never ever build my own home.  I cannot handle it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

I have two words for blog-reader friend Sue: Decapitated Reindeer.  If you were a small child in the Alexandria, Minn, area during the 1970s, you might know what I am talking about.  Alexandria has some city decorations that look like decapitated reindeer.  Sue insists it's just me.  If I get a chance to go past the street where these decorations are currently hanging, I will photograph them for you and you can decide.  Until then, you will just have to use your imagination.  I find them frightening.

In cheerier holiday news, here's a poem by the Wind in the Willows guy:

Christmas Carol
Kenneth Grahame

Villagers all, this frosty tide,
Let your doors swing open wide,
Though wind may follow, and snow beside,
Yet draw us in by your fire to bide;
    Joy shall be yours in the morning!

Here we stand in the cold and the sleet,
Blowing fingers and stamping feet,
Come from far away you to greet —
You by the fire and we in the street —
    Bidding you joy in the morning!

For ere one half of the night was gone,
Sudden a star has led us on,
Raining bliss and benison —
Bliss tomorrow and more anon,
    Joy for every morning!

Good man Joseph toiled through the snow —
Saw the star o'er a stable low;
Mary she might not further go —
Welcome thatch, and litter below!
    Joy was hers in the morning!

And then they heard the angels tell,
"Who were the first to cry Nowell?
Animals all, as it befell,
In the stable where they did dwell!
    Joy shall be theirs in the morning!

Monday, December 19, 2011

School Concerts

Blog reader-friend Mary thought that I should blog today about singing in the alumni choir at Colin's concert yesterday, but there's not much to say.  I thought I didn't need the music.  I did.

It's been such a fun season of holiday school concerts with the sons.

Director son . . .

Middle school son . . .

Preschool son . . .

There are great disadvantages to having kids 21 years apart from oldest to youngest, but one of the advantages is there is very little fighting.  One of the most fun parts of these concerts for me was watching the brothers cheer one another on at each concert.  Oldest couldn't be at youngest one's school concert, but after Colin's concert he took time to hang out with just D which warmed the cockles of this mother's heart -- especially since he played a Wii game of which I have grown particularly weary.

Then Jeremy got in his new car and drove home to his own home where his wife was waiting.  That probably doesn't happen when your preschooler is done playing with his brother. HA!

FOUR! FOUR days to solstice!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tree Topper

Maybe you know the story of how, when Cyberspace Sarah got married, she most looked forward to topping her tree with her own tree topper.  She could not have her own tree topper, though, because of the cute thing her husband had done as a small child.  One year while Brennan's family was decorating the tree, Brennan ever so innocently asked, "Why do we put a star on top of the tree?  Baby Jesus should go on the top of the tree.  Christmas is about Jesus." (or something like that.)  Cute right?  Thereafter his family's tree was topped by Baby Jesus and when Cyberspace got married, she married the Baby Jesus Tree Topper.

What was she supposed to say?  "There will be no Baby Jesus on my tree!"

No.  No.  No.

As her sister, I always found the story hilarious.  I take my tree toppers very seriously.  In fact, the reason Cyberspace looked forward to having her own tree was because my angel went on top of our tree at home.

So flash forward to this year when Preschooler D decorated the tree in our kitchen.  I went to the basement to dig out the hand blown glass topper I had gently and carefully hand carried home from Germany.  It's a thing of beauty.  Multi-colored. Shiny.  If you put it on the tree just right and the tree lights shine through it . . . brings tears to a gal's eye every time.

"Okay!"  said D.  "Now we need a Baby Jesus Christmas Star."

Um . . . but, son.  Look at Mother's beautiful hand blown glass topper.  Shiny.

"D," said I.  " We don't have a star.  We have this."

He looked at me.  "We could make one."

And so we did. And, you know what?  It's beautiful.  Multi-colored.  Shiny.  If you put it on the tree and the lights hit it just right . . . brings a tear to a mother's eye every time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday on Thursday

Okay, you know I don't go for overly-cute.  Puppies and kittens and chain letters threatening angel attack and all that are not for me.  I saw this at my mom's this afternoon, though.  Maybe it's the dark.  Maybe it's because I have some boys.  I don't know . . . I liked it.

When Jesus was a boy did he
Swing on the gates of Galilee,
Bring home foundling pups
   And kittens,
Scuff his sandals, lose his mittens,
Weight his pocket with treasure
Adult eyes can never measure,
Scratch his hands and stub his toes
On rocky hills where cactus grows,
Set stones and quills and bits of thread
On the windowsill beside his bed
So that on waking he could see
All yesterday's bright prophecy?
Did he play tag with the boys
   Next door,
Tease for sweets in the grocery store,
Whittle and smooth a spinning top
In his father's carpenter shop,
Run like wind to sail his kites,
Smile and sigh in his sleep at night,
Laugh with you in long-lost springs
About a thousand small, endearing
Is he the one who said that you
Should always dye your dresses blue?
With eyes bright as cinnamon silk,
Red lips ringed with a mist of milk
Did he . . . lifting his earthen cup
Say, "Just wait until I grow up?"

Mary O'Neill

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where's the snow?

Just to compare, here we are walking to the living nativity last Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ready for Tile Guy

While I took to my bed yesterday to take in a few Christmas movies on Ion (because I no longer get the Hallmark channel for whatever reason), Preschooler D and Dad finished painting the bathroom.

He was very serious about it.  Hopefully -- someday -- there will be tile there, but I'm not going to tell him.  It kept him busy while I waited to see if Santa's daughter would find true love on the Ion channel.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

* Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts.  Nothing wrong with that.

*Made clerk at Gymboree laugh pee-in-your-pants style when I mentioned I was worried I was turning into Grandma because I thought Justin B. should pull up his pants.  She and her grandma had been watching him on Michael Buble and Grandma did not see the point either.

* My mother brought an advent calendar back from Germany for me this year and it's hard.  By this I mean the numbers are tiny and hard to find.  Maybe if I put my readers on.  See above.

* Bathroom Update:  Nothing to report.  Still waiting for flooring guy and tile guy.

* Looking forward to Christmas concerts starting tonight with director s'on Jeremy's high school concert, followed by Colin's junior concert, followed by the preschool program for Preschooler D.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And now a word from Grandma . . .

Okay, not really Grandma, but can anyone explain to me why Justin Bieber needs to belt his pants below his butt? Go Google it.  I'm not putting a picture of his butt on my blog.

Look, I am a teen of the 80s.  I understand that pop celebrities need to express themselves through fashion.  I know Michael Jackson's glove or Madonna's underwear or Prince's purple platforms.  It was all odd, but they were pop stars so it was odd/cool, but Justin's pants are simply impractical.  I watched him perform on the Today show.  He spent the whole time while he sang pulling up his pants and pulling down his sweater in the back.  I watched him on a Michael Buble special last night and he had to -- literally -- waddle on to the stage.

I don't get it.

Oh . . . what goes around comes around.  When I was in sixth grade, my uncle wrote a column on how strange he found Michael Jackson.  I got all fired up and wrote to the paper, "How can you print this?  I've heard JT sing!!"

They printed my letter.  In his next column, my uncle referred to me as a "whipper snapper."

Great.  Now I'm going to start calling kids "whipper snappers."  Where's this guy when I need him?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

Brrrrrrrr . . .

When Icicle Hang by the Wall
William Shakespeare

When icicles hang by the wall,
   And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
   And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipped and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
   "Tu-whit, tu-whoo!" A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
   And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
   And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
   "Tu-whit, tu-whoo!" A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

I just looked up poor Joan.  She is working in the kitchen, adding cold water to the soup or whatever to keep the pot from boiling over.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dark December

The sun rose in Central Minnesota at 7:46 this morning and will set at 4:38 today. We will have about eight hours of daylight today -- except it's overcast.  To compare, our reader friends in Arizona had the sun rise at 7:18 and set at 5:20.  They will get about two extra hours of daylight today -- except I read it might freeze down there.  (Bless your hearts, Arizona sisters!  Put on your sweaters!)

You know that secretly in my heart of hearts I love my home state, right?  I really wonder if I would feel right living in another state.  That is the gosh honest truth.  It's green and lovely here in the summer.  The snow can be beautiful.  The cold puts hair on your chest . . . or something.

But -- truth be told -- these dark days are not easy for some of us.  Some people handle it just fine.  Others struggle to maintain good mental health.  Yesterday I started crying in church and I could not stop.  Would not have been a big problem except I was standing up front playing bass guitar and then I had to sing a special song for some departing missionaries.


Just before we started, the pastor turned and said, "Let's sing the shortened version."

No.  No, we can't do that.  I can't do that right now.

I cried all the way through it.  What a mess -- an honest mess -- but a mess.

AND my girl Anne Burrell got eliminated off the Next Iron Chef last night.  Why did I even get out of bed?

Because . . . we press on through the dark and the tears.  Right? At least we know and all that.

Start the countdown with me.  Solstice starts December 22 -- just in time for Christmas.  We are S-17!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Decorating Tyrant Retires

My sister Cyberspace Sarah will testify that I used to really have a thing about having Christmas decorations be "just so."  There was great ceremony to the order and routine of holiday display.

I let Preschooler D do most of the decorating of a tree we put up in the kitchen this year.  I don't know.  I like it.

It says, "Put things where you can reach."

It says, "Too much is never enough at holiday time."

It says, "No one looks at that side anyway.  Why get shook up about even distribution."

Cyberspace is probably scarred because I would rearrange her decorations after she'd gone to bed, but I think the Christmas tyrant in me has retired.  I'm leaving this tree as is.