Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tag, I'm it, Part II...

TXMommy tagged whoever felt like it to do this meme. I feel like it.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. But it has to be really good, like grown up hot chocolate. No Swiss Miss for me, thanks.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa wraps the one present he gives to the kids, in paper with his face all over it. He also stuffs the stockings and leaves them under the tree.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White. I like a country, simple Christmas look.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, we never have! Hmmmmm...

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the day after Thanksgiving, depending on my hubby's shift schedule.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Excluding dessert is just wrong. Ummm....Ham and au gratin potatoes

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Spending Christmas one year with my dad's mom and stepdad. They lived near Chicago and I had never been to that area, and I just thought everything about where they lived was cool.

8. How and When did you learn the truth about Santa? It must have been early, because I really don't remember.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We let the kids open one. Usually something boring like pjs.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Lots of different things. We have the little ornaments that the kids have made or been given, and we have ornaments left from when my hubby was a child. Sadly, I have nothing of the ornaments from when I was a child. Then we have a tin star on top, and cream ribbon bows, and gold bead garland.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love it as long as I don't have to go anywhere.

12. Can you ice skate? NO, I only ever went ice skating once. I remember it hurt my ankles!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I had one of my daughters on Christmas Eve. It was a lovely, lovely time.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? It isn't the MOST important, but I really, truly love to find or make a gift for someone I love, something that I know they will love and enjoy.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Baklava made by Greek women. I have converted SO many people who didn't think they liked baklava. Uh huh. You just need to taste REAL baklava, made by my sisters, mom, and me in my mother's kitchen.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We have a progressive dinner with my family that is really fun. I also love the feeling of sitting under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve...all is quiet and the presents are out and I always feel so overly and completely blessed.

17. What tops your tree? A tin star that has white lights inside of it. It is a new addition, since our old one died last year.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving. Like I mentioned, it really brings me the most fun and happiness.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I have tons. Music is a HUGE part of my life. I even collect carolers that I display at Christmas time. I'd say my few most favorites are, "Good King Wenseslas" "Still, Still, Still" "Away In A Manger" "Some Children See Him".

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sometimes, the Circle Of Life just sucks...

My hubby's grandma, or my "grandmother-in-love" as she likes to say, has to move.

She's lived on the same street in Yonkers, NY--just a burrough over from her birthplace, the Bronx--for close to 30 years. She and her husband moved into the current apartment (which is actually a home, divided into one apartment per floor) in 1987, just up the street a few houses from where they had resided before. Her husband died in that apartment, less than a year later. It's the home that we have always come to when we visited NYC. It's the spot we always picture her in when we call her to check in. It is filled with her Hummels, her photographs of my children, her wonderful Grandma smell, and her spirit.

And now, she is leaving. The house is being sold, and the current trend is for new owners to come in and restore the house to its original single family dwelling. So she must leave that place and find another. And Grandma is not well. She suffers with chronic pain and limited mobility now, her 91 year old body finally deciding to act its age, after years of it behaving a good 20-30 years younger. So, when she leaves this home, it won't be for another place filled with her things. It will be for a place where she can have "assisted living".

My heart aches for her in a way that I couldn't have imagined. To have to leave all that she has spent her life gathering...all that she feels comforted by and that reminds her of the times and people she loves. Grandma Peg has always been fiercely independent. When she was in her early 80's, I asked her once what she did to fill her time. She stated without a hint of getting the humor in it: "I drive old people to their doctors appointments."

There is just no way to soften the blow of this for her. We live half a country away, and even if we were close by, there is just no fixing this. All we can do is pray and hope that she will find some comfort in the situation. She is a wonderful, lovely, and very sad lady right now.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bad mommy day...

This was my husband's drill weekend for Army Reserves. Mommy doesn't like drill weekend. Daddy is gone and the kids always decide to see if they can make the veins in Mommy's neck turn blue and poke out as she "whispers" to them in church.

We got to church late (see: drill weekend), and because there are so many of us, there was no place to sit inside the chapel. So we're crowded on the couch in the foyer and I am alternately chasing after little ones and giving the stink eye to the big ones for not helping. I was NOT in a loving, kind, patient, motherly type of mood. I was in a "will you sit down and stop touching each other and NO you cannot eat that and for the love of Pete I will clock each and every one of you if you don't start behaving" mood.

Then, because God is just that cruel, the gentleman that teaches an early morning scripture study class I attend walks by. He has never met my family before, so he stops and wants to visit and say hello. Trying to be friendly and engage my kids, he says: "So, how is she for a mom??"

They. All. Just. Sat. There.

Like deers in the headlights. Fake little smiles plastered on their faces. You know, the look like when you take a huge bite of something repugnant and then the cook wants your honest opinion on whether or not you liked it??

Finally my 9 year old piped up: "She's....goooood???"

Oh, yeah. You heard me right. HE PHRASED IT AS A QUESTION.

Bad, bad mommy day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Why don't you come with me, little girl...

...on a magic carpet ride. (if you don't know what song that lyric is from and don't instantly start singing it in your head, well, then, I just feel sorry for you.)

I won a prize. Carpet. 630 sq. feet of it. Seriously! You have to know my family to appreciate the utter shifting of the balance of power in the universe that my winning this has caused.

We don't win stuff. It just doesn't happen. Okay, yes, there has been the odd talent show or cake decorating contest (Most Patriotic, thank you very much) but those were based on SOME measure of merit. We don't EVER win things that you just sign up for and then are randomly plucked from obscurity to get a prize.

In fact, there is a running joke in our family. Our kids will see some thing on TV saying to "Sign up to win the brand new QRY!!! You could be the Grand Prize Winner!!" and they will start getting excited, saying, "Dad, we should totally enter that contest!! We could win a new QRY!!"

"We aren't going to win a new QRY."
"But, why??"
"What is your last name?"
"Uh huh. Well, _____s don't win contests."

I cannot even tell you how many times that conversation has gone on in our house.

But now, the streak is broken. And just in time for the family who was looking sadly at their not-yet-finished basement and wondering how to get everything they needed to finish it. And we're talking, how to get the rest of the drywall and paint, let alone nice carpeting for the 600 sq foot floors. That's right, 600 sq feet.

Magic carpet ride, indeed.