Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year in Munchkin Land

Happy New Year!!

We are about to start a whole new year, I can't believe 2008 is gone. To celebrate the occasion I had to make party hats. But these are the munchkin kind. Not sure what drove me to this madness, I just thought all of my lady co-workers needed their own party hat to sit on their desk tomorrow since we must work on New Year's Eve.

What really started the New Year's Eve plan was to remind all of those I work with that they must take time for themselves. I work with a wonderful group of women (14 to be exact) and they range in age from 65-27 and all are great women, wives, mothers, and even friends. I see the stress on their faces sometimes and I wanted to give them a reminder for 2009 that even during rough times, we can have fun.

So, I typed up some reminders and fun tidbits for them to keep that will be presented with their party hat. I hope they like them and maybe it will encourage them to do some of the things on the card......like:
  • Lock Lips With Your Husband
  • Get More Sleep
  • Take A "Me" Day
  • Be More Spontaneous

Each piece was fun to make. My son was wondering when the small party guests were coming to our house. The kitties loved the pom-poms and kept carrying off my party hats. To get even with them, they had to wear a hat.

I hope you have a very Happy and Blessed 2009!!

Get this thing off of me!

Where's the chips?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Grandma

Today we visited my Grandma to give her our Christmas presents. She lives in a nursing home in our town, but the stomach flu has been spreading quickly through "the home", so no visitors were allowed. What a way to spend Christmas. Finally we were allowed to go visit and she was happy to see us. My Mom, Dad, son and I all went bringing presents from Illinois, Texas and Colorado. My Mom's two sisters live in Texas and Colorado so they sent presents home for their Mama.

You are pretty limited on what you can give someone that lives in a space about as big as my bathroom, so we usually get Grandma new clothes or candy. She LOVES candy and likes to hand it out to whoever will take it. She is very giving. :)

My Grandma is 94 (I think) and is sharp as a whip. She is losing her hearing and her knees gave our years ago so she is in a wheelchair, but otherwise she is great. She can see perfectly and can pretty much remember everything. I love her very much and have so many wonderful memories of her growing up.

She was the Grandma that baked, cooked, sewed, played house with us and gave the best back scratches anyone could ask for. She would scratch your back for an hour if you let her. And I usually did. :) My son has grown up around her and all the Great-Grandkids call her Mimi. Today he helped Mimi open her presents if she needed help. She is such a blessing to our family and I love her dearly.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tornado, Flood and 50% Off

Today was a bazaar day when it comes to weather. Over the past week we have had a considerable amount of rain. It was mostly freezing rain, but yesterday it turned unseasonably warm (50's in the Midwest) so everything that was frozen...melted. Then the very thick, dense fog rolled in and you couldn't see your neighbors house across the street. Today it was in the 60's but a cold front moved in behind and that's when things got ugly.

My son and I headed to the "big town" for some after Christmas shopping (a little rain won't stop us). I had to see the specials and find some bargains. But we'll get back to the shopping part in a bit. On our way home the radio kept blaring the bad weather alert sound the entire 30 minute ride home. You couldn't get 2 minutes of a song in before another alert went off. We were heading into severe weather as we got closer to home. There were tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings all over the place. My son kept saying "Mom...it's December, what's up with the tornado's?". I too wondered. Is it this global warming thing?

Luckily, the severe weather headed to the North and we drove out of it, and it missed our little town. It did however dump a ton of rain and the flooding continued. Now, it's supposed to turn back into freezing rain. Good grief, I just wish Mother Nature would decide what she wanted to do. Must be hormonal. Maybe she didn't like her Christmas gifts.

So now, I live on an island. My front and back is flooded, and only heaven knows what lurks under my house in my crawl space. I don't dare look. But during the storm, we took down our Christmas tree and decorated with snowmen and anything cream and silver. I couldn't stand to pack everything up, it's such a long way until Valentine's Day.

Now back to shopping. I talked my son into going with me to Michael's and Hobby Lobby, my two favorite stores. I was looking for some good after Christmas deals on craft items and even though I found a few, it was already really picked over. But I suppose that's a good thing. I did get some paint, paper mache houses, snow glitter and Christmas stickers all 50% off.

I found this very cute minature suit case all dressed in Christmas colors. I loved the detailed handle on it, so I couldn't pass it up. It too was 50% off so it only cost me close to $3.00. Love it!

One of best 50% off find was this calendar for 2009...Mary Engelbreit. She is really my sister's favorite, but I do love her too. My sister had her 2008 calendar and I loved looking at the pictures each month, so I decided to get my own. Since my son is getting older, we now have commitments each month I need to keep track of, so this may be the first time I have ever used a calendar at home.

My next find was this adorable snowman. I have a thing for snowmen. He will proudly sit out until Valentine's Day so I can enjoy his sweetness. He has other friends in the room to keep him company, but he is the most rolly-polly of the bunch. His head even bobbles! :)

I'm working on a New Year's Eve craft, I'll show ya'll later....if they turn out OK. I have a vision, but so far the paper is not cooperating. Enjoy your weekend!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ahhhhh Christmas

Christmas was a wonderful day, full of squeals from the kids (and a few from the adults), lots of joy, playing, talking, eating and just being filled with the Christmas spirit. We started our morning at 7:00am. I can't believe my son slept that late, but he did. However, when he woke up he came tearing out of his bed room yelling and scared the daylights out of me so it sent me into shock, which instantly made me a Grinch. I took a couple breaths, told him to settle down and we headed for the family room.

Santa had arrived and left goodies not only for my son, but also for me and the kitties. The night before my son stuffed my stocking with presents he had purchased for me. He opened his stocking first and then opened the presents for the kitties. They were both in catnip heaven after tearing into their presents.

Next it was on to the presents for my son. He loved them all, especially the Nerf thing that shoots bullets (and I warned him...NOT at the cats!). After he opened his presents I opened my stocking that had so many cute fun things inside. He did a great job shopping (with the help of my sweet Mom and Sister). After he played for a bit it was off to Mom and Dad's house to meet up with my Sister, Brother-in-law and two nieces to start it all over again.

There were so many more wonderful gifts to be given, it's hard to pick a favorite. I guess for me, it was giving the presents I had made for my two nieces. I made both of them their own Disney album from our trip earlier in 2008. It was a lot of fun making more Disney albums, but even better to see them get excited looking through them. My sister and brother-in-law loved them too. I also made a wreath for my sister with vintage Christmas tree ornaments on it that she loved. It's so fun to give.

My Mom drew my name and gave me lots of wonderful things. Things to cook with, scrapbook with and just look at, all three of my favorite pastimes! Everyone else in the family received lots of fun presents and we took our sweet time opening things up. We took a break for lunch in between, but in all, I think it took us close to 4 hours to open. We went around and watched each person open their gifts and no one hurried. It's so much nicer then when the kids were smaller because they couldn't stand to wait until it was their turn again. We were able to enjoy the whole present opening experience.

After presents we all sat around, talked and the kids played with all of their new things. Later in the afternoon we headed to my Sister's house for supper and more good times. My Dad made a famous Grasshopper drink that has been a tradition in our family since his Mom was still alive. My Grandma Mac loved this drinks so we always had them at Christmas. By now, our bellies were full, the kids were sleepy and it was time to head home for a long winter's nap.

Now, it's time to find a home for the new things and get the house into some kind of orderly fashion. Or, if all else fails, sit and watch a movie while enjoying my last vacation day. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Baby Is Born

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2: 8-14

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Joy

Today was another fun filled day of Christmas spirit and relaxation. My parents took my son Christmas shopping (for me) and I met up with them later in the afternoon to take my son back. My brother-in-law was also shopping and had my oldest niece with him, so I intercepted her as well. The three of us did a little stocking stuffer shopping for my Dad (Grandpa) and bought our Christmas Dinner groceries. Afterwards we grabbed lunch and the three of us headed home. My son and niece watched old Christmas home videos and I heard many chuckles coming from the family room.

While they watched movies I cleaned. For some reason, I always want my house extra clean on Christmas morning. It's probably just another torture I put myself through in the midst of all of the other things on my to-do list. However, it's done and clean and ready for the arrival of Santa.

After dinner my son and I played a game of Monopoly, but we both got tired before we went bankrupt so we decided to put the game up and pick up tomorrow where we left off. It is really starting to feel like Christmas. Maybe it's because the day is almost here, being with two children today and the excitement they brought out even more from inside me. Maybe it was talking in "secret code" to my Mom about presents we bought for Dad so he wouldn't know what we were saying (even though he is practically deaf and I can guarantee didn't hear us anyway). And tonight taking more pictures in front of the tree.

It is a tradition for me to take lots of pictures of my son in front of our tree. Depending on our pet at the time, they are always a part of the pictures as well. Since we have only had cats in our families, they could care less about the event and do everything possible to scramble away and refuse to "smile" for the Mama! I have a homemade quilt that is near and dear to my heart I get out every Christmas. It has red and white checks but instead of a cotton quilt, it is made out of satin. My son has been sitting on this quilt in front of our Christmas tree since he was born in 1999. It is part of our tradition as well.

My home is clean, candles are lit throughout, my son is in his warm fuzzy winter jammies and it's almost time to watch another Christmas movie from our collection and eat some popcorn. Tomorrow brings more bad weather, but I have one last gift to purchase, something for my Grandma. I'm staying in town however to get the final gift. Then it will be home to make cookies for Santa. And probably before the night is over, I'll make my son smile (with the 2 cats) while sitting in front of the tree so I can get just a few more pictures. It's so hard to resist!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vintage Christmas

Today was a bitter cold day in the Midwest. My Dad said it was 25 below zero with the windchill. The wind is whipping around with gusts up to 30 miles an hour and my home is whistling. I don't believe that is a good thing, since my furnace is also running non-stop. However, I do have power and heat, so I will not complain.

When I got up this morning and went to look out the windows, they were covered in a layer of ice. That was when I realized....it's cold out side! It was still very pretty, as if little snowflakes were cuddling with each other to stay warm.

My son was supposed to go Christmas shopping (for me) with my Mom and Dad today, but it was just too cold to be out. Tomorrow, they plan to try it again and hopefully the wind will be gone. Instead, my son and I used it as a day for a little shopping in our hometown and a lot of cooking. After church we headed to our local Antique shop for a little browsing.

I did find something, but I'm afraid to share it because my son told me not to purchase it in case my sister bought me something similar for Christmas. So, I'll have to show you later (and Sis, don't ask questions!). You see, my Sister and I have grown to love all vintage Christmas decorations. My Mom gives us a hard time because the things we love, we used to have as a family for decorations. Mom got rid of them many years ago because my Sister and I didn't want them at the time. Well, now we do and we must pay a mint to get them back.

The other day when my son and I went shopping (are you seeing a trend here?), we went to another town for a couple last minute Christmas gifts and we also sought out their antique shops. I have never done this before, but it's becoming a habit and my 9 year old son loves it just as much as I do. While he is looking for antique trucks and tractors, I was looking for anything Christmas. I did find a few very cute items.
A lady made this stocking back in the 1940's and I loved the snowman on it, so it is now hanging in my home. I did not take a picture of the other side, but it has a green backdrop and the words "Merry Christmas". I think this jolly ole' Snowman is quite jolly!

My next find were the CUTEST reindeer's. I believe they were ornaments in their younger days. They are fuzzy little deers with long curly eyelashes. They must be young girl fawns as cute as they are!

Another find, this one at the local Wal-Mart and not the antique shop, was this happy fella. One evening while visiting my Sister, my son and I noticed this Santa sitting on her porch. We fell in love with him and planned on stealing him. But since that wasn't the nicest thing to do, not to mention she escorted us to our car once she heard of our plans, I decided I better just go purchase my own. For something made and sold by Wal-Mart, I must say I am impressed. He puts off the prettiest glow!

Maybe as the year's progress I will keep my antique shopping going and come across other wonderful items from years past. It is a little depressing though when you see things that you had as a kid in the antique shops, because that officially labels you as "Antique"! But, it does bring back great memories and helps spark a memory about things you already forgot about. My son loves to hear me say "I had that when I was a kid!" or "Mom had those dishes!". And I'm sure, one of these days, he will be able to say the exact same thing to his kids.

I hope you are staying warm wherever you are. If you are here in my hometown, you better stay inside! Besides, it's the week of Christmas and everyone deserves to stay in, drink something warm, cuddle with a blanket and watch a Christmas movie. Which movie will it be for you?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Only 5 more days...............

Until Christmas! I have been busy trying to get the final things ready for Christmas. The best part, I am officially on vacation from work for a week. It is such a lovely feeling to walk out of work knowing you'll be gone for awhile. However, I did feel very bad leaving them because things haven't been well. But in the end, I'm grateful for a break from the chaos.

We are almost "well" in our home, but a few sniffles are still holding on. It has forced us to slow down and relax at home more. We have watched MANY Christmas movies. Two of my favorites, "The Nativity" and "The Polar Express". My son and I have a few things we would like to do before Christmas morning. One trip will hopefully include a visit to a Reindeer Farm. We must see Santa's Reindeer to make sure they are ready for flight in a few days.

I will be back soon. Just wanted to let you know we have lived the flu bug, trying to get caught back up without losing sight of our Savior's birth! Tonight we get to attend a musical at our church. My brother-in-law and niece are singing. I can't wait. Church is where I need to be.

See you soon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Big Fat Mess

That is my house, a big fat HAIRY mess, to be exact. My son has had the flu for 7 days, and I am beyond tired of it. I am a pretty tidy person by nature, but when your kid is throwing up for days on end, your home suffers. I have tons of laundry to do, the big HAIRY kind....blankets, towels, sheets, washcloths and jammies and more jammies. I add to it faster then I can get it done. Ugh.

He is finally getting better, but I have allowed one more night of sleep in my room. As you can see from this mess, I got tired of running into his room each night, or him coming into mine and crawling into my bed, so I yanked his mattress off his bed. He has a loft bed, not the easiest thing for a Mom to do, but by golly I was on a mission......for sleep! He has been sleeping next to me for 2 nights, tonight will be three. He is visiting his Dad this weekend (PRAISE the Lord!), so the mattress will go back into his room. I haven't made my bed all week, except for ripping the sheets off and adding clean ones, just in case he breathed on them. This weekend, I get my bedroom back, I can't wait.

My bed may be messy, but look at this rat's hole!

The cat's loved this set up, two beds to jump on. If you look closely, you'll notice they added to the mess with their own toys. I came home tonight to find the little monkey in my son's bed. Don't you wonder what your animals do while you're away? I have a feeling they were jumping on beds!

I was getting down over the mess in my home, so I went to the only clean room, our family room. There are Christmas reminders in here that not only help me keep my focus, but make me smile. I love our manager scene, Little People by Fisher Price. I bought this years ago so my son would stop playing with my glass one and play with his own. In the end, I didn't like the glass one either and wanted his, so this is the one we have kept over the years.

When we were decorating a couple weekends ago my son got it out of the box and placed it on our entertainment center. I already had it decorated and said "No, it can't go there, it doesn't match my decorations!". His response, "Mom, it's baby Jesus and since this is what Christmas is all about, it needs to be here where we can see it!". I felt bad, thanked the Lord for the reminder, and baby Jesus stays right where we can see him.

My next favorite decoration is this sweet little Starbucks teddy bear. I love his stocking cap, jammies with flap on the bottom and his own little teddy bear cuddled under his arm. He just looks all ready for a warm winter's nap.

Last night during a burst of energy we put the $5.00 train around our Christmas tree. It fit perfectly and even runs around on its track. The cats however think it's their toy and continue to knock it over, but it looks good while everything is standing up.
I'm very thankful my son is getting well. I need to remind myself it was only the flu and nothing worse. I need to also remind myself that I have a home to get messy, but in the end it gets picked back up. I also need to remind myself that for now I have a little one that still depends on me and wants me when he is sick. Someday, I won't have that. So for now, I'll stand behind him while he is getting sick to wipe his mouth and rub his back......and hope he doesn't realize I'm also gagging in the process. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chicken Soup, Popsicles and a $5.00 train

We've had a lot of sickness in our home so far this winter and now my son has caught the bug. He missed school Friday because he was coming down with a head cold but it has taken a turn for the worse. Today he woke up with a fever and I can't get it to go away. He will be home again tomorrow and hopefully soon he can shake this thing.

He had many things going on this weekend so he was very upset that a cold knocked him down. It started with Friday night, our home town kicked off Christmas with a night time parade. All 4th graders were invited to ride on a float during the parade and sing Christmas carols. I wouldn't let him go since he was ill and the temperature was about 12 degrees.

Saturday morning he had his first basketball practice of the season, but Mom said no to that as well. Saturday late morning he was to ring the Salvation Army bell at our local mall with other 4th graders, but Mom said no to that as well since it was outside and was still 12 degrees. By now, he was officially bummed, even if he did agree it was wise to pass up all of these events. By Saturday night he was feeling a little better and gained some energy, so I took him with me to Dollar General to pick up a couple things.

In the store he spotted a $5.00 Christmas train with track that goes around in a circle. In an attempt to lift his spirits, I agreed to purchase it (knowing that it would probably break in the first 5 minutes of getting it home). He rushed home to put batteries in it and get the track assembled and from that point on, he had fun the rest of the weekend.

When he was feeling better he would drag out some cars and trucks to play with the train and he even took the cat's scratching perch to use as a bridge. I only wish I would have taken pictures of what happened next. By now the two cats were awake from their day long nap and were interested in this train. Since their perch was going OVER the track, they perched themselves on top of it to watch the silly thing go round' and round'. When they got tired of it, they stuck their paw out and knocked the train off the track. At one point, Tiger decided to crawl under the tunnel and lay on the train track. What he didn't realize was the train was still moving. All of a sudden it "crashed" into his neck, and fell off the track. Please be assured, I wouldn't let my kitty get hurt and this train moves very slow. But the look on Tiger's face when that train ran into him was priceless. He wouldn't budge, I think he was telling my son that the perch belonged to him and no train was going to move him!

The train is still working fine, no causalities yet. We've had our share of chicken soup, Popsicles and Kool-Aid this weekend. We've burned through 4 boxes of Kleenex (the kind with Vicks.....ahhhhh). Now he is asleep in my bed, fever still with him, but at least he is sleeping. Hopefully I can stay healthy since I just had the same flu bug 3 weeks ago. But Mommies don't get to stay clear of germs when their babies are sick. You jump in and do whatever you can to try and help them feel better. And thank Heaven for Chicken Soup, Popsicles and $5.00 trains.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holly, Jolly

Our home has been spread with Christmas cheer. There is a touch of Christmas in every room, even the bathroom. The tree has been decorated and looks very pretty. I decided to put white lights on our tree this year and my son wasn't very happy. He prefers colored lights, but since we have done that for the last 8 years, it was my turn to try something new. My son does have his own little Christmas tree in his bedroom, decorated with colored lights, so he still has a tree decorated his way.

I love getting our ornaments out each year because they bring back such happy memories. Over the years my Mom has given my sister and I different ornaments from our childhood. I have one from my Godfather given to me when I was 3 years old. Each year since my son has been a baby, I've purchased him a new Christmas tree ornament. In addition, each vacation we have taken, we always search out an ornament for our tree that will remind us of our trip.

Since we visited Disney in 2008, I have many Mickey ears on my tree this year. We also have lots of dolphins from other beach vacations. Here are some pictures of my favorites.

This is the baby block from my Godfather.

This is one of my favorites because it reminds me of my son. The little blond boy, in his red jammies, soooooo excited about Christmas.

Patrick's picture is fuzzy, but my son had to hang him right in the middle of the tree since Patrick is my son's favorite!

One of the many Mickey ears adoring our tree.

And if you still believe in Santa, you can hear this bell ring. Can you hear it??

This was taken a whole 5 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. My son loves to have his picture taken but I'm sure it's because I've had my camera attached to my hip since he was a baby. Each Christmas he would put his feety jammies on, get under the Christmas tree and let me take lots of pictures of him. Sometimes the poor cat would get drug into it as well. I just loved seeing Christmas through his eyes and I wanted to capture each moment.

And here is our lovely tree. The picture does not do it justice. And besides, chance are, in a few more days, the two fur balls will probably knock it over if they can have it their way. I'm hoping they are too fat to climb it this year.

I decided to hang some large, unbreakable ornaments in the bay window as a way to entice the kitties to pat at something other than the tree. So far it has worked, but we'll see what dawn brings tomorrow. Even though they can be rowdy, they are beautiful to me. And just like my 9 year old son, I love to take their pictures too.