Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ornaments. The Homemade Kind

For several years my friend Kristen has been inviting The SM and I to an ornament party. The ornaments have to be handmade and an exchange like none other takes place.

Before the war begins (and you think I am kidding), we are all made comfy and cozy like with good food and conversation. Then, things start to get edgy, the guests start to squirm, and Kristen declares it is time.

The ornaments which are all gift wrapped, are placed in the center of the room. Normally, we are civilized folks. Really truly. What happens next.... well, it's quite a frenzy and when it is all over we return to being civilized and wish each other a Merry Christmas and the hope of seeing them again the following year at the next ornament party!

The rules. There are many and each year I swear a new one is added. Bottom line. We each get a number. The person who drew number one goes first. They open an ornament. We ooh and aahhh. The ornament gets passed around so we can all see which one we want desperately to steal and take home. The next person goes. They can either steal the ornament person number one opened or they can open a new one. Third owner of an ornament gets to keep it. And so it goes. Much strategy involved, emotions get to come into play (I've not played that card yet, but give me two years and when Brennan leaves on his mission you can bet I'll pull out that card and every mother in that room will understand and if I play it right, I'll come home with the entire caboodle of ornaments!).

Kristen gives a good description of her party here. This is from last years party and if she would quit being lazy and write up a post about this years..... you'd be more up to date but...... last I heard she was out gallivanting around town having lunch with her friends. I'm not fibbing! I'm telling the truth! I saw it with my very own eyes! I was witness to the entire adventure!

So, I bring you to this year's ornaments. This is The SM's. We both make two of what we make. One for the party. One for our tree. I think this sled is adorable. He cut the metal and shaped the little sled runners, sanding the edges until they were smooth, then painted them red. The little wood slats are so tiny. Hard to see in this photo but it is just the littlest cutest sled and reminds me of one I had exactly like it growing up.

My ornament. These photos are for you Linda! It is absolutely amazing to me the amount of hours people put into doing tutorials for the rest of us inept people. I am so grateful to these people. Because of Linda's tutorial on these little sweater ornaments, I was able to make one too!

And thank you Kristen for teaching me to felt. The snowman is felted on the front of the sweater. How does one describe felting...... You use this barbaric little needle that has barbs on it and stab the wadding to death! :) Seriously! You take little pieces of fibers and with the needle stab it into what ever you want the felting on. In my case, the front of the sweater. I put a sponge in the inside of the sweater and then started stabbing the colored fibers where I wanted them and where I didn't want them. The carrot nose I was trying to make for some reason kept wanting to slide across the snowman's face..... much yelling and cussing and this is what you end up with! Piece of cake as Kristen says..... Riiiiiiight!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carolers... Where Have They Gone

Photo Credit--I would if I could if I knew...

Christmas caroling. Growing up we did it every year. Mom would make her little cakes to take to the neighbors. Frosted in white with holly berries and leaves placed on top, wrapped in plastic wrap. We would load up in the old green station wagon and set out but not before Mom had us around the piano practicing the songs we would sing.

As we'd pull up to each house, my stomach would do that squeeze and jump up and down thing. Mom would hand me one of the cakes. It was my job, when all the songs we'd practiced were sung and we'd sing, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" as our grand finale, I would walk up to our neighbor and hand them the cake.

I've gone Christmas caroling with The SM and Native's a handful of times since we've been married. It seems..... like hand written letters.... it is becoming a lost art. I miss the magic of Christmas carolers.

Last night, after a day of watching the world around me covered in snow, I decided I was cold and wanted a fire. I went out onto my front porch and started to bring in some wood. I picked up a piece of wood and turned to walk in the house. I paused. I heard something. With the new fallen snow acting like a muffler to normal city noises I could hear something off in the distance. I strained my ears and heard the sweet strains of, "Silent Night" being sung.

I came into the house, grabbed a quilt, wrapped myself up in it, and went back out on the porch to listen. Voices. Beautiful voices and the words came to my mind, and the heavens shall open and angles will sing and praise His glorious name.

I heard angels singing last night, on that peaceful and quiet night. I heard angels as they walked from house to house, raising their voices, and singing praises to our King.

I hope the neighborhood youth will make this a tradition and do it again next year. And to The SM (who is one of the youth leaders) who came up with the wonderful idea and put together the songs to be sung.... it was beautiful and a great way to bring in the Christmas spirit.

Merry Christmas! "God bless us, everyone".

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cluster Kids = Angels

They call them Cluster Kids. The kids with special needs at the school. Why they call them that, I do not know. Regardless, they are the mentally disabled kids. Levi is one of them.

Every year, their teachers work hard helping the students practice and learn songs in sign language, stories, dances, etc. for a Christmas program for the rest of the school.

Yesterday, was the program. The Cluster Kids come in. They are excited. You can feel their excitement. They look around the room and giggle and laugh and if you are Levi, blow kisses at their mums and dads.

Over the PA system the principal announces that the Cluster Kids are ready and if those classes that want to, they can come down and see the program but that it isn't mandatory.

I have to say, when I heard that, I was shocked and crestfallen. If only you could have seen these children's faces. So bright. So happy. So exuberant to show what they'd been learning. They were going to put on a show for the school!

It was a fleeting moment of shock. I quickly reasoned that all of the teachers would bring their students to the gym despite being told they didn't have to. Why wouldn't they? They did for the Christmas choir concert and other programs by the rest of the students through out the year.....

And what kind of a message would that give and teach students I reasoned if the teachers didn't bring their classes. That these kids were some how less? Nawww! Surely none of the classes would miss out.

As the Cluster Kids performed their program, it wasn't perfect by any means, but as I sat and watched with a huge grin on my face...... no, their bodies and minds aren't perfect, but their spirits are. And that is what I saw. And I hope that the classes that did come, were able to see that too. And to those that didn't come....... well...... all I can say is....... you totally missed out!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Side Note

I just wanted to make myself clear about my last post. What I was trying to convey is that I love receiving Christmas cards and I do enjoy reading about my friends and family. What they've been up to over the past year, how their kids have grown, their accomplishments....... I truly do!

My bah humbug was me. I don't enjoy writing the letter. Not that I don't have a ton to say about The Native's....... as you all know who read this blog....... It's just forcing myself to sit down and trying to capture an entire year in one tiny little paragraph. Not so good at it!

Have I made myself clear?

P.S. Tami! You. Me. Soon!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Card dilemma

Christmas cards. I love receiving them. I'm always late getting ours out and this year is no different. Here's why:

A) No family photo. Can't seem to get a family photo/snapshot of all of us that I like. (Note: Mum-me must look beautiful in the photo. Don't care about the rest. Mum just has to look good.)

B) The eternally long book/letter that has to be written to go with. The SM and I take turns writing the epistle. It is my turn. The letter is daunting. How do you keep it short when you have as many Native's as we do and try to sum up one year?

And do people really read those things? Do they really care what happened to 'Bill' that year.

Bill, is a mighty ten year old this year. He's doing so well in school. He is vice president of his Lego club, has achieved high ranking in his telekinesis program, learned to play the violin in six minutes and is first chair in the chamber orchestra of peeps. Bill also walks the elderly across the street daily, keeps his room immaculately clean, and scrubs the fungus out from under his mother's toes once a week. Such a darling. We couldn't be prouder of our Bill..

But hey! Please. Send us cards because I promise! I do read the ones sent to me and I love receiving them....... despite my hum bug when it comes to writing and sending our own........

Bah! Humbug!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Changing Hobbies

I had a grand idea. A fabulous plan. I was going to make my mom the best of Christmas gifts. It was brilliant. I bought the yarn. Beautiful yarn. I began to knit. I knit and I knit. I was starting to worry. I was starting to become unsure of my brilliance. I finished. It wasn't brilliant. It was junk....

I have decided, if it is something to wear, I probably shouldn't knit it. You'd think I'd learn the last time I tried to knit something to wear.

Throwing my knitting needles out the door. I've decided to change hobbies.

I think, "Dancing With The Stars" should call me.

I think I could win that big glitter ball! Move over Jennifer Grey!

Yup! Just ask The Native's. When I start dancing in the kitchen, the whole world stops and stares. I'm so good The Native's won't even dance with me. It's a shame really but I understand. It's hard having such a brilliant Mum. So fabulous in fact that it must be too brilliant for their eyes because when I start The Native's all tell me to stop! Especially when I grab them and make them dance with me.

Sigh.....I am so not appreciated....

Sabbath Observance

The Sabbath is a day of rest. A day to worship. A day spent in quiet contemplation. A holy day.

It is nice to see how The Native's spend their Sabbath afternoon in such uplifting activities....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Twas the week of Chanukah....

souped up on drugs and happy to be going home

when mayhem hit our house, not a creature was happy, because of this mouse.

The faces of siblings showed concern and care, when they found out poor Mr. J had to stay there.

This Native all nestled all snug in this bed, moaned and groaned while missed latkes danced in his siblings heads.

And I in my grubbies and Pa at home tending, settled in for a long set of days and eternally long nights never ending.

Hour after hour there arose such a clatter, machines beeping constantly, nurses running to see what was the matter.

I sat and I knit and I knit and I knit, and what to my wondering eyes did appear...
a little baby hat made from left over yarn, and a scarf that felt like it took me all year.....

The week of Chanukah is a celebration. The festival of lights. A time to remember the miracle of the Maccabees' victory and the miracle of the oil that burnt for eight days in the holy Temple. There's more to it....... but the bottom line is it is a celebration of miracles.

We didn't celebrate Chanukah in the typical usual fashion. The potatoes are still in storage waiting to be made into latkes, the puppets the kids made for a puppet show sit collecting dust, the dreidel sits on it's side waiting to be played with and turned, most of the candles on our Tree of Life *menorah haven't been lit, and visions of stolen chunk a poo cookies dancing in our heads....... (just making sure the theives feel reeeeal guilty)

We celebrated our own set of miracles. The miracle of modern medicine and another oil that was used for the anointing of the sick. Many prayers answered as our little guy was so sick and at an earlier time in history probably would not have made it. So many kind people offering to help. Meals brought in, home made cards and toys brought to Mr. J..... No, not a typical Chanukah but a week of miracles and that is what the celebration is all about!

God bless us. Everyone!

* Just a side note. People call what we light menorahs but they are actually candelabrum. Hanukkiyas. There is only one menorah and it is in the temple.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why I Blog.

I was reminded this past week as to why I blog and thought, "I need to blog about this!" :D Ya know. Cuz that is what we bloggers do!

I'm not a writer. I 'blog' but I don't 'write'.

Long before most people were blogging, Kristen was. Kristen, is a writer. Before blog land, she would write posts and send them to her friends and family via e-mail. Then blogs came along and she started one. She encouraged me to start one. That was ridiculous! Why would I blog? I am not a writer! What would I blog about?

Levi she said. People need to know about Levi.

I'm not a writer! I can't start a blog......

Yes you can and you need to! You need to talk about Levi so that if others have a child like him, they can read and relate!

This went on and on for awhile until one day, I sat down, and started a blog. Because Kristen told me to! And she commented, and her daughter commented. So I wrote another post, because all of a sudden, a world that was made up of four walls suddenly expanded.

Being a stay at home mom (which I choose and am blessed that I can choose to be a stay at home mom) is dang tough. I can remember growing up and our family every Sunday being the last to leave church. Sunday after Sunday after Sunday because Mom was so busy talking. Mom! I forgive you. I get it now.

When you are home with so many little ones, no real connections with the outside world, it is really hard. I would listen for the mail man. Everyday I would sit and listen and watch for the mailman and as soon as he'd drop my mail in the box, I'd be out there! Nine times out of ten it was just bills but it was something from the outside world.

The other day, I forgot to get the mail and I mused to myself that a few years ago, that would never have happened. The only reason I get the mail now is so that the mail man won't yell at me because he can't squish anymore mail into my mailbox and to get off my lazy bahootie and clean it out!

The blogging world came along and changed that for me. It was a window into a society really. The blogging world is a society of its own. People I have never met before, I feel intimately connected to from reading their blogs. When they write about the good times I rejoice and laugh with them. When they have hard times, I am sad with them and pray for them. People I have never met before and yet I feel like I do! Don't get me started on the tutorials! The hours people put into putting up photos and teaching us how to make and do things!

And I know the same goes for those who read my blog which truly amazes me by the way. That anybody other than family who feel obligated to read, would read because as I said, I'm not a writer. I'm a spastic stay at home mom who obviously needs to get out more!

A lot of times I write for my parents and siblings. They live far away and so by writing and posting photos, they get to see their grand kids, niece, and nephews.

This past week with Mr. J being so sick, I realized that I blog for another reason too. Sitting here day after day on the couch holding a crying little guy made me feel like I did years ago with so many little ones crying and crawling all over me hour after hour. Day after day. I needed a connection with the outside world. I needed to talk to all of you. So I would sit here holding my little one and read/listen to you as you wrote about your day. I've not been able to comment much but I am here listening!

So that, my friends, is why I blog! It's a connection. And I thank you all for it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm On Camera and I Don't Care!

When Levi was little, he had to stay in the hospital several times. One of his stays lasted over a week. In the pediatric unit, they have video cameras in the rooms so they can keep an eye on the patients. I was so self conscience! I couldn't sleep! What if I was sleeping with my mouth open.... what if I was drooling... horror of horrors!

Saturday night little J was admitted to the hospital. I've been with him excepting when The SM comes for a bit so I can go home and shower. I am proud to say that I have matured to a whole new level. I could care less what is picked up on camera. Drool, mouth open, snoring, or worse........ who cares. I walk around this place in sweats and bed head. I've been woken up so many times with monitors going off, nurses, and doctors coming in and out of the room...

They have Mr. J in isolation. Until they know what is going on he can't leave the room and those that come in have to gown,mask,gloves and cover up in disposables. Secretly, I think they are using Mr. J as an excuse. If you saw me right now, you would come to the same conclusion as me. It is me they are afraid of letting out and about. I. Look. Scary! No sleep for over a week will do that to a person.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Growing up, we had a red flannel advent calendar. Everyday for the month of December we would take turns opening the pocket to see what flannel piece of the nativity came next. I can remember hoping it would be my turn when the 24th came to put up the last piece of flannel. The baby Jesus. I think my siblings liked to spoil me because it seemed like I was able to put up the baby Jesus several years in a row.

A few years ago I received a package in the mail right before December. My sis right above me had made us a replication of the red flannel advent calendar that we'd grown up with.

Now The Native's take turns opening up the pockets and adding little felt cutouts each day adding to the nativity.

Growing up, The SM's grandmother would get him and his siblings these advent calendars. Each day you open a little window and you get a little piece of chocolate. After The SM and I married, his Mum would send us one of these.

It is fun having The Native's carry on the traditions that were in both my home growing up and also The SM's.

What do you do to count down the days of Christmas in your home?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh Look! Another Snowman!

Yesterday was the first day of Chanukah. We had big plans. Lots of people. Lots of food, fun, and games.

The Native's made puppets and put together a puppet show so that they could teach our guests about the festival of lights and why we celebrate Chanukah. They'd worked on the puppet show for over a month. It takes that long to glue googly eyes on wooden spoons. Trust me.

Yesterday morning, I had to e-mail all of our guests. Mr. J, my baby is sick. Really really sick. Not something the guests want to catch and bring home for the holidays.

Totally stunk! Literally. Barf wreaks!

But the good news is: Chanukah lasts for eight days!!! So, hopefully somewhere in those eight days, Mr. J will get better and we can still have the party! I'm craving latkes man!

Oh, and I finished knitting this baby sweater and hat. The hat is my favorite...... and what does the snowman have to do with all of this? Nothing. He was just hangin' around so I put him to work displaying the sweater and hat. My baby sis said he makes an ugly baby. I told her he gets his nose from the Jewish side of the family.....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Once There Was A Snowman.....At Least It Appears That There Was...

I told Mr. C to go outside, get some fresh air, and to play with his little brother.

I'm not sure how to interpret this....... Should I be worried about my son? Or worried that I thought this was quite funny..... ?