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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Few Of My Favorite (Holiday) Things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that turn into spring, these are a few of my favorite things!

Never really quite understood how come The Sound of Music got to be considered a classic Christmas movie, yet without fail, ABC airs it every year during the holiday season.  And every year, I watch it – even if only bits and pieces. Never mind I have my own personal copy on DVD.  I still have to watch it whenever it comes on television.  I was almost 30 years old the first time I ever watched it, and was hooked!  Just like Gone With The Wind, Whitney and I can pretty much quote the movie line-for-line as we watch it.  We know every word to every song, and are such nerds that we used to play the soundtrack going down the road, singing at the top of our lungs. Fun times, fun memories.

The holidays always make for some mighty fine memories, and 2012 was no exception.  Seeing as how I’m getting so forgetful, I thought I’d blog about a few of them, lest the memories start to fade. In no particular order, My Favorite Holiday Things of 2012 are as follows:

 Thanksgiving Feasts at school:  Leyland and Corey’s classes each had a Thanksgiving feast, and I was able to attend both.  The children were dressed up like pilgrims and Indians.  Absolutely adorable! They love it so much when Greemaw comes to the school – (and she loves it too!)

Thanksgiving:  Delicious meal shared with my osmosis family, DJ & David on Thursday, then a wonderful family gathering of the Dunahoo clan on Sunday.  So much to be thankful for!

 Black Friday:  Each year the retailers seem to get an earlier start on the season.  Before we’re finished with Halloween, the Christmas decorations start going up.  For Whitney and I, the season starts in earnest on Black Friday.  Several years ago we started the tradition of getting up very early – oh wait – we actually never even go to bed.  The first time we did it, we were in Commerce at midnight, and after that turned out to be an overcrowded bust, we decided to stick closer to home.  We’ve scored some pretty sweet deals over the years, but for me, it is more about the mother/daughter time more so than the shopping. Whitney and I share the same warped sense of humor, and laugh at the seemingly most inappropriate things.  We have a stinkin’ blast when we’re together.  Add sleep deprivation into the mix and we’re a riot!  BF 2012 was no exception.  Had it not been for that mother/daughter thing, I probably would have skipped it altogether, but wanted to hold on to the tradition. I’m so glad I did.  I was aggravated that the stores opened earlier on Thursday evening, though, and swore I wasn’t going to go until midnight.   But, alas, we were among the throngs of crazy people out at 8 pm, and thankfully, we lived to tell about it.  Along about 3:00 a.m., we were feeling a little tired and hungry, so decided to take some down time at the IHOP on Baxter in Athens.  Big Mistake.  Lipstick on my coffee mug should have been my first clue.  Not. My. Lipstick.  Ewww.   Nuff said about that – but we were so tired that everything was funny.  And it’s a good thing, because it was pretty bad.

Worship.  Christmas is all about Jesus, and I love all the nativity things, the Christmas carols, the Peace On Earth Good Will To Men that goes along with it.  It’s my favorite season for worship.

 Holiday parties at school:  Again, the kids love it when Greemaw can join in the fun at school.  All three kids had parties, and all the parties started at the same time.  Whitney was able to sneak away from work early and join us, so when it was time for one of us to go to Leyland’s room, Corey wanted Greemaw to stay with him.  He told Mommy she could go to Leyland’s room – he wanted Greemaw.  Oh yeah.  That was some serious sweetness.  After that, we took the kids up to the Bass Pro Shop to see Santa and the Winter Wonderland.  Santa was booked up until 7:30 that night, but luckily we ran into him on his way to dinner break, and he did squat down long enough to let us snap a quick photo.  I think the fact that Leyland was on crutches elicited a little bit of sympathy from Santa and he didn’t mind delaying his dinner for an extra couple of minutes.  I was more disappointed than they, because I wanted the photo op.  They had already sat in Santa’s lap at the mall and recited their wish list, so they were good with a quick snapshot.  Though instead of Santa's magical winter wonderland backdrop, our snapshot had tackle boxes and ATVs in the background.  

Prayers on the way to school:  This isn’t a holiday thing – it will be continued, but it got started sometime right before Thanksgiving.  While I’m driving to school, I pray out loud over the children.  I always pray for them, but decided it might have an impact on them if they heard me pray.  I especially wanted Corey to hear that I was calling in the Big Guns (Jesus!) to help with his participation and cooperation in the classroom.  Every morning I pray for specific things for each child, and pray for their mom and dad to be safe driving to work and to have a good day. At the end, everyone says “Amen”.  One morning, before Corey said amen, he said… “Geemaw, you forgot to pway for Mommy and Daddy!”  So at least I knew he was paying attention!  And thought it was so sweet of him.  So we did a p.s. to the “pwayah”.  Another morning, he said “I think we need to pway for Gigi and Pop.”  So every morning, we pray for the children, for their mom and dad, and Gigi and Pop.  It has evolved into a sweet tradition, and if I haven’t started the prayer by the time we cross the RR tracks at my mom’s house, Corey will remind me “Geemaw, we need to say da pwayah.”  That little man!  He melts my heart!!

Social media:  I really enjoyed the Christmas photos, greetings, and all the holiday-related posts on Facebook.  It’s a lot of fun to see and enjoy the traditions of others.

 Pinterest:  Boy, oh boy – did I ever enjoy all the crafty ideas and recipes I found on Pinterest during the season!!  Maybe sometime before next year I’ll have a chance to go back and look at all the things I “pinned”, and can maybe implement a few ideas next year.  I used several ideas this year, but not nearly as many as I wanted to.  Oh, be sure to ask Whitney about her bracelet she made from a fork, a la Pinterest.  I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get one for Christmas!

Social Gatherings:  Years past found me socializing every weekend throughout December.  Not so much these days – but I did truly enjoy a few social events with friends this year. 

Sights and sounds of Christmas:  Yes!! I always love this part!  I was a bit slow getting my house decorated, and didn’t do as much as I have done in years past.  I bought a new tree, but before I could fluff the first branch on the very bottom section, my kitty nutted up on me and attacked the tree.  This was his first Christmas, and he was a little overwhelmed.  I ended up with a tabletop tree, and it served its purpose well.  Some new shelves provided the perfect place to display my collection of Santas and snowmen.  I have yet to get those guys packed up and put away.  They’re up high and out of the way, so I’m not in any great hurry to get them down just yet.  I love opening up the boxes of my things each year.  I guess forgetfulness has its advantages – it’s so much fun unwrapping the tissue paper and finding an ornament, or trinket that I had forgotten about. 

Seeing the children so excited:  What parent, grandparent (or most any adult) can resist the sparkling eyes of excited children – trying so hard to be good, because everyone knows Santa and the elves are watching!!  We didn’t have the “real” Elf on the Shelf, but I picked up three generic little elves from Hobby Lobby so that there was one at my house, Gigi and Pop’s house, and at their house.   Boy, did we get a lot of mileage outta those things!!!  I’m going to speak with Santa a little earlier this year, and ask him to arrange to send us a Real One for 2013.  Ours were kind of boring – they didn’t do anything fun or get into any mischief.   Christmas lives in our hearts, hopefully every day, but when there are children around, the magic seems to be contagious, and it’s almost like reliving my own childhood, with the anticipation and wigglesome excitement.  So much fun!!

Christmas Eve Tradition:  Candlelight communion service at church, dinner at mom and dad’s with immediate family.  We have an annual tradition that started – well, I don’t know when it started.  I can’t ever remember a time when we didn’t eat chicken stew at mom and dad’s, with my grandparents and great-grandma (as long as they were with us), my Aunt Joyce, and Uncle Gene.  Then Michael and I married so two more people were added.  Then we had children, and now our children have children – so it’s one big, happy family gathering complete with the chaos of exchanging gifts, camera flashes, and the sounds of happy people.  Mary read the Christmas story from the Bible, and did a fine job of it, then we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  Lucy was so cute and joined in the singing too! This year DJ and David joined in the fray, and it was wonderful having the people I love the most celebrating together at Christmas.  We missed having Linda with us this year, as she was feeling poorly.  

Surprises:  I also had a delightful surprise on Christmas Eve, as my dear friend Connie was in town.  We met for a quick cup of coffee before the church service, and did a little catching up.  The visit ended far too soon, but it was such an unexpected pleasure to get to spend any time at all with her!  I’m very thankful for the visit, short though it was.

 Helping Santa.  ‘Nuff said about that one… just in case… 

 Christmas morning:  In years past, Christmas morning was a mad dash. Michael and I would be up before the crack of dawn.  With Whitney – not so much.  She’s always been the “Five more minutes” kind of girl, and her dad and I would have to wake her sleepy-headed little self up every time.  Her grandparents would sometimes get there before she ever even got out of bed.  (And she is still a sleepy head!)  With Mary, Leyland and Corey, I got to witness Santa-Chaos a couple of times when we all lived at The 409.  Last year and this year, though, I missed out on the initial explosion of excitement, but visited a little later in the morning.  It was such a sweet time.  After sharing some time with the grandbabies, I had breakfast at DJ and David’s house.  One of my most very favorite things of all this Christmas (or EVER) was the stocking thing.  Never have I ever had a stocking.  Well that’s not true.  I have hung stockings by the chimney with care – but we never “did” stockings before.  I’ve always thought it was a neat tradition.  I couldn’t believe it - DJ fixed a stocking for me!!!  And stuffed it with all manner of really cool things.  Not just token things, either– she fixed me up just like everyone else in the family.  It was real.  It was mine, from her and David (and Tangela contributed a unique little something too…. Hahaha)  I cried.  That seriously ranks right up at the top of the list of the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful things anybody has ever done for me.  I just love that girl so much!!

Christmas Day Tradition:  Veggie soup and leftover chicken stew at mom’s.  Years ago, all the aunts, uncles, and cousins would gather at Mama Nay and Daddy Bill’s house – and you’d better be there by noon, because Daddy Bill was ready to eat and open presents!  Or, rather, ready to eat, and watch the children open presents.  I never understood why he would sit in the corner, letting his gifts pile up around him, just smiling and watching, and not open his presents.  I understand it now.  It’s so much fun to watch the little ones.  But, once the grandparents got older and were unable to have everyone in their home, we started going to mom’s – and the crowd somehow just gets slimmer each year.  With all us cousins grown and with kids and grandkids, multiple places to visit in a short period of time, the Christmas Day gathering has dwindled down to pretty much just the aunts and uncles, myself, and my cousins Sharon and Mary Kay.  Sharon had back surgery just before Christmas and wasn’t able to make it, and I only saw Mary Kay in passing – she was leaving as I was arriving.  It was a fairly laid-back day, and always wonderful to be with family.  My most UNFAVORITE thing was seeing my Aunt Carolyn seeming to slip further into dementia – and there were some truly heartbreaking moments in that regard. 

Baby Girl!  We welcomed Baby Girl Huth (Haley Ann) on Wednesday the 26th.  Such a sweet, beautiful, snugglesome bundle of joy.  Can’t wait to help DJ spoil this little cutie!!!

 Road Trip:  The Friday after Christmas, my friend Karey and I took a short trip over to the beach house.  Departure was at the House of Blues, so we just up and went.  She makes me laugh so much.  The endorphins were much needed and appreciated.   We’ve traveled together before, but usually with 250+ teenagers (band trips).  This was a Grown Up Girls’ Trip, and we talked and laughed so much that my throat seriously started to hurt. I don’t see anyone during the day, and there’s nobody to talk to but The Cat, so my vocal cords weren’t accustomed to so much abuse!  It was a good trip in many ways, not the least of which was enabling me to face a few anticipated demons from the past – but thankfully, the demons I expected to encounter (at the place I honeymooned with the ex) had already been conquered, and the trip was without incident in that regard.  Departure at House of Blues was fabulous!  The ocean was cold!  Can’t wait to do it again!

New Year’s Eve was very quiet, just Cooper and me at The 409.  Now another year has dawned, and we set about tidying up all the trappings of Christmas, declaring to get fit, stick to our budget, manage our time better, spend more time with family, and not sweat the small stuff. 

And now it's time for getting things back in order, and starting the new year with a clean, tidy house.  Yeah.  I’m still working on that one.