Archives for 2008

Our First Christmas and a Few of My Favorite Things

We braved the 26 degree weather Friday night and went shopping for our Christmas tree. You know, because nothing says holiday cheer like frostbite…

We came home, had hot chocolate, put the kids to bed and strung the lights, then Saturday morning let them help us put up the ornaments. One of the ornaments we hang on our tree each year is a time capsule that we got on our first Christmas in 2000. In it is a small scroll where Lee and I wrote the details of our first Christmas as a married couple. This is what it looks like:Inside it say: Our First Christmas it was – cold and icy in Dallas
We lived at – St. Charles at Stonebriar apartment complex in Frisco, TX
At that time the new was full of stories like – Presidential Election Controversy, crazy snow storms in the north, the Rams beat the Saints and sqeaked into the play-offs – then lost.
We shared lots of Christmas traditions like – opening stocking on Christmas Eve. Getting up at the crack of dawn (this is a family tradition of mine that Lee has grown to love over the course of the last eight years – it fills him with such joy to creep out of bed at 5:00 am)
We celebrated the season with special people like: Herb, Barbara and Zach Dec. 10; Richard, Candy, Brett and Jared on Christmas; Old Baylor friends on New Years
We got each other presents like: Lee got Kelli a Karaoke machine, Anna Karenina in russian and clothes; Kelli got Lee clothes, “Rich, Dad, Poor Dad,” and an old LIFE magazine about JFK (that’s so random – I don’t know why I bought him that or where that magazine is now!)

Anyway, it’s always fun to read that and remember Christmas 2000, our first together. And here are a few more of my favorite ornaments.
I have no idea where we got his ornament but it makes me laugh. It’s a hula wearing Santa surfing on two dolphins and he kind of looks like he’s making an obscene gesture. Of course, that only makes sense right? Bizarre.

My First Christmas ornament from 1978. In a few years I’m not sure that I’ll like that one quite as much though – it’s starting to make me feel old.

Here is a picture of Lee when he was around 9 or 10. The ornament it’s nestled in is looking a little ragged, but he’s old too so…

There is a story behind this one. When I was a kid, my mom bought a blown glass Statue of Liberty ornament at some hole in the wall shop in Wisconsin. She loved the ornament, the rest of us thought it was ugly and a little odd so every Christmas she would hang it front and center on the tree and we would move it to the back of the tree. Back and forth we moved it throughout the entire season. It became the family joke – until college when it was mysteriously lost forever and we were all a little sad. But, low and behold, my mom was, I think, in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago and she stumbled upon not one, but two more of these horrendous ornaments which she bought for me and for herself. So now I hang mine on the back of the tree and every time mom or dad comes to my house they move it to the front and the tradition lives on!
And here we are, freezing our tails off to get our very lovely, very piney tree. I love the smell of a Christmas tree!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Christmas Past

A few pictures from Christmases past. This is not an original idea – I stole it from Tiffany. But I thought it would be fun to walk down the holiday memory lane. Enjoy!
Christmas 2003
Sloan is five months old and quite the brute.

Christmas 2004
Sloan at 17 months old and quite the ham.

Christmas 2005
Sloan is 2.5 and anxiously awaiting a new baby brother or sister.

Christmas 2006
Sloan (3.5) and Tia (10 months). The only way I could get her to stand still was to shove food in her mouth. Come to think of it, that’s still the only time I can get her to be still!

Christmas 2007
Sloan (4.5), Tia (22 months) and Landon (days old). My precious baby will be one in less than two weeks!

Maybe we need to show him Star Wars

The other day, Sloan came walking into the living room, Tia trailing quick at his heels. He grasped in his hand his new Light Saber, which he got as an early Christmas gift from his cousins over Thanksgiving. For some reason he is obsessively into Star Wars, which is a mystery to me because he’s never actually seen any of the movies. It’s not that we don’t want him to watch them, it’s just that I don’t really know that he’ll enjoy the movies all that much given the fact that they are a little slow and, well, boring.

Somewhere out there, I know there’s a group of Star Wars addicts who are putting some voodoo intergalactic hex on me. Sorry, I just never really got it with those movies. Anyway, moving on. Sloan rounded the corner and held his sword up proudly.

“Mom,” he announced, “I am Darth Vader.”

“Oh,” I murmered trying to sound impressed.

“Yeah, and Tia is my girlfriend. Her name is Melissa.”

At this point I look up, my eyebrows raised, trying to figure out how in the world I should respond to this.

“Wow, Melissa huh?” I said.

“Yep, she’s my girlfriend Melissa.” Turning to Tia, he throws his arms out wide and she ducks slightly to avoid being whacked across the head with a light saber.

“Melissa,” he exclaims loudly, “Bow down to me!”

Tia just stares at him.

“Bow down to me!” he repeats. And still Tia does not move.

“Tia, you’re supposed to bow down to me. I’m Darth Vader.”

“Uh-uh, Hol (Sloan),” Tia responds indignantly.

Turning to me Sloan throws his light saber down. “Mom, Tia is my girlfriend Melissa and she won’t bow down to me.”

Honestly, I had no response so I stood there silently for a minute before saying, “Okay, who wants a snack?”

I think it’s time we showed him the movies…

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The kids are at my mom’s house today. I have Christmas music blaring and I’m putting up all our decorations. There’s a dusting of snow on the ground and I think I’ll make some hot chocolate! I’m finished with my shopping. We’ll get our tree this Saturday and I’ll put the wrapped gifts out. I love this time of year.

Sloan Sayings – The Thanksgiving Edition

We’re in Arkansas this weekend visitng family. We had a great, relaxing Thanksgiving yesterday and today the cousins come in so the kids are giddy with excitement. Sloan has had a couple of real gems the last couple of days. I thought I’d record them for future reference.

We were driving home the other night after eating dinner out and Sloan piped up from the backseat:

S – “Dad, can we say fag?”

L (stifiling a laugh) – “No, son, that’s not a word we need to say.”

S – “Why? It’s not a bad word. It’s not f%#k. It’s fag – you know- like bag. Fag.”

(At this point Lee and I are having a hard time holding back the laughter. What are the odds that he would accidentally land on that word? Seriously! We went on to explain to him that that word didn’t really mean anything and since it didn’t mean anything he didn’t need to say it. Honestly, that kid…To know the full story of how he knows the F-word, read here.)

Yesterday, we ate thanksgiving dinner at Lee’s grandmother’s retirement center. This is his grandmother on his dad’s side. A couple of years ago, his granny on his mom’s side passed away and we all miss her dearly, especially at Thanksgiving because she made such yummy pies and she just doted on the great-grandkids. As we walked down the hall to the dining room, we passed a little white haired lady walking with a cane. Sloan stopped and said hi, then proceeded to say this:
Sloan – “Hi. You look like granny. But you can’t be granny because she’s dead. But you look just like granny, but you’re not granny because she’s dead.”
Lee and I walked up just as he said it a third time and tried to quickly brush it off saying, “Yeah granny passed away and we miss her, right?”
Sloan (nodding his head) – “Yeah, we miss granny but that’s not granny because granny’s dead.”

At this point we decided that we really need to work on social graces with the boy.

Just like that, I was in 7th grade again…

I went shopping today. I still have quite a bit of Christmas shopping to do, but I’m proud to say I finished most of it this afternoon. Thanks to my mom for making that possible by keeping the kids for me!

While I was at a local store, I came across a small bottle of perfume. It was the first perfume I ever owned. My grandmother, Mimi, gave it to me when I was 12. Anybody else remember! ? There was one tiny, battered little box on the table so I opened it up and sprayed a little on my wrist. With one sniff of that scent, I time warped back to 7th grade. We were still fairly new to town and I was self-concsious. I was stuck in that awful, gawky, Irish Setter stage of life, all knees, elbows and nose. I had yet to shave my legs and I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up. I was in junior high, navigating my way through a whole new world of catty, petty hesaidshesaid. I had frizzy hair due to a bad perm (it was 1990 people) and oily skin thanks to the brand new hormones raging through my body.

Outwardly, I still hated the opposite sex, though I possessed secret crushes on a couple of the boys in my class. I would never admit to these crushes, though, because then I would absolutely die from humiliation. I was dramatic and silly. I was still a bit of a tomboy and got into the occasional fight with the neighbor boy. I gave him a black eye that year. Byt the next year, however, the boys had finally outgrown me and I grew smart enough to stop picking fights.

In seventh grade, I desperately wanted to fit in, but did not know how. Not being from St. Louis, I was an outsider trying to compete with people who’d known each other for years. When I began seventh grade, I was still very innocent. My parents did such a good job of protecting my brother and I that I did not know a lot of heartache or hurt. In seventh grade, however, I experienced death for the first time when my aunt died without explanation. In seventh grade, I also realized that sometimes life is tough and that there is pain that can be much deeper than the surface wounds I had always known. In seventh grae, I lost a bit of innocence due to painful and trying family circumstances that surrounded my aunt’s death. But, in seventh grade, I also saw strength modeled with grace as my parents held our family together despite their own heartaches. In seventh grade, I knew true peace because it was modeled to me through my parents.

I learned a lot in seventh grade. I learned more as the years went on and innocence melted away. But nothing stands out more to me than seeing my parents lean on one another through the most disheartening of circumstances. And I am thankful for that model. It is that model that gave me the ability to say to my own husband on our wedding day that I will never, ever divorce him. Times may get tough – but I was shown that love can withstand. And that’s what I learned in seventh grade.

Now I’m going to go take a shower because I still smell like that perfume and it’s really not that great of a smell…

The Pilgrims have landed! A Brief History…

When I was fifteen years old, I went on my first mission trip to the former Soviet Union. We spent two weeks in Belarus and Moscow. Part of our program was to go to different schools and show pictures of our every day lives and explain what life was like for us as American teenagers. One of my pictures was of my family celebrating Thanksgiving. The first time it was my turn to speak, I was very, very nervous. I wanted to make sure I spoke slowly enough for the students to understand me and I was afraid of leaving out important details. I should have been more worried about giving false information…

When I got to the Thanksgiving picture I was on a bit of a roll but was still dealing with my nerves. As I spoke about Thanksgiving, suddenly our leaders and interpreters in the back of the room started laughing. As I went on, I noticed them laughing more and more visibly. After the program was over, I came over to them, wondering what on earth I’d said that was so hysterical. Apparently, my explanation of Thanksgiving was this:

“This is a picture of my family celebrating Thanksgiving. In America, we celebrate Thanksgiving to remember…the…pilgrims landing, um, on earth. So we get together and have a big meal together…”

Seriously? The pilgrims landing on earth? That was my first legitimate and real blonde moment. I’ve only had a handful of those in my lifetime, most between the ages of 15 and 20. Needless to say, I have never lived that down. People still bring it up – namely my parents.

So here I am, much older and wiser. So to comemorate my wisdom and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here is a brief history of Thanksgiving:

*In 1621, the colonists of Plymouth and the Wapanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest. Gathering together for a large feast, everyone pitched in to prepare the meal. Historians can’t say for sure what foods were actually consumed during the feast, but they know that venison and wild fowl were on the list due to journal records. *

Gathering to give thanks for the harvest was actually a longstanding tradition with the colonists, and there are several recorded events that took place before the 1621 meeting. Nevertheless, the feast of 1621 has long been acknowledged as the first official Thanksgiving and it is this meeting that we celebrate yearly. We celebrate to thank our Maker for the blessings He has bestowed upon us, for the way that He has provided, for the bounty that we are all blessed to share. And we thank Him that the pilgrims landed on earth…


*For more information go to this website.

Wordless Wednesday – It’s good to be clean