Sunday, December 27, 2009

perfect conditions

One day last week, it snowed. It actually snowed quite a bit for which we were happy because it gave our family from California the experience of the cold, white stuff - watching it, playing in it, sledding on it, and even driving in it. It was our special gift to them... a white Christmas.

While playing outside, I noticed the flakes that fell and landed on us were individual (vs. clumped together) and beautiful. I did what any amateur photographer would do; I went inside, put my macro lens on my camera, grabbed a dark tupperware lid, and headed back outside.

The conditions were perfect. Snow doesn't always fall this way. The flakes were beautiful and well defined and you could see the shape of the crystals with the naked eye. Unfortunately, my camera didn't capture the beauty you could see without the lens, but here's my best.

Friday, December 25, 2009

a special day

God gave us the greatest gift of all, His son, Jesus.
May His love surround you and yours today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

fun in the snow

Yesterday we took some of our visiting family up to the mountains. Being from southern California, they don't get to play in the snow too often. Don's niece, Sarah, who is 4 had never even seen snow. We found a small hill and spent the morning sledding, making snow angels, having snow ball fights, and just having a real fun time.

I took over 300 pictures, but am only including a few here...

Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm playing along with this meme that Just Mom (Just Mom's Musings) posted last week. Let me know if you play. I'd like to know what your Christmas looks like.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I'd prefer a coffee drink of some kind. Definitely not Egg Nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? When the kids were little, they were unwrapped, but for the past 8 years or so, they've been wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We always put a lighted cross on the roof and we change out the bulbs periodically. Right now they're blue. We've had different lighting arrangements on the house over the years. Right now we have white lights over the bushes and some multi-colored trees. Our inside tree has white lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the beginning of December.

6. What is your favorite Christmas dish? I have two - cheese potatoes and black cherry jello.

7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child? Childhood... I can't really remember one. But as a teenager, I had a very special Christmas. You can read about it here and here.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't really remember. It seems that I asked my mom the truth, but I don't know what prompted me asking or how old I was.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes. Our tradition has always been that we open one gift on Christmas Eve, but when the kids were younger, we, as parents, got to decide which gifts they could or couldn't open that night.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With all my favorite ornaments. And I have a very beautiful tree... if I do say so myself =)

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I enjoy snow when I can watch it fall from inside and don't have to go out into it. I don't like cold temperatures or icy roads.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but not very well. I have weak ankles.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No, there's been too many special gifts.

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? Remembering the reason for the season.... that we're celebrating the birth of Christ. Being with family. And having the opportunity to give to others in a way you wouldn't at any other time during the year.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Frosted sugar cookies.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Stockings! Buying stocking stuffers all year long and then emptying your stocking on Christmas day with all the goodies that family has sent to you.

17. What tops your tree? A clear plastic (but doesn't look cheap) snowflake.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving... definitely!

19. Candy Canes? Nope, at least not the traditional ones. The newer ones that are flavored some other way than peppermint are decent.

20. Favorite Christmas Show? Elf.

21. Saddest Christmas Song? I've always thought most Christmas songs are sad. It doesn't stop me from singing them, though.

22. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

it's in the mail... not


Recently, I've had this discussion about Christmas cards with a few people. Several of us feel like sending out the annual cards/letters is a dying tradition.

It seems like I receive less each and every year. I wonder if it's because of the fact that most people communicate through the computer nowadays. Writing letters and cards and sending them snail mail is a lost art. The younger generation doesn't even know how to address an envelope, let alone have the desire to write out a letter.

But sending out Christmas cards isn't just for the younger generations. I know a lot of people who aren't on the computer much and yet, their Christmas cards come only every few years, or not at all. Is it the busyness of the season? Is it the stress of having to do them? Is it the cost?

For me, it's definitely the lack of time I feel like I have each year. I used to do them each year but lately it's been every few years. This year the family took a great picture on the beach in California and I was going to write a letter letting friends and family know what we've been up to this past year, but here it is... a week before Christmas and all I have is good intentions. In other words... no cards or letters. And as much as I wanted to get them out, I don't get too upset because I know I keep in touch with a lot of people through Facebook and email.

So I have two questions for this Aloha Friday...

Did you send out Christmas cards this year? and
Do you think sending out cards is a dying tradition?

Aloha Friday is hosted each week by Kailani of An Island Life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the twelve days of Christmas

Have you ever wondered about the song The 12 days of Christmas? Kind of a strange song, don't you think? What in the world does leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans and especially that partridge that won't come out of a pear tree have to do with Christmas?

Well, here's the very interesting answer...

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit - prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve point of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas carol. And I bet you won't think of this song in the same way the next time you hear it. Pass it on if you wish.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

poor don

I just had to share this funny story. Oh, how I wish I had photos to go along with it =)

Last night, after we returned home from the store, where Don bought some replacement bulbs for the lighted cross we put up each Christmas, he announces he's going to go and replace the bulbs. Dani and I were inside while Jake was out running errands.

What Danielle and I didn't know was that right after Don climbed onto the roof with the new bulbs, the ladder blew completely away from where it was standing, thus, stranding Don on the roof. Poor Don.

He says he pounded on the walls and the windows, but he was at the front of the house and we were in the back. After hearing Don's story, we did remember hearing some light pounding but figured it was coming from work that Don was, in our mind, doing. We had no idea that was the communication of a desperate man. Poor Don.

Don, realizing he didn't have his cell phone on him and the pounding wasn't getting our attention, started looking for another way down. The wind that blew the ladder down (narrowly missing one of our cars) was starting to make him shiver. Poor Don.

He thought about jumping (oh, I'm so glad he didn't take that option), but didn't think he would be able to clear the rocks to land on the grass. Poor Don. (It would have been a louder poor Don if he ended up with a broken leg or foot!)

He started trying to get someone's - anyone's - attention. A few cars drove down the street but the first couple didn't see him. But the third car slowed down and the driver rolled down his window... and yelled out, "Merry Christmas!" Evidently, he thought the shivering man on the roof of the house waving his arms frantically in the air was trying to wish him a happy holiday. After he returned the presumed greeting, he drove away. Poor Don.

He yelled at some far away neighbors, but they didn't hear him. He ended up just sitting down in a crook of the house, doing his best to stay warm. Poor Don.

But then he caught the attention of a neighbor that lived a couple houses away. The lady must have realized this poor, freezing man on the roof needed some help. She started making her way over... slowly... using her cane. Poor Don.

Just about the time she gets over to the house, Jake and his girlfriend drive up. The lady slowly made her way back to her home and Jake helped his dad get down from the roof. He and Hollee came in laughing and accusing Dani and me of leaving Don stranded, freezing, on the roof of the house. Don then came in, but he wasn't laughing.

Poor Don. It took him a while to warm up and get to a place where he could look back at his experience and see the humor in it. He claims he's not getting back on the roof, but I bet he will. Someone has to take down the cross. I just think he'll make sure he has his cell phone in his pocket.

Friday, December 11, 2009

are you ready?


It's Friday! Where did this week go to? Last weekend I felt ahead of the whole Christmas decorating, shopping, and shipping game. Now? Not so much, and time is running out. Not only am I not where I should be at this point, but more has been added to my list. I now have family coming to spend a week with us. Yikes! On top of all that, I've come down with a cold. I feel like doing absolutely nothing except climbing into bed.

So, let me ask you...

Do you feel ready for Christmas? Are you ahead of the game? Or behind?

Aloha Friday is hosted each week by Kailani over at An Island Life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

before and after

A few weeks ago, we had new granite put into our kitchen. It looks beautiful and we are very pleased with it. I still walk into the kitchen and am taken a back, thinking, "this isn't my kitchen!" But it is, and I'm getting more used to it. The granite is so much easier to clean than the tiles we had before, for which I am very thankful. You can't tell from these pictures, but the granite has a lot of green in it, speckled with black, gray, and light brown (about the color of the cabinets). The sink and faucet are new, too. I'm one lucky girl.



Friday, December 4, 2009

single minded


This week's Aloha Friday question is...

What do you most enjoy or miss about being single?

This past week, Don was up in Winnipeg on business and I was home alone for the week. Don't get me wrong; I love Don, love being married, love having a partner in life, and love having his company each and every day, but I enjoyed spending the week being single. I enjoyed it knowing it was for a short time and that it would end quickly and life would be back to normal within days.

I think what I enjoyed most is just knowing I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It doesn't make sense because I can pretty well do that already. Maybe it was just because I haven't been single in an awful long time for this amount of time. There was a freedom that I hadn't felt or thought about for over 30 years.

BUT... as much as I liked the freedom, I felt a little lonely and missed the human contact that I'm used to living with. I felt like something was missing all week, and there was something missing... my other half.

I'm glad to have him come home today.