Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Blogger and a touch of melancholy

So Sandy has been trying to get me to poste a blog and even though I've said several times that I would, I just seem to have always found some excuse or another to put off doing it.  So today, I decided to change that.

This Christmas has been a season of reflection.  Like so many others there have been thoughts of presents and get togethers plus curbing my road rage as I seem to get ticked while dealing with the poor driving habits of others.  Truth be told I seem to struggle shortly before and after Christmas.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that I've lost a few very close family members around and shortly after the holidays.  In January it will be five years since my stepfather Junior passed away.  In January of 1987 I lost my grandmother (my mom's mother).  It's hard to think about the holidays without them, particularly Junior.  I feel like there is so much that was left unsaid and undone and celebrating Christmas with him was always special and something I looked forward to. And at Christmas time, being as I am a parapro, I end up with two weeks to dwell on these types of things.  Not the most healthy thing to do but it seems like I do it anyway.  So while there is much joy at Christmas there is always that undertone of melancholy that seems to creep in and take away a little bit of the happiness.

 But somethng interesting happened this year.  It was like all the commercial things of Christmas just slipped away, lost not in memories of what I don't have, but in creating new ones with the family and friends I do have.  It was simple things like eating tacos with Paul, Steven, and Lydia Roach. Seeing the joy on my daughter's face and watching her fascination with the Christmas festivities. Being snowed in on Christmas and loving it.  Waking up to breakfast with my inlaws and thinking how cool it was to be there in those moments and sharing laughs over games of Catch Phrase.

I imagine that there will still be moments that make me pause and remember less pleasant times.  That's just the realities of life.  But that doesn't mean I have to be stuck in those unpleasant times/memories, hung up in an endless loop of sorrow. There is so much more out there.  So many blessings I have.  Family ties that are stronger than any unpleasantness that comes my way.  Few, but great friends. And a wife that loves me not based on what I get right or how much money I make (or don't. I did mention I'm a parapro, right?) or any other superficial characteristic that defines so many people or relationships.  She loves me for me, the real me that probably only a handful of people know or ever will know. 

And for all of those things I am grateful and am excited about the prospects of the coming year.

Christmas 2010

So I have to start by praising God for one of the best Christmases EVER!!! Christmas 2010 started with a week full of spending time with old friends. Of which I was reminded that old friends are some of the best friends. We then kicked off family Christmas festivities by going to my dad's house for Christmas Eve day. I cherish my time with my dad. We don't see each other much but when we're together, it's special.....really special. He blessed us (my sister, stepbrother, and I) with a solid silver coin made in 1928 that had been passed down to him from his great grandfather. The simplest gift ever but the sentimental value in it was beyond explanation.

My sister Patrice, my dad and I

Us with my grandmother. Doesn't she look great to be 77?

Christmas festivity #2 was at our house with Jason's dad's side of the family. Always lots of laughs with them. They are hilarious and I enjoy spending time with them. Destiny was wired (as you can see in the pics) about Christmas and Santa coming all together.

After we went to bed on Christmas Eve, Santa made a visit to our house with lots of gifts for a pretty cool little girl. Destiny left him a cookies, milk, and a pretty cool letter with inventive spelling. I LOVE this stage in her life. She has quite the personality and we are so blessed to have her.

Christmas morning brought a very excited little girl around 7:30 AM, which is way too early for me but seeing the excitement in Destiny's eyes made it all worth it. Our Christmas tradition is to call my mom and dad when Des wakes up and we wait for them to get here to see what Santa brought. Destiny was very excited. We all got great gifts, some of my favorites were the snowman dish towels and tall coffee mug (yes, I know....I'm getting old) from Jason and Des and of course my new Glee volume 4 CD....AMAZING music!!!

After opening gifts at home, we loaded up and went to my mom's house to celebrate Christmas with my two sisters, BIL, and future BIL, niece, nephew, mom and dad. We all opened gifts together and then enjoyed a wonderful lunch. After all the struggles this year, Christmas seemed to be a little more special this year. We all knew and recognized how blessed we were to have mama with us even in the middle of the fight against that nasty thing called cancer. And I think God blessed us a little extra with the first white Christmas in a REALLY long time. That snow caused us to have to postpone our tradition of Christmas night with Jason's mom because she wasn't able to get here from Blairsville because of the snow. But it also brought something really cool.... a whole family sleepover (minus Brooke and Levi). We all stayed up late laughing and talking and just enjoying each other's company. I woke up on Sunday morning to the smell of my mama's homemade biscuits. I don't think there is any better smell than that.  : )     We then spent the rest of the day lounging and laughing and then we played in the snow and finished the afternoon off with a couple rounds of "catch phrase" which is ALWAYS dangerous with my family. We came home around 5 or so and unpacked and put away all the gifts. I finished the day with a huge smile on my face and in my heart. Thank you Lord for your many blessings, especially for a sweet mama like mine.

As I look back over our Christmas festivities, I can only think of one word to describe it.......BLESSED. I am SOOOOOO grateful for God's blessings over my life and for my family. The coolest thing is that we still have one more Christmas get together with Jason's mom's family. So we get to extend this Christmas holiday. I have alot of thoughts brewing in my head about 2010 so watch for another blog coming later. But for now, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deciding on Christmas Cards

What is better than Christmas trees, lights, and the mantle all decorated with stockings? For me, it's the collections of Christmas cards that we get from friends and family every year. It is so cool to see how friends from the past (who I don't get to see very often) have changed and watch their precious children grow through pictures.

So we too always get our family pictures made around Christmas so that we can send the infamous Picture Christmas Cards too. I am SOOOO excited about this years pictures because my friend Grace did an EXCELLENT job with our pictures. And I have to brag and say that I think my daughter is one of the most adorable little things on the planet. And no, I'm not biased. LOL!  And then today, my friend Jill shared on her blog about the really cool Christmas cards offered from Shutterfly. I am going to have a REALLY hard time making a decision this year though. These are all excellent, but here are a few of my favorites.

And the coolest part? Shutterfly is offering up to 50 free Christmas cards for anyone that posts this info on their blog. SOOOO cool. They also have several other items available. Some of which may end up being Christmas gifts like Christmas cardsphoto mugs (great for grandparents), and possibly my favorite the photo calendars. I may have to buy one of those for myself.  ; )  Can't wait to share our updated family pics, including the puppy, with our friends and family!!