In my opinion, the holiday season (i.e. Thanksgiving through New Year) begins the week of Thanksgiving, not July. My kids chuckle at me, but I think they appreciate that I refuse to decorated or shop for Christmas prior to Thanksgiving. I also do not care what deals they throw my way, I absolutely will NEVER shop Thanksgiving Day or "Black Friday". For us that is family time, and I would hope that retail establishments respect the family. However, we do know that this is not true. Many will miss dinner with their families as a sacrifice to shoppers. God I miss the good old days.
I am also not a fan of shopping via the internet. Call me crazy, but I have always loved going from store to store while shopping and enoying the decorations. I grew up near Chicago, and one of the special things that we would do is go downtown to see the huge and animated Christmas window displays. Every department store had a toy department and a Santa Claus to visit! There was electricity and excitement in the air as we prepared to celebrate Jesus' birthday. The generosity that can come out at Christmas is amazing!
It would be cold and snowy and Christmas Carols played everywhere, you know the old ones from Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole! There weren't malls, you walked the sidewalks downtown, just like in the carols! And everyone wished you a Merry Christmas!
I respect the fact that everyone does not get into the season like I do. I love to decorate and shop. The shopping started for me this weekend with a trip to the grocery store to buy supplies for Thanksgiving dinner. And, disappointment slapped me right in the face. I was met by multiple people who were too impatient to wait their turn, and who threw darts at you via their eyes because you were enjoying shopping and taking your time. I cannot tell you how many grumpy faces I saw, how many times I was rear ended with a grocery cart or heard a rude comment from another shopper or clerk. Sadly, it did not matter how nice you were, the joint was loaded with Scrooges.
Shopping in a crowded store can be miserable if you choose to make it so. If you can, it is better to decide that hurrying is not going to do anything but frustrate you so you might as well resign yourself to the fact that this will take some time. If you can't be pleasant, than maybe you shouldn't go out. Why inflict your "Scroogeness" in the rest of the world. Shop online, then you will not have to have any human contact whatsoever. If you work in any retail business, I hope you like people. Is there anything worse than an unpleasant or downright mean store employee? What ever happened to customer service? If you cannot be pleasant to your customers, then maybe you should consider another career. Work in a business without human contact. Do those of us who enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and stay home. Let those of us who are crazy enough to go out with a smile and shop and speak to the people around us enjoy our season of insanity!
Happy Holidays! I use the term today to encompass Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Don't worry, you will get the proper greeting from me as each day arrives! Relax, try to enjoy the holidays and maybe change your perspective a little so that you can!
I just realized that this post did not show up and I apologize for that because I think it is very relevant.
This weekend, our communities lost three young people to a tragic car accident. The loss of their lives is devastating to their families, I am certain of that. We are fortunate to live in "Americana". Our area is pretty "old school" in a lot of ways. People in our local communities know each other and care about each other and take care of each other. So, the loss of these three young people effected the students and staff that were in the bus, also involved in the accident. The loss has hit every one of us who live in the area.
When you are a parent, hearing or knowing of someone losing their child hits you hard. From the moment your children are born, you love them, teach them and pray for them. You try to protect them, but you know that you must let them go. And when you do, you pray even harder.
We have no way of knowing what God's plan is for us, or when he will call us home. I have been reminded multiple times in church, that our children are entrusted to us by God for whatever time we have them on earth. It is all so temporary, and we really need to learn to appreciate each moment, small and large because each moment is a special gift.
The loss of these three young people genuinely impacted the "Surprise". They are close to him in age. It provoked several conversations and a great deal of thought on his part. Time is short. I heard apologies for the times he was a pain in my neck. I apologized too. I heard questions about life, what if mistakes get made, and what if we don't get a chance to correct them. I was asked how he knew who he really was. I heard that he missed home. And most important of all, we said "I love you".
The pain of loss is real, whether it is the death of someone young who has so much to experience, or someone older who has lived a full life. Those of us left behind feel the loss and the pain. Somehow there never seems to be enough time. So, as you go through your day, I ask you to pray for these families, for the souls of these young people, for our communities. Hug your family today. Tell them that you love them as often as you can.
Happy birthday to my oldest son! Who would have thought that we would have made it all these years without me maiming him! He has certainly been one of the most challenging to raise. This guys entry into the world had a unique start. I distinctly remember being in labor at the hospital as his father asked friends if they had met me and then proceeded to bring them in to meet me - while in labor!
We waited all day for this little guy to arrive. And when he did, there was not two inches of extra space in the delivery room. We had student nurses there who had been with me all day and wanted to see his arrival. We had nurses from two shifts because this young man was born at 3:00 which was "Change of Shift" and everyone wanted to meet him!
He was a bundle of energy from the day he was born! He went straight from sitting to running. No crawling or walking for him. He obviously had places to go. He received the nickname "Calvin" because of the comic strip which was very popular at the time. I swear that the cartoonist was living in our house because I kept seeing my son in his cartoons. He was using my son's words, thoughts and deeds.
He was only four or five when we found out that he does not do well with caffeine. I had given him a can of Mountain Dew thinking that it wasn't a cola, it was more like 7 Up so it should be good. We were on a trip with friends and thank God they had a room across the hall from us at the hotel. That child ran back and forth through the rooms for at least three hours without stopping. Now, I may have been foolish in not knowing how much caffeine is in Mountain Dew, but it did not take us long to put that information to good use. From then on if "Doc" needed help around the house, like having a hole dug, we would give "Calvin" a little caffeine and we had a nice hole in minutes!
Now, please don't think that this was abusive. We had to keep this boy busy or God only knows what his mind would dream up. We saved chores like crushing aluminum cans for him. He could do a mountain of them in minutes. He would take a sledge hammer in a vertical position and crunch down on the cans. It was much more efficient though, when he stopped hitting himself in the forehead on the upswing.
He talked a mile a minute and was very loud!!! I even had the pediatrician check his hearing as a youngster because of it. Hearing was fine. He was just incredibly loud.
Even without caffeine he was always operating at high speed. We used to take videos of birthday parties and holidays. You heard "Calvin's" voice a lot, occasionally you saw him in the film, but mostly he was a blur and a streak running in the background. You also heard me a lot telling him to sit down.
We should have known he would head into medicine as a profession. In Kindergarten, one of his teachers had heart surgery. The teaching team decided to explain what was going on to the children in simple terms. My son, argued with the teacher that the blood does not go from the heart into the body, it goes through the lungs. She thought it was odd that he did not have a good understanding of circulation as both of his parents were medical professionals. I had to explain to her that he was teaching her about how the blood is oxygenated before being pumped into the body. This kid kept me on my toes every minute of every day!!!!!
Seriously, Happy Birthday to a very special young man. We are so proud of the person and professional that you have become. I am sure that you have even outgrown napping with your lunch tucked in your cheek! I love you "Calvin"!
Been absent from posting this week, as I prepared for "Mommy" to come home for a visit with the kids. I haven't seen her since July, and we are pretty close. I have missed her! So I got the house organized and work stuff out of the way. As the week came to a close, I found that for the first time in quite a while, I was going to have all seven of the kids together!! As we have all gotten busy with school, careers, marriages, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc., it is a little more challenging to gather as a family. Usually, we are only a partial group. Saturday, was a very special day for me because I got to see them all at once and actually have a picture to prove it. We were missing a few spouses, including "Doc" (for part of the day). We went to the last football game of the season for "The Surprise", and enjoyed the road trip! The college guys got to come home for the first time since August!
I was in my glory! We called ""Doc" and he met us for dinner. Do the math - "Doc", me, seven children, four grandchildren, two girlfriends, one fiance' at a restaurant together. And when the cook asked who wanted Sake? "Mini Me" jumped right up! I thoroughly enjoy watching my family interact with each other. My interactions with them have changed too. I no longer have to referee the squabbles that I used to settle. I may give advise to them on how to handle something, but as a rule, I do not interfere. They are responsible for their relationships with each other and those are separate from my relationship with each of them. That is something very important to remember. Don't get mixed up in their relationships! Listen. Advise. and let them go.
As for me, I love watching it all. The laughter, the pranks, the jokes, the conversations and most of all the genuine love and caring for each other. Saturday was the best day ever. They were gathered together and the gathering included people who were important to them also. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate having my picture taken. On Saturday, following the football game as was proud - no ecstatic, to be standing in the center of my gang having our picture taken. Thanks to the family, for giving me a belated birthday present - having you all together for a great weekend! Best day ever!!!!
I thought it was important for all to understand the history behind Veteran’s Day, which we observed yesterday. It is not just an annoyance because the banks and the post office are closed. It has a special meaning and history to all who have served in the United States Military. It should carry a significant meaning to all who are citizens of this country. I am pleased that many of our schools are now observing this day with assemblies that honor our veterans. Here is the history lesson:
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. Fighting, however, had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, (i.e. a temporary cessation of hostilities) went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. In his speech he stated: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" Originally, the day was intended to be observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
On May 13, 1938, an Act made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday, known as "Armistice Day.". It was to be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, after World War II, which had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history and after American forces fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, amended the Act of 1938 and replaced the word "Armistice" with the word "Veterans” making November 11th a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
For a short period of time, Veterans Day was observed as part of a federal three day weekend plan until it became apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic importance and worthy of more than weekend holiday status. On September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. Veterans Day continues to be a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Thank you to all of the military who have helped preserve our freedom. May God bless you for your selflessness and service.
Saturday, was the last home football game for “The Surprise”. It is a three hour trip to the school. Sometimes, it seems like six hours and other times, when we have a guest going with us. This past weekend we had a guest. That usually means that the “Ninja” will start telling a bunch of the family stories.
As we drove, we passed the area where we found the barn that was to become our home. It was taken apart and numbered and then transported several counties to its current location and reassembled. The whole building process is a pretty neat story.
Anyway, I believe we had purchased the barn but it was not dismantled at the time we took a little excursion with the family, including my mother in law. The kids were still pretty little, as we actually built the house the year that “The Surprise” was born. As we traveled, “Doc” pointed out the barn that was to be our house and asked everyone if they wanted to see it better.
We had just purchased a brand new Suburban. With a family our size we had two options for vehicles; a full size van or a large SUV. We had done the van, and it was horrible to maneuver in snow, so this time we purchased an SUV. “Doc” was driving, his mom had “Shotgun”, and the rest of us were in the back two seats.
It was a gorgeous day, and we had the windows down as we got off the main road to look at our home-to-be. I started to get a little nervous as we drove onto a field. It was kind of muddy, and the car was brand new. “Doc” was certain we would be fine, we have four-wheel drive.
Well, you guessed it, within a few minutes we were stuck in the mud. “Doc:’s” mom decided to comment on the decision to drive in the field. I didn’t say a word. Remember, we have four wheel drive. “Doc” put the vehicle in four wheel drive and gave it a whirl. No movement, and we were digging ourselves in. Don’t worry. We have four wheel drive. “Doc’s” mom started dispensing advice. He didn’t take that well. I didn’t say a word. All we need is a little more power. We have four wheel drive. And “Doc” gunned it.
Mud proceeded to not only cover the new car, but it came flying into the windows. I got a hit in my face and chest. There was an audible gasp in the car and terror on the kids’ faces as they waited for the explosion. I never said a word. I wiped my face while “Doc” went to get the farmer and a tractor to pull us out. To this day, my family is in shock at my silence and I think they still wait with baited breath for the explosion. You can’t bottle that stuff up, it will blow one day!
Well, as much as I have tried to deny it for the past six years, it is time for me to admit it. Our Beagle has an eating disorder. When I first brought her home from the pet store, she was the cutest little thing. She would get so excited every time we fed her and I loved her exuberance. Then it started to get a little out of hand. She began knocking the bowl out of my hand when I fed her. So we worked on sitting and waiting.
The next thing I knew, she was getting into the kitchen garbage at every opportunity. We fixed that by purchasing a taller garbage with a lid on it. However, my kids are not always quick about taking the garbage out. Sometimes they just take the bag out of the container and tie it up and put it in the garage. We now know that Belle can smell through plastic. A few years ago at Thanksgiving, a couple of pumpkin pies got a little over cooked. We threw them in the trash. She ate two full pies.
We went to a football game one Friday night when she was a few years old and came home to find her laying on her side in the kitchen, moaning. On the floor next to her was a salt shaker that she had managed to unscrew. She ate all the salt. In their attempt to help her, a couple of the kids gave her water. That was when she bloated, badly!
We have to be very careful not to leave chairs out around the kitchen table, especially if there is any food on the table. We have caught her two or three times standing on the table and helping herself to food. I am sure she believed that she was only helping to clear the table and clean the dishes. She is a good dog. I caught her once, after she ate a little box of "Buckeyes" that I had given to "Doc". We replaced them before he found out. She panics when she is caught on the table and attempts to jump for her life. There has been more than one midair rescue of Belle.
Her latest passion is bread. Can't seem to convince her that those carbs will go straight to her hips and belly. We have a drawer near the pantry where the bread is stored. You have to make sure that it is completely closed. If even a corner of a bread bag is sticking out, or if the drawer is open even a crack, she is able to get in it. We have found empty bags in her cage and various other places around the house. She knows how to get to the food, but she is not good at covering her crime.
A few weeks ago, I was forced to admit that my Beagle has a problem. In our church, at the end of the service everyone is given a piece of bread that has been blessed during the service. I usually take a couple of extra pieces to give to someone who has not been able to attend church. I put them in my hard cover glasses case for safekeeping. That Sunday, I came home from church and set my purse on the floor. An hour or so later, I walked through the kitchen and noticed my glasses case in Belle's cage. My first thought was "What is that doing in there?" Immediately the light bulbs went off. Belle had gone into my purse, taken my glasses case to her cage and proceeded to eat the pieces of bread that were in it.
Anyone know of an overeaters anonymous group for Beagles?
Happy Birthday “Admiral”. This young man entered our lives when he was 15 years old. He and “Mini Me” were high school sweethearts. They were apart for a few years and drifted back together a little over four years ago. I will tell you that he is one of the most frustrating and loveable people in our family. I have rarely met a guy with as big of heart as this one. You can’t help but love him. It gets him in trouble too though.
I think he has garnished the some of the most memorable stories in his relatively short time in our family. Every year, I head to “Mommy’s” early in December for a Christmas shopping marathon. It is a hectic weekend, but we have a lot of fun together . It is supposed to be my time away from the daily grind. Somehow, that never seems to happen.
A few years ago while on my holiday excursion, I got a call from “Mini Me” threatening my life if I ever left her home alone with her siblings, husband and father again. That one begs the question, Why, what happened?”
Have I mentioned that we live on a farm? This means that at this time of the year, we have a lot of deer on our property. “the Admiral” gets about as crazy as “Doc” with the concept of hunting. They are both decked out in camo and blaze orange every year. And, they both go and sit in trees on our property. I distinctly remember the day one of the boys called and asked where dad was. My answer was simple. “I don’t know. I think he has been sitting in a tree since about 5:00 am.” “But mom, it’s noon, aren’t you worried?” “No, he comes in periodically for coffee.” “Doc” and the “Admiral are very much alike. The “Admiral” has been monitoring a tree camera for weeks.
Back to the story. Apparently, as he was coming up the driveway, the “Admiral” spotted a deer. While in the car, he pulled out his weapon and shot. Did you ever wonder what a gunshot sounds like in a tin can? Ask the “Admiral”, he can hear again, so he will answer you. He was pretty sure he hit his target, but it took off. He hurried to the house and came in to get “Doc” to help him track it in our utility vehicle.
First things first, he had to use the bathroom. While he was waiting for “Doc” he hurried into the mudroom bathroom. Apparently he overflowed the toilet, which no one realized until “Doc” slid across the mudroom in an inch or so of water. Water flows downhill. Below the mudroom is a large storage and mechanical room. Everything was soaked. While “Doc” yelled, everyone available, emptied everything from storage. “Mini Me” thought her father had completely overreacted and I got my phone call. By the time I got home a few days later, everything was still in the garage and guess who got to put it all back! Yep, me.
I am not really sure what the moral to any of this is. I still shake my head when I recall the weekend. But anyway, Happy Birthday “Admiral”. We are happy to have you in our family. We share a common bond of love for my daughter and grandchildren. God grant you many years!!!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!