December 30, 2010

Peter Rabbit's Coat

Kids Preferred The World of Beatrix Potter Collectible Peter Rabbit
The weather has dominated the headlines across the country this week as snow blanketed parts that had not experienced a white Christmas in over a hundred years, while others dealt with crippling conditions created by the blizzard.  Even PDub's neck of the woods saw some snowfall, but he slept through it.  That is probably for the best.  PDub does not like to wear a coat.  No, he HATES coats.  Put one on him and he will pitch a fit and take it off.  What he WILL do is carry one.  Since carrying it does little to keep him warm, he generally runs from the car to the door to get inside.  Come to think of it though, he pretty much runs everywhere he goes.  One cold morning as he got out of the car and ran to his school door with his coat in his arms, he stopped abruptly and yelled to Mama at Law, "My sock broke!"  Ever see a broken sock?  Sure enough, when he got inside, he sat down, took off his shoes, and showed his mommy the sock that had slipped off his ankle and landed under his foot.  Got to hate when that happens.  Well, it seems that Mama at Law was able to trick PDub into wearing his coat.  He now has Daddy at Law's hand-me-down pea coat.  You know, the one that looks like Peter Rabbit's coat.  "PDUB! Want to wear Peter Rabbit's coat today?!"

Yeah, Sure!

Stay warm~

December 26, 2010

I'm Dreaming...

of a white day after Christmas...

All across the southern state where I live, you can track the excitement on facebook and twitter and blog land as the snow makes a magical and historical appearance at Christmastime.  For us, it meant cutting short our visit to PDub. 

Fortunately, we packed in lots of memories in the time we were there.  The first night, we watched PDub visit Santa and though he promised to tell him that Grammy wanted presents, too, I am pretty sure he only gave Saint Nick his own wish list.  Never send a boy to do a woman's job. 

Then we drove through the famous County Park Holiday Lights.  PDub oohed and ahhed the whole time and it was like seeing it again for the first time.  He did not want to go home.  Yep, I can relate.  (See paragraph one.)

Then on Christmas Eve, Mama at Law, PDub, and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood and visited a nearby playground.  PDub now knows the way, and when you see his Christmas present, you know Mama at Law will need to keep it under lock and key to keep him from venturing back on his lonesome.

We attended a wonderful Christmas Eve service and held our annual Christmas card contest.  Daddy at Law's parents tied for first place, and were followed by a reader of this blog and friend of mine who wrote me the sweetest note.  I hope she had a very Merry Christmas.  She brightened our hearts with her warm thoughts. (See! Our Christmas card contest is not tacky.  It's touching.)

Christmas morning was just pure joy and magic as we watched PDub's reaction to Santa's visit and shared in our gift exchange.  Can you believe he LOVED everything he got? Even the clothes?  Sure you can, if you follow this blog at all.  He loved each and every gift.  I believe we all did. 

Papallama and I reluctantly decided to head home Christmas afternoon before the storm created travel problems.  We woke up today with a beautiful winter wonderland. 

I asked Papallama why it's so nice (and romantic) to be here alone with him and yet miss my girls at the same time. 

You know those people who tell you to enjoy your children while they're young because time flies and they'll be grown before you know it? 

They're right.

Now I am really, really excited about 2011!  My mom always said, "Don't wish your life away!" but I can not wait to meet grand #2 in June!  Guess in the meantime, I will go make some New Year resolutions and begin breaking them.

Auld lang syne, y'all~

December 19, 2010

Don't Judge . . . That's my job!

Photo Credit
We have a unique tradition on Christmas Eve that began years ago when the girls were small.  We felt sorta guilty about it for many years and kept it a secret, but slowly word got out.  You see, we judge you.  Yes, if you send us a Christmas Card, it is entered into the Christmas Card Contest for a chance to win...
well, that's it, for a chance to win before hitting the first recycle pile of the New Year. 

Here's how it goes.  After the Christmas Eve service, when we are all holier than thou, we gather around the table and number all the cards we have received.  They are then evenly distributed among the judges and evaluated in three categories.  Using our special secret ballots, we first look at the cover.  Based on our impression, it will receive a score of 1-5.  Glitter cards used to do well here for some reason.  The next category is message.  I like this one because it gives us a chance to really read and absorb the good wishes being sent.  Bonus points to the folks who take the time to actually write a short note!  Then it gets an overall impact score based on the totality of the cover and the message. The record holder for most wins is hands-down my mother-in-law.   I think she must have gotten to the Hallmark store super early before all the good ones got away.  It isn't always the fancy ones, though.  We've had some handmade cards produce winners, too.  
When a few senders discovered our dark secret, we discovered something about them.  They are COMPETITIVE.  It is easy to spot the ones who are in it to WIN IT. 

We never dreamed this would become such a fun tradition, but it is definitely something we look forward to from the very first card that arrives. 

Now is yours in the mail?
Put a stamp on it and have a very Merry Christmas!

December 13, 2010

Christmas Promise

I got one of "those" calls last week.  "Judy, I am calling about Ruth.  Please call me."  Ruth.  My dear friend, Ruth.  She and I worked together as a team with special ed. students for six years.  She was my assistant, my shoulder, my back up, my cover, my relief, my salvation.  When the day was done, she would often laugh and say (In a Jack Benny tone of voice), "Well, Judy, we made a memory today."  I could not have survived those early teaching years without her. 

We were more than work partners though.   She was my friend.  Even after spending all those hours together during the day, she would call me in the evening and we would chat and laugh about all kinds of things...politics, family, children, friends. We would meet for dinner or take a special shopping trip to an antique market.  I never tired of her company.

She was older than me.  My senior by 13 years, but age was certainly never a barrier for us.  She and I just had one of those friendships that only come around once or twice in a lifetime.  If you are blessed as I was. 

She moved to Florida when her husband got a nice job there.  She gave me her bedroom furniture.  I still use it.  I visited her once with my husband and children, and she set up base for us while we enjoyed a visit to Disney World.  It would be the last time I would see her.

I talked to her off and on over the years.  She was invited to both daughters' weddings though I knew that was a stretch.  She called all excited about how the girls had grown and gushed over how pretty and successful they were. She vowed to set my youngest daughter up with one of her co-workers. Glad she didn't, but it was a vintage Ruth scheme. We still laughed and cackled over the phone and the years apart melted away in seconds. 

How did my friend become so ill and pass away without so much as a goodbye? I am certain that was not her intention.  I am sure she intended to fight the lung disease, secure a transplant, and live to laugh another day. 

But that did not happen.  She died at the young age of 69 leaving a grieving husband, children, grandchildren, and friends. 

There was one more thing you need to know about my friend, Ruth.  She loved the Lord.  She often shared what she had learned in her bible study or sermon.  Not in a preachy way, but in a "I need to do this better/more myself" way.  I learned about God from her example. 

Christmas is not the time I want to say goodbye to my friend, yet it is the perfect time to cherish the promise that Christmas holds.  Ruth is in Heaven now.  Heaven has one more happy angel.  The memories?  She left those with me.

Thank you, Ruth.

Deal O The Day

Pretty sweet deal
December 13th already?!!  Hope your Christmas shopping is further along than mine!  I received a message from Barnes and Noble that my readers are being offered a special discount today, so I wanted to be sure to pass it along.  I am one of their members, and if you buy many books, I recommend you get a membership, too.  Savings and free shipping!  My membership has paid for itself already.

And just so you know, I get about $.50 for any book you order using the link in the sidebar on my blog.  I AM on a fixed income, you know. 


December 6, 2010

Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails

PDub was here for a sleepover this past weekend.  It went something like this. 

4:00 Arrive and scout out the house for anything that has changed since last visit.
4:00:01 See the Christmas tree and quickly discover he can crawl under it like a tunnel.
4:02 Go get toys to drag through the tunnel and put in the corner behind the tree.
4:02:30 Done with toys, move on to next room
4:03 Find Grammy's new bicycle

Get the drift? With PDub, it's go, go, go!

Barbie Collector 2010 Holiday DollSince I had two daughters, this boy business has been a new adventure for me.  Think boys and girls aren't wired differently at birth?  How about this?  I recently delivered all the Christmas Barbies we Santa had given Mama at Law over the years for her to store instead of me.  As she put them away, she decided to show one to PDub.  He picked up the Barbie, quickly threw her aside, and proceeded to use her doll stand as an excalibur. 

Yeah, he's all boy. 

Ten on the SledSo I think he will love this book. It's perfect for this time of year, and I think it will be a great holiday book that won't have to be put away with the decorations.   Ten on a Sled is a rollicking tale of ten wacky animals who go whipping down the hill together on the toboggan. One by one, they fall off the sled: "Seal spilled out," "hare hopped out," "sheep shot out,".  Ah, alliteration alert! There's counting, too, and PDub is a math wiz already.  It comes from all those times he hears his Daddy at Law say, "One.....TWO....."  But here's what PDub will LOVE...the silly animals created by illustrator, Liza Woodruff, the rhyme crafted by author, Kim Norman, but most of all, the

Oh, and if you've ever wondered what to give a teacher for Christmas, I suggest a book!  Better yet, give one to her school library in her honor!  I promise it will be money well spent and a gift much loved and appreciated!

Sending you warm thoughts~

December 2, 2010

He's Watching You!

I have been MIA for a few days, but I have been busy trying to get back into the swing of things at work since the Thanksgiving break.  As a virtual teacher, I don't have to worry about all the little excited kiddies running around driving me crazy, right?  HO HO HOld your horses.  I have been wished a Merry Christmas at least four times this week via the chat box.  So, yes, even virtual students are feeling the spirit!  And that's okay with me.

That goes right along with the book I just gave Mama at Law and Mama Cat.  I bought them the much hyped Elf on the Shelf that I have been hearing about and seeing in stores for a couple of years now.  I had been hoping to find a deal on it, since I knew $29 bucks was a bit of a gimmick. But that's a Grammy's job...spoiling the grands. 
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Blue Eyed North Pole Pixie-Elf
They both loved it.  Papallama read the book and thought it was a really neat story idea.  Seems the little elf returns to the North Pole each night to give Santa a report.  (How did you think he could keep up with everybody?)  Each day the elf returns and the child wakes to find that he has moved to a new lookout location.  The children are warned not to touch the little sprite or his magic will disappear. 

That's cute enough.  I can remember thinking along those lines when I was little and it was Christmas time.  I sure felt "the eyes" were on me then more than any other time that I can remember.  Just an innocent child's imagination, right?

Well, go to Amazon and read the reviews!  I couldn't believe it when I read a review from a sister Grammy who said she had been admonished for sending her grandchild the wrong message.  She was instructed to return it to the store. Some reviewers reported being CREEPED OUT and SCARED! 


Have they seen the news lately?  No, I guess not. They would be a basket case.  Why just this morning, I saw where a college girl had been 'friended' on facebook by a phony sorority sister and asked to take a picture of herself with her unmentionables wadded up in her mouth.  Now THAT creeps me out!  The poor girl was so scared that she returned home for the semester and will go back in January to resume classes.  So, you people who are creeped out by a little toy elf...GET A GRIP!

Let me put it into perspective for you.

Facebook + sorority pledge + weirdo = Creepy
Book + toy + Christmas = Cheer
Now go be merry. And just remember...

He's got his eyes on you!