Tuesday, December 30, 2008

please come to denver with the snowfall

okay jennifer, here's your chance to name that tune...;)

josh and rue loaded up and took off for denver sunday morning. we went home to see them before they left but didn't make it. i wasn't sure what time they were leaving but we wouldn't have made it anyway, mom said they left around 6:00. they got there last night around 12:30 our time i think, safe and sound. from the message josh sent me last night, the trip was beautiful with only one road block -- rue left her phone in topeka at the motel! hopefully she will get it back.

josh starts school next week. they are spending some time with his good friend dayton and his family right now. it's good to know he'll have someone he knows close while he's getting used to the city. hopefully we can visit before they leave denver, i've wanted to go there since his first trip a few years ago. the pictures were gorgeous.

on another note, i signed up for my first half marathon yesterday. the deadline for registration was getting closer and i couldn't put it off any longer. when i hit submit, i thought i would be sick...it's just one of those things you think you can't do until you actually do it. there's gonna have to be a trip back to the ol' doc before april because with that crowd of people, i'm sure to have a major meltdown. ;) keep your fingers crossed that i can stay healthy and injury free, this is something i am really looking forward to accomplishing. i will be recruiting running buddies to help me along the way so if you see me coming, you may want to have an excuse ready. wait, i forgot, i don't take excuses...that's for you jennifer, ha!

Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago - the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider.... It doesn't seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we've traveled. ~Jane Mersky Leder

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

chillin' after breakfast. look at that belly!

hayley and budge. he insisted these were not pajamas.
gigmaw, drew, kate and josh.
josh is feeding him ice cream and he's loving it

i'm posting pictures -- we are one tired crew. we hope everyone had a very blessed and safe christmas. we had a wonderful christmas eve and day and were so glad to celebrate with family and friends. drew so enjoyed his day and is completely exhausted but not willing to give up the staying awake fight just yet....

he got wayyyy too much stuff! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


many families hold many different traditions on christmas eve. my family has always gotten together on christmas eve at gig's house. we usually open one small present and save the rest for christmas morning. i didn't get to go home for christmas eve last year or this year. we have spent the last few years with tim's family, eating, talking and enjoying each other's company. i guess when you have a baby it makes it much harder to travel, especially when he has an early bedtime. when you begin a family of your own, you begin to make small changes in your old traditions to start traditions that are unique to your household.
tomorrow morning we will get up early, let drew open his presents, head to bob and kathy's again for more present opening, then be on our way to beattyville. i love that tim has a great family close so we can share the holidays with them. i am a little nostalgic for home though, i don't think that will ever change. so many years of waking up on christmas morning with a full house makes it really hard to adjust to new traditions. i hope we can make drew's memories as sweet as all those tim and i both have from our christmas holidays. i'll post pictures tomorrow of all our christmas eve/day gatherings.
in the meantime, here are some christmas eve facts:

first, we have the santa tracker:

next, we have our facts about the celebrations in some churches. i had to put this one on here because it made me remember a time when i went to midnight mass with mamaw. i had gone the year before by myself because i was asked to sing in a choir for the service. this was not at my church but at the episcopal church. (we have very similar beliefs/traditions and this is where my best friend went to church.) anyway, a few things are different in their ceremonies....namely the end of many ceremonies they say peace to one another. having never witnessed this, i thought everyone was saying "pleased to meet you" therefore when all the attendees turned to me to shake my hand, i said "pleased to meet you" to everyone. no one even told me what i was doing wrong until i shook the hand of my high school librarian (who was such a good friend to sarah and i--definitely our confidante) and she laughed hysterically at me. she informed me of my mistake and told me i was supposed to say "peace be with you". yes, it makes much more sense but i had no idea....i giggle everytime this happens in a service now and i always think of that midnight mass. :)

Christmas season liturgically begins on Christmas Eve, and is preceded by a four-week anticipatory and penitential period called Advent, which can include acts of almsgiving, fasting, and service while the season unfolds. The Mass of the Vigil is said in the late afternoon or early evening hours of December 25th. The Christmastide season continues through until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following the Solemnity of the Epiphany.
Roman Catholics and Anglicans traditionally celebrate a midnight Mass (Eucharist) which begins sometime before midnight on Christmas Day; this ceremony, which is held in churches throughout the world, marks the beginning of Christmas Day. A popular joke is to ask what time Midnight Mass starts, but in recent years some churches have scheduled their "Midnight" Mass as early as 7 p.m. In Spanish-speaking areas, the Midnight Mass is sometimes referred to as Misa del Gallo ("Rooster's Mass"). In the Philippines, this custom lasts for nine days, starting on December 16 and continuing daily up to December 24, during which Filipinos attend dawn masses, usually starting at around 4:00-5:00 a.m.
Lutheran parishes often carry on Christmas Eve traditions typical for Germany and Scandinavia. "Krippenspiele" (nativity plays), special festive music for organ, vocal and brass choirs and candlelight services make Christmas Eve one of the highlights in the Lutheran Church calendar. Christmas Vespers are popular in the early evening, and midnight services are also widespread in regions which are predominately Lutheran. The old Lutheran tradition of a Christmas Vigil in the early morning hours of the 25th of December (Christmette) can still be found in some regions of Germany. In eastern and middle Germany many congregations still continue the tradition of "Quempas singing": separate groups dispersed in various parts of the church sing verses of the song "He whom Shepherds once came Praising" (Quem pastores) responsively.
Methodists celebrate the evening in different ways. Some, in the early evening, come to their church to celebrate Holy Communion with their families. The mood is very solemn, and often the only visible light is the Advent Wreath, and the candles upon the Lord's Table. Others celebrate the evening with services of light, which often include singing the song "Silent Night" as a variety of candles (including personal candles) are lit. Other churches have late evening services at 11 pm, so that the church can celebate Christmas Day together with the ringing of bells at 12 am. Others offer Christmas Day services as well. Each church is welcome to celebrate Christmas Eve evening and Christmas Day in their own special way.
Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast annually from King's College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve has established itself as one of the signs that Christmas has begun in the United Kingdom. It is broadcast to many parts of the world via the BBC World Service.
Other churches also hold a candlelight service, which is also typically held earlier in the evening; these often feature dramatizations of the
Nativity. Similar worship services are held in many Protestant churches on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

christmas eve eve

oh, tomorrow is one of my very favorite days of the year! i think i've always loved christmas eve more than christmas day....maybe it's the anticipation, i'm not sure. i am so excited to see drew with all his presents christmas morning i can't stand it. we'll have to keep up our tradition and let him open one small gift on christmas eve. i'm hoping since his birthday he will know about unwrapping presents a little better come christmas morning.
he is starting to talk like crazy, i can't believe all the babbling he's doing. today i was showing him a book with animals, pointing to them and naming them as we went through. when i got to the fish, i said it then he repeated "shish". i love it! he points at it now and says "sh, sh". his grandpa is going to flip when he hears it....maybe that will be his christmas present from drew!
be safe in your travels tomorrow if you're out and about. i have a feeling tim's going to have me out doing a few last minute deals. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

two dimes, two pennies

mom and hayley came down and we braved the cold for some shopping. we met tim in lexington and returned a few things while also getting a good deal on mom's new christmas present. i have never been able to keep presents for mom, that's why i try not to buy them until the last minute. today was no different. tim and i got away with buying her gift without being found out while in the store, but before we even got out of the store we had given it to her. it was a camera....she needs to know how to use it before the christmas gathering, right?
drew was such a good little shopper again today. tim and i cracked up in target because he was getting sleepy....something about target makes him want a nap. trying to do everything to please him, i handed him his stuffed elephant and he promptly reared back and launched it as far as it would go. i was about three feet ahead of tim and drew, pushing the buggy, when i see a gray streak fly by my ear and land in the buggy. i was a little shocked, then i said, "that's my boy!" he does need a good arm for those future sporting events....

Sunday, December 21, 2008


we were able to get a little last minute shopping done today. we are going to go back out in the frigid weather tomorrow to get the rest of it done. though drew was an absolute trooper today, he started getting very tired and we had to call it quits in order to get home for a nap. he is so funny in all the stores....when he sees someone coming down an aisle, he just laughs and smiles, waving at them. he's a very happy boy.
drew had also started saying "thank you" when we hand him something. i guess he's picking up different things we say lately. everytime i hand him something i'll say please before i give it to him and thank you after. it sounds a little more like "tink to" but hey, i know what he's trying to say. :) when tim realized what he'd said today he said, "wow, wouldn't it be nice if we raised a little boy with good manners?" i just looked at him, a little stunned and said "do you honestly think he's going to be allowed to be anything other than polite and mannerly?" i guess i just never thought of it as being an option. now i'm having these thoughts where we raise this rude, impolite little boy!
since we didn't finish our last minute shopping today, we'll go back out tomorrow. i'll have drew so bundle up he's probably going to be sweating. wish us luck!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

twenty - let the festivities begin

today is the 20th and we have officially begun the christmas festivities. school's out, the cold weather was back and we had the first holiday gathering. we left this morning for tim's aunt's house in oh. the day could be summed up in a few words: overeating, family, laughter, noise and fun. we hadn't seen everyone in a few months so it was nice to see them again. one of tim's cousins had a baby girl, karaline, a few months after drew was born. it was so cute to see how much she'd grown since we saw her in july. she and drew hit it off quick.
drew, as always, made himself the center of attention whenever possible. he is such a ham. lots of good pictures were taken, though i once again left my camera in the car....i'll have to post some once i get them emailed to me.
five days until christmas....this is one of my favorite times of the year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

19th: day of freedom

today was the last day of school before christmas break. it seems like it flew by and we had so much to do....luckily we got most of it done yesterday. we had a great day, it was fun and everyone was happy for once.
first we had christmas breakfast which was a blast. next, we had AR store, then we were off to the christmas play. after that activity, then lunch, the computer lab for math....finally it was time for stockings and stocking stuffers. we had planned to do it in the morning and get it all over with but the morning was jam-packed and we had no time. after being asked 44,000 times by 19 kids when we were going to do it, we finally got it over with. jennifer and i stayed in the back of the room handing kids their stuffers to hand out. the funny part is that we both had our empty gift bags full of stuffers by the end of the sharing session. two grown women, who have eaten for the last two weeks like it's the last supper, (well, i have, sorry if that offends you jenn), and here we are collecting candy canes, double bubble, mad libs books, heart shaped sunglasses and huge bling-bling rings. from the dollar store...it was definitely a kodak moment. too bad we didn't get a picture. my glasses ended up making me a little sick. you know when the plastic isn't really plastic and it makes everything look kind of wavy? it makes me very carsick but i couldn't take them off because they were all watching, making sure i was as fashionable as third graders thought i should be.
i got so many nice, thoughtful gifts. it always amazes me how the boys are so in tune with what i like...sometimes you think they aren't listening, but they really are. some of my favorites today were my new nike backpack and headbands (thank you emory, jennifer and i made use of them on our run after school), the dog photo frame, ornament and magnet from jacob, BEERCHEESE from alex and abby, huge, fluffy slipper socks from destiny, good smelly lotions, all the chocolate, my waco loopers ornament, a bybee pottery platter and several more gifts. my kids and their families have been so generous and thoughtful this year. it made me so happy to see them want to give to their classmates, their teachers and our little boy we sponsored from ripples of hope.
now, i think i need to go lay down and let all this food digest before we hit it to ohio for tim's family christmas tomorrow. i'm going to be ten pounds heavier before the weekend's over!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

9 x 2 = 18

yeah, yeah, i've got multiplication on the brain....the kids are having meltdowns over their multiplication quiz while i'm wondering if they're ever gonna memorize these facts. i don't care what the experts say, you have to memorize multiplication facts, no matter how many strategies you have to figure them out, it just works better that way.

one more day until christmas break! it's amazing to me how wild things can get around christmas...i think my head was spinning today. i wrapped about 25 presents before 9:30 while teaching reading and a writing lesson. i ended up having to let my kids help me wrap some of the gifts....i should have taken pictures of their wrapping jobs. then again, they weren't that much worse than mine. :)

i can't remember if i've already mentioned it, but i did not put ornaments on our tree this year. most of mine are old ones mom and tim's mom gave me from when we were both little. lots of mine are paper or felt ones that we made when we were 3 or 4. since we have drew walking now and ruby reeking havoc wherever she goes, i decided it was probably best that we didn't put them on until things settle down a little. if ruby were to eat one of my old ornaments, i might lose it on her. i kept thinking maybe i would end up feeling guilty and get them out. tonight however, i realized i had made a very wise decision. as i was crawling after drew while he was wildly punching buttons on the remote and running, yes running, across the living room ruby gets in my face crunching on something. after i ran my hand down her throat to retrieve the object, i was not surprised to find a christmas light in my hand. i thought well, at least i can replace a single bulb. yes, you could do that if your dog politely chewed only the bulb off. you cannot replace it if she chews the entire wire and bulb off.

as i went to search and see which bulb she got, i promptly jerked my hand back after getting shocked. even though the whole row of lights on the bottom of our prelit tree was dark, the wire was still live. it can't be replaced. how do you restring a prelit tree? oh, well. i just unplugged it, so not to get shocked for the third time, (because once wasn't enough for me to touch the wire, i had to check again to make sure i really did get shocked the first time like a dummy), and bent/wrapped/hid the live wire up under one of the branches.

mom swears she is marley, the yellow lab from the book marley and me. i refuse to read the adult book because i have a feeling what happens to the dog in the end....i'm reading the kid's version of john grogan's book to my kids right now and they love it. maybe ruby is like marley....i still can't help but love her. she is my special dog. :)

she adores drew. maybe because he's always giving her food....

i can't believe how much she's grown since august!

this is the most recent. they were exhausted from playing so hard and when i looked down, this is how they were laying.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

advent seventeen

17 days down, woo-hoo!
today, it's songs. christmas songs. some of them i love, some i can't stand....i have to say thank you to kate and hayley for always making sure i have to hear that one song i can't stand yet i'll sing it all day long -- paul mccartney's simply having a wonderful christmastime. i cannot stand that song!
songs i love:

  • blue christmas - only elvis
  • o holy night
  • hark the herald angels sing
  • silent night
  • angels we have heard on high
  • noel
  • away in a manger
  • baby its cold (the bing crosby/doris day version)
  • do you hear what i hear - i will forever picture mrs. eversole when i hear this
  • emmanuel
  • any charlie brown christmas music
  • christmas canon rock - always reminds me of sarah....
  • carol of the bells
  • we three kings
  • joy to the world - oh, eloise trying to out sing mrs. eversole....great memories
  • and the angels cried

i guess i just love church at christmas and i always loved the music....when the lights were turned out and nothing but candles were giving off light, what a warm feeling. i insisted that drew be baptized at church last christmas even though he was only about 4 weeks old. tim was baptized along with him and i was so happy we could do that at christmas. it's always seemed so special and especially so since drew's formal acceptance into the church, where tim and i pledged to always care for him and teach him the way to be a good person, a good christian, was at christmas.

okay, mushy stuff aside, here are some of the not-so-favorites:

  • of course, simply having a wonderful christmastime
  • hard candy christmas
  • deck the halls
  • where are you christmas
  • my grown up christmas list
  • we wish you a merry christmas
  • let it snow
  • santa baby

i'm not sure why i don't like these, i just don't care for them very much.
i used to really not like the little drummer boy but since our kids at school sing it for their program nearly every year, i have come to love it. i crack up every time they sing "pa-rrrrrum pum pum pum". everytime they get a little louder until they're basically yelling at the end. hilarious.

i started thinking about songs because we've been listening to christmas music in my room the last few weeks. i've been a little peeved at one of my kids because he keeps telling my other kids santa is not real. he continues to do this even after i've given him "the look". we've had a talk and he still refuses to believe santa is real. that stinks for a kid that age to not believe but it's even worse that they will tell their classmates and send everyone into a frenzy. i tell them over and over, you have to believe to receive. i still believe...there were many christmas's when we would have gotten very little had there not been a little santa somewhere to help mom and dad out. santa comes in many forms....like i told the kids, santa is like jesus - you can't see him, but you better believe in him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


advent day sixteen was welcomed with a SNOW DAY! it's rare we get one, especially before christmas break. i enjoyed being able to sleep in a little but i really didn't want to miss school. the more we miss, the longer into the summer it drags on.
i used to love calvin and hobbes cartoons....here are a few to go with our first snow day. i had to insert them as links because they wouldn't fit as pictures....:)





Monday, December 15, 2008

happy birthday, jeanne and other randomness

today was officially jeanne's birthday though we kind of celebrated last week. it's a good thing, too because she ended up going home sick. i barely even got to mouth a quick happy birthday to her this morning and i saw her no more the entire day.
school was a little crazy today....everyone's schedule's are so mixed up this time of year. christmas store, potlucks, sickness, and talk of bad weather just fuel the fire. if we get snow tonight and school is called off, i'll....i'll....well, i'll believe it when it happens. let's just say i'll be laying my clothes out tonight and getting drew's things ready just like every other night. i hate breaking routine.
i haven't blessed you with any randomness lately and i've been thinking:
  • why has my baby decided he needs to carry around a dust pan and broom everywhere he goes lately?
  • will i always call him my baby, even when he's 50 years old. (i already know the answer to that one....of course.)
  • don't you wish when you hit that "next blog" button at the top of the blogger page, and you get to a really cool looking blog, everything wasn't in flippin' japanese? tonight i came across and arabic one with lots of pictures....it's kind of like when you're getting your nails done and all the people working there are jabbering up a storm. you just know they're talking about you. total paranoia.
  • will ruby ever settle down?
  • why does drew always have to poop after i've given him a bath and wrestled him into a diaper and sleeper? no matter how long we wait!
  • why, when drew does fill his britches, does he go under the kitchen table to do it? such an odd place to choose for privacy...
  • do i have whooping cough? in the middle of the night, i've succeeded in convincing myself it's true.
  • why is night always a time for thoughts to creep out and make you think you're crazy?
  • will my buddy get to feeling better soon? it stinks knowing they feel like you-know-what and i feel helpless.
  • will i ever find a gift for uncle jon? should i just go for cigarettes and beer and call it a gift?
  • will the weatherman finally be right? you know, we teach our kids a prediction is an educated guess or estimation....do they need a refresher?
  • what will i do when i've finished my last twilight book?
  • is waylon really a dog or should i start researching reincarnation a little more? sometimes, i think he's human.
  • should i whack that kid tomorrow that keeps telling the other kids there's no santa? he told my kids santa was dead. DEAD! i promptly told him santa was like jesus, he would always be there. either i get points deducted from the hell ticket, or i get them added on for making a slight comparison of santa and baby jesus. i really think i'll get points deducted because that really made my kids happy. they now think santa and jesus are either related or just best buds....
  • can i get fired for the jesus/santa talk? ah, i'll just say i was teaching them about similes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You'll shoot your eye out kid!

here are the promised pictures....and boy are they flattering! the pic above was one taken before the race. we were freezing. it couldn't have been much above 20 degrees and i don't think any of us felt our fingers or toes even after we started running. normally you warm up even in the farthest extremities but not at this one. though we went through a little pain, it was all worth it in the end. again i will say, WE WON!
we paid special attention to detail with our real red ryder bb gun, (thank you shannon and emory), a red bar of soap, fish net stockings and a lamp shade with fringe, a tongue stuck to a pole, a coon skin cap, goggles for flick, a broomstick to make beth's arms stick out like randy's and of course the glasses. through the race we took wrong turns, got tangled up in lights, grabbed treats from the present table, had to stop to remove bunny feet--then stop to put them back on at the end, remove layers of clothing from bobbi, grab a dropped camera, dropped scarf, dropped glasses and bunny ears and avoid many, many children that were about to get taken out by beth's arms -- which she had absolutely no control over. she did very well considering she had a broomstick through her sleeves....she only hit one little girl and one truck. i said "beep-beep" but i guess the little girl didn't hear me in time so she got clipped. well, nailed. nailed, clipped, who's counting?
we had such a good time, we are already planning for next year. :)

randy (beth), farkas (bobbi), the pink nightmare (me), santa (pam), mom (julie) ralphie (marie) leg lamp (jennifer) and of course flick (jeanne)

coming down the homestretch....beth looks like she has bunny ears.

jeanne with her tongue stuck to the pole.
who said "i triple dog dare you"?
notice the lady beside her staring...we got that same look all morning from everyone we passed.

almost done!

pam looks like she's not sure if she wants to eat the banana or the gun.

thank you for this flattering picture, tyler. i truly appreciate it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


i promised pictures, i don't have them yet....sorry! the reindeer ramble was a success, we won first place in the santapede team division! jennifer's friend tyler was our photographer today and he's going to send me the pictures soon.

to prepare you, we went as the christmas story characters and it was fantastic. included in our team were: the pink nightmare, ralphie in regular clothes, the bully, randy, mom, the leg lamp, santa with the red ryder bb gun (and yes, we had a real red ryder), farkas (the bully) and of course, flick. to hold you over until pictures are posted, here is some christmas story trivia for you to enjoy.

oh, and if you've never seen it, shame on you.

  • According to Peter Billingsley (young Ralphie) in the DVD Commentary, the nonsensical ramblings that Ralphie exclaims while beating up Scott Farkus were scripted, word for word.

  • For the scene in which Flick's tongue sticks to the flagpole, a hidden suction tube was used to safely create the illusion that his tongue had frozen to the metal.

  • Ralphie says that he wanted the "Red Ryder BB Gun" 28 times.

  • The film was released just before Thanksgiving and became a surprise hit. By the time Christmas rolled around, the movie had already been pulled from most theaters because it had been "played out". After complaints were lodged at the theater owners and the studio, the film played on select screens until after the first of the year 1984.

  • Inspired the creation of "The Wonder Years" (1988).

  • Director Bob Clark mentions in the commentary on the 2003 DVD that he worked with writer Jean Shepherd for nearly ten years on the concept of ‘A Christmas Story’ before the film was made.

Friday, December 12, 2008

12-12 yo

okay, tomorrow is the big day. it's the reindeer ramble and we have entered as a "santapede" team. we're prepared, we're all currently or have recently been sick, and it's gonna be c-o-l-d. sounds like a great way to spend a wintery saturday morning!

i am not going to give away any more details to those of you who don't know what the reindeer ramble is yet...you'll have to come back and check out the blog pictures tomorrow. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

day 11 - mixed blessings

this morning started off a little sad....a rainy morning matched the phone call i got at 6:45.
first, i never get phone calls, especially that early in the morning so i immediately knew something was wrong. it was mamaw calling to tell me aunt sister had passed away in the night. her birthday was just last week...
my mamaw is the youngest of 10 children and her sister, ruth, was the oldest. you can imagine how much like a mom she was to mamaw. she was even her teacher while mam was in school. all the siblings called her sister as well as calling their oldest brother, brother. i guess it stuck because that's all they have ever been known as. i guess it sounds odd to other people when they hear us say "aunt sister" and "uncle brother" but it was never odd for me.
aunt sister and i used to write letters to one another every week. they'd be pages long sometimes. i think i started doing this because she always wrote mam letters and i would see them laying on the mantle. one day i decided i wanted to write her as well, so i got the address off one of the letters and sent my letter out later that day. i can't even remember how old i was -- maybe middle school? anyway, we kept up with the correspondence for years, all the way up to my college years. at that point, she was getting a bit forgetful and would write the same things or lose the letter she'd started, find it a few days later and start writing on it again. i loved getting those letters in the mail. i have a very wide sentimental streak so i saved all the letters she sent me. i have them tied with a ribbon on the table in drew's room and just had them out looking at them a few days ago. they made me smile still....i guess they did their job. :)
i know this isn't a christmas theme today, but she was a blessing to mamaw, to big mom and to me. i think i am very much like one of her daughters, sissy, and i've always loved that. she lived a difficult life at times and i'm sure she's in a better place now.
on the way to work when i got off the phone with mam, i couldn't help but cry a little...just nostalgia i suppose. i also thought of how fitting it was that though she passed, another little life will come into this world in her place. i am sure she would be thrilled to know her place in this world would be filled by a sweet child....sometimes, that's what makes the loss of a loved one okay, the fact that another will get the chance to enjoy the sweetness of that new life.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
- Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


ever changing,
ever flowing,
the Christmas spirit
is ever glowing.
blessings among us,
blessings abound,
every year changes
still blessings are around.
too many troubles,
too much stress,
what happened to family,
remembering and rest?
the wind gets colder,
the wind begins to whip,
it's nothing compared
to that one long trip.
we have much to be thankful,
we have much to rejoice,
for we were blessed
with an everlasting voice.
seasons will come,
seasons will go,
one constant remains --
He has told us so.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


this is harder than i thought.....what was i thinking, 25 blogs in 25 days???
i just found my bestest bud SAS has started her own blog...i'm so excited. and yes sarah, i can now stalk you as well. Ha, ha.
sarah mentioned something on her blog i hadn't even thought to mention lately -- the cold weather. we both hate it but i can't believe i haven't really noticed it so far this year. i think since i'm running again it's just one of those gotta deal with it kind of things. you bundle up and go out. my absolute favorite part is that people drive by at the point where you've stripped off your long sleeves and notice you running in 30 degree weather with a t-shirt and running tights. i LOVE those crazy looks! it makes me feel superior in some weird way. maybe because i'm doing something they could be doing but won't. i can remember being very upset when i would see others out running in the cold, heat or rain and think "gosh, i want to be doing that!"
gear up girls, it's only gonna get colder. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

OCHO - sickness

go ahead and get the medicine ready, some sort of illness is coming for you.
it's bad enough when you have to feel bad and get to stay at home, but it really stinks when you feel bad and have to get up and go somewhere. drew hasn't felt well for a week now. i think maybe i'm starting to come down with something....my whole body hurts. angie is sick, jennifer is sick, 6 kids in angie's room were sent home today (one with strep), one kid got puked on and had to go home and change clothes, more parents sent their kids in sick but didn't think it might be a better idea to keep them home. 'tis the season!
a nice warm bed sounds really good right now....i'm off to get ready for it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

day 7 -- laziness

day 7 is dedicated to laziness....we've been lazy today, mostly laying around the house trying to stay warm.

drew did not sleep much last night so i didn't get into bed until 3:30 this morning. luckily, he slept late and tim got up and cleaned up the kitchen, cooked breakfast and folded clothes. ahhhh, that was a nice thing to wake up to. after we had a late breakfast, we got ready and headed out to target. drew's clothing supply seems to keep depleting (kind of like the socks in the washer) so he had to have some new clothes. he got two new outfits and he's going to look like such a big boy in them especially since he's walking everywhere these days. i think for christmas i'll get him some big boy tennis shoes, too. we all know how i looovvvveeeee tennis shoes. :)

on a thankful note, our family is very thankful his dad wasn't hurt yesterday. he was headed to ohio and when he got to florence he heard an advisory about the weather and turned around to come back home. he came back home, stopped by their shell station, then headed back home. when he was headed home, a car on a side street couldn't stop because of the icy roads and he nailed her going about 55 mph. he has a few cuts -- a busted lip and cut/bruised nose and some cuts on his hands but otherwise okay. we expected him to get up and be very sore today but he said he felt pretty good except for his thumbs being jammed and sore. too bad he can't say the same for his truck....it is evidently beyond repair. the girl that hit him had to be taken to the hospital so we hope she's okay today as well. this was his second wreck in two days! the day before, someone ran him off the road and into a guard rail on his way to work. he definitely had someone looking out for him the last few days. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


today was shopping day and i think i've gotten most of mine taken care of.
i don't know if the parade last night kept everyone from coming back out today or if everyone is going to lexington to shop but there wasn't the big crowd i'd expected, thank goodness.
we ate then shopped....i got all my stuff taken care of for my ripples of hope child and i think that really made my day. (i got my uncle's present taken care of as well since i drew his name for christmas.) ripples is a nonprofit organization my friend kelly's husband co-founded. they provide thanksgiving baskets, christmas gifts, backpacks and an easter delivery for kids in the community in need. we are also sponsoring a child for my class at school instead of doing gift exchanges this year. sometimes i think our kids really don't understand how much they're blessed with. drew has more than he needs and i know we all see kids everyday who don't and probably won't even get what they need to make it -- food, clothes, a coat, shoes.
i know lots of people think it may not be a good idea in this day and time to buy items and give them to kids because their parents will most likely take them and resell or trade it for money, cigarettes, drugs, etc. however, when i see that a 4 year old child does not have a coat or shoes, i know they can't help that their parents are crappy. and sometimes, these kids have parents that do try and just can't make it. either way, it makes me feel good to know that i can possibly make some kid's christmas a little happier because they get a toy or new clothes. my girl was a 13 year old and she'll be getting all the girly stuff a teenager needs...i hope she enjoys. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

day 5 -- i'm tired, it's short

this would be christmas in my house now....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

church christmas parties

it's always an odd thing to grow up in eastern kentucky and not go to either the baptist church, christian church or some sort of holiness/pentecostal establishment. being that most people are members of the former, there are not too many of us presbyterians (or episcopalians...that's for you SAS). i've heard the denomination referred to as "the frozen chosen" because we don't do all that hand clapping, hallelujah stuff. unfortunately, if they had ever been to one of the church christmas parties the old broads host for our women members, they may think differently of us.

let's just start off by saying mamaw is involved. most of you know mamaw has her golf day on tuesdays and in the winter it's card day. mam likes to take advantage of the ladies and many of them go to our church. when the party comes around every year, mam always takes the reins on the auction. (kind of like the gift exchange thing only we auction items and the money goes to the women's group to use for church related things.) mamaw can be a force to be reckoned with on occasion and these parties seem to bring out the best in her.

as the auctioneer, mamaw is usually busy with the talking and items while mom, gig, hayley, kate and sometimes aunt cheryl and i all sit in a corner (or mam puts us to work showing off the items like bob barker's girls) and make fun of the old ladies. two major happenings stand out in my mind from many years of these parties. the first one comes from a year when us girls were all making fun of a very elderly lady. i know, we probably earned a coupon to hell for doing that at a church function....in our defense, she really did look like george washington. her hair was perfect. anyway, we all got the giggles -- you know, the kind you just can't stop and the harder you try, the harder you laugh? so we're sitting there laughing at her beauty when all the sudden, she gets choked on her third plate of ham. really, seriously, hold your hands around your throat choked. since we were all making fun of her, we happened to be paying attention to what she was doing and not to the auction. maybe that was a blessing in disguise because we all jumped up and tried to help her. it really put a hold on the auction festivities....for maybe two minutes. money making must go on you know. she finally recovered on her own, (thank you jesus!) and i was so very happy....i thought for sure i was going to have to actually put my heimlech skills to use or worse, that cpr certification i'd just gotten. all i could think was "i wonder if her teeth are wooden like george washington?" as i stood there stunned. wouldn't it really stink if you made it all the way to ninety something years old and then die from choking on honey-baked ham? at least she would've gone out happy....everyone knows honey-baked ham can make any time a happy time.

now for memory number two. to some of you that don't know mrs. eversole, this will not make sense....you just have to know the relationship she and mamaw have had all these years. they love each other but sometimes they really get on each other's nerves. again, this story begins with mamaw being the auctioneer at the party, trying her best to sell a pillow (who brings a flippin' monogrammed pillow to an auction???) and was having no luck. only one person's name began with the letter on the pillow and that was the person that brought the gift...uh, can you say recycled? anyway, mrs. eversole wanted to see the pillow better and mamaw, beginning to get ticked that no one would bid, threw it across the church dining room at her, knocking over her cup of coffee on its way. the coffee went all over mrs. eversole and though it had cooled quite a bit, seemed to still be warm. overreaction was in high gear as mrs. eversole promptly stripped her pants off and gave mamaw a scowl that could have sent lucifer back to hell. again, us girls were sitting to the side, making rude, impolite and totally inappropriate comments and were shocked when we saw the lacy, embroidered pillow go flying across the room. (mam is a little like me, it was not a toss, it was definitely a throw.) our eyes went wide then quickly shut as the pants dropped. luckily, forgiveness had to be given (we were in church after all) and things ended up settling back down. the auction went on but it was not one of the better fundraisers.
i believe this year's church party is tomorrow night.....i'm not sure if i'm happy or sad i'll be missing it.
"Quit griping about your church; if it were perfect, you couldn't belong."
~Joseph P. Dooley

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

# 3 -- socks, cologne and an easy bake oven

day 3 of ye ol' advent blog is dedicated to those christmas gifts you just didn't understand....
as you can tell from the title and pictures, some of the gifts josh and i received (but didn't really understand) were socks, cologne and an easy bake oven. now, we had many, many christmas mornings when we were surprised and excited. many good gifts were given in the neiderman household. sometimes i don't know how mom and dad did it....4 kids, mom staying home most of the time we were growing up and living off of one income. things were cheaper then but still, they really had to stretch. so, not to sound ungrateful in this entry, i had to get that out of the way.
back to the pictures...i guess when a boy is growing up and hits a certain age, it becomes very difficult to find appropriate gifts. i remember one christmas when it seemed like josh got nothing but tube socks and stetson cologne. bottles and bottles of cologne. did my family think he smelled bad? did they think the 80's scented cologne was a chick magnet? either way, it was way too much of a bad thing. josh is never one to complain so he really took it in stride. he just loaded up his bundle of goods and made his way to his room. we always enjoyed taking all our new goodies to our rooms to arrange and display them so we could look at them for the next few days and continue the enjoyment....i bet if i looked really hard in his room right now, i would be able to find a bottle of cologne left over from over a decade ago.
now for the easy bake oven....i'm sure most little girls would love to have something like this however, i was more of a ball glove, cleats, swishy wind suit kind of girl. i liked tonka trucks and slingshots, army men and tennis shoes. when i opened my big gift from mom, dad and santa one year it was an easy bake oven. honestly, i didn't even know what it was. i had never heard of one of those contraptions. what the heck was i supposed to do with it? mom and dad saw the crestfallen look on my 9 year old face and knew something was wrong. for some reason they thought they overheard me saying sometime before christmas that i wanted one. i have no idea where they got that because i had never heard/seen one in my life. for about a month i don't think i even opened the box....maybe i was a little afraid of it, i'm not sure. anytime you cook a cake with a light bulb things are bound to turn out bad.
one snowy day later when i had exhausted all other options for entertainment (and had probably been banned from all board games at home) i ended up using that easy bake oven. one sixty watt light bulb and tin pan later we had a delicious, rock hard "chocolate" cake. (of which i made everyone sample.) let's just say the oven was shelved after that attempt and i never heard a word about it from the folks. to this day the easy bake oven is my christmas "poke" from family just as josh's cologne and socks are his poke....no one forgets, most of our family have memories like elephants.
i am thankful for all the gifts i received as a kid. i was always a little embarrassed to open my presents because i felt bad people had spent money on me. we were always very blessed with the giving spirit our family possesses. here's what made the good list:
  • karaoke machine
  • our dog, nelson
  • our dog, kris
  • trampoline (guess they got tired of us doing back flips on the bed!)
  • rollerskates!
  • all the tennis shoes i've received over the years
  • my gorgeous lamp from mom
  • cameras
  • cd player
  • the t.v. josh and i got to share (this caused many fights as we each got to keep it in our room for one week at a time....it was horrible when you would really get into a show and the other person would show up to "repo" the t.v. for their week)
  • a stereo
  • bicycles
  • castle greyskull (or was that josh's birthday?)
  • my little ponies
  • my pearls

mom, dad, mam and pap (both hollon and neiderman) always did good....always thinking of others and teaching us to do the same. there are so many less fortunate and i'm sure they would have been ecstatic to open up socks, cologne and an easy bake oven. :)

"Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."

~ Charlotte Carpenter

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

# 2

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."
~Burton Hillis
for day 2 of the advent blog, i've decided to dedicate it to christmas trees. is this really someone's home? i just can't imagine....as of right now, my house sits with toys in the floor, one of waylon's hidden rawhides under part of the couch, a lone sock of drew's at the bottom of the steps, dishes in the sink, the remnants of drew's sweet potato supper on the counter and a few hershey's kisses scattered on the table along with a week's worth of mail. how the heck can i ever have hopes of having such a beautiful tree? it's a good thing i enjoy the chaos (though not the messy house).
now, for today's real advent pictures (which are dedicated to jb, i think he'll enjoy them as much as he did wal-mart bingo):

the beer carton tree

the keg tree

the mountain dew can tree

the mountain dew can tree all done up

now these are what i call real trees. they are such a cultural symbol of where i'm from. i'm so proud they are displayed on the internet for everyone to search, copy and paste. i especially like the keg tree. wonder if they floated them first or if they lugged them up there full?

so, to all you tree lovers, it's too bad we can't do our annual christmas photos in front of one of these dooseys. i only wish i had a picture of my charlie brown tree from last year to add to the mix. i do enjoy a christmas tree very much, no matter what the size, shape, material or theme....love one, love them all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

1 down....

i have decided that i will post 25 entries to my blog to honor the 25 days before christmas. since i can no longer find advent calendars, this shall be our advent calendar my friends. it will be a daily dose of funny christmas spirit all leading up to the birthday of Jesus. i am sure he will be pleased that i am honoring his birth in such a modern fashion.

i always loooovvvvveeeddddd advent calendars and would get so excited when mom put one up on the fridge. having 4 kids in the house, it took a while to get to our "turn" to open the little door or window covering our number. this was the beginning of many knock-down drag out fights between 4 children arguing over whose turn it was that day....all in the name of our sweet baby Jesus. we probably all deserved coal for that one. well, me anyway. (i can equate the opening of the advent calendar to the games of sorry! that took place in my youth....these games usually ended with me being sent to my room because i could not stand to lose and would throw a horrible fit.) i can't remember if i ever got sent to my room for fighting over the advent calendar...since i remember nearly everything from my days of tantrums, i would say mom must have taken pity on me and not banished me over that one.

for my first advent entry, i have had to change my choice of photo just now.....all because i just found out tommy's faithful dog, wondergirl, died this morning. it almost made me cry. you all know what a dog lover i am, (much to tim's dismay), and i cannot stand it any time something happens to an animal. tommy, i know you loved wondergirl and i am so sorry she died this morning...:(

however, the advent spirit must go on. instead of posting my original choice of photo, (which i will post tomorrow), i have chosen one to honor wondergirl. may she always be the one in doggie heaven to issue the triple dog dare and never the one to accept. here's to you, wondergirl.