Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

I know, I know, what am I doing on the computer on Christmas day? This is one of very few days during the year that I refuse to be on a schedule. We used to spend our Christmas holidays like a lot of families, Christmas Eve was spent at my sister-in-laws where we stuffed ourselves and exchanged gifts, Santa came to visit the kids and hand out more presents, that is the gathering I do miss. Then, we would get up before the sun Christmas morning to open presents with the kids, eat breakfast, get dressed and it was off to the grandparents and friends houses to visit and exchange gifts. Although it is always good to spend the holidays with friends and family, the schedule could be stressful and exhausting. So, since my sister-in-law and her husband sold their house to purchase an RV and travel, we began to change the routine. Christmas dinner was moved to Christmas Eve, this left more time to just relax the next day and take a nap! Now that my husbands parents have passed, Christmas day is even quieter.
We are having Christmas dinner tonight, it's just the four of us and we'll eat when it's ready.
With working full time, 2 teenagers, one having a very busy schedule with school, work, church and her social life, life is stressful. So, we decided to not be on a schedule this year. Last night, after wrapping presents, we put on a movie, had nachos, homemade cookies and other munchies. It was very relaxing. Today, we can stay in our PJ's all day if we like, I can take this time to work on my blog, which I want to edit and add and change features to and link up with others out there. And of course, my daughter has a boyfriend and is splitting her time between here and there. I guess I always knew this day would come, but I didn't say I would have to like it. One other things is really different about this year. I think it's the first time since the birth of my children that I didn't have someone waking me up in the predawn hours giddy with excitement and ready to tear open Christmas presents. I thought my son would wake us bright and early, he was so excited. Matt was inspecting presents, picking up what was obviously a CD, "Gee mom, wonder what that is?" Then he inspected another package, "Let's see, it's kind of big, it gives a little, so it's not electronic." I pleaded with him as I do every year to leave the packages alone until morning.....why do we do that? Do we really think they aren't going to try to figure out what it is they are getting? Of course, in years past I have tricked them by putting bricks in boxes, marbles or other items that would make noise so that they wouldn't be able to figure out what was inside, putting items in boxes that aren't what the contents say. However, it was amusing when my son unwrapped a box with a picture of an Immersion Blender, (a hand held blender) and said to me, "I know this can't be a hand blender.....he opened the box to find a hand held blender and looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Mom, why did you buy me a hand held blender?" I told him it was because he loves to make milkshakes a lot and other frothy drinks. To which he smiled and said thanks and thought it was pretty cool. My 17 year old daughter Sara, who normally is not a morning person was so wired on cold medicine and caffeine this morning, that and giddy because her boyfriend had given her a Christmas morning wake up call. I have to say, she really scored some points with mom today. My present from her is a ticket to see Micheal Buble in concert this February, my friend Maggie got the other ticket, so it'll be a girls night out! Now there's something I haven't done in a while. Our dog Lula was very happy with her stocking full of new toys, one of which she is peacefully sleeping next to at my feet. My husband was happy with his new coffee pot, which he'd been saying for weeks he needed a new one. I wasn't quite sure how to respond to the gift card to the hair stylist. You see, we are coming off a very difficult year, especially the last few months and have been left in a bit of a financial bind, so I have put off getting a haircut, besides, Matt needed it more, he was beginning to look like cousin IT from The Munsters. But, I have to admit, I am excited about it now, having my hair done is high on the list of relaxing things I love to do. I always tell the girl that does my hair to just take her time so that I can savor these few moments spent on myself.
Well, time to think about putting that rib-roast in the oven. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Staying Connected

I sit here and stare at the empty box on my blog screen and can't even think of what to say.
This is all new to me. This blogging thing is pretty incredible when you think about it. It wasn't so long ago when I first heard the term "blog". I remember thinking, "what the heck is a blog?"
A local soldier was "blogging" about his experiences in Iraq to the people at home and his blogs were being published in the local newspaper. I remember thinking what a great idea that was. Blogging and e-mail are in my opinion 2 of the best things about the internet. What a great way for family and friends to stay connected. About 10 years ago, (wow, has it been that long?) e-mail became a vital part of my life and the life of my in-laws. When my kids were younger and my husband's parents were still with us, we e-mailed nearly every day. We wrote what we often referred to as "the dailies". These were letters back and forth about the daily grind. I would talk about what the kids and I had done each day, visits to the park, the beach, school events, and all the silly and not so silly things they were up to. Being able to send pictures over the internet was the best so that we could see how all the kids were growing. We could see how Cathy's garden was growing and Carol's place on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Butch could send us pictures of his progress with the airplane he was building. (Note: unfortunately the newly finished airplane was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina). I used to love getting my sister-in-law Cathy's gardening stories, even though she thought they were pretty boring. They were always dealing with critters getting into their gardens and some of the deterrents they would use were amusing, especially the ones of Alex fighting off snakes with a stick and pine-sol spray. Oma loved getting her e-mail every night so she could hear about what the kids were up to. If for some reason I didn't get around to writing for a couple of days she would call and want to know when her next story was coming. It didn't matter how insignificant it might seem to me, it meant a lot to her and Opa. They said it made them feel like they were more a part of our lives and that was very important to them. As the kids got a little older, they were able to e-mail their own notes to Oma and Opa. That wasn't always a good thing for me. I got a call from Oma one day that Sara had written her a note about me and that she was told what a mean momma I was because she had gotten in trouble. We giggled over that one for a while. Then as Oma and Opa grew older and their health failed, e-mail became a lifeline. Oma and Opa had a growing list of health problems which left them in need of a lot of assistance. As we were the only family that lived in the same city, it was up to us to take on a good bit of the responsibility for a while. We shopped for them, did housecleaning, repairs from time to time, took them to doctors appointments and sometimes just a social visit to let the kids spend time with their grandparents. As their health declined and more specialized care was needed, and more frequent visits to check on them, I e-mailed other family members almost daily with news of how their parents were really doing. I kept them informed about what doctors were saying, medicines they were taking, discontinuing, and changing. They called them often, but Oma and Opa weren't always forthcoming with information. So it was up to me to give the real scoop. Now Oma and Opa have passed, the kids are teenagers and our lives have gotten so much busier we we're not writing "the dailies" anymore and I miss that. I still have copies of a lot of those e-mails and from time to time I get them out and read them and wonder how I didn't lose my sanity. I think it was because through it all, we stayed connected by sharing with each other. Many years ago, the indians would sit around the campfire and share stories, there was a sense of family. Maybe we didn't sit around the campfire and share our stories, but we did sit around our PC's waiting for the next e-mail to come.