Advent Calendar 2011 – Christmas Shopping

Since I already talked about Christmas shopping for the “gifts” prompt, I think I’ll take this opportunity for something a little bit different.  I want to say what a great husband I have.  Not only is he a great bargain shopper, but he loves to try to provide our family with the things that we want and always the things that we need.  Yesterday I thanked him for spoiling me so much.  He said it’s because I’m his princess and I deserve it.  That’s pretty great.  He works hard day in and day out so that our four kids and I can be spoiled.  We love him and appreciate everything that he does for us.  I hope that he feels spoiled sometimes, too. During this holiday season, remember to take the time to stop and smell the roses.  Shopping is fun and gifts are great, but there’s nothing like family and love. All of my shopping is done except for one woman from the women’s shelter.  I’m still waiting for a call back to find out what she likes.  I hope they call soon!  The stores are going to be a mob scene this...

Advent Calendar 2011 – Christmas Stockings

Filled with excitement, we ran to the living room.  “Santa came!  Santa came!” we shouted. Grandma stepped in from her post in the kitchen.  “You can open your stockings until everyone else gets up,” she told my sister and I, as she did every year. Our stockings were always filled with little toys, sometimes jewelry, and always Lifesavers Storybooks. In a little while our mom and our grandpa got up but until then, our stockings always kept us entertained. In our house we keep this tradition.  Kids can open stockings as soon as they wake up but gifts wait for everyone, especially Mommy and Daddy....

Advent Calendar 2011 – Grab Bag: Cousins at Christmas

Today, like every Christmas that I can remember, I had dinner with my cousins.  Last year we decided that we would get together the Saturday before Christmas since I live farther away now.  I have three cousins on my maternal side and two of them have two children, a boy and a girl each.  With all of our children, there are 8.  Along with the 8 children at the kitchen table, we had 10 adults for dinner in the dining room.  On the menu was surf and turf, steak and boiled lobsters.   We decided to do something a little different this year because my husband’s sister has a seafood allergy.  Kate made place cards and all the ladies who were not eating lobster sat at one end of the table and all those dining on crustaceans, i.e. the men, at the other end.  Being a vegetarian, I loved the idea of being out of target range of the flying lobster fluid.  A great time was had by all and it was fun to change up our usual seating pattern. My cousins and I were talking about how our kids, second cousins, know each other so well and how we make it a point that they do.  As long as we are alive, our children and their children will spend time together.  I suspect it was this way among previous generations of our family, long before our time. Among my grandmother’s possessions was a letter dated December 18, 1949 from her second cousin, Robert Chipman. “It is the little deeds and kind thoughts all added together that makes the best gift of all,” he wrote. Yes, Robert. ...

Advent Calendar 2011 – Christmas at School

When I was little the party at school was much like what my children experience today, with a few exceptions.  None of my children has ever participated in a grab bag at school, which I think is a bit unfortunate.  (My boys have, however, gotten to do them at Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts so it’s all good.)  Also, the amount of junk food has been reined in a bit!  I can’t complain too much about that.  As a room parent, most teachers ask me to get people to bring in something sweet, something salty, and something healthy.  That seems like a great balance for the kids rather than the complete sugar we consumed before racing home to our parents hyped up on a sugar high! Earlier this week I was library helper and I noticed something that made me happy.  Rather than skip over the Christmas book, the librarian asked if Santa comes to everyone’s house.  She confirmed that all children did indeed observe Christmas and then proceeded to read a book about a Christmas mouse.  I’m not sure what the alternative would have been but I’m happy to see that celebrations have not all gone by the wayside!...

Advent Calendar 2011 – The Holiday Happenings

Happy Anniversary to Addie May Collier and Joseph Brophy! Addie and Joe were married on December 14, 1916 in West Haven, Connecticut.  What a guy Joe must have been to marry a woman who had four living minor children and an ex-husband!  My grandmother often talked about Joe Brophy.  He was about the best stepfather a girl could dream of.  He was a railroad conductor and wonderful to all of the children.  Addie and Joe had one child, Jack, together.  Sadly, Addie died in September 1931 so this happy couple never made it to their fifteenth wedding anniversary. I remember that Joe died when I was five years old and everyone went to his funeral but I stayed home with a neighbor.     I cannot pass by this opportunity to mention Addie’s enate great grandmother, Lois Chalker Walston.  Dear Lois.  Lois was born on 20 December, maybe in 1804 or 1805.  I don’t know who her parents were.  Maybe her father was Randolph Washington Chalker of Guilford, Connecticut, son of Dr. Isaac Chalker, or so Dr. Alvan Talcott said.  How did Dr. Talcott know? Who threw birthday parties for you, Lois?  Anyone?  Did your husband Daniel remember your birthday?  Lois, I will never forget you.  I will spend the rest of my life finding you.  You are my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother.  You are my seventh...

Advent Calendar 2011 – Fruitcake: Friend or Foe?

              Fruitcake, friend or foe? This I wouldn’t know. It was never in our house when I was small. I’ve never eaten it at all. I’ve never been the recipient of this peculiar holiday fare. I think that’s ok and I don’t really care. I’ve heard horror stories of a block that weighs a ton. I’m not willing to break my tooth on one. If you want to eat it, that’s fine with me But I don’t need it under my Christmas tree.   Photo by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent), “HDR Fruitcake“,  January 11, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0...

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