Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

My favorite day of the year is today, Christmas Eve. I love the excitement everyone is feeling as we await Christ's birthday and the Christmas celebration. Today there is still anticipation in the air, the spirit of Christmas, of giving and spending time with friends and families.

We have worked toward the Christmas holiday for a while, getting things ready, making lists, swapping names in the gift exchange, buying gifts, getting the food ready, baking cookies (but not this year), and all the other fun things we do at Christmas.

This year, as we have for the past few years, we visited the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park. Organizations and companies decorate trees with themes, and the park decorates the gardens with lights. It was absolutely beautiful and there were so many creative ideas.

pencils and crayons made ornaments
beads and jewels strung in a tree

There were carolers in the gazebo in the gardens, adding that warm feeling as we walked through the gardens enjoying the exhibits.
A high school band was playing holiday music and cookies and hot chocolate were passed out.

There was a snow goddess in her own kingdom in the Davis Center.

Aaron, Austin, Snow Goddess and Andrew
The A-Team standing where the fountain usually flows

Christmas Eve is such a fun evening. The children are all psyched up for Santa and the gifts they are hoping for. We get together at our house with the family, have a nice meal, some cookies and/or dessert, then exchange gifts. The grandchildren get to open their gifts from us and their aunts and uncles which relieves some of the pent up energy of waiting for Christmas. We do our family gift exchange together on this evening also.

Sugar got into the spirit this year for her first Christmas. She got all decked out.

 The best part of any holiday for me is spending time with my family. From our home to yours, wherever that might be, have a wonderful Christmas.

Sugar and Lily are ready for the holiday too and also wish everyone a Merry Christmas!
Good Night Lily! Good night Sugar!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sister to Sister Letter

Dear Lily,
This is a letter of warning from your little sister. Well, I’m not really littler than you but I am younger so that makes me the “little” sister. Don’t think that means you are smarter though, ‘cause you’re not!
Anyways, Big Sister, Lily, I just want to explain to you that you better start being nicer to me or else.
“Or else?” you ask. “Yes-or ELSE!”
There are only two more nights until Christmas Eve when Santa slides his chubby body down that fireplace. He is watching us, both you and me, and also all the other children and pets. All of us, Lily, not just me. So when I want to play with you, that means you have to play with me. And I don’t want to play “snake and panther in the jungle” anymore either. I want to wrestle with you and chase you. I’m tired of letting you be the panther in the brush, reaching out to smack me. You know, sometimes my little white cheeks get tender from that.
What? You don’t like when I box you back? Or bite your tail when I play “bite the tail on the cat?” No more football for you? Come on, Lil, what kind of fun is that you want to have? I just want to tackle you from behind, hold you down and bite on your tail. Didn’t you read the rule book?
Did I hear you say something like “I’m too old for this?” Age is just a number in your head Lil. You’re not really old. You still look real pretty so I don’t think you can be that old. Not so old that you can’t play with your little sister anyway. Right,Lily?
The main thing is Lily, you HAVE to play with me. Santa can see everything we do. Yeah, that’s kind of scary isn’t it? But I’m just being good ole Sugar so I have nothing to worry about. “What? That tissue I tore up in the hallway? Is that bad?”
Well Dad doesn’t need those old slippers that much anyway. I just made it extra comfy inside when I chewed the lining out. He has more room in there now. See Lil, I’m not being bad. I’m just always thinking of the other guy or gal, like you. When I chase you I’m just helping you get exercise, you know, to stay in shape. We both have to watch our girlish figures .You said you’re getting older so you better watch out or you’ll have to deal with the “sag”.

Everything looks so pretty at Christmastime, Lily. There are lights on houses, decorations in the yards, and lots of pretty presents wrapped up nice.

I love to open that pretty paper. Did you see what I did to the colorful wrapping paper Mama had out the other day? I dragged it into the living room and chewed away. She grabbed that off me so fast I didn’t have time to get to the roll in the middle. But that pretty bag with the red tissue paper inside that she put under the tree was lots of fun. I dragged it out by the handles and pulled that pretty paper into the middle of the living room. I made real nice confetti out of it although it was kind of wet by the time I was done. Then I pulled on the scarf in the bag and had fun yanking that around the room. But I got caught when the other thing in the bag made a loud clanking noise on the floor and Papa came in.
Ooh…wait a minute. Did I say, “I got got caught?” Hmmmm, that kind of sounds like I was doing something bad doesn’t it? Oh boy, Lily, I think I’m in trouble.  Do you think Santa will bring me anything?
Let me tell you about this Santa guy, Lil. He wears a red suit with a big black belt around his rotund belly. What are you chuckling about? Rotund is a real word. He likes to laugh a lot. We better be good Lily so he keeps laughing. When he laughs his belly jumps up and down, up and down. Then he has to pull on his britches –that’s a word too- so they don’t fall down. He has these really cool shiny black boots. I don’t know about them though. I’ll bet they are slippery on the rooftops. Yes, Lily, he walks on roofs. No, silly sister, he isn’t putting shingles on the roof. He lands his sleigh with reindeer on the roof. Then he walks over to the chimney, butters up, grabs his sack of presents, and slides on down the chimney.
That’s where you and I come in. You see, all the kids have to be in bed but we can sleep by the fireplace and he won’t think anything of it. He’ll still come down the chimney.
Here’s the plan. When we see his feet hanging through the opening, we pretend we’re sleeping. We can peek through one eye and watch him. He is supposed to put presents under the tree for all the good people, and dogs and cats I think. When he has his back turned you just amble over to him and rub that silky soft fur of yours against his leg. Use your female charm and distract him. I’ll start rummaging through his sack until I find some bones or toys for dogs. What? Cat toys too? Oh, yea, okay. I’ll be on the lookout for those too-if you are nice to me for the next couple days.
This sounds like a win-win situation for Sugar.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Aaron "Ace's" the Test and Nicknames

Last year I wrote a blog about twin brothers vying for the same spelling bee. Both wanted it badly, but only one made it. Aaron was quite disappointed that he didn't get to be in the bee but he did get special permission to watch his brother Andrew compete last year.

His shirt says, "Sorry, I practiced more than you!" How fitting.

This year, Aaron aced the spelling bee rounds for his fifth grade classroom and will be competing while Andrew, hopefully, will be allowed to watch Aaron. During Christmas break, Aaron will be studying hard for the competition. I expect he will do well.

I use the word "Ace" in this blog, because that is Aaron's new nickname and it fits him well. He is a conscientious young man who tries to do things right, following the rules, doing things in order, and remembering what is expected of him. He is kind to others (except sometimes his brothers) and doesn't like to hurt anyone's feelings. He is sensitive to the needs of others most times.

Aaron was sometimes referred to as Aaron Baron because it rhymed. To me he is my "Special A" and always will be. This past weekend, his parents suggested several nicknames and he liked Ace the best. Hence, Aaron is now the Ace. Ace of spelling bees, Ace of kindness, Ace of a boy!

Looking back, it is interesting how nicknames get started. I used to refer to Andrew when he was a tiny infant as "Mr. Magoo" because he had fat chubby cheeks in a round face. I hadn't connected at that time that Magoo rhymed with Andrew when I started referring to him that way. Hence, we sometimes refer to Andrew as Magoo, or Goo. My personal nickname for Andrew is "Braveheart." I have watched that young man come through many things in his young life that many adults wouldn't have the tenacity to endure.

In keeping with the "A" theme for names, Austin was given an "alter-ego" nickname of Antwan by his mother. When Austin gets hungry a monster child seems to appear out of nowhere. From being the sweet, helpful Austin, Antwan can appear instantly without warning. Give Antwan a bowl of Cheerios and he disappears and Austin reappears. Austin will always be "Grandma's Sweetheart" to me though.

When I was a pre-schooler, I enjoyed playing with my brothers and doing boy things. My parents nicknamed me "Tom," short for tomboy, which didn't bother me at all. What did bother me was when my third brother was born and they had the audacity to name him Tom and stopped calling me Tom.

A teenage neighbor girl took to calling me "Effie Clinker" when I was in grade school which made me cry. I have no idea why I cried when she called me this nor do I have any idea why she named me that. Who is Effie Clinker anyway?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Children's Innocence

Last Friday we had Kevin and Jen’s girls, Ashlyn and Danica, for a few hours while their parents went to the Christmas party put on by Kevin’s employer. We love having the girls, enjoying their stories and antics. Ken thought it would be a good idea to invite the A-Team over while the girls were here. We knew that Ashlyn and Aaron had very similar interests-reading, writing and drawing.

It was a hit.  Amazingly the five of them hit it off without a hitch. The A-Team and the girls got along wonderfully. Since Danica was the only one whose name didn’t start with an A, she suggested we call her Addie. Then they could all be part of the A-Team.

They entertained themselves for hours and it seemed as if they had known each other all their lives.

This week was Karin’s Christmas party put on by her employer. We had the boys overnight. Aaron suggested we invite the girls over again. Just like last week the five of them enjoyed each other’s company. They played X-Box, wrote stories together, and Danica and Austin (the two youngest) entertained themselves at the table drawing and writing. There was no bickering except for who got to go first on the X-box games but even that was solved quickly.

Isn’t it wonderful how children adapt so easily to each other and accept each other without question? It makes me wish we could all have the innocence of a child in our hearts.

And for all those innocent children in Connecticut whose lives were cut short or those who have to now live with what they experienced, a special prayer goes out to all of them and their families.  I pray that those children can still live with innocence and trust in their lives.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another first for Sugar

 There’s something strange going on. Everyone is talking about Christmas. I never heard of Christmas before. Another first for Sugar!

Mama and Papa put a tree in our living room. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like it ‘cause I do. But it doesn’t look or smell like the trees I am used to sniffing around outside.

This one is white and they put all these pretty things on it. And this tree lights up! Yeah, it really does.  It shines white lights in our room.  I never saw a tree light up before.

Oh yea, speaking of lights, now when Mama and me go outside at night, there are colored lights all over our street. And to top it off, we have some on our house. It really looks glamorous out there. You know, glamorous like me!

There’s more though. Lots more. And this part is kinda’ scary to me. I hear talk of this guy, Santa, who is coming to town. Yep…to my town, Girard. That’s where I live when I’m not at the campground. So okay, he’s welcome to come to my town; but now because he is coming, I have to be good, not naughty, but nice.

And he can see what I am doing, daytime or night.  Oh boy, I might be in some trouble. (I hope he doesn’t tell Papa about some of the stuff I’ve done.) He might find out I am the one who steals his shoes and drags them wherever I want them. Not in the closet-that’s boring. And mama was pretty upset with me when I rolled in that stinky stuff that day. 

Oh yea, here’s more. This guy, Santa, (I probably shouldn’t say this but…..{whispering so Mama doesn’t hear me} “He’s fat!” And I hear he is going to slide down our chimney and come into the house through our fireplace. Good luck Santa-our fireplace opening isn’t that big. But I guess he has ways around that. Maybe he smears butter on himself to slide down easier. I’ve heard Papa tell Mama maybe she needs some butter to slide into her slacks.

Anyway, I think we need to move our couch so when his slippery body hits the floor, he can get outta that fireplace. Boy, Mrs. Claus is gonna’ be mad at him when he gets home ‘cause his clothes are gonna’ be real dirty from sliding down sooty old chimneys. Remember, Santa, how mad Mama got at me when I got all dirty? Mrs. Claus is gonna’ make you take a bath as soon as you get home. Hopefully you won’t stink like I did.

So anyways, if I’m a good girl (or he doesn’t find out about some of the bad stuff I’ve done), I guess he brings presents, wrapped up all pretty. I’m so excited! Presents for Sugar!. I wonder If it will be more pretty clothes, or a new toy, maybe a bone, or even treats. Yea…I really like treats.

When I see Mama get the little jar of chicken treats out, I immediately start doing the “Happy Dance” for her. Sometimes that is not what she wants me to do but I can’t help it. I really do get happy when I see those treats. So, Santa, if you want to bring me treats, that’s okay with me.


There’s another thing about Christmas - Lots of pretty music. They even named the songs after that girl, Carol. You know, they call them Christmas Carols. I like the one about Rudolph. He has a red nose. Not me…I got a black one to match my eyes. I wonder if Rudolph’s eyes are red like his nose?

I can’t wait to see the presents wrapped under the tree. Mama has come home with lots of packages lately but she won’t let me nose around in them. Maybe after they are under the tree, I can do some sneaking and peeking.

Oh..Oh.. right..right…Me and Lily are not supposed to get under that tree and play with each other. I like to tackle her but she just keeps pretending to be a snake making snakey-like noises, then she acts like a boxer and starts boxing my nose. I learned how to stand up on my back legs and box right back at her. But we are not allowed to do that anymore under the tree. We got yelled at last night for doing that. (I hope Santa didn’t see that one.)

Okay…for now, I’m gonna’ go put on my “Good Sugar” face and sit with Papa. I hope this Christmas thing turns out real nice for you too.