Monday, December 26, 2016

Day Twenty Three 2016

My Paul worked Christmas Day from 5pm to close.  Kat and I took Matthew to see the Fantastic Beasts movie (again) and Paul passed us in.  When the movie was over we waited around till he got off work.  On the way home we stopped off at Devon Tower to take some holiday pictures with the big red holiday balls.

I had envisoned nice family holiday pictures.  What I got was... well this.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Day Twenty One 2016

Tonight at the end of the Christmas Eve service there was the traditional singing of Silent Night, and lighting of the candles from the Advent Christ candle.

And apparently tonight I can’t sing silent night, all I can do is cry.

But my Matthew was there with me, and I wasn’t alone, and it got better.  

A light shines in the darkness

and the darkness does not overcome it.

Day Twenty 2016

Tonight we went to Christmas Eve service and Pastor Kent said the twelve days of Christmas start tomorrow, so I figure I am off the hook for not making it to 25 days on target.  I have till Epiphany, and I heard from Kent who surely heard it from Jesus. 

My favorite part of the Christmas eve service is the children’s pageant, where the youngest children enact the nativity story.  It is an exercise in chaos.  Regardless of how prepared Kristin is, the play is like herding cats, and never seems to go the way it was planned. That is what I love about it.  

Tonight I thought the show was stolen by a little girl I thought was portraying a sheep.  She vigorously flapped her arms and nodded her head throughout the performance.  I thought maybe she was an angel, but the angels all had halos and wings.  I even asked Matthew, he said she was a sheep, and he had no idea why the sheep was flapping her arms.

As it turns out, she was a dove, which was confirmed by the children’s minister afterwards.  She was an excellent dove, and her performance makes so much more sense with that bit of information.  I blame the costume department.

After it was over my boys recalled when they had their turns as shepherds.  My Paul recalled that the year he got to dress up, none of the children’s costumes fit him. So they gave him a sheet, and a head wrap.  He looked like a shepherd until the head wrap he was tugging at came off and then pretty much he was a 10 year old in stripped sheet.

Children’s Christmas pageants? Always bring me joy.

Day Nineteen 2016

What is your Christmas shopping tradition?  Do you go early, look for the best deals, make a list? Are you a Black Friday shopper?  Cyber Monday?  Do you shop at craft fairs? Make all your gifts?

In the past few years I have become something of a last minute shopper.  I used to make lists, and have a plan, and I also used to enjoy going to the mall. So, since that is no longer true, I have a new sort of tradition.  I call it the “wait for last minute then run out and spend too much” method.  This method seems to cause my coworkers no amount of stress, for a month I have been fielding questions about what I am gifting Kat and the boys.  I have written about trying the something they need, something they want, something something else and something to read, and that works, unless they need more than one thing, or you can’t find a book for them when you are last minute shopping.  So my new method works better.

This is how it works; some night, pretty much right before Christmas, (like the night before Christmas eve for example) you gather up your whole family and drag take them to get dinner.  Pick someplace sort of affordable that everyone likes.  Remember you are going to be spending more than your budget allows so don’t go all crazy with a fancy dinner.  5 Guys Burgers is a good choice.

Then go to your favorite mega store.  We are fans of Target, but you do you.  Divide and conquer.  One parent takes one kid and the other parent takes the other kid.  I think we have done it were the kids go off on their own before, but not this year.  Leave your coat in the car, otherwise you get to hot in the store and irritable.  As you shop, if you see something you want for yourself, go ahead and add it to the cart.  Listen to the imput of your children.  I never would have purchased onsie pajamas for my adult sized children without the input of the other child.  Also, I could have spent $60 on a video game for one child had the other child not shared that they were planning on getting it used, and that the child who wanted it had heard bad reviews about it so they were waiting. 

Then when you just can’t stand to be there anymore meet your family at checkout.  You probably want to do a count of gifts so that one child isn’t getting two gifts while the other is getting 12, but that may just be my family.

“Wait for last minute and spend too much” it is not too late for you to try it this year.

Day Eighteen 2016

For a minute there I had a plan, 2 blog entries a day till Christmas and I was all caught up, but then we got home late last night and I fell asleep instead of blogging.  Oh well, what are you going to do?  I think I have said it before, I was better at this when I could blog at work.

So what makes  me merry?  What little joy am I holding on to today?  Yesterday was Jay’s birthday.  
Yes I know, two of my three Jay’s have December birthdays. It’s a little odd.  So yesterday people were posting on his facebook about his first birthday in heaven and having a party up there with the angels. 

I can’t, you know?  I mean, I am ok with people having their own beliefs, but the image of Jay tying one on up in heaven seems pretty incongruous.

Then I opened up instagram and there were pictures of Jay’s son and step daughter decorating the house with their mom.  Just trimming the tree in a normal way, together, as a family. That made me smile.  Not that they were ignoring their loss or anything like that, but just that, for a few minutes, or an hour, they had some joy.

*** 2 things.  First I wrote this last night, and thought I had posted it, but it appears I did not. And secondly, I am not cyber stalking Jay’s family, even though it seems like it.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day Seventeen 2016

My second post for today requires the way back machine. 

This picture was taken the first year my Mom and Dad were married.  They were still students at California Baptist College and the occasion was the winter social or some such.  The way I remember my Dad telling it is that as the event approached my Mom was disappointed that she didn’t have a new dress to wear to the event, or maybe it was that she didn’t have a dress that fit?  The reason is fuzzy, but the dress was the issue.  So my Dad went out and picked this fabric, that he thought was lovely, and somehow conspired with his new mother-in-law to get this dress made for my Mom.  As the story goes, my Granny Horton ran a dry goods store and the local seamstress kept a dressmakers dummy set to my mom’s measurements so the task was accomplished much easier than expected.  So, when the time came for the winter formal, ho ho ho, my Mom had a brand new dress that my Dad had surprised her with.  And they posed, like everyone else I assume, with Santa that night.

I love this picture even without the cute story, because my parents look so young, and so happy together.

Then there is the flip side of this story.  In 1991, the first year that Kathleen and I were married, we had a similar situation with the big Hanging of the Green at OBU.  We were newlyweds, formal dresses weren’t exactly a budget item.  However, Kathleen did have a blue bridesmaid dress that she had worn to Hope Snow’s wedding the year before.  The problem was that it looked like a bridesmaid dress.  Sure, everyone says you will wear them again… But really, bright blue taffeta, puffy sleeves, drop waist with a giant bow offset on the hip.

First off all, Kathleen was never going to wear anything with a giant bow (again), even though the dress came with a matching hair bow.  So I took the dress to Ardell, the seamstress who made it, (and Kat’s wedding dress) to see if there was a way to cinderella the dress into something wearable.  I don’t know why we didn’t take pictures, or if we did, I don’t know where they are.  I think ultimately what happened was the sleeves came off and the bow.  A black lace sash was added and then pinned with a vintage brooch where the bow had been.  She wore it with her black gloves and vintage hat that was mostly netting and ribbons.  Best part? No one knew it was a bridesmaid dress.

Well. Best part was probably that Kathleen was happy.