More Favorite Christmas Memories…

Our oldest son, Brett, at age 7 on Christmas morning

My favorite Christmas memories are all of my children when they were small.  I remember how excited they used to get, and their excitement was contagious.  Everything is better when seen through the eyes of a chid. 

 When the children were small, I made a little calendar page and stuck it on the refrigerator door to count down the days until Christmas.  Each day someone would stick a Christmas magnet on a new day, or remove one– I can’t remember which way we did it now.  The children loved those little magnets.

The arrival of the Sears and Penney’s Christmas catalogs was greatly anticipated at our house–three anxious children were dying to get their hands on them!  By Christmas, the pages were tattered and worn from endless use.  I always ordered the children’s presents early.  and just left them in the large box that they were shipped in.  The children never did figure out where their gifts were because I am a person who stores lots of stuff in boxes, and they thought it was just another box of my stuff.

We always took our children riding  around to look at Christmas lights one night before Christmas.  For several years our town had a little musical production that we took our children to each year.  The show was held outside and the shows featured local talent, elaborate sets, and great costumes.  If you weren’t in the holiday spirit when you got to the show, you would be when you left!

Cookies or home-made candy were always left for Santa on Christmas Eve.  We weren’t much good at baking cookies, but we did make candy!  I don’t think Santa minded.  The children were tucked in bed and told that they absolutely could not get out of bed until after daylight!  Most of the time they followed directions.

I remember one Christmas Eve when Brandy was still small, she came walking out while my husband was busy putting together toys in the living room.  She was still half asleep and luckily didn’t notice what was going on before I shuffled her back to bed.

One Christmas after the children were getting older, we’d given them the usual warning about not getting out of bed until after daylight, or they might frighten Santa away.  They went to bed and Ed and I spent several hours getting everything ready.  It always took me a while to fix everything just the way I wanted it. 

One of the children’s gifts that year was a talking robot called My Pal 2.  If you moved My Pal 2, he would start blinking his lights and talking to you.  Ed and I had just settled down in bed when suddenly we heard My Pal 2 start talking.  Then we heard some scuffling of little feet getting out of the living room in a hurry!  The children just knew that they were going to be in big trouble when that robot started talking–and they couldn’t figure out how to stop him from talking!  The next day we all had a big laugh about the robot that “ratted” on the children who sneaked out of bed.

I  enjoy sharing my thoughts and memories of the past, but I am going to take a break from blogging for the next few days so I can get ready for Christmas.  When I return to blogging after Christmas, I will have a whole new batch of stories to share with you.  Until then, I wish every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!   Kathy

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Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 11:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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That Crazy Christmas of 2004

My last two posts have been about that crazy Christmas of 2004.  If you remember, I’d had a cervical fusion done just two short weeks before Christmas, so I was getting over surgery–my fresh scar is visible in the picture of me with the toilet seat. 

When I left off with my story, Ed had managed to put the pool table together that we’d ordered off eBay,  just in time for our family to enjoy it at Christmas.  If you haven’t read that story, you should read yesterday’s post.  It’s an unbelievable tale!

Another interesting thing that happened that Christmas was a result of me bidding on eBay.  While Ed was building our game house, I was busy buying Coca Cola stuff off eBay to decorate it with.  We’d found all kinds of interesting things in the Coke theme, but the one that caught my eye was the hand painted toilet seat! 

My hand-painted coca-cola toilet seat

 I didn’t have much bathroom decor and I really wanted that toilet seat.  I got caught up in a bidding frenzy and ended up paying $65.00 for that toilet seat!  I was afraid that Ed was going to kill me, but he didn’t.  Of course, there was no way I was going to actually use that seat on our toilet, after paying such a price for it–so I decided to hang it on the wall.  It still hangs in the bathroom today!

In the days of Christmas of 2004, our only grandchildren were dogs!  Brandy and Clint were parents to several of them.  Two of them were inside dogs–and both of them rescues.  When Brandy and Clint came to visit, their “dog children” came with them.  We dressed the “grandogs” up in hats and took their picture beside my Christmas tree.  Both of these adorable “grandogs” have since  passed away. “Annie” the black one passed away first, followed by “Precious” a couple of years later.  Both were killed in accidents involving cars.

Precious and Annie--the "grandogs"

We spent a good bit of time playing pool on that brand new pool table that Christmas.  All of the hard work and headaches were soon forgotten.  The newly decorated “Coca Cola” game house became the new family hang out. 

Ed watching as our oldest son makes his shot...

That crazy Christmas of 2004 had gotten off to a rough start, and had a few bumps along the way, but all is well that ends well, and Christmas of 2004 definately ended well.  It was the most memorable Christmas that we’ve ever had, too!  I wish you and your family a very Merry and Memorable Christmas, too.

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Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 9:06 am  Comments (3)  
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That Crazy Christmas of 2004 Part One…Friday’s Giveaway

This is what I looked like at Thanksgiving 2004

The events that helped to shape the Christmas of 2004 actually began in mid-November…I’d been experiencing neck problems on and off for about ten years.  I attributed most of it to arthritis.  I’d also been volunteering for our local animal shelter for several months.  A part of my volunteer program included transporting puppies and kittens to public places in an effort to find homes for them.  Every weekend I would put several puppies and kittens in carriers and load them in my van.  All of the loading and unloading, plus carrying the pet carriers full of animals began to aggravate my neck  and make it hurt worse.

One particular night when I was in a good bit of discomfort, I asked my husband to use our electric massager on my neck.  He turned on the heat, and ran the massager up and down my neck.  The next day I was in excruciating pain!  To make a long story short, I ended up having to have a cervical fusion done on my c-5 and c-6 neck vertebrae on December 10!  I suppose the disc had been going bad for a while,  but I thought it was arthritis.  Carrying the animal carriers made it worse.  The vibrating neck massager must’ve been the final straw that finished off the bad disc, because it was after that when I began having the really bad, never-ending pain–after which my fingers began going numb.  I was referred to a neurosurgeon and told I quickly needed surgery before permanent damage was done to my spinal cord by the bulging disc.

So–in the midst of Christmas preparations, I was busy having tests and surgery!  I also had to present the hospital with four hundred dollars up-front before I could have the surgery done, and the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery had to have some money up front, also.  Not exactly the plans that I had for that money during the month of December!

I had the surgery and was released on the same day.  I felt great afterward…no pain!  I’d been promised instant relief after the surgery, and I got it!   In fact, I felt so good that I made Ed stop by Kmart on the way home.  I sent him in the store to look something,  and I was supposed to wait in the car.  After a bit, I decided that I would get out and go in Kmart myself!  I never looked in the mirror to see what I looked like.  If I had, I would”ve stayed in the car!!! 

So Ed cames back to the car and discovered that I was gone.  He immediately panicked and thoughts I’d wandered off in a drugged state of stupor.  Meanwhile, I’d gone to the Christmas department of Kmart to pick of a piece that I wanted to go in my Gingerbread Village!  Ed came back inside of the store, found me making my purchase, and ushered me back to the car!  Ed said I looked like a wild, crazy woman wandering around Kmart!  Nobody would’ve ever guessed that I’d had surgery just two or three hours before!  After all, there was only a band-aid on my neck!

Guess what I got for Christmas that year, besides being pain-free?  An $80,000 hospital bill!  Merry Christmas to me!  It was okay though, it was worth every penny!  To be continued…

That’s it for part one of my crazy Christmas story.  I have lots more to tell about that Christmas!  How about you, do you have a Christmas story that you’d like to share?  If not, just leave a comment of any kind,  and I’ll enter your name in my Friday Giveaway.  This week’s prize is a Bath and Body Works WallFlower.  The scent is Kitchen Spice.  Your husband will come home and think you’ve been baking all day!  I love my Wallflowers.  In fact, I have this same scent in my kitchen now!  Contest ends on Sunday night at midnight EST.  Anyone leaving comments about anything over the entire weekend is eligible to win.  Good luck!

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Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 11:23 pm  Comments (5)  
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Collecting Christmas…

Old Santa in his sleigh along with his new tiny reindeer

I am hopelessly in love with all things Christmas.  It’s my favorite time of the year, and I love to decorate!  The first Christmas that Ed and I were married, I began collecting Christmas things.  We had to buy the tree, the ornaments, lights, and everything since we were just starting out, so the only extra decoration that I got was a  red flocked musical, rotating Santa that played Jingle Bells.  I still have it, although Santa is like me and is beginning to show his age…

I love animated Christmas dolls.  When they were popular, Ed would buy me a set for Christmas every year–for many years.  I’ve collected so many that I rotate displaying them each year.  Of course I have a few favorites, like my elf who sits and hammers on his toy boat all day, and who could resist those beautiful caroling dolls dressed in long velvet dresses?  I also love my Santa in his sleigh.  I have an animated Rudolph that goes with him, but this year I found eight tiny reindeer, (plus Rudolph) and added them to the sleigh.  The reindeer were the only new decorations that I bought this year because (a) there weren’t very many for sale,  and (b) I have no room left.

I collect village scenes, too.  I have a regular village, and I have a gingerbread village.  I alternate years displaying them.  Sometimes I display them on Ed’s pool table, but this year I downsized to the top of the television and just displayed half of the gingerbread village.

part of the gingerbread village sitting on top of the television

I also collect other kinds of decorations like curios–I call them “what nots”.  I have lots of shelves in the living room and I fill them up with my collected treasures.  Each year I lovingly wrap and unwrap each one and put them on display.  It’s a Christmas ritual at my house.  I put out most, if not all, of my curios before I decorate the tree.  I save the tree for last. 

part of my Christmas collection from over the years

Of all of my collectables, my Christmas ornaments are my favorites.  It breaks my heart because I can’t hang every one of my ornaments on the tree, but there are just too many.  I finally made myself sort through and get rid of some of them a couple of years ago.  It was painful to me.  My most treasured ornaments are the two which belonged to my parents and used to hang on the tree when I was growing up.  They are glass and are about 50 years old.  It’s a miracle that they have survived that long…

How about you?  Are you a Christmas collector?  If so, what do you collect?  What kind of tree do you put up?  Do  you have a favorite ornament?  Leave me a comment and tell me.  Random.org will choose a comment number for me on Monday morning.  The winner will receive…a gift bag containing Winter Candy Apple antibacterial hand soap, and a tube of antibacterial hand cream in the same fragrance–by Bath and Body Works. 

this week's prize

 I can’t wait to read the comments.  I look forward to my weekend commenters, and giving away the prize.  Most people get so excited when they win!!!  Have a great weekend everybody.  The contest will end at midnight on Sunday.       Kathy

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Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 12:21 am  Comments (16)  
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The Best and the Worst Christmas…

The year was 1989.  It had been a tough year for my family.  Both of my parents had been in the hospital for the first four months of that year–at the same time.  My daddy had suffered near fatal pneumonia, which also caused mesenteric thrombosis–a blood clot in his intestines.  He had nearly 1/2 of his intestines removed.  He spent two months on life support in ICU, and another two months in rehab.  My mother suffered from severe depression, which nearly killed her.  She didn’t leave her bedroom for nearly three months before ending up in the hospital for another four months in the psychiatric ward.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, my parents were admitted to a nursing home facility.  They were allowed to be roommates and continued to recover there.  Toward the end of that year, my parents convinced my mother’s brother to help them leave the nursing home–against my wishes.  I knew their history and didn’t feel it was in their best interest to be at home unsupervised.  Without my help, they went home and resumed their old, unhealthy lifestyle.

My intuition turned out to be correct, because within two months my daddy was back in the hospital and in ICU again.  My mother’s mental condition was still fragile, and she was unable to stay alone, so she had to come and stay with us.  By the time all of these things happened, it was Christmastime.

It snowed that year just before Christmas, not a little snow, but a large amount of snow.  Snow is not something that we see much of in southeast Georgia.  Even a few snowflakes are a treat to us!  Our children were ages 3,6, and 9 years old.  We all had a great time making snowballs and taking pictures.  It was a picture perfect Christmas in Georgia!

The bad thing about snow in Georgia is that we are not prepared for it.  We don’t have the right kind of clothing, nor are our vehicles equiped to drive in snow and ice.  We were not able to travel to the hospital to see about my daddy for a couple of days–which is a long time when you have a family member in ICU.  I was so worried about him.

In the meantime, Ed’s brother was out of the state working on a job site.  The other brother was eating Christmas dinner with his in-laws.  Ed’s parents came to spend Christmas Day with us that year instead of cooking.  Ed and I had begun staying home with our children on Christmas so they could enjoy their gifts,  and I was still learning to cook turkeys and hams.

  A little before lunchtime, Ed’s out-of-town brother called and said he would be coming home for Christmas after all.  He was either at the airport, or on his way–I don’t remember which–but he asked if someone could come and  pick him up.  Ed said that he would drive to the airport and get him.

It’s over an hour’s drive to the airport–one way– and the roads were still icy.  I was on pins and needles the whole time Ed was gone.  I was also sad that he had to  be gone on Christmas–even for a little while. I was so relieved when both of them arrived home safely!  We didn’t have cell phones then, so there was no contact the whole time Ed was gone.

Besides the snow,  here is the best part of this story for me.  I was totally a Tom Cruise fan at the time!  I loved all of his movies, I followed his career, made a scrapbook, had two framed posters of him, and bought every magazine that had his picture on the cover.  I even watched the movie Rainman 23 times!  To this day, it’s one of my favorite movies. 

Tom Cruise was on the cover of Time Magazine that December.  I searched everywhere for a copy of that magazine and failed to find one.  We live in a very small town, and I guess there isn’t much demand for Time Magazine here.   While at the airport, my always thoughtful Ed went to the newstand and found a copy of that magazine for me.  He surprised me with it when they got home!  It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received! 

Epilogue:  My daddy survived his second two month stay in ICU and I was fortunate enough to get him and my mother back in at the nursing home–in a room together– which was such a blessing.  I knew they would be safe and taken care of, and they were.  He lived another 18 months, she lived another 7 years.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 9:49 am  Comments (1)  
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