Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

By Clement Clarke Moore

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Little Sisters"

I am so happy for my girls that they are blessed to have a sister to go through life with -- not that they always feel that's a blessing... They definitely have their moments! Just yesterday, my husband and I told them that for each time they tattle on their sister (their new favorite pastime) they will get one less Christmas gift! That is working well so far... But, they do love each other and it's so sweet when they show that love! My eldest daughter wrote this on our chalkboard the other day: "Little sisters are like dolls; you can read, sing, play, talk, dress-up and share secrets with them. But most of all, love them." So sweet!

(PS - I'll be saving this as a reminder for them -- I'm sure it will come in handy someday!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Days 'Til Christmas

There are 10 days until Christmas -- where did the time go? Here's where we stand with our holiday preparations:

- Trees up and decorated, check!

- Christmas cards - ordered, in hand, nearly all sent out (need more stamps)

- Shopping - before this morning we only had things for the girls - I'm moving along on everyone else today and hope to be done this weekend!

- Wrapping - HA! Not even close... Well, the gift wrap tub is upstairs near the table, so I guess that's close (to starting)

- Santa's letters are ready for Santa, check!

- Visit with Santa - scheduled to brave the mall to see Santa later this afternoon (wish us luck!)

- Christmas baking - again, HA! No where near starting...

- Christmas dresses for the girls - my eldest daughter LOVES her dress from last year so much that she really wants to wear it again this year -- who am I to argue? So, I guess we're halfway done on dresses...

- Menu for Christmas dinner - we're having Grandpa & Gramby over for dinner on Christmas and so far here's my menu plan: beef something, some sort of salad, some sort of starch, some sort of veggie, some sort of dessert... Sigh - that needs some work, doesn't it?

So, we have a bunch of stuff to do this weekend and we also have 3, count them - THREE - birthday parties between tomorrow and Tuesday! And no birthday gifts or birthday gift ideas... Have to work on that one tonight! We also have Grandpa & Gramby's annual holiday party tomorrow night, and Sunday School for my little one on Sunday.

And what are we doing tonight after we visit Santa? Once the girls are in bed, I'm hoping that my husband and I can settle in with a glass of wine and our favorite grown-up holiday movie, "Love Actually" -- he's been working long hours this week -- he loves the movie, but he may crash early on... Do you think he'd stay awake if we wrapped gifts at the same time? Hmmm.... ;)

Am I missing anything on the holiday prep list? Let me know!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Girls' Night Out - Mom & Daughter Time!

Last night my nearly 11-year-old (gasp, it pains me to say that!) and I had a special treat! The two of us went downtown to the beautiful Eastman Theater (my camera phone does not do it justice... And this is my daughter's "I'm SUPER excited face!") to watch an a cappella concert put on by the YellowJackets, Pentatonix and Delilah -- all groups that we enjoyed watching on the NBC show, "The Sing Off." We have been huge fans of this show during it's first three seasons -- it's a show that our whole family can watch together and enjoy. We were fortunate to have found out about a local concert that the YellowJackets were having to benefit their Kenya project. My husband had to work and my 5-year-old adamantly declined my repeated offer to take her to the concert. Grandpa and Gramby were available to watch her, so my eldest daughter and I decided to go on our own! The tickets were for general admission and I had gone downtown on Friday to pick our tickets up so that we wouldn't have to wait in line for them. We dropped my little one off early and headed downtown prepared to wait out in the cold! We were arrived 90 minutes early and were able to wait inside behind about 40 - 50 people who had arrived ahead of us. We had already decided that we were going to head right up front toward the stage -- my daughter want to see everyone up close! We were thrilled to get seats in the 5th row! It was a fantastic concert -- wonderful music, a performance with a group of elementary students who have been working with the YellowJackets, and even a surprise wedding proposal for one of the singers from Delilah -- my daughter thought that was about the coolest, most romantic thing ever!

Whether we were watching these groups on the Sing Off or in person last night, we have always been amazed at the talent of these singers -- the amazing things they can do with their voices! We kept reminding ourselves that there was no band performing with them! Unbelievable! I'm glad that my girl appreciated the talent and hard work of these performers. She admired the beauty in the historic theater, and she was wonderfully fun company to hang out with for the evening! It was a special night for my girl and I, and although it was a school night, I took a little extra time after the concert (and after we got out of the parking garage...) to put on the local "24 hours of Christmas music" radio station and I drove her up and down Main Street to see all of the beautiful lights decorating the city for the holidays.

It was a wonderful evening and something my sweet girl and I will probably never forget!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"I Have a Question..."

The other night the 4 of us went to a special dinner for my dad -- he is the new Commander of our local Sail and Power Squadron this year, so this was their change of watch dinner/ceremony and he was all dressed up in his uniform and had to give a speech. It was pretty long and there were a number of speeches and different parts of the ceremony. My nearly 11-year-old was an angel, her 5-year-old sister was getting pretty wiggly, but still remarkably good, all things considered! Anyway, they had a rep from the Coast Guard there who spoke and then took questions at the end. My littlest girlie whispered to me, "I have a question for the guy!" and I said, "Really? What is your question?" And she said, "What's a sea horse?" Which totally cracked me up at that moment -- we refrained from asking, but I was impressed that it was a question about marine life and not kitties or rainbows or something!

I try so hard to write down these funny little things that my girls say -- to share with them and their children and to fondly remember when they were little! (I have a sweet picture that I took of the girls and their grandpa in his uniform, alas I am still having problems with my camera -- I can take pictures, I just can't get them off the camera!! Hoping Santa will help me resolve that issue!) :)