Friday, December 17, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Memory... Circa 1981

Today at work some of my coworkers and I were talking about our favorite Christmas memories and it made me want to share mine with you.

My first Christmas at 4 months old. I still have that stocking... somewhere.

I love Christmas. I love the Christmas season and everything about it. I have always wanted to be a part of a huge family with lots of kids that get up on Christmas morning and race to the tree to see if Santa filled their stockings.

This was my favorite Christmas gift of all time - a tractor just like the one my grandfather drove. It was my "chair" for the rest of our Christmas visit. Well, mine and my new stuffed pet kitty's.

Since we don't have children that's not something I get to be a part of. But I love throwing Christmas parties and eggnog and putting up the tree and Christmas music.

God bless her, my grandmother gave me a doll for every freaking year. And I fake smiled and said "thank you" every freaking year. And then hated them - I was never much of a doll fan. Shrug.
I love mistletoe and picking out just the right gift and Christmas specials on TV. There's a lot to love about Christmas and I have a lot of wonderful Christmas memories, but there's one special memory that I want to share with everyone.

It was my ninth Christmas and my whole family had gathered at my grandparents' house in Kentucky as we did every year. It was bedtime (around 8:30 or so) on Christmas Eve and the meteorologist on the local news station claimed that Santa was getting pretty close. I'd been getting a little suspicious about the whole Santa thing over the last year, and was resisting going to bed. Extended family members had been visiting all day and all evening, the kitchen and living room were full of Christmas candy and cookies, and everybody was still having so much fun - it wasn't fair that I had to go to bed for "Santa" to come.

So I was in bed, but I wasn't asleep - and I was pretty vocal about my displeasure and being told to go to bed. Suddenly, Mom comes in and asks me if I hear bells... from outside. I listened and I heard them - are those... jingle bells? When I looked out the bedroom window and up toward the roof, I saw a red glow off the edge of the roof! OMG - Rudolph was peaking in my window to see if I was asleep! HOLY COW!!! RED ALERT! RED ALERT!!! SANTA IS HERE!

(This part will probably shock you - but I was a pretty loud and bossy kid, so their plan kind of backfired on them.) To Mom and Aunt Anita's surprise I hopped right out of bed and ran into the living room screaming "Santa's here! Everybody in bed! Santa's here! You have to go to bed! Rudolph just looked in my window! He can't leave me presents if you're still up! GO TO BED!" They tried to convice me that it was okay for adults to be up - but I wasn't buying it for one hot second. Everybody knows Santa only comes in if everyone's in bed. Duh. So I forced my entire family - grandparents, parents, aunt - to get into the pajamas and go to bed. At 8:30 on Christmas Eve. If I recall correctly we still had company visiting and I effectively kicked them out as well. Everybody made a big show of rushing into their pajamas and climbing into bed.

In all my excitement, what I didn't notice is that Dad was missing... poor guy was up on the roof with bells and a red light!

I don't know how long I lay in bed after that with my eyes squeezed shut as tightly as possible, adrenaline pumping through my little veins, desperately trying to fall asleep as fast as possible. But I finally did. I woke up Christmas morning to a stocking full of presents from Santa, half the cookies and milk I'd left out was gone and he'd left me a note. (I always left Santa a note and he always wrote one back.)

I don't remember what I received that year, but I do remember how special that memory makes me feel. My grandparents aren't with us anymore, but I remember how much they enjoyed that Christmas as well. We don't all gather in Kentucky for Christmas anymore and those traditions are gone, replaced with new and different traditions. But one thing that hasn't changed is that I have an amazing family that loves me very much.

Me, Mom, Dad and Anita on Christmas morning - the morning after Santa and Rudolph's special visit! (Shut up - pink footie pajamas were totally in style that year. If you wanna laugh at something check out Dad's sideburns!)

Especially my dad, who climbed up on the roof and froze his jingle bells off just to convince me that Santa was real for just one more year...

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Day Snowmen!

So when we got up Sunday morning and saw that we had a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground, we thought it was beautiful. We had a full day of errands and kids' bday parties and Broad Family Hannukah ahead of us so Jeremy started wrapping presents while I bundled up to go run some errands.

Pulled out onto Upper Bottom Road and decided the "beautiful blanket of snow" wasn't so beautiful. The road hadn't been touched.
 At least once I got to the highway, the road had been cleared - not that it mattered. There was patchy black ice underneath all that snow. Guess the guy in the green truck facing the wrong way against the median found that out the hard way...
 Saw an accident on Highway 70 west bound...
 Saw an accident at Page Extension and Upper Bottom...
 But the good news is - I got my Venti, no fat, no foam, no whip Gingerbread Latte! Was it worth it? Well, no doi it was worth it. Have you met me????
 Anyway - by the time I got home I told Jeremy I didn't think it was a good idea to get out on the roads and head out to Wentzville. We hated to miss the beautiful Miss Avah's Second birthday party, but we have to be at Jeremy's dad's for Channukah at 4 and it was just to iffy to drive out toWentzville and back and then into Chesterfield and back. So I suddenly had a free afternoon - and that NEVER happens.

So I decided to devote my day to Graduate Finance and the pursuit of higher learning. Now let's discuss Value at Risk and the effect it may or may not have had in the failure of the subprime market in 2007-2008. Dennis Weathestone, the former CEO of ... HA! Yeah right.

So I REALLY decided to spend the afternoon doing something fun for a change! I don't take the title of "Best Aunt on Earth" lightly, you know, so I made snowmen for the kids. We're still going to try to make it to Jay's tonight for the Hannukah gift exchange, so the kids will get an extra treat.

These snowmen are SUPER easy to make the kids just love them. They'd be fun to make with little ones as well. All you need are mini powdered donuts, candy corn, mini chocolate chips, popsicle sticks, toothpicks and black construction paper.

I made little pedastals to put them on with some white textured wrapping paper scraps I had left over from a wedding gift I'd wrapped. I just covered a square of cardboard,
 and then poked a hole in the center, put a little glue on a popsicle stick and put it in the hole.
 Stack three powdered donuts on your stick... (see Miss Gingerbread Latte in the back ground? I love her.)
 My snowman assembly line.
 Cut a length of yard to wrap around the neck as a scarf and push a piece of candy corn into the top donut for your snowman nose...
 Up close...
 Now use one of your popsicle sticks to poke little holes for the eyes and buttons - it makes exactly the right size hole for the mini chocolate chips. Then put the mini chips in pointed end first.
 To make the hats I just used black construction paper. I tried several edible options, but nothing looked quite right (which  means I have chocolate mallowcookies, chocolate wafers and black dots to eat... poor me). So I just cut 1 inch rounds, 2 in rounds and long strips to create the hats.
 Glue it all in place... had to find small weights to hold them together while the glue dries.
 Then poke a hole in the bottom of your had and pop it on top. Use a couple of toothpicks as arms and you're good to go!