Friday, December 30, 2011


Not the title you were prepared for, huh? Nope. Me either. Writing is funny like that. I was thinking of writing something completely different tonight. Something I had pictures of. Something to tell a story of something I had done with my family (visiting the Science Museum, which will be a later post). But, no.

Tonight I finished watching a special that was on Lifetime in October called "Five." I know, Lifetime-but it's the channel "Project Runway" is on! Anyway, it was a movie of sorts about 5 women (fictitious) and their story about breast cancer. I had saved the movie on our DVR, knowing that some night when J was gone, I would get around to watching it. I wanted to watch it, but had to be in the right frame of mind. Not the casual sort or the "eh" sort, but the I'm-ok-with-crying-if-it-happens mood. You know? Tonight was one of those nights.

And it happened. I cried. Not until the VERY end of the montage of stories. I made it through until the ending music was playing and they panned away from the last scene. I'm not sure what it was: the husband with his 7 year old daughter, but no wife; the kiss the oncologist placed on her "five-year tile," I know what it was! own thoughts. Ding! Ding! Ding! Yes, it hit me. Not that I don't think about it often, because I do. But it was that whole five-year date. See, mom hit her 6 YEAR survival date this December 19th. Last year we whooped it up, because 5 years is a huge milestone. But I also think 6 years is a huge milestone. Every year is a milestone when you're talking cancer. In the movie, it really was the part when the oncologist kissed her 5-year survival tile. Because that's us. We had our "kiss the tile" ceremony last year. And the truth of it is, I have my own little party for my mom every time I see her. She doesn't know this, but she will after reading this. Hi Mom! Love you!

Cancer is an AWFUL word. I hate it. I don't use that word very much, but I do. On the flip side, I LOVE my mom and survival. I love the positive thinking we have and had through the cancer time. I love the prayer that held us all up through that time. Cancer is one of my least favorite words, but beating it is the best thing my mom did we all did...together. Love you, mom!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On the sixth day of writing...the nativity

The nativity is an important part of Christmas for us. This is because for us, it's what it is all about. We have 2 nativity scenes in our house. One is for the kids.
This Little People Nativity is one they can move around, act with and tell the story of Jesus' birth. They love making the Wise Men come when Jesus is born. The angel sings. The animals gather around. This nativity is played with on a daily basis!
This nativity is one that my mom gave us for Christmas one year. I love all of the pieces this has. It has moved around from place to place in our house, and this year it is on top of our piano. I like having it in a place where we can see it every day.

The one nativity I remember is this one.
It's at my mom and dad's house. I played with the Baby Jesus all the time, because it comes out of the manger.
I can "feel" it right now-the smoothness of the metal with details still on each piece.

Nativities really have a lot of meaning in our house. I can't imagine having a Christmas without them in our house.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the fifth day of writing...ornaments!

I had good intentions this Christmas season of doing a "12 days of writing" sequence. I was inspired by the song, but, I fell a bit short-on time, motivation and...well, I guess that's it! There's always next year though. So here are 2 more I had written earlier, but had never taken the time to add pictures. Enjoy!
I love ornaments. Especially sparkly ones. And ornaments from when I was little. And ornaments from when the kids were babies. I love ornaments!

As we get the ornaments out to decorate the tree, I'm reminded of where we got the ornaments or what they stand for. Like these...
These are from Grandma and Grandpa Bandow from Christmas in 1995.
I love these because it feels like there's a little part of them with me at Christmas.

The fabric ones with sequins on them are from my Aunt Jean.
She made one every year for the first 4 years of my life (I think).
I love that she put my name and the year on the back. Those are my favorites. The kids were cute this year because they would look at them and say, "Mommy, this one is yours. You can put it on the tree."

These are my favorite newer ornaments.
I love these because they reflect the light coming from the tree.
Ornaments hold a special meaning for everyone. They mark special dates, special years, firsts and many other things. Every year I am reminded of these things as we decorate our tree. What special ornaments do you have on your tree?

Final version-Christmas 2011

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in far!

Merry Christmas!
 From our non-snow covered front step
 to yours
 From our brightly lit tree
 and silly faces
 From our angel in the middle
 the live Nativity
 and our king
 From this Mamma and Papa
 to our "do I have to take another picture?" family
 From me and my wonderful cousins
 to these loving parents
 From these almost-eaten cookies and empty glass of milk
 to zero days left until Christmas
(Don't forget to add the "s" again, Mommy.")
 From, "I got just what I asked for...a remote control race track!"
 to, "OH! My sparkly boots! Thank you, Santa!"
 to, oh my, Santa! Thank you so much!
 From this Mamma and Papa
 to this smiley family,
we hope your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
were as fun as ours were. 
God Bless us! And you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the fourth day of writing...cookies!

(If you missed day 1, 2 or 3, take a peek!)

Lots of cookies. Chocolate cookies. Sugar cookies. Cookies that look perfect. Cookies made with love. 7 layer bars. Kiss cookies. Lots and lots of cookies!

We love cookies around our house. As a kid I remember my mom making spritz cookies. I can even hear the Wrrrrr of the spritz maker, spouting out the cookies, one after another, and pretty quick at that! There were red, green and yellow ones we used to make. I also remember adding the decorations to the top of the cookies. My favorites to add were the little silver beads. I'm not sure why, but I think I liked the shiny look of them. Sprinkles and red hots were added to the spritz cookies too. I haven't made them with my mom in a while. Now it's for ease of what keeps the attention of 2 five year olds!

This year the kids and I have made cookies with both of the Mammas. The first round consisted of chocolate kiss cookies,
7 layer bars, some cocoa cookies covered in powdered sugar (I don't know the name of them), sugar cookies
and gingerbread cookies.
The second round
had cream cheese sugar cookies
and Oreo truffles.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is...I might just have to get some treats as I'm writing this!

I love baking this time of year. The smells and the traditions continued are some of my favorites. I hope it's a tradition we keep as our kids grow up. Now where are those cookies...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Star is Born!

You know, "Charlie Brown's Christmas" is one of my favorite Christmas specials. "Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!" I loved watching it as a little kid and still love watching it as an adult. The first weekend in December we had our own Christmas play performance with our kids in it. I guess they weren't actually in it, but they sang back-up, if you will.
A & C have been going to choir at church since the beginning of the school year. We think they like it ok, but I also think A likes it better than C. When we pick them up they are all smiles. They were really excited to sing for us and we couldn't wait to hear them!
Watching your two 5 year olds up in the choir loft is pretty funny. They turn around. They sit when they're supposed to stand. They talk to the person next to them. They put their sweaters over their heads while they should be know, the normal things.
 Can you see C waving to us?! A is turned around, as usual.

Watching your 5 year olds up in the choir loft is also amazing. They sing about getting down on your knees to pray. They sing about being humble (still working a bit on the meaning, but...). They sing about a star being born-the star of wonder. Those are the things that make me the most proud as I sit in the audience, trying to get everything recorded so they can watch it when they're all grown up today.
All smiles after the performance

Anything that gets us back to the true meaning of Christmas does it for me. "A Star is Born!" was it for me that weekend!

On the third day of writing...Holiday Specials!

Yes, as in TV holiday specials. We love them around our house. There are the classic standbys:
Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman

But then there are some new ones that are turning out to be family favorites:
Shrek the Halls
Prep and Landing
Elf on the Shelf

Watching the holiday specials something we can do as often or as little as we want, thanks to the invention of the DVR. I remember, as a kid, always plotting out when the shows were going to be on and making sure we were either home to watch them or making sure the VCR was set to record. "Oh, how times have changed!" as we say (as we get older). I can almost recite some of the shows by heart because we've watched them so many times! We love sitting together, knowing the songs that are coming, laughing at the same jokes and knowing that things always turn out ok in the end. Holiday specials are always fun to enjoy as a family!