Tuesday, December 25, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas

The children were nestled all snug in their beds...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bloomin' laundry!

When my grandmother passed away this summer my mother foolishly, er... graciously left me in charge of my grandmother's African Violet plant that had been in her room. Now, I love plants and I do currently have a few indoor plants (I am a firm believer that I am not responsible for those outdoors, mother nature is) that are still alive. But I am not known for my horticulture skills. I sincerely apologize to that one plant I decided to water in the guest bath bathtub and didn't discover until much, much later. RIP my little philodendron. On the otherhand I have managed to keep a few plants green. I guess you could say I have more of a chartreuse thumb with intent to be green.

So back to the African Violet. This was a lot of pressure. My mom had been unsuccessful in getting me a starter off the original plant so after her last visit she just left it with me. I have to admit, I wasn't exactly ready for a new plant. So much responsibility. How could I take care of one more? Would I neglect my other plants? Would the other plants get jealous and turn brown? And this one, it's so delicate, so finicky, would I have the patience for it? Am I the right kind of person to take care of such a plant?

So there it sat, right next to my sink so that I perhaps may not forget to water it. Until one day I was cleaning up and temporarily moved it to the laundry room. Well numerous loads of laundry and several days later here is what I discovered:

Yep, you see correctly. That is a bloom! My very first violet. You thought I was going to show you a dried up sad looking plant, didn't you? Well you thought wrong. Apparently, this little guy loves the laundry room. Is it the fresh laundry scent? The swooshing of the washing machine? The brief moment of attention when I have to move it to clean out the lint screen? Who knows, but whatever it is, it's working! And lest my mother should think that I just snitched some random photo off the web, here is a full shot:

Bloom on, little buddy... bloom on.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Inspired by a fellow blogger, Cindy, I am excited to share with you one of my most favorite things about Christmas. My small obsession probably started when I was a young girl. We had a small ceramic nativity set that my family would put out every Christmas. As time went on it eventually became my responsibility to make sure the nativity was set up and displayed properly. Every year I was challenged to come up with something new and different as this quite small nativity always seemed to take a backseat to the majestic Christmas tree. Don't get me wrong I love Christmas trees, but behind all the lights, ornaments, tinsel and strung popcorn what have you got? A tree. Just a tree. The nativity set however, was special, this is Jesus' birth for crying out loud. If you don't have Jesus, you don't have Christmas. Since I never could reach the top of the tree to put up the star, this was my one shining (pardon the pun) moment. So to my small child brain, I had to make it special. Of course the proper display, meant I had to find just the right spot. I'm not sure the nativity was ever displayed in the same place two years in a row. One year it went under the tree... that idea was scrapped as colorful presents quickly stole Jesus' glory. In the book case next to the record player... yes, record player. That was a great spot! What better time to reflect on Jesus when you're putting the needle down on your John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Together record. The fireplace mantle, on top of the piano, the coffee table... I'm pretty sure I tried to figure out how to hang it from the ceiling at one point.

Well now I'm all grown up - sort of - and I've got my own nativity set. In fact, I've got a few just so I don't have to worry about finding that one perfect spot anymore. I'm hoping that eventually I'll have enough to fill every bare spot in my home. I'm just kidding... sort of.

Please come along with me on the Happy Chaps nativity tour:

This is the latest addition to my meager collection. This one I inherited from my mother-in-law. I love it.

These next four are currently in the secretary in the living room behind glass. Until my three year old boy can be trusted with fragile items sitting about (which will probably be never) that is where they will stay.

This one probably doesn't count as a nativity per se, but I liked the youthful look of Joseph and Mary.

This next one looks just like the one we had when I was a child. Only we had a few more pieces, and I think Mary's outer wrap was purple. Never ask a ten year old girl to repaint your nativity set.

My sister (I hope) has the set my parent's had. Although if you ask her she'll probably say that she gave it to me years ago. Or that she has fond memories of setting up the nativity and her story will strangely resemble mine. Just don't ask her about the "ghetto blaster" we got for Christmas one year.

Just realizing that on this next one I think I have the shepherd boy standing over the baby Jesus and Joseph is standing off to the right. Sheesh, it's hard to tell some of these pieces apart. They should put names on the bottom or something.

Again, probably doesn't count as a nativity but who doesn't like those Willow Tree sculptures? I just love how endearing this is. I'm pretty sure unlike what is typically depicted that Joseph was not standing stoically to the side.

And last but not least my Waterford handblown glass ornaments, which never actually make it to the tree as ornaments. They reside on my mantle with all the other fragile ornaments away from little hands.

I hope that as my son grows older he'll understand that Christmas isn't all about Santa, reindeer, and presents. But know that it is about one gift, a very special gift that came in the form of a baby. A gift for everyone.

Luke 2:8-14 NIV
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.""

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Card Outtakes

My child does not smile anymore. Is he unhappy? Hurt? Sad? No. In fact, he's a very joyful child. Loves to laugh and have fun - as far as I can tell pretty normal. However, for some reason when I pull out my not-so-inconspicuous camera, my child is unable to smile. He just can't do it. And I do not possess any ability to be able to pull that smile out. Oh sure, we've tried all the standards, 'Say cheese!'... here's what I get:

Say, 'Cheeseburger!':

'Please, can't you just smile?':

'Why don't you show Mommy just how much you love having your picture taken?':

A little better:

As you can see, while still incredibly cute, my child has made it nearly impossible to get a good photo for the annual family Christmas card. Perhaps we'll just put this big fellow on the front of our card, he looks pretty happy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Getting the Christmas Spirit

The tree is up and decorated, the Christmas village is lit, and the stockings are hung in anticipation. Unforunately, it is 70 degrees and sunny. Oh well, that is life in Texas - I'm sure Santa won't mind.

Here's a photo I took of an ornament on our tree.
Prior to editing: