Smoked Oysters

I realized today that I have a lot of memories involving oysters. Which seems a little odd, but whattaya gonna do?

My Grandparent’s Annual Christmas Eve Oyster Stew Party was a big part of my childhood. The other oyster tradition is a little thing that my mom and I always did. We both love smoked oysters, but when I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money and those were definitely not on the regular menu. Every year on Christmas there would be a tin in each of our stockings. I always make sure Santa knows that he’s supposed to bring me one still.

I’ve spent many a Christmas apart from my mom over the years. Since my parents shared custody of me, I was often at my dad’s on school vacations. Later, I grew up and moved away. Being apart from my mom on Christmas is something I’m used to. Plus, now that I’m the person responsible for the majority of Christmas happening at our house, it’s a busy whirligig of a week with not enough sleep and too much shopping to really take any time to reflect on the ghost of Christmases past.

But, today the pace has finally slowed. I sat here eating my smoked oysters and missing my mama.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Mom.

Six Word Friday: Focus

At this time of the year

Amid the chanting ads and sales

It can be hard to hear

The true message behind the holidays.

The message on TV is clear:

Save by buying! Money equals love!

In reality we save by saving

and love equals love, not money.

Getting caught up in the hustle

(and believe me it’s a hustle!)

and stress of buying, trading, bartering

boxed up symbols of love’s quantity

is no good way to celebrate

our cherished love for each other.

Taking some time to slow down

and reevaluate our priorities can provide

a much needed shift in focus.

What we focus on will expand.

Instead of focusing our energy and

precious time on gifts you buy,

what if we focus on gifts

that cannot be bought or sold.

Give someone the gift of time.

We can spend an hour shopping

or we can spend an hour

with a friend, focusing on them.

Personally, I love getting  handmade gifts.

I know that what you spent

making that for me (time, thought,

energy, creativity) is worth the world.

So I propose we focus on

those things that matter the most.

Those things that are not things.

Those precious intangibles that are what

we truly want to exchange anyway.

Let us begin to focus on:

Family, friends, food, following our hearts

Opening our hearts, ‘onoring each other

Charity, cherishing loved ones, checking greed

Unity, understanding each other, unrestrained delight

Sharing: souls, songs, sustenance, some hugs

Now you can go over to see Melissa for more to FOCUS on!

We Rock!

We are informed by our teacher that the children are making stocking to hang for their holiday party and could we please provide a small toy or something to go in them. We have 23 kids in our class. (!!!) She suggests that the dollar store is a good place to look.

We go to the dollar store.

Even there it is hard to find anything we like that comes in packs with multiples. (Since I am not spending $23 at $1 per thing.)

We look up and down the Christmas aisle.

The toy aisle.

The crafting aisle.

I joke, “You could give your friends rocks.”

He replies, “Yeah, jingle bell rocks.”

But then he gets thinking about it and decides that’s what he wants to do. He chose not to buy the small sleigh bells to glue onto the rocks. (a little too obvious, I suppose…)

So we buy some rocks.


And we draw on them.


And they are awesome! Even though we chose not to write “Jingle Bell” on them. Ha!


Don’t be surprised if you get rocks from me for Christmas from now on. In fact, every holiday. ♥

Six Word Friday: Thanks







Thanks, Melissa!

The Beginning of the End.

So Child C lost a tooth last week. This is one we’ve been really looking forward to losing because the permanent tooth decided to come in behind it. I’m hoping that as his jaw gets bigger and things work their way around that tooth will find its way back in line with the others. That’s what the dentist said anyway. But we can probably predict that there will be braces in our future down the road. Although, a couple of teeth came in very crooked and worked themselves around to the lineup. Really, who knows?

But this post isn’t about that.

This is the conversation we had:

C: Mommy, is the Tooth Fairy real?

Me: Huh?

C: Because if the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, then it’s either you or Daddy. Just like Santa. Santa isn’t real either.

Me: What? Who told you that baloney?

C: Some kids at school.

Me: Whatever. Some kids like to make stuff up. That’s not very nice of them.

I can tell that this is the beginning of the end. On the one hand, it would be a lot easier not to have hide the presents quite so hard. But I really want to keep the magic alive for him as long as I can.

Ah well, Santa is alive in spirit, if not in body. I think that’s pretty magical.

Over the mountains and through the woods…

To Grandpa’s house we go!

We took a quick trip over to the other side of the mountains to visit my Dad and the family for a couple days.

We watched movies on the giant tv screen he has.

Went to dinner and ate an obscene amount of sushi.

Mmmm….Vegas rolls are little slices of heaven.

Drove home last night to the tune of tears because we had to leave. We’ve seen the fam twice this year.

A record for us.

But still not enough.

We love you family! See you next year!

I probably won’t post any more this year, so I will wish you all a fulfilling and delightful new year.

Be Safe if you are out and about!

Plan Z

On Monday I got up ready to face the day and write about it being the one year anniversary of my blog. I was going to write about how surprised I was that I’d managed to keep this up steadily for this long.

My husband was out of town getting ready to have surgery. Our son was at school. I decided to wait to post until after I got back from running to town for his Christmas Program and errands. We were planning to go to my Dad’s for the holiday since our Daddy would be gone.

I might have posted something about it being the darkest night in 300 years due to the lunar eclipse falling on the eve of the winter solstice.

I might have…but the universe had other plans.

Instead I came home from running those errands and became riotously ill with a stomach bug.

I had a couple of hours until the bus would bring home the kid, so I thought if I went slowly I could feed the horses and then go to the bus stop to get my helper who I was really going to need.

I did manage to get the feeding done, but I also managed to slip and fall on the ice. Hooray. (No real injuries, just a bruise on my upper shin.)

I dragged myself to the car and down to the bus stop.

When my son got in the car he proceeded to pull up his pant legs and show me some weird rash that he had on his knees. Huh? We went home because, no, you cannot stay and play at your friend’s house with some possible contagion all over your legs, son.

At home, with further inspection, it was discovered that the rash was all over his body except for his head. It was red, lacyish, had welts. I was freaking out!

I knew I was going to have to take him to the ER. And I was going to have to drag somebody else with me because I was going to be spending an unusual amount of time in the bathroom which would leave my baby all by himself in the ER with a burning, itchy rash. Worse, I was going to drag all of us an hour away to the ER worth going to. Since, having tested the local hospital on several occasions, we are no longer willing to go there unless we are actually in danger of dying from blood loss or some other critical situation. If we can make the drive, we will.

So, I was flipping out over all this on top of already feeling like you-know-what.

My husband convinced me via text and phone to go to town and get some calamine lotion and Benadryl to give him and see if that helped. If it didn’t, we could go to the doctors in the morning.

I enlisted the aid of a friend who ran around and got everything for me (including a Happy Meal for the patient 🙂 so I only had to make one stop.


As an added bonus, she has three grown kids and has seen every rash and allergy already. She looked at it and said it was probably an allergic reaction to some thing. (Still don’t know what.)

We came home to administer the lotion and Benadryl.

Well, I managed to give him the Benadryl and then fell asleep.


Since we both had something wrong, neither of us had to get up early to try to get to the bus. whoopee!

*I’m sorry son, I know the rash is almost all gone today, but we can’t go to school. Yes, I know it was Xmas parties today. I’m sorry. We’ll have donuts and rent that movie over break.*

Thank goodness the Benadryl worked.

Thank goodness my neighbor was able to feed for me.

Thank goodness my husband’s surgery went well. Longer than expected, but fine.

Thank goodness my son is old enough to fend for himself quite a bit and was feeling better.

We’ve all been recovering ever since.

We had to change all of our plans, of course. We’ll visit my dad next week. We ran around like monkeys to pull off Christmas at the last minute since we weren’t planning on being here. Well, sick, tired old monkeys anyway.

Bonus: Since we were planning on being gone, the neighbors were already going to be feeding for a few days. We just asked them to do it anyway since we were none of us feeling up to it. Hooray! Neighbors Rock! (At least-some do.ha.)

Happy Belated Solstice!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

I think I need another nap.

Lost Week.

I’ve lost a week somewhere and I can’t seem to get it back.

I think it was probably the week when my husband was in the mountains and then in the hospital.

But, whether that was it or not, I really thought I had another week before my husband’s surgery and then Christmas.

I freely admit that Christmas has a habit of sneaking up on me. But, due to circumstances beyond my control, it has seriously tried to evade me this year.

I only have a week left.


Oh boy!

Better get crackin’ !


I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage the twelve days we usually do. But maybe. We’ll see.

Our Christmas Traditions

I have always been disappointed by how quickly Christmas ends. After a month of build up, Christmas morning comes and goes in the blink of an eye. As a child I always felt a feeling of “what? That was it? We’re done already?” and was a little let down by that. I’m not trying to discount the family time and the food and all the other wonderful things that go along with the holiday. But, a lot of that happens at other holidays. What really sets Christmas apart from Thanksgiving or Easter is Santa and the gifts. In some ways, it’s harder now that I’m grown and primarily in charge of making Christmas happen. Since now I have the pleasure of staying up until all hours of the night wrapping presents (procrastinator, remember!), I get that bleary-eyed-went-out-partying-and-still-had-to-get-to-work-early fuzzy headed feeling. There are times in the day when all I want for Christmas is a nap.

My friend’s family celebrated Christmas in a way that I was not familiar with, other than the song. They celebrated for twelve days. I always thought that was so cool. Two weeks of presents? What’s not to love? I always said that when I had kids I would celebrate the twelve days of Christmas. [I have to come clean here: I usually had two Christmases because my parents weren’t together. So, my Christmas lasted longer than most of my friends’.]

Flash forward to now, when I do have a child. I have, for the most part, followed my childhood decree. When I started out to do this, I first talked to my friend’s mom to get her take on it. I found out there were a couple of reasons they celebrated that way that I didn’t know about. For one thing, if you don’t have to buy all your presents before the 24th, you can take advantage of the after Christmas sales. For another, you don’t have to be quite so ready for the holiday- you get to draw it out and play catch-up as you go.

So, here we are on day two of twelve. We’ve had lots of firsts this year. Since Little Man is older this year he is now a smarty-pants with lots of questions and opinions. This year we got to talk about how we get Santa to bring us a stocking everyday. In case you were wondering, we send a letter to Santa letting him know that our family wants to celebrate in a different way than the usual. He’s very accommodating that way. That is also why he doesn’t bring Mommy and Daddy a stocking every day. We got to bicker a little about how many cookies we are going to make Santa eat. No, we will not be leaving him the same number of cookies as the number of the day of Christmas it is. Santa doesn’t need a dozen cookies on the 12th day. He already gets to eat billions of cookies.

We are still holding out hope that Santa will be able to find some sort of replacement for the snow globe that was broken just two days before Christmas. Luckily, he still has time to get a new one made. Apparently, snow globes were in high demand this year.

Mommy asked for a songbook of Christmas Carols to renew a tradition from her childhood. That has already led to some nice memories and fun children’s renditions of songs which hopefully will get captured on video in some way. 

So far, this Christmas has not been any more stressful than Christmas is going to be. It has had some nice new traditions. It has had renewal of old traditions. It has had joy and laughter and love. One cannot ask for much more than that.

Life Lesson #10,984

So, we trimmed the tree yesterday. I know, there are still two days left until Christmas, but we thought we’d just go ahead and get it out of the way early. I guess that I have a different idea of what a decorated tree should look like than my six-year-old does. This is the first year he was actually really helpful with it. Last year he helped, but still most everything he put on was on the bottom third of the tree. This year he dragged out the step stool and did a much better job of covering the entire tree. Two years ago, there were nine ornaments on one low branch. It was so weighted down that those nine were not hanging, they were resting on the floor. But, with that helpfulness, there came a side order of opinions. As well as a stubborn desire to do it himself. (I have no idea where he got that from!)

After the first few minutes of butting heads over where or how things were going to go, mom had to get over herself. I decided that I had a choice. I could engage in an hour long battle of wills, the end product of which would satisfy neither of us. Or I could engage in a lifelong Christmas memory, the end product of which would satisfy us far more than however the tree looks. Tough choice, right?

No, not really a tough decision. But hard to do. I love to decorate. I have firm ideas of what I like and how a tree “should” look. Like I said before, this is the first time anyone else really had an opinion about our tree. So, I bit my tongue, gritted my teeth, and helped him string the ribbon and garland down, across, around, and back.  He really did do a good job. And if it’s a little more full than usual, or employs unusual draping techniques, then good. Because sometime’s more is more- especially when it come’s to love and memories and validation.

If you look really closely, you’ll be able to see the kitchen sink. We sure got everything else on there!

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