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Let it Snow!

16 Dec

With winter weather upon us, and radio stations playing my favorite winter-y tunes, I feel engulfed by the Holiday spirit!  I love shopping this time of year, I love watching all of the Christmas movies on TV, and most of all I love Christmas carols!  There are a few exceptions (Mary Did You Know does not make my list) but for the most part, I will let the station play for a month just listening to the songs over and over again.

A few rules about Christmas carols.

  • White Christmas should always be sung by Bing Crosby.  This is the only version that is actually awesome, all others pale in comparison.  
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is an amazing song, but again, the only real version is the Judy Garland version.  I still cry when I watch that scene in Meet Me in St. Louis.  
  • Have a Holly Jolly Christmas is Burl Ives’ song.  Don’t you remember watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (which are real animals, by the way.  They don’t fly, but they ARE real)?  Yeah, Burl Ives, the snowman, that’s his song.  
  • I love Silent Night, it may be my favorite.  And even though I can’t always remember all of the words in German, I think the German version is lovely.

I know that Dave’s favorite Christmas song is In the Bleak Midwinter, and I have a male friend who’s favorite is All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.  There are some new ones that I hear each year on the radio, all with varying likeability.  

For the past several years, my dad & I (with varying other family members) have played our instruments at family Christmas gatherings.  My dad will write a nice arrangement of a medley of Christmas tunes that we have fun playing.  It’s become a tradition that I love because I get to share my passion for music, especially Christmas music, with everyone in my family in a way that they enjoy.  I love finding out what my dad has written each year and I hope that someday Ella will get to play with us.

Something about Christmas carols always puts me in a better mood.  Most of them are so happy (and jolly!), their joyous refrains echoing the sentiment that we should all be celebrating with and enjoying each other.  

What are your favorite Christmas songs?  Do you have any traditions involving Christmas music?

Please, don’t embarrass me…

10 Dec

A funny story, but I will tell it from Ella’s perspective.  

Now that I can run around the house, I love exploring!  I can open doors, pull out drawers, climb on things, and grab things to play with that look awesome.  I love going in the bathroom to open the middle drawer…there are so many cool things in there!  I particularly like pulling out Mom’s perfume & Dad’s glasses cleaner to shake them.  Nothing like shaking some dangerous liquids* to get the parents fired up!  I love being chased.  

This morning I went over by the recycling bin (another favorite place…just look at all those empty boxes!) and noticed the basket with a clock, picture frame and some small appliance**.  I usually just take the picture frame, but today, I picked up the appliance.  It was a bit heavy for me, so I dropped it.  And..YIKES!!  It turned on!  And made a really scary buzzing sound!  Oh no!!!  Run away!!  Mom!!  Help me!  Stop washing your hands and come see this scary buzzing thing!  Yes, just follow me.  See where I’m pointing?  That thing.  Oh, whew, you made it stop.  Thanks mom!  I won’t be playing with that again soon.

Foot notes:

* – The liquids are probably not actually dangerous.

** – The small appliance referred to in this story is a dustbuster.  Hahahaha.

It’s the most germi-est time of the year…

25 Nov

Sorry the updates have been so few and far between lately.  Ella has been sick for almost 2 weeks with viruses that come, seem to leave and then return with some new, twisted way of making everyone’s life miserable.  It hasn’t been fun for anyone, and when we ended up in the ER on Sunday night (no worries, everything’s fine) we were all just hoping for some answers.  She doesn’t have pneumonia (GREAT!), but they didn’t have much to say beyond that.  Ella has an inhaler now to help her airways relax so she can cough more effectively and hopefully this virus (or whatever it is) will pass and we will all have some peace.

My baby brother’s last collegiate football game was on Saturday at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.  Since Ella was still sick, I went on the trip with my parents.  Even though it was pretty cold outside (it took a couple of hours for me to get feeling back into my toes) I’m so glad I was able to be there.  The majority of the game was pretty dismal, with not much scoring and many penalties and poor play calling.  Indiana State scored a go-ahead TD with just under a minute left to play, and it seemed that Missouri State had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Then, after a couple of quick first downs, on the final play, who catches the tying TD to send the game into overtime but #18 Chris Geisz!!!!  It was an amazing catch and a fantastic way to end his career at Missouri State.  He even called the play himself!  I guess when you know you can do it, you go out and get it done.  The Bears won in OT and a great, frozen time was had by all.  Congratulations, Chrissy.  I’m really proud of you and it has been a lot of fun, stress, heartbreak and joy to watch you play the past 9 years.

Happy Thanksgiving!

All I Want for Christmas…

13 Nov

As the holiday season approaches, this year more than recent years past, I am overwhlemed at the thought of Christmas.  Mostly because Ella is old enough this year to enjoy it and to open presents, so I have been researching the “best” gifts to get her.  There are TONS of cute toys and clothes out there, many that I know Ella would love.  

But then I get an urgent feeling of overindulgence, materialism and guilt.  She doesn’t really need any new toys or games, we are lucky enough to have plenty for her.  All of these plastic toys that are fun and pretty are also not so great for the environment.  They are just things.  Ella is surrounded by people who love her so much and just want to play with her and have fun with her that all of these toys that I love to look at (as does Ella) are not necessary.  And then there’s the reminder that so many children around the world have nothing.  Not even one toy to play with, no seahorse to help them go to sleep at night.  Maybe not even a blanket or pillow.  It definitely pulls on any parents heartstrings to think of a child with nothing.  So why does Ella need anything new for Christmas?  

Well, she doesn’t.  But it’s not really all about Ella getting things for Christmas.  It’s about all of those people who love her so much thinking of her and her little personality and choosing something for her not because SHE needs something, but because they want to GIVE.  

I understand this because I am one of those people.  I have always loved Christmas time because I love to give people presents.  I love the crowded shopping malls, the holiday music playing everywhere, the crazy decorations and lights, everything.  I love to pick out something that I think really suits someone and then wrap it up, just for them.  I even remember as a youth wanting to spend my gift cards that I received as presents on other people.  Just because giving is such a great feeling. 

So, yes, there is overindulgence, materialism and guilt associated with Christmas for me.  There probably always will be.  I hope to help change that by volunteering with Ella and showing her that giving is the best part of Christmas.  But I also hope she learns to appreciate that receiving graciously is part of what makes the giver so happy.

Happy Halloween & America the Beautiful…

8 Nov

I know it’s a week late, but here is a photo of Ella in her black cat costume.  She was really cute even though it was warm on Halloween & her costume was a bit hot for her.  She went “trick-or-treating” at Great Grandma & Grandpa’s.  

Also, Ella is very excited about her future, as you can see with her choice for president.  And doesn’t she look patriotic?

From Sea to Shining Sea…

5 Nov

Many stories have been told in the past 24 hours that have touched my heart.  Millions of young people now have hope that they, too, can achieve.  America’s future has had their say, and with a 60% majority, they see the future as brighter with Barack Obama leading the way.  I have to admit that I am happier and more confident that my child will grow up to inherit a better America than we have now.  I hope that she will see this election as a point in history where we, as voters, succeeded in beginning to heal our country. Only time will tell, but these are my hopes.

I know that the hard part now is before us.  Can Barack Obama do what he says he can?  Will he be successful?  Will the country unite, as so many public leaders have called us to do?  I am hopeful.  I am nervous and afraid.  But mostly, I am excited.  I want to know what’s going to happen next.  I want to see and feel all of the change.  And I don’t want to disappoint the world.  I want all of the other countries that so strongly support Barack Obama to re-engage with America.  I want them to know that our country is one that can be relied upon and allied with, one that does not take friendships or soliders for granted.  I want our country to be one that is looked up at again, with stronger education, stronger environmental, stronger healthcare policies.  

I believe we can become the change we want to see and I know that we have made the best choice available to us to follow that path.  Yes we WILL!

How I feel about…

21 Oct

There have been a few things on my mind lately.  I need to keep a notebook with me so that when I think of things to blog about, I write them down.  Because usually, by the time I get home and have time to sit down to blog, I have completely forgotten my interesting topic!  Blame Mommy brain. Here goes:

1. Daddies.  I think it is so adorable that my little girl turns all the men in her life into mush.  Her father, my father, Dave’s father, all of her uncles…they just melt to pieces when they see her!  It is way too cute watching these big, tough men turn all gentle and speak in baby-talk to Ella.  I know my daughter can light up a room, but seeing the smiles on the faces of these guys when Ella is there is priceless.  They love to play with her and see her smile and laugh.  It is very sweet and I’m glad that my baby is so loved! 

2. The “St. Louis High School” Thing.  I have heard just about enough complaining about St. Louis not being a friendly city to move to if you aren’t originally from here.  Now, I AM originally from here, so perhaps I don’t have the best perspective on this topic.  Forgive me if I am missing something.  Yes, many people from St. Louis will ask you where you went to high school (I went to Lindbergh).  Apparently, this offends “outsiders” who are living in St. Louis because by asking this question, native St. Louisans are judging you & what part of the town you are from.  And if you aren’t from ANY part of the town, then there is no reason to talk to you.  Because people in St. Louis are only friends with people they went to high school with and we are all “clique-y” and have no interest in welcoming new people to our circles of friends.  Pardon me, but this is complete BULLS***!  

I am PROUD that I went to Lindbergh.  I loved high school (though I know not everyone does) and I want my children to go to the Lindbergh schools.  I do have friends now that I was friends with in high school.  But I also have friends that went to high school in different parts of the city & county and I have no prejudged notion that their high school defines who they are any more than mine does!  I have asked people that I meet that are from St. Louis where they went to high school.  And it’s not because I want to judge if they are rich or poor or if they are smart or dumb.  There are people of all kinds in every school district here!  When I ask that question (and I have always assumed that when I am asked that question) it is to find out what you have in common with that person.  Perhaps you know someone else who went to that school.  Perhaps you have family or friends there now.  Or, like me, your parents are teachers & you have an interest to see if they’ve crossed paths.  Or maybe you played sports against them.  There are endless possibilities. 

I also have several friends (including my husband) who now live in St. Louis but did not grow up here.  I have never heard them say they feel like St. Louis is a cold and uninviting place, that people don’t want to talk to you or be your friend because you are an “outsider” and their group of high-school-for-life friends is full.  I’m sure there are rude people here.  I’ve met several.  But just to say that St. Louis sucks because people are unkind and unwilling to be friends is a dramatic over exaggeration of something that is not a real problem, in my opinion.  If you feel that I’m wrong, please let me know.  But tell me WHY and what exactly you’ve encountered to come to this conclusion.  

3. See, now I’ve already forgotten what else I was going to blog about.  I will find a notepad for my diaper bag & blogging will go on!  Until then, here’s a pic of Ella in the end zone @ Uncle Chris’ game @ Missouri State’s homecoming.

A Few Good Videos…

15 Oct

The End of the World


Sarah Palin “playing” the flute


Undecided?  Not if you live in St. Louis!


I hope these videos make your day a bit brighter!  I laughed…a lot.

Well wishes & new adventures…

14 Oct

Thank you all for the encouraging words during my wisdom-teeth-extraction-adventure.  I ended up being really happy with the local anesthetic vs. the general.  It took them forever to get to me, but once they did, and my mouth was numb, the actual pulling of my wisdom teeth took less than 3 minutes.  Very easy.  The two scariest parts were the needles and being able to hear them scraping around in my mouth and on my teeth.  I had a little pain after everything wore off, but mostly it was in my jaw at the injection sites.  Plus, I got to eat ice cream for a couple of days, so…no worries!  I’m glad they’re gone so I don’t have to worry about them anymore!  :-)

Ella had her Parents As Teachers 14-15 month evaluation last week.  Of course, she is awesome.  She is above average in all the categories they have with her only lacking slightly in problem solving (no, I’ve never seen her try to use a stick to get something out from under the couch) and some fine motor skills (she doesn’t stack 3 blocks on top of each other, only 2…because she pushes down on it like a lid, so she doesn’t get to 3).  She has begun to quack when she’s holding her duck which is funny & cute.  She also gives kisses to pictures in books or photos in albums.  It doesn’t really matter who or what the picture is, she will give it a kiss!  She has discovered magnets off the refrigerator.  Dave took her around the house to help her see what the magnet would stick to.  Ella’s favorite game right now (besides being chased) is to go get things and hand them to us.  Coasters, magnets, every little toy out of her toy bag, books, ANYTHING.  She collects all of one item and hands them all to us.  We say “thank you” and hand them back.  Repeat.  It is funny and cute, and maybe a little OCD.  

In light of Ella’s new discoveries, I’ve been looking for blocks (yes, just blocks…not legos) and those alphabet magnets.  I haven’t been able to find them yet, so if anyone has any suggestions for where I can look, please let me know!  

We traveled to Springfield to watch Chris’ football game on Saturday.  It was a last minute decision, but we had a lot of fun!  The drives weren’t too bad, the weather was absolutely beautiful & the Bears won!  We saw Chris catch a few passes & Ella had fun listening to the band.  She danced a lot to the halftime show.  If I can figure out a way to upload video from my cell phone, I’ll share!

The Autumn Leaves of Red & Gold…

9 Oct

This past Sunday, we ventured out to Eckert’s Fun Farm in Millstadt, IL.  We went to get a pumpkin and start a tradition with our little family.  We got so much more!  The price of admission was a bit expensive ($6 each with a coupon) but worth it for a once-a-year outing.  We saw the “Jack-o-Lobber”; a giant cannon that launched small pumpkins about 1/2 mile.  We also watched the pig races, which were cute, but hard for Ella to see since she wasn’t right up front.  There were several rides and places for kids to play, though Ella did not this year.  She’s a bit small still for most of the rides and since it was the weekend, the place was too crowded to let her climb around without getting trampled.  

We rode out to the orchards and picked a few apples (which are YUMMY) and then a nice pumpkin.  We have yet to carve it, but I will post pictures when we do.  We also ate lunch there.  It wasn’t terribly expensive, but we could have saved by bringing our own.  The pulled pork sandwiches were very tasty, though!  They also have lots of smaller booths with other farm-like food: ham & beans, succotash, kettle corn, home-made ice cream, apple cider, etc.  

It was a really nice day and I’m sure we’ll do it again next year.  And Ella will probably enjoy it a bit more, though she had a great time this year (as her long nap afterwards proves).  

I’m also getting my upper wisdom teeth out tomorrow, so wish me luck!  I decided to just get the local anesthetic since I got sick from the general last time.  I don’t think there will be any problems, I just don’t like the needles!  :-P

Happy Autumn!