Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm going through photos and am beginning the process of building my timeline on Facebook. Yes, I am a geek.

I came across a couple that I just have to share here.

This photo was taken August 3, 1991 and I had just given birth on the previous day. My sister brought Ian up to meet his little brother. He is being held by my sis-in-law while his cousins look on. Ian is pointing and I'm pretty sure he's thinking "what's that noisy, squirmy, little annoying thing in Mommy's arms and why is it getting all this attention?"

(sorry about the random white squares on the picture. Somehow adhesive tabs got on there and I don't have any Un-du to remove them)

The next photo depicts a big brother adoringly holding his baby brother.

But, we all know the real story:

Ian - "hmmmm, it's been 2 months now and this "thing" is still here. How in the world do I get rid of him?"

Andrew - "Squeeee, somebody help me. Quick! I'm afraid to move!"

and then another month or so later ....

Ian - heavy sigh, "Bummer. He's still here,  loud and obnoxious and he smells funny. I guess he's really NOT going anywhere." heavy sigh, "my life is over............"

Andrew - "once again my life is in the hands of the scary one. Why do my parents keep torturing me like this? And, when is he going to accept the fact that I'm here to STAY?"

Ian - "there he is again, taking my spot in Dad's lap. I think I'll just sloooowly inch my way right back where I belong!"

Andrew - "Mooooom, I know you're back there somewhere. Dad's watching TV and not paying attention to brother's slick maneuvering.  Get yourself over here and save me".

Ian - "Whaaaat? I'm just sittin' here eat'n raisins. What's the big deal?"

Andrew - "Rebecca you're my protector, don't let him fool ya, he's gonna stuff those things up my nose again!"

Ian - "Hey Aunt Carol, watch this. If ya push right here he starts spewing baby food everywhere. Cool!"

Andrew - "Please don't let him drop me, please don't let him drop me. Hey Aunt Carol, are you just going to sit there and let him poke me like that? You know what's comin' next, right?"

I have years of photos like this and could go on forever. I'll just wrap it up by saying that the animosity and rivalry have stopped

.... mostly anyway!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Roundup

As a scrapbooker and a blogger I get a big fat "F" for failure when it comes to this holiday season.  Christmas has come and gone and I have very few photographs of the holiday celebrations (and half of what I do have were taken by someone else). With that disclaimer out of the way, let's take a stroll through Christmas 2011 with the Frazier's.

Let's start with the outdoor decorations

Aren't they pretty? Actually the photo doesn't do them justice. There are hundreds of thousands of lights here, some are blinking and they don't all show up in the photo at once.  Also, this is NOT my house, but one from down the street. Every year the owner starts putting it all out the day after Halloween, each year adding to his display. People ride down the street and stop and stare in amazement. It's a sight to behold.

My house, on the other hand, is BORING. Once upon a time we put icicle lights on the house, lights in the trees, and wreaths on the windows and door. One year I even had lights that outlined the driveway. Sadly some good for nothing hoodlums, probably teenagers with too much time on their hands, stole my lights so I never tried that again. But this year I didn't even bother with one outside decoration. I'm not bitter, depressed, or playing the role of Scrooge. I was simply too lazy to bother with it.

And, guess what? Christmas still came!

  Our tree on Christmas Eve morning with all the presents neatly stacked beneath it. My boys were so excited to see that this year I actually went out and bought new wrapping paper! For the last five or six years I've used the same four rolls of paper. I think that paper was magical because no matter how much I used, it never run out. This year I said "to heck with it" and bought new even though I didn't really need it. I really like the new paper with the exception of one roll, pictured here  I guess it's trying to be politically correct .... Winter Wishes .... either that, or it was made in China where they confused their translation.  Oh well, we got a kick out of it.

This year we broke with tradition and opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. The opening of gifts came after attending Christmas Eve services at church and eating dinner at Chili's. Initially I had planned a meal at home but, after cooking a big meal the day before and already knee deep in preparations for the next day's Christmas meal, I opted for dinner out. My mother had never eaten at Chili's before ... can you believe it?

After getting home we commenced with the opening of gifts. Santa was very giving this year and there were lot's of packages to open. Unfortunately I only caught a couple of shots of the gifts and their recipients

 Here's Dale showing off his new headphones - yes, headphones, not ear buds ... he doesn't like them and I can't say that I blame him. I wouldn't want to stick those little things down in my ears, gross! Andrew got the new Halo game. It kills me how every year they put out a new version of these games. Anything to take your money. At least this one was easy to pick up. There have been some years they've asked for games that were impossible to find in the stores. Those years Santa wasn't a very happy shopper.

 Here we have Ian perusing one of two books he asked for. Also in his lap is his new car stereo. He's so happy, now he can listen to cd's in the car and be able to hook his iPhone or iPod to it. Evidently driving from Knoxville to Atlanta with only a radio isn't much fun..

Do you see the piano in the background? It looks just like it does every other day. However in past Christmas' it would have look something like this  Not this year. Remember, this is year I'm being lazy, but we can look at this photo and pretend it's current.

I also took a photo of my Mother enjoying one of her presents ... every year she gets a box of these . She's not supposed to eat them, but she loves them so much I can't help but indulge her. I told her she can eat one a day and she promptly informed me that she was eating two that night. So there! 

Here's Nonnie relishing her gift  -  I had to put a sticker on her because she was making a terrible face and I would get in bad trouble for posting the photo on my blog. If anyone wonders where I get my photogenic gene ... it's from my Mom!

Santa also brought a box for both the boys and the other Grandma too. It was the cheapest and most popular gift for all of them. Next year I might skip everything else, give everyone a carton of chocolate covered cherries, and save myself a bundle. 

Soon after this everyone wandered into separate rooms to play games, read, sleep, whatever ... and at 10:30 I began putting the ingredients together to bake a cake. Yes, you read that right. I baked a cake! I asked my husband what he wanted for dessert Christmas day and he was very specific. A strawberry cake with white icing and strawberries on top. Oh my! More on this later.

Christmas morning the boys slept in. I woke early to get the turkey in the oven and start preparations for all the other dishes. I was determined to go all out this year and put together a feast. My husband was the only non-heathen soul in the house, he went to church. Around ten o'clock I woke up the elder son and told him to get up and come help me cook.  Younger son was allowed to shower before helping (he's quite cranky prior to the wake-up shower), and Mom was sent to living room to read, mediate, watch tv, whatever .... just get out o' my hair! I love my mother but she likes to talk. A lot. I can't concentrate on fixing food and carry on a conversation at the same time. It's sorta like walking and chewing gum. Trying to do both at the same time is a disaster waiting to happen.

Earlier in the week I got a little panicky thinking about how I was going to get everything cooked. Just about everything on the menu involved baking in the oven and unfortunately I only have one oven. There was no way it was all going to get cooked in time so I was forced to make some adjustments - I baked the cake the day before, nixed the sweet potato casserole, cooked the hash brown casserole in a crock pot, and put the turkey in the oven early enough to take it out and have time to cook the dressing. All I had to do was fry the bacon for topping the Seven-Layer salad and frost the cake.

Easy-peasy right? It really was because the night before I'd chopped all the celery and onion for the dressing and the potatoes. And, I had my little (six-foot-one) assistant. Cooking all summer at camp has definitely turned my boy into an excellent kitchen helper ... so much so that after I put the frosting on the cake I turned it over to him to garnish with strawberries. I think it turned out pretty good and both the grandmothers were thoroughly impressed. I tried to crop a close up of the strawberry on the side but it's a little hard to see the detail  he sliced it thin and fanned it out ... Martha Stewart would be proud.

It's usually a Frazier tradition to take a photo of the nicely set table before eating. Taking photos was the last thing on my mind so, it didn't happen. However Ian did take a few phone shots as we were passing the dishes around the table. 

Everyone else usually gets shots of people looking up and smiling. We're too busy  chowing down.

After our meal we properly "addressed" the cake which turned out surprising well considering I haven't baked in years. We also munched on these goodies  which my Mother-in-law brought. They were made by one of her caretakers, Frank. Let me tell you, that man knows how to fix food. For Thanksgiving he prepared the best turkey I've ever eaten. I seriously considered bribing him to fix my Christmas turkey for me but happily settled for these yummy cookies and nuts. As you can see there's a lot of goodies here and while we shared with our guests there were still lots left over. I think I've gained five pounds trying to save Dale from eating it all!

After lunch my cousin, Louise, helped me clean up the kitchen mess while we caught up on what's been happening since we last saw each other. The two family matriarchs retired to the living room and talked each other's ears off while Dale and the boys settled in to watch sports on tv and play on their phones. Occasionally my husband would wander in the kitchen with a glazed look on his face, I think the two chatter-boxes were a bit much for my normally quiet husband. Once Louise and I got in the room the noise and chatter increased dramatically and I just want to say thanks to my guys for putting up with it.

Before long it was time for the party to break up. Whereas Cinderella's carriage turns into a pumpkin at midnight, our mothers turn into pumpkins once it gets dark. It was time for our Christmas celebration to end. What a wonderful time we had together. Nice presents, pretty good food, and most of all time spent with loved ones. I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Late in the evening I was sitting here on the computer, thinking about how to blog my day. My husband came in and informed that it might be a good idea to toss the unused butter from our earlier meal. Apparently he walked in the kitchen and found our beloved feline on the counter happily lapping away.  Personally I don't think I need to throw a (almost) perfectly good stick of butter away. All I need to do is cut away the lick marks and it's good to go for cooking with ... don't you agree?

Last but not least, I leave with you with this one last photo taken the day after Christmas.  I've been trying for two weeks to get a photo of this girl and Andrew finally succeeded, despite the fact he thinks I'm crazy for wanting it in the first place. If you look real close you can see that she has painted her nails green. Isn't she stylin'? A Christmas pink elephant ... so much better than a Hippopotamus!

I hope everyone's Christmas was as merry as mine. Here's to a Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's almost Christmas

I haven't blogged in awhile, I've been too busy doing other stuff. It is all most Christmas you know!

Today is December 21 and I have all my shopping done. For some that may not seem too big of a deal but for me it's quite the accomplishment. I have always been a last minute shopper and am usually just now getting geared up to buy presents. This is due in part to the fact that I'm waiting to see whether or not hubby gets a Christmas bonus. If he does, I race out and spend like a fiend. If he doesn't I crawl out, pinch my pennies, and grab a few gifts for my boys and send everyone else good wishes.

Yes, I know Christmas comes every year ... in fact it's on the same date every year! Novel concept - there are actually some people out there that either put aside a little $$ each pay check or buy gifts throughout the year. I, however, am not "some people."  Nope, I live on the edge and each year hope for the best. Therefore if Christmas is flop, I have no one to blame but myself.

Things are different today. Not only did the magical money appear, it actually came early this year and I have been scurrying around trying to make everyone's wishes come true. Come January I will be kicking myself for spending too much but for now plan on sitting back and enjoying the holiday.

I also know that Christmas isn't about the gifts. It's about spending time with family, making and sharing memories, and celebrating the birth of a Savior. But, I'd be a big fat liar if I didn't admit that having gifts for my loved ones sure makes it a whole lot more enjoyable. As you can see from the photo this is working up to being a great Christmas. Let the fun begin!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What did your childhood Christmas tree look like?

Showing my age here ...

As a young child we always had a real tree for Christmas. The only fake one that I was familiar with was the one my Aunt Doris had and it looked something like this , complete with a color wheel that turned the tree from red, to blue, to yellow, and then green. Of course I thought it was spectacular - what child wouldn't?

My family's trees were less glitter and glitz but to me, just as beautiful. We celebrated with a real tree purchased off the corner tree lot. I really don't remember but I'd like to think we went as a family to pick it out. I do remember a big white enamel pot that we used to hold the tree. We stacked rocks inside it to keep the tree from tipping over and it always took awhile to get in there just right.

I remember the big colored lights we used  Every year when they came off the tree the lights were wrapped around a rolled up magazine or newspaper. This was to keep them neat and tidy but they always seemed to still be a tangled mess the following year.

The Christmas balls were made of glass  and had to be packed carefully away  

At one point we made some balls of our own using styrofoam balls, wrapped in satin thread. These balls were decorated using straight pins, sequins, and beads.
We also hung tinsel icicles which had to be put on the tree's branches one strand at a time. It was a process that took forever. As the youngest, I was less patient than my older sister and was perfectly content throwing them on in big clumps - something that didn't go over so well with her. Eventually I learned the error of my ways and dutifully followed the process of hanging them one strand at a time. After a while the icicles were replaced with long strands of tinsle garland  which were wrapped around the tree and was much easier to decorate with. Although the garland came in many color choices, we stuck with traditional silver and gold.

Oh how I loved the whole process of setting the tree up, putting on the decorations and sitting back and admiring the finished product. In this child's eyes our tree was just as beautiful as the flashy one Aunt Doris had.

Here's a photo that Santa took of our tree in 1962. The tree was too tall for a topper so we put it off to the side. It wasn't the usual angel or star, we had a Santa head! When my brother and his newlywed wife went to live in Germany, complements of Uncle Sam, Mother sent them the Santa head so they'd have bit of Christmas from home in their tiny apartment thousands of miles away. I don't remember what we used for a topper after that and I'm pretty sure my sister never forgave Mother for sending the Santa head away. I thought he was sorta creepy looking but she loved it. I wonder if they still have it?

Later that morning someone took my picture with the camera Santa left. Don't you just love the bushy head of hair? This was the year I got my Thumbelina doll, the table and chairs, a film strip projector, and a bowling set. I was five years old. Do you think that's too old for wearing footie pj's?!

1968 - was that tree fat or what? And leaning ... it cracks me up to see that I am leaning right along it!

Here we are a year later and we finally have color. You can see where we've replaced icicles with  garland. At the time I thought it was beautiful, now .... not so much! It probably didn't look quite so bad initially but we always had a cat or two in the house and I'm pretty sure one had wreaked havoc with it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

It was around this time Daddy got his super 8 movie camera and he focused more on making movies than taking still shots. I couldn't find any other childhood photos of our family trees. I'm sure there are some out there somewhere but who knows where. Also, I can't tell you when but at one point we ditched the real tree and jumped on the artificial tree bandwagon. Our's wasn't silver with a spotlight that changed colors though, we stuck with the more traditional fake Fraser fir. Why'd we make the change? So we could put it up early of course! The day after Thanksgiving became our traditional tree trimming day. 

So, what do you remember about your childhood Christmas trees? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

29 and 30 Yes, I failed!

In case anyone was keeping track, I failed to blog the last two days of the months. I completely ran out of steam at the end and failed to reach my goal of blogging every day of November. Well, technically I failed earlier in the month because there were some days that I didn't write anything and then had to make up for it the next day. Right towards the end it was just too much to keep up with.

Anyway, for all the bloggers out there who write daily, my hat is off to you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Someone's going on the naughty list

I woke this morning to find this  in the floor. In case you're wondering, it's a miniature tree with tiny Nativity scene ornaments on it. While it is possible the tree fell off the desk all on it's own, it is highly doubtful.

Later in the morning I hear a ruckus coming from the living room. I looked around and couldn't really see anything out of the ordinary. And then, I hear a faint rustling and upon closer inspection, I spy this.  So much for my previous declarations on Facebook 

After a scolding Miss Priss swishes her tail and prances out of the room. She settles down for a morning nap and I hop on the computer for my morning routine of internet browsing. After a brief while my quiet time is interrupt by noises coming from "the room." It is officially dubbed my craft room but lately has become more of a catch-all room.

 As you can see, organized chaos. (And for all you family members trying to see if your present is in all this .... no, it's not!)

At first nothing looks amiss but upon further investigation I look down and spy this on the floor.  Someone has discovered her Christmas present!

I figure since the element of surprise is now gone. I might as well open the package and give Miss Priss her "prize." Don't think of it as rewarding bad behavior but more of an attempt to thwart further mischief. She's enjoying her new toys and I'm back at the computer doing my thing.

You know, my first clue that Spunky was NOT going to leave the decorations alone this year should have come when this centerpiece of poinsettias and little birdies went from this  to this  I have no idea where those silly birds are.