November 2007



as we were wrapping up the tree trimming on sunday evening, tony disappeared momentarily. when he returned, it was in fat jolly form.

tony adds little notes to my grocery list almost every week. it’s always the same thing. can you guess what he wants santa to bring him?  😀

vacations and breaks are so nice and relaxing, it makes it really difficult to get back to real life. rich took last week off work. he messed around the house, doing some things that needed to be done. we spent some time together.

the kids only had school monday and tuesday, so tony was home for 5 days. it was really nice.

thanksgiving was very yummy and overfilling. everyone came up here. I made 2 pumpkin pies, a pumpkin cheesecake and an italian cream cake for dessert. there were also all the usual suspects: turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce-which I forgot to take out of the fridge, but I’m the only one who eats it, so…-and mama brought green bean casserole and dinner rolls. mandi brought macaroni and cheese because she knew she wouldn’t like most of what I made.

I hollowed out some miniature decorative gourds and set them on a long narrow plate, with candles inside and fall leaves around the edges. they looked really nice with my pretty burnt umber tablecloth. I had actually done this last week when we had friends over, and the gourds were just this side of yuck, so I used them again.

friday I went shopping in the wee hours, then came home and napped for a couple of hours. afterwards, we went into rich’s terminal to set up the runs and the dock. the supervisors take turns, so every 5th saturday we have to go in. since his turn fell on a holiday weekend-they were closed friday-we had 2 days to do.

friday night I had a youth lock-in at church. we had play practice for awhile, then watched a couple of movies, played some games, then played hide & seek in the dark church. that’s so much fun. we have a small youth group, but they sure are great kids.

we finally got everyone to calm down around 1:30, watching the nativity story. then, before I knew it, rich was there at 7:00 to pick me up. the sweetheart even had coffee for me!

after we got back from his terminal, mandi & I went to danville and hung out.  I went to hobby lobby to buy some ornaments to decorate, and found the cutest santa aprons, one for rich and one for me.

the preacher came over for dinner saturday night.  rich grilled steaks and shrimp, so all I had to do was bake some potatoes.  we still had plenty of dessert left.  I love this minister of ours, she’s just the cutest thing.  what I really love about her is her enthusiasm and her bright and bubbly personality.  she comes to our house 2 or 3 times a month, and she just acts so at home.

after dinner, the four of us played mario party.  laura is very competitive, as are rich and tony.  I, on the other hand know that I suck at video games, so I just play for fun.

sunday after church we went into town and bought a christmas tree.  it’s been years since we visited a christmas tree lot, and it was so cool, very reminiscent of ‘a christmas story’ or ‘christmas vacation’.  tony picked out a nice 7 foot fraser fir, then proceeded to gaudy it up.

for the last 10 or 12 years, I have had my own tree.  I like clear lights, primitive ornaments, simple and pretty.  rich and the kids like colored lights, lots of garland and glitz.  so, the family tree is where all the family ornaments go, along with all the ornaments the kids have collected and made over the years.

this morning will be filled with taking empty boxes to the garage, and setting up my tree and all my nativity sets.  I won’t set them all up, partly because of emma, and partly because I now have so many, I can afford to be choosy about which ones I display.

emma will be here soon, so I reckon I’ve got my work cut out for me.  now if I can just keep her out of the tree…


last wednesday, the 4th grade took the amtrak to raleigh and back. this was the first time tony and I had been on a train. it was pretty cool. he rode with his friends, I rode with mine.

we only spent 5 hours there, and had to spread it between 3 destinations and walking to and from the station. the museums were fun, but we didn’t have enough time to see everything we wanted to see. I would really like to go back with tony and rich, no extra kids, no time constraints.

emma, originally uploaded by hockamama.

look what I found under my desk! she loves those little rubber bracelets-there seem to be dozens around this house-and she’s got ahold of my hoodie string. she loves to chew on those strings and get them soaking wet…

when tony was little, jessica convinced him that giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign when you’re angry makes you feel better. it was pretty funny, actually, to see this kid with the perpetual scowl and his thumb in the air.

tony was an angry little man for some reason. thankfully, he’s outgrown it for the most part. now he’s only mad when the occasion calls for it. he used to growl frequently; it was actually kind of funny.

then one day he realized that a thumbs up wasn’t really the way to express his anger.  oh, well.  it was fun while it lasted.

santa has always been a key figure of christmas in our family. my parents always left the most wanted gift unwrapped, this one was from santa; and wrapped the rest from them.

I don’t remember when I learned about the fabrication of santa’s existence, nor do I recall the impetus for the realization, be it school mates, or age. I do remember, however, the fact that santa continued to dwell in our christmas celebrations.

the christmas of my 13th year, I asked for a doll house. I know that’s a little old, but my parents had just remarried the year before. this finally allowed me to be a child, instead of primary caregiver to my brother and mother, housekeeper, landlord lookout, etc.

so, around midnight on christmas eve, my mother woke me up to ask, “what do you know about santa?” well, what the heck is this?, I thought. being half asleep, I admitted that I knew he wasn’t real. her relief was visible. she explained to me that they had bought me a dollhouse, but that it required assembly. ALOT of assembly. they decided to leave something else from santa, but didn’t want me to be crushed that my heart’s desire wasn’t from santa.

we’ve continued this tradition with our children. now we only have one believer left, and I dread the day I have to admit the truth to him. (I have a friend who told her son that if he didn’t believe, he wouldn’t receive. it seems to work). neither rich’s family, nor mine was religious, so I don’t remember knowing much about the connection between Jesus and christmas until adulthood sometime. most likely, a christian friend told me.

our children have learned the truth of christmas, that it is the anniversary of Jesus’ birth, this has come from raising them in the church. however, santa continues to be a major part of christmas for us. he’s just so jolly, he inspires so many happy feelings.

jessica was in the 4th grade when she asked about santa. we both cried when we told her the truth. it was so sad, to know that she was growing up. with kris, we ended up telling him when he was in 7th grade; we felt we needed to in order to save him from a school yard beating.

tony has hinted around, but I haven’t taken the bait, so…the other day I boutght a plate and mug at hobby lobby that say ho ho ho all over. theya re for the cookies and milk for santa. maddie asked me if it was really rich and I who eat the cookies. I acted offended that she would even ask that.

on sunday the 16th of december, rich and I are taking tony and madison for a surprise ride on the polar express dinner train, out of bryson city. we’re both so excited, we can’t stand it. this might be the last christmas of innocence for one or both of them, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.

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