Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Our boys arose
And just as they were taught,
Came to our bed
And thusly said,
"Let's go see what we got!"
Their plea denied,
Their dad replied,
"Not yet, you understand?"
He scurried past,
Then back so fast
With gift for me in hand.
Inside, an Elph
From Canon's shelf,
With charged up battery,
-4 gig for me!-
For pictures 'round the tree.
Then down the stairs
We went in pairs,
With Dani close behind us
And took our seats
Beside our treats
Where Santa knew to find us.
And Lego packs.
Soft Bath and Body lambies.
Puzzles to do,
Fatigues for two,
And Star Wars Lego jammies.
The paper flew,
The laughter grew,
The boys were good and jolly.
But 'cross the room
The Office game,
A robe (so lame),
John Lennon book (she flaunted),
iTunes. And yet
Is all she really wanted.
For Darren - YES!
For geocaching jaunts.
A cool fifty
To spend howe'er he wants.
And then for me,
New game for Wii:
The Dance Dance Revolution!
Size 12s I'll fit!
This may be the solution.
The day is spent
How fast it went!
The family's soundly sleeping.
Except for me,
These memories for keeping.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
On Wednesday, I caught up on sleep and stayed in bed until a naughty hour, then made three 6'x3' banners for the Madrigal Feast Dani's choir was putting on.
On Thursday, I started the day with physical therapy (my therapist prescribed another 3 sessions and a re-evaluation, which she'll do tomorrow), then I went in to the office for 4 hours, then crammed in some errands before arriving at the performance hall, where Darren and I slaved away in the kitchen, preparing and plating food for the wenches and serfs to deliver to the royal court and their guests.
On Friday, I made a last minute decision to send Christmas cards this year after all, created 50 of them (after paring my list way down), and got them ready to mail. Then Darren, the boys, Darren's mom, our friends Tina and Wendell, their son Connor, and Tina's mom and sister all went to The Madrigal Feast together. This time, Darren and I got to be royal guests instead of kitchen grunts. The Madrigals put on a FABULOUS show - so entertaining and fun to be a part of.
The thing I loved most was how they entered the hall through the audience as they sang, allowing us to hear each choir member's voice individually as they went. The Madrigals are a 25-voice choir, and each one of them are incredibly talented - not a so-so voice in the bunch! It amazed me that they could be so far apart, in motion, with audience chatter going on around them, and they STILL sayed on key and together through the songs. I'm so glad that Dani gets to be a part of such an awesome group during her last year of high school!
On Saturday, I shopped. Up to that point, I'd only bought two gifts, but with a strict list in hand, I conquered most of Tarrant County's main shopping districts in under 6 hours, and crossed all but three small items off my list. I crossed two more off today and only have one more gift to buy. YAY! I've even wrapped most of them. Go me! (My foot hurts. A lot.)
Today, I decorated and prepared for the Fortress YDC Christmas Party. The Sunday School class that I teach was performing at the party; my 1st and 2nd graders - all boys - performed a skit about the shepherds who followed the star and found Baby Jesus just as the angel said they would. The boys wrote their own lines several weeks ago and have been practicing at home and on Sundays during class. They did such a fantastic job! I was so proud of each one of them today. Their audience was an overflowing, standing-room only crowd of 120 or so kids and adults, but they weren't nervous at all.
Tonight, the five of us hopped in the car and drove around to all of our favorite Fort Worth neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. We made a game of finding "the worst lights we've ever seen", an honor which went to a certain house not far from home, and we oohed and aahed over the lights on the huge oak at Park Hill, the Lowden house near Rivercrest, and the backyard docks on Luther Lake.
And now I sit here, planning another week that's sure to be as busy and fun as this past one has been. I promise to blog as I go, though. I PROMISE.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Speaking of Wii, I've gotten hooked on tennis. Darren and I play here in the family room after the kids go to bed, and tell me this isn't weird: when you play Wii Tennis, you don't have to actually move your body. All you have to do is move the remote. That's not the weird part, though. What's weird is that I cannot play worth a patoot unless I move about as if on the court. I position myself for either a backhand or a forehand shot, serve overhand, and even grunt ala Serena Williams when necessary. When I stand there and just move my remote - which works for some people whose names begin with AIDAN - I miss the dern ball everytime.
What's been happening is wonderful: I'm getting an actual aerobic workout bee-bopping all around the room, AND for once in my life, I'm able to play more than 1 volley of tennis before falling dead on the cement.
My favorite tennis memory: busting my little brother in the eyebrow and thinking I'd knocked his eyeball out when blood starting spurting all over the court. It was ALL HIS FAULT! If he'd have stayed on his own side of the court instead of being such a BOY and hogging MY SIDE too, my backhand would've never found its way to his face. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Is it possible to get tennis elbow standing in my family room? Methinks yes.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
"On my fifth Christmas, it was calm," I read aloud. "We talked about Jesus
christ and how he effected our Lives. We got no presents that year. I did
not care about presents. I care about my family. Oh, how I Loved that
christmas. it was so peaceful. Dear god. Thank you for are food and famLy,
thank you for everything. in Jesus name amen."
I glanced over at Aidan, who was smiling sweetly, clearly proud of his effort. I thought for a moment about what to say.
Finally I said, "So, Aidan. I don't remember this Christmas."
"That's because I made it up!" he exclaimed, breaking into a huge grin. "I couldn't remember any Christmas memories, so I just made one up!"
I congratulated him on his wonderful story and told him I thought it was beautiful. Then I called Darren from right there in the hallway, trying not to laugh out loud.
"Hey, listen to this story Aidan wrote and see if it rings a bell to you. It's his favorite Christmas memory, but I'm having a hard time remembering it myself. "
We had a good laugh, talked about how sweet the whole thing was, and then wondered if getting no presents THIS year would go over well.
Then I searched out Mrs. Bradshaw; I wanted to make sure she knew the story wasn't entirely accurate before she nominated us for KLTY's Christmas Wish or something. I can hear it now... Frank Reed sniveling and weeping, "Today's Christmas Wish comes from a second grade teacher, Mrs. Bradshaw, in Fort Worth. 'Dear Christmas Wish, I'm nominating the beautiful Kocur family because their poor children don't get gifts (sniffle snarvel chokechokechoke) on Christmas Day, but they're so precious they don't care. They went all semester without a haircut and looked like ragamuffins until someone finally took them to SuperCuts over Thanksgiving. (hey, gimme a break. I had a broken foot.) Sometimes they don't wear socks. (That's Aidan's preference, thank you very much.) They have to eat peanut butter every single day for lunch. (I try to make them branch out, but hey - they're peanut butter connoisseurs.) I want them to know the joy of opening a gift, for once in their sweet (snarf, stammer, sniff) lives."
"I found Aidan's story," I said when we found the teacher, "but he neglected to tell you that it wasn't a real memory."
"What!" she gasped, turning her attention to Aidan. "You MADE THAT UP?!"
I thought he was about to get reamed.
"I can't believe you made that up. Aidan! Have you ever thought about being a writer?"
He looked at the floor and barely shook his head.
"If you can write something that good sitting in class without even thinking about it, you should definitely think about being a writer when you grow up."
Then she looked at me and said, "It was such a sweet story."
I think she was disappointed that it wasn't true.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Darren and I began building our Christmas music collection the first year we were married. For many years, we bought one Christmas CD each season, and we got to take turns picking out the year's album. On my years, we acquired stuff like "The Coolest Christmas", "A Very Special Christmas", and "Christmas with the Stars". I like compilations. When it was Darren's year to pick, we added the likes of Aaron Neville, "Celtic Christmas" and "Christmas with the Judds". One year, a friend gave us Celine Dion's Christmas album, and I threw up in my mouth a little. That is, until I heard "The Prayer", her duet with Andrea Bocelli. That song instantly became one of my lifetime favorites. I doubt I'll ever tire of it, partly because it reminds me of Aidan as a tiny baby. I'd play it over and over, singing in English and a sad excuse for Italian while he snuggled in my arms.
These days, we just cruise iTunes in search of a CD's worth of tunes. This year, I discovered an artist named Ali Matthews and became mesmerized by her silky smooth voice - it's so pure and melodic. Check her out! Her Christmas album is called "Looking for Christmas". I also discovered MercyMe's new Christmas album, "The Christmas Sessions". I went to high school with Bart Millard, the lead singer, but he was a lowly freshman and I was a snobby senior, so I never even knew him. I regret that every time I hear his warm, gravely voice on the radio.
A few years ago, I uploaded all of our versions of "O Holy Night" to iTunes and burned a CD for Darren. It's his favorite song, and I thought it would be really cool for him to have a CD of all its different variatios. I never did figure out if he thought it was cool or not.
This past weekend, I took a wise friends's sage advice (okay, it was Darren) and set aside an hour after the kids went to bed to slow down and just be. With no projects on my schedule (not that there weren't projects to be done - I just wasn't allowed to DO them!), I discovered time to do something I've wanted to do for a long time: I uploaded all of our Christmas CDs. Then I carefully and painstakingly chose a 25-song playlist of the tunes I can't live without each year.
- O Holy Night by John Berry
- Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
- The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen
- Ave Maria by Andrea Bocelli
- What Sweeter Music by The Cambridge Singers
- Still, Still, Still by The Cambridge Singers
- Have A Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
- O Holy Night by Point of Grace
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by The Smithereens
- The Friendly Beasts by Garth Brooks
- The Christmas Song by Aaron Neville
- Winter Wonderland by Aretha Franklin
- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by MercyMe
- Christmastime is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Sweet Little Jesus Boy - Natalie Cole
- In the Bleak Midwinter - Ali Matthews
- One Small Child - Ali Matthews
- O Come O Come Emmanuel/What Child is This - Ali Matthews
- Baby It's Cold Outside - Louis Armstrong
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Relient K
- Hallelujah Chorus - A Soulful Celebration
- I Saw Three Ships - Sting
- Angels We Have Heard on High - Point of Grace
- The Wexbury Carol - Yo-Yo Ma with Allison Kraus
It's a mix of old and new, tried and true. Still and solemn, rocking and energetic. I love it all, and I love it all mixed up. Music - it's one of my favorite things about Christmas.
I do love working again, though. And I've managed not to show up at the office in my pajama pants even ONCE! ;)