Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Summary

I have been dragging my feet about posting our Christmas happenings...not because Christmas wasn't great...but because we did SO much and I was dreading writing a really long post. But, here I am, and I think instead of telling a VERY long story (in traditional Sally fashion), I'll just hit the highlights.

* Day before Christmas Eve - dinner with MIL and FIL as well as all siblings and their families -- we were VERY glad we got to go home to sleep in our own beds!

* Christmas Eve - we stayed away from the in-laws until after we went to our evening service at church (I really wanted to participate in the candlelight service at the church we've been attending, and ILs church doesn't do that), but we headed over there for homemade Mexican food (that the Colorado siblings brought) after church...and AGAIN, we were glad we weren't spending the night there

* DONUTS - this gets its OWN bullet -- MIL is FAMOUS for making HOMEMADE donuts...this is the first year in a while she's made them, and the first time I've tasted them. They are AMAZING! MIL and SIL set up a little assembly line where they fried and glazed the donuts (they had cut and raised them earlier in the day), and the rest of us just sat around drooling until the first pan was set on the table in front of us (there was no worry that you wouldn't get enough because they made 6 dozen, but none of them made it past Christmas afternoon!).

* At the ILs house, we end up spending most of our time in an area about 800 square feet -- that's 10 adults and 4 kids....and the kids NEVER put toys away so you have to stumble over toys and clothes and mattresses (because there aren't enough bedrooms for everyone)'s amazing that no one got hurt! *smile*

* Christmas Day - B and I got up about 8:30, drank hot chocolate with our leftover donuts, opened our stockings to each other (I got a Chi flat iron and yummy jammies and some DVDs that I wanted - not bad!!), then headed BACK to the ILs for presents with the siblings and kids.

* Assigned seats?? - for opening gifts?? Well, apparently that's so at the SIL (married to B's youngest brother. who I love dearly) just about DRAGGED me off the couch because I was in HER spot. What?? So, in this family, they have been sitting in EXACTLY the same spots to open gifts for YEARA...and MY spot is on the floor! Let's not forget to mention that I'm about 6 years older than aforementioned SIL (whom I love). I was ready to have a knock-down-drag-out, but B told me to forget it and get on the floor. We did manage to outrank my BIL and his fiance, since they aren't married yet...but they were on the floor right next to us! Whatever! I guess maybe it has something to do with the fact that this is the first Christmas we've actually been there for.

* Wrapping paper drama - So, the ILs open gifts a little differently than I'm used to. My family opens one per person at a time so we can all see what each other received...and while we do that, Mom makes a list so we can all remember in 2 weeks and so we can write thank you notes. Well, at the ILs, it's just a MAD dash to open all the gifts as fast as possible. FIL passes them all out and then people just start tearing into them - kids, adults, it doesn't matter, it's all the same. AND all the paper and boxes and tissue paper just gets thrown all around. I freaked out! At one point, I got up and started picking up paper from all over the place (This particular obsession is 2 fold - 1 is I can't stand things to be unorganized, and 2 is that at my 7th birthday party, I lost a favorite gift because it was thrown out in the wrapping paper).

* Mom and Dad arrive! B and I left the ILs mid-afternoon to go pick up my parents from the airport. Once we had claimed all their luggage, we headed home to give them a tour of the house, drive them past the house they bought down the street from us (that Mom has never seen) and walk around the neighborhood. Then I made dinner (meatloaf, potatoes, corn, green beans, and rolls), and we opened gifts (for the 3rd time that day!).

* Mom and Dad are staying until New Year's Day, so we've been shopping and eating out and seeing movies and doing all kinds of fun stuff. M&D are moving here in a year or so after they retire, so we have to show them the town!

Well, my theory that bullets would take the place of a long post was obviously wrong, but there ya go...that's our Christmas. AND, I'm still off work until January 2, so let the fun continue!

Thursday, December 21, 2006 works

Finally! I am getting pictures to upload to, here are some pictures from our trek to Kansas City a couple months ago. This photo was taken from our seats in the 4th row...look at all that red!

This is me getting a little silly...havin' fun!

And here we are with our friends that went to the game with us.

Now I can post all kinds of pictures...I love it!

Bear Left

Ok, this post was written AGES ago, but until I switched to beta blogger, I had all kinds of problems posting photos, so I didn't want to post this until I could include the pictures...We had a BLAST!!

I just stumbled on all the pictures we took on our family trip to Disneyland this summer. What a riot!

Dad’s birthday coincided with Father’s Day this year, and his only birthday wish was for the WHOLE family to take a trip together. He chose Disneyland and California Adventure.

So, my sis and her hubby flew out from Alabama. My bro and his wife came from Wisconsin. B and I were still in CA, so we drove down with Mom and Dad and we met my niece and nephew in L.A.

Do you have ANY idea what it’s like for 10 people to decide which ride to go to next?? The purpose of the trip was to spend time together, so we didn’t exactly want to split up, but it was tough to make decisions.

We started out the trip with dinner for Dad’s bday. My nephew, I, was the entertainment. He really likes ice cream!

We wandered around California Adventure (which, by the way, is WAY better than Disneyland if you’re over 3 years old). B won the kids a bunch of stuffed animals playing basketball (the term “won” is used loosely since each animal ended up costing about $5! But, he did make all those baskets!).

Sis and I HAD to take a picture in front of the “BEAR LEFT” sign…there’s a story behind that…in college, she came to visit me right after I moved away. We were following the directions of someone in the car who told me to “turn left”. Well, we were at a weird intersection where about 3 roads came together. So, I turned left…but that was the wrong thing. I should have taken the middle road, and I had taken the left road (hellooo, they said TURN left). After we got back on the right road, I informed the crew in my car that they should have told me to BEAR left…which sent them into uproarious laughter…I don’t see what’s so funny…Anyway, Sis and I had to relive the whole story by the sign.

We had a blast, and we fought, and we wore ourselves out, but it was a wonderful trip! I hope it starts a tradition…of course, we’ve already decided the next trip will be to somewhere relaxing!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you in blogland! Every year, my very creative hubby writes our family letter (family consists of hubby, me, and our 2 mini schnauzer "kids"). Friends and family alike chomp at the bit until our letter arrives in their mailbox. B has a way of making our antics throughout the year humorous and interesting...below is this year's installment...I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Land of Ah’s

If you’re looking to lose a little weight, try a quick trip to Ireland. In March we took a seven-day trip to attend a real Irish wedding. B promptly went on a hunger strike for the first 72 hours, refusing to partake in blood pudding and mutton. The Irish wedding (in a castle!) was cool and the links golf was cooler (50 degrees!) and the photo taken beside the only statue in the world of slick Willy Clinton was, well, odd. But not as odd as driving on the left side of the road all week. Watch out for those side mirrors, Sally! Watch out for knackers!

In June the "S" family reunion was at every child’s (and Papa Joe’s) favorite place – Disneyland. While at Disneyland we learned that you can fit 10 tired people in the cab of a Ford F-350. We also learned that Sally will NOT buy cheap ice cream and that B has not lost his basketball shooting skills. Sally finally put her buffet prejudice aside (“I will NOT eat at any buffet restaurants!”) and we had a great buffet family dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen. While at dinner Dan and Jana® educated us on the ‘greatest sport in the world – soccer!’ and on the evils of a mafia-run organization called Young Life.

In July our dreams of moving to Kansas came true – more on that later. But first, a final shopping trip to old Mexico. During our day-trip (we refuse to be in Tijuana after dark) we made many new friends (“Come into my shop, Gringo, I will rip you off less!”) ate some questionable food (“Yes, Gringo, this is real beef!”) and spent our hard-earned American dollars on hard-to-find items like leather belts, cheap jewelry and real Cuban cigars (“Just like Castro smokes, Gringo!”).

Ah, yes, the move to Wichita. Why Kansas? B has a top ten list of reasons why – just ask him. (No smog, quality golf, English-only -- to name a few.) Three days of driving was all it took. We are only slightly scarred from the hotel-on-the-wrong-side–of-the-tracks disaster in Gallup, N.M. Ask Sally about this. And we are only slightly upset about the road-under-construction-rocks-cracking-windshield experience in Amarillo. Ask B about this. And we are only slightly perturbed about the no-pets-allowed-in-this-hotel fiasco in Weatherford, OK. Ask Rerun and Lucy about this. Otherwise, a fine trip.

We cannot end this letter without a Chiefs update. Two weeks ago we visited Arrowhead Stadium to see the mighty Chiefs triumph over the hapless Raiders. That makes it seven victories in a row over the ‘Raider Nation’. Giddy-up. Now that’s a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One more week!

One week til Christmas! I'm done with my shopping, all but a couple small gifts are wrapped, and I even did a little art project today. I painted some wood frame ornaments that I'll put our Christmas picture in and give away. I NEVER do things like that, but I got some creative urge or something.

I also attempted to make my first pot roast today - in my crock pot. It ended up tasting ok, but it looked kind of shriveled sure didn't look like my mom's!

I have to work all week, and I'm not looking forward to that! Not only do I have to work, but I can't just hang out at my desk and have a relaxing week - I got volunteered to help with an inventory. Our plant is shut down and most people will be on vacation, but since I'm pretty new to the company, I don't have any vacation to use, so I have to work -- and take inventory!! I was hoping for easy, short days...but that won't happen for the first half of the week...maybe by Thursday.

At least I'm off from Christmas until after New Year's...something to look forward to.

Fun in the sun!

Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible

Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!

Must be right, since my real life car is a Saab Convertible - which is also fun, funky and a little bit Euro! Now, if the weather would only allow me to put the top down and cruise around today!

Actually, the weather doesn't stop me - last Christmas Eve, my mom, cousin and I bundled up, put the top down and went cruisin' to look at all the Christmas lights! Oh what fun!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What flavor are you??

You Are A Blueberry Martini

You are a eclectic drink - liking to change drinks and venues often.
You are usually the first of your friends to find a cool new dive bar or cocktail.

You should never: Drink mystery drinks strangers hand you. Unless you want to wind up in foreign country.

Your ideal party: Is mobile, hopping from party to party.

Your drinking soulmates: Those with an Orange Martini personality.

Your drinking rivals: Those with a Chocolate Martini personality.

Ok, Angel, sounds like we should party together sometime!

A Different Christmas Poem

I got this poem via email from't forget about all our troops who won't get to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

I'm so proud of my hubby for serving in the USMC, and I'm proud of ALL our Armed Forces who are fighting for our freedom!

A Different Christmas Poem
Author Unknown

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,
"Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,"
Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Monday, December 11, 2006


Just a couple updates...

I talked to my mom last night, and she told me that my brother and his wife lost their baby. SIL went in for her 12 week appointment, and they couldn't find a heart beat. They say the baby just stopped developing. I haven't talked to bro and SIL, but I'm sure they're heartbroken. SIL really wants a baby, and she's a year older than me. Mom told me that she's known several people in the last year, in their 30's, who have miscarried around the 12th week. Now I'm scared...

On to better news...

I FOUND my Irish Friendship ring! I had lost it right after Thanksgiving, but while I was wrapping gifts last night, I found it in the bottom of a shopping bag! I have NO idea how it got there, but I'm so glad to have it back!

Our CA house is in escrow! We're supposed to close on it by Christmas...that is, if our buyers stop freaking out about the sidewalk in the front of the house that has settled a little bit. They're insisting that we pay for a soils engineer to come out and do a compaction test (we're talking BIG money for this test). C'mon people! It's not the house that's messed up, it's a SIDEWALK! I could sure use everyone's prayers that this deal goes through!

AND, I'm DONE with my Christmas shopping! Yes, it's December 11, and I'M DONE! Of course, I still have to wrap everything, and since I still have 14 days until Christmas, I will probably still continue to BUY things that I don't really need, but at least my list is complete!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Be Bold...

What things have you done? Feel free to try this one yourself. Just BOLD the items you've done before, and post it to your own blog, or email it to everyone you know... or...on my blog it's really hard to tell if it's bold or not, so I'm going to put an * before the items I've done...

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
* 03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
* 06. Held a tarantula
* 07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
* 08. Said “I love you” and meant it
* 09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
* 11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
* 13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
* 14. Seen the Northern Lights
* 15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
* 17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
* 19. Slept under the stars
* 20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
* 22. Watched a meteor shower
* 23. Gotten drunk on champagne
* 24. Given more than you can afford to charity
* 25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
* 26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
* 27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
* 30. Had a snowball fight
* 31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
* 34. Ridden a roller coaster
* 35. Hit a home run
* 36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
* 38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
* 40. Visited all 50 states - this is kinda bold -- i've been to 40!
* 41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
* 42. Had/Have amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
* 44. Watched whales
* 45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
* 47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
* 49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
* 51. Visited Ireland
* 52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
* 56. Alphabetized your cds
* 57. Pretended to be a superhero
* 58. Sung karaoke
* 59. Lounged around in bed all day
* 60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
* 62. Kissed in the rain
* 63. Played in the mud
* 64. Played in the rain
* 65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
* 68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
* 70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours
* 72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
* 74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
* 77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
* 81. Rafted the snake river
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
* 83. Gotten flowers for no reason
* 84. Performed on stage
* 85. Been to Las Vegas
* 86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
* 88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
* 90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
* 93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in a Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
* 98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
* 100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
* 101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge - OK, so I drove. Tough luck.
* 102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds.
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
* 109. Touched a stingray
* 110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
* 113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
* 116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
* 118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
* 122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
* 128. Had your picture in the newspaper
* 129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
* 132. Touched a cockroach
* 133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
* 134. Read “The Iliad”
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
* 138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
* 142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
* 146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Buddy Weekend

My annual Buddy Weekend is over for the year…it’s sad, really. I look forward to this weekend so much, and then it comes and is gone and over so quickly. I LOVE my buddies, and I had a great weekend, but it went by way too fast! And I felt like I was under such a time crunch the whole time…

I not only felt I was under a time crunch, I really was. In the course of about 66 hours (that’s how long I was in CA), I spent 20 hours sleeping, 6 hours driving, 3 hours getting my hair done, 3 hours eating 2 different meals with my family, 2 hours visiting with another friend, and the rest relaxing at Shaver Lake with the girls.

We chatted and read magazines and played cards and ate and opened gifts and ate and ate…oh, I already said that! We ALWAYS eat a TON of junk food!

This year we did something a little different. We participated in a friendship building activity. It sounds kind of dry when you say it that way, but it ended up to be really good for all of us. See, we’ve all been friends for years and years, some of us for almost our whole lives, but lately we’ve realized that we don’t know everyone very deeply. We have plenty to talk about when we get together, but it’s all kind of on the surface. Sure, a few of us have been closer than that at different times in our lives, but overall, we kind of glaze over the deep feelings and struggles we all have. We can’t exactly pinpoint why we have done that, other than it could stem from us becoming close while we were in high school. Y’know, back in those days when you don’t want anyone to know you’re scared or insecure or having problems…you just want to fit in and have fun.

But as we’ve gotten older, we’ve faced all kinds of trials that we need each other to help us get through – health issues, fertility issues, marital problems, family concerns – we’ve realized we’re not 18 anymore where the biggest concern was what to do on Friday night.

One analogy that came out of the weekend was that we are like a family -- the commitment that we’ve made to our group of “buddies” is like that of a family or a marriage. We may not always have time to get together or want to get together for these annual trips, but we’ve committed our hearts and friendships to each other, so we make it a priority.

I recently read a story in a book called Girl Time by Laura Jensen Walker. It describes my “buddies” perfectly…who knew there were more groups like us out there...

An excerpt from Girl Time by Laura Jensen Walker:

My pal Jan’s friend Mary Gail has been getting together with the same group of ten girlfriends for decades.

“Two of us met in kindergarten in 1949,” said Mary Gail, “and out of the ten, seven of us married high school sweethearts. We were all in each other’s weddings, and we have a lot of history together.”

The girls first met in high school in southern California, where once a month they’d rotate houses for a slumber party. After they got married, they all still got together once a month at someone’s house for lunch, and then, once the kids were born, they got together once a month in the park.

Eventually, however, the responsibilities of families, careers, moves, and other major life events interrupted the regular girlfriend get-togethers for a few seasons.

But about fifteen years ago, Sheila, one of the friends who had a house in Palm Springs, invited all the others over for a “girlfriend reunion.” The women had so much fun together that they pledged then and there to make it a yearly tradition. In time, the house became a condo in Palm Desert, and now every April the ten women meet there for a five-day getaway.

Mostly, the women lay by the pool and visit, but they’ll also read and play ‘50’s songs from high school and often get up and dance.

“We act the same as when we were in high school,” Mary Gail said with a laugh. “We relax and take turns fixing dinner. Most of the time we like to cook in, but we usually go out to dinner one night. We do a lot of talking. We’ve been through a lot over the years – divorces and things with our kids – and we’re all a wonderful support group for each other. We’re like the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – we’ve just really, really been there for one another. We’ve all made other friends along the way, but there’s just something real special we have together.”

That was evidenced last year when Mary Gail had heart surgery and Pam, her girlfriend since kindergarten, flew up to be with her and take care of her.

“She wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Mary Gail said.

The other friends have all done the same – in different ways – for each other at one time or another.

Nine of the women still live in California, but when Melinda, their Oregon friend, suddenly lost her fifty-six-year-old high school sweetheart husband to a heart attack a couple years ago, the girlfriends visited her in Oregon that year. “Our trip to see her was the most emotional yet,” Mary Gail said.

The ten are now talking about taking a short cruise together the year they turn sixty – which is right around the corner.

“We’re extremely close,” said Mary Gail. “And as we get older, we get more emotional about it, because some of us have health problems and we don’t know how much more time we’ll all have. We feel like we’re closer today that ever. When you get to be this age, you realize life is short.”

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper, usually, but bags are SO much easier! I do not like wrapping gifts…too much pressure to have a cute package, and I have other things to spend my time on – is that scroogish?? Actually, it’s not the paper I have a problem with – it’s the ribbon!

2. Real tree or artificial?

Artificial now. I grew up with a real tree, and I LOVED going shopping for it with my mom (Dad hated it because we dragged him ALL over town looking for The Perfect Tree), but 3 years ago, Mom and I caved in and we both bought fake trees. I made a list of the pros and cons (yes, that’s the anal part of me coming out), and the only thing on the pro side was the smell of the tree – I hate the needles falling on the floor, I hate the cost of a real tree every year, I hate the critters that come out of the tree, and I hate having to dispose of the tree at the end of the season. So, I buy pine scented candles to burn while I put up my 9-foot fake tree with the lights already attached. Wonderful!

3. When do you put up the tree?

As soon as possible after Thanksgiving – either Friday or Saturday (Saturday this year)

4. When do you take the tree down?

As late as possible…usually at the end of January. The reason is two-fold – I hate to see the Christmas season end and my house go back to everyday, and it’s such a pain to pack everything back up.

5. Do you like eggnog?

NO WAY!! Not even a little bit!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

My dad refurbished a Schwinn bike for me one year. He stayed up all night finishing it. It was a white bike with a banana seat with flowers on it, and those big handlebars. It was my first 2 wheel bike, and I loved it!

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

Yes! And it’s one of my favorite things. I got it for Christmas from my mom last year. It’s a Willow Tree set, and it’s gorgeous (check out the picture)! I also have a smaller wood set that we got as a wedding gift from some of our favorite Texas people. AND, I have several nativity scene tree ornaments…after all, The Nativity is what Christmas is all about!

8. Hardest person to buy for?

Mom, Dad, hubby, sister, brother, in-laws…

9. Easiest person to buy for?

NO ONE is easy! The smaller stocking stuffers for my husband are pretty easy.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Email?? What’s up with that? Actually, we send a letter and a picture, I guess that could go into an email, but we always mail them…and I need to get started. Hubby always writes the letter and people look forward to it every year…maybe that sounds weird, but he has a way of writing a short funny letter about our year that people love!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

I can’t really think of one for me, but my Aunt got a horrendous gift about 17 years ago…her hubby (my uncle) got her what he thought was the rain coat she wanted…what it really was was a TENT of a rain slicker in this ugly green/brown color. She burst into tears while the rest of us rolled on the floor laughing! I will NEVER forget that Christmas.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and "White Christmas"

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

As soon as I start to see things I think would be good for Christmas. This year I bought my first Christmas gift in August. We used to open Christmas gifts with B’s family on Thanksgiving since we never saw them on Christmas, so I had to be ready by then.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Oh yeah…why let it go to waste?? =)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Homemade English Toffee!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?

Clear lights. I used to be dead set against colored lights, but as I get older, I could probably be convinced to try colored – except that our lights are already on the tree and they’re clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

“Mary’s Boy Child” (check out the lyrics) and “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Santa Baby”

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Christmas Day we’ll go to the in-laws about 20 minutes away, then pick up my parents from the airport that afternoon. My bro and his preggers wife are coming down from WI, but I’m not sure when.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

Actually, we have nothing right now…I need to find one, and I’m leaning towards star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Christmas morning…but not because of Santa – I never believed in Santa…Mom and Dad worked hard to give us the gifts they did, and we’ll teach our kids the same thing.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Long lines and crowds

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

Red and gold tones…sentimental family ornaments are the best!

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

We stopped the traditional Christmas dinner thing several years ago. We usually have a nice brunch, and then snack all afternoon while we play games and check out our gifts. I love it! We probably won’t do that at my in-laws, and I’m disappointed about that…we’ll probably have the turkey thing going on.

25. Do you have Jesus in your heart this Christmas?

Absolutely! That’s what Christmas is all about…celebrating the birth of our Savior!