Saturday, December 29, 2007

How Christmas Was

Christmas was great.

I'll backtrack and say that Advent was great too. I've always got this voice in the back of my Episcopalian mind (nagging) that we aren't supposed to celebrate Christmas when it is really Advent. Advent is the time to wait for the Christ Child and prepare. This year, I came to the full realization that every mom I know celebrates Advent correctly. We are all preparing and waiting.... right up until the last moments of the night on Christmas Eve. That preparing and waiting turns into quiet celebration for me at church. When we sing songs about a young mother blessing God with a kiss, and we all sing a lullaby to a baby.

I also had a sublime Advent moment in my car, in the parking lot of Randall's listening to Prairie Home Companion. After a lot of searching afterwards, I found the song online that had captivated me. It was called "A Child is Born in Bethlehem. Since we are now truly celebrating Christmas, you should take an hour and listen to GK tell his stories and end the first segment of the show with this wonderful song.

Then, of course, there was Christmas morning. We try not to instill materialistic urges in the kids, but this was the year we made dreams come true. Lots of video games, players, etc. Robes, toys, bow and arrow that shoots marshmallows, gift cards, ugly dolls and so forth. I felt content to make the kids happy this year. I felt a sense that we were very fortunate to be able to have such a wonderful holiday. David and I are home from work. We lounge as a family in our PJs many days, we have friends come over, we read Christmas cards, what a holiday!

Hope you all had a great holiday as well-- whatever you celebrate, and if it's Christmas, I hope it was a spiritual success as well. Here's to a wonderful 2008!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Early Christmas

This isn't a Christmas gift, but it is something Joey really loves, a bazooka! Made especially by Grandad to fulfill a request. Joey had wondered if Grandad would give him a real bazooka (without ammo) but this is a little better.

Cousins can't wait to open the presents!

My aunts!

David and a couple of my cousins

Wow, I've been busy!

We had a trip to Fort Worth with photos to share. Celebrated Christmas with my growing up family, and my extended Kennemer family. Both were so much fun. My main thought there was how much my grandparents would have enjoyed seeing how everyone grew up and all the beautiful babies and kids running around. Nannie and Poppa would have been very proud.

Then, last night, I got to go celebrate a birthday with my circle of girlfriends from the kids' school. Margaritas and laughing and funny stories. Then, when we walked to our cars, drunk college boys tried to hit on us! One of our group told them they were too drunk since they didn't realize how old we were!

I feel like I'm so satisfied now, after seeing so many people, that I don't need any other Christmas gift. Really. I can't think of anything I really need this year. (other than the 30 Rock DVD, thank you very much Julie..... and the copy of Robbin's painting, thank you very much Mom and Dad). I'm content and happy to buy stuff for the kids and I wrapped that work up today about thirty minutes before school let out. I'm all bought, and wrapped, and hidden and mailed. Yippee!

So it's been a great week. Lots of hugs and laughs and contentment.

That's all.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Trail of Lights Night

Tonight was Emma's big night, the opening of the Trail of Lights! She brought along a friend, and at every step of the way, we were pleasantly surprised that the guest limitations had been lifted. We thought only Emma and two guests would get to attend the VIP party... nope, all 8 of us got in! Our family of five, Emma's friend, David's mom and our favorite sitter, Elisa.

They had promised "light food" but we got fajitas from Taco Cabana... yum and no late dinner to cook!

Then, for the sleigh ride we had been told would have Emma plus guest, was changed. Now all six art winners, plus siblings, plus a family adult got to ride in the JUMBO 25-person sleigh. We let David's mom be the one adult, and Elisa, David and I walked alongside the sleigh.

Joey uses our new kiddie digital camera to take a photo of a very special couple....

And Emma gets a seat of honor on the sleigh... everyone else is seated above and behind her.

Sleigh-full of kids... our boys were on the top row, where we couldn't quite control them verbally.

We found the sleigh good at blocking the surprisingly cold wind! Zilker Tree in the background... only a week ago, it was the main attraction.

Getting ready to cut the ribbon.....

Emma got to be the person wielding the oversize pair of scissors.... and she got to countdown from ten before cutting the ribbon. After it was cut, the lights came on, and Emma was hustled back onto the sleigh. Those of us "VIPs" walking alongside the sleigh got to follow it into the trail of lights, while all the villagers huddling behind their barricades had to wait a bit longer.

Once we were about half way through the one mile trail, they got to start their walk.
It's nice to get the VIP treatment!
Hard to get photos with the flash on, and blurry without the flash, but I like this better. This is the mayor in the tan pants to the right, next to the sleigh, which is entering the big tunnel of light at the entrance to the trail.

Lots of beauty.
These are very blurry, but it was so pretty there and this is the best I could do... my old friend with vertigo (Par-tay) just needs to scroll on down.

The kids in Santa's house. By the time we got here, M/M Claus greeted Emma by name. Mrs. Claus called out, "Santa! Emma's here!"

Joey and his beloved Elisa.
He is 6 and she is 16 so they posed by the Six Swans a Swimmin' display.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Big Night Number 1

OK. The first of a two part series on: What it's like to win an Art Contest!

Emma was one of the guests of honor at the lighting of the Zilker Park Christmas Tree. The night truly belonged to a friend's daughter, Jane Addison. She is the little sister of one of Max's classmates. She won the Junior division of the Zilker Christmas Tree Contest and got to flip the switch to turn on the lights. Very cool honor!

We got there about an hour early for our front row seats, so got to watch the sun set on a beautiful, unseasonably warm December night. There was an orchestra and a huge elementary school choir providing music while we waited.

Sue Flores, Bryker Woods Art Teacher, with four of the six winners in the contest. (She is really a great art teacher!)

Emma with Judy Maggio, our longtime local newscaster
and master of ceremonies for the evening.

The crowd awaits! And Jane is being interviewed by a reporter...

Emma chats with the Mayor, Will Wynn.

Max, with classmates Noah and Ellie--
Ellie is big sister to Junior Art winner, Jane.

Where else, but our cool city, does the Mayor show up for a big event in his shorts and flip flops?

Jane and the Mayor flip the switch!

Happy Joey!

Zilker Tree Lighting

Until I have a chance to unload my camera with photos from last night's Zilker Park Tree lighting ceremony, you'll just have to do with this....