Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas things & their memories

I sit here typing in my special room. My beloved piano that Mother & Daddy bought for me 13 years ago (!?!) is here; my antique drop-leaf table that Mother refinished for me is here. Amy & David's old couch is here; one of the lamps Susie gave me is here. One of the prints Rob and I bought on one of our many trips to Gatlinburg hangs over the couch; a portrait of the children when they were about 6, 5, 3, and 9 months hangs over the piano. My French country armoire/ computer desk is here; a couple of ladderbacks from Rob's Mom & Dad are here at the table and the armoire.

But the current piece de resistance is standing behind me -- no, it isn't Rob, he's in Boston right now. :-) Our Christmas tree is here. Getting it out, getting all the associated decorations out, all the ornaments -- lighting the tree -- what fun! (The tree is pre-lit, after all.) I think the most fun for me is the rediscovery of the ornaments, many of which hold special significance or are tied with memories.

The best way for me to go through them is, I think, chronologically, so I'll weave a tale of many Christmases for you. The ornament with the earliest birth of which I am aware is a small crocheted stocking. It is red with white trim. I believe that Alice Overton made it for my family of origin and Mother let me take it for some reason. Correct me if I'm wrong, Mother.

Then there is the cross-stitched ornament that Rob's old girlfriend did.

The next one? An "Our first Christmas together" ornament from 1992 -- a gift from Rob shortly after we became engaged -- the first time!! :-) Let's see ... oh, yes ... the stiffened crocheted wedding bells. Evelyn Powell made those for decorations at my wedding, August 1993, but now they are Christmas bells! Sure do miss her. Then there is a set of four cross-stitched ornaments I made -- I worked so hard to get them done before our first married Christmas.

We were rather slim on ornaments in '93, then only had a tabletop tree in '94 in a small on-campus apartment. The next year we were between apartments for two weeks at Christmas! So now it is '96. Mike and Jill West gave us a beautiful brass ornament with both of our names on it saying, "Christmas is love". I believe we also got some ornaments from Rob's coworkers that year.

Sometime or other some gas station was selling/giving away crystal/glass/plastic Energizer Bunny ornaments. For some reason we have two of these on our tree. In 1997, when I was great with child, Rob and I went with his parents and Amy & David to Washington, D.C. for some sight-seeing. Yep. Hugely pregnant. D.C. August. I don't recommend it! But we did get some pretty ornaments! We have an ornament of the White House -- it is brass with some white on the front. We also got a bell ornament from Mt. Vernon.

At that point I decided I wanted to try to commemorate trips with ornaments as much as possible. But first, Julianne was born, we moved from Memphis to Huntsville, and then Joey was born. That brings us to the next ornament -- Loren & Carrie Wisehart came to Huntsville Hospital that November of 1998 to bring a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament for Joey. Then in 1999, we got two personalized ornaments -- one from Aunt Amy -- teddy bears named Julianne and Joey. The other from Jennifer Vance (BFF shoutout!!) with all four of our names on it. I guess they thought our family was finished growing. Me? I didn't really know...hadn't quite decided...

Our next big trip, I think, was almost two years later, September 2000, to Vegas. But I forgot to buy an ornament. I was rather discombobulated having just found out I was pregnant again. But by this point the two older children have started attending Mother's Day Out a couple of days a week, and they were bringing home handcrafted ornaments for the tree. It never ceases to amaze me what the teachers come up with for them to make and do. My favorite may be the popsicle stick snowflakes. Or maybe the popsicle stick snowman ...

I don't remember what year, but Tony and Anita and Maria Arnold gave us the prettiest ornament -- the ornament itself is an apple, but all over it are fruited plants, trimmed in gold.

And the picture frame ornaments. Many teachers or room parents or Sunday school teachers have used those. I've bought some of those, too. I love those. Especially the one shaped like a football with Joey's football picture in it, and the soccer one with Abbie's soccer pic in it. But we have picture ornaments going back several years now, for several children. We could do a whole tree just with kid's ornaments.

We have been on a couple of trips to DisneyWorld this decade and several trips to Gatlinburg, and have several ornaments to show for those trips. Two years ago I accompanied Joey on a field trip to the Tennessee Aquarium and we bought a penguin bell ornament. This year I accompanied Abbie on the same trip and we bought a butterfly ball ornament. Also, this year Ginny (my mother-in-law) moved, which meant cleaning out. She let Amy and I go through her unwanted Christmas things ... I got several beautiful ornaments that way.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

schooling...

what would you say if I told you I might be going back after a year's hiatus to take a class or two (not 19 hours!!!) in the spring? Reactions? Platitudes? Reprimands? I just love to stir the pot.