Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gracie Belle

David and I woke up Christmas morning to our door opening and the girls telling us that Santa had left us a dog. Not just any dog, but a really cute one who was wanting out of her kennel. "No way," I said, not being able to believe that the old elf could have hoisted a dog into his sleigh, ferried him (or her, as it turns out) all over the world until the Keswick stop, and not lost her somewhere along the way.

Yes way. We trundled into the living room and discovered that Santa had indeed left a very cute dog in our care. Immediately we cared, and took her out.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What Would You Like For Santa To Bring You This Year?




"I want a book wif ots of gogs in it...peez."

Here He Is!


So, like I said in my earlier post, I finally saw Santa come down the chimney! Pretty cool. The kids knew he was coming and waited anxiously for this, and then for their turn to visit with him.

I've been having trouble getting Blogger to let me download pictures. For some reason this picture (and others) won't download to my previous post, but will here. Maybe it wanted the spotlight all to itself!?!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Down Through The Chimney

So, I finally saw Santa come down the chimney!

We took the kids to Richmond last weekend so they could see the real Santa. After all, the guys at the mall here in Charlottesville are only Santa's helpers. Anyone could tell you that! All you need to do is look at the fake beards and padded bellies!

This guy is for real. He even went to check on the reindeer while we were waiting in line. (Our wait this year was only 1 1/2 hours, which beat last year's wait of 3 1/2 hours! Poor David waited the whole 3 1/2 hours last year while I took the kids into the childrens' museum to play!)

Will wasn't so sure about seeing Santa. All day he kept saying "I not going to see Santa." In hindsight, I guess he was sure that he wasn't going to see Santa! Anyway, he did, but only because David went with him. Suddenly three big sisters weren't enough protection!

Will was the only one of our children who actually gave Santa any idea of what to bring on Christmas Eve. The girls all asked for surprises, but Will asked for a book, which he later decided should be a "book wif ots of gogs." Even later he added trucks to his list. I think he's finally getting the hang of this.

After visiting the bearded one, the kids wrote letters to him. The museum had a little post office set up where kids could write notes of wishes for world peace or for wishes for gifts from Santa.
Then we found a tree lot and picked out a beautiful white pine. We had lots of fun holding up all of the trees to see which one would be tall enough and wide enough and full enough and green enough. Finally we found just the right one.

Buying a tree is hard work so of course we had to eat! We ate at Fuddruckers, which is our usual stop after seeing Santa. We always try to sit in a booth - there's the Beatles booth and the Elvis booth. This time the girls snagged the Elvis booth just after it had been vacated. So we ate super delicious burgers (or macs-n-cheese) and spicy fries and listened to Elvis sing Christmas songs.

Another good day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Middle School Band Concerts

My only memories of middle school band concerts are dressing in black skirts and white blouses and being really nervous. That and hearing my parents complain about how hard those nights were on their ears. I don't know if we really were that bad, but I suspect we were. Our band director was a kind man who didn't know he could demand more from us. We had fun in his class and we liked him a whole lot, but I'm not sure many kids learned much unless they were also taking private lessons.

So when Morgan first began playing the clarinet in the 6th grade band at her middle school I really didn't know what to expect from her or from the band as a whole. The squeaks we heard each evening when she practiced made us wonder if she was learning anything. Later we found out that her director had told her to squeak. Our first concert experience wasn't until February of that year. The group sounded like beginners but they still didn't sound as bad as I had expected. The director is an amazing woman who energizes middle schoolers in a way that ought to be bottled and sold.

Tonight we attended the annual holiday concert presented by the Symphonic Band (7th & 8th grades combined) and the 8th grade band, as well as the Jazz Band and Strings. The bands were awesome. The clarinets were featured in at least 2 pieces and there were very few squeaks. They all played well and seemed to enjoy their time on stage.

Morgan's fan club included her family, her grandparents and a special friend from church. Not one parent left the concert this evening complaining about their ears hurting! Mrs. Allen's BMS bands have redeemed all of the failings of the late 1970's Dumbarton Junior High School Concert Band. I just wish my mom could have been there to hear them play!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The One Thing

What is the one thing you cannot live without? What is your most prized possession? Think about it. It could be anything really.

My "one thing" is my digital camera. David gave it to me last Christmas and, being a camera snob, it took me months to get used the idea of actually using a digital camera. Once I tried it I was hooked! I love to take pictures to share, but also to document the different events enjoyed and milestones reached by our family.

So, once I decided that my one thing was my camera, and dared to say it out loud, the camera went belly up! Can cameras do that?! Yup, if it had legs they'd be as stiff as a board. Not only did it totally die on us, it has left me without any easy means of documenting our holidays. It's amazing how soon we forget about focusing and judging the light. Having a point-and-shoot really has taken the art out of my picture taking.

I guess I'll go dig out my dad's old backbreaking 35mm Nikon* and go back to paying for developing. Yikes.

*That camera has a history - it's been to Cancun, been carried to the top of Chichen Itza and taken some National Geographic quality photos. Unfortunately those photos have never be seen since there was no film in the body at the time! Priceless.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Feliz Mommy Rocks" f.k.a. "The F Song"

Since before Thanksgiving our favorite radio station has been playing Christmas music pretty much 24/7. I love Christmas music and really have no problem with hearing it nonstop every time I get into my van.

The interesting thing about being bombarded by all these Christmas tunes is the effect it is having on Will. He can now sing along with any of the songs they've been playing, except "The Hippopotamus Song" which we've only heard once! He just sits back in his seat and sings along, usually swaying to the beat. The funny thing is that he doesn't always hear the words as they are properly sung, and will usually make up his own.

Tonight Katherine's "The F Song" forever became "Feliz Mommy Rocks"!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Our House in the Country

Katherine's drawing of the Professor's house from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe reminded me of this picture she drew last year. I knew I had to dig this one out of the depths of the cyber storage.

This is our yellow house in the country. It's not quite as fancy as the Professor's house, but it is yellow, has a stream (sometimes!), and is surrounded by trees. Most importantly, and probably the reason we'll never leave, it has the most awesome treehouse in the backyard.

There is no wardrobe room, but we do have a wardrobe into which the girls can go to visit new and exciting places. Our wardrobe closet is crammed full of various costumes, ranging from the typical ballet and Disney themed outfits, to things like Pippi Longstocking and Hermione outfits. The possibilities are endless and their imaginations run non-stop. As a result we never know who's coming to dinner.