Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Be Careful Who Your Housesitter is!

Don't ever let a Jayhawk be your housesitter/petsitter if you are a Wildcat fan!

All right, maybe that's a little harsh, but today after getting home from our fab trip in Europe, I began finding all sorts of KU garbage around our house . . . eventually I came to find that somewhere in our house are hidden 52 Jayhawk cards, along with some extra trinkets - so far we have found a KU pen, chapstick, and three Christmas ornaments. As of Wednesday night, we have only found about 20 cards . . . Aubrey thinks we may never find them all, and I tend to agree with her.

The way I figure it, however, if I deduct $10 for every card and $20 per trinket, she will owe me money for taking care of the dogs. Sounds fair, doesn't it?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh Holy Night

On this most holy of nights, the luminarias burn brightly at the Norton house. Sometimes the weather cooperates, and when it does, it is beautiful. No pictures does the sight justice.

After church, we come home, open our books, and gather around the Christmas tree.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa's Tracks

When I was in the seventh grade, we had to write a story about our family's Christmas traditions. One student in the class wrote about his family's tradition of putting flour on a cookie sheet and placing it in front of the fireplace. Then when Santa came down the chimney, he would step in the cookie sheet and leave his footprint. When I heard that story, I told myself I would remember to do that when I had children.

Fast forward about 20 years. Once Kenneth was old enough to understand, we began to put the flour in front of the fireplace. Every year, Santa would leave his footprint in the flour. We would then mix plaster of Paris and make a cast of the footprint. Now we have a number of plaster casts of Santa's footprint in the basement.

The biggest challenge we always had was keeping the dogs out of the flour. One year we weren't very successful . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Eve

When I was young, I lived next door to the Simsons. Although they were Jewish, they always had a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve, the children would receive a book, hoping that they would read it in the morning and let the parents sleep. I thought that would be a good idea, so when our children were little, they received a book every Christmas Eve. It is fun shopping for books for little ones - not so much once they get older . . . but it is a great tradition.

From the Simsons, I learned about my favorite book - The Phantom Tollbooth - and several others. Our children still expect to receive a book on Christmas Eve, and as little ones, it always seemed to do the trick. They always stayed in their rooms until 7:00 a.m., and they claim the books are the reason!

Some years, they would stay in the same room on Christmas Eve. I wish I knew which book they were reading here . . . looks interesting.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Matching PJ's

For some reason, matching pajamas on Christmas morning seems to be a big deal. We only had matching pajamas one year, but it was fun . . . Karen had a matching nightgown, too, but declined to be photographed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Life Needs Pocket Protectors

Sometimes we find ourselves mired in stress. That stress comes out in many ways. I thought Diana put it well when she said (after finishing two long papers), "My Life Needs Pocket Protectors."

I thought it was a great description of ways to express stress. Hang in there, Di!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kenneth's First Christmas

Kenneth was 10 months old on his first Christmas, and although he didn't know what was going on, he knew he loved the presents. That never changed!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Pageants

In 1988, I decided it would be fun to have a neighborhood Christmas Pageant. I talked with the parents on the cul-de-sac, all who thought it would be fun, and began the planning. The first year, the kids came over to make their costumes . . . the kings made crowns, the shepherds made shepherds crooks . . . even Diana at age two was able to glue cotton balls on a paper bag to make a sheep's outfit. Then we produced a little pageant, complete with songs and some solos for the older students.

The first few years, Trevor and Eric were the readers; after that others took over. We also learned a number of songs, but the favorite was Feliz Navidad. After the pageant, we all went caroling in the neighborhood and then came back to one of the houses for a soup supper. We did this for about eight years, and they are some of my favorite memories of Christmas.

Kelli and Diana loved to be the angels!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Lights

There are Christmas Lights:

And then there are Christmas Lights:

Guess which house is ours?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Interesting Mail Deliveries

This week has been an interesting one. First I received a letter from a friend from whom I haven't heard in a long time. It was a wonderful Christmas gift.

Then I received a letter from Kenneth. Not particularly unusual, except that the return address was from his apartment in LA - and he hasn't been there since June. It was clearly a Hallmark card . . . so I opened it with curiosity. Inside was the Mother's Day card he had written last May. The stamp wasn't even cancelled . . . it was as if it has been hiding in the mailbox all this time only to show itself on December 8.

I have always been one to defend the post office. They handle an incredible amount of mail with amazing accuracy and efficiency. Yet I always wonder what the story of letters such as this one is . . . did it get put in a bag and left there until someone found it? Did it go to the bottom of a box and get stuck there? Has it been in a post office truck and gone around the United States before it found its way to me? I will never know, but I am glad to know my son really did put the card in the mail.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Since for many years, KSU went to a bowl game around Christmas, we collected many Christmas items that are K-State oriented. Soon we had enough for a little Christmas arrangement. I have added a little to it, but we always enjoy our purple corner!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day

As my parents' generation ages, fewer and fewer people remember Pearl Harbor Day. I suspect that day was to my parents what September 11, 2001, is to my children's generation; or the assassination of President Kennedy was to mine. For some events, a person remembers exactly what they were doing that day. Pearl Harbor was one of those.

Don and I visited the memorial in Hawaii when we went there in 1979. The thought that many of those soldiers' remains are still in the sunken ships sobered all who were there. I was still relatively young when I visited and did not have children yet. I suspect my reaction would be even more somber if I were to visit again. All of those young lives gone to waste. Such a sad event.

I am grateful for that generation of men and women who entered into World War II without thought of anything but fighting for our freedom. They were indeed the greatest generation.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dogs, dogs, and dogs

My family definitely has a love for animals, particularly dogs. My grandmother, Brooks, was always picking up stray dogs and taking them to her farm. Both of my uncles and my mother were the same way. My brother, sister and I do the same thing, though thankfully I haven't picked up many strays lately (the last was a cute little retriever for whom we found a home). Anyway, I come by my love for dogs naturally.

When we got Chaco and Gus, I discovered how much easier it was to have two dogs (rather than one). So when Gus died, we got two more cock-a-poos, Sepia and Babs. They are good dogs! And they tolerate the other dogs we bring to the house when we are dog sitting, working out, or having company. This weekend was especially active, as Bella was here all last week, Patty Sue was here on Friday, and then . . . Schotze (shot z) was here Saturday night.

I love cock-a-poos . . . they have a sweet temperament, they don't shed, and they are cute. But now that I have met Schotze, I may have to reconsider and add a West Highland Terrier when one of my two passes on. Schotze was the cutest thing . . . she had big dark eyes just like our Chaco dog, she has the same "heft" as Patty Sue, and her personality was so cute. I just loved that little dog.

Now don't mistake my love for Schotze as a replacement for my own two. I love them dearly! But my eyes have been opened to the possibility of "changing it up" once it is time to add a puppy to the mix! And a West Highland Terrier will certainly be up for consideration!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Poem About Christmas Lights

Deck the trees with Christmas lights,
Fa la la la la la la la la
Make sure they are working right,
Fa la la la la la la la la
Part of one string isn't beaming,
Fa la la la la la la la la
And that's why we now are screaming,
Fa la la la la la la la la.

Check each bulb to find the bad one,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Push and pull . . . I am the mad one,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
When the problem can't be found,
Fa la la la la la la la la,
I want to throw them on the ground,
Fa la la la la la la la la.

Finally we decide to leave them,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Add more lights, we might deceive them,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
After all it still is pretty,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
As we decorate our city,
Fa la la la la la la la la.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bella, the Helper

Bella has joined our household during the day, and she has really grown up. So now she is able to help with the housework.

Here she is helping to change the sheets on the bed.

Here she is helping vacuum the cardboard pieces.

She hasn't learned to pick up her toys yet, but that's next!