Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Traditions and Our Adventures on the Road in Mama's New Ride

Merry Christmas to all my family, friends, and friendly strangers who wander into my Korner :-)

Ok, so maybe Merry Christmas isn't the most politically correct way to respectfully wish everyone a Happy Holidays, but I was raised on Merry Christmas, have passed Merry Christmas and all it entails (to me) on to my children, and I'll continue to wish everyone from my co-workers, the store clerk, gas attendant, person in the Tim's drive-thru window handing me my coffee, heck even the guy in the highway toll booth ... a Merry Christmas :-) It makes me feel good to say it, and it makes me feel good to see the smile on the receiver's end :-)

I listen to Christmas music, trim a tree, decorate the house, promote the belief in Santa and try to watch The Sound of Music every year, as I did with my Mom and Dad when I was a kid. That was one thing I noticed that really sucked after Dad died, watching that by myself for the first time. Kenny & Dolly's "I'll be home with bells on" gets me every time too. It was 'the' song to trim the tree to.

One year, I came home from university late in the break, and Mom and Dad had put the tree up, but left it bare until the night I got home. Then we put on K & D, and got that sucker trimmed! :-) Now, whenever I hear that song, that's the memory I have, of that particular night, and it makes me both happy and sad at the same time. Not necessarily a good thing when you're driving by yourself, thinking of Christmas's past, and the afternoon radio host plays it and says "that one's for my Ma" Sigh! Thanks Russell!!! ;-)

I always visit my closest members of my Dad's side of the family, and spend every Christmas Eve with my Mom's family. We gather at someones house, snack, attend mass, come home and have a huge feast of Seafood Chowder and Meat Pies and home made 'sweets' galore! We play music (CD & live), games occasionally, then they all open their presents and we open ours Christmas morning. Except for one after church on Christmas Eve, I was always allowed to open one present then, and now I let my boys open one after dinner on Christmas Eve. I've tried to carry on all the traditions that made Christmas so special in my house, and with my family. Others ... well ... I still haven't managed to get a handle on that 'Christmas Baking' yet, that my Mom was and still is so good at :-D

Mass is another one. I went to mass every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, up until a few years ago, when the mass the family was attending became too late to do so with the kids. Also Adam doesn't do well in church ... too long a period to sit still and 'behave'. And on Christmas Eve, you generally have to arrive at least 45 min before mass to get a seat all together, then the mass itself I spend more time saying "stop" or 'shhh' or 'don't' do that please' ... I'm honest enough to admit that now it's just 'easier' not to endure the stress it's become simply to attend. But that's only one of my 'church' issues, and a whole other post.

I sang in the choir as a child, and Christmas Eve mass was definitely my most favourite time of year to be in church. Oh Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Silent Night ... everyone likes their own version on these, but personally, I think you can't beat kids voices on Christmas Eve.

Now, I sing carols in the car with the boys like ...

Alvin & The Chipmunks,
Christmas Don't Be Late (in the appropriate voices of course lol)

Shrek versions of
12 Days of Christmas Jingle Bells & Shrek the Halls

Hannah Montana's
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

And of course, the house favourite, I farted on Santa's Lap (now Christmas is gonna stink for me) by The Little Stinkers.

Ahhhh Traditions :-) It's nice to be able to mix old and new.

Being an only child, I ALWAYS went home for xmas. After the boys came along, and since the separation, things seem to be different every year now lol, so along with tradition, comes a little spontaneity ;-) And therein lies the magic of Santa ... he ALWAYS managers to find the boys, where ever they are :-D

This year, they were with me. I stuffed all the wrapped presents, unwrapped presents, extra wrapping paper, bags, tape, bows & tags into two big Rubbermaid bins, and put two small hockey bags and a suitcase worth of clothes into the back of the vehicle, boys got comfortable with forts and blankets, tunes ready and we were on our way :-) I had the presents wrapped for the first two stops on our trip, and some for the third, none of the boys, so I figured since Christmas was still four sleeps away ... I'd wrap on the way :-D Two nights of 3am wrap-fests and I was done! :-D

We left Friday night after work for Truro, and spent the night with Cassandra and Hayden. From there, we left on Sat for the Miramichi, yes, back to the land of freak tornados and golf ball hail storms! and spent a couple of days with my cousin and his family. No freak weather disturbances this time, just a nice pleasant visit with family :-)

We landed at Mom's mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve. It's times like these I feel bad for Gilles ... Mom's significant other. He's a nice guy, quiet, calm, ... unlike us ... who can't quietly make an entrance, wipe our feet, give hugs & kisses and merry wishes all around ... no, we've got to blow in like the forces of natures my children have been named after ... cyclones, hurricanes and earthquake mama's comin' in ... TAKE COVER!!! Head for higher ground!

Hi Grammy! Hi Gilles! Boots flying, arm-loads of 'stuff' dropped, Adam diving under the tree to see what's there, Alec talking a mile a minute about the 'coolest' game or movie he's seen, me with arms draped in gift bags, looking somewhat like a weighted down cactus ... with at least 5 more trips to make from the vehicle ... Hi Mom ... we're home! :-)

Everyone grabbed a shower, we had dinner, then the boys were able to open a present. Adam was ecstatic with his new video mp3 player from my mom, and Alec was just as happy with his new Simpsons movie. The movie was an impasse of sorts between he and I. It was a present from me. I have never approved of him watching The Simpsons. I love it myself, but don't believe it's exactly 'kid friendly'. I know I know ... they don't always 'get' the humor ... but at some point, much earlier than many believe, they do get it. And it just doesn't sound 'right' to hear them quoting it, when they don't even understand what they're saying at times. They just know it's supposed to be funny.

Anyway, he's 11 now. It used to be that he would only watch it with his dad, cause he always got "change the channel please" - "But Mom!" from me lol. Now, he's discovered Family Guy, and I have a new nemesis ... Stewie! and that whole Giggidy Giggidy thing ... Grrrrr!!!! Suddenly Bart doesn't seem so bad ... and I've decided to pick my battles on this one ... he's still not an every day Simpsons junkie, but I did get the movie, and the poster, as a truce on this one ;-)

On Christmas Eve, after the present, we went to my aunt and uncle's for the yearly 'gathering'. I can remember as a kid, the anticipation of 'Christmas' would build until about 3pm. Then it was time to jump in the tub/shower and 'get ready'. It was always a 'dress up' event in our family, which made it even better :-) Mom, Dad & I would go to the Children's mass at 7, then back home to open a present and get whatever part of the meal it was that Mom had made for that night :-) Then over to my Grandmother's. Where however many of my Mom's 11 siblings and their families would gather, if they could get the night off, and travel :-) The whole family would party late ... late lol into the night, they would all open their presents, and with that many brothers and sisters, it took awhile!, then we'd head home and we'd do our gift opening the next day. Poor Dad, with a hangover most years, cursing some Barbie toy or other that he didn't realize came with 'some assembly required' LOL.

After the presents were opened, we'd do the same thing, get 'all dressed up' again for food and festivities with Dad's family (5 siblings and families) all over again in the Miramichi :-) Where once again, the celebrations and visiting would go late into the evening. Poor Mom, she was always Designated Driver (before it was actually a term) at these times of year lol, but she never really minded I don't think.

This year, the boys and I still went to the Miramichi, and still gathered with Mom's family on Christmas Eve, but now the gatherings are smaller, end earlier, and really just aren't the 'same'. I guess when the older traditions start to fade, it's time to create some new ones.

Christmas Day with the kids was nice :-) It was definitely 'weird' last year when they were at their Dad's. Last year they had him up at 5:30am. I told them this year ... 'wasn't gonna happen!!!'. There would be NO presents opened ... or eyes for that matter ... before 7am!I was proud of them ... they didn't start with the "Mom ... Mom ... it's Christmas Mom ... Merry Christmas Mom ... Can we go downstairs now Mom?... Huh? Mom? ..... Can we Mom? .... PLEASE???? :-D" until 6:45am ;-)

They flew through their presents, then re-examined them lol, we played with presents and watched movies all day, had Christmas Dinner with family again at Mom's, met Gilles' son and family for the first time when they arrived after dinner, then the boys and I hit the road back home. No ... since so many ask ... highway driving at night doesn't bother me. And no, driving, at night or period, doesn't bother me after hitting the deer.

We arrived at their Dad's just after 9pm, I watched them open some presents there, came home, completely unpacked the vehicle, wandered around the house for a bit then crawled into bed and slept slept slept LOL. Being away for Christmas is exhausting! Late nights visiting, wrapping, putting kids back to bed who can't sleep from excitement! lol

It was nice to visit, but now it's nice to be home! ... although unpacking those Rubbermaid bins now filled again with presents, and 'everything else' isn't so much fun lol.

I even bought a couple of presents for myself this year :-)

We did all of this traveling, in Mama's new ride!!! It took two weeks, but my Insurance determined my other CRV was a write off after hitting the deer, so I decided to get myself a new(er) one.

Merry Christmas to Me!!! :-) Bring on the snow Baby!

The same day I got this, I picked up Keith Urban concert tickets :-) The Country Concert that Cass and I have attended for the past two years is going to be in Halifax this summer, my own backyard!!! WooHoo!!! Keith and three other acts announced so far, with 4 more to come! Did I mention Merry Christmas to me!!! :-)

And Merry Christmas to all of you, my friends, family, and friendly strangers who wander into my Korner :-D

Thank you for stopping by to visit in 2007. I hope you all have a Happy & Safe New Years, and all the best for 2008!


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