26 December 2009

Our Maine Christmas

We had a white Christmas here in Maine. It hasn't snowed for several days, but you know how it is - once we're in December, pretty much anything that falls, stays. We usually don't get back above freezing until April.

But then the forecast for today is a high of 38 with rain. Go figure. At least we were spared this nonsense on Christmas.

Christmas at our house was the way I like it - quiet, unassuming, and without a definitive schedule. I live my life by schedules, most of which are not made by me, so it was nice not to be forced to awaken, to be somewhere, or to have dinner cooked at a specific time. Now that our children are all big, my husband and I were the first ones up. We shared stockings, had some quiet moments near the Christmas tree, and then started making our traditional Christmas breakfast together. It was lovely.

It was a day of gift-giving, music, naps, movies, food, and pondering the true meaning of Christmas. I have many friends who talk about how stressful Christmas can be when getting together with extended family, especially when the conversations turn to religion or politics or anything else that sparks disagreement. I'm thankful we didn't have a day like that in the least. Even though we're all pretty much on the same page in those areas, we still have typical sibling issues that every family has. But yesterday, everyone got along and played nice. Thanks, kids! ;)

I do have to comment on the gifts my husband gave me. He wrapped up several huge packages of candy (the kind one might buy to pass out on Halloween) and presented me with all my favorite kinds. And he also bought me the Wii Fit. So what that tells me is that he wants to fatten me up and then slim me back down again. Or something. Can you say "Mixed Messages?" Haha.

One Christmas blessing is that our cat is still here. A couple of weeks ago, we took our 14-year-old cat to the vet (sister to the one which died last year) and discovered the sad news that she has cancer. We were told it wouldn't be long - whatever that meant. My prayer was that she would make it (happily) through the holidays, and I am pleased to say that she is still eating, purring, and though slowing down, is still generally a happy cat.

I hope all of you and yours had a Merry and Blessed Christmas this year. Now, to get through the REST of the winter...

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

24 December 2009

Seventeen

Seventeen years ago last night, we went out to dinner and had Mexican food. I was 9-months pregnant and a week away from my delivery date. My darling husband gave me a jalepeno and told me it was a green pepper. Twenty-four hours later, I went into labor.

It was Christmas Eve.

We got to the hospital at about 8:30 p.m. and the nurse told us we were going to have a Christmas baby. It sure looked that way. But our daughter was never one to do things that people expect her to do - not now and not back then. She arrived at 11:30 p.m.



Our baby girl was the best Christmas present I'd ever had. And each year since, she has been the gift that keeps on giving.

Over the years, many folks have asked if it's been difficult or disappointing to have a Christmas birthday to celebrate. I actually wondered about this, too, but I'm here to tell you, having a Christmas Eve baby has only enhancedd Christmas for me. Plus, she gets to celebrate a "half-day" in June (thanks to the wisdom of my mother-in-law).

And each year since my baby's birth, I've remembered another young mom who gave birth to the most special child over 2000 years ago. A great reminder of what Christmas is all about.

Merry Christmas Eve, and...



Happy 17th Birthday to my Christmas Eve Baby. :)

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

20 December 2009

Christmas Break

Friday was the last day of school for two weeks and we are now, officially, on Christmas Break. Shh, don't tell anyone. I'm breaking all sorts of rules and stomping all over everyone's civil rights by calling it that. The schools here (probably everywhere) are now so painfully P.C. that they won't even call it "Holiday Break." No, this is Winter Break 1. Yes, Winter Break 2 will be in February. Whatever. Gag.

The funny thing is (and I know I've harped on this before), 99% of the folks in this school district celebrate Christmas. No, they may not all be Christians, but we all know that Christmas is not just a Christian tradition anymore. Without going into the problems with THAT whole issue, let's face the facts that Christmas is an American holiday as much as Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. Changing it and not allowing people to wish someone a Merry Christmas is just absurd.

Just to prove a ridiculous point, come next summer I'll be tempted to wish folks a happy mid-summer break when they have off on the 4th of July. Maybe I'll even become offended if someone wishes me a Happy 4th of July. After all, it won't mean they're just being nice and friendly, it will mean they are trying to push a government program with which I just might have a problem.

Stupid? Ridiculous? Yeah. My point, exactly.

Merry Frickin' Christmas.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

09 December 2009

Pre-emptive storm preps and being wrong

Those two things in the title go together because I was wrong about the snowblower and the snow - - so much for superstition. This morning, before dawn, I am getting ready for the impending first-big-storm-of-the-season. We can see it on the radar heading our way, and school has already been cancelled today... though not a flake has yet to fall.

Wood stove cleaned out - check.

Fire in wood stove - check.

Firewood stacked in garage - check.

New snowblower filled with gas and ready to go - check.

Laundry started early in anticipation of power outage - check.

Grocery run yesterday, along with ALL the rest of Maine - check.

Kids sleeping in and enjoying a much deserved day off - CHECK!

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

05 December 2009

This and That

My Christmas present from my husband came early.


Yep, a new camera lens. This is so we can take those fast action shots at our daughter's basketball games... among other things, of course.

So last night we went to the first regular season game. Our daughter's first real varsity game - how exciting! We practiced with the new lens on the JV game - and it worked wonderfully. Then when the varsity game started, we were so excited, we forgot all about the camera.

Not. One. Photo.

But hey, we enjoyed the game. And no, they didn't win; it was an off night for the team. But they all worked hard and have a great season ahead.

Now if only we can remember to take pictures the next time...

* * * * *

In other news, the weather has been amazing here in Maine. Above 60 degrees on Thursday, and well into the 50s yesterday. We were stringing up Christmas lights on the house without wearing coats. It was reminiscent of our Christmases in Southern California, though out there, I strung Christmas lights on palm trees... wearing shorts. Ok, so it's not quite THAT warm. But still.

Of course tonight we have snow in the forecast, which is quite puzzling to me. You see, we bought a brand new snow blower this year, as our other one finally bought a ticket to the boneyard. But normally, making a large purchase of that kind will cause the universe to implode just a little and give us no reason to use it for the first year or so. In fact, many of our friends and neighbors thanked us, because our purchase meant a mild winter for them.

So obviously, the forecast simply must be wrong. Our new snowblower guarantees that it cannot snow this winter. At all.

You're welcome.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes