Archives For holiday

My Girl

Leigh —  May 12, 2014 — Leave a comment

IMG_9032This girl.  She’s my girl.  She makes me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy. She’s tenderhearted and thoughtful, full of giggles and smart as a whip.  She jumps at the chance for adventure, running head long into situations that her brother would shy away from.  She loves babies and animals and wants to mother anything smaller than she is.  She is an entrepreneur at the age of eight, turning every hobby into a money-making venture, and she’s mine.  All mine.

Even though she is so perfect in so many ways, that doesn’t mean we don’t have some difficult days.  Lord knows we have our difficult days.  I think every mother has one child that proves to be more challenging than the others.  One kid a bit more demanding of her that requires more patience.  Edie is that kid for me. She calls for moments of silently counting to ten before responding and reminding myself that I’m the adult and she is only a child learning her place in this world. Continue Reading…

The Video from Christmas Past

Leigh —  December 6, 2013 — 3 Comments

I am re-posting our Christmas video from last year for a couple of reasons.

1.  I’ve gained a lot of new readers in the past year, and some of you guys might not have seen it.

2.  It’s cute enough that if you did see it last year, it’s totally worth watching a second time.

I know what you’re going to ask, and no, we did not hire any professional dancers for the making of this video. It’s just me and my kids. Also, Ken was the only camera man and director, and you don’t have to tell me because I know it already.  He’s awesome.



So yesterday was Independence Day, and like most Americans, we celebrated with friends, fireworks, and barbeque.  Even though the weather wasn’t cooperative by raining most of the day, we still had a great holiday.

I realized something this year, and that’s that my kids don’t really know the difference between good and bad fireworks.  Since it rained, we decided to skip out on the big fireworks show and just shoot some little firecrackers in our driveway, and they loved every minute of it.  They squealed and laughed with each one.  They bickered over whose turn it was to hand the next one to Daddy, and they twirled their sparklers with gusto in the night air.  I think I was the only one a little disappointed that we weren’t watching some big show synchronized to a Lee Greenwood soundtrack, but seeing how much my kids were enjoying themselves made up for it.

Ken has started a new Independence Day tradition in our house.  Every year we read the Declaration of Independence on July fourth.  Right now, we do this independently and don’t include our children because let’s face it, they wouldn’t really understand it anyway.  They just want to get to the fireworks.  But eventually, I want this to become a reading similar to a Christmas Eve scene where the family gathers around to hear the story of the first Christmas.

I’ve spent the past six months studying the American Revolution including the events leading up to the war, the signers, and even a little about after the war and the Constitutional Convention.  I am ashamed to say that I remembered very little from my school days, and I wanted to remedy that.   So I started reading some books.

What these men went through to give us freedom is unbelievable, and the more I study about that time, the more I am convinced that the only reason they won the war was because God was on their side.  That’s the only thing that can explain it.  For the first two years, the American army was on the verge of disintegrating.  Several times the British could have finished them off and ended the war, but instead, the Red Coats went back to their camps.

The American soldiers were cold and starving.  Most of them were sick and dirty, infested with lice and suffering from dysentery because of the poor living conditions in their camps.  And that’s just what they had to suffer through when they weren’t fighting the British soldiers and German mercenaries who outnumbered them.    It’s easy to read the history now, over two hundred years later, and say that it was worth their sacrifice, but at the time, everything pointed to them losing this war.  Everything.  And in the midst of that, they still had the courage to send this Declaration to the king, knowing that it was very likely when they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, that they would lose it.

So I want to encourage you to copy our July fourth tradition.  In fact, you can start right now by reading the rest of this post (just pretend it’s Independence Day).

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Hey Easter Bunny!

Leigh —  April 6, 2010 — Leave a comment

Aren’t they adorable?  I can only take credit for the two on the right.  My brother can claim the two on the left, and my mother gets all the credit for the clothing.  But together, they take a pretty sweet picture.

Note how Edie looks like she was adopted into this family, and Roarkie looks like he should be my nieces’ brother instead of Edie’s.  Everybody always asks me who he looks like, and in this picture its pretty obvious-his cousins.

So this past Sunday was Easter, and we celebrated in the same way that we do pretty much every year…with church and candy.  I have realized something this year though that makes me think our days of Santa Claus and the Easter bunny might be numbered and that’s that I don’t really know the story with the Easter bunny.  I mean with Santa, the story is pretty much written for you…North Pole, reindeer, the elves.  But the Easter bunny?  What the heck do I know about him?  Other than the fact that he comes at night to bring candy and little toys, I’m pretty much at a loss.  And this year for the first time, Edie was very inquisitive about him. 

“Mommy, where does the Easter bunny live?”  “Um…I think in a hole somewhere.”

“Mommy, how does the Easter bunny get into our house?”  {me shrugging my shoulders and making a “got me” face}  “I’m not sure, babe.

“Mommy, can the Easter bunny fly?” {crickets chirping}

I mean, how do you answer those questions?  I feel like Santa was such a big hit at Christmas that parents decided to take it one step further and add on the Easter bunny.  I guess the logic there is, “Hey, Santa’s a lot of fun, how much more fun will it be to do it again in three or four months?”  But I really feel like the Easter bunny is going to kill the illusion for Edie sooner than the next door neighbor’s kid telling her the truth behind these folks.

And as much as I enjoy watching her wake up excited on those special  mornings, I can’t say that I will be too heartbroken over her discovering the truth.  I’m kind of on the fence about the whole Santa/Easter bunny thing anyway. 

But this year that silly little rabbit came and brought the kids all kinds of goodies.  Once the baskets were pretty much scoured through, we hosed ourselves off, put on some fancy threads, and headed on over to church where my parents joined us.  Then after that, my brother and his family met us for lunch at my parents’ house.  It was a nice day filled with reflection and family…what I think Easter should be.

Christmas in Dixie

Leigh —  December 28, 2009 — Leave a comment

So Christmas ’09 is over.  After a month of decking the halls, I have spent the day packing up decorations and storing them away.  We’ve almost polished off all of our baked goodies, and pretty soon, the only hint of Christmas that will be left in the house will be the shiny new toys the kids are playing with.

I love Christmas.  I really do, and this year was a good one.  Unlike most people around this time of year, we spend a great deal of time at home, laying around in our pajamas, and eating our weight in sugar.  For whatever reason, our schedule seems to clear leading up to the holiday, and we kind of like it that way.  We rent movies and play games, and just spend some time relaxing together.

Every year we spend Christmas Eve at home.  This tradition started when Ken and I were first married and use to spend our Christmas Day going from one family member’s house to another.  We would leave our house before 8:00 on Christmas morning and then return home after 10:00 that night.  It was a fun day, but could be a bit exhausting with little time for just us to be together.  So we started saying “No” to invites for parties on Christmas Eve and left that day just for us.

So that’s how we spent our Christmas Eve this year as well.  We did hose ourselves off that evening to go to the Christmas Eve service at church where my parents met us.  It was a nice service of reflection in between waving to Edie as she sang on stage with the other children and my dad accidentally sitting on his candle and crushing the plastic holder into a thousand pieces.   Several days later, I still chuckle at the thought of him holding his little broken candle while singing Silent Night.

After church, my parents came over to our house for supper and to unwrap a present or two.  For every Christmas that I can remember, I have been given a pair of Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve.  This year being no exception.  My parents have continued this tradition with my kids, and they too received new PJs this year.  I don’t know if Edie was just caught up in the moment or what, but when she unwrapped her new jammies, she threw her arms around my mother and said, “This is the best Christmas EVER!”

I muttered under my breath, “If she gets this excited over pajamas, then why is Santa bringing her all those toys?”

Around 7:00 a.m. Christmas morning, I woke up to Edie standing in my face whispering, “It’s Christmas, Mommy! Get up!”  The entire month had been leading up to this moment for her, and she could barely contain herself.  Once we gave her the go ahead, she ran down the hall to see what Santa had left for her and her brother.  She stood there for a minute inventorying the toys in front of her.  It was all there.  Everything she asked for: the Flippin’ Frogs board game, an Ariel doll whose hair changes color when it gets wet, and Bendaroos…even the piggy bank she had asked Santa for on Roark’s behalf (you know because every one year old needs a piggy bank).  On a side note, I am fully aware that we got lucky this year that all her requests were $20 and under.  I’m sure this won’t be the case the older she gets.

We spent the rest of the day at my parent’s house unwrapping presents and chasing kids around.  Then we came back home for our Christmas nap and more sugar eating.   That evening, we just laid around,  played with new toys, and eventually curled up on the couch to watch Polar Express.  Another good holiday…