Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

It has been a week between posts and I don't know where the time has gone. The tree is down, all the decorations put away, and most of the Christmas presents have found their homes.

We have decided to nestle down and spend tonight with just the five of us. We have new library books, some fun snacks, and a new Star Wars movie. What more could anyone ask for?

Know that when we reflect on all the gifts 2007 has brought us, we count you at the top. We could not have had a successful year without your prayers, visits, and phone calls. God gives us what we need, when we need it - and we are thankful He has led us to all of you.

Happy New Year and may your 2008 be blessed!

Monday, December 24, 2007

O Holy Night...




If I had to pick a "favorite few hours of the year" this would top the list. We've gone to church (in our matching jammies), set up the cookies and milk for Santa (and the reindeer food), read the story of the birth of Jesus, and tucked the kids into bed.


Now the grownups get a few hours alone in front of the tree to contemplate the years - passing and upcoming. The house is silent and the night is Holy.


We hope each of every one of you has a blessed Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Good News!!!






Monte's surgery was yesterday and all went really well. He is up and around today without too much pain medication. We were able to spend some time with him pre-op. When I saw him in that "cap and gown," I was really sorry I had not taken my camera. THAT would have blog-worthy. Thank you for all your calls, emails, well wishes and meals. I have the best friends!




Which brings me to the other good news. I have just realized (with all the Christmas cards coming in) that we know some seriously beautiful kids! It is with so much joy that I open the mail to find all these great smiling faces.




In other fun today, the kids and I got to attend a gingerbread decorating party at the neighbor's house. With my three and three teenage girls to help them, there was a LOT of giggling going on - also tons of creativity. Just look at those sledding teddy grahams and fabulous touches of architectural genius!




Grayson had a great approach - one piece of candy for the house - one piece for my mouth....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Called Christmas......

I am still substituting at Emma's school. I love the kids and I love this time of year - it is a bit squirrely though. The only thing that bothers me is the absence of "Jesus" or "Christmas." Everything has been renamed since we were kids. The Christmas party is now the Winter Festival. The cards say Happy Holidays - not Merry Christmas.

My personal belief is (regardless of religious affiliation) noone should have their beliefs ignored or anyone else's beliefs forced upon them. A friend of mine sent me this link. If you want to wish the world a Merry Christmas - watch it. It's a message worth hearing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Feeling My Years....

So tonight, a telemarketer called - nice lady - until she called me MADAME. MADAME? How old do I sound? Then tonight, I find this in my email box. Friends, we are NOT 21 anymore.

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1989. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up. Their lifetime has always included AIDS. The CD was introduced two years before they were born. They have always had an answering machine . They have always had cable. Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane Boss, de plane". McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

Do you feel old yet?

Overheard at the snack table today.....

A ritual at our house is the "after school snack." It is widely anticipated from about 8:30 in the morning. Sometimes I am pretty creative (think several food groups) and sometimes.... not so much (think leftover Halloween candy).

Today, it was those big, soft pretzels with cheddar cheese melted on top. I was trying to finish something in the dining room when I overhear the three cherubs discussing God and man. It went a little something like this:

Emma: "Grayson, do you know who God is?"
Grayson: "Duh!"
Emma: "OK - it's like this. We are the sheep and He is the shepherd."
Grayson: "I KNOW."
Emma: "We are the people and He is the God."
Grayson: "We are the audience and He is the rock star."
Emma: " MOM - Grayson just said God is like Hannah Montana!"

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Digging Out







We got quite a bit of snow last night and the kids were great about helping us shovel ourselves out. With the help of a neighborhood kiddo, they made some snow forts and had a snowball fight too! They even got to do some "real sledding."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Don't Try This At Home.....

I doubt I should even post this for fear of people seriously questioning our parenting skills. However, it was great fun and highly supervised so here it goes. The Savage children go stair sledding. I think the video speaks for itself but here is a little background information.
1. The weather had been crummy and the kids were a bit stir crazy.
2. It was all Monte's idea.
3. Nope, noone hit the Grandfather clock at the base of the steps.
4. These are video clips, so click on the play button to start them.
video

Don't Try This At Home..... Take Two

Not to be outdone by his older sister, Grayson takes a turn too. Again - highly supervised =).

Click on the play button to start the video.
video

Friday, December 14, 2007

On a lighter note.....


Geez - yesterday's post was heavy wasn't it? Leave it to this gang to lighten things up a bit. Today, after school conversation with my 1st grader has included simple machines, incline-planes (or is it plains?) and art lessons. Commentary from the middle child has revolved around "What is for snack?" "When can we have snack?" and "Are we having a babysitter tonight?" He wishes. Here is a drawing from Emma circa yesterday. She did it with colored pencils. Hope it comes across OK. Monte thinks the present on the left strongly resembles a British flag. I think it is coincidence.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Perspective

So, lately, a few things have happened that have given me a lot to think about. Maybe it is the time of year, maybe the weather - I don't know.
First off, the Brownie girls did an AMAZING job at the nursing home. (When I get all the privacy waivers signed, I will post a tear jerking video of them singing - Kleenex alert!) I have had so many compliments on their behavior, their gifts and their smiles. I expected compliments from the staff. I got a few. I didn't expect any from the residents. I got so many.
Folks that I didn't expect to even acknowledge us - recognized me later and initiated conversation. Non-verbal folks smile at me now and point to their ornaments we made. The Alzheimer's unit ladies carefully put out the placemats every day - and sometimes fight over the ones at their seats!
I underestimated our effect on those lovely people. We spent just an hour or so there. The sparks in their demeanors suggest we make it a regular event. What little effort has been so rewarded. Perspective.
Second - I have been working a bit at Emma's school with the kiddos that require a bit more intensive therapy. As I walked down the halls, the artwork of all the students in the school makes me stop evey time. I am amazed at what those elementary students can do. Today - those paled in comparison to a little guy grabbing my hand, looking into my eyes, and requesting "cookie." Twice. Perspective.
Third - a friend of mine called with prayer requests for friends of ours whose parents are facing disease and/or end-stages of life. Immediately prior to her call, I had been standing in my room being pissy. I had nothing to wear, this doesn't fit right, etc. Perspective.
Just something to think about. Thanks for listening.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Power of Music....

Later tonight, my friend and I will take seven first graders to carol at the skilled nursing facility where I work. We are taking personally made placemats, treat bags and home made cookies. No doubt, the residents will love all of those things. However, what I think the residents will like most of all is two-fold. They will love the faces of these girls. Our Brownies are excited, energetic, spirited, and gorgeous. Yes, "spirited" is often code for somewhat naughty.
These girls will be doing some singing. I think that is what the residents will remember for days to come. Why? Because music is powerful. We instictively know that. We sing to our babies when they are minutes old. We use lullabies to calm and soothe. Music therapy is widely used in rehab facilities and hospitals to speed healing. This season, two songs are listened to over and over again in my house. Do yourself a favor and click on them. They are listed as videos on the far right hand sidebar. You may have to scroll down a bit. If you are a parent or soon to be one, you will appreciate what Mark Harris has to say. If you appreciate a beautiful hymn, check out Amazing Grace. I just saw the movie too - worth renting to see the story behind the song.
My friend Amy just sent me this - I will put the link here. It is great. It is a humorous Christmas collection sung a capella by the Indiana University Men's Choir. Go Hoosiers!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

Comments Are Welcome

TechnoDiva Sarah has fixed the comment section so anyone can leave a comment. All you have to do is click the word "comments" under the post and follow the instructions. I think you may even be able to read some things other folks have said. Fun fun!

Christmas Preparations - Game On!


It was fairly icy here - as it was all over the midwest. We did not make it to church this morning and actually, we barely made it out of our jammies! Monte spent the day painting (and is spending all night working) and I started Christmas cards. Yikes - I had forgotten that is an ALL DAY endeavor. I have a pile with stamps, a pile with the wrong stamps, and a pile with no stamps. The kids were begging to help. What a project. We do the "Christmas letter" so I had one folding, one stuffing, and one licking the envelopes. I apologize in advance for what your letter looks like or how much slobber is on it. It was quite a scene!

Claire went to bed early so Emma and Grayson got to help frost the cookies for our Brownie trip to the nursing home tomorrow. From the looks of some of the cookies, it looks as though I may be apologizing to those folks too.

So - it may be close to 1:00 am, but the cards are done, some presents are wrapped and under the tree, three lunches are packed for tomorrow, all forms for schools signed and in bookbags, and the blog is updated. Whoo-hooo!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Questions for the season....

No picture today - though I wish I had a camera on me at the time. This morning, we were a bit rushed getting the "morning routine" executed on time. I "mentioned" to Grayson he needed to get moving in order to make it to school on time. He stopped, put his hand on his hip and cocked his head to one side. "Mom - do you think Mary yelled at Jesus when He was a little boy?" Well, this gave me pause but I couldn't show fear. So I promptly replied -" If He were acting like this, I am sure she did yell at Him." Pretty snappy huh? I thought I had won. He finished putting on his coat and headed for the door. As the door was closing, I heard him mutter under his breath - "I bet God was watching that Mary." Hmmm, I wonder what the subtle implications for that are.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snow Day



Some of you have heard me complain about the Hoosier snowdays, two hour delays, etc., so I won't do too much more whining here. However, suffice it to say that the folks in Wisconsin and Illinois public schools systems seem to be a bit tougher re: school in the snow. Our first snow day of the winter was today. The kids weren't all that excited to go out until neighbors invited them sledding. Of course, I don't have pics of THAT - that would involve getting cold.


We (OK - Monte) did finish the outdoor lighting and the wreath-hanging. I think it looks smashing - a little Colonial. For those of you who won't travel to see us this season, here it is - along with Claire in full winter regalia.


Oh - I got my first Christmas cards in the mail today - all from Wisconsinites. They beat me every year. I am starting on ours tonight after Cookie Training. Yes, we indeed need to be trained in order to ensure your best possible purchase experience from the Girl Scouts when cookie season hits (in January). I will be counting on you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Nostalgia and Getting Elfed


All of you know what a "sleep Nazi" I am. By 8:00 pm this Mama is ready to punch out and be off the clock. It is a rare day that my kids see past 8:15. Lately though, the nostalgia has gotten a hold of me and the kids have been able to stay up to see all the Christmas "classics." Maybe I am using this term loosely, but Rudolph and Frosty and The Year Without a Santa Claus (you know, the one with the Heat Meister in it) make the grade for me. Monte and I sat and each could remember fond memories of sitting in front of the TV with our families watching these. So, I bent the rules a bit and let them stay up a little later. Thank goodness they are only on once a year!
Also.... Leslie sent me this great link so click on it and watch the Savage kids get elfed!
It is lots of fun to do so if you do one, please email it to me! If I can do it, so can you!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things.....


The color "chocolate brown," rugby shirts, my guys, Christmas decorations finished, and the first snow of the season all in one day. It just doesn't get any better than that.


It started to snow and lasted just long enough for them to get their coats, hats and mittens on and dash outside to play. They also decorated a gingerbread house and some gingerbread men. I am trying to figure out how to post the slideshow for all of that. Stay tuned.
On a somewhat sad note, the lake (I don't know if you can see it behind the tree) froze over today with just a little patch across from us left with open water. All four swans and several ducks remain in that little area. I don't look forward to explaining to the kids that all the resident wildlife flew south for the winter.....