Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review

2012 was a pretty eventful year for us. We moved to a new house. Wonder Boy graduated elementary school and started intermediate school. There were work and home projects, both big and small. We laughed, we cried, we worried, we celebrated. We tried new things and watched Wonder Boy grow. Memories we'll carry with us for a very long time!

As with most years, there is a lot to look back upon. But there just seems to be so much more on the horizon!

I always enjoy the look back over the year. It never fails to amaze me how much things change in 12 short months. But this year, I can honestly say that I am truly looking forward.

I don't know what 2013 holds in store for us, but I'm chomping at the bit to see what kinds of possibilities will present themselves!

Happy New Year one and all! May 2013 be a time of peace, growth, and abundant love!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Concert Time!

After only 2.5 months with their instruments, Wonder Boy and the 5th Grade Orchestra announced that they were ready for their first concert! Wonder Boy had his share of jitters leading up to the big day, but honestly, I think that there was more excitement than anxiety in those butterflies he felt. We got home early from school so that he could knock out his homework quickly. Then we forced him to eat a quick bite before getting dressed and ready.

Wonder Boy gave us both a quick sample of the concert songs (plus a few more of his favorites) at home before we loaded up and headed to the middle school. Apparently there isn't enough space at Wonder Boy's school for the whole orchestra to set up, so we got an impromptu tour of his NEXT school as we found our way to the staging room and then the cafeteria (where the concert was held).

Wonder Dad and I were both pleasantly surprised by the concert! We know that Wonder Boy has put a lot of time and effort into his practice. But we didn't know if ALL of the students put in the same kind of effort. However, we need not have worried for the group came together wonderfully! In fact, they carried their tunes so well that a gentleman in the row behind us couldn't help but sing along.

All in all, this concert left all of us itching for more! How many months until the spring concert?

5th Grade Orchestra Concert


Traditions. I can't hear the word without hearing the music from "Fiddler on the Roof."

Regardless of the tune in my head at the moment, we are all about tradition in our little family. Traditions, schedules, routines ... might sound boring to some, but to me they spell order, reliability, and comfort. OK, so maybe schedules and routine are nothing to crow about, but tradition is another matter all together. Traditions have an aura of importance and reverence to them. Traditions are those things that can at once make us anticipate the future and remember the past.

We have many family traditions sprinkled throughout the year, but like in other families, the holiday season is chock full of them. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

We put up our tree (usually) the day after Thanksgiving. Lights go up on the house fairly shortly thereafter (weather and energy permitting). The Nativity and Christmas village are displayed. And stockings are hung by the chimney with care (sorry, couldn't resist).

These stockings are one of my favorite Christmas displays. When I was even younger than Wonder Boy is now, my mom labored away to create these amazing felt stockings for each member of our family. I looked forward to seeing them each year. Mine had a Santa on it with his bag of toys. She made each toy individually and then stuffed them in the Big Guy's sack. They were sewn in place, but oh how I longed to take them out and play house with them! Every stocking she made for us was equally as detailed, but all these years later it is that sack of toys that comes to mind and makes me smile.

When Wonder Dad and I married, I couldn't wait for the holiday kits to hit the craft store. The first thing I got that year was a felt stocking kit - just for him to hang alongside those my mom would put up. I barely made the holiday deadline, but by the time the ornaments were pulled from storage and the bits and bobbles placed everywhere around the house, Wonder Dad's stocking was ready to hang with the rest!

In years to come as Wonder Dad and I developed our own holiday customs, our stockings hung in our own home. When I found out we were expecting Wonder Boy I made a bee line for the craft store for my next felt project. I was so proud to have finished it in the weeks before he officially joined our family. And even more so when I hung it next to the others that Christmas.

I don't know how many more stockings will find a home over our fireplace in the years to come, but I always stop and check out the new offerings each year. You know, just to be ready.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sounds of the Season

It is our family tradition to start our Christmas holiday decorating the day after Thanksgiving. This year we put the tree up on Thanksgiving itself since we had some minor changes to our plans for our Turkey Day meal. Usually, we put off all signs of Christmas until after Thanksgiving - I am not one to ignore any holiday and I like to make sure that Thanksgiving gets its time center stage.

But there is one exception! The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I relent and let the Christmas music play. Wonder Boy and I usually start with a playlist or two in the car. After Thanksgiving, all bets are off though and you'll find holiday tunes in the car, at work (my trusty iPod is loaded with good tunes and if I need a change of pace, I'll fire up Pandora and let them deliver up some Christmas classics), and of course at home.

Here are a few of our family favorites ...

Each year Wonder Boy tends to have a different favorite. This one is the one he always wants on the drive to school in the morning:
the Brian Setzer Orchestra perform the Nut Cracker Suite:

Wonder Dad likes a bit more bounce in his tune:
John Mellencamp's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

Right now I'm feeling drawn to the classics like this one:
Nat King Cole's "the Christmas Song"

And Wonder Boy watches the Charlie Brown Christmas show almost daily. I think this is his favorite tune from the show: Hark! The Herald Angles Sing

Our list could really draw on and on, but I wanted to share a few of these here with you now.

What are your favorites?