Monday, December 17, 2012

Let The Monsters See You Smile...

I don't really have a lot to say.  I just wanted to share a song and a thought.

I know it's simple and a cartoon, but after the Grinch stole everything from the Whos he stood up on his mountain excited to hear them weeping and wailing.  He wanted his crime to be validated by sadness and despair.  But what happened instead?  The Whos came out of their homes, they all took each others hands and they started to sing.  Their song was one of peace and love.  The Grinch lost.  He got no publicity.  He got no validation for his crime.  He was alone.

I think, that maybe, we should follow the example of the Whos.

"Let the monsters see you smile.  Let them see you smiling.  ...Life is beautiful.  Our hearts, they beat and break..."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Layney!!!

Once upon a time, that makes it a long time ago,  we were all blessed, and should give honor and thanks, because of the birth of a baby.  That baby grew up and become the wonderful person that is Layney.  She was a bit of a rebellious teenager.  But she's totally paying for that now with two teenage girls of her own.  Hahahahahahahahahahah.... Oh, and she has to go to girls camp.  And anyone who knows Layne knows that Layne doesn't do "roughing it".  But I digress...she loved boys, clothes, make up.  All the girl things.  But most of all, she loved music.  It was that love of music that brought us together.

Oddly, Layne and I met at girls camp.  We were sitting around a picnic table with a bunch of other girls talking about the latest pop stars and their cheesy new songs and Layne says..."My favorite song is Reel Around the Fountain."  Everyone looked at her like she was stupid because they obviously had no idea what she was talking about, except pour moi.  And I responded with "My favorite song is There is a Light that Never Goes Out." Then someone got stung by a bee on the lip, but we've been friends ever since.

Now,  we've been known to have entire conversations using nothing but lyrics from Killers songs.  I'm not sure if I should be proud or super embarrassed by that, but I'll tell you it can be done.   I consider myself lucky to have her as one of closest, dearest and OLDEST friends.  She has brought an immense amount of fun and laughter into my life.  She sat by my side through some of the hardest things I've ever had to do and didn't flinch while I was falling apart.  We've had our moments of displeasure with each other, like all friends do, but in the end none of that matters because the good that we have brought to each other far outweighs any of the bad.

I love you, my sweet and favalous friend.  I hope you have a most excellent day, dude.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Super Awesome Annual Christmas Post

Yes, it's here.  The post you've all been waiting for.   The annual Christmas countdown post.  I'm a bit disheartened because one of the songs I was super excited about I can't find a good video for, but we'll make do.  

I love Christmas.  Everyone knows it.  I'm not ashamed.  I start listening to Christmas music (in secret) usually before Halloween.  I start listening to it publicly on November 1.  One thing I've noticed, that is a little annoying about the music industry, is that when I go back to listening to normal music, after all that time, the radio stations are still playing the same songs they were before I stopped.  I don't get that.  I'm sure Taylor Swift probably made 5 albums in those two months.  Anyway...I just needed to put that out there.

Now,  I've been thinking a lot the last few weeks about what Christmas is to me.  We spend so much time being stressed out about what to buy people and if they will like it or if it will fit and how we're going to pay off the credit card bill after.  I wish I could say I didn't do that, but I have 4 kids so of course I do.  I think the thing that may be a little bit different about me, and I'm sure lots of other people,  is that I actually enjoy going out and buying things.  I wish I had the means to do more.  I wish I could buy a gift for everyone that I love.  Sadly, that's not the case.  When I walk through stores I don't get irritated.  I don't get mad at people or long lines.  Instead I try to make it fun.  I'm so grateful that I can actually be there when there are so many who can't. It really is a blessing to be able to go out and get things for your family.  I was explaining to Patrick how a family had set up a perimeter around the toy section with their carts.  He thinks I'm silly, but it's true, that's what you do.  I like to laugh at the dads who are stuck "guarding" the carts and purses while the moms decide if their daughters want the barbie with purple hair or glittery pink toe nails.  That one decision can make or break Christmas morning so you don't take it lightly.

When you have kids these things are important.  I know we all try to teach our kids to not be materialistic.  We try to teach them that this isn't what Christmas is about.  We try to teach them to be grateful and giving.  And I'm sure that they lessons sink in a little bit at a time, but let's be honest, when you're 7 years old Christmas is about waking up to magical world of candy and toys. I think we need to take those individual opportunities to teach our children the meaning of Christmas, but also not get upset that they are eyeballing that giant present like a lion about to pounce.  I think we need to enjoy watching how excited they get when Santa was able to "make" Frankie Stein even though she was sold out in every freaking store across America.  I think we need to turn a blind eye when they eat their weight in Hersheys Kisses and Candy Canes before 9 am.  You know, since they've been up for 6 hours already anyway.

I have this book of stories that we read to the kids each night from December 1 until Christmas Eve.  They all try to teach what Christmas is about.  Giving instead of receiving.  Serving others.  Being grateful.  Remembering the reason why we celebrate this holiday in general.  My kids all sit quietly and listen to me read.  Sometimes it takes 5 minutes.  Sometimes it takes 30.  But they sit and listen, and I know that even though the first thing that they say when I put the book away is "I hope I get a thousand presents."  that they heard what I said.  And in time, they will understand and how many gifts they get will become less and less important.  But for now, they are kids.

Okay...that's my Christmas lesson for the year.  Now here are my songs.  I'm gonna start with this one.  I like Ryan Shupe and The Rubber Band.  They have an awesome banjo player and the banjo makes me happy.  And in this case, Mr.  Ryan Shupe would be playing the "fiddle", not the violin.  Just sayin'  That's how it works.  Also,  they threw in a line from Gilligans Island and it makes me laugh.  Just like the Barenaked Ladies singing "Jingle Bells batman smells" makes me laugh.  Classic.

There are a few bands that make me think of my Bumpa.  Alabama is one of them.  So, I will always love them no matter what.  Alabamas Christmas was a staple in our house.  We'd listen to it while decorating.  I never get sick of it.  I have listened to this album on repeat for days while baking or decorating or wrapping gifts.  I always think about fun things from growing up. Baking and making crafts with my mom.  Fighting over which one of us kids is going to inherit the Super Bear ornament.  It totally better be me or I'm gonna be super mad.  My mom yelling at us kids for eating all the gingerbread men on the tree when it was actually the dog.  Being so excited when we'd get a dusting of snow in Virginia so they would cancel school.  I would just like to repeat what I've said in years past.  Country music is acceptable at Christmas.  Don't judge me.

This next song is probably my favorite one for the year.  I always have one that sticks with me every year.  I love the message of this song.  Especially since I met Patrick.  He used to say that he hated Christmas.  When I asked him why he would say that it annoyed him that people needed to have a holiday to be decent.  And although I agree with him,  I figured you should take what you can get from people.  That doesn't have to be how we live.  And I think, for me personally,  I get more from being good to others than having them be good to me.  I know there's a Julie Andrews version, but I like this one better.  They sing pretty.

I don't need a reason to love this one.  It's just fabulouso.  But I did notice that The Cheetah Girls did a remake of it if anyone is interested.  

I like marshmallows.  Happy Christmas