Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Santa, I want a Nintendo DS.....



For Christmas this year, Hailee had in her mind that she wanted one thing. She consistently would name the Nintendo DS as what she just "had to have". Her first experience with this hand-held game apparently came at school. One of her classmates must have brought one in.....and she even specified on her wish list that she wanted a red one.





Santa was able to deliver the Nintendo DS to Hailee. She hasn't been too far from it since she was surprised on Christmas morning. She has two games that she goes back and forth between. One of them is Petz Bunnyz and My Baby Girl. When I learned that she was interested in this system, I had gone online and found My Baby Girl and had ordered it for her. I had the game a couple of weeks before Christmas, even before mommy & daddy purchased the game system. I wanted to make sure that she at least got one game that she really wanted. Now I've come to learn that there are thousands of games that could be purchased. There are games for everyones interest.





From what I have been hearing, it appears as though the Nintendo DS is not just for kids, but for adults as well. We all know that many of us are kids at heart...especially the men in my family!!!!! There are Nintendo's, Playstation's and I wouldn't be surprised if one of my son's has all systems including the X Box. You know that saying, "the only difference between a man and a boy are the size of his toys". I know that my son's were big game players when they were younger and my oldest son still would be if he could find the time.

What I find so interesting in the Nintendo DS is its size and how perfect it is for kids to bring along with them in the car to keep them occupied. Also there are all kinds of games.....even cooking instructions for young children to learn to cook with a parent. I played with the Petz Bunnyz.....but not for long. Hailee wanted it back. Imagine that! I think that with anything like this you may need to limit the time spent playing with it. Even though it is an educational toy, you can't replace interacting with the family unit.

I understand that Nintendo DS has been out for a couple of years now. This Christmas is the first time of hearing about it for me. The price is around $125, which isn't cheap by any means. The games range in price from $15.00 right on up. But if you are looking for something educational that will be useful for a very long time, you may want to consider this for your child or your grandchild. And certainly there will be responsibility for any child who receives this gift.

Hailee is almost eight and I can see that she is very protective of her new toy. She remembers to put the games away in the storage case and even knows about recharging it when the battery becomes low. I think her mommy & daddy made a good choice for her.

I'd love to hear of any info you may have about the DS. If you have a family member who owns one and loves it or if you own it and have found that it is just a piece of crap, I'd like to hear that too!

Monday, December 29, 2008

KISSING KRYSTALS!



This picture doesn't do this Christmas Mistletoe justice! This Kissing Krystal was given to me for Christmas this year by a dear friend. She knows that I'm a hopeless romantic and must have found it just as alluring as I do. Even though I don't need mistletoe to smooch the ones I love, I could just leave this hanging all of the time because it is so beautiful. The crystal at the bottom is just so pretty as the light reflects from it at every angle.

Here is the legend of the Krystal Mistletoe: "Kissing under the mistletoe is an old European tradition. It is believed that the mistletoe holds magical powers from the "soul" of the mightly oak tree. It grants strength, peace, health, fertility and love to those who kiss beneath it".

Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly could use some strength, as I find getting older has left me feeling weaker. I hope that God will grant me peace and good health and sure.....spread that love! Can you imagine not ever being loved or unable to give your love to that special someone? I'm thankful that I was blessed with finding love. "I love you" comes so easily for me when saying goodbye, either on the phone or visiting with my loved ones. But what about that "fertility" thing? Please don't leave any of that stuff with me! I've done my duty and now I'm HOT all of the time! Man, why couldn't I have been HOTTER back in the day? This later in life stuff is definitely for the birds!

Back to the mistletoe! I remember many years ago....we're talking when I was in my teens, my brother-in-law would go out and try to shoot mistletoe from a tree. I believe that he would use buckshot. I remember being able to spot it in the tree because all of the leaves were gone and you could see a large clump of the green stuff hanging near the top. Sometimes he would be able to get a few pieces. I think he mostly blew it to smitherines. I don't remember ever having a huge amount of it. My brother-in-law was different....like that. That mistletoe never helped to keep the romance alive with my sister and him.

Does anyone hang sprigs of mistletoe in their homes or how about one of these "Kissing Krystals"? Do you practice that European tradition? I'd love to hear what you think.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Morning Moon


Morning Moon, originally uploaded by Mamaquita.


This was taken this morning. I've been on "moon watch" recently. The sky was so blue and the moon so beautiful in this phase.

I hope that the elves are packing Santa's sleigh and that the Garmin is in working order. I know a lot of little boys & girls who are excited about Santa's arrival!

Wishing all of my blogging friends a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA!



Over the years, I haven't really written much about my late husband's side of the family. But anyone that knows me, knows that I have always felt so blessed to have married into his family. From the first day that I met his family, I knew that they were very special people. So kind and loving and supportive in every way. I think one of the things that most impressed me about his family was that they were non-judgmental and couldn't speak an unkind word against another, whether it be a family member or an acquaintance. They found good in everyone. And that to me, was rare. My family was a bit different. They talked about everyone! But that's a story for a another time.

My sister-in-law is 78 years old now and the only one left of her siblings. All three of her brothers have passed away, and she lost her husband two years ago. They never had any of their own children, but they were godparents to many. They adored all of their nieces and nephews.....and now great nieces and great nephews!



I'll call my sister-in-law Ruthie. Ruthie and I talk frequently. She sold her row home in the city and now resides in a beautiful facility where she can live on her own in a very cute little apartment. If at anytime she would need to be in the assisted living section of this facility, she could go there. And if the need would arise that she needed more than the assisted living, and had to go into a nursing home, she would be able to do that too. It's a great set-up for her. And she is happy there. She does very minimal cooking but if she wants to, she can cook as much as she would like to. She chose a meal plan that includes her dinner each day. She has many entree's to choose from and reports that the food there is delicious. She can use the shuttle there for doctor's appointments or to go to other areas on the grounds of the facility if she needs to. She used to take the shuttle to get to the chapel, but recently has found a way to walk to the chapel....she doesn't have to leave her building. She is a cradle Catholic and goes to the chapel several times a week. As you can see, she is self sufficient at this point and never wants to inconvenience anyone. I've always felt that she was saintly. She emits love and goodness to all she meets.



Ruthie invited all of the grandchildren to have Breakfast with Santa on Saturday. This was planned for a couple of weeks. The drive is about 20-30 minutes away and we needed to be there at 9:30 a.m. I arrived at Kelli's at 8:30 and my son John, brought L.J. over so that we could all make the trip in one car. We arrived there and went straight to where Santa was waiting for all the good little boys and girls. Santa greeted all of the children that came and individually took time to talk to each one of them. He posed for pictures and it was very relaxing. I thought that maybe L.J. would be a little afraid. But he wasn't at all. He got right up on Santa's lap and told him he wanted a "booed", translated to mean a bird. Gianna went right to him and gave him a big hug, sat on his lap and told him she wanted "little pet shop". Hailee asked if she had to tell Santa what she wanted.....we said, "YES YOU DO"! And as you can see from my banner picture, Hailee was talking away. Baby Elijah was not having any of this Santa thing. He lasted for about 5 seconds. Just long enough that mom-mom could get a picture of him starting to cry.

Elijah says, "Get me outta here"!


Santa, I want a booed!


Santa, please bring Dora Saves the Snow Princess Prance & Fly Pegasus!


A picture with Santa!


After breakfast with Santa, there was also a room that held a train garden. We walked down there and it was one of the best train gardens that I have even seen. There were two elderly gentleman there that had a large part in setting up the trains and were happy to answer any questions that we had. Here are a few of those pictures.








And the main entrance to the facility where Ruthie lives was decorated so beautifully. As you can tell from these pictures......you would love living here!


Oh...wait! Look at this little cutie standing by a huge tree in the lobby!















It was a lot of fun for the kids and equally fun for us too. Making more memories with the ones we love at this beautiful time of the year.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Nutcracker



Today has to be one of the coldest so far! To say brutal, just about sums it up! It snowed last night and left a coating on the cars and grass. And the wind has howled all day. The temps are in the low 20's tonight. I think we are in for a bad winter. And I don't like it one little bit!

But, besides the weather, Hailee and I went to see the Nutcracker today at the local community college. Because her mommy & daddy couldn't be at both Gianna's Christmas Program at pre-school and The Nutcracker, I volunteered to help out if they needed me. Hailee chose me to take her and I was so happy to get to go. She is a Brownie and her troup leader is fun and enthuastic and has planned many things for her girls to do over the course of this year. There were about ten of us total; two adults and eight little girls.

In all honesty, I never really knew the story behind The Nutcracker. Or if I did, I clearly have forgotten it over the years. In the program that was handed out before the show, it tells the story of the Stahlbaum family. And the story goes something like this.

It's a cozy Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum's house. Their house is all decorated with Christmas ornaments, wreaths, stockings, mistletoe and in the center of it all, a majestic Christmas tree. As the Stahlbaum's prepare for their annual Christmas party, their children, Fritz and Clara, wait anxiously for their family and friends to arrive. When the guests finally appear, the party picks up with dancing and celevbration. A mysterious guest arrives dressed in dark clothing, nearly frightening Fritz, but not Clara. Clara knows he is Godfather Drosselmeir, the toymaker. His surprise arrival is warmly accepted, and all the children dance and carry on with laughter. The celebration is interrupted again when Drosselmeier reveals to the children that he has brought them gifts. Clara is given the best gift of all, the Nutcracker! Fritz grows jealous, snatches the Nutcracker from Clara, and it isn't long until the Nutcracker breaks. Clara is upset, but Drosselmeier fixes it with a hankerchief. The party grows late and the children become sleepy. Everyone generously thanks the Stahlbaum's before they leave. As Clara's family retires to bed, she checks on her Nutcracker one last time and ends up falling asleep with the Nutcracker in her arms. And the story goes on.....

The first act was about forty-five minutes long, intermission, and then act two. It went by rather quickly. And the girl's were really well behaved. They sat nicely, with only a few reminder's that they shouldn't talk. I think the only downfall was that the seats are big and low and these little girl's were having a little difficulty being able to see. Hailee sat on her foot much of the time.

After the show, we waited patiently for the cast to come out and sign autograph's. In the beginning, Hailee was only interested in getting Clara's autograph. But as she saw some of the other actor's coming out, she started to change her mind, and ended up getting about 12 autograph's. All of the girl's had their favorites. This cast of young people were so nice to all of these little girl's and thanked them for coming to see the show.

It was a fun afternoon and I'm so glad that I got to spend this time with Hailee. She will always remember that I went to see The Nutcracker with her. And I'm all about making memories with the one's I love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


My dear friends:

I know I've been such a slacker lately......but I couldn't let tomorrow come and go without saying that I am truly blessed and thankful for all the good in my life; and for the things that have been difficult, hopefully I have gained more knowledge on how to prevent them from seeping into my life ever again.

I'm so thankful for my family.......my dear children who are loving and thoughtful and look out for their mama. And my precious grandchildren......how they make me feel just saying their names. They are my joy!

And to all of my blogging friends, thank you for being there and being supportive when I feel like I'm carrying this heavy load on my shoulders. Thanks for your encouragement and kind words. You all make a difference in my life. I can't even imagine you not being here. I know that I look forward each day to reading what is going on in your lives. You write wonderful posts and some of you even make me roll my eyes and snort!!!! Glad you can't see that though.

My wish for all of you is to have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your families and friends. And that those who are less fortunate than us, will be provided for as well. That they too will have plenty of food to fill their tummies and warm, sufficient clothing that will protect them as our weather turns colder. And may we all, reach deeper into our pockets and give from our hearts more generously.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Moon Shot!



I'm practicing my moon shots! I've used google alot tonight, searching for instructions on how to do this. I was able to get a couple of pictures and then suddenly the clouds completely covered it and that was it! Too bad, because I was really getting into it.

If anyone can make any suggestions for really good pictures of the moon, I'd be a great listener.
Posted by Picasa

What is this?


Fall 2008 034, originally uploaded by Mamaquita.


This bird looks like a robin.....but the speckles around the eyes aren't usually on robins, are they? I hope I don't embarass myself by asking what kind of bird this is. I would have thought that the robins have flown away to warmer weather. Please correct me if I am wrong. I love to photograph birds....but am not too familiar with the different kinds.

This bird surely loves those crab apples. It went from branch to branch eating away then it would fly off into the evergreens. And there just wasn't one bird, there were many. I'm stumped on this one. Help!!!!!

Identify please....


Fall 2008 033, originally uploaded by Mamaquita.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Proud to be an American!



I've seen this flag flying many times before. I've always looked up into the sky, amazed at it's beauty as it ripples and waves. It's very large, flying high above the restaurant in our little town. But it looked even more beautiful to me on election day. At that moment, it didn't matter who would end up being our next president. All I could think of was how wonderful it was to live in the United States of America. Even writing those words makes goose bumps raise on my arms. Shiver!

I am hopeful and I will be supportive of our new president as he will be moving into the Oval Office in just a couple of months. He has a very difficult job ahead of him. I was thinking today.....I wonder if Obama has been re-thinking his decision to have run for the most prestigious position in the world. Do you think he is as frightened of taking this oath of office as many of us are afraid of what changes the next four years may bring to our country, good or bad? I bet his feelings are all over the place.

Whatever the answers may be, whether we are Democrats or Republicans, I pray that we will all unite and support our new president. History has been made. We have the first African American President and I think that says alot about our country. If you aren't touched by that alone, you just can't be touched!

I'm glad that this election stuff is over with. I'm ready to concentrate on other goings on in the world. For instance, how about the seasonal changes that we are experiencing right now. All of a sudden, the leaves on the trees have become so colorful and beautiful. Why, just a week ago I was saying how disappointed I was that the leaves just weren't vibrant enough this year. And since then, I have seen some very pretty areas that I want to go back and visit again. The yellows and oranges are so lovely. This time of the year is one of my very favorite times. Here are some trees in my area.












And this little guy, along with a friend, has been frequenting this tree, just outside of my window, again.....loading up on these crab apples! They must be good little things. Cause it seems like they are always up there, running up and down the branches, nibbling away.



And would you look at this tail? This is not a normal squirrel's tale. It looks fine.....and feathery. And very long.



Look at those eyes! It was a dreary day and the flash kept going off too. I guess that is why there is that lightness in his eyes.




It would stay on the branch for a while and nibble away and then take off to another branch, in another area of the tree and do the same thing. I fooled around, trying to get some good shots for a good 20 minutes. It would hide behind some of the leaves and before long, out it would come, further down on the branch.



I find that the older I become, the more beauty I find in everything. I can't imagine not having trees of any kind, not having beautiful, sweet smelling flowers, the smell of fresh mowed grass, sunny, blue skies, the smell of rain, lakes, streams, mountains, oceans, and even those little squirrel's that occupy that tree. The list just goes on and on. I am so thankful for all the beauty that surrounds me. And I hope that I am never too busy to stop and appreciate what God has given us all.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

HALLOWEEN FUN!




I've been on a blogging hiatus......as you can tell. Sometimes you just don't have a lot to say. Or anything that you feel is worthwhile posting. And I have been kind of bummed out at work with all of the added responsibilites that have been given to me. I can't wait to get out of there each day. I feel like I'm swimming, madly, but not getting anywhere. One thing that could make me feel somewhat better is if I get compensated with a huge raise! I keep hoping that will happen. I've been told that they are working on it. Don't get me wrong. I am very thankful for this job. And I don't like complaining so much. There are many people that are being laid off or are living in hard times. And for those, my heart goes out to them.

But getting on to more fun stuff.....it was Halloween yesterday and I got to spend several hours after work with the grandchildren, watching them get dressed up and taking pictures. That's where it is for me! They always make all of my woes so unimportant when they are in my presence. They make me smile & laugh and then I'm ready to take tons of pictures!

You can't imagine.....or maybe you can.....how crazy it is trying to get four little ones together, looking at the camera at the same time. This picture is pretty funny. The forced smile on L.J's face is just too much! You have to bribe him to get him to sit with his cousins and he had gotten down, once again. You can see the funny expressions on his face. He has great expressions. That is his little trademark!



Here is L.J with a candy corn between his teeth!



This picture of him is just too much! He is Spider Man! His little eyes aren't even in line with the slits on the mask! I think it is just so funny! He wanted that pumpkin up close to his face each time. Pretty cute though!



Look at baby Tigger! His face wasn't painted in this one, but he is so adorable! He is becoming more animated each time I see him. L.J wanted to hold baby "E". So....that he did!



Here they are again. Not looking too badly. Unfortunately, this is the best picture that I have with Gianna in it. I will get more of her in her costume in the next couple of days.....since she changes her clothes many times a day. She will be happy to put her costume back on and pose. She's four now. She is happy to cooperate with her grandmother!



Lil' Tigger here......with face paint and all! He didn't know what was going on but he walked the neighborhood with daddy and his sister's and never made a peep! I didn't mean that he "walked"....cause he can't yet. But his daddy carried him the entire time. BTW....this costume was L.J's his first Halloween.



This is the good witch.....looking so pretty in her costume!



The kids brought home lot's of sugary loot! Mommy and I looked through it and declared that it was all safe and edible! The funny thing is....Kelli rations out the candy. Gianna would eat nothing but if she could. She loves candy! Chocolate is her very favorite. Mine too! Hailee doesn't have much of a sweet tooth....she never really has. L.J definitely loves the sugary stuff. He has the "I love candy" gene! Is there such a thing? There must be. Because my mom loved chocolate, I love chocolate & Kelli loves it too! There has to be some truth to that.

I hope that all of you had a safe & fun Halloween. And for us with grandchildren....we'll do it all again next year!