1. Let’s get this JOLLY ol party started this week. When I wrote about my Christmas playlist a few weeks ago, my brother Mark promptly reminded me I left off A Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives. Allow me to fix that. Take a listen while you read today.
We’re in full-blown holiday spirit around here. Merry Christmas everyone!
2. This morning, we’re heading to our church, Ascension Lutheran, where we will get to admire the 2012 Chrismon Tree once more this holiday season. In 1957, the original chrismon ornaments were developed by Frances Kipps Spencer at this very church here in Danville, Virginia.
Our family has been attending church at Ascension since we moved to Danville in 2009. Lance was even baptized there is June 2011 where he was presented with a Chrismon ornament as part of his baptismal gift.
This year we received three more Chrismon ornaments for our family Christmas tree as part of a baby gift from Pastor Meredith.
3. A big thank you to my talented cousin Bethany Brown of Bethany K Photography for taking some fun, candid pictures of us the weekend after Thanksgiving while we were in Pennsylvania. Although I do not send out an official Christmas card to the masses, consider this our virtual card to all of our family and friends both near and far. How lucky were we that it even snowed?!
Thank you to all who have sent us cards. I enjoy receiving each and every one of them and lovingly display them all up and down the sides of a bookcase in our living room for us to admire everyday.
4. Lance wishes for a train set this Christmas. He consistently responds with “train set” each and every time asked what he wants Jolly Old St. Nick to bring him for Christmas. What are your kids asking for this year?
All I want for Christmas is more vintage toys for Lance and baby #2 to play with in the years to come. Check out some of these old favorites my Mom saved through the years that Lance is now getting to enjoy when we visit her. Who remembers the Happy Apple? Bristle blocks anyone?
With all the commercialism that surrounds the latest and greatest gift for children, I still think these are some of the best toys. The Playskool bike is my absolute favorite. New toys are wonderful, but old toys – aged and loved – are even more meaningful.
5. We are all having a jolly (such a great word, but really only this time of year) good time this Christmas season.
From a Tacky Christmas Sweater party…
To enjoying special treats… Thank you Ms. Paula, Lance’s teacher, for this one…
To a Gingerbread House making party, complete with an appearance from Santa…
To an early Christmas present…
We are enjoying.
6. Check this out…
In 2010, when I was almost 35 weeks pregnant with Lance I rivaled Santa Claus for the jolliest belly at the mall. Fast forward to 2012. Being the goof that I am, and since this pregnancy is seasonally in tandem with my first, I decided to wear the same outfit for another go round with Santa this year. Unfortunately, Santa had a “medical emergency” yesterday morning so he wasn’t around for the 2012 photo, but I convinced Jan to play along and take a shot in the same pose/outfit anyway. Fun, eh?
I am still feeling good and not having any problems, but I must admit I am tired. And it is getting harder and harder for me to keep up with my normal rhythms. Maybe it’s the time of year or maybe the fact that I am 35 weeks pregnant that has me whipped or maybe it is both, but I decided this will probably be my second to last List of Seven on Sunday for a while. Admittedly, I will need some down time in the days to come, and after the baby arrives I want to minimize my to-dos as much as possible so I can rest when baby rests and enjoy the newness and wonder of a new baby. Blogging has never been a drag of a “to-do” because I genuinely love writing, taking pictures, and sharing our family stories, but I know my schedule is about to get disrupted (in a good way!) so I’m taking action in advance. Consider this decision as a little maternity leave from blogging if you will.
Not to worry though, I’ll be back next week with another list… and then thereafter as I find the time. Britta’s Banter will live on in the new year, but it just might not be as frequent or regular.
7. Last week I ended with a few remarks on the elementary school shooting in Connecticut. This week I want to and don’t want to comment on it again all at the same time. It took me a full week to finally face some of the images in the media from the tragedy – to look at the innocent faces of children and adults victimized by yet another troubled individual fallen through the cracks, to read the stories about more lives cut short, to take in the testimonies from survivors. I finally decided that not talking about it or facing it only adds to the problem. Although I am not a person of high power and have no concrete answers on how we prevent future rampages like Newton, like Aurora, like Virginia Tech, like Columbine, I do know that as a society we can not turn our back to important role mental health has played in each of these instances. I am hopeful for any and all who are currently suffering from any type of mental health challenge or disorder to find the help needed before the problem escalates into another national tragedy.
Right now, I have more questions than answers as is common during periods of grief, but one thing I learned from living in Blacksburg during the Virginia Tech shooting is that HOPE will prevail. The greater good will always beat out evil. Choosing to believe and have faith, especially this time of year, is a must. I am now focused on reading the positive stories that come out of the Newton community because they are and they will continue to emerge through compassion and the power of the human spirit as people pull together. The victims will never be forgotten, but life will move forward.
Merry Christmas. May your spirits be JOLLY and bright.
And that makes seven!
The Banter Lady