"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Tis the season to be jolly...falalalala...lalalala!"

What's On My Tree Wednesdays

This is a neat, little carnival that was begun by Katie over at This Crazy Life. Since I love Christmas decorations and decorating the tree is a big ordeal at the Bombardier house, I thought I'd join in the fun.

My tree is not a "themed" tree (although I love them!) but it's more of a mix and match of everything I love, which means a lot of "family" ornaments.

You may ask "What is that?" Well, it's not the most attractive ornament, but it holds loads of love. It's actually a hand painted Santa on a cinnamon stick. This ornament was given to me back in 1985 by my son's (Tito who is now 26) preschool teacher. This lady was in her 70's and just amazed me. She was a remarkable teacher, an amazing cook, and was just a total inspiration. She moved from Florida to Arkansas many years ago and I'm sure by now has gone home to the Lord, but she will forever live fondly in my memories.

Since I'm writing about our tree, I thought I'd take the time to give a little tour of the decorations in our living room.

This is our tree (sorry for the lousy picture!). It really is a beautiful tree. I'm thrilled to say that we have gone back to putting up a real tree after 2 years with the fake stuff. I hated it, the kids hated it and Scott finally admitted that there's nothing like that new tree smell! Mmmm.....

This is a unique little gift box that sits under our tree every year. I think I've had it for close to 10 years now. It was a very special gift from my sister and I love it. Click on the picture and you can read the message. When you open the box, there is a mirror glued to the bottom of it, for you to see your reflection in. I love this gift.

This is probably one of my most favorite items I display. It was originally sent to me as
a Christmas card, again by my sister. I loved it so much I framed it and now it always sits on our mantle at Christmas time.

This is a very old nativity set (my first one) that my Mom gave me many years ago. It holds a lot of sentimental value.

My nutcracker collection! I purchase a new one at the end of each holiday season. I now have 13!

My Old Santa collection. The very first one of these that I received was from my precious grandmother many years ago. Since then, I've tried to buy one each year. I love taking them out of the boxes every year. It fills my heart with many wonderful memories I shared with my sweet grandmother, who is now with Jesus.

Of course, Christmas decor would not be complete without Mr. and Mrs. Santa.

The mantle with 9 stockings; six for the kids, one for Mama, one for Daddy, and one for Kiefer (his wasn't hung yet when I took the picture, sorry).

The angel, surrounded by poinsettias, that guards our nativity scene.

This is brand new and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! My sweet friend, Keisha, shared this idea and I just knew I had to make one. Yes, folks. I made this sign and I'm really proud of myself. Isn't it beautiful? Thank you, Keisha!!!

Words cannot emphasize how much I love this nativity scene. It was (again) a gift from my sister and from the moment I saw it, I knew it would always be in the foyer of our home during Christmas season. I love the detail. Pictures truly don't do it justice.

The nativity with the sign hanging above it.

This is another gift given to us by our Godchild. I love the angels laying hands on the little girl. Whenever I look at it, it reminds me of how God sends his angels down to protect us and how we are His children.

This is at the entrance of the foyer when you walk into the house. The "new sign" hangs above it all.

This gingerbread house was given to me a few years ago also filled with cookies. Now we bake our own cookies with the kids and fill it for guests to enjoy during the holidays.

So, that's it. A peek inside our living room, our Christmas decorations and the very special meaning behind a lot of our goodies. Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A letter to A.J.

Dear sweet A.J.,

Oh, my innocent little boy. Words cannot express how much we love you. I so look forward to Christmas time since I know how much you anticipate the birth of our Savior and all of the celebrations that encompass such an event with so much glee.

We speak often about the preparations, the decorating of the tree, the visit from Santa and of course the reason for the season, the birth of Christ. You listen with excitement as I tell you about each upcoming event that keeps us so very busy during this holiday time. You whole-heartily agree to cooperate and be a "big boy" as we head out the door to fulfill each of these memories that we want to forever engrave in our minds.

So, my question to you, sweet little one, is WHY? WHY? WHY? Why does it take 47 pictures for you to look at the camera ONCE? Why is it that we must entice you with candies, toys and other forms of bribery just so you can peek at the little man inside the lens circle or beg you to show the little man your teeth in order for you to smile? Your siblings tire so easily and quickly join the choir of chants, heard near and far, that rhythmically repeat the same words, "AJ! C'MON! PLEASE LOOK AT THE CAMERA!"

I noticed especially during our 47 attempts at getting a beautiful picture for our Christmas card how much your Daddy loves you. He always expresses his love, but for some reason after about the 20th attempt, I noticed he was holding you especially close and maybe had a death-grip bit tighter embrace around your little body. I'm still a bit baffled at why there were beads of sweat forming on his forehead when it was a crisp 60 degrees outside.

I know that years from now we will look back at the pictures of our visit to Santa and smile. Yes, dear boy. That's the one, the dear old Santa, whose cheeks were just the perfect hint of faint pink when we arrived. Ah, and do you remember Santa's helper? The little elf? She was the one who wanted us to desperately get out leave with magical memories through pictures attempted 6 times to get you to look at the little man inside the circle? Although I admit that I was getting a bit worried and was considering suggesting to her that she maybe see a doctor. I'm not sure why, but her breathing was getting increasingly heavy as our visit went on. Hmm.

You are such a joy. Do you recall our departure from the same sweet Santa with the pink cheeks and the kindred spirit? AJ, you remind me of a rainbow, splashing color wherever you go. When we left Santa, his hair seemed a tad bit whiter not to mention frazzled. And those cheeks. No, Santa no longer seemed to possess that same faint-pink color. Instead, I quickly noticed how your charm magically transformed the color of his cheeks to a stunningly bright, crimson shade! Oh, you must've brought such joy to him as you wiggled and squirmed while talking away. I know he must've appreciated the break from having to speak as you allowed him quite some time to sit quietly and enjoy your company. He was so relaxed that I think I even saw his eyes roll back a couple of times. As we were leaving and you were proudly hailing, "Bye-Bye, Santa!", I could almost see a tear in the corner of his eye.

Since this letter is for you to view many years from now, I have included above just a small collage containing a few of the many attempts on that dreadful sunny day we tried so hard to get that one magical Christmas picture. To make it a little easier for you, I have highlighted which little person you are. Yes, darling. You certainly do become very interested in your surroundings when a picture is to be taken.

With all my love I thank you for continuously striving to ensure that my level of patience is always tested and that I remain a good Catholic Mama by attending confession more often than I ever believed I would have to go. I also thank you for indeed engraving these memories in our minds. We certainly will never, ever forget days like pictures for Christmas cards and visits to Santa, not to mention the looks on your family's faces when I tell them that it's time for another family event.

I love you endlessly,

Your Mama

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