Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Three day celebration

Despite the brutally cold temperatures and cyclone bomb snowfall that hammered the Midwest last week, we made it through unscathed. No burst pipes or power outages. We were thankful for a warm home and lots of fuzzy blankets to snuggle under as we watched Christmas movies.

During this horrible deep freeze I ran inside and out all day long with food and water for the birds and squirrels. 
Our back yard motion detector spotlighted an animal and illuminated our bedroom at 3:00 a.m. I dashed to the window and caught sight of a big orange cat with a fluffy tail climbing over the fence. Feeling sorry for it, I hurried outside, shivering in my nightgown and slippers. I tossed a handful of cat kibble.

At 7:00 a.m. when my husband woke up, he checked the outdoor video camera on the computer.
"Honey, come here! You have to see this fox that visited us about 3:00 a.m."

Next time I will put on my glasses before mad dashing to the window and out the door. 

This was our best Christmas ever. We celebrated with my daughter and her family, my son and his family, and Bill's two girls and grown grandkids who came from near and far.

We had a delightful holiday, especially with the great grandsons. Liam, eight-years-old was so happy with his Pokemon gift from us. Imagine eyes wide as saucers, and you get the picture.
Alex, five, greeted us at the door and tried to make a  few last minute Santa points. "I have been good all day and I even cleaned my room, today." His good behavior paid off. He received many gifts from his grandparents and great grands on Christmas Eve that made him squeal with delight. Christmas morning brought more exciting presents. 

He made a forever memory at the farm. Oldest grandson Kyle invited Alex to ride in the enclosed tractor to dump bales of hay for the cows and horses. Alex wants to be a farmer so badly. This was a dream for him.

And Charlie, who is four, jumped on Papa Bill's lap the minute we arrrived and he shouted, "I'm gonna get your nose!" Then he pretended to eat Papa's nose. Bill had more fun roughhousing with the boys than opening his gifts. 

Kyle's & Abby's house and heated garage overflowed with family and friends. When we played Rob Your Neighbor, Charlie was miffed when somebody "stole" his cake pop maker. He ended up with it anyway.

We ate an abundance of food, had an abundance of fun, and counted our abundant blessing for three days. I hope you had a good holiday, too.  

Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Night Before with Mr. and Mrs. Claus

I lived 100 miles from North Pole, Alaska in 1969-70 (army life off base with my ex, a soldier).  Typical winter windchills were negative 35 to -50 degrees. My breath would freeze in clouds and my words would actually fall when I spoke. Quite an experience.

I am concerned for the people and animals in the path of this dangerous winter storm predicted to dump snow and bring temperatures with windchills in the minus 25 range. I hope you stay safe and have a very happy holiday. I wrote this years ago, but it always gets a chuckle. Enjoy!  

Mrs. Claus’ Point of View

'T was the night before Christmas at the North Pole,
Old Santa was edgy, feeling quite droll.
Mrs. Claus was baking, and the house smelled yummy.
Santa walked into the kitchen, sneaked up on his honey.

He reached for a snicker-doodle still warm on the tray.
Big Mama said, "No more! You've eaten two dozen today.
Your cholesterol is up, your triglycerides soaring,
absolutely no more, and I’m tired of your snoring.

"You’re going to have to start losing some weight.
And do you realize the time? It IS getting late."
Chubby old Santa said, "Oh, Woman, drat!
You’re always complaining about this or that.

"Where are my long Johns?" he dared to inquire.
"For Pete's sake," she said, "They're still in the dryer."
Wiping her hands on her apron she turned with a jerk.
Mumbled under her breath, "It's all women's work!"

"Get dressed, Dear Old Santa, go hitch up the sleigh.
Get all the presents and be on your way."
Santa tugged on his suit, and as Mrs. Claus watched
he loosened his belt another notch.

"I think you should leave now!"
"I think that I will, but first I need my cholesterol pill.
Blood pressure pill and one for my arthritis,
another one for my sinusitis.

A Dramamine tablet so I won't get dizzy,
a calm-me-down pill, so I'm not in a tizzy.
"Vitamin C so I don’t sniffle and sneeze,
Asthma medication so I don’t hack and wheeze."

"Be on your way, Man! Get going; you're done.”
"Wait," Santa shouted, "I forgot just one."
He popped a little blue pill, climbed into his sleigh.
"Ah, the miracle drugs they have today!

"I'll be back in a jiffy." He smiled with affection.
"I have forty-eight hours to get a…"
"LONG WINTER'S NAP!" she exclaimed as he drove out of sight.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

by Linda O'Connell

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Making a difference, leaving your legacy, being a word keeper

Someone who writes or dictates a story.

Images such as old holiday cards make fantastic writing prompts. The authors of these pieces are four- and five-years-old.
Wouldn't a grandparent love a story authored by your little ones? This activity increases reasoning, creative and critical thinking, and confidence.
When you write it as they say it (verbatim) the stories bring joy.

I prompt with WH questions: who, what, where, why, how; can you tell me one more thing?  
I value all ideas, praise their efforts, nod, smile, and comment positively. Age-appropriate goal for four year olds: stay on topic for four (or more) related sentences. Five year olds, five or more sentences.

Sometimes during my 40 year career as an early childhood teacher, when I did these THINK ABOUT IT literacy activities I had to redirect without squashing ideas and overpowering with censorship.

 "Wow! You have good ideas. I like how you think. Can you think of another idea rather than shooting, killing, eating the....?" I asked the child who insisted on violence to imagine a kinder, nicer, less harmful idea. And they always complied. I hung the students' stories in the hall. In all those years I only had one boy tell his mom, "She left out the part about ... (violence)." I said, "Yes you did say that. Thanks for reminding me." Acknowledged and moved on.  

Charlie is a creative thinker and talks incessantly. Ideas about everything pour forth. He is funny. yes he said, "I welcome." 

Alex's first response is usually, "I don't know," or "I can't remember."
I have to encourage him by saying, "I don't know either, and whatever your idea is will be your story. Now use your imagination." Encouragement works. In four months he has gained confidence. He told this story with very few verbal prompts. He kept going. This is progress! 

I know this is a busy time of year, but if you have a few extra minutes, won't you sit down and write a letter/story or help a young child create a keepsake story?

 My greatest accolades came this week from several of my former students' parents who told me they still post their child's preK holiday stories at Christmas. Their children are in college or are grads or married adults. 
My most memorbale story, was dictated by a boy who selected a manger scene (card front) and "wrote" about the shepherd going to visit the baby Jesus and sneezing all over him. LOL 


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Ho-ho, hack- hack, but we are back

The holidays are fun when little children are not flushed, fevered, and full of phlegm. Alex and Charlie had a rough week. Then their older brother's class had a winter concert, and Liam came down with the crud, too. I have already had it and recuperated.

Since Bill has been barking like a seal for more than a week (on anitbiotics) I decided to drive to the boys' home so the little guys could stay in their own beds and sleep all day. Nothing like a back rub from Nana to help the healing. It's been an exhausting week. But we are back!

They were so excited to learn THEY could cut and lace a paper stocking and cut an oval. When they weren't looking I turned the oval into a mouse and added a candy cane striped paper straw for a tail and inserted the mouse into the stocking with the tail exposed. I read them Mouse's First Snow, then I handed them their craft project. They squealed, "A candy cane!" Their frowns turned to laughter when they saw it was a mouse with a candy striped tail. Alex loves stuffies, and he kept saying, "I love this so much."
Charlie was into bling. I colored a tree on a piece of cardboard and covered it with contact paper (inverted so sticky side is out) and they did math activity: roll the dice, place corresonding amount of jewels on the tree. This is a fun group game if each participant counts out 20 jewels. First one to place all gets a real candy cane! 

I hope you are enjoying the pre-holiday fun with you and yours, and steering clear of those viruses floating around. 

I am getting the urge to bake cookies. I always make multiple batches of peanut butter, but I know if I do, I will eat too many, too soon, and I will be sorry. 

Do you bake holiday cookies?

Monday, December 5, 2022

Kitty has a new best friend

Sassy Boy, also called Buddy, is a lazy, old cat. He loves snuggling with Bill. You should hear Bill sweet talk this fat cat. 
I just heard him say, "You are making me live longer, Buddy."
I'd have to agree with that.
This eight-year-old mewoer is interested in what I am doing, watching me putting up decorations and the tree. He was very curious about the blue-eyed Santa, and then I figured out why. A few minutes before I picked up Santa, I had grabbed a handful of kibble to put in kitty's dish. He must have smelled his food on the jolly old elf. He is ever hopeful he might find another bite.

I have trained him to say MAMA when he wants food. He sits by his dish and meows. When I walk over he says Mawww Maww. It is so cute, and annoying because he would eat non-stop.

Happy holidays from our house to yours. I am grateful for my blog friends. Is your house decorated?