Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Lost, Puddles Gained, and a Scot

I love Christmas. I love the decorations. I love the trees (as you probably already discovered). I love the presents (most especially the finding of perfect presents to give people). I love the vacation time. I love the family time.

I'll be honest. I did NOT love loading my car and driving away during my first Christmas day snow at my home in my entire life to drive for 3 hours to central Alabama where it was merely cold and raining. Even my love for spending Christmas day with my parents, Munner, aunts, uncles, and multitude of cousins just BARELY overcame my desire to enjoy my first White Christmas (excluding our honeymoon in NYC which happened to be Christmas, as the hubs reminds me each time I make this statement). It didn't help that less than half of my large family made it to my grandmother's that night, so even though I left 4 inches in my yard and drove through a driving snow (or rather Drew did), I only got to see a small portion of my enormous, boisterous family. (Though I assure you I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with those that were there.)

Then there's the Scot... from Alabama. My cousin (second cousin, to be precise) Jake, who was born in Alabama, alumned at the University of Alabama, and Seminaried (yes, I know this isn't really a word) in Birmingham, is now officially a Scot - delightfully so. We were great friends as children and occassional friends as teenagers and through college. We decided the last time we saw each other was at his wedding (8 years ago). He's now been living in Scotland with his lovely wife, Chris, for almost 6 years. He was in town for the holidays, so we got together for a visit.

He's enjoying himself. He's become a doctor (PhD, that is... in Theology, none the less). But his most important accomplishment? He's developed a lovely Scoh-ish accent. I think we'd all agree his perceived intellect at least doubled with this development. Even I, an open grammar freak, found myself watching my sentence formation and Southern twang as we talked. :) (What is it about an accent from England, Ireland, or Scotland that makes one seem so much more intelligent than the rest of us?!?) I've decided I'm taking my 2 year old and we're moving in with them for a while so she and I can both develop a bit of that brilliance that comes with the accent.

It's an important goal of mine.

I kid... sort of.

(In brutal honesty, when I was pregnant, I told Drew that I wanted to take dialect classes to learn a British accent just so our child would speak with one because I think little ones who sound like Brits are delightful.)

All this to say Christmas is being enjoyed thoroughly by the Bowers family. We do it the whole week after Christmas (since we have so many cities to hit and don't get to start until Christmas day). I'll try to blog at least sporadically while we celebrate.

Oh, and Jake, I know you say you feel like an outsider on my blog and are, thus, disinclined to comment (see how much my vocabulary improves when speaking to the Scot?!?). You have now officially been introduced to my small audience. You've earned your membership card. Join the club. :)

Love, Shipoopies, & Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Just Don't Know!!

Those of you who know me (or read me regularly) know I can sometimes get worked-up over the misuse of our language. That's not to say I speak (or type) perfectly or that I judge everything I read or hear.


Some mistakes are just so blatant and inexplicable that they must be called-out. For instance:

I must admit, I've never actually set foot in a Bojangles. I think maybe once my in-laws brought me a biscuit from there, but that's the extent of my experience with the chain.

But I do sit at a red light right beside one every single time I come home from anywhere. Each time, as I sit there, I look at this sign and am FLABERGASTED... well, maybe flumoxed? Befuddled? Irritated... yes that's it. Irritated!!!

WHAT is with that apostrophe?!? It's not in the right place to make it an establishment owned by a guy named Bojangle (Bojangle's), NOR is it in the right place to make it a place owned by a group of people with the last name Bojangle (Bojangles'). The only other option for its purpose is as an accent (think fiance'), but I can't, for the life of me, figure out how the heck one stresses an "S" at the very end of a word.

Try it. It can't be done.

I am baffled. Is it for decor? Is it meant to be a hat for the letter s? Perhaps a feather, making the S either Native American or a Las Vegas showgirl?

I wish I knew Bojangle Smith OR a member of the family Bojangle.

This mystery is right up there with Amelia Earhardt (did anyone read that article this week?) and Area 51.


Love & Shipoopies,

Monday, December 20, 2010

This morning, I ran out the door, trying to rush the 2 year old into the car to take her to daycare and then back to work for myself. I shivered, locked the door, and then turned around to my car to discover that the hubs had scraped my windshield for me before leaving.

I have to say, girls (and guys), it almost doesn't get more romantic than that! I called him to tell him how great it was (and what a sweeping, romantic gesture it was)! I wanted to make sure he knew that those things aren't just NICE to me. They're gestures of love.

And I got to thinking how so many truly LOVING gestures - actions of TRUE romance - go unnoticed and unrecognized. We've been taught that the only things that matter in the romance department are flowers and jewelry. Which is sad to me because a dozen roses or generic necklace (though nice and beautiful) can be bought by any guy to give to any girl. That guy might have the same generic gift ten times over at his apartment to be given to any girl he goes on a couple of dates with. How has THAT become the symbol of love and romance.

Don't misunderstand me. Flowers are amazing! But to me, it's WAY more romantic to get my favorite flower (NOT roses) on a Tuesday just because he thought of me than it is to get a gazillion roses on Valentine's Day. And as for jewelry, what lady would ever turn down a new piece of jewelry?!? But I'd much rather it be the ring he knows I've been looking for for ages and ages for my right hand than just some random piece of jewelry he saw in a commercial. (Or, let's face it, on our budget, just a pair of fake pearl earrings because he knows I'm obsessed with pearls or a new long, silver necklace because he know mine broke.)

The thing I think all guys (and girls) need to be reminded of (or perhaps taught for the first time) is that romance isn't just about a gift. Romance is thoughtfulness. Romance is showing that you love her and KNOW her. (Or that you know HIM and love HIM, gals!)

Romance is knowing your partner has had a long, hard day and stopping to get her (not your) favorite fast food on the way home without being asked. Romance is grabbing her favorite candy, soda, or chips when you're at the gas station just because you know they're her favorite. Romance is grabbing the newest book by his favorite author because you know he's dying to read it. Romance is quietly giving an assuring hand squeeze and whispering "I love you" or "you're amazing" when you know she's in a hard situation and needing encouragement.

Romance is scraping her windshield before you leave the house because you know she'll have your daughter to tend to and because you know she doesn't have a scraper and is too short to reach the middle parts.

Romance isn't dead, folks. It's just too often going unnoticed for what it is.

Love & Shipoopies,

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Story Told

I know that everyone's Christmas tree is unique. Some are perfectly decorated with everything matching - like it belongs in a magazine. Some are covered with hand-made ornaments weathered over the years. Some have white lights. Some have colored. They have tinsel, garland, ribbon, icicles, candy canes, and pine cones. Everyone has their own way of dressing up their tree.
Mine falls somewhere in the middle of the "everything matches" and homemade ornaments trees. But the best part of my tree is that it tells a story. Each year as we unwrap ornaments and place them on the tree, I am surrounded by memories of days gone by.
This ornament belonged to my Munner (until she gave it to me). She collected angels (and I have quite a few angels given to me from her that I will always cherish).
This Santa was always near the tree at my parents' house. (It's pretty heavy, so it wasn't always able to hang ON the tree.) He was one of my favorites and I would hide him pretty regularly so I could look at him without being bothered. (Tucker has taken to stroking his beard as well.)

This ornament was given to me during one of the years I played (and sang) with a handbell choir at the church where the hubs and I were married.

This Mrs. Claus (and her matching husband, who holds a teddy bear) always hung on my Mama's tree. They always spoke to me as a child - I suspect because they were very childlike - holding a kitten and a bear with rosy cheeks and gentle smiles.

This ornament was, in my mind, ME as a child. :)

My Munner gave me this ornament. I'm a BIT of a pearl freak. I could wear pearls everyday of the year and be perfectly fine with that.

This is my Alabama bear - representing my years spent at the University of Alabama.

This is a Shorter ornament - from Drew's year's in college.

And this year, we decided to help make the tree Tucker's story as well. We let her pick out an ornament that she loves to help make the tree hers. I look forward to adding her story (and likes and dislikes) to our tree over the years.

What kind of tree do YOU have?
Love & Shipoopies,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays: Proof I Haven't Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

Ok, I guess these are in reverse and somewhat random order. I hate the way blogger uploads pics. Takes too much forethought!!!

"Hi, water!"

Pure Sweetness

We were rushing to get this in with the timer, so the whole "two walls of windows" thing wasn't great for sunlight. Ah well. Still a good pic of everyone.

On the way to get Bruce, our Christmas tree

Beautiful girls

They ADORE holding hands with each other. :)

Can you say OCD waiting to happen? This is how she "plays" with her Legos - making flat layers of them so they fit together perfectly. :)

They are just SO sweet with each other.

"THERE'S the water!"

"Woah, Mommy! That's aLOT of water!!!"

Love & Shipoopies,

Monday, December 06, 2010

Magic and Wonder

My Big Grandad (as opposed to Little Grandad - yep, that's what we called them), was a Navy man. He was a teacher. He was an assistant principal. He was a disciplinarian. He was a tinkerer, a DO-er, and the kind of guy who didn't know how to sit still (except for the dozing on the couch in the middle of our huge family gatherings that he did so frequently).

He was all action, and so I think many people only saw the Navy/Principal/Disciplinarian side of him. He definitely had a gruff side to him.

But to ME, he was the guy who named me his "Sweet Tootie" (hence the name of my business), sat me in his lap to watch TV, shared his Vienna sausages (I know, yuck) with me, and let me watch M.A.S.H. with him when I spent the night at his house. He was the guy who, shortly before he passed, walked me out onto his property to show me an old, beat-up car, that he was going to fix-up for me to have.

And most importantly, he was the guy who one day decided growing Christmas trees and opening a "cut your own" tree farm was a good idea. He did it, I'm sure, because he enjoyed hard work and a project. But I think the softer side of him did it becuase he enjoyed being able to help families find that joy and take it into their houses.

The tree farm was a family affair. Thanksgiving weekend, all the families would walk out into the trees and tag our trees so no one else could get them. Then, all the cousins would decorate a "Charlie Brown tree" somewhere in the middle of the farm for folks to stumble upon in their search. Once we opened for business, we all helped out. We carried saws and measuring poles for people. We helped shake the trees (to get the loose needles out) and bag the trees. We even sold little bags of mistletoe shot out of other trees on the property a few years.

I learned from a very young age the magic of Christmas trees. There is a joy in finding THE tree (or, rather, as I like to think, letting the tree find YOU). There's something special in searching for and bagging up your family's biggest reminder to be joyful EVERY SINGLE DAY during Christmas. This big hunk of evergreen will hold the magical, twinkling lights under which your family will dream each evening. It is an ever present and hard to ignore reminder of the EVERLASTING gift God gave to us at Christmas.

Yes, Christmas trees are magic. My heart flits each time I look at our beautiful (yet undecorated) tree that we bought this weekend. (His name is Bruce, by the way, and he picked us as soon as we walked on the tree farm.)

And this weekend as I spent one day on a tree farm sharing the magic of a tree farm with MY Sweet Tootie, and the other day working our church's tree lot - helping other trees find their families, I thought of Big Grandad endlessly. There are a million things he gave me and taught me for which I will always be grateful, but for me, my heart's eternal connection to him will forever lie in the gruff, disciplinarian teaching me the MAGIC and WONDER a simple tree can bring.

I love you, Grandaddy and I miss you everyday, but more than I can describe each Christmas.

Love & Shipoopies,


Friday, December 03, 2010

Ahhh, Fallon

Here's a little happiness (in the form of ridiculousness - my favorite kind) for your Friday:

Watch the first clip... well, watch a BIT of the first clip - enough to get the IDEA. (If you wish to watch more than that, I may have to re-think our friendship. Just sayin'.) It'll help you get the humor of the second clip.

Now the wonder that is Jimmy Fallon:

Makes me wish I weren't an old fart that has to go to bed before Fallon because her two year old wakes up so early. :)

Love & Shipoopies,

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Some Random Ridiculousness

*Yesterday, I was watching an episode of Cold Case and trying to work out who the killer was in my head as the show went along (which is my favorite murder-mystery activity - figuring it out before they tell you). I was alone in the room, so I was venturing my guess aloud to myself and then realized the flaw in my first guess and said, "Nevermind." Aloud. To myself.

That can't be good.

*While watching a clip on the news about how Elizabeth Smart stormed out during a doctor's testimony at her kidnapper/rapist's trial, one legal analyst said, "I think the jury might get the feeling that she was unhappy with his testimony."


*We passed a Santa Claus (real beard, real hair, red valour suit, red car) on the way to church Sunday. Tucker (who is still very scared of Santa, but excited about the toys she might get) said, "Santa brings toys and on the phone and GO AWAY, SANTA!!!!!!"

This could be a VERY interesting Christmas if we scream at Santa everytime we see him.


Love & Shipoopies,