Posted tagged ‘Gifts’

A New Home for the Holiday

January 2, 2020

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Forrest Gump

Truer words were never spoken. This year instead of hosting Christmas festivities, my daughter, her husband, and their three daughters hosted us and my son-in-law’s family – his mother, two brothers/wives and a two-year-old. For three days there were thirteen people—nine adults, two two-year-olds, and two four-year-olds—walking, running, jumping, and tumbling around my daughter and son-in-law’s home.


On Christmas Eve we celebrated an updated Slovak meal – Oplatky (a traditional Christmas wafer), oyster stew (a New England addition), Grandma’s Katie’s fried fish, coleslaw, French fries, and Christmas cookies.

Christmas Day brought Santa gifts, a gift-wrapping mess, and some wild and crazy little ones!


The afternoon was spent preparing for Christmas dinner, taking naps, and quiet reading time for the non-nappers.



The dining table was readied. No kid’s table allowed. Everyone had a place at the big table set with Christmas china, shiny silverware, and red and green cloth napkins, a beautiful centerpiece, and one more surprise gift that acted as a place card.


Dinnertime is what our family calls the “witching hour” for the little ones. Usually, no one is happy with anything. My husband and I hoped for the best as we all gathered around the table. Dinner began with a prayer said by the grandchildren. We clinked our glasses, shared delicious food, talked about our favorite part of the day, and laughed. As I looked around the table, I saw the joy of a family gathering together, and not one child asked to be excused from the table early. It was a Christmas miracle!

Behold the happy family!


Don’t look for us there. My husband and I had returned to our home to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Christmas season!

I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2020!




SOMEDAY – An Unexpected Emotional Impact

May 18, 2017

Quite some time ago, I purchased a picture book for my daughter I thought she would appreciate as a young mother. Last Sunday, we did what many families do on Mother’s Day. We came together to celebrate. We had brunch at our house and exchanged cards and gifts. I added what my daughter calls a “motherism” to the inside of the book for which she expressed delight and gratitude. She didn’t have time to read the book because two active little girls were demanding her attention. Later Sunday evening, I received a text. My daughter told me she read Someday, the book I gave to her, to the girls at bedtime. She said she couldn’t get through it because it made her cry. (It was that unexpected emotional impact.) She told the girls they were “happy tears.” It’s moments like these when you realize how fortunate you are to have a close relationship with your daughter and how much you miss your own mother. And now I’m crying those “happy tears.”


Alison McGhee’s text is simple, but it reminds the adult reader of the special bond that exists between mothers and daughters and how the cycle of life continues. McGhee’s gentle words speak to the heart, and Peter Reynolds’ endearing illustrations speak to our visual emotions. The combination of the two makes this book a gift of love.

If you have sons, a companion book to Someday is Little Boy written by Alison Mc Ghee and illustrated by Peter Reynolds, Atheneum Books.



Showered With Happiness

July 25, 2013

We’re still in wedding mode. This past weekend we showered our daughter, Beth. Of all the thoughtful and wonderful gifts she received, the one that stole her heart was from her future mother-in-law.

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A Boston Terrier was her favorite gift. She and her fiancé, Brian, have been researching this breed for months. It’s something they want to add to their family. The Boston Terrier given to her is very versatile. It’s not only a cuddly animal, but it’s also a purse! Collecting purses is another of Beth’s passions. Brian’s mom certainly knows our daughter!

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If you love Boston Terriers, here’s a book that Beth and Brian recommend.

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Boston Terriers written by Susan Bulanda with photographs and illustrations by Michele Earle-Bridges (Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2012)

Putting Christmas Away

January 3, 2013

I’ve been known to over decorate when it comes to Christmas, but I can’t help it. I love Christmas and all its trimmings. I enjoy the sparkle and lights through the month of December, but there comes a time to put Christmas away. The time is NOW!

I’m up to my knees in ornaments, little trees, medium trees, full-sized trees, snowmen, santas, candles, wreathes, garland, and lights. Everywhere I look there is Christmas clutter. After years of putting up and taking down Christmas, I still haven’t figured out how to do it in an organized way.

Our trees are filled with ornaments we’ve picked up or have been given over the course of our lifetime. Each one has a special meaning. This year we received another ornament that will add to our Christmas memories.

My daughter’s boyfriend gave us a Chilean doll ornament. His mother is from Chile, and one of their family traditions is to decorate the Christmas tree with little dolls they’ve collected.


His gift reminded me of two other little dolls we have on one of our trees. We inherited them from my husband’s Swedish family.


These are the ornaments that make a tree special. Family history and recollections of Christmases past are right at hand each time an ornament is placed on the tree or taken down.

I may over decorate, but for a few weeks our house sparkles and warm memories surround us!

The time has come to put Christmas away. It’s a bit overwhelming and sad, but after it’s all done, there’s a feeling of satisfaction. I’m happy to call my uncluttered house my own once again, but I look forward to next Thanksgiving when the process begins all over.

Happy New Year, everyone! May this be a rewarding year for all of us.

Faded Memories

June 5, 2012

In the past three weeks I’ve been to three graduations – college, high school, and grade school. On Sunday, one of the young speakers at the grade school graduation I attended told his classmates that their graduation would be something they would always remember and they would maintain their friendships throughout the years.

I scoured my brain for graduation memories. This is what I came up with. In grade school, we wore royal blue caps and gowns and there were four-two graduates – all from one eighth grade class. My high school graduation was hot. The only picture I have of my graduation shows me in an orange, sleeveless dress with perspiration stains under my arms. Not cool! At my college graduation, we sweltered in the football stadium stands, and my family celebrated by taking me out to Roy Roger’s Roast Beef. Not too memorable!

And what about those friendships the young speaker spoke of maintaining throughout the years? In reality, true-blue friends are hard to find. People change. Times change. You lose contact. A friendship that weathers the test of time is a true friendship. Consider yourself successful if you have one of those priceless friends.

Memories of graduations fade, but friends don’t. I hope those grade school graduates work to keep their special friendships because, no matter what, a true friend will always be there with you.

What are your graduation memories?

Books for Graduation Gifts:

Yay, You! : Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On  written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton (Little Simon, 2001)

I Knew You Could!  written by Craig Dorfman and illustrated by Christina Ong (Grosset & Dunlap, 2003)

Reach for the Stars: and Other Advice for Life’s Journey  written and illustrated by Serge Bloch (Sterling, 2010)

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1990)

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