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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seven Random Holiday Things About Me

I've been tagged by several lovely ladies for this particular meme. Who all turn out to be my guardian angels in the end, because the stomach bug making its rounds in our neighborhood dropped by here this morning at 5:30. I've been pinned to the sofa under the droopy weight of a sick three-year old Mt. Vesuvius and her attendant pink barf bucket for 5 straight hours, which has been an alternately Very Wonderful and Very Terrible place to be. I'm getting a reprieve now because Madame Vesuvius has fallen into a deep sleep on her Daddy's chest. When she finally gave in to sleep, I was up the stairs like a shot, I tell you, and into the hottest shower my skin could tolerate, still wearing my partially slimy, partially crusty, but completely stinky pajamas, where I soaped my entire self up with antibacterial soap TWICE before using my Buff Puff (Steel Wool for the epidermis! Try it!) with moisturizing bath gel in an invogorating final pass over all body parts. I feel clean now.

But even with all my blood flowing properly on accounta the vigorous scrubbing, I was vexed about what to blog you this fine Sunday. And then I remembered the Random Things Meme and realized, hey, if today ain't random, ain't no day random around here, ever.

And I'm gonna holiday-ize my Random Things, because this is my blog, I've been cleaning up big chunks, little chunks and everything in between since before daybreak, and darn it, I need me a little of that holiday joy right about now.

1. On one evening the first week in December, Al and I have a special date each year. I make a heaping plate of little snacks and appetizers, we pour ourselves a couple glasses of wine, and we curl up on the sofa in the glow of the pretty lights on the Christmas tree and have a little light dinner while we listen to and read all the words to Handel's Messiah. The first time we did this, I surprised Al with his wedding ring, so he could try it on and make sure it fit before our wedding a few days later. I love having traditions that bring back such wonderful, sweet memories.

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2. Bean has loved candy canes since almost the very beginning of her little life. I adore how she lights up every time she sees one and says, Look Mama, Canny Cay-yans!!!! (I don't know why she calls them that, she can SAY canes, she just won't. Like she insists on calling Yams Hams and Pams. Mind of her own, that one has.) So starting her second Christmas, in addition to delivering the Big Present and stuffing the stocking and leaving a heartfelt note of gratitude, wisdom, and reflection, Santa also hangs plentitudenous big candy canes all over our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve night.

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3. On that same night, Bean puts out the traditional cookies and milk for Santa, along with carrots and water for his reindeer, all in a special sectioned Christmas tray. With the help of a small drop of red food coloring, the water gets pink when Rudolph accidentally dips his nose in it while he's drinking. All three of our kids love this little magical tradition and pronounce it quite nifty on Christmas morning!

4. Every year, as he did at my house growing up, Santa leaves a letter wedged into the branches of the tree. In it, Santa responds to the letters written and left for him Christmas Eve by the family-members-in-residence. He also recaps the past year's highlights, lauds the accomplishments and special events in our lives, and reminds us that although we love and enjoy the tradition of Santa, it's the birth of Christ we celebrate most at this time of year. My Dad always wrote the funniest, smartest, most moving Santa letters when I was a kid. I'm sure mine pale in comparison, but I am doing everything I can to maintain this aged and important tradition here at FriedOkra Manor.

5. A few of my favorite holiday treats to make and enjoy around this time of year are spicy roasted pecans, whose recipe comes from an old dog-eared, red-and-white-checked Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I use just about every day, hot mulled wine with cranberry juice, my Mom's recipe for pomanders (a chocolate and orange flavored rolled cookie, easy as can be, but unfortunately, as my sister very aptly pointed out a year or two ago, the lowliest of the Christmas cookies, because they just aren't all that pretty), jam thumbprints with currant jelly and Emeril's baked ham, which goes into the special ham biscuits I make and deliver to the local friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve.

6. I still can't sleep on Christmas Eve night. Forty years old and still listening for the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. Silly Mama!

7. As hard as it is to fathom, I can literally feel the love and gratitude I have for God, who's given to me - silly, unspeakably flawed, unworthy little me - this beautiful, hilarious, amazing family, growing ever stronger and more passionate during this time of the year. And is it any wonder, y'all? Just look at 'em!

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28 comments:

  1. M R some good traditions, Mrs. Okra. So sorry about the intestinal upset!

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  2. I must tell you that the picture of Al and Bean made me smile - so sweet. I love hearing your traditions. I just was tagged for a random meme too and if I can think of enough - I may make mine a holiday one also!
    I'll put poor Bean on my prayer list - along with her Mama and Papa. Hope she is better soon and the rest of you stay healthy!

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  3. I agree- I love the picture of Al and Bean.
    I love the Santa letter and including the real reason for the season too.
    Hope Bean's feeling better and that the rest of you don't get it!

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  4. Wow! what a smile, and Bean's ain't so bad either!

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  5. I love some of these ideas--especially the reindeer water and Santa's note. And I LOVE the ham buiscuits! Another reason I am so glad we are neighbors. I am sorry again we shared the bad bug. I hope she is feeling better soon.

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  6. Very cool traditions there, I love the pink water from Rudolph! And what a lovely photo!!!
    Also, I hope that Bean feels better soon, poor thing.

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  7. Really nice traditions you have there lady, Dad & Bean are so cute together too...

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  8. Poor sick munchkin. What a beautiful family - and traditions - you have.

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  9. I'm teary over here! I may have to steal some of those when we have children. Lovin Bean and Al's smiles. Bean's eyes! Her chin! OH GOODNESS!!!

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  10. I bet your letters are just are funny, sweet, smart, warm, etc. as your dad's were!

    Could Bean be any cuter? And those eyes...could they be any greener??

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  11. Loved this. Love the drop of red food coloring in the water - what a fantastic idea!

    Hope Bean feels better soon.

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  12. I hope she's feeling better! She is a cutie!

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  13. Megan,
    You are woman of many talents. Reading your blog is a delightful way of getting to know you again after all these years. A tradition Tommy and I started when "the Midget" was born is a gold charm bracelet with charms signifying the milestones of her year. This way when all the paper and packaging are long gone, she will have something of value that she can cherish for the rest of her life.
    Love
    Cary

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  14. Beautiful picture. And great post! It was like you read my mind -- I was going to ask how you balance Santa with Jesus, especially when it's becoming socially insensitive to say "Merry Christmas." My oldest is only 2 1/2, but I'm starting to feel the pressure to make sure he understands the Reason for the season. Letters from Santa are a great idea! How old were you when you stopped getting them? Or did the tradition continue, even once everyone in the family was aware that Santa was really Daddy?

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  15. Hey there!
    Back on line after the holidays and have already been tagged TWICE for this...loved your holiday idea - may just copy it!

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  16. Firstly, only a Mama could put up with all the chunks! I hope Bean is feeling better soon. I love candy canes too, I look forward to them all year long. :) And that photo of Al and Bean is PRICELESS. It is definitely frame-worthy! Only one month until Christmas!

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  17. Look at those eyes!!! Gorgeous, I tell you.

    I have to tell you this story, but I'll be brief. The last time we had the stomach flu at our house, I was sitting in my chair in my room, talking to John, with Jack curling up in my lap for some reason, acting all tired. He said his tummy hurt a little. He fell asleep, I think, and then, out of nowhere, he sits up and DRENCHES me with throw up. I sat there, stunned, trying to catch it in my hand, for some stupid reason. I just remember thinking, "I'm doomed."
    Ugh. Everyone else got it but it took 2 whole weeks for it to hit me. I dreaded each and every minute of that two weeks... I knew what was coming. I feel for you, girlfriend.

    Claire hates throw up and always has had an inordinate fear of it. When she was about 4 or 5, she was telling us something about being sick, and as usual, we were barely listening, until she said, "you know, 'F.U.' " Then she had our attention. Ever so nonchalantly, we said in unison, "What? No, we don't know what F.U. is... please, tell us..." And she said, very low, "you know, FROW-UP." OHHHH! THAT f.u. :)

    Sigh of relief, and change of name.... now it's s.u. for spit up. :)

    Hope everyone is well soon!!!

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  18. oh my.......first off.....I am so sorry the bug hit your family. :( You know quite well, I can fully sympathize. I do hope she is feeling better and you don't get it.

    As for your holiday traditions....WOW! I just might borrow a few! :)

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  19. Those are beautiful traditions. The picture of Al and Bean is absolutley adorable. The Santa letter is a cute idea.

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  20. Love this! I can't sleep on Christmas Eve either. And I love the letter from Santa idea.

    I hope you manage to escape the pukes. UGH.

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  21. That Bean has the prettiest eyes! I finally got to make the Cranapple Crunch yesterday (I hid the apples after buying them for the 3rd time) and it was even yummier than I thought it would be. Thanks!
    Smiles!

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  22. what great traditions!

    That picture of of Al and Bean is a framer!

    Blessings,
    K

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  23. oops forgot -- hope she is feeling all better real soon!

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  24. Bless your heart, sweet friend. I hope today's sunrise heralded a day with no pukes. For anyone.

    Thank you so much for sharing these seven random holiday things! Would you be offended if we "stole" the letters from Santa idea, too? That is just perfect.

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  25. What a sweet pic! I am shamelessly helping myself to your letter from Santa, pink reindeer water, and candy cane tree traditions! Thanks! Hope everyone is feeling better by the minute!

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  26. I know you said no more recipes, but pleasssse can I have the pomander cookie and the ham biscuit recipes? They sound delish!

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  27. That is probably the prettiest child I've ever seen!

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Thoughts?