Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa's Christmas Prayer

On Christmas Eve the other night
I saw the most amazing sight,
for there beneath the Christmas tree
was Santa kneeling on his knee.
His countenance was different than
that all - familiar, jolly grin;
his head was bowed, with hand to breast,
and slightly tucked into his vest.
For there in a nativity
was Jesus and His family,
and as I heard him start to pray
I listened close to what he'd say.
"Lord, You know that You're the reason
I take pleasure in this season.
I don't want to take Your place,
but just reflect Your wondrous grace.
I hope You'll help them understand
I'm just an ordinary man,
who found a way to do Your will
by finding kids with needs to fill.
But all those centuries ago,
there was no way for me to know
that they would make so much of me,
and all the gifts beneath the tree.
They think I have some hidden power
granted at the midnight hour,
but it is my love for You
inspiring the things I do.
And so when they begin to open
gifts for which they have been hoping,
may they give You all the glory,
for You're the One True Christmas story."
I don't know who wrote this, but it has become one of my favorite Christmas poems. At the Children's Christmas Eve Mass at our church towards the end Santa comes in to pray, I just love that part.
Wishing you all Peace and Joy and a very Happy Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

But it was so warm and sunny in the Caribbean. I dreaded coming home to this cold! We have recently returned from our cruise. It was lovely.

Our adventure began flying to Fort Lauderdale. Although she had flown before, Vanessa doesn't remember the last time, so she was very excited about flying in the airplane. Everything was going great. She was coloring in her books and reading...not being herself at all... then we hit a patch of turbulence and she got air sick, all over everything. Of course at this point I'm working on the worst mother of the year award because I didn't even think to pack extra clothes for Nessa in our carry on!!! Luckily we were able to clean up her "Green Beer" (Green carebear), her turtle, blanket, and clothes didn't fare so well... we wrapped her up in my sweater and she slept for the rest of the flight. The next day we took a Limo to the Port of Miami, Nessa thought the big car was the best thing she had ever seen. She giggled the entire way to the Pier, she was riding in the big car and we were all in the backseat with her. Then she saw the "Big Boat". She couldn't wait to get on it and although our check in process was very quick and easy it was still a little long for her to wait.

Ahoy...the open sea! Although the seas were a little rough, no one in our group was sea sick. Vanessa loved the balcony on our cabin and had a blast in Camp Carnival. Our first port of call was San Juan. My Uncle Steve and Aunt Flori met us and took us on a short tour of the area and then to dinner at "The Parrot Club". I highly recommend it to anyone who is traveling to Puerto Rico. Everything we had was fantastic. As many of you know I do NOT like steak in general, but Brian had me try a bite of his and I wished I had ordered it. It was the best thing I have tasted in my life! We had conch - I was surprised how good it was, fried plantains and other local vegetables I've never heard of like Yuca - kind of like a potato. The next day we sailed into St Thomas. We went on a tour with a tour group called Spider man tours. They were so much less expensive than the cruise prices, so I didn't know what to expect really, but had read many great reviews. We were NOT disappointed! The tour guide was great. We had about 1 1/2 hours of shopping in Charlotte Amalie. We went into one shop as my mom was leaving. She had been their first visitor of the day, so she got a "discount", then she had asked where she was from and she told her "Indianapolis". The people in the shop were so excited because they love Reggie Miller. She got another discount because of it! So, as we are walking in mom told them I am her daughter and I got the same discounts because you know, everyone in Indianapolis is a "Friend of Reggie". They give discounts to "Reggie's friends"!! Thanks MOM!!! Next we went to see the sights. We had a World Famous Banana Daiquiri at Mountain Top, and Brian never once mentioned the prices (highlight of my day). Next we went to Sapphire Beach. Very beautiful and we were visited by fish and seagulls, even an iguana! Our final Port of Call was St Maarten. We went on a tour that had been highly recommended on this island as well, but it did not go so well. This was a beautiful island, but very different. It is 1/2 dutch and 1/2 French, but whereas the Dutch half is governed by the Netherland Antilles (not Holland), the French half is governed by France. On the Dutch side anything goes for the most part. Drinking and Driving, Prostitution, Gambling...it's all good...but you can't get naked on the beach! On the French side you can't do anything. You look at someone wrong and your in the clink...but you show all of your fine self on the beach... some of these people really NEED clothes! There was a line that if you are on one side you can be totally nude and on the other only topless. We rented beach chairs just over the line on the topless side. There was one old man who stood in front of Brian's chair and as we called it, "waved his flag". He spent about 5 minutes trying to fold his sarong to put on and each time it would fold right he would wave it in the air again. Hilarious! We were supposed to have 3 hours of shopping on this tour. We ended up with about 1/2 hour at the beginning and then after all the delays from people getting on the bus late and traffic we ended up with NO time to shop in Phillipsburg. Which is where the Yoda Guys art gallery is. Oh well, maybe next time. We had a total of 3 at Sea days. Which are typically my favorite of a cruise. The Liberty is a very nice ship and everything was great, however; the service wasn't up to par with what we have had in the past. Vanessa did love that she could call for room service and get chocolate milk at all hours of the day or night, and she called our room steward and his helper "my people". They all loved her, everyone on the crew knew Nessa and would always say "Hi Vanessa" when we walked by, and many other passengers as well. On the first day they were playing Caribbean music on the Lido deck and Nessa was dancing by the band. They had her say "Hi" to everyone on board and after that she was a "local celebrity". We stayed one night on South Beach on our return, all I have to say is NEVER stay at The Deauville Resort in Miami and I will never pre-pay for a hotel again! I have posted our over 400 pictures on Picasa. The link is at the bottom of this blog if you want to see them!

It's been a couple weeks since our return and we have been busy getting ready for Christmas. I was trying to talk to Nessa about what she wants from Santa and here is how our conversation went:

Me: What would you like for Christmas?
Nessa: (eyes wide and a huge grin) A CHRISTMAS tree!
Me: No, what would you like to GET for Christmas?
Nessa: (still excited) BARBIE's CHRISTMAS tree!
Me: No, Nessa...what would you like for a present for Christmas?
Nessa: (starting to get confused) Barbie's Christmas.
Me: OK, if Santa is going to bring you a present, what would you want?
Nessa: ummm...A pretty dress.
Me: Are you sure? What kind of toys would you want Santa to bring?
Nessa: Christmas.
Me: No, Nessa, Listen. Santa is going to bring you presents on Christmas just like when people brought you presents for your birthday. What you you like to have?
Nessa: (now very serious) Surprises.

Oh, she is a joy and a challenge... Gotta love her!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Sorry, I haven't been blogging very well lately! I will try to do better in the coming months!

Our Halloween season this year is actually a kind of funny story... Vanessa is going to be 3 next week, so she is just getting the whole Halloween thing. I asked her a few weeks ago what she wanted to be. She told me Santa Claus, I said "you can't be Santa for Halloween, what else would you like to be?" She thought for a minute and said "a snowman". I said, ok, if you can't be anything christmas what would you want to be, of course then I got "Santa" again. There is no negotiating with a 2 yr old. Then last week I decided it was getting too close and we had to figure out something. She was going to be an angel, but I thought the costume I had would be too cold. Little did I know it was going to be 70 degrees! So, we brought it up again and she said a pirate. I'm thinking great! She can even take that with her on our cruise in 2 weeks and it would be cute! Then we went shopping... she thought a pirate was a skeleton. I couldn't find a skeleton costume in her size anywhere. She wanted NOTHING to do with any of the pirate costumes. Luckily we found a very soft (velour) toddler witch costume that she fell in love with. She has no idea she is a witch, she just likes that it is soft and has a hat. We went to zoo boo last weekend and put her little monkey back pack on her and she was the wicked witch of the west with her flying monkey.

The night before Halloween we carved our pumpkins. Vanessa did not like cleaning them, but enjoyed watching me carve them and helping paint them with glitter glue.











Halloween morning... when I woke Nessa up for school I told her "Happy Halloween". She spent the rest of the morning saying "Happy Birthday" and singing the Happy Birthday song. Of course she did have some idea of the holiday because she told Brian as we were leaving for work/school she was going to go "tricking" tonight.










Trick or Treating tonight went better than I ever would have expected. She started right at 6pm and she "tricked" for 2 straight hours and now has more candy than any 3 year old could eat in 2 years! She was also the loudest kid on the block, starting at the end of the driveways and shouting "Trick or Treat" all the way to the door. My favorite is when she rang a neighbors door bell and yelled. "Come in!"









Happy Halloween!

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer's end

Hello Everyone,

I can't beleive it is Labor Day already. This summer was gone too quickly. Kid's are going back to school and days will start cooling down soon. The past 3 months Nessa has changed from my baby to a little girl. She's very independant and wants to do everything for herself and by herself. Everything is "my turn", and "no mommy, I do it". We have a cheer we say on the way to "school" everyday, it goes "Good Girl. No hitting people. Potty on the Potty and Nap at Naptime. Yay" She is doing such a good job with potty training. Luckily she was one of those kids who just one day said, no more diapers. We have had very few accidents, mostly just because she waits too long to go and one time at Adam and Katie's she forgot to pull her pants down first. Oops! She is getting very tall and as you can see in this picture has some really big hair. She is ready to start her dance classes again this week. I hope Miss Ashley can convince her she needs to wear only one pair of shoes at a time!!!

This weekend we took an impromtu trip up to Ft. Wayne and to the Lake. She had a lot of fun helping Grandma water her garden.








Then we spent the day at the Lake with Grandpa. Brian, Adam, Grandpa and Alaina took in the pier, but we had a little blow up row boat that Nessa and Alaina could row around in. Cami and Nessa didn't really care for the water, but Alaina spent most of the day swimming and surfing on the pier as they brought the pieces in.











On the way home Vanessa was so worn out. We had Barbie Nutcracker (the only movie she will watch right now) on the DVD player and at on point I turned around and she was literally holding her eyes open she was so tired.






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Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Pictures

Hi! I posted a bunch of new pictures in our photo gallery! We have been busy this month! Katie White and I started taking a ballet class on Tuesday nights (just for the month of July), it's been a lot of fun! I remember it being much easier to do when I was younger. We have been going to the pool at my mom's edition every chance we get, I posted a few pictures from the 4th weekend. We went to Ft Wayne for the Three Rivers Festival Parade and to see Grandparents, the Parade was a lot of fun and Nessa really enjoyed it except for when the let go of all of the yellow balloons. Her favorite (besides Grandpa) was the motorcycles. This weekend we went to the St. Christopher Church Festival to see Polka Boy and this year Vanessa was able to ride some of the rides, which she loved! The weather was great so there were tons of people... there were so many people from my high school there, we could have had a reunion!!! Brian's not the best photographer, but here is a little clip of Nessa dancing at the festival.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Daddy's Girl



This picture was taken of Vanessa at daycare.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bambi and the Bunny




Vanessa stole the show at her dance recital on June 7Th. She was a bunny in her dance studio's version of Bambi. She was one of the 3 bunnies (out of 6) who appeared on stage and she did all of her steps, although not in the order they were supposed to be. She loved it! She went out there and danced, and she sashayed her little heart out. She did her little arabesque and fell, but got right back up and tried again.
When the rest of the bunnies left the stage she stayed out for her impromptu solo, she was finally chased off the stage by her teacher Miss Ashley.
Then for the finale she was supposed to go out on stage and sit with the other bunnies and do "pretty arms". Nessa decided it was her opportunity for another impromptu solo.
She sat center stage and clapped for everyone, then she heard us in the front row and decided she wanted to see her cousin Alaina and started for the edge of the stage. Luckily she was caught by her teacher just in time and her debut ended in a wail as she was dragged off the stage screaming "Mommy!"

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Job

I've got a new job!

As many of you know Brian and I graduated from Financial Peace University in April and we have been working on the Dave Ramsey plan for these past few months. We decided that the best way for us to stay on track is for me to go back to work for 1 year. In that year we can have our debt paid (Baby Step 2 - everything but the house) and a good start on our emergency fund (Baby Step 3 - 3 to 6 months expenses). I can't wait to call Dave's radio show and scream "We're debt FREE!"

I was very excited to have the opportunity to stay home with Nessa when Brian got his promotion, but I also realize in the long run we will be better off as a family.

The j-o-b is at the All State Insurance call center, very close to home!!! For at least the first 4 months the hours are Monday through Friday, 11a - 8p (ick), but I'll still get to spend mornings with Nessa. My first day will be June 9th.

Any past ATA friends or anyone else needing a job e-mail me and I'll give you the details...they are still hiring.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy May

May is my favorite month of the year. The sun starts shining more and the weather is a nice 70ish degrees, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, summer is almost here, and cars are on the track!

I haven't been taking very many pictures lately so I don't have any snapshots to share with you. We did take Vanessa with her cousins Alaina and Cami to have professional photos for their grandparents mothers day presents. Here is a glimpse into the way the session went... As you can see, Cami and Alaina are where they are supposed to be and Nessa is running wild. This picture was taken just as Cami was about out of patience as well and after this shot we had all had enough! Nessa has issues with photographers and photo places in general. It doesn't matter where we take her she has the same reaction. She hates them. It takes about 15 minutes typically for her to warm up to the photographer, then hope they don't try to use a dark background before I remember to tell them not to. She doesn't like them, she is terrified of them. She screams and climbs up the first person she finds. I don't know why she does this, it started for no apparent reason at her 1st birthday pictures.

Happy Mother's Day to all the happy mothers!!! Our mother's day weekend started out with a dance recital for Alaina at the Madame Walker Theater. It was a very interesting recital a great way to showcase what the students have learned over the year and Alaina was the best in her class! It started with class exercises and culminated in a variety of dances my favorites, of course, being the excerpts from Coppelia.

Brian went on a fishing trip with some friends to Lake Erie he caught a total of 8 walleye, and brought home a ton of fish! Anyone interested in coming over for a fish fry???!!!

Next weekend we are going to the 500 Festival Parade on Saturday, then to Ft Wayne, while we are there we will be attending a baptism for Vanessa's Godmother's first child, a baby shower for Brian's cousin, and a Straub get together. Hopefully we will also be able to squeeze some time in at the Lake!
Nessa's first dance recital is coming up quickly! She is going to be a bunny in the opening scene of the Ballet and she has been practicing every minute. Although, once on stage all the practicing may be for naught. No matter what these little toddlers decide to do, they will be cute!

Can I interest you in a cruise??? If anyone is interested in joining us on a cruise in November, we are going on a 4 day cruise from Miami to Key West and Cozumel. Only 185 days till we go!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tippy Toes School of Dance


Nessa has been taking Dance Class on Wednesday's since Septmeber. The first class she was in, she and her cousin Wyatt were too young. So, after one week we transfered into the new Toddler class the studio had just created. It has been so much fun (at least the few minutes each class that Nessa actually pays attention)! The class is about 20 minutes of Ballet and 10 minutes of Tap.





Daddy was able to go to class with us last week. She did the best we have seen her do so far this year! Only 3 classes until the Big Recital. Nessa's class is going to be bunnies in the studio's production of Bambi. Let's hope they all at least make it on stage!!! The Recital is on June 7th, 5pm at Franklin Central High School.




Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mammy's Obituary


Mary G. Mathews
Feb. 3, 1912 - April 11, 2008
NDIANAPOLIS — Mary Grace Mathews, 96, former 62-year Anderson resident, died April 11, 2008, at Rosegate Village in Indianapolis, following an extended illness.She was born Feb. 3, 1912, in Frankfort, Ind., the daughter of William Eli and Grace (Robertson) Painter.

Mary was a graduate of Frankfort High School. She was a homemaker.

Survivors include three daughters, Ramona Sinnett of Kokomo, and Otila Mathews and Xeneclea “Clea” Spears, both of Indianapolis; a son, Jerry Mathews of Kansas City, Mo.; nine grandchildren, Jenine, Chiquita, Tonya, Travis, Trent, Jennifer, Mathew, Carolyn and Kristen; 19 great-grandchildren, Tabitha, Jessica, Tiffany, Nicholas, Danielle, Athena, Amanda, Phillip, Justin, Jeremy, Brandy, Christopher, Mikhail, Vanessa, Jaycie, Levi, Emily, Larissa and Haden; 10 great-great-grandchildren, Tanner, Konner, Sydnie, Noelle, Wyatt, Alexandra, Amelia, Hayden, Logan and Cecilia; and two sisters, Thelma Snodgrass of Kokomo and Jean Stevens of Frankfort.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Edwin Ray Mathews, on Dec. 8, 1992; her parents; and 13 brothers and sisters.

Private graveside service and burial will be held at IOOF Cemetery in Frankton.

Memorial contributions may be given to St. Francis Hospice in Indianapolis.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Rozelle-Johnson Funeral Service, Anderson.
Published in The Herald Bulletin on 4/13/2008.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mary Grace Painter Mathews


February 03, 1912 - April 11, 2008


She was the 5th child of 16 in her family, 4 boys and 12 girls. She remembered the end of the 1st World War, her father, brothers and neighbors parading in the streets and banging pots and pans because they were so happy the war was over, she also told of listening to the first Radio in Indiana. She had lots of stories to tell. She has 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and 10 great great grandchildren. She never liked pets, but she loved horses and one little black dog named Suzie. She was a wonderful grandmother, she did tell us to go play in traffic a few times, but there wasn't much traffic out by the farm to play in. When I was young I remember feeding the horses, Billie (a pony), and chickens on the farm, and endlessly pulling weeds and picking strawberries from the garden. She loved her garden and she loved her flowers. Everywhere you turned there was a bed of flowers... lilies, roses, poppies, sunflowers, even spearmint and garlic sprung up everywhere. I have so many wonderful memories to cherish, and endlessly tell my grandchildren over and over again. I will miss her so much.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter

Easter morning, the bunny brought Nessa a basket and hid eggs all over the place. She had so much fun finding them and she rarely gets candy so the basket of chocolate was almost more than she could fathom! Then we got dressed in our tights, shoes, and sweater all a little too big, our dress borrowed from Alaina at literally the last minute (the dress I ordered didn't come in), but still the most beautiful girl in the world.
Nessa was star struck by Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny. She was so excited to see them, she couldn't wait for her turn to get her picture taken with them.Then she wasn't just in her own picture she was in lots of other kids pictures too. She had her picture taken many, many times. She kept saying "Hi, Bunny!" and "I love you, Bunny!"
Then we had an egg hunt, Nessa would run through the yard shouting "Eggs! Eggs!" As she passed 20 of them to get to the one she wanted to put in her basket.

Coloring Eggs

Dipped, Dyed, Swirled, or painted...not matter the technique, coloring eggs is so much fun! This is the first year we colored eggs with Nessa and as much fun as she had I think Brian and I had more fun watching the wonder on her face and hearing the giggles and squeals. We all colored on the eggs with crayons and then dipped them in plain old fashioned vinegar and water egg dye. Maybe next year we'll get a little more adventurous.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Britton Falls Talk Series


My mom and I have been going to the WIBC talk series at Britton Falls in Fishers. They have one of the radio personalities speak on a specific topic once a month. Last month was Greg Garrison a political talk show host. This month was Carl Brizzi the Marion County prosecutor on the State of our Streets. They always have a drawing at the end. Last month was a signed copy of Greg Garrison's book, I had already read it so I was fine with not winning. This month was a $100 GC to Ruth Chris Steakhouse, and guess who won!!! ME!

Butterfly Garden











Brian only had to work a 1/2 day on Friday for Good Friday so we all went to the Butterfly Garden at the Zoo. Nessa loved finding all the butterflys, she could have walked around in there for hours. My aunt Otila has butterflys hanging on her walls and Nessa loves looking at them and talking about them so she and my mom joined us in our little family excursion.

St. Patrick's Day



Nessa, Mom and I went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Monday. It was cold, but we were all bundled up pretty well and Nessa had so much fun! She loved the bands and characters.

A lot of the paraders threw candy

and some had beads, but we were close to the beginning of the parade and they didn't throw very many.

Mom got a red clover plant from the WIBC float.

Green is good, except for broccoli.

Easter Egg Hunt

Last Saturday my grandmother's nursing home had an Egg Hunt for all the kids. They had the "inmates" stuffing eggs for days and they were all so excited to see the little kids having so much fun. Mammy has had pnemonia and wasn't feeling well enough to spend time with the kids that day, but they still had a lot of fun with the bunny! Nessa loved this bunny, she kept going back to him and cutting in line to hug him again and again. We had discussed our stratagy before the hunt began and Nessa was like a pro at collecting eggs. By the time the hunt was over, her bag was stuffed!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring


Spring


by Robert McCraken


Today is the day when bold kites fly,

When cumulus clouds roar across the sky.

When robins return, when children cheer,

When light rain beckons spring to appear.


Today is the day when daffodils bloom,

Which children pick to fill the room,

Today is the day when grasses green,

When leaves burst forth for spring to be seen.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Nessa's First Hair Cut


Brian and I took Nessa to Cindy to get her hair cut tonight. She watched Cindy cut Brian's hair, then sat on his lap and got to wear a pretty black polka dot cape. She was very good the whole time. No more frizzy dry ends!

Monday, February 4, 2008

96 years


My Grandmother "Mammy" was born on February 3, 1912. Our family had a party for her at the Nursing home where she is living now. She is physically doing as well as a 96 year old body can, mentally she has good times and bad. She couldn't remember how old she was, she knew she must be a hundrend and was very disappointed when we told her she was ONLY 96.

Mammy and Alexandra, Amelia, and Wyatt all Great Great Grandchildren.


Mammy with her daughters, Ramona (Nanny), Otila, and my mom Clea (aka Cinderella).



Mammy comes from a very old school of picture taking and doesn't believe in smiling for picutres. I think these are the first pictures I have ever seen of her smiling.