My Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day began for me on Saturday morning. We celebrated Saturday because Sam had to work on Sunday.

When I returned home from work, my kids were already up and waiting. Sam had texted me that Ella was anxious for me to come home to get my present. Ella was excited because she had seen something in the store and wanted to get it for me weeks ago. Same ordered it online so it would be here for Father’s Day.

Ella and Andrew got to play with markers (which only happens on special occasions) and decorate the gift bag my gifts would be in. She was so happy to hand me the bag.

She waited for me to reach into the bag and could hardly contain herself. When I pulled out her gift to me, she shrieked with excitement! It was really the perfect gift.

We watch Bluey together all the time. It is probably my favorite cartoon that she watches. Bandit, the dad on the show, is what ALL dad’s should be! He’s awesome. This book is just wonderful. We read it before bed last night. I don’t know who was happier about this book – Ella or me!

Andrew got some help from mommy with his gift. As I have mentioned, I’m an older dad. One of the reasons I started this blog was to write my memories and such so that in the event something happens, the memories are here. Sam took it a step further for Andrews’s gift to me.

I’m not sure who came up with the idea for books like this, but they are great. I had originally gotten one of these for my mom to fill out before she passed. She was just too sick and too tired to ever really do it. I wish she’d been able to do that.

At any rate, there are a lot of thought provoking questions in this book and Sam thought I could take it with me to work and fill it in when I was on breaks and such. I love the idea!

After nap time, the family drove up the road to look for some new pajamas for Ella. She’s starting to not fit in her current ones. We went to the Carter’s store and looked around. She was forever handing Sam and I things for Andrew or herself that she found on a rack somewhere. The funniest thing of the trip was a foreshadowing of Ella in her teen and adult years. She kept asking for shoes and even began to make a pile of ones she wanted!

Just the beginning …..

After our shopping trip we came home and made dinner. I didn’t want Sam to have to take me out anywhere, so we made chicken on the grill. We also made corn on the cob and other sides. It was the perfect way to wrap up the day.

I was out grilling the chicken and I was using a brush to put BBQ sauce on a few of the pieces of chicken.

As I am doing this, Ella is standing there watching me. She see’s me dipping the brush into the BBQ sauce and putting it on the chicken. She then says, “Daddy! You’re painting!” Priceless!

Sam kept telling Ella to say, “Happy Father’s Day” to me and it kept coming out “Happy Mother’s Day” which just made me laugh even more.

On Sunday, or “Father’s Day in real life,” as Bluey might say, we had a wonderful breakfast. I made everyone eggs, sausage, and fruit. Ella stated that it was “Deeee-lish-ous!”

We called my dad to wish him Happy Father’s Day. My oldest son called me to wish me the same. Sadly, I never heard from my second oldest son. That’s a whole blog in itself and I will spare you those details for now.

After Andrew’s nap, I decided to take the kids to the Barnes and Noble. I wasn’t sure that there was anything I wanted for myself, but I though we could pick up some new books for them.

While we were walking Ella and I were just talking. Andrew was in the stroller and Ella was walking next to me. I don’t remember what we were saying, but a woman stopped me and said that she wished she had videoed the exchange we were having. She said she was very impressed with how we were interacting. She reminded me of a teacher or something. Ella then said hello, grabbed a puzzle with dogs on the box and showed the lady.

The lady, without skipping a beat, got down on the ground and they counted dogs together, asked about the colors of the dogs, and talked about what “doggies say.” It was so cool to see. She thanked Ella for showing her and Ella put the puzzle back. The lady was so impressed with how polite Ella was. Proud parent moment.

After we got home, we had lunch. Sam took Andrew into our room when it was his nap time. Sam suggested that since one of the local ice cream places had free cones for dads on Father’s day, we should go. We wound up going somewhere a bit closer, but it still worked out because dads got a free scoop of ice cream there, too!

Ice cream is not exactly on Weight Watchers, but I had some anyway and ate carefully the rest of the day. Ella asked for “white ice cream with sprinkles” and that is what she got!

Dad may or may not have had to help her on occasion because it was melting faster than she could eat it!

She talked to everyone who came to the ice cream place! She recommended getting banana ice cream to many, even though she was eating vanilla. She was a real hoot. The owner came out and asked how her ice cream was and she said it was the “best ice cream ever!”

After the ice cream, dad decided to walk the neighborhood. Sunday, she didn’t want to ride in the stroller. So we walked together. The workout was a bit less intense than I had hoped.

About half way through the walk she tripped and skinned her knee pretty bad. So I wound up picking her up and finishing the walk with her on my shoulders. That brought the heart rate up a bit and I probably burned off about half of the ice cream calories!

When Sam left for work, it was just me and the kids. We were playing on the “nugget” and having a blast. Andrew was climbing up like nobody’s business. Once he was on the top, he would start to walk off it. Most of the time, I was there to catch him. There were a couple times where he’d do this little stuntman fall. He is fearless!

Thank you to my wife and my kids for making the weekend such a special one for me!

Cast the Movie of Your Life

The Word Press App on my phone will offer a daily writing prompt to bloggers. I subscribe to a few “prompt” emails and such, and they can certainly be thought starters. Today’s prompt was one I had considered before and I may have even been asked a similar question by a Facebook friend. The prompt:

They are making a movie about your life. Cast it. (Keith adds – with any actors living or dead)

My thoughts on this are to jot down what comes to mind immediately for some (not all) of my family, and a few friends (other friends may request I suggest an actor/actress for them if they really want me to). I will then continue to ponder the question and see if, after thinking it over, I would change any of my choices.

Me

Dom Deluise – No Brainer. This has always been my answer to this question!

My wife, Sam

This was tough. I tried to think of who might look like her and carry herself like Sam. Toss up between Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde.

My Dad

I’m not sure there would be any better than Jackie Gleason to play my dad

My Mom

Who in the world could play my mom? Tough question and still not really sure, but I forced myself to pick someone. At times, Cathy Bates’ facial expressions remind me of her, so for now – that’ my pick.

My Brother – Chris

Really difficult pick. So just because it will either make him laugh (and he needs that, because he is recovering from Covid) or it will make him mad… William Shatner (Because I wanted to post this stupid picture!)

My Grandma and Grandpa P

Estelle Getty on Golden Girls WAS my grandma! I always felt Abe Vigoda looked like my grandpa, so there ya go.

My Grandma and Grandpa D.

I have always felt like at times, Betty White reminded me of my grandma. My grandpa was tall, a bit heavy, and always smiling. John Goodman reminds me of him.

My best friend, Jeff

Another no brainer. I’ve said for years that he reminds me of Robin Williams.

My friend Steve K.

Steve always has some sort of crazy fact that seems unbelievable to tell. So, he would be John Ratzenberger – but John Ratzenberger AS Cliff Claven from Cheers.

My friend Joe K.

Joe is probably one of the smartest guys I know. At first, I couldn’t get Jeff Goldblum out of my head, and then I though Rainn Wilson is a bit more “Joe” to me.

My friend Steve M.

Steve and I wear our hair the same. My first choice was Vin Diesel, but then I though Michael Chiklis looked more like him (and he played Curly in a Three Stooges movie, so he wins).

My friend Margaret M.

She’s Italian. She’s fiesty. She is strong. She is an expert at inserting profanity into conversation. Without a doubt – Marisa Tomei.

My friend, Chris B,

Tall and funny = Conan O’Brien

Uh …… I’m Stumped

Now, as far as my kids …. I’m just not sure. My older boys (Dante’ and Dimitri) have personalities that are very established. Ella does in a sense as well. Andrew is just a smiling happy baby. How do I begin to pick who will play them? I just don’t know….

It’s my blog and my rules. Let me think a bit on this ….

If I left you out …. and you want me to think about who will play you – let me know. In the meantime ….

Go ahead and cast YOUR life. Who would play YOU?

Remembering Uncle Tom

Today would have been my Godfather’s birthday. I really miss him a lot. I found some pictures on a hard drive which brought a smile to my face today and I wanted to share.

Uncle Tom and a 1 month old me…
I’m a little bit older here. I wish the photo had the date on it ….
I look terrible here! LOL
Uncle Tom, Aunt Jane, and me
One of my favorite pictures – Mom, Uncle Tom and a skinny me

When I first started blogging I devoted an entire blog to him … for new followers, you can read it here:

Fill in the Blank?

I really have every reason in the world to be happy. I am married to my soul mate. I have 4 wonderful children. I am saved by grace. I am alive. I am employed. I have food on the table and a roof over my head. The list goes on and on. However, I have fallen back into a funk and I am trying to remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life in an attempt to break free from it.

I used to see the above picture at a therapist’s office. There are more feelings on it than the ones seen above: enraged, ashamed, cautious, smug, depressed, overwhelmed, hopeful, lonely, lovestruck, jealous, bored, surprised, anxious, shocked, and shy. I’m sure there are many others that I am forgetting. I remember looking at the poster and wondering just where I fit in on that particular day – even though it was not my appointment!

I wish I could sort it out. I HATE being in this place! I HATE not being able to figure out just what is going on in my head. Just what the heck am I feeling?! I wish I could figure it out. When I get this way, I feel like everything everyone says to be puts me on the offensive. I feel attacked. I feel pushed. I feel like I have no control over what is going on in my life. I feel that way, but that probably really isn’t the case.

When I feel like I have lost control, I kinda go off on a tangent. I go from “0 to 100” as my wife has told me on occasion. I react. I don’t think before I open my mouth. Is it stress? Maybe. Is it lack of sleep? Maybe. Am I overwhelmed? Maybe? I just can’t seem to figure out what the deal is.

Am I happy? Yes! Am I happy with myself? Not always. Sometimes I feel like I let the people in my life who need me down. There are so many things that I need to be doing as a husband and a father, but I am just exhausted and feel like my brain isn’t able to really understand what I need to do.

Perhaps it is the fact that we’ve been living as hermits? In two years, we have pretty much lived a life of isolation. No big birthday parties for my kids. Limited exposure to everyone and everything. Life consists of work and home. Anything “fun” seems to have been put on hold. I just don’t feel comfortable yet. When will I feel that way again? Will I EVER feel that way again?

Perhaps it is the thought of change? I don’t like change. That is no secret. I have blogged about that many times. Fear of the unknown has been a fear of mine since I was a kid. This is so unwarranted. Many times I have taken a leap of faith and it turned out ok. It is bad enough when you have a fork in the road with two options, anything more than that can really take the stress and fear of the unknown up a few notches!

This is one of those situations where I wish my mom was around. I could always count on her to listen and offer her thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I have people I can talk to about things, and I appreciate their opinions, but they are not mom. Really, if I am being honest with myself, we are all going through some tough stuff right now. Are my friends really going to want to hear about my silly BS when they are dealing with their own? Probably not.

So here I am. Trying to sort through every possible emotion and feeling known to man to try and figure out what is going on. What do I do with those things in front of me? Do I just shut down and shut up? Do I just keep on keeping on? How much more can I look at all of this and scratch my head? What EXACTLY is the BEST outcome/scenario/choice?

This is going to sound silly, but sometimes I wish there was a fast forward button for life, so you could see what would happen based on decisions. Don’t like the outcome, rewind and try another option. Just rereading that I realize what a stupid thought that is. There is no such thing. There are no do overs. You make a choice and you live with the choice. If the outcome wasn’t good, you make a change.

I’ve made thousands of changes in my life. Those changes have brought me to the point where I am now. The point where I need to reassure myself of all the things in my life that make me happy.

If I have done something recently to annoy you, upset you, make you angry, or anything along those lines – I am sorry. I wish I could sit down and say, “I am feeling _______ and I’ll get through it!” I just need to fill in the blank. I’m just not sure how long it’s going to take to figure it out …

A Special Addition to the Tree

This is one of those blogs that is overdue. It’s a “Thank You.”

One of the things that I love about Christmas is decorating the tree. Most of the ornaments each have a special memory. As I have blogged about in the past, we try to get one new ornament every year that signifies a big event from the year (our engagement, our wedding, the births of our children, etc…). As more of the memory/event ornaments go up, we remove the generic bulbs.

Along with the ornament for AJ’s First Christmas, there is another special ornament on the tree this year. I thank my brother, Christopher, for that.

He has a friend who took this picture of my mom and my son and made this ornament for me. The photo was taken in 2002 when my son was just 2 days old. Dante’ was her first grandchild and she was thrilled to be a grandma. I remember she slept in the waiting room the entire night as we awaited his birth. I had seen my mother smile before, but the smile on her face was like no other when she saw him and held him for the first time!

This picture was taken right around within minutes of one of my favorite pictures of my mom and Dante’:

The ornament is a wonderful addition to the tree this year. It makes me so sad that mom never had the chance to meet her three other grandchildren. I hope with each passing year, as my kids see this ornament on the tree, they will ask questions and want to know more about her. I will love sharing stories about her with them.

Holy 500!

I was notified by Word Press that this blog hit a milestone!! Had I been paying attention, I would have made Blog #500 something a bit more special. Instead, my last blog (#500) was about how tired I am!

Reflecting

As I sat down to write Blog #501, I thought on how far this blog has come. I never started this blog to gain hundreds of followers, however, I have. Originally, I started the blog as a way to write down my feelings and thoughts as I went through some troubling times. Then I thought it would be a good place to write some memories down so my kids could look back and read them. It has evolved into a place where I can write about personal things, and not so personal things.

I am glad that the details of how my wife and I came to be together are here. I am also glad that I have detailed blogs about the the birth of my son and daughter. There are also many memories of my mom, so that my kids who never had the chance to meet her, will be able to read about her. I hope that they will be able to come here to read about the special people in my life – my wife, my kids, my parents, my grandparents, my teachers, my co-workers and mentors, and my friends.

It’s also fun to look back at the special “events” I took part in. Recently, I took part in a song draft, which allowed me to feature 10 great songs. There was a bit more pressure than just picking a song and writing about it. It was hard to pick just 10! Blogging about TV shows and movies as part of blogathons has been fun, as well. I’m looking forward to a TV show draft, similar to the song draft, coming soon.

What Have I Learned?

So, just what have I learned after 500 blogs?

1. It’s not easy!

I read somewhere that most people who start a blog quit writing after a month. I am glad that I have continued to write, although finding stuff to write about is not always easy. There are many days where I sit and have nothing to write about. In those moments, I turn to Daily Writing Prompts. Sometimes they will be helpful, but many of them are worthless.

Some days are easier than others. Many times a song will bring about a memory I can share. Other times a conversation will spawn something worth writing about. My kids are a constant source of writing material and funny stories and for that I am grateful. I love bragging about them.

The key for me is to just keep writing. I plan to do just that.

2. I’ve met some really cool friends

When I created my blog, I started to search for blogs about music and movies. I started following some of them and by doing so, found there many people who share similar likes with me. I began to comment on their posts and they commented on mine. By doing so, I have really gained some neat friendships with people I have never seen face to face. I’m thankful for each of them

3. I often wonder if I make a difference

I guess I hope that someone who goes through my blog will find an occasional “nugget” that they can use in their daily life. It’s not easy to put your life out on the internet for everyone to see, but if someone can learn something from the challenges I faced and the issues I worked through, I will be happy with that.

More recently, I have blogged a little bit more about my faith. I was always told to not discuss religion and politics. I follow a few blogs who share my beliefs and I appreciate them. I know that not everyone is going to share my beliefs and that is ok. That being said, I am also not going to be afraid to post more about it and am always happy to discuss it with others.

4. I really enjoy blogging

I’m not sure I could ever be a reporter or a writer where there were deadlines for articles. I enjoy sitting and writing about my passions, my experiences, my family, and my life. I love being able to write down things that I can go back and reread and relive those moments.

I have put quite a bit of time into this blog, and don’t make a dime off it (Although, I hear that there are many bloggers who DO make money off theirs)! It has never been about making money. It has never been about having a blog republished. It has never been about having millions of followers. This blog is my little spot on the internet to save my thoughts and share them.

How about your feedback?

What do you like best about this blog? What would you like to see more of? Would you ever consider being a guest blogger on my site? Tell me your thoughts. I appreciate you being here and reading my blog and hope to keep posting things you find interesting.

So what is next? 500+ plus blogs I hope and I am excited to continue sharing “me” with you!

And the baby is a ….

I’ve been waiting for today for weeks! Because of Covid, my wife’s OB/GYN is only allowing the patient in the office. With Ella, I was at every ultrasound. I looked forward to hearing the baby’s heart beat each month. I loved that special togetherness that we felt when we were at the office. It has killed me to not be at those appointments. Today, I finally got to hear the baby’s heart beat – and we found out the gender!

You may recall that we went to a 3-D ultrasound place to find out Ella was a girl. They can tell you the gender at the 15th week of pregnancy. We called a few weeks ago and made the appointment. So I have been waiting patiently. Today, after only 4 hours of sleep, I was up and excited to go.

Today, made this more real to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve noticed my beautiful wife’s baby bump growing, so I know it is real. Not being involved with those OB/GYN appointments has really been driving me crazy. Today, I actually got to see the baby!

Regular ultrasounds are cool enough. We tried to get a 3-D shot of Ella, but she kept putting her hands in front of her face. We never really got a full face shot of her. Check out what we saw today…

It’s a little blurry, but there is the baby, looking right at us! WOW!

As I stated in a previous blog, Sam was leaning boy and I was thinking girl. We found out today. We were originally going to only tell a few people and keep the results a secret. However, since Sam kind of spilled the beans on Facebook, I can share them here….

Ella helped us make the announcement:

It’s a boy! Ella will be welcoming her little brother in October. Sam and I are naturally excited. It’s perfect. One girl and one boy!

We found out we were expecting around Ella’s birthday (2/10). On February 15th, I had a dream that my mother told me it was a girl, and actually blogged a draft when I woke up so I wouldn’t forget:

I was in asleep in our bed. Suddenly, the kitchen light turns on. I get up, not knowing if it’s a burglar. To my surprise, it’s my mom and she’s making making soup for her and my dad – in my kitchen. As I walk out I hear her say, “Oh, damn it,” as she spills it on the floor.  I told her I’d get her something to clean it up, so I grabbed some baby wipes.  She looked at me and said “It’s a girl.”

Then I woke up. It was a very vivid dream. She looked me right in the eye and said it. Of course, I thought it would be really cool if the baby was a girl because the dream would have been sort of prophetic…LOL Instead, it was probably just me and my early gut feeling. I won’t lie though, over the past couple weeks, the pregnancy has been VERY different for Sam. Because of that, I guess I kind of knew the baby was going to be a boy.

We are very excited for our son to arrive. We’ll have to do a bit of preparation, as we have all girl clothes. We also had no trouble picking a girl’s name. Finding a boy’s name has been a challenge…

This weekend, we’ll be spending time in those baby name books again!

Easter Weekend Wrap-Up

I hope this blog finds that you and yours had a wonderful weekend! We certainly did.

Saturday

Saturday was kind of an “errand running” day, so we were busy with that. Funny highlight of our trip to Sam’s Club: Ella was sitting in the shopping cart and we had been through about half the store. She was fussing a bit and Sam went to take her out of the cart. One of her shoes popped off and fell to the floor. We then noticed that both shoes were missing! We only saw one fall, so somewhere early on in the shopping trip, she either pulled it off, or it fell off. Sam looked at me and said, “I’m not backtracking to look for it! This place is crazy!” So somewhere in Sam’s Club is a little pink shoe without a match. I probably should have left the other one on a box of crackers in case someone found the other one so they could make a pair.

Easter Sunday

We were all in bed by 9pm Saturday, as we were exhausted. Sam has been having insomnia really bad this pregnancy, so she slept off and on, but nothing solid. Ella woke up early, as she usually does, and we all went to the front room to show her the Easter basket. We got her some of those Mega Blocks, which are like big Legos. (For the record, they still hurt when you step on them, but not as bad as a Lego!) I made her breakfast and Sam went back to lay down.

When I laid her down for her nap, I took one, too! When we all woke up, we got dressed to go to my in-laws house for dinner. Once I was dressed and Ella was dressed, it was my job to take her outside to get pictures. Lately, it’s been hard to get her to sit still or smile for pictures. She is so curious and so busy. My brother bought her some dresses from the Disney store and one was just perfect for Easter. So I brought her outside on the porch and attempted to get a good picture. (I feel like for every good one I get, there are 16 bad ones….LOL)

Happy Easter – 2021

I was surprised I actually got this picture! I kid you not, about 1 minute after this picture, she fell off of the porch and bonked her head! Urgh! I felt so bad!

Easter was a bit bittersweet for me, as it fell on my mom’s birthday. She would have been 73. Sam suggested we go to the cemetery before we went to her mom and dad’s for dinner. I really miss my mom, even more so with all the wonderful things that are going on in my life. She would be so proud of my sons, and she would just spoil the heck out of Ella! We named Ella after her (and Sam’s mom, who were both named Pamela). I know my mom would be over the moon happy to know Sam is expecting again.

Anyway, I tend to get really emotional when I go there. Having Ella there running around lightened the mood a bit. She’s like a tornado at our house, leaving a path of toys, books, and other things where ever she has been. Sam joked and said that with our luck, Ella would knock over 4 or 5 headstones while we were out there. I snapped a picture that really moved me, and my dad even said that it brought him to tears when he saw it.

Ella at grandma’s grave

I’m not sure why, but this just touched my heart.

This year Ella got to take part in the Easter Egg hunt. She was too young last year, and now that she is walking/running every where, she had fun. We had to steer her to the eggs, and she had her cousins out there to compete with, but she did really good. She didn’t really understand that you couldn’t eat the plastic eggs, though.

Nana had to laugh. It was about 75 degrees and sunny on Easter. She had loaded many of the eggs up with chocolates. The insides of more than a few eggs were a bit … mushy.

After the egg hunt, the kids just played in the yard. They were all running around on the trampoline. Ella wanted to go up there, and I won’t lie, I was freaking out a bit. Her cousins were jumping and bouncing and I thought for sure someone was gonna knock heads in there. Ella was thrilled! She was running and laughing, falling and laughing, and having a blast. As they all ran around on the trampoline, the static from it was really making their hair stand up. In another stroke of luck, I captured a perfect picture that really needs a frame!

Dig that crazy hair!!!

I still laugh out loud when I see that one! She is so happy and that hair is just insane!!

Our family spent an amazing weekend celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I certainly hope you and yours had a wonderful and blessed weekend, as well!

Waikiki Meatballs

When I was growing up, my mom used to have this yellow plastic recipe card holder. For some reason or another, I think that it was loaded with these cards from Betty Crocker. At any rate, she made quite a few recipes from this box – most of which I hated!

One of those meals was Waikiki Meatballs. I remember just abhorring this dish growing up. As a matter of fact, I hated it so much, my parents would use it to threaten me with! “If you don’t get that room clean, we’re gonna have Waikiki Meatballs for dinner!” Needless to say, it always worked – I did whatever I had to do to NOT eat that!

Over the years, my taste buds have changed. I have often told my dad and my brother, “You know, I’d probably like Waikiki Meatballs now.” I’m not sure exactly what made me search up the recipe, but thanks to the Internet, I found it. The above picture is exactly how I remember it looking. Now, I have no idea what it tastes like, but since I have the recipe, I may just have to whip some up and see if I like them.

Just in case you’d like to try them, here is the link to the recipe….

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/25197/waikiki-meatballs/

If you happen to try them, let me know what you think…

Mom Memory – Ceramics

My brother was decorating for Christmas today and sent me a picture. That picture is the inspiration for this blog. I don’t recall blogging about this specific topic, but if I have, please forgive me.

My mom had many hobbies. I know I have mentioned them in the past. I can always remember her crocheting things as a kid. She made blankets, vests, and yes, even Christmas ornaments. She also was on a fabric paint kick for a while. She made sweatshirts for everyone in our family and friends, too.

Aside from quilting, I believe the longest hobby she did was ceramics. The work she did was amazing. I recall she had a table set up in the basement where she worked. She had one of those desk lamps with the swing arm on them to help her see. I remember it was a bright yellow lamp.

I remember two pieces she did for my grandma. One was a ceramic “praying hands” and another was a bust of Jesus. She did both of these in a “Mother of Pearl” paint and they came out white and shiny. I have no idea what became of them, but its a good bet that one of my aunts have them.

Somewhere I still have a few of the pieces she made for me. I have a snail and frog that sat on a shelf in my room for years. She made mugs, statues, busts, an Easter village, Halloween village and trick or treat bowl for candy, and Christmas ornaments. One year, our tree was loaded with so many of her ceramic ornaments, we had to tie the tree to the wall so it wouldn’t fall over!! My brother and I joked that it was because of the “angel band” ornaments. She must have had 40 ornaments with angels all playing a different instrument (they were hideous!).

She made ornaments for every family. Each one had their last name on it. My brother still has the one that was on our tree. I’m not sure if I lost when I moved in with Sam, but my mom made an ornament with a dog sleeping by the chimney. She painted it to look like our beagle, Daisy. I didn’t see it when I unpacked the ornaments this year, so I am not sure if still have it. I hope so.

One of the things my mom made (and I wish I still had) were ceramic Christmas trees. From what everyone tells me now, these are very popular and the older ones are worth some money. They had a light in the bottom that lit up the lights that were glued into the tree.

My grandma loved these little trees so much, she had my mom make her a large one. It was two pieces. My mom did the tree in the “Mother of Pearl” paint that she used for the pieces she made for my other grandma, and I remember it was just beautiful. My grandma used to put it up in her front window.

If you look closely, you can see where the base and top come together on the tree above. It probably was 3-4 feet tall.

I write all of the above to get to the picture my brother sent me today. I had all but forgotten about these pieces, which came to be symbolic of our Christmas decorations. I don’t recall them having a specific spot among the decorations. As a matter of fact, I believe they moved around from year to year. Sometimes they were on the table in the front room, other times they were on the mantle. Sometimes they were among the buildings of the Christmas village, other times they were in the front window. Mr. & Mrs. Claus were always there.

I don’t know if they were my mom’s favorite pieces, but she always made sure they were displayed prominently somewhere each Christmas. My mom told me that Santa was kissing Mrs. Claus goodbye before heading out to deliver all of his toys.

To be honest, I probably knew my brother had these, but I forgot. Every Christmas, I miss my mom a bit more than the rest of the year. Maybe it is because of the ornaments. Maybe I miss her singing along with Johnny Mathis. Maybe I just miss her smile and laughter. I’m grateful that a bit of mom still shows up at Christmas.