Saturday, December 29, 2007


Brian is back. Yes sir, you can definitely tell. I can count on many tricks and jokes when he is around. I thought perhaps it might be different because he is only home for two weeks and because he is a "mature" Spanish teacher at a private high school maybe he would be a more serious person just to set a good example. See my nativity. Yes the same one I blogged about earlier. I was taking down all of my decorations and when I came to this here is what I saw.

At first I didn't think it was too bad....just an angel appeared to be out of place and the pooping shepherd on top of the stable.

But wait. The angel is not only out of place but seems to be riding side saddle on the donkey. And what is Joseph looking at?

Oh now I see! Mary is holding the little lamb looking adoringly down in his face. But where is the baby Jesus?

Awww! Here he is perched upon the horn of the cow. Poor baby!

No respect, I say to you. No respect.

This ceramic Noel that Kyla painted for me several years ago was also sending me a message. When I asked Brian why at 32 years old he still continues to bother me, his only reply was to point to this.

But what would I do without the laughter he causes me? Life would not be the same.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas Sisters

And Merry Christmas to everyone else out there in blog land. We tried to clean up for our photo but I'm afraid we don't always look great. But never fear, I always have my redneck video of all of us. I hope you are all ready for the beg big day. I'm not. The stuff fell out of my hall closet this morning when I opened the door to get the wrapping paper. So it forced me to clean it out at 5:00 am. The good news is that Kelli has been waiting on me to do this because what was in her closet goes in that one. What was in that one goes somewhere. I don't know! This is hard. We never had closets as kids so we never had to clean them. Oh the joys of living in poverty. We just plain didn't know any different and were so, so happy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Twelve Christmasy Things About Me

Tanya from The Dairy Wife has tagged me to come up with twelve things about Christmas and little old me.  Hmmmm.

  1. I remember that one year I really, really wanted a Easy Bake Oven for Christmas.  So, so bad!  A friend had one and I thought I really needed one too.  Of course my mom probably thought I would burn the house down and kept trying to talk me out of it.  But good old Santa brought me.....nope not an Easy Bake Oven.  Gotcha!  But close enough.  I did get a little oven called the Cookie Factory.   It was very cute...had a little belt system that you put the cookie sheet on and it slowly moved through the oven and came out the other side with the baked cookies.  I often wonder what happened to that.  Could it be that it disappeared when the wood shed caught fire?  Just jokin!
  2.  One year I really wanted a baby buggy and lo and behold I got one.  But I apparently didn't take very good care of it because my mom threatened and followed through that if I left it out in the snow one more time she would give it away.  And huh, she did.  But the funny thing is I don't remember feeling traumatized by it.  I guess I was probably happy in my own little wonder world of cardboard boxes and such.
  3.  I remember the way the colored lights on the tree would make the entire living room so magical when we would wake up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning and sneak through to our parents bedroom to ask them if we could get up.  Oh the anticipation!
  4. I loved this little village of cardboard houses (similar to the one above) that our mom had when we lived in Durkee.  I don't know what ever happened to that but it didn't last long and I have been looking for one like it ever since.  I have noticed they are back this year only bigger. I used to stare at this village for hours but mom wouldn't let me touch it because it sat on angel hair. She warned me that all my fingers would be sliced off at the knuckles if I touched the angel hair.  What kind of an angel had hair like that I wondered?
  5. I love to decorate my home in kind of an old fashioned homey way.  I don't much care for tons of lights all over my house but I just want a warm and comfy atmosphere.  Too many lights makes me feel like I am going to have a seizure or that I am in a Mall.
  6. I love to give way more than receive.  I love the look of excitement and anticipation on children's faces.  I love the feeling of the Christmas spirit in everyone.
  7. My all time favorite Christmas CD is The Very Best of Burl Ives Christmas.  There is something about his voice that warms my heart.  However, Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong Christmas CD last year runs a close second.
  8. When the kids were little Brian just could not contain himself.  He was forever trying to guess what was in each package and so needless to say the other three also were shaking, rattling and turning each package into a ratty mess.  One Christmas Kyla and Brian sneakily opened their gifts before Christmas and tried to re-wrap them.  When I saw the mess under the tree I knew and took all their gifts away and said that I was taking them back to the store.  This was after much warning and threatening.  Mean old me stood my ground until Christmas morning.  Of course they were all back under the tree but I had them going for a good couple of weeks.  Very sad faces.
  9. Well after the above mean mom trick, I  would only put PEACH, PEAR, PLUM and ORANGE on the packages.  My code drove them nuts.  I also have used numbers.  No more shaky, shaky!
  10. We buy an ornament for each child every year.  It always is so much fun to have an excuse to look at all the cool ornaments.
  11. I always fix home made noodles each year.  Yummy!  My  mom and paternal grandmother always did this.  In fact my grandma taught me to make these one Christmas on mom's  kitchen bowl or anything.  She just poured a pile of flour in the center of the table, made a well in the center and cracked six eggs in that well.  No measurements.  She just said to begin to gradually add four in and knead until the right consistency.  Good old Hungarian grandma.  That is how she cooked everything.
  12. I always have a real tree because I love the smell but I can't stand the tree to be up after Christmas.  I like to have it up the first weekend of December and take it down the day after Christmas if possible. I think it must be the let down I feel when everything is over.  Or it could be that I go back to being scrooge.
So now I want to tag some others.  How about you Jill at My Little Love Byro, Kelli at The Life of Kelli, Karen at Grams, Ma, Seetheart, Karen and of course my sisters who can do it right here on our blog.  So come on Kristi, Barb and Loretta.  Let's hear some Christmasy things about all of you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Traditions and Pooping Shepherds

Each year the month of December brings about those homey, comfy feelings of yet another Christmas celebration. There are all kinds of traditions that families celebrate, ours included. We always put an orange in the toe of every ones stocking. The orange began because mom told me that when she was a little girl it was such a wonderful treat to get an orange in their stocking because they could never afford to buy fresh oranges or any other fresh fruit for that matter. It was just one small simple way to carry on that tradition with my children. Funny thing is that it skipped a generation because we never had stockings as children. Probably because there were so many kids that Santa might have gotten tangled up in all the mess.

Another tradition evolved not because it had a sentimental meaning but because it was a huge stocking filler. We put a bottle of sparkling cider in each stocking. The kids just loved this because they didn't have to share with anyone. In fact they usually would take a swig of it any time they felt the urge. That way it guaranteed no one else would drink from their bottle. I also try to hang an ornament each year on the neck of the bottle. Not only does it look really cute but the kids have their own collection of ornaments by the time they leave home.

So I bet you are wondering where all this is leading. And what about the title of this post.....Pooping Shepherds? When Brian decided he would study in Spain for his Masters in translation, he fell in love with the country which is rich in tradition. One tradition he found very interesting and hilarious is the tradition of the “Caganer” . Translated from Spanish to English it means “defecator”. Being the kind and thoughtful, loving son that he is, last Christmas he sent me this lovely Spanish serving set and tucked inside the package was a little "Caganer" which is a little shepherd boy with his pants down, squatting and pooping. The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 18th century. Originally, the Caganer was portrayed wearing traditional Catalan wear. Now you can find every kind of version, a devil, nun, even a President Bush one! The statue is most often tucked away in some corner of the nativity and it is a great game for the children to find it somewhere in every set. I was talking to Charo about this and she said it is everywhere in Spain. So I ask myself, is there a reason for placing a man who is in the act of excreting solid waste from his bum in the Christmas nativity? The meaning that goes with it today is that the ‘Caganer’, by creating feces, is fertilizing the earth.

Well, since I have found my nativity set in a multitude of arrangements by Brian over the years such as the Virgin Mary holding the sheep, the baby upside down being spanked by the wise man, Santa in line to see the babe, etc. I am not surprised any longer by his trickery. But I will say this.....Brian knows a tradition when he sees it.

First glance leads you to believe that this is a beautiful nativity set.

But what is that? Back behind the unsuspecting cow and wise man.

Zoom in a little closer. Little shepherd boy looks a might bit in gastric distress.

Oh my! A view from behind shows the true antics of a poor little shepherd boy in Spain.

Let's keep this in the dark and pretend we don't know. Isn't it lovely?

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Loved Hobby

On Thursdays Jill has begun to come out to the house alone, no child or husband in tow, to learn to sew.  Dave's mom gave her the sewing machine that her great grandmother had just bought before she passed away in 1973.  It is amazing!  This machine is thirty four years old and sews beautifully.  In fact it runs better than mine which I have to admit is 26 years old.  Her great grandmother wrote inside the manual that the first time sewn on was 1973 and Dave said she died some time shortly after that....perhaps in 1974.  Delpha never sewed and said it had only been used a couple of time over the years.

Here is the trusty Sears Kenmore in all its glory.  It really is pretty cool that she has her great grandmothers machine. 

I love to sew.  I just rarely take the time to do it because I always seem to think that there are too many other things I need to be doing.  It is just a fun hobby for me so  it kind of gets shelved for other things.  But since Jill wanted to learn, I am so happy to be forced to take one day a week to get back into this.  

This week Jill made a baby receiving blanket.  It turned out so cute....all soft and cuddly.  She is doing great and we will keep on making fun stuff, especially for that new little baby coming due in the spring.  

Here is Jill with her big smile and her first blanket.     

Oh!  I almost forgot.  I get to go and see the ultrasound on Monday.  We should know if pink or blue fabric should be our next purchase by Monday morning!  Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Very Merry

Sunday afternoon Dave and I were doing a little Christmas shopping and when we got home 

THIS WAS WHAT WE FOUND....................

Is this not the greatest thing ever?  I have wanted something to go around our wood stove to protect the little people who roam our house.  It worries me so much that I am constantly running after them when they head toward the family room/kitchen area.  We end up closing off that area sometimes just to make sure that the these little munchkins are safe.  Jill and Wade were so sneaky.  Wade built this with the help of his neighbor who had built one for his own stove.  They ask us to bring our pickup (aka the green turd) in so they could move something big.  We didn't think anything about it because they often help Wade's dad or mom move stuff.  I can't tell you all how happy, happy, happy I am.

Now this one (Emmy)

and this one (Lucy)

and this one (Byron)
will finally be safe as well as any other little guys that visit.  Or even klutzy grandmas that trip over things....I'm not telling who.

Thank you Wade and Jill!  Now can you build me a big corral for this?

From Brother Jay

Remember This At Christmas Time

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.  Female reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single on of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should have known.....ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost. 

I knew it!!!!

Awwww! Jay does love us.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Santa's Helpers - The Elf Sisters Have Quite the Moves!

Hey gals - I see we've been caught getting ready for Christmas:

Nice moves sisters!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Birthday Boy

Happy 11th Birthday Jordan!!!! On a snowing, December evening 11 years ago today, this wonderful, loving, compassionate soul entered our life. I am so blessed to have him as my son. We love you Jordie!

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Greeting for You All - We Love You and Wish We Were With You this Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2007

History Lessons

School at the Flanagan Household is always quite the experience. We have been learning about the puritans and the separatists (Pilgrims). I wish I would have learned history this way - maybe I would have remembered something! Learning wouldn't be complete without dressing up and acting out the parts! What a cute little pilgrim family - har har! The kids were happy that we didn't act out the part of wearing the same clothes day and night for 66 days like the Pilgrims did aboard the Mayflower. They were also relieved that emptying their chamber pots was not one of the chores assigned!

Here's the kids teaching our homeschool group one of the games the pilgrim children played - a version of marbles.

Here is Miss Lexie serving the group "hard tack" which was one of the foods "enjoyed" (not) on the Mayflower. Did you know the Pilgrims preferred eating in the dark on the Mayflower so they didn't have to see the bugs that were in their food?

We did however, have a little puritan/pilgrim punishment. Here is Jordan in the stockade or "Laughing Stock". I also threatened to poor cold water down their sleeves if they didn't behave like the punishment handed out to the Jamestown settlers.

Here is Lexie "spanking" clothes clean. We found out that it wasn't all that easy to clean clothes!

History lessons wouldn't be complete without learning about Puritan courting. When courting, you sat in front of your parents' fire (in the presence of your parents). The only privacy you had was whispering through a long tube to each other! We learned so much about God's provisions for the Pilgrims. Did you know that when they had planted their corn, there was a drought, they prayed for 9 hours straight and a small cloud moved overhead to rain on their crops?

Sisters, here is another reason to be thankful that we weren't Pilgrims. At the first Thanksgiving, there were only 4 women left alive (and some teenage girls) to prepare and serve the feast to over 100 people (the Indians brought 90 braves to the 3 day feast).

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving this year - we had fun making this vegetable turkey:

No, our history lessons are not over. This morning we started studying love and generosity by studying Christmas and the ways it is celebrated around the world: Here are my St. Lucias and Star Boy who served their family breakfast this a.m. like they do in Sweden. For those of you who don't have any idea who St. Lucia is, she is a girl who was martyred for refusing to marry a man because she felt she should dedicate her life to God. She was recognized for her giving spirit.

I told Jordan this a.m. - see you never know what will happen at the Flanagan Homeschool - and he replied "I figured that out a loooooooooong time ago!" I hope your holiday season is filled with the gifts of love, fun and family. I wish we all could be together - we are going to reenact the nativity story on Christmas Eve - you're missing out on some first class entertainment!!! Love ya!