Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Christmas

Uncle Rob on Saturday Morning, Trying to establish order to pass out the presents
Paul and Rob at the Park (we were trying to run the energy off the kids)
Uncle Ricky watching a movie Sunday
Despite Carla and Lyndsey both being sick on Saturday and Lyndsey still here sick, We had a wonderful family weekend. Christmas lasted several days. Christmas Eve, Uncle Ricky Came and spent the night; we had a delicious prime Rib; Christmas Day Aunt Kathie was sick so she and Uncle Rob couldn't make it. Aunt Sandi and Uncle Jim came and we had a quiet but nice Christmas.
Friday brought Lyndsey, the girls and Rob and Carla with madi and Conner. 
Saturday was quiet with all our "sickies" but it was nice to spend it together. An "almost" perfect holiday.. Of course I wasn't sick, so it was perfect for me.
Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday too.

Thanks Michelle

    Michelle Gave me this award    http://coachaholic.blogs
Thank you Michelle!
 Here are the rules for the award: 
"You must be a true Christmas lover to receive this award.
The person to whom you give the award must also be in love with Christmas.
Link back to the person who gave you the award.
List 5 things that you love about Christmas. 
If you can't limit it to 5 things, then keep going till you run out of space!
Pass the award along to as many people as you like. 
That can be 1 or 50. It's up to you! 
But keep the Christmas cheer going!
Let your recipients know that you have tagged them by leaving them a comment. 
Also, link back to the person who gave you the award
1. Memories of Childhood Christmases that come flooding back while trimming the tree
2. Memories of my children trimming the tree
3. Paul and I taking turns reading twas the night before Christmas and the Nativity Story
4. Memories of playing with some of the kids presents while we wrapped them
5. One Year, Robbie and I did a "I'll tell you one if you tell me one of mine"
6. The Christmas Songs
7. The excitement in the smiles of my children and my Grand Children
8. Thinking about the changes this little child would bring to the world
9. Midnight or Dawn Mass
10. Family Gatherings
11. Driving by homes lit up for the holidays
And I will gladly pass this on to my daughter Lyndsey and Daughter in law Carla

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back to Church

Church was a big part of growing up for me and from what I understand, it was for my kids as well. I'm Roman Catholic. About 12 years ago I left the Parish I was involved in and joined a Parish nearby. During the years at the first church I was heavily involved in their RCIC program. ( I directed the Program) Sacrament preparation for kids "behind" on their sacraments. I had my breaking point one afternoon and evening over the Pastor's refusal to Baptize three young girls over paperwork.  The Bishop  intervened because of their social worker. The politics and dare I say it.. B.S. in the office and the knives in the backs of good people.. Well I had my breaking point. I went to a neighboring parish where it was about the same AND I was different. After I lost my parents, in 1998, For reasons I'm not sure of; I stopped going to church. I believed, but I didn't go to church anymore.
Sabby is 6 and Katie wants her Baptized and to go to Religious Education and Church.
While I was glad she was getting Sabby "into church" I smiled last weekend and told her I was still not feeling well enough to go to Mass.  She went alone with Sabby - who just wanted to know when Mass would be over and WHAT IS MASS anyway? This whole thing came up because Sabby's best friend said that if you don't believe in Jesus you'll go to hell.. Well, Gran's mouth got in the middle of things and so Katie decided it was time. Despite our reputation, and the way things are in other parts of the country, my West Coast Catholic upbringing was far from rigid. 
AND by the way... Catholics KNOW how to party... And I was taught NO ONE could say who was in hell. ONLY God Judges and he judges with love ... yikes I hope so...I got sweetly into Sabby's face to tell her that her friend is WRONG.

I digress. 
I got a call from Ricky last week asking me to go to mass with him and Katie and sabby and how important it would be for Sabby's sake... Whhaat? Ricky use to go to mass with me every day back in the day (but I think he was in it for the donut I'd buy him afterward)  Over the years, he'd stopped going as many young people do. I agreed and learned this Sunday 3 things...1) He remembers and ?believes? what I taught him as a child; 2)God is alive in his life since he'd been at quite a party the night before and still made it to the 9:00 am Mass; 3) When I asked him about Christmas Morning mass (now that we're going to mass for Sabby), he flashed that grin of his and said.. Mom.. I thought THIS would count as Christmas.. So it wasn't really all about Sabby..

I liked the church, the priest seems nice; Rick said if he could make it to the 9:00 am Mass after that party, he could go anytime (we'll see); Katie's committed; (Sabby... we'll see); so it appears that this branch of the Flocken clan are going back to church. St. Thomas in Avondale beware; Sabby's joining up! Gran... well I'll be going but NOT getting involved with any Religious Ed Programs or anything else.

Merry Christmas Everyone. I hope your hurts are healed or forgotten for a while; your hearts are filled with love and family. If you celebrate Hanukkah, I wish you the same. I wish you all a 2009 filled with love laughter, joy and Hope!

Thanks for Taking the time to read my blog today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Pictures; Past & Present

Christmas 1956

Aly & Robbie 1978; They just finished decorating it at were admiring their work. You can't see the Christmas Smile on Aly's face.  Katie was still in the NICU

Aly, Gramma, Katie & Robbie Trimming the Tree 1982



Pappys and Sabby finishing up the wrapping this morning

Cowboy Christmas Tree with Presents for Our California "Kids"

   All Set and All Ready

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Smiles

Even when I didn't take a lot of pictures, I took them on Christmas and Easter. The one above here captured Katie's extreme excitement, Christmas morning as she ran to the bag Robbie is holding in the picture below.... the first time Santa Left his bag at our house
In 1981, I took this picture Christmas Eve and have treasured the picture of Katie's extreme Christmas Eve excitement. Robbie was being cool and Lyndsey didn't know or care what all the fuss was about. This was our first Christmas Eve that we couldn't go to Nana & Grampa Eny's (my parents). I thought Christmas Eve would be awful, and yet it was one of our best.
Christmas Eve 1984. The kids always opened one present Christmas Eve. (I tried to make sure it was the Pajamas Grand Ma gave them every year. The photo below, is Paul reading twas the night before Christmas. He'd read that every year, After I read the Christmas Story from the Bible.

Christmas Eve 1985. Lyndsey had the magnificent Christmas Eve Smile 
Christmas Eve 1986 at Nana and Grampa Eny's house. Katie still had The extreme Christmas Eve Excitement.
Christmas Eve 1989..

Christmas Eve 1989 at Nana's with Father Tom

1989 and Rob was taller than Grampa Eny

It was only the 13th... last week when I took this snapshot and Conner wouldn't come sit under the tree. So I don't have them all under the tree and it's two weeks early, but I could see the excitement in their eyes as Christmas Approaches. Sophie's smile.... Well, she's learned early to smile beautifully for Gran.
We did our best while our children grew up to keep in their minds the true meaning of the Day. They all yelled Happy Birthday to Jesus when they woke up (sometimes at 5:00...2 hours after we got to bed). Mass was part of Christmas Eve or Christmas morning most years and we had the advent cradle... Ricky still insists on holy Christmas music being played here around the holidays. We could have done much more in retrospect to have kept Christmas as a holier Day.

Now a days (while she's under the tree, counting her gifts) Sabby reminds us that Christmas isn't about the presents (yeah right), it''s about Jesus' Birthday!

I know that Sabby; and one of my glimpses of heaven is in the eyes and smiles of my children and grandchildren during this special time. They've been there ; those smiles; during the slim and flush years. 
I'm a really lucky Gran that even when it's not the actual date, we still have our Christmas Eve with everyone and our own Christmas morning.. the 26th, 27th.. close enough.
Thanks everyone for reading my long winded blog today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Holidays are HARD But filled with beautiful traditions

We've been busy and not getting much done. What once took me an hour now takes me nearly all day!  I Must be getting old. Despite the fact we were "making" gifts for each other and the kids and one gift for each grandchild, Paul keeps bringing more gifts home... And to think all these years he's blamed ME for overspending... I tell ya.
I'm working on slide shows for Christmas cards and gave up including them in most cards.
Something special we did this weekend was to drive to CA and attend services in Chula Vista for Our Lady of Guadalupe which is observed on December 12th. Catholics (I) believe this is where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego. We have yet to get there in time to actually get into to the church, it's so crowded; but even being outside is special and an important part of my Grand daughters' heritage. We had Sabby with us so My daughter's mother in law bought her outfit too. 
I'm planning on visiting all my blog friends today; meanwhile, here are some special pictures.

This is a yearly tradition I'm looking forward to again.. Only next year we NEED to get to Chula Vista on time to actually make it inside the church!!
Making cookies on Saturday!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Christmas at Rawhide

For the first 4 years we lived in AZ, Paul worked for Rawhide, a Local Western Town. He started as the Receiver and when he left, was the Retail Supervisor. Paul's a huge Western Fan. He would most likely support a National Holiday for a)Wyatt Earp or b) John Wayne. In fact, I owe the fact that we make our home here in AZ to the fact that many years ago, Paul took Ricky to see Kurt Russell in Tombstone while I was at a baby shower for my niece. After that day in 1994, Paul read everything he could find on the old west. All of our vacations were spent in AZ.  Tombstone was our family gathering place
Tombstone 2000
So, to work in a Western Town was a great thing for Paul. Gunfights, purchasing for the stores and dressing like a cowboy everyday... WHAT could be better!  Politics and changes helped Paul make the decision last year to leave Rawhide and use his Retail background to get a job at a local Sports Store. 
In the years, since we moved to AZ, Paul's NEW love is hiking and backpacking so that all works well.  
I miss our Family Christmases at Rawhide though. It was a wonderful place, especially at Christmas. The kids loved it and many of my favorite memories are of the girls running to hug their "Pappys" on the streets of Rawhide.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today

Friday, December 5, 2008

Remember the "Good Old Days" ?

Well I do. I remember back when it was a "fair fight".. When you sped, you looked out for aircraft enforcement and the typical hiding places of the Highway Patrol. Of course this was back in CA when the CHP could NOT hide--- they had to drive the roads.. Per our then Governor Jerry Brown Jr... If you did get pulled over, you then had the opportunity of "talking your way out" of the ticket. Once when I was young, I accidently ran a policemen off the road and was able to talk my way out of a ticket. Of course I was younger, cuter and still had a figure.. Basically, It was a fair fight so to speak. Honer between the driver and the CHP.. You knew the rules; you both followed them. 
Things have changed, at least in AZ. They have cameras up and Not enough warning that they're ahead. Then, there is no talking your way out of it. 
You not only get your ticket in the mail giving you NO options really, but I swear the photo those stupid cameras just west of Buckeye add 30 pounds to you... At least this one didn't catch the four letter word that escaped my lips when the light went on... 
I miss the the good old days.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coming up for Air

Sophie wants OFF of her Pappys NOW

Thanksgiving was a day for Betty to sleep I guess; Ricky, Katie, Sabby, Aunt Sandie and Uncle Jim all came. Paul, did the cooking and I slept or sat on the couch most of the day. BUT it was great to be home and with Family. Lyndsey and her girls came out Friday; so while I slept through a lot of their visit, when I'd get up, I tried to get as many pictures of the girls as I could get.  

Two Wheels!!!

Little Miss Sophie is ready to walk

Izabella, Well, What can I say!!!

There are so many things/people I'm grateful for this year. My blogging friends I didn't even know last year; my kids; their kids; my family; PAUL. My friends who are like my family. I'm grateful for that shiny new walker I came home from the hospital with. . BECAUSE I won't be needing it for much longer.. Paul keeps talking about that Billy Crystal scene with a walker.. I don't remember but he gets a kick out of it.

It was a great weekend; Hope you all had a good one too. I'm planning on visiting blogs today to catch up.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.