Happy Birthday Bruce!

Happy birthday Bruce! I love you so much, bug guts! 

I love it when you come over to watch movies with me, or video games with Uncle Price. I love to make up new and revolting insults with you. I love going on adventures. I hope you enjoy being six! 

I hope you have a great year at school learning new things, and I pray the Lord shows you great grace. 

Happy birthday to a boy full of life, hater of hugs, and lover of nature! 


Christmas Traditions 

The Joneses/Planers have lovely Christmas Traditions that are expected to be followed to the letter. 

The morning starts bright and early with Price and I opening a few gifts we got for each other, then it’s over to Dad and Mom’s for the unwrapping of presents. (Yes. We’re all adults now, but we still love presents.) 

Then! Breakfast! Sausage patties, eggs, cinnamon rolls, coffee, eggnog, and orange juice. It’s a beautiful thing.  

Once that’s all been cleared away, we head out to Glen Rose and spend the rest of the day grazing until we sit down to a dinner of brisket and sides. Somewhere in there we usually open gifts with the girls, go shooting, and loudly vent about politics. (We’re a loud family. )

Late in the evening, we head home, full and happy.

This year, with the Lord’s Day and Christmas coinciding, we won’t make it out to Glen Rose or have breakfast. We’ll all have our own quiet separate mornings and then go to Dad and Mom’s after church for feasting and merry making. Granddad and Wanda will join us along with Aunt Sheila. It will be a busy, wonderful day! 

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Traditions (Part 24): How Christmas Traditions are Born

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland. – Diana Krall


Once upon a time, in a small mobile home, on a small bit of land up in the Ozarks, in the early winter, five brothers and sisters eyed the overflowing pile of presents under their humble Christmas tree. The tumultuous anticipation of opening all the bright paper to discover the toys within trembled through them almost constantly.

Each gift had been mapped out.

Each sibling knew in exact detail which gifts were theirs, what shape they took, and what noise they did or did not make when shook.

The high-hopes they had for that pile had been gnawing away at them for several days. Never had then been so many presents. The older three assured the younger two that they’d never seen the presents spill out to this point of the living room. The sat in a comfortable clump of arms and legs discussing and comparing previous Christmases with the loot gleaming before them.

See, these five children and their two dear parents had very little. The children had no allowances. There was no extra spending money. Many birthdays consisted of one small toy and necessary things like socks. The children, being children didn’t notice these things. They had goats, chickens, ducks, rubber boots, friends nearby, and lots of exciting places to explore. The lack of money went unnoticed even when they had to hike their Grandma’s land to chop down a cedar tree to bring home and decorate, with gloves, for Christmas. For the five siblings, all was right in the world because they were together.

But the gifts? The overflowing pile of gifts, you ask? If the parents bought socks for birthdays and stuffed underwear in stockings for Christmas, where did the gifts come from?

I will tell you. The gifts came from a very loving and very dear Auntie and Uncle, with no children of their own just yet, who thought it best to lavish their five nieces and nephews with every cool thing they could find. This left only the burden of the stockings for the children’s parents, so all was right with the world as far as the children were concerned.

Now! On this particular Christmas, the Auntie and Uncle had outdone themselves. The gifts swept out into the living room. The children were overcome with excitement.

One more day.

It was Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow all the gifts could be opened and the anticipation relieved.

One more day.

The sun shone brightly across the table as they gathered for a lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup, unaware of the fact that their family would never be the same after this Christmas Eve.

“I have an announcement,” Daddy said. He liked to make announcements. “But there will be no noises made after I make my announcement. Not a scream. Not a peep. Nothing. Not a sound.”

The five children shared a glance. No noise? That was an odd requirement. What could Daddy possible have to say that made it necessary to demand their silence? Where they moving? Where they having another baby? Was it going to be a good announcement? Or a bad one?

“Agreed?” Daddy asked. “Not a sound?”

“Yes. Okay.” The five agreed. How could they not? They wanted to know what Daddy was going to say.

“After lunch, your Mother and I will go take a nap while you do the dishes, and afterwards we will open the presents.”

Open presents? Those presents? The ones spilling out under the tree?

Five mouths opened.

Five sets of lungs expanded, taking in air for a most joyous shout.

“Not a sound,” Daddy said.

Five mouths snapped shut.

Oh the delicious horror of attempting to hold back the scream of delight that so wanted an opportunity to express itself. It waited through the rest of a very quiet lunch. It waited through Daddy and Mommy slowly slowly retreating to their room for a mid-afternoon nap.

The door shut.

A tremendous shout went up.

Dancing and singing ensued.

Hushing from the three older kids. Hush. Hush. They’ll hear us and make us wait. Hush.

Never before, nor after, was the table cleared, the food put away, and the dishes done in such a magnanimous manner. Everyone wanted to help. The more who helped, the quicker things would be done. And the quicker things were done, the sooner they could open presents.

The joy and fun of that surprise change to the normal holiday schedule changed Christmas forever. Daddy changed Christmas forever. From that day forward, all Vincents, and the men who married the Vincent girls, and the women who married Vincent boys, and all the little children that came from those marriages, celebrate Christmas together on Christmas Eve. And it is never, ever, a quiet affair. Daddy only got quiet for a few minutes after his announcement and never again after that.

The End

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Traditions 

The Grandparents Letter. Every year, I make sure I send a nice long letter to my Grammie and Grandpa. They don’t really do email or Facebook, so they don’t really have a way to keep up with every little thing in our lives.  I got this mailed this morning. I was cutting it a little close, but it’s on its way!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Traditions  

This Christmas season has been a bit of a doozy for my whole family.  One sister is pregnant and throwing up all the time, my other sister has her oldest in kindergarten for the first time, one brother is down to one vehicle, and the other lives a few hours away. I got a part time job and my husband is getting ready to go back to school. Mom doesn’t have her tree up yet, trying to help everyone.  On the other side of the family, my extra Dad is on dialysis three days a week, and we’re moving our traditional Christmas meal to their house this year cause of Christmas being on a Sunday, but skipping our normal Christmas morning.

We’re all out of sorts this year. 

There are some traditions that we just can’t do this year: spiced cherry bells, ginger snaps, Sister Baking Day, Christmas breakfast. 

And yet, we will all be together, Lord Willing. 

We’ll be home for Christmas.

That is really the only tradition that really matters. We’ll be together.

So, have yourself a merry, little Christmas!

Christmas Traditions (Part 12)

Christmas dishes are a huge part of my Christmas Cheer. My Mom had very special Christmas dishes when we were growing up, and it is something I’ve continued…being me, none of mine match. 

Every year I try to add a new dish to my collection, especially if I see one with a deer on it.

Several years ago, Potter Barn featured a set of dishes based around the 12 Days of Christmas. I circled, stared, and pointed it out in the catalogue to my extra parents when they asked what I wanted for Christmas. They are my most favorite Christmas dishes! I love unpacking them every year and I hate packing them away! 

I use the big platter with a Partridge in the Pear Tree to hold all my Christmas cards every year. 

They make me sooooo happy!

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas Traditions  ( Part 7)

Jolly old Saint Nicholas,
Lean your ear this way,
Don’t you tell a single soul
What I’m going to say.
Christmas Eve will soon be here,
Now you dear old man,
Whisper what you’ll bring to me,
Tell me if you can. 

-Jolly Old Saint Nicholas by Unknown

One of my favorite Christmas movies is Elf! It makes me laugh  and cry. It’s sweet and cute. The music is great and I don’t gag at that one part anymore. lol.

I love to watch it while I decorate or wrap presents. Due to an early December cold, I watched it this year while wrapping presents on the couch under my Christmas quilt .  That was enough for one day, so back to resting.

Merry Christmas! 

Christmas Traditions (Day 6)

While wrapping presents or sending out Christmas cards, I enjoy watching this old version of the Nutcracker Ballet. It originally aired on PBS, but you can now find it on YouTube. It has a charming VHS video quality to it.

The Nutcracker Ballet is one of my favorite pieces of classical music. I love the story being told, the magic, the innocence, and the joy of Christmas. You should check it out!

Merry Christmas!