Monday, December 28, 2009

On Christmas Eve and Traditions Old and New

Ever since I was little, Christmas Eve has been one of my most favorite days of the year.

My parents and family always tried to make the entire Christmas experience special for my brother and I.
When we still lived in Great Falls we always had a set schedule of going to the Children's Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes then out to pizza with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and then we'd all pile into cars and go look at Christmas lights. Once that was over, depending on the time we'd either go over to someone's house and watch a movie (usually National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) or we'd go our separate ways for the night.
Once the extended family events were done for the night and it was getting to the time that we needed to get ready for bed my parents, brother and I would sit around our Christmas tree and my brother and I would get to pick one present to open. This was such a special tradition and really set the mood for my brother and I.

Last Christmas, I got to share this tradition with Jeff as it was our first Christmas experience in Arizona with my parents.
This year, we spent Christmas with his family and I got to experience some new traditions.
Jeff's family usually goes to a later mass on Christmas Eve, but they were SO generous in accepting my request to attend the Children's Mass at Holy Spirit. There's just something about the Children's Mass that puts you in the Christmas spirit! After we headed home to a wonderful feast of crab legs and prime rib. This is the one tradition that stood out and was repeated over and over when I would ask Jeff about his favorite Christmas memories. The feast was scrumptious and we were all stuffed. Then it was bed time for Caderyn but not before he opened one present from Mimi and Papa Swan before he went to bed. I would like to keep this a tradition with our family to keep that special feeling of Christmas.
Jeff's family opens up their gifts on Christmas Eve and that's exactly what we did. I did keep the presents from my parents unopened until the next day, but it was a lot of fun to defy the usual rules that I've always grown up with and tear into the pretty presents just a couple hours earlier.
We sure got spoiled!

After that it was bed time and the Windmueller's like to sleep in a little on Christmas Day so that was also very nice. I used to be the person that got up at 5:00 a.m. to check and make sure Santa had come. :)

Caderyn got up at 6:00 a.m. but then went down for his nap at 8:30 a.m. and I went back down with him. We all slept in unti labout 11:00 a.m. (I was shocked! I haven't slept that much in over a year). Then Caderyn started to open his presents...but I will write more about that later!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
More blogs about our holiday experiences to come as soon as I'm around a regular computer!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Last Days: A Movie Critique


So this last Netflix round, I was in the mood for something a bit serious and historical. I rented The Last Days. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this documentary follows detailed accounts of five Hungarian Jews as World War II entered its last leg. The Hungarian Jews were among the last to be arrested, but they were also extremely persecuted and had some of the highest numbers in deaths.
I was completely intrigued as each person started off their story by recalling how happy they had been before with their families and the love they all shared and how they knew of the threat of the Germans, but never thought it would happen to them. But then it did and they were shoved face first into a nightmare. In the blink of an eye their lives were changed. Neighbors turned on them, they were immediately sent to concentration camps and many lost all of their family within a matter of two days.
They also interviewed a German doctor who did experiments on the Jews. He was not formally charged because he let Jews stay longer to be tested on so they would not be killed by the gas chamber. They interviewed American soldiers who helped liberate the camps and they interviewed some other very interesting characters. They interviewed a Greek Jew who was in charge of collecting the bodies and burning them after the gas chamber. His story was very heart wrenching and intriguing.

One of the hardest scenes to watch was when a Hungarian Jewish woman, whose story was being told, went on a journey back to Auschwitz to try and figure out what had happened to her sister. She discovered that her sister had been sent to the experimental labs. They found some charts with her name on them, but couldn't figure out what the numbers and tests meant so they asked the German doctor. There was a scene where she confronts the doctor and asks him what it meant- he didn't know. He asked why she was sent to the labs and/or why she was killed over and over. The doctor's answer was, "You know why."
Even though this documentary was released in 1998 I find it absolutely amazing that after so many years, that was his answer. It was so cold and unforgiving.

Overall, this was an amazing documentary to watch. Despite the heartache and some very graphic photos and video.

Its the Holidays

I haven't been very good about keeping updates coming, but, as you all know its the Holidays and things get a little crazy.

If you're like me and check certain blogs every day just be patient. I will get the ball rolling after the New Year. I promise.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. 9-Month-Old

And our baby dog.

You Know You're a Mom When..

  • Your face, neck and hands are covered with scratches and bite marks NOT from a fight, but from your sons tiny little teeth and fingernails. Those suckers are sharp. No matter how many times you clip those nails in a week or give him a teething ring/pacifier he still finds a way to mar your skin.
  • Scenario: Your son has taken a GIANT poop. Its so bad and stinky its leaked all over the lower half of his onesie. Part of you rejoices in the fact that he's not constipated. The other has to stop and think how in God's name you're actually going to get this clean. You know you're a mom when you actually consider getting some scissors and cutting the onesie off of him rather than fight the struggle of trying to get it over his head without getting the poop everywhere. I've actually considered this multiple times but have yet to find a good reason to get the scissors out. Solution: Just suck it up and fight the fight. You'll probably walk away with poop up to your elbows, but at least your son will be poop free...until next time.
  • Scenario: You want to watch a Netflix that has just come in the mail. Baby is taking a nap and you are exremely excited for some "me" time. You walk over to your T.V. and find it takes longer to wade through the barrier of boxes, baskets and pillows you have set up in front of the entertainment center to protect both your son and electronic equipment than it would to watch the movie. Solution: You only get to watch the first five minutes of the movie before baby wakes up.
  • You go to cook a meal and realize half of your cooking utensils are now almost permanent residents in the toy box or tubby toy basket. 
  • You buy more clothes for your baby than you do for yourself
  • You love waking up in the morning because your son has become the next American Idol and sings to himself every morning when you wake up. I will seriously lay in bed for 30 minutes and listen to him sing and laugh at himself. Its the best.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009