Posted in 50 in 50 days, Family

AMAZING 50 Celebration

50 happened! And happened and happened!!

I have had birthday celebrations in the past. Easter theme usually, Scan 200with egg hunts and pin the tail on the bunny. Scan 205

Scan 204Scan 203If it was not my year to have lots of friend s overScan 206(I don’t know the ‘rule’ for ‘friend parties, sometimes did and sometimes didnt’)t we would celebrate with family.Scan 207Scan 210Always had a cake Scan 201and presents. Scan 208 Being close to EasterScan 209a lot of the time we would be with my grandparents, and my Pawpa and  would celebrate together, his birthday was the 3rd. And a few times Aunt Mary Lee joined us too, since her birthday was the 8th.Scan 199

I had my first slumber party when I was 10, I think, then another when I turned 13. My big party and last party mom and dad threw me was 16. Kirk’s band came to play, set up in the living room-Scan 212 A bunch of kids came,a lot I didn’t invite,  hid beer in the back yard ( I did not drink) and smoked joints around the side of the house. Mom and Dad were even there, somewhere, choosing to be oblivious , but still taking pictures. I can admit this stuff now I AM 50!Scan 211

No party  can top what Keith just conspired for my 50! . I suppose he took my saying he had to do it big and that I did not think he would be able to surprise me, as a challenge– And he won.

First he brought Bio Mom and Sister in Thursday. SURPRISE!!!!! This was beyond enough!!. I was sure my time with them would be the IT of the celebration, visiting with them on Friday and seeing them off Saturday- Friday, we went shopping, eating lunch, just being together, we three, for the first time ever in my 50 years.  Keith had plans for us to go to the Petroleum Club, special arrangements because we are not members. We girls though decided the Petroleum club was just too TOO. None of us, were looking forward to ‘dressing’ for dinner. I hoped Keith would not have his feeling hurt when I asked for a venue change. He was great about it, found the one other place in town that takes reservations and got us in. We girls went and sat in the bar a bit before he came. When we went in we told them we had reservations but would wait in the bar, they responded with “For 14?” I said not unless he is doing something else– The ‘girls’  denied anything else was happening This restaurant mistake really worked for Keith.

We had our meal very relaxed, joked about the 14 reservation, Keith saying basically ‘This is it” Me saying having Bio and Sister was more than enough. I then had to convince Bio and Sis to come out to the house, so we could visit some more- Even though we were working on trying to convince them to stay another day. They decided to come and Sis was going to use my computer to show me some picts on FB she had. We were in separate cars, I stayed with Bio and Sis for the ride home. I was in the back of Sis’s car reading a People Magazine and chatting, looking up every now and then to be amazed at how well Bio was navigating a car and area she did not know.  We were part way up our long drive before I looked up and saw the line of cars and jillions of people standing on my front porch.Image  I said ‘Shit.”  Bio says I actually said “Shee-at”. Image 3    Then I turned around and walking up behind me was my brother Mike- Who had texted his apologies to me earlier, saying he wished he could have been there to meet Bio and Sis, but just could not get a way—- I cried again- Surprise!   It took me about 20 minutes of Birthday Greetings and Were You Surprised? to notice that everyone was dressed 70’s, or 60’s or 2013. 😉 All pretty much the same. 100_3451 Image 5 Image 6 Image 8 Image 9 For me too- Born in the 60’s ‘lived’ in the 70’s and again in 2013.

I am blessed beyond measure and my 50th is proof- A husband who wants to do all of this for me. EVERYONE adores him and knows and tells how amazing he is- Could not be a better man, for ME. My family, my kids (adults) are my bests, the are my friends, they WANT to be with me- My ‘girls’ really are MY girls they set up this thing for Keith, decorated, invited and entertained for ME. My grandkids and my ‘adopted’ grandkids waiting as excited for my birthday as they are for their own. My brother, the only other of ‘us’ left, is left. He loves me and wants for me , he adores my family and my family loves him.  All of those who came to celebrate my party, those who could not attend who wanted to know how it all went– I got friends, I really do! And Bio and Sis, and beyond them, a call from Bio Brother, Aunts and Uncles who wanted to come- They wanted to celebrate, my birth 50 years later, with me– Wow–

50 years of blessing’s sure looks good to me!Image 10

Posted in Family

Spring is Here so is Brian.

Today is the first day of spring!Scan 62 Better than that, it is my Brian’s birthday!brian 19 b #2 son was born 29 years ago, 3 days ‘late’ (St Pat’s day was due date)He would have been 2 days late if the cord had not been around his neck and the nurse had moved a bit faster toget the gloves for the doctor 😉 He was born at 12:04 AM.

Brian was the only out of the three I did not have a sonograms with, so we did not know his sex before he was born. I really was convinced he was a girl, because the pregnancy was so different from the first. Brian was the only who was born ‘late’, past his due date. Brian was the only we had without insurance to pay, I think we may still owe some, I hope they don’t repossess.

Brian got to have the ‘worst’ of the Celiac. He got to go through all the poking and prodding. He got the most of the symptoms, the beyond the text book pain and misery. He is our strongest our toughest our warrior. Scan 32He never cried, or complained, he never voiced his fears. Brian endured.

Brian has broken his arm, torn his clavicle off of his shoulder,l b K after surgery had several concussions, had a vertebra  in his neck pop out and been paralyzed for a short bit, sleep walks, broken curfew, been hit in the face with a baseball, been T-Boned by T’s truck, had endoscopys, ekg’s, worn a heart monitor, wore corrective shoes, had numerous stitches, had his tonsils taken out, and has not eaten wheat in 19 years. And he has survived it all– quite wellDSCF3110

Brian stands for what he believes in and believes what he stands for. He adores his family, put’s his wife and children before his needs and me, as it should be. Brian loves God and walks in His ways, with humbleness.DSCF3009

Brian is BRILLIANT. He was born a mechanical engineer. We could not keep batteries, paper clips and tape, because he was always building something. If something broke Brian had it in pieces, not fixing it, but turning it into something else. Brian spent some time in college to get that piece of paper to declare him an engineer. Brian did well until the day he conferenced with the professors on a project he had going on at home, an engine run on air compression. After the talk one professor pulled him aside and explained to him that any ‘invention’ he made while a student of the college belonged to the college, and he should keep this to himself. Brian explained this was all his expense and he was not using any college equipment, the professor said that did not matter, as long as he was a student….. Brian’s beliefs of justice and fairness, his character, kicked in and he walked out of college. This on top of his frustration of having to explain how things worked on paper and a gorgeous fiance’  and his dedication to her and their life together, it was an easy walk!Brian ashton welders

Brian is known for his ability to do, to build, to fix, to design, absolutely anything.. The company he works for now only exists because of his brilliance. Brian is stepping out and working on developing his own business, he has started building guns. Yep building guns. Petty Ordnance Unlimited is his company– Someday soon he will be known just like Winchester, Colt and Smith and Wesson!brian ash old

Brian is one of those people who can do all things. He was/is a great athlete. He was an amazing pitcher. Brian is funny, has a great sense of humor.DSCF2948 Brian was a great actor in school. Scan 63A great speaker. Brian is an artist, his design drawings are a work of art in themselves. Brian is a woodworker.Brian is an expert welder. Brian can fix everything, from a car to a mixer. Brian seems to always know the right answer to any question. Very few people know how gifted and talented Brian is. His wife knows. We know. His brothers know. A few close friends have an idea. Brian is a humble man, DSCF3340probably his greatest achievement, especially since he has so much to be proud of.282375_10151111879105073_2724440_n

I am so proud of him, God will excuse my ‘pride’, because I know He is too!Scan 97

Posted in 50 in 50 days, Family

Wish I Might Go Back..30days to 50

Scan 96The boys remind me of my failures,as a mom, so often.Usually it is the same few ‘bad Mommy dearest moments. But still, I wish they did not have those to remember. I always respond in my defense, that there were 365 days in a year and they lived with me for 18 years, so just to have a few baddies in the midst of all the rest, I can’t have been that horrendous a mom.Scan 12

When Lee started school I took a 3 day a week  job with a church, and Brian went to pre school, other than that I was always home, with Lee and Brian. Then later with Evan, when the boys were both in school.  I and the boys were always together, sometimes Keith joined in. Keith worked oilfield at first and spent a lot of after hours with ‘the guys’,the boys were babies then so they did not miss him much then. By the time they were toddlers Scan 37he worked graveyard for the USPS and slept (or tried to) till 3 and then we started our ‘family’ time.Scan 45

I was not a neat and tidy gotta have it allinplace kind of mom.Scan 40Still not. I can remember them having tents intheir room,I must have set that up. We colored together. Built Lego junk. Played outside with the dogs and riding toys. I must have dumped and refilled the kiddie pool twice a day in the summer, between them peeing in it and the dogs swimming and shedding in it. Played in their oversized room with the Little Tykes slide, and teeter totter.  We walked to the little ‘old stuff’ park at least once a week, stopping at the blue house to talk to the elderly  man who would always call out to us. He would ruffle Lee’s hair, Lee would act silly and Brian would stare at him from the stroller, daring him , with those giant ,brown, introvert eyes, to just try and touch his  head. Scan 97We would go to their grandmothers house (my mother in law) to swim, THEY loved it. We made trips to my parents without Keith and just ‘do’ Lubbock and Ransom Canyon.Scan 134

A lot of doctor visits and hospital visits arein the memory bank with the boys. Stitches, elbow’s out of socket, ear infections, well baby checks, asthma, and ‘Brian attacks'(undiagnosed Celiac) were our main reasons.  Then Evan was born with Pierre Robin  and also the search for reason of ‘Brian attacks’ became more intense. We made lots of trips to ‘real’ hospitals and doctors in Dallas. So vacations and memories became Six Flags and baseball games and shopping in big malls, and hotel rooms, and hospital waiting rooms.

I really loved being with the kids. Hated them to go to schoolScan 128. I wanted to homeschool them all, but as circumstances were, I only had opportunity to homeschool Evan. I did not like the school people telling me to feed my kids breakfast and wanting excuses of why I did not send them to school.  They are MINE, if I want to starve them in the morning and send them to Tinbucktoo I can, it is no business of MISD!On Brian Attack days I loved having him home with me, except that he was sick, yet again, and we did not know why.Scan 66

I wish the boys would remember the stuff I did good. Not the Chore Cards I made up for them to do their chores. They forget that their only chores were trash, clean room, unload dishes, and scoop dog poop, divided between the 2 then 3 of them. They forget because they never did their chores. 😉 . Not the PMS days, I did have them and I was nuts, but that really was only about 3 days a month, 3 out of 30 aint bad! AND I went and had surgery to fix it all, just for them!!! Not the spankings that went bad, because Leewould leap around trying to dodge the ‘bullet’ and get it in the wrong place. Why not remember our coming to his defense and making the Principle apologize for bruising him from hip to knee. Brian complains that I punished him 1st as an example to Lee, and ‘Lee made me do it anyway’. Yes, and it tore Lee up to be responsible for the punishment of Brian, andBrian needed to know how to make decisions on his own, good or bad.  He does now, and most of them are good.

E with buttonEvan is a bit of a different go back. The olders think he is lacking because I coddle too much. Maybe. Scan 65 But I think he has more than anyone expected him to have, because I pushed him really really hard. I wantedhim to be so much like his brothers, to have everything they did and would. The olders don’t see that the time spent pushing Evan was not the fun stuff they and I got to do.Scan 67 The playground with Evan I was pushing prodding, forcing ,him to climb, to cross bridges, to swing high. It scared him, it frustrated me, it was not fun. Growing up was not fun for Evan, Lee and Brian don’t see that.DSCF2081-7

If I might go back, it would be to tape it all, to make a documentary. To show them and myself (and my mother in law) how very much love was in our home. To show how many miracles happened everyday for our family. To show all we have accomplished. To show all the prayers I prayed and all the tears I have cried for my children. To show how God carried us through it all. I bet God has one we can see someday.

To My Grown Up Son.

Ask the parents of grown up children
And they will tell you
It is better to be able to say “I am glad I did”
Than to have to say “I wish I had”

My hands were busy through the day
I did not have much time to play
The little games you ask me to
I did not have much time for you

I’d wash your clothes; I’d sew and cook
But when you’d bring your picture book
And ask me please to share your fun
I’d say “a little later son”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night
Hear your prayers and turn out the light
Then tiptoe softly to the door
I wish I had stayed a minute more

For life is short and years rush past
A little boy grows up so fast
No longer is he at your side
His precious secrets to confide

The picturebooks are put away
There are no children games to play
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear
That all belongs to yesteryear

My hands once busy now lie still
The days are long and hard to fill
I wish I might go back and do
The little things you asked me to

Alice A Chace

Posted in 50 in 50 days, Family

42 to 50- Grandma day

Glorious day!  This was my first ALL my Grandboys day! I have had some granddaughter days, and a few all one family days, and those always involve girls. but never an all grand boy day. So fun! LIke the days I had ‘just’ boys.  The weather cooporated too, so we got to go out side and play some, feed the horses snacks, dig in the dirt, play with the dogs, throw some dirt a bit, it was good!

When the girls come and I say  “Lets go out side and…. .”  I usually get  Why? or  “But the doggies might tear my dress up dress”. Can’t we paint something instead? ” Or Cheyanne will ask “Can we look for horny toads/or frogs/ or lizards/?” and then “Why can’t we find horny toads/frongs or lizards after no looking and enough noise and shreiks  and whining about the stickers, dogs, heat/cold  from little sister, has almost run me away with the lizard toads and frogs.  I LOVE the girls, but they are sooooooooooo much harder to ‘please’ than the boys. Always in need.  I suppose this is from growing up with only boys and having only boys.  Boys seem to just do. Girls need to socialize and verbalize when they do.

So the boys and I needed to go and get the foster pup some food. On the way to the shop all the dogs were spoken to and tails were grabbed, rocks picked up and dropped again. We stopped by Evan’s apartment, he was home one more day after going on an antibiotic for throat infection. Evan had all of his matchbox car collection out, the boys were in heaven. Ty 4, Law, practically 3 and Colton 2 1/2 all drop to their knees and start driving and making car noises perfectly and, stating in their various stages of language, ‘tractor’ ‘truck’ race car’, helicopter’ bus’ . The next trip was to give the horses snacks, Colton who loves the horses from a distance was not as keen of big horse right next to him, so I held him as the other boys gave the snacks.  Back in the shop Colton found a cap to put on, just till he got to the door then he spied a helmet, threw the cap on the floor, which Ty picked up and put on, and put on the helmet. Law looked at them both like they were nuts to have something on their heads, other than a cowboy hat. We then went in grabbed a Glutino ‘oreo’ and headed for nap time.

At nap time, I first tried to put Colton down in the crib as his mom had suggested. There was no way that would happen, even with the helmet. His two older cousins were not in the baby bed  he was not going to have such and insult. So they all three lay in the bed, I below their feet reading the book Ty picked out, The 3 Little Pigs, and holding the book up so they could see the pictures. I made voices for each pig different and a big deep voice for the wolf, and huffed and puffed myself till I had a coughing fit.  The book is one I had as a child, so it is not so watered down as the 3 littlle pig story they have heard before, they were shocked to here that that big bad wolf dropped into the boiling water and boiled up, and that was the end of him.  Ty said “The wolf usuwally runned away, and didn’t die. I guess that is ok though. “I toughened em up today. 😉 and then they slept. DSCF3011

Posted in Family

Happy 30 Lee! (My Little Guinea Pig)

July 10 1982 my little guinea pig was born. Lee is my first child, my first son. Lee is the first grandchild, first grandson of my parents. Lee was the first person I knew that was of my DNA.  Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

When I looked in his eyes that day, I had a little bit of me looking back, for the first time. Yes, they were his fathers eyes, my blood coursed through him.  So much so, he was very jaundiced by it. They call it ABO factor, he is A I am O, that don’t ‘factor’.

Lee was born 4 weeks before due date. But he was not ‘that’ early. Actually I believe he was ‘on time’ the test was mistaken four weeks prior, and proof was made 40 weeks later when he made his appearance in this world. I was in labor for 3 hours, it was not a ‘forced’ delivery. He was 6lb 4oz and 21 inches- Kind of a spider monkey, he might have stayed ‘in’ another week and chubbed some. Lee does not wait for anything, still.  

Keith and I were young parents, by many people’s ‘standards’. But not ours. Keith and I were both the babies of our families. Our parents were in their 30’s when they got to us. Our closest siblings in years is 6 years older and our furthest is 11 years older. We were both, actually the LAST’s, instead of the babies. We are a bit independent, and pretty much do things the way we want. It seems like we wanted a baby within hours of saying “I Do”, me 18 and Keith 19, so 3 months later we ‘wanted’ no more.We had insurance, we had jobs, we had a one bedroom apartment, we had a car payment, we had Keith’s 57 ford pickup, we had a marriage license, it was time for a baby. 

Keith wanted ‘him’ to be conceived on a camp out- So he was. I did not want him to be born on my anniversary, so he was not, he was born the day before. ;).

I call Lee our guinea pig, because it sounds better than lab rat. Our being the last’s meant we were clueless on babies or anything younger than we. Our parents neither did a lot of parenting training with us, I am not sure any do. We read a few children raising books, but being the kind that do things pretty much the way we want to, we found a lot of ideas that could be made better, by us.

I chose to breast feed , it made sense to me. Cow and cats do it, why shouldn’t I? Why mess with all those bottles and the sterilizing and buying formula when it is all right there hanging off my chest? Practical.In 1982 breastfeeding was a ‘new’ thing. It seems to skip a generation, you know. The grandmothers were not in full approval of it. Lee loved it, would not take a bottle, EVER. Titty baby. 

We started solids when he was 6 months old and ‘Viola’ he started sleeping through the night….. We were not the organic only healthy no sugar eat completely balanced meal type. Lee ate what we ate, usually. Sometimes he had different ideas, though.

Lee went everywhere with us. Movies, dinner, weddings, parties, grocery store. Very few times did he ever stay with anyone. One reason, was he did not take a bottle and he ate every 2 hours around the clock, till he was 6 months old. Yep, that scheduled feeding thing was something I must have skipped over in my readings. The other reason we had him with us, is because we wanted to. Lee was our kid, he went where we did. We did the same with all of our children. “Us”  does not mean husband and wife, it means family. 

Our guinea pig  introduced us to many things to know as parents, the many uses of appliances

The fun of steps

Who needs a motor boat to go so slow….

Lee gleaned some from us,
And through these thirty years Lee has chosen to wear many different hats,  and looks good in them all.  He has taken many different roles and succeeded in all. 

There are plenty of things we didn’t do by the ‘books’ in our parenting of Lee or Brian or Evan. Most things. These are our kids, not Dr. Spock’s. Our kids are a gift from God, he gave us the instructions of how to raise them. Did we make mistakes? Yes, and most of them were NOT being hard enough, not being tough enough, because we did not want them to suffer the consequences of their decisions. Proverbs 13:2424 He who spares his rod hates his son,

But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.  Today Lee has his own kids, his own wife, his own family, his career, his own home. Lee is a leader in his church. Lee is a Godly man. He does it good, with mistakes.

I do know that no mistake was made 30 years and 9 months ago, by that 18-year-old woman and 19-year-old man.  Happy Birthday Lee!

Proverbs 20:7
The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.

Posted in Christy's Concepts, Family

Day 05 – A picture of one of your favorite memories-Kirk

The photo challenge for the day, I put off until today. For a couple of reasons, one I was terribly busy yesterday, and it was Sunday, I don’t blog on Sunday usually.  Two, today is Memorial Day and my brother Kirk’s birthday

. Kirk’s birthday has always meant good memories, it  usually not only was close to or on Memorial day, it was also close or on the last day of school. Now Memorial day is a time I remember Kirk.

I have two brothers , Kirk 6 years older and Mike 11 years older Kirk is the tall one, I am the girl,which leaves Mike to be the curly haired dude.

Kirk won a KOOL cigarette contest in high school, and the prize was a sailboat, the boat itself was styrofoam, the sail a big green and white KOOL advertisement.  We  lived on a lake so, perfect! Kirk also took up fishing once we moved to Ransom. Instead of just loading up his boat and sailing off and fishing by his lonely, Kirk got me (through Mom and Dad) a tackle box with the same lueres he had (different colors) He would wake me up on random mornings and we would go ‘fishin’ together. I don’t know why he decided to do this, I never asked, I was thrilled to be with him.

Kirk was in a band called The Nice Guys, they were pretty good. They played all over Lubbock, I got to go to the venues that were bar/restaurants, it was so cool to be ‘part’ of the band.  Kirk wrote music, as well as played just about anything you put in his hands. Guitar was his instrument of choice. Kirk was a funny funny guy, he was the personality of the band, sang and told jokes, looked good too. And he was MY brother.  The Nice Guys came to the house and played for my 16th birthday, I was the ONLY from my class that had a party with a live band!! Did I say they were a good band? one that was paid to play? I was sooooo proud.

Kirk was an amazing artist. His sense of humor combined with his gift he was able to create hilarious art. When Kirk’s wife divorced him he dealt with the misery he was going through with expressing himself through his art. He would send letters with his artwork on the outside of the envelopes. I am so glad we did not have cell phones then! Keith had a collage made of some of the favorites.

Kirk was a long tall guy 6’2″ very lean. Size 13 flat feet wearing either cowboy boots or more often track shoes, those black ones with the white stripes.  Tall thin guys always remind me of Kirk.  A close friend of Brian’s, Brent M, immediately stole my heart when I met him, he talked and walked and moved like Kirk, AND he shares the same birthday!

I love my memories of Kirk. The drawings and paintings I have framed or tucked in a folder. The sound of his voice on the tapes of him and his band. Songs of others, that he used to sing. Map colors, his favorite tool to draw cartoons with. The movie Blazing Saddles, his favorite.

. Monica, his daughter. His pride and joy.

Men who resemble him, Tim Robbins, Bon Jovi (I don’t think so, but people used to tell him that, he thought it hilarious), any tall thin man with a smile. I see these reminders as charms from God to put on my  memory bracelet.   I thank God for all the many charms he left me to remember him by.

Kirk left this world almost 23 years ago. I don’t say died, because he still lives in my heart and memories. He lives eternally with our Lord.  Kirk was 32.

Kirk was addicted to alcohol. He was ready to quit, saw the damage it had done, was doing. Kirk never was a drunk, just had to have alcohol to function. It was taking its toll. Kirk would call and talk to me about how frustrated he was with being addicted, the problems it caused. He wanted to quit.  He decided to, cold turkey. 24 hours in, he started D.T’s. Kirk passed out in the driveway, as he and his fiance were going to the  MD. His 6″2′ frame slung his head to the ground. Kirk died 2 days later, 6 weeks after Evan was born, from the head injuries.

I remember sitting in the hospital room with him, holding his hand. We had been told everything was shutting down, and possibly he was brain dead. They were still getting brain response from the area of the brain for thinking process and reasoning, he was not brain dead,yet. I was talking to that part of Kirk, to Kirk who was listening either there or as he was passing to eternity. I was praying. I remembered to Kirk my favorite song that he wrote. Fields of Clover– One verse is ” Some fine day we will all be there walking hand and hand in that field of clover in the distant land”  I told Kirk I so wanted him to stay, so wanted him to meet his newest nephew. I wanted for him to be healed of his struggles. I wanted him to stay and be with his joy, his daughter Monica. Yet, I knew he was looking at that field of clover. I knew what he was so close to was more wonderful than anything I could want for him. I told him we would meet him in that field of clover someday.

A favorite memory is my Kirk, on this memorial day. A favorite memory that reminds me of a future of walking hand in hand in a distant land. 

Posted in Christy's Concepts, Family

Christmas Traditions

Definition of TRADITION

a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or asocial custom)b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
Christmas is a conglomeration of traditions.  Traditions of ‘mothers’ family, ‘father’ family, church family, religious background, neighborhood, city, state, nation etc….
Christmas being here, in 2 days, is bringing on memories of Christmas pasts. I was thinking of MY childhood Christmas’ .  My memories from childhood are nothing but joyous. I really only remember the good from Christmas.  The only oddness of this is my other childhood memories, not involving Christmas are pretty evenly good and BAD memories. I was not perfect, my parents were not perfect, my brothers were not perfect– Yet at Christmas I only remember good.   Except…. a few Christmas memories include my crying, almost hysterically, while my parents were taking the traditional Christmas Eve posed in front of the tree or fireplace in the new Christmas Eve PJ’s photo.I actually do not know why I cried, only that I did. It was the customary pattern.  I also remember myself to be a bit too old to be crying over this tradition of picture.  Maybe I was getting into my PMS years.  Even the crying jags I had did not ‘ruin’ the whole Christmas, actually the only real reminder is the picture themselves.
OUr traditions of Christmas consisted of hanging the stockings with care, if we did not have a fireplace, we would hang on a door, or wall or…Actually we only had one home I know of that had no fireplace. A present with the tag “Open December 24 was a tradition , along with the contents of such package being a new pair of PJ’s, usually a gown (for me not my brothers.)Standing in front of the tree with various family members, either with our newly opened present’s or prior too the opening (or both) was also a HAVE to event each year. the present’s had a ‘tradition also.  The one and only one on Christmas eve.  Then on Christmas morning, Santa Claus gifts would be sitting in front of the tree, or around the tree, with each recipients stocking propped against the gift.  The gift of course was never wrapped, Santa did not need to wrap.  The stocking had a few treasures; combs, pocket knife for the boys, Little Kiddle for me, pencils (my parents were teachers) an apple, an orange, mini chocolate candies from Hershey, and nuts.
      Another tradition was entering the living room.  We were never to get up and run to the room and view the Santa gift without Dad with a camera set up to catch the moment we spied our gifts.  Just as the photographer tries to catch the grooms face the first time he views his  bride coming down the aisle.  Christmas morning we were to get up, bathroom and brush our hair and teeth, but not change out of our Christmas PJ’s, , the opening of the presents was to photographed with everyone in PJ’s .  We were to look like Doris Day and Rock Hudson with our robes and house shoes and perfectly coiffed hair.   Dad would position himself ahead of us, in the living room, either ours or our grandparents (these are the only two places I ever experienced Christmas as a child) with the movie camera with BRIGHT light or years later camera with square cubed flash that never turned.  We would wait in the hallway till he gave the ok to come in.  I am sure this was a thrill for my older brothers, Kirk was 6 years  and Mike 11 older than I. Seriously, do the math, when I was of age to be anticipating the Santa display properly, I was at the least 4, Kirk would have been 10 and Mike 15.  Here they were waiting in the hall to be greeted with the blinding light from the movie camera, with glee, I am sure.
        Once the proper amount of pictures were taken of we eying our Santa booty, Dad would begin to pass out the presents.  No one was to open until all had received theirs.  Then some how we 5 would open our gifts in an orderly fashion that we all could be aware of the others opening, calling out as we opened one from someone , “Thank you Mom and Dad, or Mamaw and Pawpa, or Sibling Name for the ball, doll, book…
          Next would come the clean up, traditional, save the big pieces of paper and ribbon style.  Breakfast was traditionally not much. Then dressing in something given as a gift.  Setting our gifts out on our beds, so we could eye them all day. The traditions go on and on.
           My parents were both teachers, so our Christmas began with the letting out of school and lasted until we went back to school, about 2 weeks.  Christmas was not just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for me, it was a real vacation.  The family was all together, my parents were there every morning, every breakfast, every lunch every dinner.  For awhile, until my brothers grew and moved out, we all five would be HOME, and when my grandparents came they were with us for days, if we went to them again days and days.  Or at least that is how I remember it.
     Now that I am grown and have gone through my own Christmas traditions, my own family growth, I know that the memories I have are as magical as Christmas.  From the time I was 11 my dad had a second job, to pay for all credit card splurges, he worked at Sears, and Montgomery Wards, there is no way he was home for those 2 weeks.  My brothers, both moved out on their own when they were 18, so from the time I was 8 MIke did not wait in the hall with me, and I was totally on my own by the time I was 12.  Mom suffered from migraines regularly, especially if she was not needing to work, she spent most of her time in bed when she had a headache. My grandparents did not spend every Christmas with us, they shared time with Mom’s family and their other 2 daughters. My earliest memories are from about 4 years, IF we spent every 3 years with my grandparents, until my grandfather died and my grandmother moved to the nursing home when I was 18, that only gives me 5 Christmas’ with them.  The memories of the good, and not the negative, I suppose is also a tradition.
    We hear how important it is to make your own traditions in your family, apart from your childhood traditions.  I wonder.  I am actually thinking that the ‘traditions’ that tie us to the past, that are customary to insist upon having year after year, that disappoint if we do not ritually  act out– could possibly be the irritants at Christmas.  Making all the man made ideas happen.
    The reason for the season, to celebrate God’s love for us, his desire to come into our world and inhabit a human life form, so he could eventually experience a horrendous death of that body and take all of our sins upon himself go to death and conquer that death so we could have the opportunity to be ‘back’ with him forevermore. Remembering, passing down, that magical gift is the only tradition we should keep alive.