Welcome Back, Jasper

My father in law has a “thing”, I suppose you can say, about nicknames for his grandsons.   When Davey was born, he nicknamed him Jasper.   When Henry was born he nicknamed him Higgins.   Now, I know where Higgins comes from…My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins.   Jasper?  Not quite so sure.

So, when Davey became old enough to start speaking, he referred to himself as Jasper when around his Guh Guh (my father-in-law).  It’s endearing for Davey and truthfully I enjoy it.   When my sister-in-law purchased an Elf on the Shelf for Davey years ago, we needed a name for the Elf and Davey immediately jumped on the name Jasper.

Jasper resting atop the miniature Elf tree.
Jasper resting atop the miniature Elf tree.

With the onset of the holiday season and my decorating, Jasper was pulled out of storage and found his way onto the top of our Christmas tree.  Last night, when the boys got back home from church, I pointed Jasper out and explained his importance.  I suppose since Davey is older, he grasps the concept and I now find myself falling prey to the whole “Elf on the Shelf” ideas for this Christmas season.

When putting the boys to bed last night, I read the story about the Elf on the Shelf, substituting in Jasper’s name where relevant.  Davey became extremely excited.  He wanted to know if Jasper would really magically fly away and come back in the morning.   I told him, “of course,” and that Jasper’s sole responsibility is to tell Santa all about how well he’s behaved.

This morning when Davey awoke, he darted off to the bathroom and while on his way excitedly asked if Jasper was in a different place.   My first thought was, “oh crap!  I was supposed to move Jasper!   Crap!  Crap! Crap!”   I told Davey that Jasper was in a new place and that he could find him AFTER he brushed his teeth and put on his clothes, thereby buying me some time to unimaginatively move Jasper.

Where did Jasper end up?  On the elf tree in the kitchen.  I know, very lackluster on my part, but I can already tell I will fail miserably at this.   When the boys came downstairs, Davey immediately found Jasper, and heeding the words from the story, kept his hands behind his back, lest he be tempted to touch Jasper and force him to lose his magical abilities.   As I made breakfast, both boys sat in the floor looking at Jasper on the elf tree.  I asked what they were doing and Davey exclaimed, “seeing if we can watch some of his magic.”

Trying to spy some of Jasper's magic.
Trying to spy some of Jasper’s magic.

After school today, Davey asked me if Jasper saw how nice he was to his classmates and if Jasper would tell Santa.  Once again, I replied, “of course,” but secretly I’m already not liking Jasper.   We’re roughly six weeks away from Christmas.  That’s 42 days in which I will be required to remember to move Jasper each night when the boys go to bed.   That’s 42 days that I’ll have to despise all of you creative moms with your cute Elf on the Shelf pictures and your ability to actually remember to do this.   That’s 42 days of me constantly reassuring Davey that Jasper will not do him wrong.   That’s 42 days of pure hell as I’m frantically trying to remember and come up with great places for Jasper.

I’m only one day into our Elf on the Shelf.  One day, and I’m already despising the little flying pixie.   Stay tuned to see if I can manage to keep up the fiasco.

I Can’t Go For That…But I Did

And so starts the holiday season. It’s the season of giving thanks, although that’s something we should consciously do every second, every minute, every hour of our lives. It’s the season for parties, for celebrations of the love we share. It’s a time for family gatherings, gorging ourselves with some of the unhealthiest of foods. It’s the season to toss out that exercise regime because you know deep down you’re not going to be able to really lose any weight. It’s the season for shopping, snagging deals, wrapping presents, decorating houses, and to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, the holiday season is officially upon us.

First season at the new Yankee stadium
First season at the new Yankee stadium

Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to load up the boys and make a trip to Atlanta. We wanted to do a little pre-holiday shopping. When we go on road trips, it’s my responsibility to man the controls of our entertainment. I’ve always been one to sing and dance to music. I like to choose some of the cheesiest melodies and groove away. I stumbled across Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That”. My husband told our oldest son, that this duo was a true classic, some of the best singer/songwriters around. I looked at him and smiled. I knew what he was thinking. He was thinking about our first ever New Year’s Eve together almost 11 years ago.

Experiencing Niagara Falls
Experiencing Niagara Falls

We were at a friend’s house watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. Hall & Oates were one of the featured groups and they were singing an all time favorite, “Maneater”. So every time I hear a Hall & Oates song, I’m immediately transported back to that first New Year’s Eve. All of this then led me to think about everything I’m thankful for and how it couldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t met this wonderful man.

Cruising in St. Lucia
Cruising in St. Lucia

We sat in traffic on the ride back, rummaging through our memories as I replayed all the Hall & Oates songs on my iPod. Our boys had fallen asleep which left us some very precious peace and quiet to really reflect upon each other and how far we’ve come.

I can still remember the day my husband first walked into my life, how he smiled as he slid through the door of my friend Jennifer’s apartment. He was, and still is, the most handsome man I’d ever laid eyes on. I watched him briefly before averting my eyes when he caught me staring. No way would someone this hot ever be interested in me, were the exact words floating through my brain. Luckily for me, I was the first person he came over to talk to.

Charlotte NASCAR race
Charlotte NASCAR race

We dated, broke up, dated again, got married, separated briefly, came to our senses and worked through our problems, and eventually brought 2 boys into this world exactly like us. We’ve had a roller coaster of a ride in the past 11 years, some of which I regret and would change, but everything brought us to who we are and where we are today and for that I’m thankful.

Tampa Aquarium
Tampa Aquarium

I’m thankful beyond words that my husband chose me to talk to 11 years ago. I’m thankful that he fell in love with me. I’m thankful that when he broke up with me, he came to his senses and realized that he wanted me back. I’m thankful that he asked me to marry him. I’m thankful that he didn’t give up on our marriage, when I had. I’m thankful that he became a Christian, thereby helping to insure our home has a strong Christian leader. I’m thankful for the children he helped me bear, the beautiful boys who are replicas of both of us, two of my most precious little gifts in the world. Without my husband, I can only imagine how I may have aimlessly walked through life never experiencing the true love and enjoyment of being a mother.

Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach

My children are my greatest accomplishment and no way could I have ever achieved that without my husband.

As the Thanksgiving weekend rolled along, I watched every movement my husband made. I watched him interact with our two boys, watching television, reading books, and helping cook. I watched every little nuance and my heart swelled with so much love and contentment. No way would any of this life have been possible without him.

I am truly blessed beyond all belief and for that I’m thankful.

Alcatraz
Alcatraz

It’s The Holiday Season

Just a quick reminder…with the holiday season upon us, please take the opportunity to be thankful for the people you have in your lives. Pray for those who may be ailing, or for those who are experiencing this first holiday season without a loved one. And for those less fortunate that you, especially the children, please take this time to donate to one of my favorite charities.

The Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots
http://www.toysfortots.org/default.aspx

GHS Children’s Hospital Virtual Toy Drive
http://www.virtualtoydrive.org/

When you’re out on Black Friday and over the weekend, fighting another parent for that coveted toy your little one “MUST” have, think about the children who won’t have anything and if nothing else, please PLEASE take the opportunity to pick up a toy for another child. It will do your heart and soul good.