Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas goes to the Dogs...literally

Our dog Jasmine has become a very large part of our family. We often try to take her on vacations with us as things allow. Immediate family usually has no problems with this, so she almost always accompanies us to both our parents homes when we vacation. Jasmine is a great traveler and will always find a comfy sport in whatever house we are in to lay down and take a nap.
When I was loading the car on Wednesday afternoon, Jasmine kept following me each and every trip to the car, watching me intently. I think she was afraid for some reason she wasn't going. When it was time to leave, I put her leash on her. After making a quick sweep of the house, I said to Elaine, "where's Jazz?" I called her and she was nowhere to be found. I opened the door and she was on the back porch just standing there waiting for me to open the car for her to grab her seat.

After a quick stop at the local chinese takeout for some crab rangoon and boneless ribs. (Elaine was craving and no she isn't pregnant). Elaine quickly told her Jasmine to take a seat because she didn't want Jazz to be begging her, and Jazz was prepared to do just that by standing up on the console between our seats. I do think Jazz might have got a rib or two though.

When we arrived at Mom and Dad's, Jasmine quickly said her hellos and found Taylor. Together, they hung around with each other. Taylor and Jasmine get along great! They really do like each other.

On Christmas morning both Jasmine and Taylor were excited. Taylor really likes Christmas as she knows she gets a present or two. Taylor began walking around, sniffing all of the gifts until she found hers and Jasmine's. Much to my childrens dismay, the dogs got to open the first gifts on Christmas Day. They each received a box of biscuits. Here are pictures of them looking around. I believe in Taylor's picture, she is barking at mom to give her the present. Jasmine's head had just turned as the picture was captured on hers but she is right in front of where her gift was as well.

As I type this, Jasmine is laying next to me fast asleep. At least until she hears Taylor wake up and come downstairs!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Interesting Christmas

Well first of all let me say that I am glad Christmas is finally here! From November 13th through December 24th, I drove 6,264 miles in my Chevrolet Express Van. That doesn't include the occasional trips in the Sienna to pick up kettle when the van was being used. Our Christmas programs in Norwich are very tiring and I am really glad we have another season behind us.

A couple of notable things happened in the last month...

Extreme Makeover Home Edition Comes to Eastern Connecticut
The popular TV show came to Eastern Connecticut and The Salvation Army was asked to support the volunteers by having a 24 hr presence for the 6 days the home was being built. I managed to put in an all night shift and a few other 6 hour shifts. It was fun to be a part of this and meet some of the stars of the show. We also enjoyed a fun after party at Foxwoods. I even got to meet and have my picture taken with Miss Connecticut!

Mom and Dad come to Visit
Mom, Dad and Tracy came to visit the weekend before Christmas. They had tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York and offered to do our meetings that same weekend. It was great to have them visit us and help us in so many ways! Dad helped take out kettles when my other drivers were snowed in and mom cleaned the house and got us caught up on laundry. They also took the kids back to Maine with them a few days before Christmas to give the kids a slight vacation and give us a break while wrapping up our Christmas distribution and kettles.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve...The kettles come in, the car is loaded and Elaine and I make the drive to Portland, Maine to join our family for Christmas. It was a smooth albeit, rainy trip, but I rarely had to cancel my cruise set speed of 75 mph. We made it in 2 hours and 50 minutes and enjoyed the traditional Cheese Fondue when we arrived.

Today was a great Christmas for us! The kids have wanted a Wii for a while now and we were able to get one this year. In addition to a few great games, we also got RockBand for it and have already played it together as a family, I on Guitar, Jay and Sam alternate on drums, Elaine typically on vocals. Its a great game and I look forward to advancing from EASY level and unlocking more songs.

However, perhaps the biggest surprise was a gift that Tracy got me. Ever since I was a child I have wanted the ship Millenium Falcon from the Star Wars movies. As a child, I never received it, and it became a running joke in our family. Well this year, Tracy got me the Falcon, or should I say she got it for Jay and me.

As I write this, we are relaxing and enjoying the day. The Wii has been set up, and as I type this, I am syncing the first of two iPods for the kids. Our Prime Rib dinner should be ready in an hour or so.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Questions

I got this off my cousin Jonathan's blog.  Given the busyness of the year, I guess its okay to copy others ideas.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper.  I never use gift bags for Christmas

2. Real tree or artificial?
Always artificial

3. When do you put up the tree?

Usually the days after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down?

January 1st (my birthday) at the latest.

5. Do you like eggnog?

Not really

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

I honestly can't remember, but I do recall a couple of very cool Tonka trucks, a 4x4 and a van.

7. Hardest person to buy for?

Either my mom or grandparents.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

Elaine she is very specific.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

A little one over our fireplace.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?


11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

A broken VHS tape from an unamed person.  The movie was good, European Vacation.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?

 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

October or November for the kids.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?


15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Prime Rib

16. Lights on the tree.


17. Favorite Christmas song?

O Holy Night, and Christmas Eve Sarajevo by Trans Siberian Orchestra

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home.

Now that parents are close we travel.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer!

20. An angel or a star on top of the tree?

Currently a star

21. Open the presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Grumpy people, bad drivers, but hey I live in Connecticut so that is all year!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?


24. Favorite dessert for Christmas dinner?

Surprisingly enough I am not a huge dessert guy

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

Rockband for our new Wii, also a Christmas Gift

26. Any special Christmas traditions?

Fondue and hor d'erves on Christmas Eve, Reading Luke Chapter 2 KJV prior to opening gifts.