Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Tear and a Smile

As 2009 draws to a close, a poem keeps popping up in my head.  It's called "A Tear and a Smile" written by Kahlil Gibran.

I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart
for the joys of the mulititude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes
to flow from my every part turn into laughter.

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
of life's secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and
to be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than
that I live weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the
depths of my spirit, for I have seen those who are
satisfied the most wretched of people.
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and longing,
and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

With evening's coming the flower folds her petals
and sleeps, embracing her longing.
At morning's approach she opens her lips to meet
the sun's kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment.
A tear and a smile.

The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come
together and area cloud.

And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys
until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping
to the fields and joins with brooks and rivers to return
to the sea, its home.

The life of clouds is a parting and meeting.
A tear and a smile.

And so does the spirit become separated from
the greater spirit to move in the world of matter
and pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow
and the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death
and return whence it came.

To the ocean of Love and Beauty ---- to G-d.

Life is a precious balance of good and bad.  I am a firm believer that you have to have both in order to live a truly fulfilled life.  2009 had some dark spots in it for us, but that only made the bright spots shine brighter.  I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Jewish Family's Holiday Tree

At the beginning of December, we made our way to the local Christmas tree lot to get our 2009 Holiday Tree. Since we moved here in 2003 we have ALWAYS visited this lot in the winter for a tree and then in the summer for pine straw. As we get out of the car, the gentleman approaches us and tells us about the tagging system and where we should look for what we want. We in turn tell him the story of our many years at this lot. About 10 minutes later we flag him down and point out the tree we will be taking home (this was a record, by the way. It usually takes me AT LEAST 30 minutes to pick out the perfect tree). Can you only imagine his surprise when we tell him we are Jewish!?!?!

As most of you know, I grew up in a "mixed" family...mother is Jewish, father is Christian. For as long as I can remember we had a menorah on the mantle and the tree in the corner of the living room. And for as long as I can remember Christmas wasn't really about religion. It was about a time to spend with and celebrate family.

When Marc and I bought this house, there were a lot of discussions and compromises in our future. One discussion...winter holiday time! He knew that I would want a tree and was obviously a little hesitant at the idea. Once I explained my point of view, he was a little more at ease, but still not totally sold. That first year I swear we had the older brother to the Charlie Brown tree. But it was our tree none the less.

Over the years the collection has grown, along with the tree. Our theme is blue, white, and silver with snowflakes and snowmen...a true representation of the SEASON of winter for us.

This year Ethan got to help decorate the tree. We even made a few ornaments at Nana's company holiday breakfast.

My favorite ornament

2009 Holiday Tree

We hope the holidays, however you choose to celebrate, was a memorable one for you!

My, how you've grown...

It's amazing what can happen in a year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Next American Idol???

Ethan's version of Train's "Hey Soul Sister"

So Long Surfer Dude

For almost two weeks, Ethan was bugging us to cut his hair.  He kept saying "I want it short like Carter's."  Marc and I both LOVE the long California surfer dude look.  We finally caved, deciding that it really wasn't fair to him to keep it long if he didn't want it.  Poor kid was constantly having to brush the hair out of his eyes.

Ethan and I made our way to our favorite haircut establishment, American Haircuts.  When he sat in the chair, Robert asked what he wanted.  I told him that Ethan requested it to be short so he could spike it.  I can't get over how different he looks!  At first, it was just odd.  I remember thinking, "You sound like my kid, but you sure don't look like him!"  It has taken some getting used to, but Ethan loves it, so that's all that matters. 

Ice Skating

A few weeks ago we decided to take Ethan ice skating.  He's been dying to go ever since we let him try on Marc's old skates one day.  We got to the rink and Marc took the skates into the Pro Shop to be sharpened.  The guy thought it was so cool that the skates were 30 years old! 

Once we got all suited up and stepped into the rink area, Ethan wasn't so excited.  Can you see the terror in his face?

After a lot of coaxing and some good old fashion trickery, we finally got him out there.  I was holding him and we would just gradually take a few steps closer to the ice.  When we were next to the door leading onto the rink, I distracted him as I stepped onto the ice.  Mind you, I don't skate well, so being on skates AND holding a wiggly 35 lb. toddler could have spelled disaster, but I am proud to say I kept my balance!  Once I was able to put him down, we convinced him to let Daddy take him to the door on the other side of the rink.  As soon as they got to the door..."Daddy, let's do it again!" 

My apologies for the blurry pictures (and the demon eyes).  I was trying to get a good one when I was told that I wasn't allowed to take pictures on the ice.