Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Month of December- Blog 3: Letters from Mom & Mimi

9 Days Until Christmas Ellie!

We have been enjoying this holiday season with you even more than last year!  You recognize Santa (although we haven’t taken you to sit on his lap yet), you are in awe of houses covered in lights, and you call our Christmas stockings hanging over our fireplace “big boots”! 

But most fun is our tradition of Elf on the Shelf with you.  Your Mimi gave us the box for your baby shower.  

We introduced the book to you last year when you were nine months old and your Daddy helped us name our elf, Griz (after Clark Griswold in our favorite Christmas movie, I think our family has a few similarities!).  You took one look at Griz and tried to eat him!  

But this year, we have been following the rules… and Griz is hidden in a new place everyday.  You love this game of hide-and-go-seek!  

However, you aren’t honoring one of the key guidelines- you aren’t supposed to touch Griz because you will wipe off Santa’s magic and he won’t be able to fly back and report to Santa how good you are.  I think Santa is overlooking it this year but many of our friends’ children who watch your Elf on Shelf videos on Facebook are very nervous for you this year Ellie!  I think the funniest though is every time I ask you if Griz is an elf, you respond that he is a mouse.  I think you have quite the sense of humor Ellie because now Joe the Kitty is a mouse, Daddy is a mouse, and even you are a mouse.

And you say it with that mischievous look in your eye and sly smile and even sillier giggle after.  Gosh, I just love you and how you think!

Now I’m not sure how Griz continually finds new places to hide.  He’s been in your toy school bus, in your coat, on the rocking chair, in Daddy’s shoe, even on top of the computer while we Skype with Mimi!  

This is a tradition that we will keep for years to come Ellie.  Make sure you thank Mimi for sending us our elf (however with the way you are handling Griz this year, we might need a replacement sent to us next year)!!!

I also love that our good friends Jaclyn and Jason have a tradition of an annual Christmas party… and it’s a White Elephant one at that.  That means you bring a gift (it could be a joke or something good but you can’t tell what it is).  Everyone has a number of when they can pick their gift but before they open it, they have the option of “stealing” a gift that was opened before them.  Your Dad and I almost brought home a beautiful salad bowl (but that got stolen), then we stole the champagne glasses (but those got stolen from us too), so we got stuck taking home the Miracle of Life birthing DVD.  You had just as much fun as we did at that party running around with all the other children (I love that our friends have little ones now too!).  Jaclyn always has a delicious spread (she makes the yummiest bruschetta and caprese salads!) but her friend Kristine’s cookies were my favorite (peanut butter cup!).  Next party is your Daddy’s work one where we will go downtown for dinner and entertainment with his colleagues.  I love that Christmas gives people a reason to catch up and be together.

Mimi, what is your favorite holiday tradition?  Aside from Griz and holiday get-togethers, mine is definitely giving to others- your Mimi and Poppy taught me that.  Maybe Mimi, you could write to Ellie and tell her what you guys do every year.  Notice Ellie, that we haven’t really mentioned getting presents yet- that’s because Christmas is a season… a season of giving, of spending time with family and friends, honoring your faith, and spreading joy and cheer (which you do every second of everyday), 

And tis’ the season for family… 6 days until your Mimi and Poppy are here!!!

Love you, my little funny mouse!!!

And now from your Mimi… 

Hi Ellie!

Oh my!  Now that your mommy put it on paper I can’t believe it is only 9 days till Christmas!  That reminds me of the 12 Days of Christmas song where on the 9th day I think the lords are leaping, (probably because someone kept interrupting their Christmas shopping!) or is it the maids are milking (and probably not happy with whomever invented the serving of eggnog at Christmas parties… yuck!) or maybe it is when the ladies are dancing, (who have good reason to because they probably single-handedly conquered Christmas: the shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking and cooking all by themselves and of course all with a smile!)  Maybe I should just Google that verse before Poppy says, “There she goes making up the words again!”  You know Ellie it would have been much easier if whoever wrote that song used a noun that started with the same letter of the number they were making reference too.  Well… that is what I would have done had I written it!

OK.  So this week we are to write about our favorite Christmas memory.  Well Ellie, a favorite Christmas memory of mine happened many, many years ago… around the time I was 10 years old.  Your Great Gram and Pop-pop Jones took our family to Philadelphia to spend the Christmas holiday with Great-Gram’s family.  I remember being so excited because we had to take a train to Chicago to catch a plane for Philly.  I don’t remember much of the train ride but I do remember being quite anxious boarding the airplane.  Once I took my seat I remember thinking that I was awfully glad they kept a neatly folded white lunch sized paper bag nestled in the chair pocket found in front of me!  Not that I needed it Ellie.  I am guessing that my queasiness was probably from holiday travel excitement and not from motion sickness!  It was just nice to know that it was there!  From there my memory of this trip jumps to your Great-great Gram Mundy’s house.  A house where there were always welcomed arms, Christmas cookies galore, a kitchen filled with delicious smells and a cup of tea in everyone’s hand.  I remember how I always loved their house, as there were visitors from morning till night and everyone always had a smile.  I also remember Gram and Pop Mundy’s Christmas tree and thinking to myself,  “Wow, that is for sure not real, and it’s not green either.  You see Ellie; back home in Green Bay we displayed in our family room what I believed to be the perfect live Christmas tree every single year, because my dad would spend all morning drilling holes into its trunks only to fill them with oodles of lush green branches.  

I was never really quite sure why anyone would go to all this trouble, but I must admit it did create the perfect Christmas tree and one of the most beautiful Jones holiday traditions!  But back to “My Philly Christmas Memory” and Gram Mundy’s Christmas tree.  Ellie, theirs was kind of like a tall silver Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  Each branch was very uniform and let’s just say…  you could see through it…  like the whole wall behind it!  And the best part of their tree story was that it came with a colored spotlight wheel of green, blue, yellow and red that when plugged in it changed the silver tree every 30 seconds to silver green, silver blue, silver yellow and silver orange!  I think the orange was supposed to be red but once it hit the silver tree, somehow Halloween always came to mind!  In my 10-year-old eyes though, that was one of the coolest futuristic tree’s I ever saw and I couldn’t wait to tell my friends back home about!  I remember too getting a Barbie doll as a gift in Philly and being quite happy with it as your Aunt Sheri and I had no problems spending hours of fun in the “Barbie World” on any given day!  I also remember that when we returned home to Green Bay it was evening and there was a blanket of fresh snow on the ground.  Upon entering the house, there stood right in front of the cardboard fireplace… yep, you read right… our family’s fireplace was genuine cardboard and it was seasonal at that!  

As for the logs inside it as well as the flames rising from the logs…. cardboard too.  So was its mantel that held our stockings!  It only came out during the holiday and afterwards was disassembled, folded up and stored down in the basement for the rest of the year until the next Christmas!  I don’t know who thought up this clever idea to sell, but obviously my family fell for it hook, line and sinker!   Anyway, right in front of it stood two brand new bikes, one with your Aunt Sheri’s name on it and the other with my name on it.  Ellie, through my excitement I remember running to the front window searching for manmade bike tracks.  And because there were none there, I remember thinking that Santa Clause saved the best for last for he read and answered our Christmas list that we had sent him!   It was a perfect ending to a perfect Christmas.  I knew then just as I do now that I would never forget that Christmas year!

And as you grow Ellie, you will realize that Christmas is less about receiving and so much more about giving.  Your Poppy and I along with your mommy and Uncle Ryan started a tradition many years ago where we temporarily adopt a family at Christmas time who are less fortunate than us.  We started the first few years by giving a family in need groceries for the week.  My first experience was not quite what I expected.  As we drove up to the dwelling that the family lived in, a little boy came out to help us bring the bags of groceries inside.  Keep in mind that our delivery was towards the end of December and the weather was bitter cold.  This young boy had shorts on, no coat nor socks, just old sneakers that were barely attached to their soles.  As we entered the dwelling, a fowl smell permeated the air, but we continued down the corridor anyway only to find their apartment had no front door.  It was far from clean including the people inside, but the one thing that etched itself permanently into my mind was of their kindness and their smiles.  I remember driving home that night crying all the way while your mommy and Uncle Ryan sat very quietly in the back seat.  I remember telling your Poppy that we had to do more and I was actually ready to go home and empty our refrigerator of all its contents and send it to that family.  I was also actually ready to give them all of our furniture, our car and our paycheck too!  Rationality did not settle in until a few days later.  There were a few more difficult visits over the years that were similar to this first family so we extended our giving to include Christmas presents for the children.  Each year our experience has been a sobering one Ellie.  So each year we try to do a little bit more.  Over the years we have met many types of people; kind people, faith-based people, humbled people, proud people, thankful people, the list goes on and on Ellie for they are all just like us… the only difference is is that they hit a rut in the road where they have temporarily stalled and any helping hand is gratefully accepted.  I hope your Poppy and I are able to continue this tradition as long as God allows us because it has become a part of us, a part of me.  I think my heart would be broken if I could not Ellie.  So I shall continue to pray and ask for guidance for even though it seems I am clueless at times, I always seem to end up where I am suppose to be.  I guess that is because I trust Ellie.  I hope that is always a good thing. There is a Christmas song called Let There Be Peace on Earth and the first verse goes like this: 
Let there be peace on earth.
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
A peace that was meant to be
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony….
I think the lesson to be learned here Ellie is found in the second line and fourth line Give with your whole heart and expect nothing in return.  One by one others will too.

All right, I guess it is time to wrap up this blog.  But before I do, I wanted to tell you that I did Google the 12 Days of Christmas song and the 9th day belongs to: 9 ladies dancing.  (Those lucky gals, they probably finished checking off their To Do Christmas List a few weeks early!)   Maybe I will be able to dance too in a few more days, that is if I don’t hyperventilate first!  Oh Ellie, I can’t wait to see you!  Our time together is not coming fast enough for me!  What Christmas fun we shall have!  How about next week we share our favorite Christmas recipe and a Christmas poem?

Till then little mouse!
Love Mimi


  1. WOW. Beautifully said by both of you!!!!!

  2. Loved hearing about all the christmas memories.Mic we also had a silver tree on the porch that had a swirling spotlight, I remember thinking how lucky we were to have that kind of tree. We also had on in the house. This is the time of year to give but you and Mic have given all year long with your stories, thanks for always sharing your blogs, it always makes me feel good after reading them.

  3. You guys say the nicest things. Jackie, I wish we had pictures of that kind of a tree. It sounds so funny!!!