Project 366: Day 18

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Today is my neighbor’s birthday. She has three kids – a boy and two girls. Our kids play together just about every day. Having kids next door is a fantastic thing. But honestly, having a neighbor like my neighbor is priceless. She is a wonderful friend.

This past weekend, while her son was playing with my boys, I looked outside the door and saw his shoes. The way he left his shoes made it look like a ghost was just outside our door.

Nah, that’s not a ghost. That’s an open door policy between friends and neighbors. Thanks for being a great friend and neighbor, Noreen. Happy birthday! Continue reading

And then I received the email …

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So, I’ve been frazzled lately. The voices in my head are in overdrive. I’ve written at least three draft posts, though the thoughts are too raw to share. Wanting to slowly release the steam from the bubbling and boiling thoughts in my head, I drove to work this morning with an idea.

A smile came across my face when I thought about checking into a hotel room for the weekend. Quiet time by myself. Time to sit, write and relax with only the noise in my head distracting me. Then I thought about finding a hotel room with an indoor pool. The boys could join me on Saturday afternoon for an indoor pool day. As I thought about my weekend getaway, I could hear the laughter of the boys playing in the water, and I could feel the refreshing water being splashed in my direction. Continue reading

Santa! He’s set up and ready to go!

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Santa. Not everyone believes in Santa. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. But, many would say talking about Santa and Christmas now – before Thanksgiving- is way too early. Regardless of one’s belief or my timing, I think we can learn a great deal from the folklore of Santa. He, plumply, embodies giving, loving and caring.

Visiting Santa 2008

Though Santa supposedly resides at the North Pole, I tell you – he lives in the state of Georgia. In fact, the merry, old elf lives less than 5 miles from our house. And, we get excited when we drive by his house during the ‘off season’ and find him working in his garden (always donning a red shirt). In October, after harvesting his garden, Santa begins transforming his home, inside and outside, into a Christmas wonderland.

Charlie, Mrs. Claus and Joe, 2008

Santa and Mrs. Claus have opened their house to their neighbors every year for over 13 years. And by neighbors, I mean anyone who happens to drive by their house. We first heard about our neighborhood Santa at a Christmas party. We were told how this older couple, living off a road we rarely traveled, opened their home to everyone during the Christmas season. Initially, I thought the idea sounded odd. Opening your house to a bunch of strangers? Really? Then, in 2008, we decided to load up the kids and check out this jolly fellow and his wife, Mrs. Claus. Instantly, we were hooked.

This Friday, our family will officially start the 2010 Christmas season by heading to Santa’s house. And, we look forward to visiting him every Friday and Saturday night through Christmas Eve. (We may even go visit him on Sunday nights.) In addition, we will go out of our way to drive by Santa’s during the other nights of the week, just to get a glimpse of all the lights and decorations.

Joe, Santa and Charlie 2009

Having Santa and Mrs. Claus as neighbors gives our boys a different perspective on the man who travels house to house on Christmas Eve, delivering presents. Believing in Santa is easy for Joe and Charlie, in part because because they see where Santa lives, and they see him year-round. But the boys aren’t quite sure how Santa manages the gift giving thing in one night. Though really, neither Joe nor Charlie lose sleep wondering how Santa manages his workload. Nah. Joe and Charlie are too excited about visiting Santa; they don’t get bogged down with the details. Plus, Santa gives them a candy cane every time they visit. Every time! Man, that is the greatest thing ever. Just ask the boys.

We are grateful for Santa and Mrs. Claus, who truly embody the act of giving, loving and caring every year. Regardless of your faith, may you grab hold of the spirit of Santa and Mrs. Claus this holiday season and throughout the new year.