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There is a saying — “No good deed goes unpunished”. Tonight was an example of that. As Tyler and I were headed home from grocery store this afternoon, we headed up our hill. As we rounded the corner, we saw my friend and neighbor’s van stopped on the side of the road. She and her kids were walking up the hill, several yards ahead. As we came upon them, I slowed down to stop and give them a ride. Big Mistake. The road had turned to a sheet of ice. My foot on the brake, caused us not only to not stop, but also to immediately begin to slide not only backwards, toward her van, but also to the left. For those of you unfamiliar with the road leading to our house, it is bordered on the left by a drop of at least 10 feet or so into a creek. My truck slid and luckily stopped precariously close to the edge of the cliff by the brook. And there I sat. Tyler ran up the road and luckily the “road closed” signs were still on the side of the road at the top of the hill. He was able to place it across the road to 1. prevent other cars from sliding down the hill 2) hitting my car which they would most likely not be able to avoid since they also could not stop.

Thanks to my very own knight in shining armor (or in this case first a Kubota and then later a pick up truck both equipped with a tow strap) and our great road crew with their mighty sander, after a couple hours me, my truck and our groceries were home.

Lessons learned — never stop on an icy hill (especially when there is a cliff and water) even for one of your good friends. Rather, go to the top and wait for them. If they live here too, they will totally understand.

My Hero

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This is a test post from my new iPhone!
A surprise Christmas present from technical support….or at least that’s what it said on the tag. Do you think my husband was tired of answering my questions and fixing my phone for me?

 

I truly love Christmas. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of my dad, who absolutely loved Christmas. He was by far the biggest kid in our house come Christmas time. Each year, we can’t celebrate Christmas without thinking about him and remembering how much I miss him.

Maybe it’s because I love the Christmas music and it’s one of my favorite times in church. At the end of tonight’s service, the lights were turned out, the candles lit and everyone sang “Silent Night”.

Maybe it’s just the company of family and friends — and looking back on how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful people and have them a part of my life. We are reminded this time of the year of those people that we might not see often, but remain near and dear to our hearts. We’re reminded of those with whom we’ve shared holiday memories during the years gone by. We’re lucky and blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.

Maybe, it’s the music — traditional Christmas music reminds me of Christmas parties at my grandmother’s house — we kids got to choose the music and play it on her stereo turntable, which was one of those large consoles that was a chunk of furniture in and of itself. While the adults were in the other room talking and laughing, we were playing music, lots of Christmas music.

Maybe it’s because it reminds me of some of the best times I’ve spent with my husband in the years that he was selling Christmas trees including the final weeks leading up to just after Christmas almost 20 years ago, when we got married.

Maybe it is all of those things wrapped into one. Christmas and Christmas Eve were always a chaotic mix of family, friends, presents, food, music and love. I hope that it remains that way for my boys and they can one day look back and remember how special Christmas is.

I hope that it is just as special for you …. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

With love,

Tammy

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Article first published as Track Santa on Christmas Eve While You’ve Traveling on Technorati.

Remember when you were little and anxiously listened for the sound of reindeer on the rooftop Christmas Eve? This year, Santa is going high-tech. Little ones will be able to get the up-to-the-minute location of Santa with the simple press of a blue button.

This year, OnStar is partnering with the team at the Northa American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD to bring live tracking of Santa right to your OnStar button. NORAD traditionally tracks Santa as he makes his way delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

Using satellites with infrared sensors and other technologies NORAD tracks Santa’s travels and has been doing so for generations of children beginning in 1955 when its predecessor, Continental Air Defense Command started the holiday tradition.

The information is available worldwide. The key however is that you needed to be near a computer or a telephone to see or hear the tracking information.

This year, little ones and their families who are traveling to spend the holiday with family or friends can be in the loop while on the road and know whether Santa is flying overhead.

Beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Christmas Eve, December 24th OnStar subscribers and OnStar FMV owners can press the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to request a “Santa Update”.

OnStar advisers will play the part of Santa’s elves and deliver information as to Santa’s whereabouts until 5 a.m. EST Christmas Day.

According to OnStar’s vice president of Marketing and Business Development, Terry Inch “We see this holiday tradition as staying true to keeping subscribers connected in ways they never thought possible.”

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Well, it seems that we once again have met the numbers. If you remember I posted that there is a 93% probability of at least an inch of snow on the ground in Vermont for Christmas, and last night it snowed. Not a lot, but enough to turn everything WHITE. It is still snowing here this morning, but it seems that a little Christmas magic came our way since we’ve been flirting with temperatures just above freezing all week.

Wherever you are, white or not, hope some Christmas Magic comes your way……..

Here’s a fun and quick Christmas treat! Santa Hat Brownies.

 

 

If you live in New England and particularly in Vermont, you kind of expect a white Christmas. One of those Norman Rockwell type New England Christmases– and with good reason. According to information gathered from weather records from the period from 1961-1990 there was a very high probability that Vermont would have a white Christmas. The probability for at least 1 inch of snow on the ground for Christmas in Montpelier is 93% — 5 inches is 72% and 10 inches is 41%.

Unfortunately, warm weather last week killed the last of the snow on the ground and weather forecasts are not predicting any significant possibility for snow before Christmas Day.

Christmas magic, perhaps might be the only way to help things out a little.

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christmas tree lights

Image by swarna rajan - ஸ்வர்ணா ராஜன via Flickr

This week has been one of the best weeks. Nothing crazy to make it stand out, but there have been lots of little things that have made it really rather special. We’ve had a couple nice dinners at home together which hasn’t happened much lately with everyone running around, and some really nice conversations. The boys have been in good moods (maybe its Christmas) and we all loved Tim’s performance at the concert, and the concert itself, which was just fantastic.

This weekend, I baked…a lot… got to spend some quality time with some of the wonderful women in my life and exchanged lots of cookies. Today, after church and my MNO cookie exchange, we headed down to Albany for an afternoon of Christmas shopping. It was a good ride down and back, not too crazy at the mall (if you can believe it) and just a general really good time. It was reminiscent of our rides back and forth from New Jersey to Vermont. Some really good company, some really good conversation and some really adorable guys….a great way to spend a Sunday.

This week ahead, more baking and prepping for the holiday, some Christmas caroling, present wrapping, baccala soaking and general getting everything ready for next weekend. Now…if it would only snow (but not anytime around when my in-laws are driving up, though, we would like them to get here safely).

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Here is a video that I came upon while “stumbling” around on the internet. Tom and I watched it and then we had the boys watch it. I would encourage you to watch it as well. It is written and directed by Sharon Wright. It is an well done piece. It is also a very appropriate reminder at this time of the year, when we get caught up in the commercialism of “buy, buy, buy” that it’s not important how much you have or don’t have, but rather, what you choose to do with it. You can do amazing things with next to nothing if you only open your eyes to the world around you.

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Tonight was my first cookie exchange of the weekend, next door at a dear friend’s house. I’ve been attending her cookie exchange since its inception (I think) and even longer than I’ve been living here. Always a fun, enjoyable night with some awesome women.

So….here’s the cookies. A change from my normal chocolate chip cookies.

Yesterday was ridiculously warm, well into the high 40s — it even touched 50 for a brief while. The snow is pretty much all gone and the roaring winds that we’ve had over the last 12 hours were the nail in the coffin for the snow. As I type this the sun is out and it looks more like spring than a little more than a week before Christmas here in Vermont.

Ironic since VAST’s snowmobile trails all open this weekend and so does Pico that we should have barely any snow. The forecast is not particularly helpful so far for thoughts of a white Christmas. But I am hoping. If there is one time of the year when there is supposed to be snow, it is Christmas. Damn, those Hollywood movies with their perfect Christmases — oh and their perfect people too, since I’m complaining.

Nonetheless, despite the lack of snow, it is cookie-making weekend as both cookie exchanges I am attending this year both fall this weekend. One is tonight and one is Sunday.

The butter is softening……and then….. off to make some delightful cookies.

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When we moved here five years ago, I remember feeling a little lost when I was around the other parents and the other kids at school functions or parent meetings. So many unfamiliar faces and while no one was openly hostile or purposely ignoring us, people just naturally gravitated to each other, to familiar faces and those with whom they shared common bonds. It was, I must admit, a bit lonely for a woman who was pretty darn involved in her boys’ lives and fairly active in the various activities prior to our move. Parents were strangers, kids were even bigger strangers.

Last night, as we watched the MRU Winter Vocal concert in a packed auditorium of family and friends, it occurred to me how far we, as a family, have come here in Vermont. All the boys have wonderful, steadfast friends who really have their backs. If you watched any group of them, you wouldn’t believe that a few years ago, they were separated by hundreds of miles and were complete and total strangers to each other. We have developed some great friendships with other parents  and it was extremely nice to look around and see so many different and familiar faces.

Best of all I think was sitting there as a member of the audience and watching, even staring, at the various members of the different musical groups. It was heartwarming to see how these children are maturing into adults – a transformation right before our eyes — highlighted by their formal choral attire. So many familiar student faces, so many friends to my boys. It was very classy to watch the kids cheer each other on during performances and realize that they really, honestly mean it. The high school emsembles and chorus gave a standing ovation to the junior chorus after its performance – the first of the evening. The audience was peppered with recent graduates who have returned from college for winter break – and they stood to applaud their former fellow ensemble members after each and every performance.

It is nice to see such support and friendship among the kids. Its also nice to  know how many friendships we have forged in such a small amount of time and to reflect on how lucky we are to live where we do.

 

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http://tammyheff.wordpress.com
2012.
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