Feeling the Christmas Spirit

Posted on December 5th, 2010

This year, I’ve felt more in the Christmas spirit than I have in a long time. It might be because my wife and I are expecting a baby in six short months.  It might be because my neighbors have young ones who are so excited by the prospect of having Santa visit their homes.

And it might be because my heart’s grown three sizes this year.

Whatever the cause, I’ve been watching Christmas movies almost non-stop this weekend as my wife and I transform our home into a Christmas wonderland.  We have lights and decorations on the tree, stockings hung on the entertainment center (no fireplace at our house), and a giant inflatable snowman floating in our snow-covered lawn.

Over the weekend, a nearby small town had a “Olde-fashioned Days of Christmas” celebration, where we saw penguins, reindeer, and the Grinch.  Our neighbors (as close as family), my wife and I all traveled across time and space to this land of fantasy.  The children shrieked with laughter and delight at the animals and some familiar friends, like Elmo, Grover, the Grinch, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Clause.

At one point, we were even approached by the crabby old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who spat, “Bah Humbug!” at us as we passed by his house.  Our Christmas spirit was strong, however, and we fended him off with a joyous round of “Jingle Bells”.

We then came home and enjoyed a meal with our neighbors, putting A Muppet Family Christmas on our projector for the kids.  Watching the kids dancing around with the songs (in full disclosure: I was dancing with them too) made me look forward to a couple years down the road, when my own child will be able to do the same.

A friend, in good nature, commented to me the other day that this will be the last Christmas my wife and I will be able to spend alone. There was no malice intended; indeed, he was trying to help us appreciate our time together.

“I don’t see this as the last Christmas Brenda and I get to spend together,” I replied.  “I see this as the first Christmas where we get to look forward to sharing our holidays with our child.”

Perhaps that’s the real difference for how I feel this Christmas season.  Whatever the cause, I hope you’re enjoying the holidays as much as I am!

A Birthday Party!

Posted on May 24th, 2010

Three years ago today, I was lucky enough to be part of an important event in my neighbor’s lives:  the birth of their daughter.

No, I didn’t help with the delivery, thankfully enough (no offense, Nicole!).

I knew it was coming–we’re close to our neighbors, and consider them family.  John called me that afternoon to let me know that Megan had arrived, and that I could come over to the hospital at any time.

Breaking a bit with tradition, I visited on Megan’s first day.  It’s amazing to me that I was able to hold someone so tiny, so soon after entering this world.  Michael (again so small at the time, he’s got to be twice as tall now) was also excited about his baby sister.

I love being a part of their lives.  I never understood how much fun it was to watch kids grow into the people they become.

Today, Brenda and I were also lucky enough to share Megan’s third birthday.  It’s so neat to see the pretty young girl Megan is becoming–a bubbly personality, always smiling, and always happy to see Neighbor Mike and Neighbor Brenda!

Megan just after the candles are lit

Megan just after the candles are lit

After a delicious dinner of shells, salad, and garlic bread, we had pink cake and vanilla ice cream.  We were all overly stuffed by the end.  After we finished eating, what fun it was to watch the four kids (Michael, Torin, Megan and Tayla) splash through sprinklers and pools!

It was fun to sit and chat with Thor, Tina, John and Nicole as well.  We’re so lucky to have such awesome neighbors right next door (though where else neighbors would be, I’m not sure).

All in all, even though it’s the hottest day on record for May 24 (93 degrees Fahrenheit), today was a really good day.