10 on the 10th – I mean 12th. Holiday Memories!

This post took me a bit longer than normal – I wanted to make sure I put the right amount of thought in. 10 on the 10th is hosted by the lovely Marsha at Marsha in the Middle!

One of my earliest happy Christmas memories is the year my grandfather built me a dollhouse. I loved it so much – I was so charmed by the tiny details and rooms and I had it decades. I had such fun playing with it for so long, and even as a grown person I loved it. It sadly was destroyed when our basement flooded after a torrential rain that flooded the basements of everyone in our city.

I also remember going to every single parade with my dad as a kid. I loved them so much – whether it was the 4th of July or Christmas, hot or cold, I always loved going. My dad was all about “travelling fast and light” so we could get in and get out so no chairs or blankets for us as we got older, we just parked our bums on the concrete curbs. When I was little though, I did have a giant coat and hat, as well as blankets and cocoa.

I of course remember the first Christmas married to Billy, living in our tiny little apartment. We didn’t have room for a tree so we had a tiny tabletop one but it was a wonderful Christmas. I remember he bought me the softest, warmest robe that year since it was always freezing in our apartment.

When Billy and I were younger I used to work retail at an office supply store-gift store. A lot of our customers were elderly and alone and I was friendly with them. They would come in to visit and chat- I loved hearing their stories. One man was a volunteer for a local charitable organization and told me once he had been born on Christmas and his mom named him Harold Angel in honor of his birthday. Another woman, she told me her family lived far away and that she wanted her massive Christmas village but couldn’t do it herself. So, I volunteered Billy and I to do it for her. That is probably one of the moments I realized how much I loved Billy – most nineteen or twenty year old men would have laughed and refused. But not Billy. He went with me and helped set up this Christmas village for a complete stranger basically, in her home that was a million degrees. She was so happy to have us there. She had cookies and eggnog (which I hate, especially when I was absolutely sweating in her home) but I drank a glass anyway and so did Billy.

And speaking of decorations… let me tell you about my dog Penny. She was the most beautiful, craziest, sweetest English Setter ever. We had adopted her from a local shelter and a week later we had her in the emergency vet. She had gotten into the the basement, found our fake Christmas garland full of thick wire, and eaten it. Which we only discovered when she threw it up. She had also eaten part of a magazine which actually probably saved her as it wrapped around the wire. Anyway, they did emergency surgery and she was ok, but we didn’t want to take the chance of it ever happening again and so for the 13 years we had her we never put up anything other than a tabletop ceramic tree. Not a real tree, not a fake one. Just the ceramic one for years.

The year of Wyatt was actually our first year with a tree again. Penny had passed away a few months after Wyatt was born, but we didn’t think for a while we were going to have a tree at all. Things were tight that year financially, very tight. We were surprised when out of the blue we received a card in the mail from a family friend, a woman who had known me since I was born, who had a giant generous heart, and that card had $300 in it. We used it to buy an artificial tree and to make Wyatt’s first Christmas a good one. Faye is gone now, and I get teary every single year when we put the tree up. We have discussed getting a different tree, or a real tree, but I will never not put that one up somewhere in our house.

A photo of Wyatt from his second Christmas, with our favorite Santa.

Ok halfway through!

I have another dog story. We always had the craziest dogs! This was over twenty years ago, before I was married to Billy. It was Christmas Eve, and the church my family went to was right down the street from our house so after church services that night, my whole family, aunts and uncles and cousins came over as they always did. This time though, my dog Molly was waiting. Waiting to spring! We opened the door and she took off like a shot, racing down the snowy icy sidewalks and streets on a mission to find adventure. I was distraught, upset, crying, freaking out. Everyone in my family who was able to took off, all of us in our nice church clothes, running after her, looking for her, yelling down alleys in the cold night and darkness. We eventually found her about fifteen minutes later sniffing around someone’s yard and were able to grab her collar and bring her home. I was so grateful, but now we all laugh at the craziness of that night!

I have never been a New Year’s Eve person. It always makes me sad and morose, about another year gone. I rally pretty quickly and get excited about the hope of a new year, but that night, the passing of time weighs pretty heavy on me. One of the two best New Year Eve’s I have had, that were not as a child and when staying up late was exciting, or after Wyatt was born when things were totally different, were the New Years Eves’ I spent with my college friends. I have a friend from university who moved to Australia when he married a delightful Australian woman – Dan and Irma. They are so much fun! I actually missed visiting with them over the summer because Wyatt and I got COVID when they were in town! But, they have spent two NYE in Michigan since moving and both have been full of everything happy. And more than likely many drinks.

Now our NYE’s are much more sedate. Dinner with Devin and Chrissy and Mermaid Girl, music, the kids playing, a glass of wine or two, an earlyish night. They are perfection.

One of my very favorite holiday memories is the year Wyatt was born, my niece was born, and my best friend Kelly had a daughter that year too. Boom boom boom. Babies. One in March, one in August, one in September. That year Chrissy, Kelly, and I got together to make Christmas cookies. Our husbands stayed in the living room with our babies, while we baked. Kelly and I did an abysmal job while Chrissy’s we’re as always professional, but we had such a blast. And these babies!! Left to right is my friend Kelly’s daughter Eloise, then my niece Mermaid Girl, then big time Wyatt. These are some of my favorite photos of them ever.

And I don’t think I can top these three cuties so I am ending here.

Do you have any memories of holidays you would like to share? I’d love to hear them.


10 on the 10th

Today’s 10 on the 10th is hosted by Marsha in the Middle, with questions by Gail of Is This Mutton. 10 on the 10th is the creation of Leslie from Once Upon a Time Happily Ever After.

This month is sports themed!

  1. Were you good at sports at school?
    • Hmm. I wouldn’t say I was good at anything that involved running. Lol. I was however a pretty good swimmer. I swam butterfly and freestyle for our high school team and I loved it. And I usually placed pretty high at meets!
  2. What are your three favorite sports to watch on TV?
    • Olympic Swimming, the Tour de France, and I love the winter Olympics, like all of the events. I tried to name my favorite events the last they rolled around and I ended up naming almost everything, except hockey. I used to watch the Detroit Red Wings play on television a long time ago but haven’t for years.
  3. Do you regularly watch any live sports?
    • Just the Olympics and the Tour de France.
  4. Does the Olympic medal ceremony make you emotional when your country wins a gold?
    • Yeah. Although like Marsha, I cry for any country who gets gold. I think about how those athletes must be feeling and boom, tears.
  5. What sport or fitness activities do you enjoy now? 
    • Hiking in the woods? I also love yoga but I haven’t done it in so long. I had hoped to get back to it this fall and looked into it but the classes don’t work with my schedule so.. I don’t know. Maybe I can just do yoga at home, an online class or something.
  6. Did you ever have a sporting hero who was your pinup?
    • No. I watch more sports now than I did even when I was younger. I always had band or actor posters.
  7. What’s the most memorable sporting occasion you can remember? 
    • When the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 or 1998. My cousin had a huge viewing party, and had constructed a faux Stanley Cup for us all to drink out of. Then we all piled into our cars and headed downtown where everyone was driving around and yelling and celebrating in the streets. It was a lot of fun. I was probably..22 years old so it was a good time.
  8. Is anyone in your family outstanding at sport? 
    • Um, no. My grandpa was a fantastic swimmer though. And bowler.
  9. Name three sports you try to avoid on TV.
    • All the footballs, basketball, baseball.
  10. Who’s the sports personality you admire most in 2022
    • I do not have one. I should probably watch more sports?

What about you? Are you sporty?

10 on the 10th: Spring!

I love participating in 10 on the 10th which is hosted by Once Upon a Time Happily Ever After and Marsha in the Middle! They are both such sweet ladies – and very stylish ladies, unlike me! I need to do some sprucing up of my wardrobe this spring! Well, we will get to that.

Ok, #1: My favorite thing about spring, and my favorite season.

I used to hate spring ~ now I love it. It’s not my favorite, that is fall, but I have become a lover of spring. I love the world waking up from it’s winter nap, the flowers, the colors returning to the world, the little animals and insects and birds singing in the morning. The return of the sun. Planting seeds and looking for tadpoles and salamanders.

Spring in my Step: Nature always puts a spring in my step. Planning new adventures. And my favorite pair of shoes – my low top Converse. I have worn low top black Converse since high school, and I wear them until they are literally falling apart. I just threw away the pair I had been wearing in anticipation of buying some new shoes that you know, don’t have holes, and I knew if I didn’t chuck my chucks I would probably slip into them again this spring. I am even considering mixing things up and buying maybe more than one pair of shoes for spring and summer… lol. My husband has a billion pairs of shoes. I am so minimalist but I want to shake things up this year.

St. Patrick’s Day! I am definitely Irish! I think my Ancestry DNA put me at like 57% Irish. My name before marriage was Erin McGill. I am still Erin of course though. And I have definitely worn my share of St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts. Erin-Go-Bragh and all that!

Spring flowers: I love wild violets. I always ask my husband to spare them when mowing the lawn because I love looking outside and seeing all the purple and white popping up everywhere. I also love hyacinths and tulips. One spring a few years ago we took a long weekend family trip to Holland, MI for the tulip festival and it was so fun, with tulips everywhere! That trip was so fun, full of good memories. Now I want to go again!

Spring Cleaning: I always get super motivated to spring clean, to throw the windows open and let in the fresh air after a cold midwestern winter, to declutter and to donate items, to remove anything that just feels heavy. I want everything to feel light and airy. I love to use Mrs. Meyers products – sustainable, plant-derived and natural, and they smell so good! I don’t have any tips sadly, although I am looking forward to the tips of others.

Toys: I did have a Slinky as a kid – and Silly Putty too! Hmmm.. my favorite toy as a kid was probably my stuffed Scooby-Doo that I got at King’s Island one summer. Then probably my Barbies.

Spring Forward: Take family walks after dinner. It is usually too dark and cold during the winter to go for after dinner family walks. Once spring hits, and the days get longer, it will be nice to spend that time outside as a family.

Spring colors: I probably won’t wear any of those except for sky blue. I told you I need fashion help!

Spring Reading: I am a very seasonal reader (seasonal person in every way really!), and spring for me means more nature books, gardening books, romance novels. I’ve also been reading more middle grade lately and YA because they are just fun to read. I also read Watership Down every single spring, it is my favorite book of all time. It is getting to be that time again! I do not have much quiet time but it is a goal for the upcoming year for me, to try to actually make time for me. So we will see.

Spring Quote:

I love Mary Oliver – she is an amazing poet and I have always loved this quote. It just makes me feel so grateful for everything, and so alive. (this print is by TurquoiseRhinoceros and is available on Etsy btw – isn’t it fantastic? )

And that is it for this month’s prompt! I loved this look at spring!