Sunday, December 17, 2006

Family Party Day

Today was what years ago started out as our Christmas Eve party. In the last 3 or 4 years we have moved it to the week before Christmas. I usually host the party and we have all finger food hot and cold. We eat and play games all day. When the kids were little Santa use to make a visit. It is some of our best family memories. This year we had it at my mom and dads. Space was a big issue and the last two Christmas' I just haven't felt up to it. I still bring all my usual food and drinks. Everyone also brings a dish or two. We never have a problem with not enough food!

My sister brought two games. The first one had 99!! questions about past television shows and famous quotes. It was a riot. All the kids didn't know half of them because some of the shows were pretty old. The other game was almost like a hot potato and 20 questions rolled into one. We had a great time with that.

My parents have a new dog too. This is the first time our dogs were together. It went really well. Milo isn't good with other dogs or most people for that matter. He was an abused dog and is just starting to except most people just want to be friendly :) Both dogs got along great . My parents dog is very shy too and they were both running around together and letting people pet them. Milo has a little issue with sharing :), but it will get better. He took over Sunshines food and toys. For a little dog, he has a lot of nerve!

Everyone had a great time. My brother's family comes to this party, but we don't see them on Christmas. It's nice to have the whole family together. We took lots of pictures. We even did a nice family shot. The last picture of our whole family was at my brothers wedding many years ago.

Younger son always celebrates his birthday with the family this day too. His birthday isn't until the 28th, but he likes having his party on the same day as our Christmas party. My niece made his birthday cake this year and it was great!

Our next door neighbor came with us for the day and older son's girlfriend was able to come too. I am glad we are home and the rest of the week is fairly quiet. Tomorrow after the library with younger son we are going to pick up his new glasses. He is excited! He hasn't had new glasses in about 4 or 5 years. His glasses are so small for his head they have stretched to their limit!

Tuesday is younger son's last trumpet lesson until the new year. We will probably go to the mall one day this week too. Younger son wants to go paint his new war gaming men before all the other kids are out of school for Christmas break. Older son is out of school now until mid-January.

I MUST start wrapping the kids gifts! They are the only ones I haven't done yet. This year it is a little harder with Milo trying to eat the ribbon and bows while climbing in my lap and knocking the gifts out of my hands :) He is a character!

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season!!

Milo and His New Friend

My parents have a new dog. Her name is Sunshine. This is the first dog I have seen Milo play with. Although Milo did take over Sunshine's food dish and toys!

Milo Gets a Christmas Present

Milo Finds His Christmas Gift

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Christmas Carol Reviewed by Younger Son

A Christmas Carol

I saw this play at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights on December 10, 2006.

Genre: Holiday Classic Drama.

Setting: London, Early 1840’s Christmas Eve.

This play is about a mean old fellow named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge hates Christmas. It is Christmas Eve and Scrooge is at work with his employee Bob Cratchit. It is closing time and Bob would like all of Christmas day off. Scrooge is furious, but grudgingly he let Bob off. Scrooge then is at his house eating dinner, when suddenly his old friend Jacob Marley came through his window all in chains. Jacob Marley has been dead for seven years that very night. Marley had gone to Scrooge to help him avoid the path that Marley had to take. “Three spirits shall haunt you”, Jacob said. Jacob had told Scrooge when the ghosts would come and then he had left.

So by now Scrooge was very frightened. Just as Marley had said,” Expect the first ghost tomorrow when the bell tolls one o’clock,” The first spirit had appeared. This spirit was the ghost of Christmas Past. The ghost then takes Scrooge to his old school where he was a young boy. While they were starring at Scrooge as a boy, Frances Fan Scrooge came into the room and told her older brother he could finally come back home. The young Scrooge was very pleased. The ghost now takes Scrooge to an old warehouse building were Scrooge’s old boss Mr. Fezziwig had thrown a Christmas party. Scrooge finds himself looking at an older version of him talking to Belle, Scrooges girlfriend. This is when Belle breaks up with Scrooge because he now only cares for money and not her. Scrooge now feels he has seen enough, he tells the spirit to take him home and suddenly he finds himself back in his bed.

Now Scrooge wakes and finds himself looking upon the ghost of Christmas Present. First the ghost takes Scrooge to the Cratchit household. Scrooge sees that they are all eating a
Christmas feast. Bob stands up and toasts Mr. Scrooge, the founder of the feast. Mrs. Cratchit gets angry and calls Scrooge a lot of names. Scrooge feels hurt when he hears all of those names. The ghost now takes Scrooge to his nephew’s house, and they are having a party. They begin to play a game, Fred was thinking of something and everyone else had to try and see if they can figure out what or who it is. Fred had come up with different names that made it seem it was a very mean creature, then when everyone had given up Fred’s wife says it was Scrooge and she was right. That hurt Scrooge a lot. Then suddenly Scrooge finds himself once again in his bed.

Scrooge awakens and finds the ghost of Christmas Future in his room. He is frightened of this ghost more than the others, but he knows that his purpose is to do him good. First the ghost takes Scrooge to a gloomy smelly run-down part of the town. Three people were selling things from a dead man to a shopkeeper. The ghost then takes Scrooge to a churchyard. The ghost points Scrooge to a grave and Scrooge looks down and sees that the writing says EBENEZZER SCROOGE. Scrooge weeps. Then he says to the ghost that he will honor Christmas and will always celebrate it. He asks if these things will change if he changes, but the ghost will not answer. The ghost disappeared and Scrooge finds he is back in his bed.

Scrooge is so happy to be in his room. He dances around his room and looks out the window spotting a little boy walking, he asks the boy what day it is. The boy replied that it is Christmas Day. He is so overjoyed that he asked the boy if he could go down to the store and tell the deliveryman to bring the prize turkey to his house. He said to him when he returns with the deliveryman he will give the boy a shilling and if he comes back in five minutes he will give him a half a crown. The deliveryman comes and tells the man to bring the prize turkey to Bob Cratchit. Scrooge then goes down to his nephew’s house and joins the party. The next morning and Bob comes to work late. Scrooge acts like he was his old self, but then he tells Bob that he will raise his salary. Scrooge kept his word and was a friend to all.

***** I give this play 5 out of 5 star. I liked this play very much because it shows people can change. My favorite character was Tiny Tim. I would like to play the parts of The Ghost of Jacob Marley, Fred, and Bob Cratchit. I think anybody would like to see this play.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Gosh, I just looked back and except for a kind of photo journal it has been awhile! We have done quite a bit since the last entry in November. I am glad I put up pictures along the way to let everyone know what we have been up to.

I finally have Christmas cards out and a few packages that had to be mailed sent out. We are having our family Christmas party this Sunday which is usually at our house. This year I just talked to my mom and she is going to have it over there. I will bring the food and drinks. We have a small place and ususally we put a 6 foot table out in the hallway of the condo and just leave the door open for the day. It is like a little added room :) Well this year we have a lot of different neighbors and one of them smokes. The hallway always smells. Our next door neighbor is now in and out all the time and that is where our table went. I talked to her and she said she didn't mind, but I hate to block her in. She is invited over too. I thought about putting the table in our livingroom, but with the tree forget it! We have about 650 square feet, so a big table is hard to place :) I have been stressing about it for a couple of weeks. It is the only time everyone comes here, but I was happy my mom offered.

Older son has the last of his finals tomorrow! He is already in bed and resting up. I am hoping he does well. He will be off until mid January now. Tomorrow is also our last day of fine arts for two weeks. YEAH! This week we are still going to clean like everyone is still coming because, well it needs it :) I have everything wrapped for other people except my kids. After Sunday the tree will be empty again and I will start wrapping for the kids.

So lets see, tomorrow is fine arts and the last confirmation class until next year. Thursday my boys are having an annual (since older son was 16 and driving) brothers day out. They will shop for their grab bag gift and me then have lunch out together. Husband never took them out to shop when they were little, so I think it is nice to have a day out together. After they get home Thursday younger son finally can go in and get his glasses. He was going to get contacts, but when he had his exam a couple of weeks ago he had an infection in one eye. A week later he had a worse infection in his other eye. When we went back a week after that his eyes were clear, but the eye doctor, younger son and I decided to put off contacts for an other year. When we went to order glasses on the last visit, younger son couldn't make up his mind between two colors. They had one of the colors in, but had to order the other color for him to see. So now Thursday he will pick which one he wants and they will cut them for him the same day. We will see. I predict an other trip before Christmas :) Friday will be our cleaning day and Saturday older son might be working. Younger son and I will finish buying food for Sunday and drinks. Maybe go to the show or have a game day.

Sooner or later we will have to make the Ginger bread house sitting on our kitchen table! I guess I can always pack it away for next year :) I am usually in full Christmas mode by now, this year I am still waiting. I am doing all the things we usually do, but not quite in the spirit yet. I am glad next week will be quiter with fewer obligations. Just spending some time at home will do us all some good!

My friend and I haven't walked in over a week. First the weather was horrid, then this week I was swamped. Her mom comes into town on Sunday and then she won't walk in the morning for two weeks. So unless I get on that treadmill that is holding up my Christmas bows, I will be really sorry when we start walking again!

Milo in his Winter Coat

My Niece and Younger Son in front of a shop at the Christkindlmarket

Christmas Tree at Daily Plaza, Downtown Chicago


A couple of the shops in the Christkindlmarket.

Mary Popins

This year at Macy's the window display is Mary Poppins

Macy's Window Display

Daily Center

This is Daily Center from a distance where the Christkindlmarket is each year.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Reviewed by Younger Son

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

I saw this Christmas Spectacular at the Rosemont Theater on December 2, 2006

Genre: Musical Revue

Settings: The North Pole, New York City, Chicago, Winter Wonderland, and Jerusalem

This spectacular has twelve scenes to the show. Some of my favorite scenes are scene 4 The Twelve Days of Christmas. Scene 4 featured the rockets dancing to the song the Twelve days of Christmas. In scene 5 the Nutcracker: a Little girls dream Santa went out into the audience and picked a little girl who had a big imagination. Santa asked the girl to close her eyes and suddenly the a teddy bear dressed as the nutcracker came and took the girl to sit and watch the other bears, who were dancing to a few of the songs from the ballet. Scene 12 was my favorite one, The Living Nativity. This scene was the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus being born.

***** I give this Christmas Spectacular 5 out of 5 stars. I liked this Christmas Spectacular a lot because I liked how they went from one scene to another, sometimes without even a blackout. My favorite character was Santa Clause. And yes I would like to play the big man himself. I think anybody would love to go see this Spectacular.

First Opened: 1933
Genre: Musical Revue
How Long is Radio City Christmas Spectacular: 90-105 minutes
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Director: Russell Markeit
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Dancing by: the Rockettes

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an annual play that is held every year at New Yorks Radio City Music Hall. With the aid of special effects,music and dance done across various acts, the show sets the holiday mood. Much of the dancing is done by the dance group known as the Rockettes. The show runs for six weeks from November 9 to December 30th.
The stars of the Christmas Spectacular, the Radio City Rockettes, will continue to dazzle audiences with precision dance and world-famous eye-high kicks. Santa Claus will make a special appearance from the North Pole. And, of course, the exciting 3-D film that kicks off the show, with Santa and his reindeer taking the audience on a magical sleigh ride through New York City. With perennial favorites like the show-stopping "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and the majestic "Living Nativity," this is the holiday treat your family won't want to miss!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Younger Son and Niece in Front at the Rosemont

Taken on our way in to see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rocketts


Scene 7 Christmas in New York

The Living Nativity

The last scene in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Younger Son and Niece on Santa's Sleigh at the Zoo

Holiday Magic at the Zoo

Four Story Laser Light Show at Brookfield Zoo

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Nutcracker Reviewed by Younger Son

The Nutcracker

I saw this ballet at the Rialto Square Theatre on November 26, 2006.

Setting: The living room of the Silberhaus home in 19th century German on Christmas Eve.

When curtain rises, the 2 children Clara and Fritz were anxiously waiting for the guest to arrive. Soon the guests were starting to arrive. After all the children and the adults were finished dancing with each other a magician comes who’s name is Drosselmeyer and shows the kids two mechanical dolls. Then he gives a toy to each of the children and gives a special wooden nutcracker to Clara. Clara’s brother is jealous so he tries to take it from his sister, but when they were fighting the nutcracker broke. Clara was really sad so Drosselmeyer fixed it for her. After all the guest had left Clara snuck away so she could comfort her nutcracker and she fell asleep.

While Clara was sleeping a swarm of mice came to take all the presents under the Christmas tree. Drosselmeyer came when Clara woke up and saw what was happening so he did some magic to make the tree grow bigger and make the nutcracker come to life. There was a battle between mice and soldiers, when the mouse king showed up. Now there was a battle between him and the nutcracker. The nutcracker was almost finished when Clara jumped on the mouse king’s back, then the nutcracker killed the mouse king. While the mice were all scrambling out of the house the nutcracker invited Clara to a magical place called the kingdom of snow on his sleigh. They met the snow king and queen and they danced.

The start of Act 2 the snow queen and king were dancing. Soon angels and sugarplums joined them. They put the nutcracker and Clara in a seat and all the guest were there to dance for them. The first ones to dance were the flowers, then they had the pages do a dance. They had different countries do dances: Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Italian, and Russians. Then they had some other guest too: Reed Flutes, Cavalier, the Sugar Plum Fairy, The waltz of the Flowers, the Demi Soloists, Corps, and Corps. Then everyone did a finale. When Clara finally woke up she realized it was just a dream.

*** I give this ballet 3 out of 5 stars. I did not like this ballet as much as any of the plays I have seen because I am just not into ballets. My favorite characters are the people in the Russian dance group. I would like to be part of the Russian group if I was performing this ballet. I think anybody who likes ballets should go see this play.