Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ah, Tis New Year's Eve

It has certainly been an adventure in 2009. Today is the last day of the month, the last day of the year, and the last day of the decade! In addition, the rare blue moon will be present this evening! (Next one will be in the year 2028!)

Once in a blue moon is about to happen.

On Thursday, a second full moon in a calendar month will appear in the night sky, an occurrence known as a blue moon.
There has not been a month with two full moons since 2007, when sky gazers enjoyed one on June 1 and again on June 30 of that year. The first full moon this month occurred on Dec. 2.

The phrase "blue moon" has nothing to do with the color of the sphere, explained Conrad Jung, a staff astronomer at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. "It's just a colloquial term, which means very, very rare," he said.

"It's not so much a phenomenon but an event of timing," Jung added. "It's a bit esoteric, to say the least. I don't get a lot of questions about blue moons."

Early in the last century, a blue moon was considered the third full moon in a three-month season with four full moons, regardless of when it appeared, he said. Agrarian cultures paid more attention to full moons because their nighttime illumination could extend the working day during planting and harvest seasons, Jung explained. The September full moon, for example, is known as the harvest moon in the United States.

A blue moon, or any other moon, can have a blue tint if it is viewed through dust in the atmosphere from volcanic ash. However, Jung does not believe the recent eruptions of the Mayon volcano in the Philippines will have any effect on the color of Thursday's blue moon.

This year's blue moon, though, will give New Year's Eve something special — a full moon to which wackier-than-usual-behavior among revelers is often attributed.

Judy and I appreciate the time you all have spent throughout these past years in reading our blog and keeping up with the Meads family happenings. Have a great New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa Arrives

The food was prepared on Christmas eve for Santa and the reindeer. When Sammy awoke and checked the plate outside on the front steps... the cookies were eaten and the apple and carrots had the distinct marks that are typical of reindeer teeth.

Sammy and Nate were excited and immediately checked out the Christmas tree. Sammy had asked Santa for a train set, but Nate seems to have received the train!

Sammy helped his brother check out the locomotive.

These locomotive parts must taste really good!

Sammy was so excited! Santa left him a neat boat which included all types of accessories including deep sea fish, squid, and other denizens of the deep.

Nate indicated to Sammy that there was a letter on the tree that Sam should check out.

Mom Sarah helped read the letter. It was from Santa!

Santa's letter indicated that Sammy should check out his playroom for a special gift. He did indeed - he flew up the stairs and found in his playroom a Thomas the Train set. (There has been a train table in the playroom for two years. Well, the new train set icluded many special units such as a round house for trains, a crane, water tower, bridges.... the list keeps on! (Santa discovered late on Christmas eve that the train set was too LARGE for the table!)

Sammy certainly was excited about this new playroom addition!

Here is a group photo of the Railroad Family of Bridgeport!

Dad Jeff helped out with explaining to Sam and Nate all the unique aspects of this new addition to their playroom.

Sarah and Jeff's photographer gave them a special gift. It was a photo of a WVU football game that shows the players Pat White, Owen Schmitt, and Steve Slaton. These guys are all now playing in the NFL. I believe the kids were excited about this gift!

It was a super Christmas with family and friends. Our wish for you folks is to have a most happy New Year and a wonderful 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Elf On A Shelf
Sarah and Jeff have started a Christmas tradition involving an elf on a shelf. The elf observes each day and determines if the boys are good or bad. He leaves each night and reports back to Santa. In the morning when he returns he is in a new position and the kids have find the new location. It is essential that the kids NOT touch the Christmas elf. Here is a letter from the website that gives some background on this neat tradition.
From My Family to Yours,

This charming tradition began for our family when my children were very small. Like most children through the ages, they wanted to know how Santa really knew who was naughty or who was nice. Their answer, as in my own childhood, came in the form of a small pixie-elf.

The first time the elf arrived at our home, my children officially adopted him by giving him a name. Each year he would arrive around the holidays, usually at Thanksgiving. His sole responsibility was to watch the children's behavior and report it to Santa each night. The next morning after the children awoke, they discovered the elf had returned from the North Pole and was now resting in a new and different place. My children would race each other out of bed to try and be the first to spy him in his new position.

Over the years the tradition was perfected and rules were introduced. For example, to better preserve his mystique the children were not allowed to touch him but talking to him was a different matter all together. My children shared many secrets with the elf, and while he was under strict orders not to talk to them, the elf was under no such orders where grown-ups were concerned.

Unwittingly, the tradition provided an added benefit: it helped the children to better control themselves. All it took was a gentle reminder that the "elf is watching," for errant behavior to be modified.

I never dreamed this simple tradition would lead to so many treasured Christmas memories for our entire family. It is my earnest desire that The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition will bring as much joy to your family as it has to mine.

Enjoy this tradition, and MAKE IT YOUR OWN!

With my best wishes for you and those you love,


Carol Aebersold, along with her daughter Chanda Bell, is the author of The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. Their first children's storybook, The Elf on the Shelf is a charming hardbound book that shares the secret of how Santa really knows who's been naughty or nice. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Aebersold is a former teacher and the former editor-in-chief of Dayspring Magazine. Today, she is a writer and motivational speaker. Aebersold is also heavily involved in arts advocacy, and occasionally finds herself on stage performing with local community theatre groups. The mother of three grown children and the grandmother of two, she lives with her husband, Bob, in Powder Springs, Ga.

On Christmas morning, our elf was found watching from the Christmas tree.

Here is the website for Elf On A Shelf.

Tomorrow- Santa Arrives!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow Play

After our gift exchange on Wednesday (the 23rd) and those who had to leave departed, the kids thought it would be fun to go outside and check out the snow. Brother-in-law Bill, Jeff, and I took an hour or so earlier in the afternoon and cleaned the snow and ice from the driveway. (Had to do that - could not get our van out of the drive!) It was dark, but that did not stop the kids.

Lucy decided that the three wheeler was the mode of transportation this night.

Sammy opted for his bike with training wheels!

Flora decided that the snow banks needed to be explored. Thankfully she took off her Moon Boots!

It did not take long for the cold weather to have an effect on the enthusiam of the kids. Notice the joy in Sam's face! (Just kidding!) Well, I think he and the others were ready to venture inside for a bedtime snack.

As we were getting the kids ready for bedtime, who should appear? No, not Santa, but the neighborhood kids singing Christmas carols. How fun!

We served them cookies. Their wonderful singing in the Briarwood Development was certainly appreciated!

Tomorrow - the Elf On The Shelf!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gift Exchange
Family Luncheon
Arriving at Sarah and Jeff's on Wednesday were Diana, Bill, Sister Judy, and Grandma Great. Our Christmas lunch consisted of salads, BBQ sandwiches, and other goodies. Judy welcomed Miss Santa Diana.

Sister Judy is such a high tech person and is scouting out subjects for her new digital camera. (NOT!) I can not believe that she arrived this day without a single puppet to entertain the kids.

I forgot to mention that Flora lost a front tooth. (All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.....)

The afternoon was for the kids. We decided that this year we would buy for the kids and not the adults. This seemed to work out really well. Grandma Great and Flora were waiting patiently for the gifts to be distributed.

OK! Let the unwrapping begin!

All three older kids received from us a Bilibo. Here is the description of this award winning toy. "Designed in Switzerland, this toy has won countless awards for design and play value. Its simplicity is deceptive -- after extensive study of children's play patterns. Bilibo is a completely open-ended toy that stimulates a child's imagination. It can be a helmet, sit and spin, doll cradle, train tunnel, shovel, water basin, and much more! Let your imagination run wild! Nearly indestructible, suitable for indoors and outdoors." If you are interested check out

Sir Nate was not left out. He received some cool clothes and toys. Here he is with the chewable doll that Aunt Diana gave him!

Notice the box that Flora just opened. Yep, it says "MOON SHOES"!

The label could have easily just as read "Ankle Breakers"!

We are always so grateful that Grandma Great can be with us.

This day was a special one for Sister Judy and Brother-in-law Bill. This was their 30th wedding anniversity. We thought we should surprise them with a cake. They left Wednesday afternoon so that they could drive to South Carolina on Thurday and visit the southern Greenleaf family. Grandma Great will stay with us until Sunday.

Diana also left in late afternoon in order to return to her farm on Fallen Timber. As you can see there was still plenty of snow on the ground from the Saturday storm.

It was a great day!