December 18, 2008

Keeping Connected With Far-Away Family During Christmas

This is our first Christmas where we are not going to join the traveling hoards and make our way home. While we are sad that we are missing our family and some of our favorite Christmas traditions, we are glad to be relaxing at home instead of fighting crowds in the airports.

We have been trying to think of a creative way to be connected with our family on Christmas day. More than just the conference call or pass the telephone that our family traditionally did with relatives that moved away. Thankfully, we live in the 21st century where technology can bring our distant family into our living room on Christmas morning. Thanks to Web cams, they don't have to miss out completely on our two little girls experiencing the joy that Christmas morning brings. In the past, we have web-chatted with our family for a few minutes at a time to catch up on the latest goings on in our lives and to have the girls see and be seen by their grandparents. This Christmas it will serve as our link to our family.

There are many different options for video chatting. Skype, ichat, Aim, MSN, etc. A newer one though allows more than two cams to be connected at a time. Tokbox. With Tokbox, we can connect with both sets of grandparents and maybe even an uncle in another part of the country at the same time. It also works well whether you have a Mac or a PC. So check it out, and see if you can connect your family this Christmas beyond the Merry Christmas pass the phone game.

December 10, 2008

I have to get back to you on this...

I mentioned earlier that I was going to try out and let you know how I like it. Well, I did some further research on and I decided against it. The best I could do on their plans was 70$ a week. That 70$ was only for dinner foods. So on top of that I would have to get breakfast and lunch makings. Currently, we spend about $70 (maybe a little bit more, but not much more) a week for all of our food and household goods. It's not spectacular but it is better than $70 just for dinner. I did like their variety of foods and having a list that you could take and know just about exactly what you were going to spend. But for us, emealz is not the cost-effective option that we are looking for. So it's my meal plan for now!

December 8, 2008

A Warm Christmas Memory

I was thinking recently about my favorite Christmas memories. Probably my fondest memory of Christmas is not in anyway connected to gifts I received or carols I sung or candy I ate. In fact, it should have been a sad Christmas. My family was dealing with the new and frightening reality that it was going to be my Grandmother's last Christmas. From here on out I will refer to her As Grammie because that is how she was known and I really can't call her anything else. Some of the family decided to live in denial, that's how they dealt with it. But for many of us, we embraced this Christmas as an opportunity to enjoy Christmas one last time with this loved matriarch. We listened with interest to Grammie's stories, which in the past were too long and too uninteresting to bother with. We showered her with gifts. What do you get a person facing a terminal illness? As I look back on that Christmas, the gifts we gave Grammie were our way of hugging her through through the tough months that lay ahead of her. A wool blanket for Grammie's legs, a down robe and down slippers to keep her frail body warm, soft caps for her head to cover the evidience of her treatments, all gifts to keep her as comfortable as we could, even when we weren't there. Four months later, as I visited with my Grammie for the last time, she was embraced by the hugs of the entire family. It was a warm afternoon, but Grammie, who was not much more than her skeleton, was bundled in her down robe, down slippers and wool blanket. Days later, it was in those hugs that she passed. Surrounded by family.