Monthly Archives: December 2013

Taking Care of Them

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are so many posts that I should or could be writing today.  Christmas posts, a certain long-lashed boy who turned 7 this week… but instead I am writing about the task at hand.  Sick kiddos draped around the living room.  Coughs, fever and the stomach flu descended on our house and halted all other plans.

I remember when I was young, sick days meant Mom would stalk up on 7up and saltines.  The same little Rubbermade garbage can would be put by my bed.  Extra pillows were pulled out of the linen closet and propped behind my head.  If I was really feeling under the weather she would sit by me and rub my arms and hands.  When she wasn’t taking care of me she was madly disinfecting the entire house.  Cups and dishes soaked in bleach, all the surfaces in the house sanitized, and all the bedding was stripped and washed in hot water.  She would take the blankets fresh out of the dyer and pile them around me.  It was so nice to know that at the end of the day I would lay my hot, aching head on cool, clean sheets.

I do sick days at my house pretty much the same way.  7up has been replaced by Gatorade.  But the house smells like bleach and there are blankets in the dryer.  This morning as I made them comfortable on the couch Miss E turned to her brother (who was convalescing on the other couch) and said, “Momma is bein’ really nice to us!”.

So we will be spending our New Year’s Eve huddled up by the fire, taking it easy.  Happy New Year my friends!  What a year it has been…

The Week that Was

1. Tangerines in the wintertime. How brilliant is that?  On a grey, cold winter day I can stand at my counter and eat what is basically liquid sunshine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. One of dozens of failed Christmas card picture attempts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3.  The children were SO tired of posing for pictures, so I scooped them up and squeezed a smile out of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4.  Present wrapping explodes all over the house

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5.  We celebrated Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma W. early this year

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6.  The “big boys” enjoying a rare treat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7.  The main attraction.  Grandpa W. threatened to read the Christmas story r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y, the children all groaned while the adults laughed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8.  This is how I picture him in my mind.  Hands wrapped around a cup of coffee with a slightly mischievous grin on his face.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9.  Present opening is serious business.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10.  Possibly the cutest picture ever taken

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11. She refuses to stay little.  Sitting up in her highchair and grinning while throwing toys on the floor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12.  “Mom, take a picture of my lego guy.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  As children we are warned of the damage unkind and thoughtless words can do to others.  It has taken me 35 years to figure out that the real damage is done in the hearts of those who use hurtful words.  It’s like taking poison.  I don’t want to spend a lifetime poisoning myself.  I want to come to the end of my life and still have a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye.

The Week that Was

 

1.  Beds are warm but winter mornings are beautiful

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2.  The eastern sky

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3.  Under my feet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4.  She’s starting to inch, wiggle, and roll.  The road to mobility has begun

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Mr. G builds Legos; he builds lots of Legos.  He never, ever un-builds them.  One day Momma suggested (somewhat forcefully) that a few could be torn apart to build new things… huge tears pooled in his huge eyes… Momma doesn’t make suggestions like that anymore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. It’s been cold

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6.  Not too cold for jumping on the trampoline

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7.  Trampoline hair

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. Gift for a friend

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

9. Baby girl you have no idea how blessed you are

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10. Winter arrangement

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11.  A new family member.  His name is Joey.  The kiddos adore him.  Mom thinks he’s okay.  Joey likes mom a lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  I married a wonderful man.  He makes the world right again.  When I’m empty and spent he’s my reserve.  He puts a little splash of vanilla in my coffee because he knows I like it that way.  He tells me I’m beautiful.

At Our House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Christmastime at our house:

Stocking-hat dates with Dad to pick out a Christmas tree

Eggnog with bendy straws

Christmas tree decorated with mix-match ornaments; all clustered about 2 ft from the bottom of the tree

Making popcorn garlands whilst watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (still like saying whilst)

Paper snowflakes hanging from the rafter

What’s not to love about snowmen timers?  Pure Christmas awesomeness I tell you!

Special date with my favorite 4-year-old to see The Nutcracker

Justin occasionally having to talk me down from my “how-many-days-until-Christmas?” panic attacks.

How’s your Christmas shaping up?

Where I Throw Myself a Pity Party

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It started in the morning as I watched Justin get ready to leave the house.

That twinge of envy.  The brow that furrowed.  The heavy sighs as I ambled around the house wondering which mess to start with.

All the normal morning sounds that usually bring a smile to my face, grated against my ears and made my head buzz.

I walked around the house taking pictures in an attempt to shake it off (hence the otherwise irrelevant picture posted above) .

There was not enough coffee for that much-needed second cup.  The cream was curdled.

How many times can one listen to Raffi sing “Frosty the Snowman” and keep their sanity?

I looked longingly at the sewing room knowing that another full week might pass before I am able to submerge myself in blissful creativity.

What did I do you ask?  Did I rally my spirits and count my blessings?  No.  I threw myself a pity party.  I wallowed in it.  I swam around in a pool of “selfish-poor-me” until my fingers got all wrinkly and pruney.  I refused to be mature and reasonable.

The children oscillated between hysterical silliness and grouchy bickering.  I sent them to their rooms, and for an hour I lied every time they asked if it had been 20 minutes yet.

I wondered what must feel like to have a life that wasn’t always tethered by parental responsibility.  I daydreamed about packing an overnight bag and driving down a beautiful road that ends on a rocky beach lined with dark Cyprus trees.

I imagined a life were I could leisurely go into town.  I wouldn’t bypass the insanely long line at Starbucks knowing that it would cost me too much precious time.  I wouldn’t rush around with my jaw clenched, from store to store, trying to accomplish as much as I could in the few hours I had.  As I point the car towards home, I know that as I walk in the door with my arms full, I will be met by a pack of children who have been saving all of their questions, demands, and tales of woe for my listening pleasure.  Do I unpack the groceries or feed the crying baby?

And now we reach the climax of this pitiful post.  Where I switch gears and tell you the moral of the story.  But there isn’t one.  Not this time.  This is just real life, where not every day is fair and fun. No one’s fault, no blame to assign.  This is the flip side of the coin, the “equal and opposite reaction”, the shadowy side of the mountain.  I don’t make a habit of throwing pity parties, it’s not my normal frame of mind, but sometimes they happen.  And here on this page where I write about our life, about my life as a mother, I will  acknowledge that.

 

 

The Week That Was

1. Under my feet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2.  Hello coffee, I think I love you

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. Dad and G trying out the new mixer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. The best part about the new mixer- it came with 4 boxes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Please stay little

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6. Homework and rolls rising on the table

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. Someone has been reading after “lights out”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. Roasted cinnamon almonds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9.  Reading by the fire on a cold December night

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10. Snowflake making, the only kind we get around here

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11. Miss P’s new favorite teething toy- the kitchen table

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12. Real life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  I don’t understand the hand of God.  But I know that when my heart breaks; His does too.  And the things that give me joy bring Him joy, and I’m gong to love this life He has given me with every fiber of my being.

 

Advent Calendars

This year marks the 3rd Christmas that I have made Advent Calendars for the children.  What could be more fun than waking up every morning and opening a little trinket as a way to count down to the big day?

I’ve learned a lot since that first Advent Calendar, and over the years I have modified not only the calendars, but what I put in them.

The first one I made for the children was made from matchboxes.

Matchbox Advent CalendarI purchased from an Etsy seller, printable Advent labels to glue around the matchboxes.  To date, this is my favorite calendar!  I loved the graphics and the darling little boxes, but it was very tricky to find trinkets small and thin enough to fit in the boxes.  Did I say tricky?  I meant almost impossible.  3 children + 24 items each + matchbox-sized = a huge headache!  Plus the children kept loosing the lids to the boxes, with meant I couldn’t use them again the following year.

Matchbox advent calendar Last Christmas I was pregnant with Miss P and was miserably sick!  I had almost made up my mind not to do Advent calendars when I was stricken with a bad case of mother-guilt.  It’s gotten to the point where the children look forward to their Advent calendars almost as much as Christmas day!

Some how they got done.  As simple as this one looks it was a pain to make.  It took me an entire day to cut shapes out of paper bags and zig-zag the trinkets inside of them.  The packages were constantly falling off the clothes pins, they tore easily, and the string got too saggy.  Over all it was a total flop, but the kids didn’t seem to mind in the least bit.

Sewn Paper Bag Advent This year I got smart (make that less dumb).  I made Advent Baskets!  Brilliant right?  I found bright green plastic baskets at the dollar store and tied the kiddos name tags onto each one of them.

Advent Calendar Basket

Advent BasketAll of the trinkets were placed in either red or brown lunch bags (again cheap), and a few of them I wrapped with some dotted wrapping paper.  I found some cute craft-paper labels in the dollar section at Target, and used them to label each package.

Advent BasketFinding 72 little trinkets is no small feat but between the Dollar Store, candy, and special activities I managed to get enough.  The baskets and the paper bags also gave me the freedom to choose items in a variety of sizes.  And, unlike the other years, these Advent Baskets only took me a little over an hour to assemble.

Advent packagesI’ve learned to avoid putting certain items in the bags, things like gum, silly putty, fart putty, and play-doh, have all been banned.  I can’t tell you how many times I found these items ground into the carpet or stuck to one of my couches.

Advent PackageThe 24th is always a pair of fun sock for the children to wear to bed on Christmas Eve.

Advent ActivitiesIn addition to candy and little toys I also include a handful of Christmas activities for us to do together.  Nothing too complicated, just simple things like watching a Christmas movie and making popcorn or getting hot chocolate at Starbucks.

I have high hopes for these Advent baskets!  I think I might have finally found the perfect solution but we will see if they can stand up to 3 excited and curious children.