Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting New

I'm not a goal setter or a resolution maker. They make me crazy. Why? Because I generally never reach most of the goals I set. I tend to make my resolutions based on who I think I should be, not who I truly am. And when you base your goals on what you deep down know is unrealistic, you just end up feeling like more of a failure when it's all abandoned.

Every year, I decide on a 'Focus' for myself. Not a goal, just a focus, or a theme, for where I want to center my vision. I post it on my mirror, just as a way of checking in. Do I truthfully look at it everyday? No. But, it's there. I take notice of it when I pull out the Windex, or when I turn and it catches my eye. It's a subtle reminder that tends to stick with me. There's no pressure attached to it, only clear focus.

For 2011, I've taken my year's theme from a favorite blogger. She originated the phrase, and it's grown into something more than the words themselves.
Do Less, Be More.
The written words seem simple, but it's message is deeper and life sustaining. What it means for me will vary from what it means for you. That's what makes these words so nourishing. And, they also make you feel like stretching your soul to be and do something greater.

Tomorrow is a fresh start. I'll open a new calendar and it will feel like a new beginning. January just has that effect. It makes your mind clear a bit and focus on what you want the new year to bring. So, whether you are a goal setter, or if you use a word to define the next 365 days, make sure you are true to yourself and what you want for those you love. As for me, I'm going to focus on being more and doing less. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The HIghlights

Christmas has come and gone. I've packed it all up and put it away. Just this morning, the garbage man hauled away all the wrapping paper. Life feels (almost) back to normal.

Here are our highlights from this year's Santa day.....

She screamed when she opened this. I'm fairly certain that she will be the only child in her entire school wearing this come Monday morning.

The one present she asked for "in the pretty blue color".

It's hard to genuinely surprise a teenager. She and I had an argument about this dress (it's price) and I'd (white lie) told her I'd never buy it. Her reaction was worth it.

Somehow, Nana always finds a way to fulfill all your dreams. She bought Todd A CASE of the one thing he would need on a deserted island. Chapstick.

The cheapest gifts always produce the greatest joy.

The new family game.

Changing of the guard. The original is so faded and worn, you can't even read it. The new silver one will last my lifetime.

My sister-in-law sent me a subliminal reminder I so desperately need.

I hope your Santa day was as jolly as ours. I'm ever so grateful it's over and all cleaned up. Only 360 more days until the next one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Nativity

We've never reenacted the Nativity story before. I haven't ever wanted to put forth the effort. All that gift buying and wrapping kinda wipes me out. This year, Nana requested the story retold. And when Nana asks, she receives.

Sam made a lovely fair Mary. Makell insisted on being Joseph. Keagan was a very large and loud baby Jesus. It all looks pretty authentic, don't you think?

Addie was an angel. Yes, the irony did not escape me. In my version of the Nativity, the angels were calm and all together silent. I'm not quite sure she was true to character.

Towards the end of the narration, Makell stopped short and her eyes went wide. She exclaimed, "Wait a second, baby Jesus was a boy?!" Apparently this was truly stunning news to her. I obviously haven't explained things well over the last 11 years. Oh, and I guess that church attendance every. single. Sunday. didn't shed any light for her.

Good thing Nana asked for the Nativity this year. Without her, my kids would have grown into adulthood thinking baby Jesus was a girl. Where, oh where, did I go wrong?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Aftermath

Does anyone else's house look like Santa got dizzy and threw up everywhere?

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm Slowing Down To Enjoy

Merry Christmas from my "normal" family to yours.
Take time to enjoy it all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Day At The Zoo

Even after 3 years, my winter mindset has yet to change. I still marvel at the December days when we wear short sleeve shirts while exploring the zoo and riding the train. Really it's quite fantastic. Tomorrow it is supposed to drop to a freezing 61 degrees. Brrr.

You never know how a family outing is going to play out. You know it's going to either be really fun or really bad. There is no secret way to predict the outcome. You just have to cross your fingers and pray.

I must have prayed extra hard, because today was delightful. My kids had fun, fighting was minimal and we got to watch a mom and baby elephant have a bath. A perfect winter day.

Lightning never strikes twice. Right? Therefore, I know I'm in for it tomorrow. Today was good, so tomorrow will be mayhem. It's just how it goes, so I'm bracing myself. I'm going to wear short sleeves for good luck.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Naughty Or Nice?

"Addie, what were you asking Santa?"

"If I was on the naughty list or the nice list."

"What did he say?"

"He wouldn't tell me because he didn't want to ruin the surprise."

"Which list do YOU think you're on?"


"I'm in the middle."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookie Exchange

Most of what I do is an attempt to deflect attention away from my kids and my sub-par parenting skills. Every now and then, I even make an extraordinary effort to be a Supermom. As is always the case, the results are usually painful.

Case in point-- the Cookie Exchange. I decided to make these cookies. 4 dozen of them.

The labor alone was ridiculous. Half way through, I considered not even going and taking a nap instead. It was at that point that I threatened Todd with his life if he didn't help me.

The next time I decide to try something like this, I need you to hit me. Hard. Promise?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Mother's Top 10

I'm weary from shopping and money spending. My brain hurts from thinking about Christmas so much. I'm sick of it. Not the Christmas part, just the thinking part.

While at Kohl's AGAIN, I decided on my Top 10 for this time of year. Here you go:

A Mother's Christmas Top 10
10. Arriving home from Target only to realize that I need to go back for more tomorrow.

9. My child requesting something from Santa that we already own. "But this one is a prettier color".

8. Another child requesting a Pillow Pet that will sit on the bed and never get touched.

7. Preparing teacher gifts that my kids tell me, "are stupid". And then they add, "but I'm not being rude."

6. Laying in bed at night reviewing what I've bought for each child so I can make sure there is total equality. I then purchase more to even things out, only to realize I've made it more unbalanced.

5. As I buy, I hide it away. Now I can't remember what I've bought.

4. Kids who tell me their "perfect" gift request on December 1, only to inform me on December 23rd that this request is no longer valid.

3. All. The. Wrapping!

2. Realizing that Santa gets WAY too much credit.

1. What takes me 864 hours to prepare, is unwrapped and over in 38 minutes on Christmas morning.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

House Of Candy

It's that time of year again. The time where we get invited to the "special" house to make gingerbread palaces. Starting in December, I pray every night that Andi will forget everything she knows about my kids, and invite them over anyway. It's like a candy/frosting heaven over there.

You know what makes this candy extravaganza even better? You. Can. Eat. The. Frosting!! I'm serious. No eggs in it what-so-ever. I may or may not have squirted it straight into my mouth.

I wish my house was made of candy and smelled like gingerbread. Do you think if my kids slept in beds made of gumdrops that they would still whine and be ungrateful all the time? I'm guessing it's a high possibility.

This house is entirely edible. You know what that means? I'm totally serving it for dinner. With a salad on the side, of course.

Monday, December 13, 2010

His Request

There are times in a marriage where you look at your spouse and think, "I'm so lucky". And then, there are all the other times. I'll let you decide which one today is.

Todd's first Christmas request was for some expensive gadget that is required to be installed in order to use the home speakers he. already. bought. himself. I deleted the email.

His second request was for a new wedding ring. Uh, yup, I'm serious. Farmer Todd has decided he's just not that into gold anymore. Now he wants a fancy silver, platinum, grayish one. That email was deleted while my heart broke (not really, it broke years ago when he told me my teeth looked like corn).

Today, he has discovered the ultimate gift. This one he really, really wants:

Any guesses?

It's a Urine Powered Battery. Read those words again-- A...Urine...Powered...Battery. The website describes it "as ideal for excursions of any kind, or at home if peeing into a battery is your thing".

He's a genius. And he's all mine.

Just in case you want one of your own (or you really want to buy Todd a gift), read all about it here: http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/metalcell-portable-battery

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Scenes Of The Season

Twinkling lights. Toddler hands. Nana's tree.
This is what makes the season bright.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm Dreaming

A white Christmas. That's a double negative where I live. The temperatures are coldish here, and I wear my coat sometimes-ish. But, my front yard is brown instead of white and Todd still puts on shorts every day after work.

I don't miss all the extras that are attached to snow. The shoveling, the wet bundles of clothes everywhere, oh, and the shoveling. What I do miss is the first snowfall. It always feels like magic sprinkles falling from heaven. It blankets everything in a crisp newness that makes the world feel quiet. Nothing feels quiet in this house. Ever.

You know what's funny about this snow picture? I can't remember which kid it is. I think it's #3, but it could very likely be #2. Either way, this moment captured in the snow feels magical. And as I sit here in my Texas weather, I'm dreaming, just for an hour or two, of a white Christmas.

Guess what else I'm dreaming about? Kids that obey. I'm totally asking Santa for it. Why not, I believe in Christmas miracles. Especially white ones.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lead, Guide, Walk Beside

The following thought was sent to me recently. It's the perfect theme for this time of year. In between the shopping, spending, planning and frenzy, may we take the time to find our inner calm and remember what is truly important. May we quiet our lives so that we may always hear the sound of the bell ringing us home.

"Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop and look, you will notice something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse you will see that he is blind. His owner has made a good home for him. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source, you notice it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

This bell, which is attached to the horse’s halter, lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow. As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell, and walk slowly toward the other horse, trusting he won’t be led astray.

Like the owner of these horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect, or have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives, to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way."
(Author unknown)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Full Circle

It is quite a strange thing to have your baby reach a milestone. Unlike the siblings before her, her's has more of a finality to it. She is the last one. That's it, no more. Once she passes an age, an event, a phase, it's really gone. That's what makes it so strange.

Addie got baptized. The last of the three. It seems we've come full circle. Or maybe, there isn't really a beginning or end to it, just one continuous round.

She has anxiously anticipated this event, this milestone. She was confident and self assured. She was up from her chair and in the font before Todd even reached his side of the water. I hope she always remains that sure of herself and what she wants. Actually, I pray for it.

This family feels older now. We no longer have anyone who is 'little'. I guess we've entered a new season and I didn't even notice it. Somehow, Addie getting baptized just seemed to clarify it for me. It's that full circle thing. Daily life goes round and round, and just when you least expect it, the circle changes.

For now, I'm holding tight to my circle. With all it's bends and turns, I find it quite perfect. Maybe that's the secret to the journey. Not trying to change your circle, but simply embracing the one you have. Every milestone, a curve along the way.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

4 Of 40

I have a serious aversion to glitter. I mean serious. It's therapy-worthy serious. Glitter is never, and I mean never, allowed in this house. Cute glitter shoes that the girls begged for? Nope. T-shirts with glitter in the design? Heavens no. Glitter lip gloss? For sure, no.

So, imagine my surprise when I decided to make a glitter tree. I shocked myself. I stood in the isle at Hobby Lobby and just stared at the bottles of glitter. I had to take a deep breath before I picked one up. Glitter gives me the heeby-jeebies. It's messy and it. sticks. to. everything. But yet, it now resides in my house.

Making the tree almost gave me a fatal heart attack. No matter how hard I tried, that darn glitter just got everywhere. After I was finished, I vacuumed every square inch of the kitchen. And I must admit, I vacuumed by entire body as well.

With the tree now in position, things just got a lot more sparkly over here. Who knows, maybe I'll branch out and buy Todd some glitter shoes for Christmas.

* tutorial for tree found here.
** 1 of 40 here, 2 of 40 here, 3 of 40 here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


23 days until Christmas, people.
Twenty. Three. Days.

Have mercy.