December 26, 2011

Blessed Christmas

It's the day after Christmas and all through my house,
are things to be picked up by me and my spouse.
My new rule says kids must pick up their messes.
The darts from new dart guns, the games and doll dresses.

For the new plan clearly states,
that after I ask
by shouting "CLEAN SWEEP"
they must all start the task
of sweeping the room of their most beloved items.
Because if in my grasp?
Those things go bye bye *ahem*

It should be made known that I have several sacks,
full of old cast offs
for other folk's shacks.
You'll recall my post here,
were I clearly state,
that we have too much stuff
in our middle class estate (perhaps you relate?).

The donation pile grows as my children slack off,
and leave on the floor the undies and socks.
I'm showing some mercy when collecting such things,
as coats, violins, and brand new mood rings.
But I'm trying to use my best poker face,
when stating that everything must have it''s place,
and if it is left out- I've stated my case.
Some other kid's mom will have to make chase,
over things left on floors...The next tactic is mace.
(just kidding- don't call social services on me!)

But the day after Christmas is such a hard day,
for keeping things tidy.
Kids just want to play,
and moms are so tired and merciful too.
Parents are just happy the kids have stuff to do,
before toys get boring and they all cry boo hoo.

So I'm turning my gaze to more peaceful thoughts,
of how nice it is to have T home washing pots
For hugs from my oldest- Happy this year?
Seems someone put nice-boy-dust into his ear.
I'm grateful for kids who are healthy and sound.
For a cancer-free brother two feet on the ground.

Could be, this blessed day made my evil side flip.
Perhaps trials of others make me double dip,
and re-think the importance of a perfect clean house,
with crumbs much to small for the interest of mouse.

I'm just glad we're together under cold drafty roof,
playing apples to apples eating food that goes "poof" (as it disappears rapidly see?)
Happy for foot-rubs and good luvin' from Troy.
Grateful for each little safe girl and boy.
That is what trials in this life can do.
It can make you feel glad it ain't happenin' to you.

It can make your heart grow as you think of the stress
That others experience
and count yourself blessed.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  We sure did : )

December 21, 2011

Mourning with Those Who Mourn

Tragic news yesterday evening.  Just as we were about to go ding dong ditching for Family Night I got a call from my Dad.  I was in the laundry room doing.... laundry when he called to tell me.  At first I thought it would be about my brother with cancer, but no.  My lifelong girlfriend with 11 children had found her 2 year old drowned in their family pool just that afternoon.  She has a 3 week old baby, it's 6 days before Christmas and now she has to bury her 2 yr old girl.  I let out a wail of sorrow for my friend.  My son came running to see what was the matter.

I tried to keep upbeat during our outing but every time my kids would exit the van to plant goodies on a neighbor's porch, I'd put my hand to my forehead and just feel helplessly sad.  I thought about calling her when we got home but I know she will be informing her family and talking to them the first day.  She is the youngest (along with a twin) of 12 children in their family.  So I sent her an email and ordered flowers for her.  I wish there was more I could do.  I want to ask my friends to facebook to pray for her, but somehow it feels like the wrong place to share such news.

I keep looking at my healthy children and being grateful for them (even my teenager).  I barked at my 4 yr old this morning and felt terrible right afterwards.  She knows I am upset and keeps giving me love this morning.  Such an intuitive child.

As I laid awake last night, thinking of my friend, I thought of her motherhood tasks ahead that will be hard.  Like looking at that pool, or folding her daughter's clothing as it comes through the wash.  Unwrapping her presents and returning them.  Seeing her sippy cups in the cupboard.  If I were her neighbor I would offer to come and take care of some of those tasks for her, but not until after I first gave her a huge hug.

I know that she will see her daughter again and that the atonement is real.  I know families are forever.  But this really sucks all the same.  Nobody gets through this life without trial.  It's just part of the deal, but for now I am angry and sad that this happened to my friend.  I wish I could make this better.  Not gonna happen.

December 20, 2011


I just had a sweet experience.  One of my primary students just knocked on my door with a handmade note telling me he was thankful for having had me as his teacher this past year.  He started to cry when I told him he would be missed in my class.  His mom and I teared up as well.  Man does it ever feel good to be appreciated!  I seem to have forgotten what that feels like.

Then, just now, I started musing about my own boys when they were young.  About a time when I revealed to Big Boy the truth about St Nicholas.  I was the teller of this secret to my son because he was getting to be an age where kids at school might tease his sweet believing soul.  He looked up at me and instead of the feeling of betrayal most kids might feel his was an expression of thanks.  "All that time it was you?" he said in amazement.  "Yep- I am Santa's helper" said I.  "Gee, Mom- THANKS!" was what came next out of his mouth, and then lots of questions about how on earth we could afford it.  Typical first child worries.

I need to remember that sweet guy in there.  I know he is still in there somewhere underneath all the hormones.  I'm glad my primary student came by today to remind me...

December 15, 2011

Are you Ready?

Are you ready for Christmas?  I almost am!  I still need to do a few small things like buy enough gift bags and send off my Christmas cards but I am about there.  Oh- I do have a sewing project to make but if that doesn't happen then I will just rejoice in the fact that I have a daughter with a birthday on Dec 31st!  Nothing like putting off something for another celebration and pretending you were totally on top of it.

This year my tendency to get it done early came back to bite me.  My husband was shopping with a couple kids for our family's secret Santa gift exchange and my oldest saw a book he has been pining for.  He had enough money to buy it for himself but my husband (knowing I had it in store for him for Christmas), would not let him buy it.  I am convinced more and more that the teenager stage is very similar to the terrible-two-tantrum stage, because the rest of the evening was just one big tantrum.  When he figured out why he couldn't buy his book he got super mad at me (of course me!) for always buying things too early.  I guess they should just call social services on me because I shop early.  Shame on me.

I really felt bad that I had a son who would have this illogical/spoiled reaction.  Telling me I ruin Christmas every year for him because I don't consider what he wants and give him enough time to come up with a wish list.  I am half tempted to give him nottin' for Christmas 'cause he ain't been nottin' but bad.  But part of me thinks that is just a revengeful thought.  We were just going to get him luggage for college but that seemed a bit sad so he had a few other real gifts... but now?  Not so sure...  Oh how I wish I had a magic 8 ball telling me what to do.

Another puzzle lately is Big Girl.  She just hasn't been herself lately.  I don't know if it's the anticipation of the holidays stressing her out, or a girl at school who has been a bit of a bully, or her big brothers teasing her but she is an emotional mess.  Maybe I am not so used to girls and their emotions.  She did have a bit of shell shock last week when cutting off all her hair to donate.  I thought that had worn off though.  This morning she was so blue I started getting worried.  The thought came to me while cleaning up the dishes that perhaps she just needs me to paint her nails with crackle nail polish.  She has been asking for some.  I have been meaning to get some.  But what she's really in need of isn't the manicure, it's the time with me.  It's my approval.  I hate the kinds of TV shows she chooses (Sonny with a Chance, Wizard's of Waverly Place),  and when I show my dislike for such shows claiming they are too mature for an 8 yr old she gets super offended.  Like I don't like her or something.  Should I give Sonny a chance? Or hold my ground here?  Not sure...

Before Big Cut

The look on her face says it all...
Now we just need to mail these braids to Locks of Love
Dear Santa what I really want this year for Christmas is the insight of my mother who is no longer here to ask advise from.  She'd know just how to fix these problems I keep having.  In the mean time I am off to buy crackle nail polish and try to paint my way back onto her good side today after school...

December 08, 2011

The Purge Before the Binge

So it all started when I was getting ready for a visit from a relative.  I'm wired to start organizing only when I know someone may be looking in these closets with a judgmental eye.  And really, who does that better than a visiting sister right?  So the linen closet and medicine cabinets got the once over.  Purging expired medication and other odds and ends I wasn't using felt liberating.  Our 40 yr old house wasn't build with roomy closets either so extra space is a blessed thing here.

My sister came and went, and I'm not sure we slowed down long enough for her to look inside any of my medicine cabinets, but it felt good knowing they were cleared out.  On November 29th I felt the need to purge again due to a truck picking up donations in my neighborhood the following day.  Alas I read the date wrong and what I thought read Nov 30th was actually Nov 03.  So 8 bags of stuff from my playroom now sit in the corner waiting to be asked to the prom (just kidding- I am aware that there is no prom for discarded playroom toys, I just liked saying that).  That's a lot of toys that I now have to keep secret from my children until the next pick up.  Big Boy is the most sentimental of all of my kids and he has already unloaded one trash bag full of stuffed animals.  Some have not been played with for 4-5 years.  Maybe he will find some room in that new Samsonite luggage of his for the 4 ft stuffed alligator he loves so much.

My purging has not stopped with the toy room.  For the better part of a day I spent my time sweating over the stuff of my laundry room all the while thinking of stuff I could be putting in this place instead.  Food storage instead of leaky air mattresses.  New camping gear instead of outgrown snow boots.  I even got rid of all the unmatched solo mittens.  I tell ya, nothing (almost) feels better than getting rid of unused items just taking up space.  To me it even beats bringing home something new.  So now I have several trash bags taking up space just waiting to be donated.  My husband may have to help me load up the van on his next day off.  I'm used to moving every 3-4 years with the military, which forces one to do this sort of thing.  It looks as if we are here for a while though so I need to force-purge.

So all this getting rid of stuff comes before the Christmas Holiday where we will accumulate more stuff to fill those empty spaces, but I am figuring something out this year, something new.  When I see the things that go unused (some of which are gifts from last year still unopened!)  I tell myself to slow down and be more thoughtful about what I get.  We don't really need stuff do we?  What we really need is more time together.  Time to enjoy one another.  Experiences mean more to me than things.  So this year as I wade through the stuff of Christmas pasts, I am hoping to make my gifts more thoughtful and meaningful and less.  Just less stuff.  Even the stocking stuffers I am purchasing with more sense of purpose.  Maybe nobody will notice my emphasis this year.  Maybe by the 24th it will end up being the same overload of things.  Still I feel like this purging has given me a bit of perspective.  It's like the Grinch learned on Christmas morning... that Christmas doesn't come from a store.

Merry Christmas to you!  Hope you don't get too much this year : )

December 04, 2011

Long Time No Blog

Hi Blog!
I will tell you a reason I have been a blog-slacker lately.  My Silver Bullet died.  The Silver Bullet was my laptop that sat at the kitchen table and it was old.  Silver Bullet was a misnomer because it was the slowest of our 3 computers.  It was silver though... sigh, I will miss her.  She was the most accessible being in the kitchen and since she was old I didn't bother worrying about eating while serving the web on her.  The cord tripped me and bent so badly coming out of the S. Bullet that it is not repairable.  Since the computer was on it's last legs anyways, it's probably best just to let her rest in peace.  I miss her though.  The playroom is just too far away to go to unless there is something I really need to do.  The other computer has an uncomfortable stool you sit on in a cramped space and makes me feel icky when I sit at it for too long.  This is where I sit now and my lower back begs for me to quit.  Let's hope Santa is generous this year and I get a replacement.  One can't be too hopeful though since I did get the newest iphone for my birthday last month.  It's pretty much replaced Silver Bullet and then some.  Love that Siri feature!!

Anyhow, I am blogging tonight about my Christmas preparations.... boring?  Maybe but I thought it worth mentioning that I have a son (Little Boy) who is so quirky and he is asking for some crazy stuff from me this year.  He is 12 and a 7th grader this year- so keep that in mind.  Most kids grow out of the 'toy' stage and want video games or clothes or phones, etc.  He has asked me for a mini fridge.  Yes- it's true, a mini fridge.  Maybe that isn't so out there because what kid wouldn't want cold soda in their room?  He's not getting a mini fridge.  Nor does he get a lot of soda.  I just think it's odd that he thinks he has a chance at one.  He knows how I feel about eating outside of the kitchen.  This doesn't mean he follows this rule, but he knows.  The other thing he has asked for is a U-shaped travel pillow.  The kind you use to take a nap when flying somewhere.  He is by no means a frequent flyer.  I have no idea why he wants this.  He then added another item to his wish list today.  The boy wants a stop watch.  "The circular kind they use in the movies that you hang on a chain" I am beginning to think he might be an old man, possibly the man from the game Monopoly...  Next he will be asking for a top hat and a monocle.

The other observation I have is my 4 yr old seems to have a keen eye for what people may want/need for Christmas gifts.  I believe she may have inherited this from me!  No lie- I am an observer and take note when people express an interest in something.... and then I give it to them!  Doesn't that make you want me for a friend?  Well the reason I think she also has my gift is that when I asked her what she thought Grandpa T would like for Christmas she stated that Grandpa would like marbles.  When I asked why she said "he collects them."  Then I remembered our visit there in October when Grandma T got out a box of marbles that she told us where Grandpas when he was a boy.  I then asked what she thought I should buy for her Father and she said pajama tops because he only has the bottoms.  Know what?  She is exactly right on that!  My husband prefers his undershirt to pajama tops.  She must be a super observer like her older brother Middle Boy....  (who's name she happened to pick for Secret Santa and she wants to replace his deceased hamster with a new one. So thoughtful!)

Well, I think I need a back massage now as this stool is killing me-this writing spot is not my happy place.

Here's hoping that your holiday shopping is going as well as possible!!  If you need any tips just let Little Girl know, she has all the answers.