Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Wrap-Up

With the kids eager to "deck the halls" tomorrow when they get home from school, I need to put November behind me.  And I guess one way I am doing that is to play catch up in one big blog post. 

We've been busy.  But I feel like I can say that every single week now.  I have these lovely images in my head of a new quilt on my bed, home-sewn stockings hung, a little kitchen update that involves sawing boards and paint, and well lets just face it - I simply don't have the time for it all.  I hardly ever sit down with a good book any more as it is.  And that's saying something. 

This put a smile on my face. Even if its not me sitting down to read. :)

So back to our month of November.  We woke up to snow one morning in mid-November. The kids pulled in all the totes of snow gear, played outside for hours, then left my dining room draped in wet clothes for another few hours. I vowed to myself that I would get a handle on wet snow gear this winter.  And two days later, an early birthday gift arrived in the mail! It's a mitten tree and I don't know why I didn't think of one before.  Thanks Mom!  I'm one step closer to wrangling winter paraphernalia.

Freestanding Tubular Steel 14-Branch <em>Mitten</em> Drying <em>Tree</em>

Then I blinked and two weeks flew by.  And it was almost time for the church fundraising craft sale as well as Thanksgiving.  So I spent a couple days sewing up some corn cozies.  

I don't think many sold, but we love ours. We heat them up before bed and put them at our feet; I always keep one in the freezer for tight neck muscles that bring on migraines, and they are the best sore back relief when heated.

With the kids home from school on the day before Thanksgiving, I decided  we all needed a break from my pie baking (I actually only had to make two pies so I guess we were just getting out). We headed out to the woods near our house for a picnic lunch.  

The simplest of things, like a picnic in the woods, 
are sometimes the best things.

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving and being with family that weekend.
And you already know how much I enjoyed my birthday.

Now I am ready for December and all the fun, crazy, and sugary things that means.
I decided not to send out Christmas cards this year (I'll send them out every other year) and I don't know if that is a contributing factor to my enthusiasm-without-the-stress I'm feeling this Christmas season, but I'm going to enjoy it (come to think of it, perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that my baby is 14 months and not 2 months old)!  So bring it, December, I'm ready to get my Holiday on!

A not so-very-safe but oh-so-funny
way to share a candy cane with
your baby sister.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Birthday

I have a bunch of things I want to post about, oodles of pictures to share, and not a whole lot of desire to sit here on the computer.

But the one thing that keeps popping into my mind is my birthday (it was on Black Friday).
And the fact that my hubby baked. me. a. cake.
Yes, he baked me my favorite cake - a Texas Sheet Cake!

While I was out for a hike and lunch with a few friends, he was baking.  Dean, the guy who enters the kitchen only after a meal is done. The guy who claims to only know how to cook breakfast foods.  The guy who usually picks up an apple pie or cheesecake from the store every couple years for my birthday.

And the fact that he planned a party for me, invited my friends, and saw to everything...lets just say I felt very spoiled.  I still do actually. I am blessed with wonderful friends and family.

That sure beat the typical day of mothering and housekeeping.  I could go for a few more birthdays landing on Black Friday.  Since that is one of Dean's work Holiday's, I get to run around by myself. And it keeps me from seriously considering the ads. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What I really am thankful for

I'm keeping it real. Some days it's all I can do to just get through the day, or the hour. That's all I'm going to say in advance about today's post.  So beware.

We decided to keep our five year old home from school this year.  We just didn't feel he was emotionally ready.
Oh my heavens, I don't think I was ready! For the long, exhausting days you have with a bored five year old. Seriously, I knew I would have to work extra hard at keeping him occupied and challenged.  The boy counts to one thousand for fun, for pete's sake!  But I had no idea it would be this challenging.  And wearying.

He's already tired of all the worksheets and workbooks.  They keep him occupied for about half an hour.  That leaves 7 1/2 hours to fill until the school kids come home from school.  I'm already tired of the constant queries of "can I play nintendo?"  My answer remains the same "no, you know you cannot play except on the weekends".  I wonder how long till I crack and allow it again (which I know from experience will cause all kinds of other behavior problems).  He plays about every day. I'm scrambling to find what else we can fill the days with.  Perhaps its time to attempt story hour once again. Or order some science and math kits.  Or something. Because he keeps me on my toes.

And some days I want nothing other than to take a nap.
The other day I lay down in bed after putting the pizza dough to rise, if only to rest my eyes since I swear I'd been up hourly each night for the last week with one sick kid or another.  It wasn't too long before I heard three children in the bathroom, one of whom was saying, "Donny should we put your toothbrush in the toilet?" Yes, that would have been the five year old.  The same boy that stuck a long bead up his brother's nose. Where on earth do they get these ideas!?!? 

Before I could tell them to get out of the bathroom, there was a crash and I heard the two remaining frames above the toilet shatter on the tub and floor.  Now I added "and shut the door behind you after you come out of there!"  I resigned myself to the fact that there is no such thing as naps for mom who has three pre-schoolers. I resigned myself to the fact that a bored five year old will usually resort to physical stimulation, especially my five year old who loves nothing more than to wrestle and rough house with his shrieking little brother. They were going to run and screech until I sat them down to supper. 

The busy bee boys

As I cringed, waiting for the inevitable bump of head onto floor or sharp corner, I vaguely remembered that I was supposed to be being thankful. It crossed my mind, albeit briefly, that I should be thankful for healthy, robust boys.  But before that thought could lodge itself too firmly in my mind, I looked at the clock and sighed with relief.  Thankfully, Dean would be home in only 40 more minutes. The clock couldn't tick fast enough.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful People are Happy

The best kind of weekend is the one where I'm surrounded by my own little family.  When my hubby's at the kitchen table studying, the kids are at the counter sipping hot chocolate, and I'm pulling cookies out of the oven.  Oh, and classical music is playing while snow is falling gently outside, powdering the ground.

Okay, okay, I admit that these kinds of weekends are rather storybook.  And they are rare for us.  I mean how often do we get snow, and how often are Dean and I not feeling pressured to get this or that done, and how often do five kids coexist peacefully for an entire Saturday at home!?

Yet storybook our weekend was.  And it was a welcome respite after a week of sick kids and a month of busy weekends. I couldn't help but pull out my camera every few minutes and try to capture what I was feeling.  How does one photograph contentment? Happiness?  Better yet, how does one bottle it up for the less than perfect days that life doles out? 

I did try to capture my beautiful day.  And these images might as well be bottled for the feelings they bring me when I look at them.
This is my family.  This is my life. 

For this I am thankful.

I came across a quote today that makes me wonder if I just might have it all backward.  I was feeling content and oh so happy with my life.  The happiness led me to pick up my camera.  Seeing the images made me realize how blessed I am.  
Should I not be thankful every single day, whether it is a perfect day or not?  Will being more thankful lead to more happiness?

This month, I will work to be more thankful.

 It is not happy people 
who are thankful.
It is thankful people 
who are happy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

When I Hike the Grand Canyon

Tonight my love is sleeping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
In a two person backpacking tent. 
Without me.

Ah, but I hope he is having a good time.  And that he's safe and not too sore.

I am good here at home.  I'm good staying behind and holding down the fort.  

Because before he left, I tried on his pack.  And I about died.  At the thought of carrying that thing ten miles down the Canyon and what must feel like 50 miles back up again.  

As we don't own a scale, I have no idea how heavy it was.  Lets just say that it was heavy enough to make me certain that my legs would be limp noodles after only an hour of hiking if it were mine.

I think if, I mean when, I hike the Grand Canyon, we'll be making reservations to stay in a cabin at Phantom Ranch.  I have a bad ankle after all, I couldn't risk carrying a heavy pack.  And I'm a slight build, I couldn't possibly carry something that is half my weight without seriously injuring myself.  I'm used to carrying babies around on my hip, not something three times that weight on my back!

Makes sense, right? Are you with me?  I'm not acting like a pampered princess, am I?  :) 
Maybe don't answer that.  
Instead, enjoy these pics from one of Dean's previous Grand Canyon trips.
I'll be sure to tell you all about it when it's my turn to go and I get carried down the Canyon on a mule.
(Hey!  Now that's an idea!)