Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mittens, mittens everywhere...

When you live in a cold climate, you might as well embrace it.

These were the mittens I made for Christmas presents. (Alas, the tinsel & coat hangers did not work out so I tried these instead.)

We had a nice Christmas over here. Little bit different than we're used to, but good. Had the last of our Christmas parties last night and the tree will come down today.

Here is another one of the projects I did:
I knew a special little girl was asking for Mia for Christmas and I couldn't resist. I've never sewn doll clothes before, so this was new- and so much fun. Now, to make some for Lydia's dolls...
I'm still borrowing my Mom's sewing machine and now I'm inspired to get going on some curtains for my living room. One of the shades is quite mangled and broken- doesn't even pull up and down anymore. Yet, each morning I take the thing down, stuff it under the couch, and each evening I put it back up. I refuse to buy a new one for temporary purposes because then I'll never get the curtains made. Hah!

Today is the first real quiet day since Christmas Eve. And, I'm soaking it up. The kids are happily playing- still highly entertained by their presents, and I made extra coffee because I have a fun new cup to use. Yep, my sister- actually both- gave me new coffee cups for Christmas. I guess I whined loud enough when I broke this one!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all! May this season
be a joyful time for
you and your family!
And special wishes for a happy Christmas to my family in C & B! I wish I could be there with all of you (or that you could be here with all of us?). I'll be missing you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And, while the world was covered in a blanket of white outside...

My dear children were busy making the inside was just as snowy and white!
I opened the door to Jack's bedroom and was met with a nice pile of "snow" all over the floor, the rug, the space heater, the rocking chair...
...the toys...

Then, I moved on to Lydia's room... And found more. All over the rug again, her clothes...

...the CD player...

And, so... Should you like to create an indoor snow scene inside your house, just pick up a bottle of baby powder, hand it to your kids and let them go at it. It really is quite festive, I think. And it does make for a lovely aroma throughout the house.
As I was gritting my teeth, trying to control my anger, I sent both kids to their beds. Jack, sitting in his crib told me, "All done crying, mom," in hopes of getting out. "Ha," I replied, "I'm not done crying. Your staying put, pal."
Lydia's response? "Santa will still come, right mom?"
Hmmm. Let me think about that one for a bit, please.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Pinata

Every year at our annual family Christmas party, we have a pinata for the kids. If you've never done this before, I highly reccomend it- it's extremely entertaining. Picture this scene: fifty or so kids crowded around a paper mache Snowman head hanging from a broom stick, and a two year old with a hockey stick. Actually it's not the two year old that scares me, it's the eight year old with wild, gleaming eyes, a sugar-high from frosted cookies, and a plastic bag for gathering loot shoved in his back pocket that makes me want to pull out my camera and run for cover at the same time. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever gotten seriously hurt. Yet.

So, the kids are given Walmart bags that have their names written on them in black marker. These things are like gold to them- they are very careful to inspect them- making sure they've received the right bag and that no holes exist in the bottom. Then, there's always some shouting and arguing as the kids are told to line up from younest to oldest (we draw the line somewhere around the age of 12, I believe). The one year old who can barely stand is handed the hockey stick or wooden spoon or whatever the weapon of the year is. Each kid gets one or two hits, and as the stick gets handed further down the line the volume in the room increases with age. By the time the older boys get ahold of the thing, the moms are yelling out warnings, "Stand back! Watch where you're swinging! Move away!". The one or two year olds are hiding their faces in their dad's shoulders- appaled that they were expected to take place in such behavior. It's like a feast for wild dogs. The moms stand on edge certain someone is going to be missing a tooth or an eye before it's all said and done.

Then, one lucky kid breaks it open and out spills a mass of candy and cheap trinkets. The moms who can now breathe a slight sigh of relief with the weapon forgotten, dump out more bags of stuff that wouldn't fit into the pinata. Kids are scrambling everywhere- no one worries about gender specific items like headbands or matchbox cars- there's plenty of time to negotiate trades later. When the last pencil is snatchted up, the kids retreat to various corners of the room to spill out their loot and begin the trading process.

This tradition has been around since long before I can remember. Growing up, I participated in my share of pinatas. As an adult, it's easy to think little things like this aren't that important, but they are. Sure- most of the stuff eventually ends up lost, tossed, or forgotten. But in that moment, for that short time, it is pure excitement. A tradition that will hopefully continue to live on in our family. Some things are just too good to let go!

Monday, December 15, 2008

True Happiness

As I'm sitting here, kids in bed, husband outside- battling the snow with a snowblower that doesn't sound as though it wants to cooperate- I'm so thankful. I'm feeling so content being here in our little home. Yesterday, Ryan and I went out of town for the night with some friends. We had a great time away: quick, yet enjoyable. Such a breath of fresh air to spend some time with other adults.

Yet, driving back tonight, I realized how happy I was to be coming home. Could be the Christmas season and the need to be near my family, or maybe it was the raging snow storm we had to drive in for the last hour of the trip. Whatever the real reason, I feel as though I can appreciate the quick trip away for what it was while looking forward to tomorrow and spending the day at home with my kids.

Sometimes, I get too caught up in worry. I worry what tomorrow will bring or what the next year has in store. My thoughts start to snowball and pretty soon I'm worrying about things that are so far beyond my control. It takes a lot of strength sometimes to remember life will work it's way out. I hear constant news of people losing jobs, clinging to jobs that are hanging by a thread, and it's scary. We're met everyday with news of hard times, rough patches, uncertainty. And it can add up- leaving a pit of doubt and fear within us.

Yet, it's Christmas. It doesn't matter what the situation of the world may be- or whether we feel sad or content- because it's Christmas. The most beautiful time of the year because of the real reason we celebrate. And, remembering that first Christmas eases fears, crosses out doubt, and refills my heart with joy and happiness. Worry is waste of precious time, ungrounded fears are usually far beyond our control. And as this Christmas nears, I feel such peace in knowing- we are so blessed. There is so much beyond our control and so many worries that can keep us awake at night... Yet, right here- in the quiet comfort of my home- I can put that aside and be thankful.

Whether you are in high spirits this season- humming along to Christmas carols, lining up rows of cookies on cooling racks on the counter- or feeling weary instead- strained from having too much to do, sad in knowing you will not be able to be near family- hold onto the real meaning of Christmas. Let your heart remember all that it is thankful for. And share that joy. Because that's what it's really about.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • I think I have found the cure for freezing cold feet. Seriuosly. Right now, my feet are sighing a sigh of pure content as they are shoved inside my mammoth crocs. These sweet things were an early birthday present and I can tell they will getting hours of use during this chilly winter. I'm kind of like a little kid with a new toy today.
  • I'm feeling like I might be starting to maybe, uh, fall behind. Ahem. I was being so calm and relaxed this past week- trying out my new "doesn't really matter attitude". I think I took that relaxation a little far because I'm just ever so slightly coming to realize my list of things to do has not gotten any shorter this week.
  • My Christmas cards are still sitting in a pile atop the cabinet in the living room. Still unsigned. Still unadressed. Will they make it out before Christmas? It remains to be seen.
  • Speaking of Christmas cards- I love getting the mail this time of year and seeing how everyone's families are growing, changing, adding on. But, I'm slightly overwhelemed becuase it seems it is no longer acceptable to have one decent picture. It now appears that you need two or three or four??! In other respects- I did follow suit and do a collage card- and spent way too much time finding the pictures for it, I might add.
  • The baby is teething... And that pretty much sums up that one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I've been tagged.

Okay. Six things about me that you might not know?

1) I hide things under my couches and in clothes baskets when people are coming to visit. That's not all. Dirty dishes? In the stove. Dirty clothes? In the toybox. It's almost a game trying to figure out where I can stash stuff in a moment's notice.

2) I require just the right amount of half-n-half in my coffee. Too much is disguisting because it gets all cold, too little is blah. And my coffee needs to be steaming hot. Sometimes I pour my coffee from the pot into my cup and put it directly in the microwave to heat it up.

3) I never, ever, ever, ever remember people's birthdays. I hate it. It's like an illness. I always remember the next day, or a week later, or whenever. Never remember to get a card in the mail on time, never remember to call. Oh, and presents? I've been known to finally deliver them months after the fact. And then when poeple remember mine I feel really, really guilty.

4) I'm not a morning person. I function best at about 11 p.m. That's when I like to work on projects, write, whatever. Mornings are really bright and loud (perhaps directly related to the fact that I stay up way too late.)

5) My favorite place in the world is my parent's camp. There's kids running everywhere, sand on the floors, a fire in the sauna stove, and blueberry pie in the kitchen. And who could possibly need more?

6) I love duct tape and hot glue. Amazing products. Yes, my sisters taught me well.

So. Now I have to tag six people to blog about six things people may not know about you. (Sorry if you've already been tagged somewhere else.) I'm going to tag: Karen, Megan, Tina, Heidi, Aleena, and Becky S. Have fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quiet morning

Quiet, rare, morning over here today. Because I have massages to do this morning, I woke up with an alarm instead of with Hannah. And now I'm all ready to go and the only one up with me is Lydia. I really should do this more often. Mornings are such a peaceful time- if done properly. (i.e. Getting up before the kids- not getting dragged out of bed by them saying, "MOM! It's morning time! Wake up, Mo-om!")

I'm feeling content this morning. Every year it seems I get so caught up in searching for the right presents for people that Christmas sneaks right up one me and I feel as though I've hardly enjoyed the season for what it really should be. Typically, I get stressed with all the things to be done- and even more stressed that I'm letting presents stress me out. It's a bad, bad cycle. I'm learning to do things differently this year. I kept the shopping minimal this year- and did some online- and what a difference it makes. (Duh.)

My one trip to the stores had me running for cover. I was pushing my cart slowly down the aisle in one over-crowded store the day after Thanksgiving when I noticed a woman up ahead talking to friends. Her back was to me so I was watching her cautiously in case she should decide to step backwards. Of course, right as I was directly behind her she did just that and stepped backwards- right into the front of my cart. Naturally, I appologized. Yet, she turned around and gave me an awful glare as if I had been tearing down the asile like a mad-woman with my only goal to run her down. Later, standing in line, some guys behind me had decided they were somehow elite and able to skip to the front of the line. No one said anything to them and they thought they were pretty smart. People like that scare me more than anything: so focused on being first, getting the best.

This year- I'm enjoying December. Enjoying keeping old traditions and starting new ones. Appreciating how blessed we are. It's much better this way. I hope you too are staying calm (and sane) and remembering the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Have a wondeful Tuesday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tinsel & Coat Hangers

At last, Christmas break has arrived. And I- amazingly- survived the semester. Up until this point, school has honestly not been too bad. In fact it has often been a welcome break. However, sometimes- every once and awhile- I would find I was holding my breath. Letting the little things build up, turning the little things into big things. So, by the end of this semester I realized how in need of a break I really am. Five weeks off. The longest break I've had since starting school last year. I think maybe I'll practice learning to breathe again.

I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. There' so much to be done... yet... I'm anticipating it- not stressing about it like I have some years. (I'm really putting an effort into this relaxing thing.) I'm making some presents this year- and all I'll say is- it's so much fun! No, really. It's amazing what one can do with the odd shaped junk-piles in one's cluttered craft room. Hah. Now you're picturing me holding up a wire coat hanger, 1/2 a ball of tangled yarn, and a strand of gold tinsel straight out of 1979 going, "Yes!! I know what I can do with this!" Hey. You never know.

So. Monday tomorrow. For the first time in awhile I will be looking forward to my Monday. I think I'll just jump right into my homeade Christmas concoctions. Goal for tomorrow? Wrap said tinsel around said coat hangers. I think I've got a pretty good start on this. It's gonna be swell.