Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

It Feels Like A Monday

It has been a busy week.  And this definitely feels like a Monday. 
(Thanksgiving #1.  The adult table.)

Two Thanksgiving dinner parties hosted, a 10K race run, a migraine headache, grocery shopping done, two sick children tended to, loads of laundry laundered, a house twice cleaned top to bottom, homework projects done, and many errands run.  I'm tired. 

(The halfway point of the 10K, just happened to be right at the end of our street so Todd and the kiddos were there to cheer me on and take a few pics.)

Still, we had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend.  I actually enjoyed myself despite the craziness.  Which is good because I don't really see life getting any less crazy anytime soon. 

Last night I took Molly out for a walk around the neighborhood.  It had been a long time since I had taken a nighttime walk, years even, and boy did I miss it.  The world looks so much different at nighttime.  The woods at the end of the block is definitely much creepier at nighttime than it is during the day. But the houses in the neighborhood, they really change at night.  They come alive.  I only felt half guilty as I looked in the windows of each house.  As I walked past each house I glimpsed late dinners, and kids fighting, and tv watching, and life happening.  The very houses that seemed so quiet and still during the day are full of life and warmth at night. 

It did not go unnoticed that we are the only house in the whole neighborhood to still have our fall decorations up.  Every other house is already decorated with Christmas trees, and twinkling lights, and snowmen, and nativities.  It made me chuckle to walk back up my driveway and see our pumpkins next to our front door and our scarecrow and fall leaves decorating our porch after having walked by all the winter wonderlands.  I suppose now that Thanksgiving is officially over it might be time to take down the leaves and put up our own twinkley lights. 

I came back from that short walk feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  It cleared my head.  It brought me back to focus.  I'm thinking a nightly walk might be a grand idea.  

Monday, November 22, 2010


I have so many posts running around in my head all screaming at me, but they won't settle down and let me see them properly. 

I want to tell you how smoothly everything is going this past week even though Todd is gone.  I want to tell you how busy and crazy I've been running around from one thing to the next nonstop.  I want to tell you that it finally all caught up with me on Friday when the kids and I were at Grace's doctors appointment and I got a big, old migraine.  The boys were so fabulous and sweet that when we got home I surprised them with new camouflage jammies and freshly washed flannel snowman sheets on their beds, even though my brains were oozing out of my head. 

I really wanted to tell you about delivering the Thanksgiving food boxes to some people in need on Saturday.  It was such a wonderful experience I know it is something we will do as a family over and over again throughout the years.  The boys were so kind and sweet I was just so proud to be their mama.

Then there was The Festival of the Trees.  Grace was so excited to see all the twinkling lights and hear the Christmas music she just danced up and down the rows of Christmas trees laughing and clapping.  Her brothers were so thrilled with her excitement that they didn't know whether to watch her or the festivities.

It seems Christmas decorations are going up all around the neighborhood.  Down the street there are twinkling white lights and wreaths decorating the houses.  The neighbors behind us are putting up their Christmas tree today.  As I let the dog out I watched the lights being carefully strung on, row by row.  The air is taking on a feeling of Christmas.  And yet just this morning I rushed out to buy all my goodies for our Thanksgiving feasts.  My head is dancing with turkey timers and special cranberry sauces to be made and mom's stuffing to master.  Everyone else seems to be on fast forward to Christmas and here I am desperately trying to slow the swift current of time. 

My mom is going to be needing heart surgery to replace a valve that has been damaged by her cancer.  It is the same valve replacement surgery that my 9 year old sister died from 40 years ago.  And though I know medicine has changed dramatically in 40 years, I am still very nervous.  It is heart surgery, after all. 

Five years ago when my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and given a few months to live I begged God for just another 5 years.  Five.  A good five years and I would be grateful, I said.  GAH!  Why hadn't I asked for more?  Now here I am crawling back to God on my hands and knees asking him for another 5 (or 15) years.  Please God, don't let this be her last Thanksgiving. 

My mind is filled with things I want to tell you about my mom, why she is so wonderful, but I just can't get them out.  All I keep thinking is, she's my best friend.  I'm not ready. 

Yes, there are so many different things I could write about.  Tell you about.  But my mind only keeps wandering back to the one that truly matters.  If you have a moment sometime in your busy day could you please spare a whisper of prayer for my mom? Thanks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Tired Just Thinking About It

This week is a busy one.  And next week doesn't look that much better.

I can already check yesterday's activities off my list as done.  Vet appointment.  Check.  Cleaning.  Check.  Pick kids up at school at 11 and 11:45.  Check.  Make lunch.  Check.  Go for a run.  Check.  Homework with Joey. Check.  Parent/Teacher Conferences at school.  Check.  Dinner.  Check.  Showers. Check.  Bedtime.  CHECK.   Whew! 

Now I just have to deal with the rest of this week. 

It is that time of year again and Todd will soon be headed up north for a week to go deer hunting.  Because his dad will not be going this year the responsibility of feeding the whole camp goes to me. So, I have to prepare meals and deserts and such for the camp to eat.  That alone makes me busy.  Today I am making a massive batch of applesauce, a few dozen cookies of different varieties, and a very hardy soup.  I also have three loads of laundry to do so somewhere in there.  Oh.  And I have to remember to feed the kids. 

On Friday Grace has a doctor's appointment that I have to drag all the boys along to because they are getting their flu shots.  And I have to pick up and distribute one of the fundraisers from school. 

On Saturday I signed the kids and I up to deliver Thanksgiving food boxes to families in need.  I thought it would be a great experience for all of us and I've always wanted to do it.  However, I am starting to worry a bit about the logistics of it all.  You know, carrying heavy box up to a house while also trying to get all the kids out of their carseats and carrying Grace too.  Hmm.  We'll see how it goes. 

Sunday is church.  Church with four kids by myself.  That should be interesting. 

Getting the kids to school on time should be interesting as well seeing how Grace likes to sleep until 9:30 or 10 in the morning.  I'll have to wake her up at 7 in order to get everyone out the door on time.  That should be fun. 

Todd should be home on Wednesday.  He'd better be because we are going to have to book it to the grocery store to get everything we need to host Thanksgiving at our house on Thursday.  And then again on Saturday.  Yipes. 

I hope I can get at least one or two runs in there somewhere too because on Thanksgiving morning I am supposed to run a 10K race.  That is not a joke.  I am running a 10K race and then hosting Thanksgiving.  HA!  Just writing that down makes me sound a little crazy.  Ah well.

So.  Yeah.  Busy week.  What was that I was saying about Thanksgiving being a nice, calm, peaceful holiday?  ;)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Comes First!

And so it begins.  Earlier this year than I can remember any other year.  But that is how it goes.  It gets earlier and earlier every year.  My mailbox is already transitioning from being jammed with political flyers to Christmas advertisements. 

Even my kids notice the difference.  "Why do they have Christmas trees up already mom?  Isn't that crazy? It's not even Halloween yet!" my boys said to me as we walked through Menards.  Even my young children know the order of things.  First Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and THEN Christmas.  That's the order.

A few days before Halloween I walked into Target (although it could have been any store) to get face paint for my kiddos and found the Halloween items being put on clearance to make room for all the Christmas items.  Christmas trees were already up.  Lawn ornaments with penguins holding presents, Santas popping out of chimneys, and candy canes that lit up were already on display.  It wasn't even Halloween.  Never mind the fact that we were still almost a month away from Thanksgiving.

And here is the thing, I love Thanksgiving.  It is one of my most favorite holidays.  It is the one holiday when family comes from miles around to be together with the sole purpose of enjoying each others company and giving thanks for the many blessings we have.  It is a peaceful holiday.  A warm, cozy holiday unencumbered by the piles of presents one is expected to receive and give.  There is no worry about someone unexpectedly giving you a gift that you do not have a gift for. No worry of giving a gift to someone that doesn't have one for you, therefore making that person feel badly.  No wondering if you spent enough or too much on the gifts.  No pressure to find the perfect gift that they will love.  The children are not constantly asking "Can we open gifts now?" throughout dinner.  Massive piles of multicolored paper will not be plugging up every surface of the house.  Thanksgiving is a reflective time to give thanks for all that we have before the season of "gimme, gimme, gimme" starts in. 

Except now it seems society just skips right over being thankful.  It is all about what you don't have and what you "must" have.  Not about what you do have.  And that makes me sad.  What happened to being thankful?

But being thankful doesn't make money.  And it is all about the almighty dollar these days. Christmas has turned into a business.  The money business.  It has been commercialized and stripped of what it is really about.  And with that is has gobbled up one of the purest of holidays. 

Well, not on my watch.  And not on Suldog's watch either.  Suldog is calling us to action.  If you would like to help stop the cheapening of the holidays stop at Suldog's and read his post.  Write a post of your own!  Let's take back Christmas as the holy day that it is and not the two month long circus it is made out to be.  Let everyone know that Thanksgiving comes first.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Adding One More

I always knew there was someone missing in our family. 

We weren't planning on this.  The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed, more poop to clean up, and another one to scold.  But I just couldn't help myself.

We were planning on looking at getting a dog in spring or summer.  I looked into breeds.  I wanted a dog that was good with kids.  A laid back dog that was still very playful.  I wanted a big dog that would keep me company and watch over the house when Todd was on a hunting trip.  If possible I wanted a dog that wouldn't shed much.  I wanted a dog that was easy to train.  Perhaps one that didn't bark all day long.  I had a long list of wants.  I found all of those things in the Gooldendoodle breed and I also found a breeder that was perfect.  Her dogs were treated like family and were not kept in kennels just used for breeding.  They had the run of her five acre home.  They had ponds to swim in.  And WOW where they well behaved.  I knew I would be getting our dog from her eventually. 

The boys bugged me constantly about getting a dog and would make me pull up the breeder's website often just to look at the pictures of the beautiful dogs that we would eventually be getting.  When I went to the website this past week I saw that a 3 month old puppy had become available.  This puppy was sold a month ago but returned to the breeder when the owner decided she could not keep up with a puppy and her two young children.  The puppy was already potty trained, would sit and lie down on command, and was a very smart girl.  I just couldn't believe my good fortune.  When I told Todd about the dog he told me I should contact the breeder and find out more about her.  The breeder told me that there was already a long list of people interested in her.  I told her to add us to the list. 

Todd and I mulled it over for a long time.  Were we ready for a puppy?  Was Grace old enough to defend herself from a puppy?  Was this dog as great as she sounded?  Could we afford a puppy right now (this dog was not cheap)? 

The breeder told us that she had picked us out of the list of people and that if we wanted her we could have her.  We decided to take the leap and went to pick up our new puppy on Friday. 

This is Molly:

She is the best puppy I have ever met in my entire life.  We have hit the jackpot, ladies and gentleman.
She was an absolute angel for the hour and a half long car ride back to our house.  When we got home she and the boys tired themselves out in the backyard for a couple of hours until it got dark.
She is full of energy and life, and yet is able to calm down when playtime is over.
It was hard to get everyone to settle down for a picture.  The kids were SO THRILLED with their new puppy and Molly just wanted to run and run.  Joey held on to Grace and I tried to keep Molly by me for a quick pic.
After all that playing Molly was worn out.  When the boys went to bed Molly curled up on the floor and took a nap.  When it was time for bed we put Molly in her crate next to our bed and she slept right through the night.  She didn't whine or cry.  I was a little worried how she would adjust to our house as she had been juggled from place to place a bit, but she adjusted perfectly.

She even went trick or treating with us and waited patiently as the boys went up to the doors for their candy.
We had a huge group of kids trick or treating with us this year and she was so well behaved with all of them.  There was no jumping on them or chasing them.  She just walked along nicely and enjoyed herself.
Molly doesn't even seem like a puppy.  She has not had one accident in our house.  She goes to the patio doors and lets out a quiet little whine when she has to go potty.  She knows not to play bite when she is playing with the boys and she is extra gentle with Grace.  We have yet to really hear her bark.  The boys love being greeted by Molly when they come downstairs in the morning.  It just brightens their whole day.  She is a little doll.  Our whole family is in love. 
Welcome to the family, Molly!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson