Thursday, November 29, 2012

Feeling Merry

This isn't normally like me.  I'm feeling out of sorts.  Strangely peaceful, happy, excited, and giddy.  Some might even call me jolly.

My family is all too well aware that I refuse to put up any Christmas decorations until December has officially started.  It seems that each fall I push the pause button and refuse to move on too quickly after Thanksgiving. You see, I love my fall decorations, I love Thanksgiving, and I believe each holiday deserves its own proper celebration.  October is for Halloween. November is for Thanksgiving.  And December is for Christmas.

This year, however, I am itching to celebrate Christmas.  I want snowmen all over my house.  I want my nativity scene and angels set up outside.  I want garland to trickle down the railing on my stairwell.  I want to set up both of our Christmas trees.  I want to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies and cartoons while snuggled in close to my family.  I want to listen to classic Christmas songs while we all sit around pulling out the ornaments and decorating our trees.


Something has got a hold of me.  I am in the mood for Christmas.  I don't know if it is because I have the majority of my Christmas shopping done already, or because I have been a generally contented, happy person for the past few weeks.  Whatever it is, I'm feeling merry.

I may not decorate my house for a couple of days yet but my blog is already decked out in Christmas goodness.  I usually change my background for winter but I never change my header.  This year, however, I was just feeling it.  The pic is from last year, but I think it still works.  What do you think?

Are you with me?  Are you feeling the Christmassy love, or are you still stuck on pause?

Friday, November 23, 2012


Reading posts on Facebook and message boards it is abundantly clear that there is a large margin of people who do not enjoy spending time with their families for the holidays.  Stories are written and advice given on how to get through the holidays with your in laws, your difficult mother, and your horrid siblings.  So many people comment that they just wish they could spend the holidays alone or that they will have to drink heavily to get through this family time.  

Last night as members from both sides of the family sat down to the table to eat it hit me once again how lucky I am.  Not only do I love my family and look forward to the time I get to spend with them, but I could not have picked better in laws as well.  We prayed together, we laughed together, we shared stories, and we ate delicious food together with full grateful hearts.  Just the way Thanksgiving should be. 

(I always mean to take a picture of the table all festooned with bowls and platters of gorgeous food but every year it is such a rush setting the table and getting the kids' plates going that I never get the chance.)

I hope your Thanksgiving was peaceful and warm, and filled with family love and fun and grateful hearts.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This morning as I quietly opened the door and walked over to your bed I was struck by how much you still looked like my baby when you are sleeping.  Same serene face, beautiful lips, smooth, soft skin, and long, gorgeous eye lashes.  I stroked your hair gently and rubbed your back.

"Good morning, sweetheart." I whispered.

You stretched slowly and looked up at me with a sleepy smile sweeping across your face.  I knew how you felt waking up to your mama rubbing your back, in your nice warm bed, in your safe, cozy, still dark room.

Someday you will be the parent, waking your child, remembering how it felt to be the child.  The cycle of love and security warming you from the inside out as you stroke your child's head and breathe in their heavenly scent.  The reality of it all feeling like a dream.

Your body warm and alive.  Your face angelic.  I thanked God, for the millionth time, that I get to be your mama.  My mind took a picture of that very moment and I locked it away in my heart.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just In Time

It's funny that Todd travels three hours away to sit in a tree in the cold woods every day, from sun up to sun down, hoping to see a deer or two when our own neighborhood is filled with deer.  Almost every night there are half a dozen to a dozen deer eating my pumpkins right off our front porch.  There was even a 10 point buck at the end of the street yesterday, flipping Todd off, as he left for his hunting journey.  Kind of ironic.

Regardless, Todd is up north with his buddies prepping all the deer stands (or more likely playing cards, eating cookies, and drinking some Jack), gathering all the warm blaze orange clothing, and getting ready for opening day tomorrow.   And I am here at home holding down the fort, so to speak.

This past week I was really struggling with my attitude and general grumpiness so I was worried about the thought of Todd being gone.  Luckily, my attitude changed just in time. I'm actually excited for my time with the kids this week(end).

I've been running around like crazy today planning surprises for the kids and special treats and trips for this weekend.  New fuzzy, warm jammies were purchased.  Flannel sheets were put on.  Movies were rented.  Basketball game tickets were reserved for tomorrow. Cookies were made.  Favorite meals were planned.  Heck, I might even take them to the dollar store and let them have at it if they are especially well behaved.  And, we have a fun birthday party to go to, too.

AND!  I just found out that this beautiful wooded park that the kids and I go to in summer has put up winter lights all throughout the park and set it to music.   It is going to be so fun to drive through it with the kids.  They are gonna love it.

If all goes well I am going to take the kids to their favorite restaurant tonight and then afterwards I'll surprise them with a drive though the winter wonderland light show.  So good.

So, don't feel too badly for me.  While Todd is sitting 25 feet up in a tree in 30 degree weather the kids and I will be snuggly warm in our new jammies watching movies and eating popcorn and cookies.

It's gonna be a great week.

Thank heavens I was able to flip my attitude just in time.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


The temperatures have dropped 30 degrees in less than twenty four hours.  One day the kids are playing outside without jackets and the next day there is snow on the ground and winter coats, mittens, hats, and scarves are being thrown on.

Last night I lie in bed freezing for a good hour before I finally got out and grabbed a second pair of socks, a sweatshirt, and another blanket.  Even after my three layers of clothes and extra blanket were in place I was still cold most of the night.  I am chilled to the bone and have yet to warm up.

While I was frozen in my little fetus shaped ball under my piles of blankets last night I made a list of all the things I need to get done in the next week or so.  There were so many things on the list that I stayed awake for hours clogging up my brain.

Todd is prepping to for his annual hunting trip.  He will be gone for one week and will return the day before Thanksgiving.  Just in time for me to run to the store to purchase everything I need to host a Thanksgiving miracle for 20 people.  Usually I am fine with it.  It really isn't a big deal.  Normally, I am all excited planning fun surprises, treats, and day trips for the kids and I while Todd is gone. But this year, I just can't pep-talk myself into it.

Perhaps it is because I have been feeling so foul lately.  My mood has dropped just like the temperatures.  The kids are driving me nuts.  Even more than that, I am driving me nuts.  I have been nit picking, nagging, yelling.  Downright nasty, to be honest.  I just don't know how to snap out of it.

I'm just no good.  I feel like I should come with a warning sign attached to me.  "Beware of Danger!"  "Stay away!"  "Highly volatile!"


The sun is shining.  So, that's a good sign anyway.  After two weeks of cloudy, rainy days the sun has finally appeared.  And a warm up is on the way.  Maybe even into the 50's again.  There is hope.  Maybe as the temperatures rise so will my mood.  Maybe I'll even be able to make this an okay good weekend for the kids and I.

For now I'm gonna heat up a bowl of soup, put on my slippers (and another pair of socks), wrap up in a blanket, and hope my warm up comes quickly.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today is the big day.  

I think it is saying something that the majority of us are most excited just to have it over and done with.  That is sad.  Unfortunately, between the deceitful commercials, the crazy political rants on Facebook, the nonstop political phone calls, and the hate-filled judgement from folks with opposing views, I am good and done.  Done with a capital D.

I am disillusioned.  I don't think either of these two men have a great chance to fix what is wrong with America right now.  And it is not necessarily their fault.  It is our fault.  You can see it everywhere you look.  Hatred is being spread from both sides.  No one wants to hear any opposing viewpoints or opinions.  Everyone is just concerned about being heard and making sure "the other side" is demonized.  With a country full of angry, disrespectful people how do we expect our leaders to behave any differently?

And our children see it.  Every day my boys come home and tell me of another politician they "don't like".  I immediately correct them and tell them that just because we don't agree with someone it is no reason not to like them.  And for Pete's sake, don't believe what you see on television.  I remind them that these men and women are trying their best to better our country, and we don't have to agree with their ideas, but we have to respect them.  I wish everyone would remind their children of that (and maybe themselves too) so this dissent would lessen with generations.

Still, I have hope.  There is always hope.  

So I go to the polls and stand in line to vote for someone who I HOPE is right for our country.  

We must not let ourselves be disillusioned.  We must not be apathetic.  We must have hope.

I hope you have researched the candidates and the issues.  I hope you are well informed.  I hope you vote because you have hope.  

And no matter whom you are voting for I hope you are able to stand behind whomever will be president and give the proper respect the position deserves.

It is a gift.  A gift that was won for us with the blood of our forefathers and is still defended today by our military heros.

We are free.  We have power.  We have a voice.  We have a choice.

This is our country.


Monday, November 5, 2012

You Capture- Favorites

This week for You Capture we are to post our favorite pics of the week.  I think I already posted many of them on my Halloween posts here and here, but I did find a few more favorites I had left out.

A shot of Joey's favorite bird, the Cedar Waxwing.  Love the little red dot on his wing and the yellow tips of his tale. I had to add this pic to my For The Birds post since it is such a nice close up. 
 Another shot of a wild Lake Michigan.
 Grace all snuggled up in daddy's sweatshirt early one morning.
 Our front yard all prepped for trick or treaters.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving Comes First

Each year I join in because it is something that really gets under my skin.  I think I am passing my irritation on to my children because they were the first to notice the offense this year.  As we excitedly began cruising the stores for Halloween costumes on OCTOBER 5th my boys protested and complained that Target (and Walmart too) was setting up their Christmas decorations.  Almost an entire month before Halloween the Christmas decorations were already being displayed.  Even KIDS (who live for Christmas) were irked by the ridiculousness of it all.  So, my kids all join me on this post, and if you do too please write your own post and link up with Suldog.

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?

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 it has gobbled up one of the purest of holidays.

Christmas is being so commercialized that the basis of the entire beautiful holiday is being forgotten.  Jesus, our KING, was born in a lowly manger.  He came from the meekest beginnings.  The holiest of holy had nothing.  And he came to save us.  How has buy, buy, buy become a three month long focus of this precious holy day?

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.  Support businesses, like Nordstrom's, that refuses to commercialize Christmas for the almighty dollar. Write a post of your own! Let's take back Christmas as the holy day that it is and not the three month long circus it is made out to be. Let everyone know that Thanksgiving comes first.

(On a very small side note: this is my 700th post.  Holy crow!)

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