Monday, November 28, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love this season of the year! 

This pictures is when Chad was just 2 years old.  He saw what Santa had brought him and he just froze there. 

I always have.  I love the feeling that accompanies it.  I love the focus on doing for others.  I love the decorations.  I love the holiday movies.  I love the family gatherings and the traditional food.  I love the gleam in the children's eyes.  I love the smell of holiday goodies and the memories of creating those goodies with my mom as a kid.  I love all of it.  But there is one thing about this time of year that I don't love, and no matter how hard I try to avoid it, it always seems to come around.  It's the fact that this time of year is so dang BUSY!  I already feel it (as is evidenced by the fact that I haven't posted in nearly two weeks).  Each year, I commit to simplify, to rid our lives of the unnecessary extras and only focus on what I want our season to "feel" like.  But somehow, between work, home, school, and family parties, work parties, school parties, church parties, shopping, Christmas cards, neighbor gifts, decorating, wrapping and more wrapping (and the list goes on and on and on), those quiet evenings at home to soak in the season seem far and few between.  My shopping is done.  Sure, I have those few extras that will creep up.  And I have a few projects I am making still to finish.  Maybe it is the pressure on us as moms to pretty much plan, prepare and carry out the entire Christmas "experience" that makes this season so crazy.  It could be the fact that "regular" life continues to go on, not just stop because it is Christmas.  That's what I want life to do.  Stop.  Just for a little while.  Or at least slow down so we can enjoy this "most wonderful time of the year."  But is doesn't and it won't.  So what do we do?  What do you do?  I have learned to say 'no' for one.  To some things at least.  I can't do it all, and I do try to do the shopping throughout the year.  And yes, I am one of those nuts who goes out on Black Friday at midnight and then again at 4 or 5 am.  (But hey, you already know how I feel about my budget, and those deals really help me to stick to it.)  I guess that the rest of the 'enjoying' must come from our attitude.  We have to 'decide' to smile and enjoy life no matter what is going on around us.  Besides, being frustrated and upset because things aren't working like we'd like only makes matters worse.  So here's to enjoying this season.  Busyness and all.  And doing it with a smile.  Welcome to the holidays! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

School Pictures

Okay, so not real school pictures.  I can't bring myself to pay $30 for a whole bunch of wallets.  All I want is one 5x7!  Besides, they are not all that great anyway.  Last year, we had family pictures done and had a few individuals taken at the same time.  They were way cuter too!  But before school on picture day this year, I hung a piece of fabric I had on hand and had each of the boys sit on a bucket and I snapped a few shots.  Nothing great, but not much worse than the ones they take at the school either.  And, I can print a 5x7 for just 50 cents. (I probably won't.  I like my professional picts. so much better.  But I could if I wanted.) 
This expression is so Chad!  I hope you like the syrup on his shirt too. 

Even Greyson had to get in there.  And he was by far the easiest to take.  Fall 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Perfect Life!

A friend and I went to lunch the other day.  Nothing fancy, just mostly so the kids could play and we could talk.  The thing is, when two young mothers of young kids get together, it is really easy to talk about the "hard stuff."  And we did.  I think anyone who has ever been there knows how exhausting and totally time consuming little kids can be.  We talked about the never ending messes, the seemingly unappreciated meals, the near impossibility of leaving the house to run an errand alone!  We talked about husbands who work so hard and seem to never be around, and the constant worry about money.  There are times when it seems like these days will never end (and there are times that I never want them to).  As I think about adding more children to our family, I can't help but feel overwhelmed at the thought of how to balance it all. 

But then  my friend said something profound (at least I thought it was).  She said that even through it all, she thought her life is perfect and she wouldn't want it any other way.   I had to consider that for a minute, but then I came to the same conclusion.  My life really is perfect.  Really.  I mean, no one has a problem free life, and we all have worries and headaches. But stop and think about it . . .

Pretty perfect huh!?! 
 I think it will always be hard.  There will probably always be things I can stress and worry about.  Every stage of motherhood will have new challenges to offer.  When my hubby is around more and money is no longer a worry, I will have teenagers who are never around and I'll worry about their driving.  There's always something, right? 
So I guess the moral of this story is to enjoy it now.  Besides, "If life were easy, it wouldn't be hard." 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our new Favorite Activity!!

We have a new favorite activity around here.  My sister-in-law introduced it to me when we were in Boise last.  My boys LOVE it and the best part is . . . its FREE!!! 

Our new favorite activity is Lowe's Build and Grow workshops.  I know, I know.  You're probably thinking, "That's it?"  Well, yes!  That's it!  Usually twice a month, Lowe's offers a workshop where kids can go and build a pre-determined project.  We've only been twice.  Both were in October and both were something related to Halloween.  The first was a monster box, where the kids could build a monster by rotating the different blocks inside the box.  The second was a monster truck, with a working light and all.  Plus they get an apron and protective goggles (Tyler never wears his but Chad thinks they are pretty cool) and a patch each time to put onto their apron. 
Here is Chad so happily holding his two projects.  They are pretty simple and each only takes about 20 minutes.  This month, there are two, one on the 12th and another on the 19th.  The first is a Science Lab something, and the second is Santa's Sleigh. 

All you have to do is go to the store at 10 am and walk to the lumber department.  There is someone there to sign you up and give you your kit.  Be on time because when the kits are gone, they are gone.  We have registered online before but it is just as easy to do it when we get there. 

So there it is.  Our new favorite thing.  Hope it becomes one of your new favorite things.  Maybe I'll even see you there. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

What is Your Money Relationship?

I read a great article in my local newspaper several years back.  It's message was so revelant that I cut it out.  The other day, I came across it, pinned inside a notebook.  Again, I loved its message and wanted to share a few of the points.  It is written by a woman named Nancy Goodman and it's called "Changing our Relationship with Money".  Here is some of what she had to say . . .

"Depending on the day, the economy is up, it's down, it's stable, it's a house of cards.  Money is a great source of stress, but does it need to be?  I wonder what would happen if the economy just face-planted and didn't get up.  What would happen to us regular folks? 
We would suffer.  We'd lose jobs, homes, retirements.  And lots of stuff, probably.  Fancy cell phones, digital cable packages, video games, plasma TV's.  But then what?  Might we slowly find true joy and spiritual perspective again?" 

I added emphasis to the word "stuff" because that's just what it is-stuff.  When Dave and I went through our own financial "depression", we learned to live on a lot less.  We learned to look at what we were spending our money on and evaluate whether it was necessary or not.  We eliminated the wants and focused only on our needs.  It was amazing to see where our money had been going.  I really feel that our financial challenges have "schooled us intensely in financial and spiritual matters."  I will forever view and use money differently because of what we have been through. 

So back to this article..  She goes on to say:
"One problem of the human condition is that we are way too easily manipulated.  We are manipulated to spend more than we have.  We are manipulated to crave things that are bad for us.  We are manipulated to believe that our family, friends and kids will hate us if we don't have hundreds of gifts under a Christmas tree.  The government and Big Retail hope you spend every last dime you have, and hundreds or thousands of dollars you don't have, during the next several months.  Never mind your house payment, never mind the instability of your job.  You still won't see a single ad that says 'save your money this holiday season, your kids will still be socially adjusted without the newest video game console.'"

Isn't that SO good!?  There is a lot in there.  And I especially think that the reminder that Christmas does not have to be a million presents to be memorable is pertinent.  Besides, none of that stuff matters anyway. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Continued

As a kid, I always loved Halloween.  I liked dressing up.  My parents both always dressed up, and my dad was always the one to take us door to door.  I have good memories of those days.  I loved to sort my candy at the end of the night and then I'd hoard it.  I never was much of a candy eater and I nearly always had last years candy bag under my bed when the next years Halloween came around.  Now as the mom, Halloween seems to be a lot of work.  Three costumes to make, kids to dress up (like 3 and 4 times for different parties), Halloween dinner to create.  It was fun, but I'm glad to be packing up those costumes for another year. 
Tyler wanted to be a ghost just so he could make the ghost sound.  He had to get into this costume 4 times.  He was a good sport, but I know he is glad to not have to have his face painted one more time. 

My little Skeleton.  We called him Mr. Bones. He honestly wouldn't even put on any costume more involved than this, so we went for something he didn't know was a costume. 

Chad was a great pirate.  That eye patch was always falling off, but he had a lot of fun with this one. 

 I love to create a Halloween dinner.  Each year has been different, but it is fun to look forward to this before heading out into the cold for trick-or-treating.  This year, we had  . . .
 Jack-O-Lantern cheese burgers,
 Pureed worm smoothie, and blood and bones (french fries and ketchup). 
Here's the whole clan.  I'm sorry the picture is so bad, but my camera was acting up.  I just gave up after this one.  In case you can't tell, Tyler was so bored, and Greyson had had it!  Dave dressed up like a pirate with Chad.  In years past, he has not been that excited to dress up, but this year, he was a good sport about it.  I didn't do much myself, as I spent most of my effort making sure everyone else had something to wear. 
Hope your Halloween was fun! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


A friend and I decided that with the end of summer and the start of school, we needed a good reason to run these days.  It has just been so busy that my days of running have turned into days of workout videos.  So, Jenny (my friend) and I decided to put on a 5K/10K and invite others to join us.  It was a reason to get out and keep running.  And Jenny was brave enough to try the 10K.  She's a rock star!  There were 10 of us that ran and Jenny's hubby, Seth, and my hubby, Dave, were there to cheer us on. 
 This is our finish line!  (Dave, you're fired!  My eyes are closed.  Grr.)  We have already set a date for the next one (a Turkey Trot) on November 19th.  So if you live close, come out and run with us.  It's free!  And this time, I'm committed-I've got to tackle that 10K.  Thanks everyone who came out and ran. 

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