Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringin' it in...with hope

I'm amazed at the amount of hope I have for this coming year. I've never been big on New Year's celebrations or resolutions. Really, it's just another day to me. But something, something, is different about today. And tomorrow. And the next year. I can't put my finger on it, but I'm filled with so much hope about what this next year will bring that it almosts brings me to tears. I'm so hopeful that I can't even think about the past year, whatever disappointments I had or goals I didn't meet. I don't want to think about them. They don't matter now. I honestly feel like I have this fresh, clean new slate waiting for me when I wake up tomorrow morning. And I hope that when I read this post at this point next year that I'll be able to look back and think, "Wow, I really felt it coming".

Among the obvious things (being a better wife, mom, homemaker, etc) I have ideas in my head of how I want to live this next year that are too personal for me to post here. And I'm not even sure I could put it all here if I wanted to. I'm not sure I could make my "goals" coherent. But they're there. And this year, at this point in my life, I'm more than ready to make things happen.

*As I finished that last paragraph, Sweet Hubby called to tell me that he just had a wreck. He's fine, but he hit and injured a calf and there's quite a bit of damage to his car. See this post to remember how we started 2007. And now I guess we're going to end it the same way. We'll be starting 2008 with the same burden as we started 2007. But I'm not going to let that get me down. I'm still hopeful and I'm reminded even more of how I want to make life better for myself and my wonderful children and my sweet, sweet husband who is safe and sound.

Happy New Year to you and yours. May 2008 be a year that brings us all countless blessings. God bless you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

From our home to yours....

I want to use this, my 200th post, to wish all of my readers (all 3 of you) a very merry Christmas. I pray Christmas finds you warm, fulfilled, and surrounded by those you love and who love you. I hope your Christmas brings you love, laughter and memories. And most of all, I wish you a lifetime, not just a day, of peace and joy.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just a little perspective

It's been over a week since I've blogged. How can that be? So much has been happening and life's been so busy. I have so many blog topics running rampant in my head, I don't know if I'll ever be able to put it all here.

The main thing that's been going on this last week has been family related. Sweet Hubby's 80 year old grandmother had been very sick. He went to be with her earlier this week. She passed away Thursday morning with most of her family by her side. From what he says, it was truly an amazing experience to be with her in that time. Just a few hours before she passed away, she started saying things like, "Do you hear the bells?" and commenting about the color of the clouds and about the people that were "there" waiting for her and cheering her on. It really helped put this season into perspective....while most people were out stressing about gifts or travel or food, Sweet Hubby and I were able to celebrate a woman who led a good and long life. We've been able to really celebrate Christmas, knowing what we have to look forward to, thanks to that Baby in the hay. I'm not exactly sure what I believe about the afterlife, but it's a glorious thought to think about his grandmother meeting her Creator and Savior. I had a terrible time actually being sad about it all. I had a hard time not smiling because I was so happy for her (which made me feel a bit like a freak, but that's a whole 'nother blog post).

On to other matters not nearly as deep or spiritual....I have to say I'm a little bitter. And I KNOW that's not how I should be feeling. And maybe I shouldn't even be blogging this because I'm not sure who all reads this, but here goes....I made the gifts for Sweet Hubby's side of the family Christmas (not the same side who just lost their mother/grandmother). I put my heart and soul (not to mention time and effort) in to their gifts. They thanked me for them, and maybe I'm not being fair because they don't know how much I poured myself in to their gifts, but they didn't seem very excited or that they liked their gifts very much. Perhaps that's just the way they are, and I don't know what I expected their reactions to be, but it seems they could have acted like they cared a little more. I was really excited about their gifts, I wish they were, too. Now I'm wondering if I could have done something else that they would have liked better.....

And now I'm tired and off to bed. Christmas Eve will be a busy day for us, although Sweet Hubby will have to work most of it. I may never get used to him working so much over the holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm tired, I'm bored and I 've got kinks in my leg!

*Updated at the bottom of this post*

(Ten totally useless points to whoever can name which classic story that title line is from....)

(something about that first sentence just sounds completely grammatically incorrect...but it stays)

I feel like a whine. And I will take one because it's my blog and I can whine if I want to.

Okay, so I'm not really bored and there aren't kinks in my leg, yet, but when I read that story to the kids, I say that line in a really whiny little voice that seemed to fit my mood for the last few days.

I love Christmas time and I've actually really been enjoying it with the kids, but I've just been so tired and cranky lately. I know what my problem is. I've been busy trying to get Christmas stuff done so my house is a mess, we haven't done school in two weeks (I think we needed a little break) and I feel completely unproductive because I spend most of my day putting out fires (aka: referee-ing fights, cleaning up spilled milk, changing the channel, plugging in a movie, getting snacks, putting shoes on tiny people so they can play outside....the list goes on). If I feel like things are piling up on me, I shut down, stare at the mess and whine about it.

I'm working on apron for a Christmas gift. And I'm mad at it. I've had to take the thing apart and redo it three times already. And now I've got the whole thing assembled minus the pockets (and, oh, if I can get the pockets on right it will just be so stinkin' cute that it's a good thing the fabric's not my style because I might keep it and have to go buy a gift for the person I'm making it for) and I'm wondering how in the world I'm going to get the pockets on. You see, I had to gather the apron at the waistband (that was my first time gathering in a sewing project, I've tried to avoid it) and now I don't know how to get the apron part flat enough to get the pockets on. And if I did get it flat enough, I don't know how they would look once I got them on. And this is a dilemma for which I need my entire brain and with kids fighting, asking me questions or trying to pants me by using my jammie pants to stand up, I just can't put my whole brain in to it. I tried last night, but the apron and I had been with each other all day long and we were starting to give each other dirty looks so it was time that we spent some time apart. But if I can get it done to my liking, I'm just going to be so excited.

Which brings me to my next point. I love sewing. I don't think I knew how much I loved to sew until I pulled out my machine and fabric a couple weeks ago when I started thinking about making some Christmas gifts. I haven't sewed since Marc-Adam was born. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day/money in the budget for me to be able to do it as often as I like. I'm hoping I can whip up a few things to sell so that I can go buy more fabric and patterns and that maybe, maybe, I can start selling stuff I make so that I can keep doing it.

And for my next whine, I'd like to present my children. Whom I love dearly. But I want to hide from them. If I hear "Yeah, but...." one more time as response to something I've told them, they might be wanting to hide from me. I know that there's a possibility that our parenting might have gotten us to this point, but I've never let their arguing get them what they want. And ever since this backtalk/"Yeah but"/arguing phase began a few weeks ago, I've made darn sure that they don't get anywhere with it. I don't know what else to do....but the whining and arguing must stop before I collapse into a little heap on the floor. And surrender.

Lately, no matter how much sleep I get, I feel this uncontrollable urge to lay down and take a nap about 3:30. And yesterday, I sat on the couch to watch the Grinch with the kids, and fell asleep sitting up. When I woke up, Marc-Adam was in a completely different room from when I fell asleep and neither of the kids were sitting next to me like they were when I was awake. Zachary came running up to me saying, "YOU'RE AWAKE!!" I missed most of the Grinch!! Which means I had to have been asleep for about 20 minutes! While I was supposed to be taking care of my children!!

And then yesterday evening, we were driving to meet my in-laws, and Stephen wanted to take a little detour to look at this one house with a bunch of lights. I know I didn't fall asleep because, oh my word, how scary is that, and obviously we were safe, but I zoned out or something because all of the sudden I came back to earth and realized and I had no idea where we were. Thankfully, it's a small town, so I was able to drive a little further toward something familiar, but not after zoning out a couple more times and taking turns I didn't intend to take. It was so weird and scary.

But I have a great weekend to look forward to. I'm leaving for a few days to stay with my folks because I've got rehearals tonight and tomorrow night and the concert on Friday night for our church's Christmas musical-thingy. Even though it's only 25 minutes away, my parents live much closer to our church than we do and we don't want to have to spend that much gas making that trip 4 times in 5 days so we're spending a long weekend with them (which is really my cover for not wanting to look at or deal with my messy house for a few days). So I have the concert Friday night in which I'm singing a duet of "In the Bleak Midwinter". I love that song and it should be pretty. But, last I heard, the guy I'm supposed to be singing it with had a bad upper respiratory our plans might change a bit. Stephen's also singing with the children's choir in that concert and he's just so cute standing up there with all the other kids. I can't wait to see how he does at the actual concert. We will definitely have the camera going just in case he does something to win us $10,000. Saturday, my mom and I are taking a girls' day and going to finish up the rest of our Christmas shopping. We haven't done that in what seems like forever, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Monday, I think I might join in on BooMama's tour of homes. I was going to post pictures of our Christmas stuff just for fun earlier this week, until I saw what she was doing with the tour of homes. So I think I'll do that instead of doing it all on my own.

So there's lots to look forward to. Let's hope it can jolt me out of my doldrums.

Love all around.

*Update: I had to start fresh with the apron. I think I worked on it too long yesterday, because when I started working on it this morning, I realized I had done most of it all wrong. It was partly my fault and partly because the pattern instructions were so wacky (it's a new pattern I've never used before). I'm able to keep the pockets I had before--as far as I know those are right--but everything else needs to be re-done. And since I had to take the other pieces apart so much yesterday, I figure I'm better off just starting fresh with new pieces. I'll post a pic when it's done.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

And God bless his sweet little heart.

This evening, the kids and I were saying our prayers before bed. When it was my turn, I said something about 'Thank you for Pastor Bill and all our Sunday School teachers. And be with the people who don't have homes or families this season....."

After all the prayers were said and we said our final amen, Stephen looked up at me with his big dark eyes and said very sadly and quietly, "Mommy? Pastor Bill doesn't have a home?"

I think he would have seriously asked Pastor Bill to come live with us.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Christmas Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper and a bow(if it's being shipped, no bow)....unless I have a gift that just can't be wrapped.

2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial...I'd love to do real, but it's just easier to have a fake one.

3. When do you put up the tree? Generally the weekend after Thanksgiving....but with Sweet Hubby's new job, that was out of the question, so this year we did it the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually between Dec. 26 and Dec. 31. I can't stand to look at it after Christmas, so I take it down as soon as I get a chance.

5. Do you like eggnog? I don't know....

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Um....I can recall a few....but I don't know which would be my favorite.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. A cheapy $10 one from Wally World...It's an all one piece kind of thing where the pieces are glued down to the bottom. But Joseph came loose a couple years ago and Mary came loose this year, so they travel now. I'm surprised something hasn't gotten broken yet....but my feelings won't be hurt if it does.

8. Hardest person to buy for? father-in-law? I usually can find something for everyone.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Sweet Hubby. He has an ongoing wish list all year round!

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? I can't think of anything really bad...

11. Mail or email Christmas card? Sadly, neither. I always have good intentions to send out a card, but for some reason, it never happens.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Oh, there are just too many. A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, the original Miracle on 34th Street....the list goes on and on.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving.

14. Have you ever recycled/re gifted a Christmas present? I don't think so....

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My grandma's fiesta crescents, pecan pie, homemade cookies.

16. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night, and in a very close second, O Come Emmanuel

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel, I guess. On Christmas Day we go to my grandma's house, but she only lives an hour away.

18. Can you name Santa's reindeer? Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy.....oh, wait....

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One Christmas eve and all the rest on Christmas morning.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of year? White Elephant Christmas exchanges.

21. Best thing about Christmas? Christmas Eve. Drinking hot chocolate, eating warm from the oven cookies, reading the Nativity Story from the bible and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas with the kids.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rambling all the way to nowhere....

I know. That title's been used by other people. But there's just no other title that would fit as well as that one.

There must be something I'm missing about crock pots. People sing their praises and talk about how wonderful they are and how easy they are and all kinds of inspiring talk to make me pull mine out a couple times a year. But in all honesty, I don't like crock pots....and while pulling mine out yesterday, I realized that for some strange reason I have 3. Three crock pots. I have no idea how that happened and cannot think of even one situation that I might need even 2 crock pots.

And the recipes...they all taste the same to me. The chicken, the beef, the vegetables...all the same. And I don't really like it. We walked in the house yesterday evening after the crock pot had been working on dinner most of the afternoon, and the kids immediately scrunched up their noses and asked what the smell was. I hated to tell them it was dinner. Thankfully they had already been filled up full of Cocoa Pebbles at my parents house, so they weren't terribly interested in white chili. Actually, it was one of the better recipes I've ever used. But it doesn't matter how good the recipe is, the crock pot is also a pain in the neck to clean which takes away any "Oh, it's so easy" feelings from me.

On to other news, we ordered some stockings the day after Thanksgiving. I've been wanting to buy them for years, but this was the first year that we actually had the money in the budget to do it. While we were ordering, we explained that Marc-Adam's name was spelled M-A-R-C "HYPHEN" A-D-A-M. When we got the stocking, it was Marc'adam. Apostrophe. So we called back and to tell them it was wrong and to see what they would do about it. The lady said, "Well, ma'am, this is hyphen." No. It's an apostrophe. As in "can't" and "it's" and "Alli's". She said, "OH, you're right! I'm looking right at it! It's been years since I've heard someone use the word 'hyphen'". Wha....? Whatever. Can we have a new one? So, they're sending us a corrected one free of charge. Which is why, among other reasons, we love JCPenney's.

One more thing in this post o' random....I know some people think it's entirely too early, and some people are already sick and tired of hearing about it, but I want to encourage you to start looking into a presidential candidate you can get behind. I'd love to tell you to get behind the guy (and yes, it's a guy) I'm behind, but I won't. Yet. I just want to encourage you to at least start listening and researching. It's more important than ever to know what these people are saying, doing and planning. And even though it's a little less than a year away, please plan on voting. I'm afraid that the votes will be too close for people to have the luxury to say that their one vote won't matter.

And now I'm off the soapbox....but as November '08 draws nearer, I'll be talking more about this.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Plan, it has backfired

Earlier today, Stephen overheard me joking with my mom about something being "made in China". At dinner, he reminded me that not every toy was made in China (even thought that's not really what I had been discussing with my mom), and I told him that most toys were and I could prove it. We just so happened to have a Veggie Tales pirate ship on our table during dinner (yes, we have interesting centerpieces), so I turned it over and showed him where it said "Made in China". He paused for a second, in deep thought, and said, "Ohhhh, that's right. Santa died and now the people in China have to make our toys."

Oh dear.