Thursday, December 31, 2009

Countdown to Midnight...

Or 8:00, Eastern Standard Time. Whichever...


(Cake plate! Eeek!)

(sigh. I think she's so beautiful.)

From our family to yours, Happy New Year.

(Don't we look circa 1909 or something? Cracks me up...)

New Year's Eve 2009...

Or is it 2010? I never know if it's the year you're leaving or the year you're entering...

Anyway.

One of my goals for this year is to save money. Which means I've chosen 3 holidays (4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) that I can go crazy on, and the rest? They are going to require great creativity, not to mention restraint.

Have you noticed that I'm big on holidays?

This is going to be a challenge.

New Years Eve is my first test. No trips to to the store allowed.

I found some posterboard behind the fridge and decided to make it into a table runner. I cut it in half, then let my kids march all over it with paint on their feet. It was a hit. The feet go with our theme for the evening and year. My chosen theme for the year is "Good, Better, Best" and the theme for our New Years is "Best Foot Forward!"

So far, so good...

Now. What is already in our pantry that I can make a celebration out of??

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Realistically Speaking...

I love New Year's Resolutions.

I get into the whole spirit of the thing, complete with a topic and themes and divisions.

But I'm thinking this year, the theme should be "Keeping it Real" and my resolutions would go something like this:

Spiritually:
Go to church.
Don't eat all the kid's fruit snacks, while at church.
Judge more.

Physically:
Consume your own weight in aspartame.
Be the same weight next year as you are right now.
Don't have to buy clothes in the next size up.

Mentally/Emotionally:
Read more books for avoid housework.
Find even more methods of escapism.
Avoid people.

Wife and Mother:
Make sure the TV is on by no later than 7:30 am.
Save the planet--use febreze rather than actually doing laundry.
Spend every penny of the Spouse's hard earned money.

*smug grin* I'm pretty sure I could follow through on THOSE resolutions. My. What a thrill that would be. (Ok. Fine. Real ones are in the works.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh My Stars...

I am slowly putting away Christmas.

Not in a grand sweep. But just a little at a time.

We ate the last of Grandma Johnson's scones yesterday. Last night, we played the cheap version of Jenga, "Jumbling Towers" and ate our Christmas oranges. Not to mention the Symphony bar from the Spouse's stocking.

I put away the stack of books and dvds. Some of those, I'm happy to wait a year to see again. I'm gathering the Christmas music and CDs. Those will be put away today. Except the Carpenters Christmas CD. I need that for a few more days.

And I'm carefully taking a few ornaments off the tree every day and putting them away. I have a thing for stars, and so my tree has lots of them. When I lived in Switzerland, I fell in love with their tradition of putting stars everywhere at Christmas. America has stars on the top of our trees and a few ornaments, but in Europe, I saw stars everwhere. So I brought home star shaped Christmas light covers and sparkling star ornaments. Slowly, over the years, I've added to my collection. Dear friends have added to my collection. Now, my stars get a special box--all their own.

I'm putting my stars away today. Because, once I've let go of those--the rest is easy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Thoughts that Count...

When it comes to gifts, it's the thought that counts.

And the day after Christmas--there are some thoughts that are counting a bit more than others.

Thing 2 received a "Power Wheels" 4 wheeler from Goodwill/his dad. He knew that we had it, and he knew where we were hiding it. But that didn't seem to diminish his delight when he saw it. My favorite moment for him was when he "offroaded" over the other gifts, with a determined and triumphant look on his face. Precious. Almost as precious as the Wee One riding all by herself.

The gift that seemed to mean the most to Thing 1, in all her Age 5 wonderfulness, was not the pink bike that she had asked Santa for, and was happy to receive. Nope. The thing that I've seen her enjoy the most was the random little "Ice Cream Scoop" game that I got, for super cheap, as an after thought. Thank heavens for after thoughts.

The Wee One liked her gifts. But not nearly as much as she likes the 4 Wheeler. Good thing she has a brother that shares. Unless he doesn't feel like it. In which case, he tries to run her over with it. We're working on that. He's usually pretty repentant, which means she gets a turn. I wonder if throwing herself in front of it is her tactic to get a ride, actually.

And the thoughts that counted the most, for me? Well, I have a wall vinyl that says "Come What May and Love It" in my living room now, where there wasn't one last week. It was one of those gifts that I hadn't asked for, but really have been wanting, and a dear friend just... noticed. That means the world to me. I can't see it without smiling. And from my own sweetheart? Well--he gave me several really great gifts, but two were my favorite. The first was a framed picture of the mountain I grew up looking at, most of my life. It's called Mount Timpanogos and it towers over Utah Valley. I have climbed all it's 12,000 feet. Twice. I have signed my name in the book at the top, and dangled my feet over the razor sharp edge, looking down at the mountain goats below. Then I slid down a glacier. I love this mountain. So I began, quite awhile ago, looking for a print, but found that most photographers favor the East Face over the West Face. While the East Face is pretty, it is not the one that is most familiar to me. So my husband sought out pictures taken by amateurs, rather than professionals, and found one in public domain that he printed off and put in a frame for me. It is truly beautiful.

The other one? A class in beekeeping this winter. My Mom asked me "Why?!" and I told her: It's because it's one of my 100 goals, to gather honey. In 2010, I'll be checking that goal off my list. I love it, and the thought behind it, because my goals are important to me. And I can't do them without him. (Especially the "Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro" one. Maybe next year???)

He also gave me (and himself) tickets to Wicked next spring for our anniversary. And that is great... but those didn't hit me as much as the other two did. Even though they cost the most. Isn't life funny that way?

I'm wondering what each of you were given, that made you smile or took your breath away. Care to share?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Middle...

It is 2:13 in the morning. Christmas day. And I can't sleep. I don't even want to. What does that say about me?

Since I can't sleep, I've been laying in bed, thinking about things.

It started because my lips hurt. They are cracked and chapped. They are cracked and chapped because I've been kissing my Spouse. A lot. Which I should explain about.

Every year, we try to give each other a homemade gift. One year, I made the Spouse a scrapbook of his semester in Jerusalem. Or at least part of it. Last year, he made me a sparkly red book of coupons for chores around the house. Which he completely came through on--even mopping the floor at the end of a long day. Three times.

This year, I decided to give him a different kind of homemade gift. It was called "Let's fall in love all over again." Which sounds funny to me, because I consider myself pretty smack in love anyway. But I thought about how fun it would be, if we could spend some time being giddy over each other. Although I had no idea how to approach it.

So I started off the month by just trying to be the Nice Wife and not the Ornery Wife. I tried to make dinner every night. I tried to not throw the kids at him when he walked in the door and beg for the keys to the car that has a working radio. Sometimes I did great. Sometimes I failed, and Ornery Wife came out of hiding. But I was trying. And the amazing thing was that I found myself thinking about the Spouse more often. Wanting to call him. It seemed like even mundane things, like folding the laundry--a chore I detest--could be a happy thing, if I sat there and thought of all the things I loved about him, while I folded.

So, on impulse I started the 15 days of Christmas. Each day, I tried to think of something to do. Some way to serve him. Something, anything, to delight him.

Somewhere in all of these 15 days, I realized that my gift was working wonders for me... but I wondered if it was working for him??? Was he falling any more in love with me? Was I doing the right things? Then I decided that it couldn't matter. Because I couldn't control that. But I was getting butterflies when he called. So I'll take it.

On the 5th day of Christmas I painted the bathroom. Again. Because I finally (finally!) found the right color. It was right in front of my face all along. But I digress... I was painting and the gift was "For the 5th Day of Christmas, your true love gives to you--5 colors of paint!" So I primed the cupboards, and thought of his hands. I taped the baseboards, and I thought of his laugh. I just couldn't stop thinking of how amazing and fantastic and HOT my true love is.

So when he came home, there was kissing that needed to be done.

It's been 10 days since then. And my lips are quite happily chapped.

It has been a phenomenal Christmas gift to give myself. I think now I will do the 7 Days of New Year... what do you think?

Twas the Night Before Christmas....

Christmas Eve day is my favorite. I mean, seriously, is there any better day of the year?

I've wondered, sometimes, why I enjoy the Eve so much more than the Day. I think it might have something to do with the fact that there are just more traditions to Christmas Eve. But I also think that the anticipation of wonderful things is the absolute best part.

So today, we celebrated by:
Holding our annual snowball fight.

Stuffing our faces with "Grandma Johnson's Scones" for dinner. (You really ought to try these. Tast-yyyyy.)

For the recipe, click HERE. :)
In the evening, we had our annual family circus known as "The Nativity."

And finally, after listening to Danzel the Elf (a recording of an ooooooooooold record) and sprinkling our Reindeer Food on the lawn, it's time for bed. (If you want to make your own reindeer food, we just mix oats with glitter. The kids love throwing it on the lawn, and watching the sparkles catch the light.)

Which is Santa's very favorite time. To put a log in the fireplace and watch a movie. And eat his scone. With milk.

But, in all truth, my very favorite part of today? Dave and I were up early, just the two of us, and we read some of our favorite scriptures together and talked about the Savior. The kids woke up slowly, and in good moods, and joined us one by one. For just a little while, there was peace on earth. At least at our house.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 Days Before Christmas...

My kids are watching "Santa Buddies." (gag)

I am so tired, I feel like I could drop. Because I have finally reached 'Too excited to sleep stage." (Pause to shoo the cat off the presents. She REALLY likes to open presents.)

Where was I?

Oh. Yes. Too excited to sleep. It cracks me up that I still, at the blessed age of 30, wake up and just grin like an idiot in the dark. I start going over lists... getting the house clean... stocking stuffers... what time is the candlelit Christmas service?....

And of course, going over our Christmas Day Dinner menu. Which is called "Everyone gets their favorite foods." So this year we are having:
  • Pigs in a Blanket (hors doeuvres)
  • Aunt Irene's stew with homemade bread (soup course)
  • Cheese Bundles (quesadillas. main course.)
  • Rose Alfredo (main dish)
  • artichoke with curry dip (side dish)
  • popcorn (pallet cleanser)
  • banana pudding (dessert)

Eclectic, no? But so much fun. And much easier to put together than a huge feast, actually. (Pause. "CAT! GET OFF! THE PRESENTS!")

*uh-hem* Better.

Tonight, when the Spouse comes home from work, the kids and I will all station ourselves at the light switches in the front of the house. We will switch them on and off, on and off. And that, my friends, is the beginning of Christmas.

There will be no sleep for me tonight.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

3 Days Until Christmas...

And it begins to hit me, that Christmas will soon be over.

For the past two years, I have taken down the tree the day after Christmas. I was just ready for the chaos to be done and my house to be clean.

This year, it feels completely different. Very bittersweet.

The world always feels so dark, after Christmas. I always want to leave my lights up for another month, and I wish other people would, too. It plunges us into the very heart of winter in such an abrupt way.

Taking down the tree, which filled the corner of our family room with light. Putting away all the things that sparkle and shine.

I am just really dreading it this year.

But I'm trying to remember that I have a few more days. Just a few more days to make magic happen for my children. To bring the Christmas story to life for them, as much as I can. To see the utter amazement on their faces. Today they asked me if maybe Santa was loading their gifts in his sleigh by now. I told them that I thought he might be, and they couldn't contain their shrieks of excitement. I only have a few more Christmases with ALL of my children believing in Santa Claus and his reindeer. These days are truly, truly precious to me.

So I'm trying not to think about the end of this season, and stretch every second out. Because I don't want to miss a single thing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 Days Until Christmas...

Today, I am thinking about hope.

I have heard so many truly sad stories this Christmas season. A few of them on the news, but most of them firsthand. Stories of jobs lost... love lost... dreams shattered.

It seems to me that so many people are struggling, and doing their very best, but it all feels like we're getting nowhere. And sometimes it all just feels so heavy.

There have been moments when it has felt like having Christmas in the middle of all of this is just adding insult to injury.

Which is why, when I heard this song from Brandon Heath, the message of it really struck me. I've been listening to it on repeat today. Because it makes my heart lighter and reminds me of the many reasons I have, to have hope.

Which is really what the whole message of this season is all about.

May you have hope in your heart today.

video

(PS--You can download this song for free at amazon.com right now. Just click here. Merry Christmas! ;))

Sunday, December 20, 2009

5 Days Until Christmas...

This morning, someone pointed out to me that Christmas is a great time to forgive people who have "trespassed against us."

And I was feeling all glowy, because I don't have any trespassers to forgive, really. So I was about to check that off my Christmas list, but then I thought a bit more.. And I was like "Oh."

So, in the Spirit of the Season.

To the Ice Queen: I forgive you for being the exact, polar opposite of me. I forgive you for being a size 2, and looking like a Banana Republic ad.  Even when carrying your two week old baby child. I forgive you for getting everything I want, and gloating about it. And I forgive you for wearing black clothes and cool, winter makeup when you are so clearly an autumn. It's good to know that you have some flaws, however petty.

To our Pit Bull Owning Neighbors: I am going to just come out and say it: I hate your dog. Don't take it personally. It's just that, when I come out of my front door with my babies in tow, your dog starts lunging at the tiny, not-very-high fence with such violence and sound that it makes me run for the car, muttering to my children to hurry up and not make eye contact. That is really not something I look forward to. It freaks me out. I don't think it should be allowed. But I am really, really trying not to think that you're in your kitchen, watching the whole thing and laughing at me. I'm trying not to take it personally. I forgive you for moving in, and being completely aloof. Even rude. But I can get over that. And I promise, I'll work on forgiving you for the dog.

To the Guy that Flipped Me Off and Honked: I really apologize for cutting you off.  I promise that I didn't mean to do it. Did you see me wave and mutter "Sorry!" or were you too busy laying on that horn? I kind of thought you were reaching for your gun, in that black Escalade looming down on my very old, slow minivan. I forgive you for overreacting, if you can forgive me for thinking about what a total jerk you are.

To Thomalee: Yes, even now, I am still trying to forgive you for making my elementary years 3-6 a nightmare. You are the first person I ever prayed for as an "enemy." I do not know what I did to incur your wrath on my first day at my new school, when I was so nervous. Perhaps it was very deserved. But when we were 13 and you were looking at all the girl's ankles so you could predict who would grow up to be fat and I was the ONLY ONE that you said would be fat, just as a fact, based on my cankles? That was low. But now, 16 years later, I forgive you.

Ah. That feels better. I hope you can all find a place in your hearts for forgiveness this year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

6 Days Until Christmas...

Today, I made my way out into the mayhem of the Last Saturday before Christmas.  All by myself.  And I went to the places that you avoid at all costs, the Last Saturday before Christmas: the post office, and the mall.

Standing in line at the Post Office, clutching small packages to send to family, everyone around me felt so tense. They were snapping at their kids, frantically taping together packages, and sticking stamp after stamp on whole piles of Christmas cards.  I suddenly wondered what would happen if I started singing Christmas carols.  It was the craziest impulse, and if I'd been the least bit brave, I might've tried it.  What would happen in an atmosphere like that, if you suddenly started chirping out "Jingle Bells"? Would people have joined in? Would they have stared at me and muttered? Would the workers have asked me to stop?  I didn't dare. But I wish I would've.

Leaving the Post Office, I turned the radio on my car on, loud, and rocked out to some great music that came out this year.  It's been an awesome year for music. And I drove to the mall, where traffic slowed to a desperate crawl.  Merging was a nightmare. But there was no honking. A lot of waving people over. And I loved that. Especially when listening to Train's "Soul Sister."

Ah, the energy that is The Mall at Christmas. Even when you're only there to pick up a small item or two. It's just fun to be part of this great thing that is Christmas in America. To see people looking and debating over all kinds of things... purses, hats, cell phone covers, candles. I wonder who everyone is buying for, and hope that they find just the thing.

I stopped at the jewelers to pick up my wedding ring, which I dropped off two weeks ago because one of the stones was loose. And they gave it back to me so beautiful and sparkling. When the jeweler wrote down the description of my wedding ring, she wrote "Worn."  But I think it would be more accurate to say "Loved." or "Cherished." Because I love my ring. I think it is so beautiful. Mostly because of the man that gave it to me.

Goodness, I love that man.

Especially at Christmas. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Days Until Christmas...

My son is having macaroni and tomato juice, with an abundance of shredded cheese, for breakfast.

It is our Family Food.

I made it earlier this week, and I made a literal VAT of the stuff, so that there would be plenty of leftovers.

It has been requested for breakfast every morning since.  But he's eating the last of it, today.

The Wee One had a german chocolate cake ball for breakfast.
I had fudge.

It is one week until Christmas. My parent's 40th Anniversary is today. I find that amazing. So I am sitting here listening to the song that they danced to at their wedding, Theme From A Summer Place, and contemplating where I will be in 34 years, in the year 2043.

It is incomprehensible to me--time, like that.

So I'm sitting here, gazing out the window at the leaden sky. Thinking about my wonderful parents, who are the reason I believe in true love, and wishing for a White Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Visions of Sugarplums...

I've been putting together our friend/neighbor/co-worker gifts.

And can I just say, BLESS the INTERNETS?! Because without the internets, how would I have ever found a recipe for Sugar Plums, I ask you??

So, first, we took our inspiration from one of my favorite blogs and went to Goodwill and Salvation Army to rummage for old china plates and candlesticks. (I'm going to be on a hunt for these from now on.) We took those and attached a china plate to a candlestick and *ta da!*... darling cake plate. An example from Miss Michelle...


from Three Men and a Lady

*sigh* I want her thrift stores.  Okay. Now, what to put on the plates?

First, I found a recipe for Sugar Plums. Okay, I should clarify, I found LOTS of recipes that were ALL different and they seemed to contradict each other. After looking through many of them, I finally went with this one from Handmade Homeschool:


Sugar Plums
3/4 c. almonds or pistachios
1/2 c. each of dried dates, apricots, and figs (I couldn't find figs, so I used dried cherries.)
3 T. orange juice
2 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (and I'm a huge cinnamon fan, but really--1/4 tsp is plenty here)

Chop all of those up until the nuts are the size of peppercorns.(Or you can put them in a processor and chop 'em up that way, if you're all fancy like that.) Once combined, form into 1-2 inch balls and then roll in sugar. Chill until firm. (Bonus--these are actually pretty dang healthy and low calorie. Like we care right now.)

Next up, my "famous" (to me) truffles...


Chocolate Truffles
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/3 c. sugar
6 T. butter
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Coating:
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. shortening

1. Mix cream, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 1 c. chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted. Add vanilla. Pour into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally. Cover and chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight to allow mixture to ripen and harden.
2. Remove from fridge and form into 1/2 inch balls, working quickly to prevent melting. Place on wax paper on cookie sheet. Chill again several hours.
3. To make chocolate coating, melt 2 c. chocoalte chips and shortening on top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and cool until just warm (85 degrees), stirring constantly. Dip each truffle into chocoalte with fork; gently tap fork on side of bowl to remove excess coating. Invert candies on to wax paper and let chill until set.

You could stop there. Seriously. You could. But why???

Let's do cake balls!

You can use any cake and frosting combination, except spice cake and vanilla frosting. Because we did that one once, and it was gross.  But for our Christmas plates, we're doing our favorite: German chocolate with pecan frosting.

Cake Balls
Make your cake in a 9x13 pan. Bake, and cool.  Crumble into a large bowl and mix in one FULL can of frosting until everything is sticky.  Form into 1-2 inch balls and chill for at least two hours. Dip balls into melted chocolate chips or dipping chocolate.  Chill on wax paper, until firm.

The goodness of cake balls is not to be underestimated. I really think we should start airlifting them into war torn countries and give peace a chance.

Finally, peppermint bark.



image from Beyond Recipes

Peppermint Bark

1 pound white chocolate (not chips)
2 c. Rice Krispies
7 1/2 ounces peppermint candies, crushed and then run through a sieve to separate big pieces from the dust.

Melt chocolate over a double boiler, 4-6 minutes.
Add cereal and mix.
Press mixture into a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and sprinkle with crushed candy.
Chill for no more than 20-30 minutes and then break into pieces. Store at room temperature.

Yay! Holiday goodies. It's so fun to make a gigantic mess of your kitchen and spend WAY more money on a homemade gift than a store-bought one. I'll get a picture of our finished product when they're all done and put together tomorrow.

Happy Christmas-ing!





Sunday, December 13, 2009

Comfort and Joy

I learned something really profound last night, in the middle of the night.

In the early hours of the morning, my youngest started to scream. Not crying: screaming. Like the Best Spouse in the World that he is, my husband got up to try and comfort her. This was difficult since Thing 1 and Thing 2 had each moved to the couches in the family room during the night, and he didn't want to wake them up. So he shut himself in the nursery.

I awoke and was alarmed by the intensity of Wee One's crying and went to see if I could help somehow, and found her pitching an absolute fit. She was writhing in Dave's arms and pushing against him. I could tell that he had used all of his resources, with no result.

Eventually, I found myself in a dim room, by myself, with a screaming child. I employed different tactics to try and soothe, but they seemed to bring only momentary relief or intensified crying. And in my daughter's eyes, I could see anger--WHY wasn't I making the hurt go away? WHY didn't I make it stop?

And suddenly, I could see something from the eyes of a Heavenly parent... the way my Heavenly Father must feel so often. I knew that I was doing all in my power to comfort her, and that there was nothing else I could do but let her little body work it out. But I could love her through it, and make sure that she knew I was there. Even though I suddenly became the object of her anger and confusion, I knew enough not to take it personally, and to comfort her as best as I could.

Eventually, we found just the right thing (a tight swaddle and a slow "cha cha cha" motion) that soothed her to sleep. She slowly relaxed and her eyes fluttered shut, as she took deep, hiccuping breaths. I didn't lay her down, right away, but let myself enjoy the silence and the peace of comfort that has been desperately sought and finally found. And I found myself uttering a silent little prayer... "Thank you, Heavenly Father, for comforting her. And for comforting me, when I need it. I don't think I ever really understood before, but I think I do now... at least a little bit."

So today, I am truly grateful.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Karma.

The other day I read on some other person's blog about how their baby puked all over the place at the Christmas party.

And I was all "HA! HAHAHA! That is sooooo funny."

And then karma happened.

Which began the story of HOLIDAY PUKEFEST '09 at our house. I'll spare you a photo.

Because of which, I know the following are true:
  • A gigantic Tupperware bowl is an investment that just keeps giving. I might start giving them as wedding gifts with a note that says "For making huge macaroni salads! And the stomach flu that will result!" I'm sure I'll get a good thank you note for that.
  • "Grape" flavored "Pediatric Drink" from CVS is significantly harder to clean up than the "Apple" flavored kind. Don't even think about that "Bubble Gum" flavor. Ew.
  • A tutorial on how to "layer" when the stomach flu comes to your house:
    First, go to your towel or blanket closet or chest.
    Dig out that really ugly "Bed in a Bag" comforter from 1989. Place it on the floor.
    Layer with a sheet.
    Dig out the blanket that your husband's ex girlfriend gave him. Mutter under your breath. Place on top of the other blanket. Add a sheet.
    Continue layers. If you're lucky, 2 layers will do, but I suggest at least 5 layers.
    Place sick child on top of pile and wait for the inevitable. Remove layer and start clean. No mess, no fuss.
    You're welcome.
  • I married the most.fantastic.man.on.the.planet. I kid you not. He totally took the first shift and let me sleep for longer than he had to. How many husband's will do that?!
  • It doesn't matter how many times you scrub your hands in hot water with tons of soap and chase it with antibacterial hand sanitizer. You can do it until your hands have the texture of old, supple leather. It doesn't matter if you only rub your eyes with your shoulder and eat nothing--you are going to get sick, too. Keep that Tupperware handy.

Remember, laugh at your own risk. Karma'll getcha every time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You've Not Got Mail.

Dear Nicole,
Um. I got your message about your camera. The one you left. It was in the crack in my couch.

And I know you asked me to mail it.

I totally intend to. And of course I'm going to throw something fun and Christmas-y in there, for good measure.

But I think I might just have to drive it down to you instead. Because it would be so much easier for me to drive the 2.5 hours to your apartment and drop it off, with some Hershey's Kisses, than it would be to take my kids to the local Postal Office.

You've seen my kids. I think you can imagine why. It's very "Apocolypse Now."

So--whatcha doin' this weekend? Can I bring you your camera?

Kthxbai.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Life in Pictures...

People ask me how I get my blogging done with three little kids running around.

Easy:

Also, Thing 1 did a pastel chalk drawing of me and The Spouse today. The truth is terrifying to behold:



Betcha can't guess who is who. *smirk*

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Truly Outrageous..."

Lately, Thing 1 has been distinctly reminding me of someone when she gets up in the morning, but I just haven't been able to put my finger on it. Some distant, cob-webby memory from my childhood

Until this morning, it hit me.

I asked her to make a "rocker" face:

And I knew...
For you 80's impaired...




And I don't know about you, but I get an awesome *spark* everytime The Spouse and I kiss.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Operation Sandwich


Christmas is such a great time for serving. When I was younger, I loved to do any number of services, any time of year, but one of my favorites was to go caroling at rest homes. I have to admit that taking my children to a rest home is daunting now. Not even so much because of the kids, but because when I hold hands with the very old, I look down and sometimes--for a fleeting second--I can't tell which hands are mine. And that is sobering.
Although it's true that our kids would definitely find some way to wreak havoc at a place of comfort and quiet.
So, we are trying to work in appropriate service behavior, trying to prep our kids for trips to the rest home to sing. What service is. How we do it. And why we love it.
Those things are SO much easier to teach if you get friends involved, and today we did that.
Today, we made sandwiches for a place that needs 800. Every.single.day. Sure, after two seconds, and the realization that the sandwiches weren't actually to be personally consumed, Thing 2 announced "Actually, I no want make sandwiches." But service was being done, you know, in his proximity.
And when all is said and done, I'm continually amazed and humbled by the simple fact that if there is a need, and you ask people to help... they will.
To the tune of 150 sandwiches.
And that is amazing.