Cra-May…You know, the crazy month

Each year, May seems like a mad dash to the summer finish line. As temperatures heat up, it seems like every other day is a thunderstorm waiting game.  Swim lessons, end of year school events, spring sports wrapping up, and for some reason in our family, there are a lot of birthdays. We have decided to add to the May madness this year by putting our house on the market.

Everyone has been pitching in.  Our kitchen underwent a much-needed update, but that has left us without our main LIVING space for three weeks (instead of one).  We are far off routine, the kids have watched most of their toys being boxed up, and the dog thinks — well, I don’t know what he thinks, but I’m positive he’s confused.

I’m looking forward to renovations being completed, school being out for the summer and June taking a warm, lazy turn.  So, how does one lady keep her eye on the ball in the midst of choas at home?  Horse racing season of course!  Mother’s Day weekend brought refuge in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Weekend is almost here, and with any luck, I can have a We Sold Our House Belmont Stakes Party!

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The Holidays are Upon Us: cute ideas to get your brood in the mood

The holidays are upon us. Christmas threw up in all my favorite stores, everywhere smells like Bath & Body Works, so let the craziness (I mean festivities) begin! December marks the great Christmas countdown. If you have small children, the holidays can mean extra stress for everyone. Take a few minutes this year and create some yuletide fun with your family – you may just end up with a new tradition.

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The Advent Calendar

I’ve seen people use mittens, mini stockings, spice containers, a muffin tin, or traditional window calendars. You don’t have to spend a lot time or money, your kids will just remember the tradition and memories created. I liked these websites free printable Bible verses.

http://aphroditeperception.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/free-printable-bible-verse-advent-calendar/

http://www.overthebigmoon.com/christmas-scripture-advent-free-printable/

Feel like I came up short? Check out Fun a Day, Mary Catherine has 25 more!

Quick & Easy Countdowns
This Santa beard is a free printable, all you need is some cotton balls

I found this very cool reusable advent calendar from Makoodle that is pretty much done for you. Just print, cut and modge podge into your reusable tins. Thank you!!

ELF ON THE SHELF

I had never heard of this little guy before last year, but the kids really enjoyed looking for him every morning. Here’s a link for ya if you are like me wondering who is this Elf??

Here are some Elf on a Shelf daily jokes…http://www.overthebigmoon.com/elf-on-the-shelf-printable-joke-cards/

My Elf on the Shelf Pinterest board with lots of great ideas to keep the magic alive.

Other Cute Christmas Ideas

Make the tiny tot in your life a felt tree they can decorate over and over. Here’s an example.

I have a dear friend, J, who has moved quite a bit over the last ten years.  Her and her family collect twelve smaller presents then wrap them, box them together, and ship the box to each other for their version of the 12 days of Christmas.

Plan a Polar Express outing, family game night, or cookie exchange party. Carve a little Mom time and host a Favorite Things party, white elephant swap, or favorite book exchange (you could even extend this through the year by following up as a book club).

Read a different Christmas book each night (make it extra special and wrap them). Here’s a great review of some holiday favorites.  Grab the kiddos some Christmas pajamas, special sheets, or festive dinner plates to enjoy for the month.

Schedule a date night.  See a holiday themed show at the theatre (my favorite is always the ballet – wouldn’t be Christmas without the Nutcracker), spike some cider, grab some blankets and star gaze, make a dinner for two and snuggle by the fire, plan a night out on the town — just make sure you give that special someone some attention.

The Things I Love Most blog has a great Christmas time post.  The girls at Defrump Me have a list of 50 things to do at Christmas. The Workman Family has a Christmas bucket sure to score some smiles.  Shannon at Find Joy in the Journey highlights some unique to-do’s on her Christmas Fun List (see #4 on the advent post).  Need more ideas?  This one is done, just click and print.

Dust off the DVDs or tune into ABC Family, but pop some corn, make a Grinch Drink, assemble a fort or pillow pallet, and grab some holiday movie time.  Here’s a list of 50 kids movies we have used as a reference.

Check in on the reindeer cam or track Santa.  There is even a post-holiday scavenger hunt from Macaroni Kid to help your kids come down from all the hype.

Maybe one of the simplest things to incorporate is the iMom 30 day Holiday Challenge.

I have morphed a combo of all of this stuff into our family repertoire of Christmas fun. I encourage you to do the same; take these ideas and figure out what will suit your family the best.

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the thankful post

I am so thankful this year…for change, for completeness, and for grace.

This year has been a big one for us.  In many ways I would describe it as joyful, but mostly I would say complete. We now consider our family complete and for the first time in a long time, my life’s wish list complete.  We have struggled since our first son was born with my desire to stay home with our children and our necessity for my second income.  This year, we made the decision to completely change how we run our household and give me a go as full-time homemaker. A lot of people try to dress up that word, but I prefer to embrace it.  HOMEMAKAER. It is a job I worked very hard to earn, and I consider the title resemblant of a dying art, like a blacksmith or a butcher. It was Mother Teresa who said, “What can you do to promote world peace?  Go home and love your family.”  Homemaker today…Nobel Prize tomorrow.  I’m telling ya, there are so many mothers, educators, coaches, and youth ministers out there that saved a child they really should have a broader spectrum for the peace prize category.

Please understand, I am not knocking the working mother at all.  I am supportive of her, in awe of how she balances life, and empathetic towards the emotions she feels every time she begins and ends her work day.  It was something I prayed daily to be content with, but for me, life opened a window.  I think I will enjoy the fresh air while I may.

So for 2013, I am thankful for:

1. a God who opens windows.

2. a husband who has a serving spirit and who sacrifices so much for his family and for others.

3. my eldest son who is so smart, so sweet, and challenges me every day to become a better person.

4. my middle child, who I knew would be an adventure the first time I felt him kick.  It is so amazing to get a peek at life through a three-year old’s eyes and to be reminded each day that I matter to someone.

5. my daughter, who brings joy to our life each day and who needs her mother to be a positive role model.

6. our family.  God love them, each one is so different. They are challenging, they could be called crazy, but they are ours and we could not raise our family without this village.

7. true friends that stand the test of time. We really do have amazing friends…I don’t even know where to begin…old friends we have not forgotten, and new friends we have not yet met

8. our health.

9. our insurance, doctors, and medical care that have allowed us to safely have three healthy beautiful children.

10. grandmas.  The ones who love my babies and the ones who love me.  For the fact that they all have shared a room at our wedding and Kiddo’s first birthday.

11. traditions. The little things I miss from childhood or recreate for my own children.  School fight songs, memories and new ones in the making.

12. Texas.  Come on…you had to have known it would be on the list.

13. the outdoors. I’m still warming up to the great outdoors, but it is beautiful and we have had so much fun.

14. wet kisses, sticky hands, and lots and lots of messes.

15. time.  Time with my family, my babies, my husband, my friends, and myself that was previously taken up with items on my to-do list.

16. three square meals, steady paychecks, and a roof over our heads.

17. chocolate.

18. date nights with Man.

19. family nights with my little party of 5.

20. birthday parties, graduations, new babies, and all those things.

21. our soldiers.

22. the very wise, very funny, and very honest things children say.

23. family vacations.

24. daytime smiles and nighttime giggles.

25. warm sunshine in May.

26. brisk mornings in November.

27. snuggles.

28. lazy days.

29. all the things I have learned this year.

30. grace.

We are so blessed, and I am thankful every day for all God has given to me and mine.  Sometimes I even get that freaked out feeling that I am too happy or too blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve and then I remember…we have complete grace.  Doesn’t that really encompass everything we are thankful for?

When are you just too old?

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I painted my toes beachy summer pink today and then added sparkles. Partly because I’ve been seeing all the teenagers with their sparkly nails leftover from prom and partly because I’ve been in a funk and they made me happy.

Then I thought…”Am I too old to pull this off? It’s weird how much that thought has crossed my mind this year. I wanted to join the pastel pant trend. It left me debating (the pink pants won out in the end).

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I have a vintage Mickey Mouse tee I have been hoping to someday fit back into. Which leaves me wondering if my efforts are only going to end with me looking ridiculous.

The other night…. Man: “now that you won’t be teaching, I think you should dye your hair bleach blonde, cut it short, and get that nose stud you’ve talked about”.
Me: ” What? Don’t you think that ship has sailed?” (ya know, accompanied with that peer over the glasses and one eyebrow cocked)

When do we reach an age where we should just hang up some of our rebellious urges and admit, “we’re someone’s parents. We should really act like it”, or do we say, ” forget it! I’m going to do this, wear this, listen to this because it makes me happy”?

When my pledge class all went and got tattoos and I decided not to, (in my head) I was thinking responsibly. No risk of infection, no pain from needles, no permanent marks I’ll regret later. When I decided getting a piercing before taking a teaching job wasn’t worth the hassle, I thought I was being practical. At what point do we go from acting like an adult to just being boring? If there’s an outfit that is a little too, low/tight/short, do you forgo it for the Oxford because you’re a mom? At what point should the what if factor out weigh the what the hell factor?

BTW – if I ever get back into that tee, I’m wearing it proudly…it’s sooooo soft.

 

What do you say

We live it every day. The innate possibility that one day the job will go wrong and he will not ever cross the threshold again. So you don’t think about it, you don’t really talk about it, but you always pray about it. You trust their training, their judgement, and God’s will. You prepare for the tough decisions if they may come, as our worst day is their typical day at the office. You take comfort in the pride, honor and heroism of what he does. You respect their gifts of service and mercy.

The last month has hit the fire service hard with line of duty deaths. Our thoughts and prayers go to those families. Our sympathies go out. They do not mourn in solace. You have to admire what these men and women do for another.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  ~Bible, John 15:13