A Visit From Santa

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Guess who stopped by out house on Sunday?

SANTA

He dropped in for a few minutes before heading back to finish toy delivery preparations.
We were so excited to see him.
He had a gift for each child in his bag.
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J was the first gift drawn from his Sack.  His eyes were that big the whole time Santa talked to him.
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C received a book on dating and keeping his relationships Godly.
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O opened the book Christy and found his commentary on the book quite funny.
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A little nervous at the beginning, A warmed up to him enough to ask for help in opening her present.
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She was so excited that hours later if someone said Santa she popped her head up and asked “where is Santa?”
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E was a little nervous and her heart was just racing.  She was glad he stopped in but did not want to get too close to him.
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Santa said he knew R had been good this year.

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Good bye Santa.
Can’t wait to see what you bring us Christmas Day.

The kids were so excited, and the whole family was able to be at the house to see their reaction to him.
Hours later they are still talking about him coming to their house.
Honestly I was so excited to see their reactions I loved the look on their faces.

Go hug your kids as you get ready to celebrate tomorrow.
Try to remember back to when you were a child how excited you were for Santa’s visit.
jen

Funniest thing, about an hour after Santa left, E looked up and said “you did not get a gift from Santa, You must not have been very good this year.”  And she was serious.  Maybe next year…

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Christmas Vacation Starts When?!?!

Oh boy, tomorrow TODAY is a half day at our school, before Christmas vacation starts.  Well first a 2 day basketball tournament, then finally Christmas vacation!

In all my years at our school I can not remember going this late before Christmas.  I am sure we have, and I am sure one of the school people who read this blog will remember it, but I cannot.

I am ready to sleep past 6:30, I am ready to not make lunch at 7am, I am ready to not call out “7:30 load’em up”, I am ready to not wake baby A from her afternoon nap to go to car line.  I am ready for 2 weeks of Christmas vacation.

I have a to do list that is growing by the minute, it is a 1 step forward 2 step back kind of list as I cross something off I add 2 more things. The list is at least fun in red and green sharpies.  I even have a hand drawn Christmas tree {btw what other holiday has a “holiday tree?”  like a certain someone on tv recently called it?  I could only think of George Washington’s b’day when we made cherry tree crafts or Arbor day but that is to plant not decorate.  So why call it a holiday tree???  For goodness sake, the tree is not even a “Christian” thing if you follow the history of the tree…   What is next calling the Nativity scene, the “family in a barn” Now That is a Christian thing…} and some garland drawn on the list to make it more festive.  But even in red and green the list is making me tired.

I have baking to do, remember how I planned on making the 12 days of Christmas cookies?  Yeah only made the first batch.  I plan on making a batch while I wrap gifts tonight.  O has been slammed with homework 2 papers to write an article to write, and some sort of “scrap-book” not too sure I understand it.  But she has so much work so she is of no help to me right now.  Keith has been gone every night this week for school activities, which is not normally an issue but I have to figure out when I am going to wrap kid gifts if I don’t have him around to run interference.

d{E and Ellen reading together.}

But instead of crabbing at anyone I am doing my best to stay calm and remember that poor planning on my part…
Of course I did not plan on J getting sick yesterday when I was going to wrap gifts
I did not plan on eating lunch with E the other day
I did not really plan making 2 school nights in a row a Christmas movie night
I did not plan a hot chocolate and movie night
I did not plan on the extra sunggles but we took them

It is Christmas and I want my kids to remember the fun things we do, so I will stay up too late tonight and tomorrow night and maybe the following night wrapping gifts and humming Christmas songs while I watch Christmas movies.  And I will not let my kids know I am feeling frazzled with the time crunch.
I was thinking the other day ‘if God would have given me more hours to get stuff done I would be no closer to finishing than I am now.  It is not the number of hours it is how I choose to spend those hours’  So how are you going to spend the hours leading up to Christmas, are you still trying for the perfect Christmas or are you just looking to make memories?

Go hug your kids and slip a candy cane in their hot chocolate tomorrow morning
jen

Update:  I totally blew it at dinner, the constant noise, the knocking of dishes, someone tapping, and scrambling to get everything on the table so I could scurry them off to bed so I could accomplish my list.  I blew it.  R was banging a container of shredded cheese for the potatoes, A was yelling she wanted Milk, E was asking for the ranch, J was bumping into me, O was complaining about how much work she had to do before tomorrow and C wanted Keith to go to the bank and Christmas shopping with him right after dinner..  I said “good grief I can’t take it, I have to leave.”  And left.  They were stunned.  As I walked out the door I heard E say “will you be back to pray with me?”  Which of course made me feel guilty.  “I told her I did not know.”  As I got in the car I was frustrated, dinner was going to be good, and when was I ever going to learn, chaos in inevitable, I think the lack of sleep and the rush I am feeling was just too much.  I took my time~out by returning a few things.  When I came home the kids were bathed, and ready for bed.  Keith said something to them so I was left alone to eat in peace, not pour any milk, not cut any chicken, just eat in silence.  Well relative silence since I was listening to them interact and work together.  I was able to wrap gifts for 4 hours, well, wrap and help O with her giant scrap~book project.  Keith and C went shopping then Keith took over with O for a while.  So 4 hours might seem like a lot of presents got wrapped.  The big shipping box pile is down by 5 boxes, and the kids did not even notice the smaller tower of boxes in the corner of the sitting room.

Wednesday is Funday

I see I have not posted funny things that have happened around here lately, so I will share a few with all of you.

Last week I put blue toilet cleaner in the toilet after I showered, hoping to remember to take care of the rest of the job later that day.  Well I forgot, but right before nap A used my toilet and came rushing back out holding her clothes, telling me “dats lucky, dats blue, dats lucky.”  She was apparently so grossed out by the blue toilet water she had to cover her mouth and wrinkle her nose.  I laughed at her and sent her to get a book while I quickly brushed it out.  I did not want her to notice the toilet brush or the job it does…dPantry eater strikes again.

C told me this story recently…
A college student came home for Christmas break, while his parents were at work.  He decided to go out with some friends leaving a note to let them know he was home and going back out.  This is the note he left his parents.  ” I’m home, went out with a friend, why don’t you two do something I wouldn’t do while I am gone.”  After reading the note the mom’s reply was “guess we could clean the house”.

Our pool water line had been dropping quite rapidly for some time, I have had to add water over and over to fill it up to run the pump.  I did not have time for a few weeks to run out and check on the pool, when I did I was shocked the water had dropped about 2 feet.  I knew there was a hole but had no idea that it was draining that fast.  I have been checking the grass in the area looking for wet dirt or really green grass, and have not found anything.  But when the pool drained that low I discovered a rather large hole right next to the steps.  After a run to the pool store I was following the directions of the pool guy and waited until the water line dropped to the hole before making the necessary repair.  Well that was 3 weeks ago before the change in weather, the water dropped another 9 inches that week.  It then became cloudy or raining, or cooler than I want to climb into the pool to fix the leak.  I decided I was tired of waiting, I just needed to suck it up and cover the hole.  I climbed onto the stairs and noticed a weird stick poking behind the stairs.  I climbed back and shifted the stairs to see that there was another hole behind them.  There was a plastic 3 gallon bucked we had filled with dirt and rocks to keep the steps from floating up, the handle on the bucket rusted, broke and was resting in the liner.  Yes IN the liner.  We did not have 1 hole we had 2 holes.  yikes!  And since they were lined up with the pool deck steps we never saw wet dirt.  I read the directions on the vinyl repair kit.  I did this once before so I knew what to do but wanted to double-check.  Because I had to move the steps to find the 2nd hole, I could not climb in, I had to reach in.  When I reached in the pool the holes were almost out of my reach.  I had to bend at the top of my legs holding onto the edge of the deck with my feet.  I knew that I was headed for a wet tumble hanging upside down and needing both hands to hold and press the patch.  Some how I managed to do it.  I managed to not fall in to the pool.  I had more than half my body hung upside down over the edge with no hands.  I realized that I still “got it”  I can still do things that I could do when I was much younger, so while I should have been irritated with the holes in the pool, I was instead happy that I can still do some tricks.  {Sorry Ellen, no pictures of this story,  I made sure all the kids were busy and no one was out there to watch me fall in.}

One morning O came to my bathroom door asking what she could have for breakfast since we had no chocolate for milk, no cereal, no bread, no granola bars… nothing.  I called out “find anything you want.”  I did not know baby A was standing outside my door, she yelled  in to me “I want sweet fish” {Swedish fish} O and I both laughed.  I think she had pretzels.  No worries, I have since gone to Sam’s club there is chocolate, cereal, and bread but still no Swedish fish poor A. {Spell check wants me to change CEREAL to SERIAL, like the killer.  How do I make them understand we just want breakfast?}

dThe other night C was in one of his silly moods, I was sitting on a diningroom chair watching Ellen show me all the new 31 products.  We were talking and laughing when C decided to sit on my lap, he is about 10 inches taller than I am, so there is just no room on my lap.  He slid down my lap and hung on my knees with his arms, the farther he went down the more I was being pulled off my chair.  In desperation I yelled out, “don’t pull me off my chair you’ll break my hip”  He fell off in a fit of laughter, with my sister joining him.  He thought it was funny, bringing on an age discussion.  E is convinced I am 4 years younger than I really am, so she was arguing with C about my age.  I let her believe that she is right.dDoing the happy dance when they saw Santa on tv during the Macy’s Christmas Parade.

What about you are you too busy to see the funny times, the funny things said, the funny ways your kids do things?

Go hug your kids, listen and watch for the fun in your life.
jen

More Pinteresting Updates

I don’t know why I keep trying things from Pinterest that look too good to be true.  I must think that one of them will eventually be the end of cleaning time for me or something???  Anyway here are a few more of my failures.

The scrubbing wand in the bathtub.  The pin had one of those dish scrubbers that hold soap, they  filled it with vinegar, you were to keep it in the shower and scrub the walls as needed.  We live in a humid house, our shower walls grow stuff fast.  I usually bring a mr clean magic eraser into the shower and scrub it down when it gets bad about once a week.  But to have a filled scrubber waiting daily for me seemed quite handy just give it a wipe down sounded straight forward enough to me.  Looking to free up at least 30 minutes of my week!  I bought a scotch scrubber soap wand at Target, brought it home and filled it up with vinegar {supposed to remove the water spots}.  I decided to give it a test scrub.  It scrubbed off the growing things very easily.  I went up high to the water spots and began to scrub, the spots looked tough so I scrubbed harder, filled a cup with water and rinsed.  That is when I noticed that I was scrubbing too hard leaving scratch marks and now a dull spot on the wall.  I guess the scrubber was too scratchy for the plastic walls of our shower surround.  So I quit scrubbing and went back to the mr clean eraser.  Who knew?  Maybe it would work on tile walls?  So 1 more Pinterest fail.

The latest Pinterest fail was a jar of Christmas smell.  You put into the jar some lemon slices, tree pieces cranberries a bay leaf and some liquid {it was a gift}  I don’t know if it spoiled because I waited too long, or if it was stinky to start with?  All I know is it stunk.  I put it on the stove this past Saturday to “Christmas up” the house before we left for a ball game.  I turned on the stove and left the room.  Later w hen I came close to the kitchen the stink almost overwhelmed me.  I turned off the stove and took the whole pot outside.  I did not want to leave it inside to cool and continue stinking up the house.  I should have left it in the jar it looked so pretty.  Or regifted it, let someone else enjoy the “smells of Christmas”  I think I will just stick to my twisted peppermint from bath and body works.  Much more Christmas if you ask me!

I was trying to make 12 days of Christmas cookies, when life got in the way.  Before that happened I started with cookies I saw on Pinterest.  Again they seemed quite easy I gladly gave it a try.  Brownie cookies, what could go wrong?  What is better than hot gooey brownies?  Yes it should have been easy, it was not quite what I expected.  I made brownies and plopped them onto my stone, pushed them into the oven and walked away.  They spread so thin that they could have been crapes if they had been soft.  I am not sure what went wrong, but they were thin and crunchy {not in a good way} they were impossible to get off the pan.  R knows first hand, he was trying to pry one-off the cookies off the sheet and sent the metal spatula right into his finger, leaving a pretty good gash.  Arghhhh stupid cookies but now you know…

Update on Christmas Card Pictures…  No pictures yet.  We are thinking maybe Saturday mid morning, you know when the sun is so bright everyone is squints, or Sunday late afternoon to arrive after Christmas or we’ll take the pictures after Christmas to arrive before New Years day.  Not too sure but we will take them!  We missed our summer pictures and the sweet little outfits I got the girls do not fit anymore.  I have coordinating outfits for everyone, which takes a lot of effort so we ARE getting them done.

We had a MAJOR emergency last night with R’s iPad.  He keeps all his school notes in there, he has all his papers and study guides in there.  Last night he was trying to copy something and crashed the app he keeps his stuff on, making the whole thing delete.  It was a few hours of distress.  Keith was able to reload it with C’s help.  {Sounds easy but they took hours getting it done, they had to reset the entire thing like it was a brand new iPad.  The apps had/have to be reloaded, things have to be found.}  But because R backs it up often he did not lose anything but what he put in that day.  He was so relieved I was worried for him knowing the amount of things he has in there.  So lesson to all of you BACK IT UP BACK IT UP BACK IT UP.  We lost a summers worth of pictures when I killed a computer, this was almost a disaster for R.  So be sure to back up your computer today!

What about you?  Any pinteresting fails at your house the last few weeks?  Or computer rebellion?  Did you go with Christmas cards and pictures?  Are you a mass letter writer?

Go hug your kids.  Give someone you love a kiss and a compliment!
jen

 

Things Learned at the Theme Park

d{After E’s first ever roller coaster ride}

We played hookie from life and responsibilities yesterday and went to a theme park with the kids and my sister.

We had a wonderful time with the kids trying rides I never thought they would do.  Walking long and hard, and long and hard, and long, and hard.  Did I mention long?  Up big hills down hills, to the other park and back.  I cannot do circle rides, so I spent a lot of time just watching the kids.  I loved it.  On our way out R said to me, “mom what did you ride?”  I did a few but mostly I love to watch my kids, I was happy.

In watching the family I noticed a few things.

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1 J is so eager to grow up, he wanted to do everything the big kids did.  He sat with them on rides or asked to sit alone.  He walked with his hands behind his back so there was no casual hand holding with him, we had to purposely reach for his hand.  He wanted to walk in front or behind us, wherever the big kids were walking.  He wanted to go on bigger rides, and was disappointed when he was left with us while the big ones went off to find the scary rollercoasters.  This makes me a bit sad, I am not ready for him to move to the next stage quite yet.  Watching him whip past me made my heart leap into my throat but the smile on his face as the wind rushed through his hair made me smile in spite of my fear.

d2 E is quite the daredevil.  There was not a ride she was not willing to try, the small coasters she gladly rode begging people to ride them over and over with her.  I am so glad my sister is willing to ride them with her, because if I had to then we’d walk around all day smelling like throw-up, since I get carsick in the mountains when we are going so slow turtles pass us I cannot do coasters.  E rode the few coasters I’d let her go on many times.  She is a hidden thrill seeker I had no idea she had it in her.  She is already talking about how tall she has to ride to fly with potter.  I loved listening to her tell me how each ride she was more brave.  Riding the first coaster holding my sisters arm so hard we were surprised there were no hand prints marks later, to the last coaster of the evening sitting in the front row, eyes open and smiling the whole time.

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3 R is willing to give up on fun stuff to be sure someone else is having a good time.  He did not go back with the big kids at the end of the night but stayed with us doing the carousel, or flying fish or crazy couch ride while the big kids and Keith went off for a hulking good ride.  He did many rides I never thought he’d do.  He is a great big brother to the little kids, riding the spinning couch more times than a person should and he never complained about it.d

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4 When C leaves for college O will miss her buddy.  The two of them walked together most of the day, it made this mama’s heart happy to watch,  She convinced him to go on a large coaster 2 times, which he loved.  She spent a great part of the day carrying baby A who adores her.  She rode little kid rides with the little ones, and C teased and played with the little kids during the day not complaining that we left the part of the park he wanted for little kid fun times.  He lead us through areas like a tour guide, not going to fast for 6 yr old legs but too slow for bigger legs.  Walking next to his dad I realized he will soon be taller than his daddy, that is going to be a fun day when that happens.d

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5 I was happy to discover that baby A is not yet ready to grow up we had some fun times in the playland areas of the parks, where she hopped jumped and “watch this mom” over and over.  She is not a thrill seeker, she did not like the bigger rides but loved the smaller ones.  She was a trooper going all day with no nap finally falling asleep in my sisters arms on the way out of the park.d

I learned a lot about my children at the theme park, as I watched my family enjoy each other, no one yelled, crabbed, fussed, cried or begged for anything.  We never told them we were not buying them anything, no one ever asked.  It was the most pleasant day.  Now I must soak my feet they are killing me.  We walked, and walked, and walked and walked some more.  We had a wonderful day I am so thankful!

Go hug your kids, the need your love.
jen

Saddness

Words cannot really express the sadness and shock we are all feeling.

Some people are shouting GUN CONTROL
Some people are blaming a mental illness
Some people are trying to put him “on the spectrum”
Some people are shouting safer schools
Some people are shouting it is his parents fault

What all people should be doing is praying.
Offering help.
And praying some more

We should be hugging our kids, our big ones and our little ones.
We should be hugging our husbands realizing that the parenting fight last night was really not important.
Loving your spouse is important.
One more hug, one more kiss, one more I love you.
We should be hugging our children realizing that the pile of dirty laundry on the floor, the hungry crying, the clumsy falling, the backpack spilled out at the table, the dirty socks stuck under the couch, they are not important.
Loving your children is important.
Give them a big squeeze and a kiss, tell them one more time I love you.

A friend posted this:
No amount of Bible verses, words of comfort, thoughts/prayers, gun control posts, or political propaganda will restore the loss that was felt by so many today.

Simply sit, grieve, and cry with and for those who have suffered.

And tomorrow: do what you can to make this world a better place.

While I disagree in that I find comfort in the scriptures, since the verses posted on fb have been like a salve for my heart.  Crying out to God is important, sharing your fears your confusion, your sadness.  God hears and he knows.  But my firend is essentially right.  We need to grieve for their loss.  This is a fear that is in many of our lives.  I cannot even begin to imagine having an empty bed in my house tonight, waking up tomorrow realizing that it is not a bad dream but a reality.

I was out shopping all day and had no idea, an older gentleman stopped to talk about it with me but because he had mouth scars I had a difficult time understanding him.  I am so glad I did not understand him.   I would have rushed back to school to pull my babies out for some loving.  Our school is secure like so many others are but I would have felt better holding my kids.  As it was my sister called me after school to warn me so I could have a heads up before they got home.  Two of the big kids know, the others do not.  I will tell them only as much as they can handle.

Please if your children don’t know share something with them because kids will scare them at school.  If they do know please tell them not to share in case you inform you child more than others do.  This was scary and you don’t want to scare other children with all this information.

Go hug your kids and tell everyone one more time that you love them.  This tragedy reminds us again how short life really is.
jen

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

It really has felt like a southern Christmas the last few days,  quite cool in the morning, warming up to the high 70’s in the afternoon.  Yesterday all day it looked like a snow day, the sky was a grayish white and the sun never showed off or warmed up it was mid 60’s all day.  The weather bug on my alarm said mid 70’s so I sent the little kids quite under dressed for the day.  I even contemplated using the fireplace again, the house stayed chilly all day.  Because it really put me in the mood for Christmas I thought I’d show you a few of the decorations from out house.  I am sorry to my friend Christine, at A Fly on Our Wall who, because of a kitchen remodel in her 1800 house has no energy/space/time to put up her decorations.  I love decorating my house for seasons, each time a new season comes along I send Keith to my sisters storage room to get my boxes and boxes of decorations.  Some holidays have more things, some have only a wreath.  Christmas has plenty.  I’ve been collecting and gathering decorations since before we were married.  Here are a few of the things I have up in my house.  I hope you enjoy them, we love them all.
dOur Nativity
dWhen C was a toddler I let him play with the Nativity, acting out the story to learn it better, one day Joseph took a tumble and was headless for quite a few years, until I was finally able to reattach his head.dI looked into buying a new one but the ones that matched were way too expensive.  I am sure that when my mom and dad bought the set back in the beginning it was not that costly.  But now getting replacement parts is impossible and expensive.dThe kitchen tree.dThe children’s nativity to play with no worries about headless Joseph’s here.dWhat are they really up to?  I guess the angle(s) are getting the stable ready, although I don’t know where in the Bible an angel is napping in the manger.dLooks like Mary is enjoying the fire while Joe is hanging out with the wise men.dOur first Christmas ornament.
Each person in our family gets an ornament every year, the ornament is specific to each child, their interests, or something that reminds us of them.  My mom and my sister get them all ornaments too, when we had a smaller tree you could hardly see green for all the ornaments.  One day before I am ready we will box up their ornaments to take to their trees in their houses.  It will be a sad day for me.  And Keith too.  He gets quite sentimental around Christmas.d  C loved the magic school bus so much that he actually hid the ornament when we were putting decorations away to play with all year.  He played with it so much he about rubbed Liz off the top.

dThe year J had no front teeth.

d R’s First Christmas, he was a millennium baby.  Remember the panic?  We actually fell asleep that night and missed all the excitement.dE baby bear doing ballet with daddy bear.dThe year O got this ornament, I got the same one for my mom who got the same ornament for my sister and for me.  We all had a good laugh about that!dKeith’s great grandma made this for him when he was around 8 years old.dThe candle carol family were one of the first decorations my mom purchased when she was a child.  They have made an appearance every year for as long as I can remember.dThe decorations above the cupboard, I love decorating this area  The trees stay lit all through the Christmas season, adding a little cheer to the house when the lights are out.  The little horse carousel was a gift from my mom the Christmas before I got married.dI wish the family had been candy cane makers, but the family name is actually a brand of whiskey, since we don’t drink I don’t decorate with the family name on original crates or advertisements.  So I choose to make it up on my own.dWe’re almost ready for santa!
I’m off to finish up shopping today, then I can relax and wrap presents and bake next week.

I have a friend, actually she was originally my sisters friend who lives in Iowa, she has an adorable restaurant in Des Moines {2}  she  makes the best cheesecakes EVER.  And is a wonderful mom, wife, daughter and friend.  If you are ever in the area you do not want to miss a visit to her shop Flarahs!  They also ship if you need the best cheesecake ever.  Anyway as I was saying, she is doing 12 days of Christmas Cookies.  It sounded fun, I love to bake and who does not love cookies???  So I decided to do the same only on a much smaller scale, last night I tried a brownie cookie.  They were terrible, they were hard or undercooked, they were impossible to get off the cookie sheet, they were ugly and they tasted bad.  So day 1 of the 12 days was a bust.  I don’t know what kind I am going to make today, right now I am looking for inspiration.  I will let you know how the others turn out.

Go hug your kids and take a drive tonight to look at christmas lights.
jen