Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter, You're Not So Bad

January has come to an end and, I must tell you, I'm not in the least bit sad to see her go. In fact, I'm hoping February and March quickly follow her into the history books. I'm not fond of cold weather and gray skies. I like color! I want warmth! I need sunshine!

All complaining aside, there are some things I enjoy about the cold weather. Any excuse to have a couch full of kiddos is fine by me.
I like how they cram together and pile on top of each other with no pushing, shoving, pinching, biting, kicking, hitting, yelling, crying........at least not that you can see.

Hearty meals taste better in the winter months. One of my favorite times of the day is sitting at the supper table with my favorite gang. We talk about our favorite part of the day or I ask a question about life and everyone has to answer. Sometimes the questions bring wonderful conversation, other times they are met with rolled eyes.
Ironic my favorite time of day is usually preceded by the day's most stressful hour. It's not easy to cook with little (and big) ones wanting my attention. Crock pot meals make me happy! So do helpers.

I employ kitchen help from all ages.
Why is it the ones who are willing to help the most are the ones who are the least helpful (defined as makes more work for Mom)?

Cold months are also good for snuggling up and sipping warm drinks. This winter I was introduced to Java. You can call him Coffee. We have become good friends. I regret talking bad about him behind his back all these years. He's a little boring on his own, but aren't we all? Pair him up with Flavored Creamer and he is the life of the party! Especially with Miss York peppermint patty creamer! Coffee, I'm glad we met. I'm sorry I snubbed you for so long. I have to warn you though, I may be a fair-weather friend. My warm months belong to Sweet Ice Tea.

When I'm not day dreaming of warm, sunny days, I try to live in the moment and enjoy the quiet of winter. I may not like the physical aspects the cold brings, but with it comes a renewing of the mind; a time to be still and refocus on life and to reorganize priorities.

Winter is a little confused today with temps in the 50s. Maybe he's trying to get on my good side. Even so, Jack Frost, you may not be my best friend, but really, you're not so bad.

Pictures for week 4 of 2012:
It is truly special that my kids have four great grandmas and three great grandpas still living. We don't see them all as much as we would like. My maternal grandparents, however, are very involved in my kids' lives. Grandma and Grandpa are blessed with good health and mobility, making it easier for them to play an active role.

No man rocks a purple shirt like Grandpa.

Emmaly got to listen to some of the old gospel records that  I remember
from childhood. She wasn't impressed. :)
I love how my kids get to play with the same toys that I did. This Fisher Price
town was my favorite. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Little Piggy

Let the 2012 4H swine project begin.
This litter of pigs is extra special to Brooklyn. Their mom was her champion Berkshire show gilt in 2009. She is hoping for good things for this little piggy too.
We were wanting a litter bigger than four, but we'll take what we get.

Speaking of piggies, I love pruney, baby toes.

 Faith would live in the bathtub if I'd let her. If someone is taking a bath and she is not invited, she is personally offended. I once had a little, pint-sized visitor jump in the shower with me. Fully clothed. In fact, watching me write this post, she is begging for a bath.

I could be nice and finish this while sitting on the porcelain throne so she can splash away, but I'm too cozy warm under my favorite, velvety blanket. Besides, Baby Girl had a bath this morning.... FIVE minutes before we were to head out the door for church. A big sister left a bowl of cocoa crispies on the counter "out of reach" of toddler hands. Even though I was irritated, I regret not snapping a picture before the chocolate pebbles were washed from her hair. (Does anyone else have more mishaps than usual on Sunday mornings??)

                   These little piggies sure find themselves in all kinds of mischief.

                           They are also the reason the house often resembles a pigsty.

There is a secret that I know that helps me endure, even enjoy, the long days of messes, noise, chaos, and disarray. Besides the overflowing love I have for my delinquents angels, I know how quickly those little footsies grow and become the feet of big kids then teenagers.

In the blink of an eye, my first born baby turned into a young man. In less than a month he will be 17, the age his father was when we started dating.

My picture of the week isn't of good quality. It was taken through the window as I was watched my son drive away.
He wasn't alone; he was taking with him, his brother and three sisters. I'm one of those people who watch a loved one go until they are no longer in sight. Friday watching the truck until it was a little speck in the horizon did something to me. It made me all the more aware of how valuable time is and how I have little control over what happens to my treasures. I feel so fortunate to be able to stay home full time with them and I don't take it lightly. I know this is the plan God has for this time in my life and I am enjoying it to the fullest.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Clutter and Cuteness

My picture of the week is a two-parter. I'm still on the upswing of the new year's resolutions and getting things organized. (No need to remind me that we are only finishing the second week of the year.) I'm in  the process of going through "stuff"; purging, giving away and keeping only what I need or love. I have to tell you (and I don't have to if you really know me), it is hard for me to part with things. I get sentimentally attached to things. Silly things, even.

Do you know anyone else that has kept 90% of every love note plus notes from friends since elementary school??  "Do you like me? Circle yes or no. If you don't like me, do you like Kelly?" and "Can you believe she wore dress shoes with her sweat pants?" and "I can't wait until Olivia's birthday party! I love the New Kids on the Block!" They sure are fun(ny) to reread. I thought I would keep them and let my kids read them. But I don't think I want them read. They show how shallow I was. And mean. I thought I was one of the nice girls, but really I was just as cliquey as the others. And what does my husband think of my old love notes? He rolls his eyes and thinks I'm a little nutty. (I also saved his English tablet from high school. It has my name written all over it with hearts and doodles.)

I'm allowing myself to save some of the silly sentimental things (including the orgami-like folded letters that bare our boy-crazy souls). My main requirement is that everything I want to keep has to have a place and not become clutter. 

Clutter creates chaos and confusion and  right now...I'm foggy-minded enough. It also has a way of "hiding". By hiding, I mean blending in. After a while the 12 inch stack of magazines looks like it belongs next to the coffee pot. 

One of my friends and her family came over for a visit yesterday. The house was in so-so shape. I told her, "Ignore the cluttered sideboard, it's not who I am." Then I laughed and said, "who am I kidding?....it is who I am." It's just not who I want to be. 
There is a little bit of everything on my favorite piece of furniture. Mail, pictures, glue, clothes to be returned, a clock that hasn't been wound up in weeks, vitamins, mismatched socks....the list goes on. This family heirloom is WAS the catch all. It's located in the perfect spot to dump items that don't have a permanent home. No longer, I say. And we all know that kids always listen to what their moms say. 

Cleaning took a couple hours because I can never accomplish just one thing without the interruptions of dumped Legos, dirty diapers, refereeing, hungry tummies, phone calls, wiping noses, kissing boo boos, and absentmindedness. But I'm refreshed by the outcome.
Look, it has shelves. Isn't it cute? It's not my favorite color wood but I would never change it. I bought it at my great grandparent's estate auction. They bought it for fifty cents at my great-great grandparents auction. I love it. (Remember, I'm a sentimental gal.) The clock, bowl, glass and lanterns were also grandparents or great grandparents. Besides a couple of Bibles, that is as far as my antiquing goes. Too many kids live here to worry about having and keeping old stuff nice. Besides, I truly do not want material things to get in the way of what is important.

The picture of the week......this is what happens when Mommy is busy....
Seriously....the markers need to go! She is "bazest" (Corbin's way of saying possessed, which he really means obsessed) with pens and markers. Crayons don't do near enough damage for her taste. This girl will go on marker hunts. And we won't even discuss her attraction to eyeliner and mascara! 

As I sit here holding a sleeping tot, whose face no longer resembles a circus clown, I can hear the ticking of my newly revived clock. The midnight chime is advising me to call it a day. I think I'll obey. And tomorrow....who knows, maybe I'll tackle the top of the fridge!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bring on the New Year

Today I boxed up the last evidence of Christmas. The plastic 6 1/2 ft Colorado Pine was folded up much like an umbrella and crammed back into the closet where it will live for the next 10 months. The three wise men, along with the whole nativity, are wrapped in newspaper and packed into their 30+ year old box. I wonder what memories of Christmas 2011 my children are locking away to treasure for years to come.
Christmas morning

The picture cards will grace my kitchen all winter long.
Christmas weekend Mom and Dad came up from Missouri, not a long enough visit, but I'm happy they came.

We spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents with my brothers and their families. Unfortunately, my sister and her crew weren't able to make it. We were surprised with a short but sweet visit from them a week later, though!
grandkids minus jody's 
Jody took some pictures of all the kids last summer. One was made into a canvas for Mom and Dad's Christmas gift.
This is the first time I have ever seen my dad with a beard. I even let out a gasp at first look.
He's just a fuzzier big teddy bear.

The highlight of the day was watching and listening to the carols, worship songs and country music played by the talented musicians. New tradition? I hope so!
My dad, brothers, son and nephew

Josh teaching Kodi some chords
future guitar player
Dad playing the mandolin
One of the headbands Mom crocheted for Faith
We left our Christmas tree up so when Jody came it could still feel like Christmas. It didn't work, but that's okay. It was the best ever New Year's treat!
It was so sweet to catch E and L reading the Bible before they went to sleep. 
Fun memories were made with the other side of the family too.  We were blessed to finish out the year and bring in the new year with loved ones. I'm optimistically excited to see what 2012 holds in store.

I have (loosely) made resolutions. I do every year. We won't talk about how they are usually the same ones as the year before....be more organized, exercise, eat healthier, blah blah blah. This year I'm also resoluting (yeah, it's a word.) to stick with the resolutions. :-) But instead of resolutions I'm going to call them goals.
Goal number 1. Make life simpler. (Be more organized)
                     2.Increase my energy. (Exercise)
                     3. Meal plan. (Eat healthier)
:-)I think those are things I will always be working at and I'm okay with doing great sometimes and not so good at other times. Having goals is important but it is also freeing for me to take a break from the rigidness of a schedule.

There are some things this year that I really want to improve on, mostly on what God is calling me to do and who He wants me to be. I want to be a better wife and mother, more patient and aware of what my husband and children need. I want to be an encourager. Above all, I want to be in His will at all times.

Lord, here I am, your servant, your hands and your feet. Use me as you must. Open my eyes to what You see.  Give me the courage to do your work. I am yours.

Another thing I want to try accomplish this year is to share a photo of the week. I thought about doing one picture a day but I can't add one more thing to my daily tasks. And I don't want it to be a task. So, one a week it will be.

Week ONE:
My littlest is a "doffee" thief. Don't leave your cup of joe (or hot chocolate) unattended or little hands, that may have tiny polished nails, will steal your brew and leave you with an empty mug and, most likely, a spill.

OR maybe this pic:
Theses two peas in a pod were born thousands of miles apart and live hundreds of miles from each other. Their love as friends keeps them close and their bond as family means forever. I loved seeing them read scripture together, especially without any prompting.

As you can see, there are no rules to my weekly picture(s).

Welcome 2012!