Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Remain

I have to admit that I haven't been feeling very "bloggy" lately. While this isn't expected, it's also not a surprise. When there are so many irons in the fire, it's understandable that one might just glide right off the page at some point. This happens often, but I remain.

I have been off on vacation all week, and I am living every moment of it. Some of my favorite times are early morning, as my children all rise. I welcome them to my bed to snuggle for awhile before that first trek down the steps. The K-cup is my reward at that point, and our days lazily unfold. Today, two of the five children I spent my day with (mine plus my lovely niece, Julia) met their daddy at the door in pajamas when he arrived home from work at 5 p.m. Besides the fact that this is living, this is right, Daddy said, and it's true, "It means less laundry!"

I am a homebody. I can keep myself pretty happy and fulfilled with the constant cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry. I am in that happy stage of motherhood where I occasionally sit down to nurse that beautiful baby on the couch. I have a perspective I couldn't have dreamed to find years ago.

I also have blessings beyond belief--most of them in human form. I have spent many evenings and days with my extended family this holiday. There have been mouth-watering meals, too many snacks, lots of funny conversations and board game shenanigans that caused me to smile and laugh so hard that my cheeks hurt. Again, I say, this is living, this is the way it should be.

And so, who needs to blog at a time like this? I'm going to keep living it up the next four days. And, by living it up, I mean changing dirty diapers, breaking up fights among my children, washing my dishes by hand three times a day, but also enjoying that shopping trip with my mom, welcoming dear friends to my home for games and drinks and festivities, joining extended family to ring in the new year and loving on my amazing hubby and kiddos.

My vacations don't take me to the beach or Europe or on a Carribbean cruise. They simply take me to a simpler life at home: one where I'm not calling in favors to care for my children, not being a slave to the clock to hit my targets, not worrying about a million details that won't matter in a week, let alone in a year, a decade, a lifetime.

Nope. My vacations are of the less extravagant variety. They show me what matters, what is real, what is right.

They prove to me that, in spite of it all, I remain.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

So This Is Christmas

Merry Christmas! We've had another blessed holiday around here, save for a couple of babies with strep throat and some other selected, but small, crises.

It was a good time, and I'm still orienting myself to this very day and hour (is it true that 2011 is nearly over?!?), trying to get all the technological devices we got for Christmas functioning, and eating WAY too many lovely holiday sweets.

And it's still Christmas in my mind . . . But my eyes are crossing. So here's a family photo and a promise to blog again soon!! And a toast, if I may, to more food, family, laughter and love!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can't Wait

My mind is a melting pot. I have so many random thoughts right now that there is no way I'll nail this post. It's Christmas, mild weather, sick babies and contacts that feel as though they have been glued to my eyeballs. It's a house that's clean enough, gifts that are ready enough and laundry that is done enough.

I'm elfed out, I think.

It is kind of neat to sit back and relax for so many days ahead of Christmas. Not months ahead, mind you, but just days. That's a good, happy medium. And I'm so glad I created that cushion of time because I spent most of today nursing and carrying Luke, who is feeling quite crummy with a fever virus of some kind. From the looks of it, Colby has a touch of it too.

So my last day of work for 2011 that was supposed to be tomorrow might instead turn into yesterday. The fresh pine swag I still wanted to create for my banister may just have its day next year. And there's no reason why I can't tuck tissue paper into those stockings to help fill them out.

Oh, and the weather? I'm still hoping for those snow flurries. But whatever the weather, the state of this family's health, the true filling of those stockings, in less than four short days, we'll celebrate Christ's birth. I'll be a hot mess trying to get all six of us in church finery on Christmas eve. I will be throwing ingredients into my basket for the family party. I'll be up late with the hubby getting the place just so for Santa's arrival after helping the kids set out cookies and milk for the big man and carrots for his eight reindeer.

And then, short hours later, I'll be scrambling to ready the cameras, turn on the Christmas morning music and, maybe, even get a creamy cup of coffe in my hands before the magic begins.

And I can't wait.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

All is Calm

An old snap of Lily, who is more excited about the snow than I am!

Dude, why is it always 11 p.m.?

Not really, but I can't seem to stop at night. I'm always doing "one more thing," no matter what time of year it is and what day it is. I had an amazingly productive and enjoyable day off yesterday and a more relaxing and family-oriented day today. Next up is church and a huge family Christmas party tomorrow. I love this time of year.

And I love this moment...

This one, right here. My beautiful live tree winking at me from across the room; my handsome hubby snoozing on the loveseat and some dumb movie on TV (ok, that could be improved); four kids dreaming of presents, binkies, milk, whatever it is that makes each of them happy; and the thinnest, sparkliest, most beautiful dusting of snow covering the earth, the trees, the roofs and decks outside. FINALLY!

There are so many out there who don't have this. And I hurt for them.

I hurt for those who are lonely (which is different from being alone), for those who are abused in all its many vicious forms, for those who are hungry for food, for comfort, for friends.

I'm not so idealistic that I don't realize this thin blanket of snow is a thin blanket sucking the body heat out of those who desperately need that body heat to survive outside when shelter is hard to find. I know there are some out there who not only don't call their relatives friends, but don't call on them at all. I know there are parents hurting for lost children, parents who would give anything to have that chance to smooth the brow of their sleeping son or daughter just once more. There are neglected and abused children who don't know that the world is bigger than the hell that is their homes.

And for all of them, I pray. I wish them all this moment, or one very similar: A moment where all is calm and all is bright.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What We Carry

I have to say, I am feeling a little rough.

The sore throat, yeah, and a stuffiness in both ears. But it's more the hormones, I think. Out of whack! And yet I'm pushing myself through it. Only eleven sleeps 'til Christmas! And I do have a lot to do, but I'm trying to do it in a slow, enjoy-the-ride kind of way. I'm hoping this loveliness doesn't all end in a mad acceleration to complete the race. But my gut says slow and steady, and, after all this time, I've learned to trust my gut.

So it hurts to yawn, and I'm yawning. I think I'll let the pictures tell the stories tonight. But first, I want to tell you that I was watching a kids Christmas show--with my kids, of course--and I heard the following line, which has been with me all week in spite of the urgent last-chance sale emails, the lack of my outdoor Christmas decorations, the realization that we may not see a flake of snow before or on Christmas.....

"Christmas is what we carry in our hearts."

It isn't the gifts, the holiday bling, the car with the red bow on top. It's love, family, friends, memories. It's Jesus, faith and hope.

Christmas is the look on our believing eight-year-old's face as Santa climbed aboard our car of the Santa Train....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joyful, Joyful

This photo of Colby on the Santa Train in Nelsonville sums up the Christmas joy we all felt this past weekend. It was busy busy busy! Lucas is doing so well after getting his tubes. I am very happy to report we have seen more smiles, better balance and MUCH longer stretches of sleep. Thank you, baby Jesus!!!

But my throat is raw, eyes are bloodshot, body yearning for bed. So this quick picture of Colby and brief update are all you get! Maybe, if we're lucky, "Parenthood" will be on tomorrow night, and I can catch up then.

And visions of sugarplums danced in their heads....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weekend Kickoff

Aww, little man!! This photo was taken this morn after a very fitful night. Poor Lukey's face was wet with tears, slobber, snot, what have you. He is not well. And wow, are we tired!

Alas, this night threatens to be worse, and I must hit the sheets. Tubes are scheduled, thank goodness. I only hope little man is well enough to actually get them. No nursing after midnight per the doctor's orders. So the whole house just might be up for a rockin' party later.

Once we get through this tube business, we're going to have the best Christmas-y weekend: gingerbread party, tree hunting, tree decorating, church, family choir practice, "kitty-chasm" (Max's pronunciation of Catechism), and the Santa Train! I feel like a kid again.

Now, if I could just get this Elf on the Shelf to actually help out...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Elf and All Kinds of Magic

It's that time of year. The magic is starting to happen around here. We have a new tradition. His name is Alexander McGee, and he is an elf. He has already brought great joy and mischief in three short days, and we look forward to having him as a wacky, exciting houseguest through Christmas.

What will Alexander do next? If I only knew!

I am in a much better place than I was the last time I posted. I got that break I needed. While it wasn't nearly long enough, it was enough. I haven't been sleeping enough, either, but I've been on mother pilot for some time now, and I am doing just fine.

I've worked hard this past week to get a jump on shopping and other holiday prep. Nineteen days out, I feel pretty good. I think I'll be able to stay out of stores most of those 19 days, which is awesome. Except for having to work (boo), I'll be able to stay home, bake those cookies, deck these halls, rear these children and enjoy the spirit of the season.

I think I'm also going to read this sweet letter a couple more times....

Is it me, or is this December just roaring along? I'm half expecting a friend to call and invite me to a swim party somewhere. This weather is crazy, and it has me confused. My subconscious is blinking hard and fast, and I'm hoping to feel on the right page soon!

While I'm doing that, I thought I'd share some more snaps from the crazy, blessed long weekend that was Thanksgiving...

A beautiful baby....

A beautiful family... (missing a crying Lily and featuring Shrek in full game face)

And last, but not least, a beautiful bride, a beautiful friendship, a beautiful memory!

Stay gold, my friends. And happy festivus!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Learning Everyday

It's been a very long week with some really ugly moments, but some beautiful ones too. I am very tired, very impatient for some time to myself and very happy that I'm not normally on my own with the kids, as I was most of this week. Ah, Deer Camp. You slay me.

I haven't written because I've been too busy/too tired/too mad at various times. I've been thinking of whole posts in my head and ditching them. There are some things I just don't want to write here.

But I can say this: my husband is teaching me such lessons in patience. My children are half of him. There are some amazing attributes and some not-so-amazing attributes. Max has been showing his Shrek ancestry in big ways. Why, just tonight, as all of his other siblings were busy or sleeping, he refused my offer to snuggle with him, pooh-poohed my choice of Christmas book for his bedtime story and was generally bullish after I told him he couldn't turn on the TV.

This is a shout out. I'm alive and well. I'm resilient. I'm a Deer Camp widow. And I'm aching to be in my bed.

Just gotta drag the five-year-old up to bed from the loveseat, where he passed out much like his daddy probably would have, had he been home to do it.


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