Posted in Christmas, indigo inspiration, Thanks for the memories

christmas card


20626453_10159191202895584_4854335629719844248_oI’m alive.  Merry Christmas.  Nobody’s getting a card this year.  Sorry folks.  I’m all out of extra.

The year started with the funeral of one grandparent and ended with another.  I was in the ER twice.  Diagnosed with a weird autoimmune thing with hives for days.  The amount of antihistamines that passed through my system should have meant I slept really well, but what is life.

We put our kids in public school for the first time.  A much bigger deal for me than even for them, to be honest, but all in all, upheaval all around.

Of course there is also all the everyday busyness of being a 6 person and 1 cat household.  The stuff of beauty and exhaustion.

Bills.  So many bills.

Fall into bed grateful that you made it through the day to your pillow.  Wake up to the sunrise and do it all again.

Glorious.

So, for Christmas cards, you’re all getting medical bills from me.  Merry Christmas, here’s a lab charge.  Happy Holidays, you get an MRI with contrast bill.  Happy New Year to you, a medication that insurance didn’t cover.

I’m alive.

I mean that with a dash of sarcasm and a boundless flow of gratitude.  My heart and my soul are awake.  I am living.  Feeling my life.  Being in the middle of it all.  Participating in my own story.  Championing for thrival.

So from my people and I, Happy effing Holidays.  Live your life, peeps.  Embrace the messy.  Blow off the arbitrary expectations.  Find the sacred in your mundane insanity.

Merry Christmas to all.

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Posted in Christmas, Gifts, Living Water

Advent


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Advent.

The Coming.

Love birthed itself in our image as we had been made in Love’s own image at the beginning.

Love that holds us, flows through us, breathes upon us, is ever-present.  Love that we yearn for and seek.  That all the year we cry out to touch.  Love, whose echo in our souls harkens for its origin.  The fiber from which we are made, yet somehow seem to lose in the mundane of our everyday.  In the great struggle for survival, its beacon becomes hidden.

And yet beyond hope, we dream.  We return again to celebrate year after year.  Time slows and a hush falls while the hours rush madly past.  The veil between the material and the divine feels a bit lighter this season.  A bit less definitive.  There is magic in the air and our hearts can begin to remember Love’s voice.  Love so powerful that it was not diminished by human indignity.  Love that draws out the wellspring of itself in all that it graces.

There is hope in these days.  Hope that Love can bring us all together.  To Eden.  To healing and restoration.  That tragedy can find peace if not meaning.  That sorrow can be embraced till it has reached out and kissed joy.  That the pain in every aching soul can bring forth the birth of new life.  That the lost is found and the hungry can be fed.  That war will tire and fall into the arms of community.

We take in the Body of Love.  We drink Love’s lifeblood and remember again for the first time that we are in Love and Love in us.  As Love was born to us and for us and with us, we too are reborn anew with each remembrance of Love.

The mundane begins to take on the glow of sacred.  We see the divine in the face of another.  We feel Love as it resides in our own humanity.  Against all odds we hope.  We dream.  Love does not let us close our hearts.  They are tired hearts.  Weary of pain.  Wary of the next battle.

Yet Love lives on.  In us.  Around us.  Inviting us to take part.  Beckoning us into the dance.  Welcoming the shattered pieces of us that it may make us whole again.

 

Posted in Christmas, Family, Holidays, indigo inspiration, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Christmas Past


I finally did it.

I took down my tree.

I said goodbye to last year’s Christmas.

I’ve been thrashing myself with a whip of cords for the last 10 years.  I’m such a bum.  A lazy mom.  A loser that would leave the tree up until Valentine’s Day.

I walk past it over and over, wincing at the thought of unwrapping the lights and boxing up the ornaments.  The stockings come down first, usually around MLK Day.  Then the mantel lights.  The tree skirt comes off.  The Christmas Tupperware sits on the floor by the tree for a time and I throw in a few of the kids’ handmade goodies as they flutter to the ground.

Lazy, lazy, lazy.

My manger is still up.  It might not go for another month or so.

The deck lights might become permanent.  I unplugged the porch ones.  That’s good enough for now.

I figured it out this morning.  While I sawed off the branches.  Yes, in the house.  While it was still in the stand.  What?  You have you your process.  I have mine.

The Christmas tree represents for me the magic of the holiday.  The 6 of us picked it out and cut it down as per our tradition.  Jim sets it up.  I light the tree.  The ornaments are about 40% handmade by my children.  I didn’t even hang them this year.  My  children did.  Well, 3 of them hung ornaments.  My 2-year-old threw them at the tree and clapped when they landed on a branch.  It was pure perfection in my eyes.  We sit around it on Christmas morning and hand each other gifts.  My kids buy for each other now.  Watching them light up over the thoughtful choices was the pinnacle of Christmas spirit.

It is us.  It is love and joy and magic.

By this time every year, I have a dried piney fire hazard in some corner of my living room.  An old man of a tree.  An elderly Christmas past.

And I have to euthanize it.  Every year, I have to kill Christmas.  I have to put it out of its misery and make way for the new year to blossom.

I’m not lazy.  I’m grieving.  Just a little bit.  But enough to give me pause.

What if we’re not lazy every time we think we are?  What if we’re anxious over change?  What if we’re sad at letting go of something?  What if we’re overwhelmed?

Feel your feels, peeps.  Give them a name.  Own them.  Embrace them.  Give them the attention they need so you can move forward in your life.  In your day-to-days.  In your living and loving.  You are included in your loving.  There are 6 people in my home that need me to care for them, not 5.

So today I am saying goodbye to 2016’s Christmas.  I’m giving myself room to grieve so I can be wholeheartedly in 2017.

January 2018 will bring the death of 2017’s Christmas but I know what it is now.  I can embrace the goodbye.  I can beat myself up over one less thing.  I can go forward feeling the unpleasant emotions so that there is room in my heart for the other ones.

Posted in Christmas, Food, Winter

The Weather Outside is Frightful


It’s cold.

When it’s cold, you make chili.  And cornbread.  Duh.

You will need:

  • cast iron dutch oven
  • lid for the beast
  • christmas spirit
  • a little red palm oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • a splash of water
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • a tad Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
  • liquid smoke to make you forget there’s no meat
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can red kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 can pinto beans with liquid
  • 1 can black beans with liquid
  • 1/2 bag of corn
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper

Heat tomato paste with spices and oil.  Add beans.  And veggies.  Simmer.  And keep warm until your cornbread is finished.

Amen.

Now you need: (adapted from here)

  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 freshly milled flour
  • 2/3 c sucanat
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 + 3 TBSP red palm oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
  • 8 x 8 baking dish, greased
  • an oven at 350
  • kitchen timer
  • christmas music
  • the other 1/2 of the bag of corn
  • something to test the middle once the timer beeps

Mix dat.  Pour into dish.  Bake for like 55 minutes.  The recipe said 30 but since I put in corn which was not in the original recipe, it took an additional 25.

Serve up together.  While the music is still on.  Because ambiance, y’all.  It will warm your belly and your soul.  I’m not lying to you.

Posted in Christmas, Crafty, Holidays, Levi, Mom

Horse Play


I have a Levi.

snips and snails and puppy dog tails
My Levi

He’s wonderful.

He is helpful.

Says ‘I love you, Mommy!’

Thrives on routine.

Is rather intense.

He has these giant dark chocolate-brown eyes.

When he was younger, he would sleep with his eyes wide open, which creeped the sox right off my feet.

He also did this un-nerving staring thing with his eyes so wide open for so long that your own would begin to feel dry if you looked at him for any length of time.  He managed to look quite frightened.

He is stingy with his love.  Not that he loves little, but he loves much in small, carefully pondered and controlled quantities at his own highly regulated discretion.

 

Take a picture my Lightnin' Na Queen, Mommy!
Take a picture my Lightnin' Na Queen, Mommy!

He loves preschool.

Adores his teachers.  I was putting a puzzle together with him last week.  Colored shapes had to be placed in their respective cutouts.  “What’s this, Mommy?”

“A pentagon, Levi.  A purple pentagon.”

“Ah!  Miss Donna makes these, Mommy!  Miss Donna makes these!”

The Christmas break nearly did him in.  I have never seen him snap into a normal routine again as quickly as he jumped back into preschool this week.

Making him happy makes me happier than almost anything else in the world.  What is it about little boys?  And the wreckage they make of their mommy’s heart?

At the end of this month is Wild West Week at preschool.  Parents are encouraged to send in a stick pony for the duration.

Levi does not have a stick pony.

Levi is a boy.

Ergo, Levi needs a stick pony whether he needs one or not.

Mommy is broke.

Amazon is not.

Curse you, Amazon.

Mommy has a sewing machine.

Mommy has scraps of material.

Mommy can send Daddy to Lowes.

 

His name is Number One, but we gotta call him Horsey.
"His name is Number One, but we gotta call him Horsey."

This happened.

He's so cute.
The ears are my fave.
Such a pretty pony!
Here's one more.

Horsey used to be a pillow.

He sat next to Levi on the sofa and watched Dora the Explorer until dinner time.

He’s a good pet.  I think we’ll keep him.

Posted in Blogging, Christmas, Food, Hacktown Hoedown, Holidays, Mom, Moxie

Time Out


My kids are lovely.

With lovely comes spirited, which is a nice way of saying willful and naughty.

Over Christmas break, in all the excitement, they forgot who’s the Boss around here.  I may have as well.  That doesn’t help matters.  The monster that I have created for myself is this: bedtime (and naptime) rolls around and the darling angels (ahem, little devils) think that this means play with all their toys until Mommy checks on them and puts them back in bed.  8x/night.  Which, more likely than not involves some sort of unpleasantness for them.  Do they care?  Apparently not.

The solution seems simple and a bit mundane.  Sitting on the floor in their room until they fall asleep does the trick.  They dare not venture out of bed while the Boss is within spitting distance.  Hence, intense boredom sets in, due to lack of playthings in reach, and sleep soon follows.  The bedtime routine was obliterated.  I am attempting reconstruction.  One bedtime at a time.  The chocolate chip cookie after dinner is not helping matters tonight.  However, the measure of success achieved at today’s naptime is an encouragement.

The upside is worth it.  I am forced to sit quietly in the company of my almost-sleeping children, and do next to nothing.  I am not minding this at all.   While telling oneself that the dishes will wait and the crumbs on the floor are going nowhere is a learned behavior, it is not a difficult lesson.  Especially since I spent the greater part of my afternoon cleaning the kitchen.  The results of which I am most pleased with.  (end of sentence preposition alert)

I have a chance to sit and blog.  And show you these:

Modelling pose
Fatty

 

Can't get up...
Fatty
An extra chin, in case she loses one.
Two-by-four
Belly roll!
Can't fit
O, Hi there!
Thru the bathroom door
I made it!
Soon she'll end up on the floor.

 

And she has no hair.  Isn’t she beautiful?  That’s why there’s food on the floor.  Cuz’ the food’s not growing up and moving out anytime soon.

Posted in Christmas, Crafty, Emberleigh, Holidays, Levi, Molly, Oh, Baby!, The Husband

Accomplished


Last year, I made this list:

  1. Finish the 3,000,000 sewing projects I may or may not have started in ’09.
  2. Give birth to a healthy baby, Molly-girl.
  3. Potty-train Levi.
  4. Regain my intended size and shape.
  5. Buy a minivan (Honda Odyssey, to be precise).
  6. Become a good cook.
  7. But most of all…not be pregnant for the rest of the year! (at least)
fat, fat, fatty!
Molly Moo

5 of these things happened.  Mostly.

  1. Sewing.  Lots of sewing.  Except that now I have projects from 2010 to finish.  2 to be exact.  2 is alot less than 3,000,000.
  2. Molly is fat and happy.  Healthy too.  Did I mention fat?  She’s fat.
  3. Levi is potty trained.  With almost no accidents.  In fact, Emberleigh has decided she’s ready to potty train herself as well.  As of last night and this morning.  Princess panties and all.
  4. Did not regain size and shape.  Attempted and came closer than years previous.
  5. Bought a 2004 Honda Odyssey, with cash.
  6. Started cooking more, but did not get any better at it.
  7. I am not pregnant.  I was only pregnant for only 2 months of 2010. For me, that is a serious accomplishment.  Following is a timeline:
  • 2006
  • Sept – Jim and I got married.
  • Oct – Became pregnant
  • Nov – Miscarried
  • Dec – Pregnant again
  • 2007
  • Sept – Gave birth to Levi
  • 2008 (5 month reprieve)
  • Feb – Pregnant again
  • Nov – Gave birth to Emberleigh
  • 2009 (7 month reprieve)
  • June – Pregnant again
  • 2010
  • March – Gave birth to Molly
  • 2011 (10 months so far)
  • Jan – Not pregnant
Christmas Jammies!
my lovely babies

My only goal for 2011 is to enjoy the year.

I sincerely hope that being pregnant is not part of the plan.

Faith with out works is dead.  Hope without birth control is stupid.

I.  Am.  Not.  Stupid!