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!

Posted in Christmas, Holidays, Mom, Moxie

Chi with the bling… ♫


i.CHI
i.CHI

I got this little gem for Christmas.

It’s a beaut.  Deep, iridescent red.  With the brand name done in bling.  O, yeah!  I said bling.

With it came a case for when I travel.  Black, but not just black.  Sparkly, shiny black.

The best part: it’s tricky.  As in, it tricks everyone, even me into seeing what is not there.

Almost all of my blood relatives have impossibly thick hair with tremendous amounts of body.  I must have traded one genetic blessing for another.  Height.  Straight teeth.  Average vision.  Etc.

What I do not have by any stretch of the imagination is impossibly thick hair with tremendous amounts of body.  It is sad.  Thin.  Dull.  Limp.  Fine.  Wispy.  Fly-away.  Etc.

For Christmas, I received the gift of trickery.  The CHI has the power to make my sad, pathetic, flimsy hair appear mildly thick, with average body, and a hint of shine.  That is all any girl could ask for.  And it’s all mine.  And all it cost was the opening of the gift.

Thank you, Mom.  You’re the best.  You never let your girls go unpolished if you have it in your power to give us a little fashion magic.  And you love us.  xoxo

P.S.  It matches my curling iron.  Which is an entirely different brand all together.

Posted in Brothers, Christmas, Holidays, Mom, The Husband

Christmas Lying


when you're not looking
when you’re not looking

We never did the whole ‘Santa thing’.  Different reasons for different seasons.  The Dark Ages gave us the “Santa is Satan spelled wrong” Era.  In the next era, upon my adoption at the age of 16, all we needed was love, and hence, the obsoleteness of the jolly ol’ creepster.

What we do have is Mom.  And Christmas magic.  Because we have Mom.  She has more Christmas Spirit than the North Pole full of elves.  She has the gift of preservation of holiday wonder.  She almost always finds a way to get us what we want, even if she has to scheme and connive to do so.  And completely baffle us in regards what we’re even getting.

One year, Evan stumbled across a brilliant idea.  Google the weight and dimension of various desired electronic items.  Measure the wrapped gifts under the tree.   Heft said present from hand to hand in an attempt to guess the weight.  She fired back, of course.

They are all wrapped in different wrapping, each one a throwback to brown paper wrapping with a variance.  Tied with red, green, or brown raffia.  Christmas Jammies, a Christmas Eve tradition, are marked in a secret manner which only she knows the code for.

If an item in question is a “big-ticket” item, it is disguised in some way.  It will either be wrapped inside a much larger box, or a box of significantly odd dimensions, and weighted evenly with things lying around the house, or paired with something whose shape will throw off the scent.  If all else fails, Christmas lying kicks in.

Christmas lying involves dropping fake hints.  Purposely ‘accidentally’ slipping in reference to what one child or another is receiving.  Round-about mentioning of vague requests for things.  Feigned ignorance.  A general command to stop prying and go get back to your chores.  Since it is Christmas, we take it all in good fun and attempt to outwit the wizard of Christmas magic.  As far as I am aware, she has not been outdone or one-upped.

I have been watching and learning.

This was my reward.

 

the glorious?
iPad for jim, What?!

It sat under my tree since Thanksgiving.  In a 24x24x24″ Diapers.com box.

This smile does not happen often.  Yet here it is.

Go me.