It's that time of year again--my most favorite day of the year. I love Christmas. Well, I guess what I really love is the anticipation. Christmas Day is always a little melancholy for me--the season is over and the spirit that exists so abundantly between Thanksgiving and Christmas becomes something that I have to search for the remaining 11 months of the year.
It has been a wonderful but hard year in many ways. I am ever grateful for the peace of the gospel. It is the only true solace in a world fraught with trials and heartache. What a blessing to end our year with the celebration of a baby boy, born to be the Savior of all mankind.
Our family continues to grow and change. It is exciting to have all of our children eagerly anticipating Santa this year. With Andrew being 7, I'm very aware that this may be the only year all of our children are old enough to understand, and young enough to believe. (One could hope he'll be slow to catch on and I can eek out another year or two!) When they are finally old enough to know, I think I may have to borrow someone else's young children. I love playing Santa--and I love the magic in their eyes when they truly believe.
So, I'm off to put the Wassail on to simmer for the night, prep the cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, and fill the stockings with care.
May you be blessed with an abundance of the Christmas spirit and the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
From our family to Yours-- "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
In case you didn't already know, I'm Mormon. And Mormons go to church a LOT. And we go to church even if the sun isn't shining, and even on weeks when it's not Christmas or Easter, and even when we should be home sick in bed. And Mormons have a lot of kids---A LOT of kids. And these kids come to church every week too--rain or shine, happy or sad, snotty or clean. At our house, this leads to a little phenomenon we call "Tuesday Morning."
You see when a bunch of kids spend two hours in close proximity with one another, and all aren't necessarily well, and they aren't keeping their hands and snot to themselves, it ineveitably leads to this phenomenon in which one such mother finds her children always turn up sick on Tuesday morning. (well 98% of the time anyway.) So this week is no different. Ava has a slight fever this morning, and when I showed Colonel Mustard she did, he replied, "Well it is Tuesday morning isn't it?"
So it is--and I guess we haven't had a "Tuesday morning" in a long time. And I won't be too upset cause her fever has already subsided, so I'm pretty assured that it's no big deal. But...if you're a Mormon mother, try my experiement. Write down on your calendar the day your kid turns up sick and see if you too don't suffer from "Tuesday Morning."
My beloved brother Kirk was blessed tonight to leave this mortal existence and pass into the arms of so many waiting on the other side.
I am grateful that his suffering is finally over. I am grateful to know that others are rejoicing this moment, as we, left in this mortal existence, grieve our temporary loss. I am so grateful to know that I will see him again someday. I am strangely grateful for this experience and how it has strengthened my testimony to know that indeed God's purposes are so much greater and wiser than my own.
I pray for his children. I was just 16 when I lost my father, so my heart is full of those same feelings of emptiness for their young tender hearts. I pray that they too will see wisdom in the Lord's ways and that this experience will strengthen them in ways that no other experience could.
My thanks to all who have prayed for our family. We are ever grateful for your faith.
Thank you Kirk for your example, your witty sense of humor, your testimony, your cute girlfriends in middle school you named me after, and most of all, just for being my brother.
We spent Thanksgiving in Kentucky with my brother and his family. The night before I was baking up a storm. While in the midst of 3 dozen cinnamon rolls, my niece parked a huge plastic roach on the dough and snuck out of the room. I'm terrified of roaches-If I go to bed without the dishes done I dream of roaches crawling in my sink. So naturally, I was freaked out and I might have squealed a little. She thought she was pretty funny.
When she returned to the kitchen I asked if my husband had put her up to that little trick.
"Yeah, he did."
"I bet he thinks he's pretty funny doesn't he?"
"No, actually he's playing with naked barbies!"
( Well at least I feel better that I can get back at him for the roach by posting his Thanksgiving activities. But....I would like to sleep in my bed tonight, so I'll be nice enough to clarify that on inspection he was helping Ava find clothes for the barbies!)
Oh...and I forgot Thanksgiving....I'm thankful...for lots and lots of stuff...I'll try to mention them in the future, but Thanksgiving is over now and I only want to talk about Christmas...and naked barbies.
I wish I had a scanner so I could put up a picture of 10 years ago today. Of course, then everyone would just say, "How did they get so old?" I am really having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Has it really been that long?
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was late to my own wedding because my brother forgot to pick me up at the salon. As we sped down the freeway I was frantic that Byron would think I had "left him at the alter." When we finally arrived, Byron (aka Colonel Mustard) was quietly sitting on the couch, and much to my relief he expressed that he wasn't worried at all--he knew I would be there. And not to disappoint him-- I've been late everywhere since!
I won't share the details of our wedding night (no one wants to hear that!) but I will say it involved a nice hotel, a hot tub, and swimming suits! Funny looking back 10 years later at how young and shy we were--and for that I am most grateful. It was the perfect foundation.
Today I can't imagine who I would be without him. He is my best friend, my confidant, my reality check, and the half that makes me whole. He is the single most important and best decision I have ever made, or will make in my life. I could never truly show my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the blessing he has given me.
Thank you Colonel Mustard, for the 10 best years of my life and three beautiful children. I love you. Here's looking forward to our 20th anniversary--and jokes about your gray, receeding hairline and our teenage kids we need to slap around!
Yesterday was the big 0-5 for Ethan!(he's so old) Five years ago, he was born at Northside Hospital in Atlanta and I never dreamed we'd celebrate his 5th birthday here--but we did! I do hope that 5 brings a little more cooperative Ethan to our house. He's been a little off his rocker the past month or so. I keep telling him to tell that bad Ethan to go away and bring back nice Ethan. He says he can't find nice Ethan. We'll hope "one year older and wiser too," can help us find nice Ethan again--soon!
He really is such a fun kid. His personality is so different from anyone else in the family...and he has a great accent of unknown origins that entertains us a lot. He's really gotten a handle on reading and writing this year and sometimes even tries to write his own notes to people--that's funny too! He truly loves others and is always worried about how someone else is feeling. Even in picking birthday treats to take to school, Ethan was only worried that the little boy who "cries a lot and gets sad notes home," would like what he brought and be happy. (insert audience "Ahwwwwwwww")
Now for some birthday pictures.
Birthday Balloons (always in their room when they wake up on their Birthday)
Ethan's Pirate Ship cake- I'm a really terrible photographer.
Lighting the "cannons"
Opening the presents.
Happy Birthday Buddy! We love you, and we are so happy to have Nice Ethan in our family!
Random combination I know, but our day started with the former and ended with the latter. Ava's scope last week was clean! Yeah!!! So, for the next couple of months we are trialing corn!
We left the doctor's office and went and got kettlecorn. Yum! I think we'll have corn on the cob for dinner and grits for breakfast--just because it's so much fun to eat corn. and let's throw in a little corn syrup for the fun of it. Maybe I'll feed it to her straight out of the bottle...just beacause I can! (Let's hope it doesn't backfire on me).
In 2-3 months she'll be scoped again and if it's clean--we get to keep corn! Corn,corn, corn!! I never knew I could get so excited about corn! I just want to say corn!
Well...that was annoying wasn't it?
So on to my non-frugal spending this week. I spent $40 on a bracelet for a 2 year old. Yeah, we know how to spoil 'em don't we. Too bad it comes with a pretty red cross and is not particularly stylish. Ava's doctor was harping on me again today, so I decided I had to get it ordered. But for real--$40?? Merry Christmas Ava--Santa got you this shiny silver plaque bracelet. And by the way, you have to wear it even if you don't want to. And sorry about the doll--your stylin' new bracelet used up the budget- it'll have to wait 'til next year.
Ink a Bink? Hmmmm....... Should I vote for this idiot or that idoit? Which idiot will take less of my money and misappropriate it for the bureaucratic nightmare we call government? I love election day.
I've been remiss in in keeping up on my blog, but it's not really my fault. My computer crashed--piece of junk. I'm borrowing an even bigger piece of junk from work until I can get a new one. I finally got tired of not updating my blog and pictures, so I stole Colonel Mustard's laptop and downloaded on it-- I'll ask forgiveness later--he won't be happy.
So getting to the point- the day after. Here are the kids in their Halloween get-ups. I am rather fond of them, but then again, I spent many hours making these costumes, so I am a little attached. (You know, like I'm attached to the kids- funny how that happens when you put a lot of time and energy into things and little people).
The Vikings (and their viking princess)--from the North Country
Aren't they scary?!! ( and a few more shots to follow cause their Momma thinks they're so cute!)
The Pumpkin carving festivities.
Andrew carved his own pumpkin this year-despite his mishap with the can last week. (sliced his finger in half) Ethan helped too and I was less nervous with a knife in his hand, than in his brother's!
Ava lovin' the pumpkin seeds.
We had a lot of fun sorting and seeing what candy was most popular this year. Reese's won! We also had some really great neighbors that had a special "treat" for Ava since she can't eat 99% of what they collected. So fun-- I love Halloween!
You ever notice how everyone wants you to take a survey about this that or the other? Just this week, I had to fill out one for the hospital. I guess they got tired of spending 5 minutes on the phone actually speaking with their patients, so they sent out an automated call and told me to go online to fill out a short survey. (it took 30 minutes). So to spite them and their automated system, I was a little less than cooperative.
Has the patient had any previous procedures? Please list the procedure, when, and where it too place. --"Yes, many--look in your file, I don't remember."
Has the patient had any previous problems with anesthesia? Please be specific. --"Yes, mostly issues with waking up."
Does the patient have any allergies to food? If yes, please list the allergy and reaction. --"A more appropriate question would be --What is she NOT allergic to?"
They haven't called to schedule her procedure yet. Me thinks they don't really want to talk to her mother--she's kind of a smart mouth.
Today, Colonel Mustard took a survey for school--and it was a whole different kind of survey--and quite enlightening.
How old are you? --"I'd rather not answer that."
Were you born in America? -- "probably not"
What is your biological gender?
--for real? Now we have to specify if we were born male, female, or hermaphrodite?
"Well now, let's see...I was born a male, but I didn't like that thing between my legs, so I had it changed...then I went through puberty, and well, you know...I didn't like that either, so I changed back! Now I think I'm a little of both, but I'm not really sure anymore"
Okay, okay, Colonel Mustard really didn't answer his survey like that....but I really wanted him too. And since he didn't take my suggestions, I think I'll use it the next time the hospital calls.
What is the patient's gender? --"Ummm....did you want to know his biological gender, or what she is now?!!"
I love when little kids start to carry on conversations with you. Ava is at that magical age where she talks, and talks, and talks some more. And most of what she says right now is really cute--and we've been enjoying it before the real talking (back talking) begins.
And in all of her talking, she has let us know she understands just who she is.
Daddy: Ava, how old are you?
Ava: I two!
Daddy: What's your name?
30 mins. later--just to see if she had a memory lapse and really does know her real name.
Daddy: Ava, how old are you?
Ava: I two!
Daddy: What's your name?
Ava: I Rella!
Well, there you have it-- you can name your kid whatever you want but they don't have to acknowledge it as their name. It's time to get ready for bed and I have to go get hmm hmm...Cinderella in her jammies!
How fast can you run a mile? To be honest I really can't run much at all anymore. When it comes to running, my body is like an 80 year old woman. I can run for a while, but inevitably, within a couple of weeks, I'm in enough pain that I have trouble sleeping. This was an acceptable side effect when I was younger, but in my wise old age, I've determined that sleep is much more valuable than a runner's high. I did get a hankering a few months ago and had to prove to myself I still had it in me. So I ran for a while, even clocked a mile on the treadmill in a little over 6 mins. once. (though I thought I may die afterward!) Not bad for a non-running old woman.
The mid-life crisis thing to do is run a marathon or triathalon or something. I will never be able to do either, so I'll have to come up with something else, something less exciting, something more fattening! And in the mean-time I'll live vicariously through my kid.
So back to my question. How fast can you run a mile? Is 7:48 a good time for the mile? Not a shabby time at all in my book. What if you were 4 feet tall and 7 years old?
Andrew was so excited to run the mile this week. They run it twice a year in school for the Presidential Physical Fitness test. His goal for himself was the mid-7's, and while I thought it was an overly lofty goal for a 7 year old, he came pretty close. Imagine what a little training would do for the kid? So I figure I may have a year or two left until he leaves me in the dust.
And for my midlife crisis I'll be eating bon-bons while I cheer him on instead.
Today I'm in need of a support group. You know, Alcoholics anonymous, Anger management, La Leche club, Weight Watchers, Drug rehab, Relief Society, Lost support group?? (I really loved that show too) But....I really don't like support groups and find them to be counter productive in many instances. Don't get me wrong- for some people, it changes their lives and I fully support something like that. This is the reason support groups were ever thought of in the first place. But now, there's a support group for everything-- most of which allow individuals to come together for a collective whine session about how and why the world has let them down.
In search of my own support this morning, I went to the Parents of Food Allergic Kids website. I guess I was seeking a little advice from parents who had been there and dealt with the same issues I had the last few weeks. What I found was pages and pages of posts from disgruntled parents who honestly believe the entire world should change and revolve around the needs of their individual child. Nice and all, but let's be realistic, not narcissistic. ( Don't even think of it--I'm copyrighting that phrase!)
So I decided to post a rant here instead. I WANT A NORMAL CHILD! I'm sick of pumping her body full of drugs. I don't like sleeping on the couch wondering if I'm going to have to take her to the ER because she can't breathe. I'm tired of cleaning up random throw up. (so is Colonel Mustard) I'm sick of carrying rice cakes everywhere I go. I'm tired of wondering what's causing her issue today. AAAAHHHHH!!!
There, I feel so much better after my temper tantrum. Now I can go on and realize that life isn't fair, nor was it ever intended to be.
And I think I'm going to start my own support group- Parents of Children who just want to Whine! Anyone is welcome. Prepare to be told, "It sucks to be you, shut-up and deal."
I love it when your kids provide you with ammunition to use against them. I imagine I'm going to need all I can get when they are teenagers...and I'm not above blackmailing my teenager--just as I'm definitely not above bribing my toddler.
There are some moments in life that are so precious and so sacred that human language cannot describe, nor the human soul fully comprehend the divinity that exists within them. No masterful poet could pen, nor gifted orator express words that would truly capture the spirit that is present in moments like these. It is a gift-- given from a loving Father to his children-- to spark their souls with a remembrance of where they have come from and where they are going. Some leave this earth without ever experiencing it, while others are blessed to receive it in small increments, in quiet moments, in times of great sadness and exquisite joy.
My family and I were blessed with such a sacred opportunity this past weekend. My mother and 12 of her 13 children were able to join Kirk and his family in his hospital room in Kentucky. He shared his beautiful testimony of the Savior with us. We were privileged to be present for tender blessings he gave to his children and his wife. We hugged, we cried, and we experienced a magnificent outpouring of love from our Father in Heaven. He loves us enough to allow us these opportunities, these hardships, these trials, these glimpses into heaven.
Thank you Kirk, for being willing to endure this trail for the many who have and will be blessed by your spirit. I am so grateful that through you, I could draw close to my Savior. I will never forget the precious moments we spent these past few days. I pray there are more of these moments for you and your family in the coming days before you make your journey home.
Ava had a long overdue appointment with her allergist today. Long over due, and FOUR hours long! And oh, Surprise! We found more allergies. Her doctor commented that she is just a exceptionally allergic child. She thinks we need a medic alert bracelet with a jump drive so that emergency personnel could be aware of her long list of issues. (Yes, she claims they do make such bracelets--and she wasn't joking)
Today they tested for environmental allergies. She is allergic to several trees, and weeds, and grasses. And she is allergic to Bermuda grass. And wouldn't you know--we have 16,000 sq. feet of.....you guessed it...Bermuda sod in our yard!
She is also allergic to several kinds of mold and all dust mites. So, please don't send her a stuffed animal. The doctor suggested we get rid of all but one. I can't bring myself to do that, so I guess I will just rotate stuffed toys in and out of the freezer. We have to wash her sheets at least once a week, no humidifiers, dust often and preferably when she's not around, and get covers for her bed. On the up side, the doctor thinks she might be a better sleeper if we take care of these things. (I have my doubts!)
She is also allergic to cats and mildly allergic to dogs--thankfully our dogs are outside only...rolling in the ragweed and Bermuda grass and chewing on an elm tree. And...she is NOT allergic to cockroaches. So glad to know that. We'll throw away all of her stuffed animals and replace them with pet cockroaches. And while I'm at it I'll put on her medic alert bracelet that she can't eat any normal healthy food, because it will likely kill her...but feel free to feed her chemicals and cockroaches because apparently, she's fine with them!
Yesterday I informed Ava that we would be leaving in a few minutes to go pick out some paint. In an effort to keep her occupied while I finished a few tasks, I told her to go get ready to go. She ran off, and 10 minutes later returned and declared, "I ready!"
And indeed she was--complete with socks, sparkly sandals (on the wrong feet of course), a necklace, a headband, a ring, another ring, and a princess sticker! Now that we're properly accessorized, we can go pick out paint. (I think she was a little annoyed that I didn't even bother to take a shower first!)
How many times a day does someone say, "HI, how are you?" And you reply back, "Fine, thank you." It's the polite thing to do. And they don't really care how you are, it's just obligatory small talk. Sometimes though, I feel like telling them the truth. How I really feel that day. How I feel every day. I just want to say, "I'm so flippin' tired I can't see straight. How are you?"
But since nobody really cares, and you're probably just as tired as I, I'll let my kids over-emphasize my point. (except for Andrew, who apparently doesn't ever get tired anywhere but his bed.)
I'm so tired, I could sleep in my bed....
And his bed.....
And his bed....
And her bed too.
I could sleep with my stuffed dog...
By the potty...
Or lookin' cool with my shades on.
I could fall asleep waiting for dinner....
With dinner in my mouth...
I could sleep hanging half off the bed.
I could sleep very lady-like.
And my favorite, hidden completely from view.
It really doesn't matter as long as I get to sleep sometime this decade. So excuse me, I'm going to bed early....so the phone can ring, a kid can start crying, a dog can begin barking, a neighbor kid can blast his stereo down the street, and an alarm clock can go off entirely too early. After all, if I get some sleep it won't be any fun when someone tomorrow asks, "How are you?"