Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have discovered two websites this Christmas that are helping me change the way I think about Christmas gifts. I'm trying to focus more on the act of giving, and less on the shopping and the money spent and the quantity of gifts per person. I'd like to share them with you during this Christmas of deep economic turmoil in the hopes that you can also benefit from them.
The other site, Paperback Swap is one I've mentioned before, but a deal like this bears repeating. It's almost like an online neighbor with exactly your taste in books. You give him your books and he gives you his! The way it works.... You post books on your profile that you are looking to get rid of. They have a database of ISBN numbers that pulls up a cover photo, so you don't even have to worry about uploading pics of the book. When a member requests a book that you've posted, you print out a pre-addressed label, wrap the book and ship it out (average shipping cost for me has been right around $2). When the member receives the book, they comment and you are awarded a PBS "point" that allows you to request a book from another member. You begin your membership by posting ten books to receive some initial points (I think you might get three points to start with?). Here's one of Judah's Christmas books; as you can see, in mint condition.
As an added bonus, both of these methods of gathering gifts for my kids include recycling, in some way, products that have already been purchased and enjoyed by others. Things that might otherwise get tossed in the trash, or shoved to the back of the shelf and forgotten about.
To read some other hints and tips-- seasonal and otherwise-- check out Works For Me Wednesday at the Rocks In My Dryer blog.
PS. I'm not including any info or pics of Sofi's gifts because I simply don't trust the little bugger not to find out about it. She takes after her daddy...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Every year we drive over to Singer's Glen to the Heartland Christmas tree farm.
Somewhere hidden among the pines is a rare tree that bears fresh candy canes-- the best you've ever tasted!
Ah-ha! We have discovered it!
The reason I didn't film the whole trip back to the car is that they rescued us half-way back with an ATV and a trailer.
In the old creamery, there's another magic tree. This one grows ornaments for children to pick and take home.
And then, after a few false starts...
We got our Christmas card picture taken on the old sleigh!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Shoppers wandered happily through the center square...
... calling out the occasional friendly greeting to their neighbors.
Little did they know what waited in store for their happy town.
I will spare you scenes of the attack, but view below the Christmas Carnage that met the eyes of passing strangers the next morning!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Let me enlighten you. I am one of those people who goes hog-wild on a project, whips myself into a frenzy and then collapses from total exhaustion at the end. Moderation is just not one of my strong points. That is what I have J for. He has moderation. I have inspiration. So. Every Christmas, as soon as Thanksgiving is respectably behind us (like by one or two days), I start dragging out the Christmas Stuff. The lights, the wreaths, the greenery, the music, the movies, the food, planning parties, buying presents... And I go on this Christmas binge for, like, two weeks. So that puts us just barely into Dec, right? And then I totally burn out. I'm sick of it all! And it's still three more weeks till the actual day! Stupid, right?
But this year, because our whole celebration of Christmas is centered around Advent, all of a sudden, I find myself paced. Slowed down. Regulated. Wow! A whole new world has opened up to me. Now I have moderation forced upon me! And it is sweet, sweet. I find myself anticipating each new week as we light the next candle, read the next Scripture passage, contemplate a new aspect of Christ's gift to Man. Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. Each week we are adding something to our decorations. The tree is up, the lights are up, but no ornaments, nothing outside the house, no food, some presents are purchased, but none are wrapped. That will come, in time. I can wait. I'm enjoying the journey this year.
We. as a family, are walking slowly toward Bethlehem to Worship Christ, the Newborn King.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
We're watching Prince Caspian with Sofi this weekend. She went to bed halfway through and J and I stayed up to finish it-- even though we know we'll be woken at 6 sharp to finish it during breakfast tomorrow morning (the downside of having Family Movie Night on Friday nights is that we lose our Sat morning sleep-in time...) We just couldn't turn it off. Not that the movie itself is so riveting-- we spent a large portion of it moaning about how much better the book was. But these stories have always held for me a fascination unlike any other literature I've ever read. Although Tolkein's works run a close second. Every time I read/watch I uncover layer upon layer of meaning and teaching in them.
This time in particular I was struck by the final scene, when Peter reveals that Aslan has told him that he and Susan will not be returning to Narnia again. He says (in the movie-- can't remember exactly how the scene goes in the books) "we've learned what we can here and now we must go back". Then we see them walk through the doorway in the bright castle courtyard back onto the station platform in London. And there was this contrast I'd never noticed before. In Narnia there are epic battles and nobles Lords and Ladies and thousands of years of history during which they (the four Children) been revered as heroes and heroines. And in London there's fog and rain and soot and smells and loud trains. And they're kids. Just normal, ordinary kids. Wow. How just like life that is. We have our short moments where the veil seems to lift for a moment, like when we find our true loves, when our children are born and other times when God reveals Himself in unique ways. And then we must go back to Life. Ordinary Life. The long stretches of smog, smoke and smells in between those glimpses of glory. And yet those short glimpses give us hope that there is more to all this, more to hope for, something to long for.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Exactly what I tell myself on a monthly basis-- a good motto for life. This is coming from the child who, at age two, when asked what she wanted form life, thought about it for about five seconds and then said, briskly and with confidence;
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This year our family ditched us for the holiday and this is how our day went at home (and did I mention that this is the first year I've ever cooked a turkey?)
2:00 AM Sofi wakes crying that her ears hurt and her throat hurts and she can't sleep.
2:30 AM Jeremiah gets home from "guys night"
5:45 AM Judah wakes, coughing, refuses to go back to bed.
6:30 AM after three trips into the kid's room to soothe Judah, I give in to reality and get up with him. Feed him half a banana. Have two cups of strong tea.
7:30 AM Sofi gets up, crying about her ears. Eats some toast. Listens to Redwall.
Note theme of militant, fierce mouse.
Judah bounces off the walls in accompaniment.
(video actually from earlier in the week, but adequately represents the situation)
I discover that the frozen turkey I bought yesterday is supposed to thaw in the fridge-- for 3 to 6 DAYS. (remember, first time ever to make a turkey...) I take out some aggression and frustration on the kitchen door.
(just kidding, we're scraping it to paint it this weekend, but it came in handy)
8:00 AM Not to worry. There is an emergency protocol that involves soaking the carcass in cold water for several hours. Apparently there are lots of people who don't read directions beFORE they begin a project.
10:00 AM We wake Jeremiah up so he can take the kids for a bit so I can make our sleeping-in-late-brunch. He begins working on cleaning the stove on the back porch. I drink two cups of coffee (do not judge me for my excessive caffeine consumption--there is a time and a place to caffeinate and this, my friends, was It)
11:30 AM I treat Sofi's ears with Faith's magic onion trick. She cries, but perseveres.
12:00 The kids go down for naps. I finally finish washing breakfast dishes in one half of the sink while the turkey is soaking in the other half. Drying dishes are piled high all across the counter.
2:00 The turkey is finally thawed and ready for the oven. We decided that since we haven't heard back from our family, none of them will be coming at all. I put the thirteen pound turkey into the oven. Thirteen pounds. Thirteen pounds of turkey-- two adults, two children. You do the math. We gonna be eatin' lotsa turkey 'round here...
2:30 Praise God, I finally get a shower and out of my pajamas!
3:00-- 5:30 Frantically cooking, drying hair, applying makeup, treating Sofi's ears a second time and as if that weren't enough, as if to add insult to injury...
A MOUSE RUNS RIGHT ACROSS MY FOOT AND UNDER THE STOVE!
I did, of course, scream and jump across the room nearly giving a heart attack to J-- who assumed from the magnitude of my reaction that at the very least one of the children had burst into flames. But after six solid hours of Redwall, can you blame me?
5:15 The turkey is ready,
I slap on a little mascara and some concealer. (the pics are gonna be on the internets for the whole world to see, folks, cut me a little slack here)
5:40 After fending off the starving kids with raisins, cheese and bits of bread for over an hour:
we finally sat down to eat.
And later that night, after the kids were in bed and we'd gotten outside the better part of a bottle of Chiraz, we had brownies and ice cream for desert. I forgot to get a picture, but it tasted like this:
Not that we don't have a lot of things to be thankful for. I'll get to that. I'm just indulging in a little Humor Therapy.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Red Tent is basically one of those books that takes an obscure Old Testament story and fleshes it out into a novel-length saga, usually including all kinds of totally unbelievable crap that in no way represent a character or environment of anything BC. IYKWIM. Which is why I usually just walk right on by. (I know, I know, I'm sure there are plenty of decent books in this genre. I just haven't run into enough of them.)
But in this case, it was different. It wasn't even the plot, writing or characterization. It was the theme of sisterhood among the women of a tribe that touched a nerve for me. Only three years married, with a young baby, in a new town, large church, no friends; I hate to be dramatic (ha, ha, you say...) but that book really changed my life. It spoke to a need in my life that I wasn't sure was legitimate-- the need for the friendship of other women. It felt almost like a betrayal of the wonderful relationship I have with my husband to admit that there was something more that I needed.
But I've learned since then that men need women and women need men, but women also need other women. I think this never occurred to me before in part because I grew up with a built-in sisterhood-- biological in nature. I never felt a lack, so I never realized a need.
God has brought some interesting reading to my attention in the last few years on this whole idea of a community of women supporting one another in their endeavors to be Godly women/wives/mothers. One website in particular has been inspirational lately; The Suburban CEO. Specifically, the article Then vs Now, which is a quick overview of the unnatural position in which SAH moms find themselves in today's society of individualism and isolation. I highly recommend that you read through the majority of the website-- or at the least, the identification and replacement of The Five Missing Pieces. If you are a young mom, feeling somewhat overwhelmed and under appreciated, you will find validation and solutions within these articles.
The truth is, being a SAHM is tough. Really tough. Like Jesse "The Body" Ventura tough. ;) And doing it alone makes it even tougher. But with a network of encouraging, likeminded mothers-- and some basic goals and organization-- it can be so very rewarding.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
So, I've discovered that my super power is Blogging!! Moms are a huuuuge market share in this country, and when we band together to support something we believe in, people (read; CEOs) sit up and take notice. So I would challenge you to speak out! Blog about what you care about. Don't worry that you don't have a large enough readership to matter. I don't, but I intend to badger some people who do about an issue that's on my heart this week and see what might happen. The days of the empowered consumer are here!
Here's the link to my Issue. A woman in Texas and her husband were arrested and their children removed to foster care after pics of her breastfeeding (and of the children in the bath) were reported to local authorities by Eckerd's photo developing service as "child pornography". The children have yet to be returned to their parents, despite the case being thrown out of court for lack of evidence. The parents and children are being subjected to all kinds of psych evaluation and "group treatment for sexual issues" (did I mention that the kids are one and four??). Dear God, what is this country coming to!!
This totally dwarfs the whole Facebook bans pics of bf-ing thingy. In addition to blogging about it myself and begging bigger bloggers to help too (sounds like a Dr Seuss book...), I'm going to research what else can be done. Ie; letters to congressmen or others in power and I don't know yet what all else. If any of you have any ideas after reading the link, please let me know.