Saturday, November 29, 2014

December To-dos (Christmas Countdown)

I have quite the list of goals for next month. One of my big ones was to complete a Christmas countdown project by December 1st. I'm so excited to have checked that one off the list today.
There are twenty five bags and each will contain a Bible verse, a "do something nice for someone" goal for the day, and a piece of candy (a Hershey's hug). Some of the bags, maybe five or six will have a small toy, or Christmas craft, or stickers in them. At present the bags are empty. I'll fill one each night after little Abe falls asleep. I didn't want them to be too heavy and it will be nice for me to be able to decide on the "do something nice for someone" goal the night before.

Some of the nice goals I have thought of so far for him are: bring cookies to the neighbor, make Grammy an I love you card, give daddy a giant hug, help mommy clean something up, give piggy bank coins to the Salvation Army red bucket, invite the cousins over so aunt Amanda can have alone time, pick out a gift from the dollar store for a friend (with is piggy bank money), read a story to mommy... I'm excited!

I've checked and the bags are not getting hot from the lights but I've purposed to not having the lights on for longer than 30 minutes at a time and we won't have them on when we leave the house.

Yay, one Christmas goal done!!!

Our Tree

No we didn't put up the Christmas tree yet. But our Thanksgiving tree craft is finished. It saddens me to think of taking it down now. It was really a lot of fun and I love the way it looks too.

This year we (and that mostly means little Abe) decided that we are thankful for the following:

Along with nine leaves with names of family members,
two leaves with names of friends,
one bunch of leaves with our pet's names,
we're thankful for God,
toy cars,
giants (I told him this was not relevant but he insisted),
Peppie and Bay (the real ponies that he rides),
our home,
our jobs (this was added by me),
Mike, his horse, and castle (his favorite toys right now),
Caillou (his all time favorite television show),
our country (also added by me),
shoveling snow (he loves shoveling snow),
garbage trucks (he also loves watching the garbage trucks on garbage day),
drums and guitars.

This is really going to be a fun tradition and we are very thankful.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I'd planned several different posts this year in my head leading up to Thanksgiving, one of my very favorite holidays. I wanted to do a few posts about things I have much to be thankful for, a post about the first Thanksgiving, one about President George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation, and one about blogs I'm thankful for... Thanksgiving 2014 has come and gone and I ended up posting a "thank-you for my home" and a few "Thanksgiving tree" posts. Needless to say I did not live up to my expectations.

Normally my little family and I will attend a Thanksgiving feast at a relative's house but I always make a traditional feast for just us as well (a few days before or after). I think our little feast is one of the reasons I love the holiday so much. I don't enjoy entertaining. There's something about the drama of it all (there are some very colorful people in the family), the expectations, and never being able to meet those expectations that makes entertaining very, um, not enjoyable for me. (I do like to think I'm "practicing" each year for someday though) But I love to cook, and I LOVE to bake, and eating is one of my absolute favorite past times. Our little feast is heavenly each year. This year I didn't make one single thing. We just didn't have the funds in the budget to get a turkey, even a small one, and all the fun baking supplies for a decadent pie or a luscious cheese cake. I very wisely accepted fact and didn't try to scramble to make my Thanksgiving meal.

I'm a tiny bit saddened by these little let downs but mostly I'm just thankful. I'll most likely make our little feast next year. We had a nice meal at my in laws (although my mom in law cannot cook... she tried) and no one tackled anyone, no cuts or bruises arose, the kids had a ton of fun together, and I didn't have to leave early due to an excessive amount of profanity being exposed to my little one's ears. This evening we'll head over to my sister's house for a second feast. I couldn't ask for more. This Thanksgiving was a total success and I have more than could ever be mentioned to be thankful for. I hope everyone who celebrates had a more than worthy Thanksgiving this year as well.

I leave you with an excerpt from President George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. For some reason every year when I read this it just makes me smile so much:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor… Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next (1789) to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
All glory to God! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Magical Powers (or lack there of)

I'm pretty sure that somewhere in my subconscious I believe I have magic powers and a fabulous magic wand that I can wave to make all of my dreams and schemes and elaborate projects I've stashed in my imagination come to life in a blink and a wink and without as much effort as they really will take.

I will not get stressed about Christmas this year, I will not get stressed about Christmas this year, I will not... meanwhile I'm almost half way through my enormous Christmas card project, there's a small child's quilt (or three, I told you I was ambitious), a fleece stuffed penguin, an alphabet picture book (which didn't seem like it would take as much time as it's taking), the rest of the Christmas cards, a hand made frame, lots of baking, an advent calendar, a family tree craft, a starfish shaped pillow with some intricate painting involved, and... oh my I can't even list everything I'm in the process of dreaming up, starting and working on. Time and especially time management are issues BUT Christmas is going to be spectacular no matter.

Fortunately I have most of the materials needed for these schemes...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

15 / 60

I'm a bit behind on the Christmas card making but I think it's coming along well. My cards have slightly evolved. I'm really enjoying making them even if I may be spending an absurd amount of time doing so. Every new card I make is my favorite yet. That helps keep me motivated. I have about three versions now that I really like. This is one of the three.

I'm using buttons from my Grandmother's button tin that I've had in my basement for several years now. So I've included a little note on the back of each card letting people know that my Grandmother has had a part in this year's holiday greeting.

At present I'm using old buttons, a stock pile of thread and scrap booking paper, I have at least 15 blank white cards and envelopes and I've purchased 50 more for only $9.99. Each card this Christmas should end up costing me about 70 cents and that includes the postage stamp. I think I've done quite well. I'm not factoring in the postage for the buttons that will be traveling to the UK, Sweden, and the Philippines so that might boost the average a few cents per card. Still, that's a lot cheaper than buying boxed cards at the store. Yay!

Along the same lines, I've sent out only one Thanksgiving note thus far but I'll be getting more out this week. AND I've received one Thanksgiving card this year :) It absolutely made my day and it traveled quite far to reach me, it crossed an ocean in fact and was sent by someone who doesn't even celebrate Thanksgiving. How absolutely delighted I am! Thank-you my friend :-)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thanksgiving Tree

Our tree is really coming along. I think my favorite leaf up there so far is "pickles." My little guy really loves pickles (and popsicles, that's up there too).

There's so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our Home

A Thanksgiving Post

I'm thankful for the way the raindrops "tink" on the tin siding. When we first moved in the unfamiliar sound was a bit annoying but I've grown quite fond of it over the years. It's rather musical now; it's the music the rain makes.

I'm thankful for how the living room and dining room open into each other so that my little boy can run laps around the main living quarters at full speed without bumping into much of anything.

I'm thankful for the family history in the walls. These walls have certainly heard their fair share of yelling but they've seen plenty of good times too and all of them shared by family; at least 70 years of Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, and well over 120 birthday celebrations. I love to hear my mother in law tell the same stories over and over again about the house, "that's the window I used to talk to the neighbor boy through, him standing at his window over there and me here at mine. We weren't supposed to talk to each other. Our parents couldn't stand one another but we always talked through our bedroom windows."

We don't renovate, redecorate, or remodel... ever. But I'm thankful for the gorgeous color of the wooden window frames and sills, baseboards, and built in cabinets throughout the house (I'm in love with the burnt honey color stain that my grandpa in law chose for them), the antique glass door knobs and the skeleton key lock still at the back door.

Our home is often messy. It's filled with a mismatch of worn eclectic furniture and linens. It would never be featured in a lovely magazine but it's warm and cozy and big (for us) and it's home.

I'm thankful for our home.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


November is here!

One of the wonderful effects of a sense of gratitude is the desire to spread the joy around.
-M.J. Ryan

For years I have considered this a month of thanks.  Thanksgiving has become my very favorite holiday because of it. I've a tradition of writing thanksgiving letters, notes, little messages on facebook to as many people as I'm able throughout the month of November. It may be selfish but I think it's just a natural by product of giving thanks, I receive more joy throughout this month in letting people know how much I'm thankful for them then I ever do at Christmas opening up gifts from under the tree.

One of my favorite parts of the tradition is myself finding out as the month progresses who I desire to thank this year. I will sometimes find the most random of people, not necessarily a best friend or my sister but a co-worker that I see once a week and speak to for maybe 5 minutes as our paths cross, some one at church who I maybe talk to once a month, or an in law that might not be at the very top of my "favorite persons" list. Truth is, there are hundreds of people in our lives and I bet if you stopped to think about each one of them there is something about them that you are thankful for.

I'd like to encourage everyone, each individual who reads this post, whether you're of the part of the planet that actually celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday or not to send at least one note of thanks to someone this month of November. Sending more than one would be fabulous!

I guarantee you that you'll receive as much from this act of kindness as the recipient of your note (although that certainly isn't the point). Joy is in the crisp autumn air. The holidays are upon us. Let us give thanks!

It is better to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Embrace the Pain (This post is honestly not about pregnancy)

I've been following a natural birth facebook group since the hospital near my house did away with the midwife program there. I chose a non-medicated birth for my son. I delivered at the hospital near my house with a midwife. The facebook page is encouraging to me in highlighting all these other woman who look at birth similarly to how I do. When I was pregnant the majority of moms I spoke to had delivered with an OB and had gotten an epidural.

The main thing that the soon to be moms post on the group page when they're getting closer to labor is requests for encouraging words on how to get through the pain. They worry they won't be able to do it. They worry they'll cave and ask for the epidural. I certainly had the same fears. I even had friends tell me that I would cave. But I didn't. I endured the pain. Like they always say "woman have been birthing babies since the beginning of time with no medicine." If you talk to a woman who doesn't want to get an epidural, who wants to experience natural child birth she is almost always so passionate about it. Sure there's fear but there is a determination like none other.

But what's the point? Why the passion? If you can get rid of the pain... The more time I've spent following the facebook group the more I'm coming to terms with pain in life and in bringing life forth being inevitable. Life is not easy. We as humans and animals, as living beings we try to make the pain go away as much as possible but sometimes we just need to go through the pain to get to the incredible blessing on the other side. Sure there are ways to ease the pain, to manage the pain, to deal with it but you still have to go through it. The mom's who end up with a natural uncomplicated delivery feel so empowered on the other side of it. Sure it hurt, BAD, but most of them will tell you it was the biggest accomplishment of their lives and they wouldn't change it for anything. That's my story. I'm so proud of the birth of my son, every single minute of it.

I say all of this because I've been feeling stuck with this blog, with my financial situation. And I use the analogy above because the recent midwifery services termination has been forefront on my mind for quite sometime. (and certainly not because I look down on woman who chose to deliver with an epidural... not in the least) I've lost a good deal of determination and passion as of late in dealing with the debt payoff. I've been operating sort of in the mentality of, "who needs the pain? I'll just try and mask it." I grew up in a debt laden family. I started my marriage charging everything or so it seems now. After the past few years of learning to be frugal and trying to walk a responsible fiscal path it is still hard a lot of the time to say no to little things that I really don't "need." Lately it's been down right impossible. But little things add up really fast!

Today I write all of this as a means of telling myself, "Embrace the pain. If there isn't money in the budget for that scrumptious dinner you've been craving then purchase something affordable (duh, right?). Stop trying to numb the pain. Put on your big girl pants and get back in it. There is something so beautiful and rewarding on the other side of doing the right thing, on the other side of the pain. Life isn't easy. Stop trying to convince yourself that it should be." Please don't read in between the lines here. It's not do are die. I'm just venting, blogging my thoughts and being really raw.

Well, I'm off to make some lists; lists of things I need to up my game on, do better with, and some ideas to get that determination back.

* This blog post has been updated about a million times now