I can never understand when adults are able to put together a list of what they want for Christmas. Since my earliest memories I have always found it difficult to name the top 10 material things that would make me happy. As I look back on this year I can't help but think that I should actually be giving a few "things" back. A few of the things I wished for – many of them in the wee hours – were nothing short of miracles and certainly nothing that could be found at Macy's.
Take last spring when the nights were long and my life seemed monotonous – I wished for Axel to successfully audition for a live theatre production. It was nothing short of amazing that my 4-year-old won a spot in the cast that would change our view and respect for each other. Montessori preschool and now all-day kindergarten could NEVER have allowed him to develop the way GREAT theatre did in just a few weeks. My pride in seeing him on stage in front of hundreds...for 14 shows could never compare to something I might find in a stocking.
During that same period of time I wished I could live somewhere that would make my life easier. I wished my kids could see less of the interstate and more of their own beds. I wished I didn't have to listen to Oliver scream in the confined space of our van EVER AGAIN. That wish was truly Christmas come early when by the seat of our pants Jahred secured a job/schedule that would change the way we saw life and our house would sell. I reconnected with an old acquaintance through her ad on a bus bench which led us to a house located between both of our parents. Santa wasn't going to get this quirky '50's house down the chimney.
I wished this summer that I could make new friends and keep the old – this is probably what I'm most thankful for – I got both – sure beats a lump of coal.
In September my deepest inner wish was to go back to work. I didn't know how or where. I had no idea what I was qualified to do but I needed out of "perma-mom." I was DONE with DIY daycare. I had two fears in going back to work: that I couldn't hack it (my clothes would be too ugly, my mind would be too lethargic from years of toddler-talk, my family would fall apart), and I feared that I would regret having stayed home because I would LOVE working so much.
Let's conclude up the last month of my "year of Christmas wishes" like this:
- Bus bench girl needed someone for marketing/admin.
- I'm hired.
- For Christmas she buys me a dress.
- My fears are crap. Balance is restored.
As I read a friends blog earlier this week about her difficulties in leaving her son at daycare and as I remember the resentment I felt towards my own 1st born for "having to" stay home I can now objectively see this: when you find the perfect balance there are no fears/no regrets. The need to regret missing my 20's is no longer there. The guilt in dropping Oliver off at daycare in not even on the radar. By taking a year to make the right changes, in the right order (although frustrating at times) I can't imagine what wrapping paper could hide for me this Christmas. I am JOY FULL.
** DISCLAIMER ** That being said – should any of the packages contain things I might like...please don't return them...did I mention my clothes are still ugly?
Below you'll find our family Christmas card (front and back). I LOVE my virtual readers and my LIVE/IN PERSON fans equally and consider this addressed just to YOU. I mean that. Happy Holidays.
Between babysitting an elf and staying 1 step ahead of our Advent Calendar – the month of December has escaped me faster than a kid with sugary contraband. We are quite literally staring down the chimney towards Christmas and I have to admit...this weekend will likely be filled with, "one more thing" and "oh forget making cookies...Cub Foods has plenty."
I would like to share with you all – however – something that has saved the "stocking stuffer" category of my list and it's something you can likely make at home with few supplies. Have a tree in your yard that needs trimming? Then you've got one of the ingredients already.
Wood slices: Any size. Think "bottom of Solo Cup" for the ideal ornament size. Can be bought at Michaels.
Paint: Orange, White, Black
Hookers: The little metal kind with a screw.
String: Strips of fabric/yarn/ribbon to hang the ornament by.
Sharpie: For being clever on the back.
What did the Fox say in 2013? Your guess is as good as mine. If you haven't seen the wildly popular YouTube video...the people on your "Gift List" most likely have and are much cooler than you. If they don't get the joke? Then they will LOVE the adorable fox hanging on their tree for years to come and the joke is between you and I.
Truth: Axel painted everything on these with the exception of the eyes and nose. If a 5-yr-old can do this (and have them for sale in a swanky gallery at that) you can most likely create a bakers dozen in about 30 minutes.
"I look just like Grandpa Moustache. Only a LOT younger," Axel tells me while riding his bike to school this morning through inches of snow.
This kid has been waiting all week Moustache Day – a "spirit day" the school earned for collection enough CARES coupons (a way to bribe kids into submission).
A big week we've had around here. My first "full" week working outside of the house, Oscar turned 8 yesterday and Oliver started going to Sheryl's Playhouse (we can't use the word daycare because Axel thinks daycare is where kids go to get punished...I may or may not have threatened that in his early childhood).
Happy Friday to you all.
I'm sure your kid is funny. Probably all the time. If my kid weren't funny I don't think parenting would be worth it. Sometimes I laugh at him, rarely I laugh with him (because he's that kind of funny...the kind that is clueless).
With fewer hours to spend with him these days (thank you school) I find his mannerisms and phrasing increasingly hilarious. Because mostly I want to document these things for myself I thought I would share just a few of Axel's most recent revelations.
"We have to be really careful not to cut a part of his body off." - In reference to his brother's first hair cut.
Not only do I love what comes out of his mouth, but his recent obsession with coloring has been quite interesting as well. A neighbor friend is collecting cards for shut-ins this Christmas and has asked kids to make a few cards to share with those less fortunate.
HerHe calls it, "Tree with Lights."
His technique may need a little revision.
The writing however is darling . . .
Did I fail to mention that Thirty Thursday is on a Holiday Hiatus? Sorry if I did. Yesterday I was completely BOOKED with not one but two booky engagements and I couldn't have been more thrilled.
A few weeks ago my darling neighbor invited me to her friend's "book launch."
"Absolutely," I promised to go...trying to figure out just how I will do the same...a book launch...in 6 months.
I had NO idea what an amazing world I would become a part of. We stayed for maybe an hour – but between the atmosphere (an antique shop), the spoken word and the local music two things became apparent to me: I AM part of this world and I CAN do this!
"More That A Story." That's the book, co-written (sounds like such a unique experience) by Henry Graf and Dani Tietjen. Dani lives locally in Minneapolis and Henry resides in Indiana. I'm not far enough into the book to offer a review or much insight, but here are a few words the jumped off the page...as if they were in my very own manuscript.
"Stories have power. They hold the ability to influence people and change lives. The stories we live make up the very fabric of our existence. Too often we miss out on the simple truths found in ordinary stories while we search for the larger, more exciting story. We wrote this book because we believe in the importance of training ourselves to see the depth and truth hidden in common, everyday stories."
Congratulations to Dani and Henry. Your night was magical. Your book I cannot wait to digest and your spirits were uplifting.
Follow them here:
This is big for us. We haven't smelled pine from anything other than Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine Dish Soap in...well...ever. That's why we didn't take the decision to pluck a tree from the forest lightly.
When we moved into our short little rambler it became apparent (as we moved the 4 enormous garbage bags that held our Christmas tree) that our 10ft plastic gem would no longer fit underneath our roof.
We loved that tree like others before it – the 7ft sparse tree (that was lost in a previous move...still no idea where it ended up) the tinfoil tree (which we erected in our apartment) and the non-existant tree which we imagined for several years (saving a buck). Yes, the 10 footer had to go.
We bought our last fake tree at a thrift store for a total of $20. Total revenue from the sale of it on Craigslist last month – $40. Profit – $20. Budget to buy this years tree – $20.
Spending only $20 on a REAL tree proved to be a task. Those suckers are expensive! Upon recommendation from the neighborhood we decided to take our chances at ACE hardware right here in Arden Hills. Not the "pick your own" experience I remember as a kid, but within 2 miles of home, within our budget, and the result...exactly the same.
Ok, so we ended up spending $25 on a 7.5ft Balsam Fir. Not too shabby.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
And because I GREW HIM...I made him pose like this:
NEW - I'm searchable!
Grab my button: