Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fun with our Friends

Click to play Winter+Fun

The pictures speak for themselves. We had a wonderful time at our friend's house. They go all out when they decorate. (Think Christmas Vacation). The outside of the home is complete with a snow blowing machine, lights enough to power a small city, and a fire pit. The hospitality in this home is unmatched: drinks, food, cookies, you name it. There was music playing and we even danced like we were at a night club. The house is on a culd-e-sac so there was a constant parade of cars and pedestrians to come and see this real life Chevy Chase house. Still we danced shamelessly, our kids gave away freshly decorated cookies, and we laughed a lot. Although there are many good memories of the evening, the highlight was when my youngest daughter pointed out to the head of their household, Richard, that despite his attempts at dressing himself that morning, his crack was showing. Yes, my sweet little Courtney actually told our host, "Excuse me, but your crack is showing." Then she skipped on to make more mischief. In her defense, it was showing, but he was busily creating hot chocolate and apple cider for his demanding guests. He had just temporarily forgotten about his pajama pants creeping their way down his posterior. The rest of us chose to ignore it, maybe mention it later perhaps. But not Courtney. The situation needed to be rectified. Just when I thought I couldn't be any prouder.
These are some of the easiest people in the world to be around. We don't have many couple friends...mostly because Steve is not a big social person....but these people take us, and any one else for that matter, as we are and make us feel like honored guests. I don't know how they do it. But I wish I had some of what they have and give out so willingly.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Greatest Discovery

Yesterday I discovered Puff kleenex with Vix vapor rub inside. It is the greatest invention ever. So now blowing my nose during this cold that will not quit is a joy and a pleasure. Thanks Puffs for being so innovative.

I Need a Fan

Sometimes I feel like I am at the end of my rope. The rope I so tightly hang onto is the rope that represents my life: my children, my husband, my household, my family, my friends, my extracurricular activities, my church.... This particular rope has gotten thicker through the years. When I was a kid it didn't seem like such an accomplishment to keep holding on from day to day. But these days, holding on seems to take a little bit more effort and determination. Steve is always trying to get me to go to bed earlier at night. But my response is always, "As soon as I hit the pillow, everything starts over again." I much prefer to fall asleep watching TV, be startled awake by the TIVO telling me the show is over and drag myself to my second sleep in my comfy bed. It probably sounds strange to some, but to you mothers you know exactly what I mean.

Before I go much further I would like to clarify, that I know I am blessed. I have much to be thankful for. That's what makes holding onto this rope so frustrating sometimes. I know things are really good in my life...why do I feel so frazzled?

As I ponder these types of questions I realize this one thing. I need a fan. No, not an extra cooling device in my house that collects dust in order to give my black coffee drinker something to talk about. No, I need a fan. Yes, I am that needy. I have been reading a book about a guy who is a big time celebrity and he has fans everywhere he turns, cheering him on, telling him how much they love him, and how great he is. It is annoying to him. It sounds thrilling to me.

Last night my mechanic told me that Steve is lucky to have me as a wife. The reason for this great compliment was, my mechanic knows I take care of the cars in the household. I brought in Steve's car for an oil change and the oil tank was a quart and a half low. I remind Steve to check it because it is an old car. But there is no time for such silliness in his life. So I, about every three months, toss and turn at night wondering if the oil needs to be changed or filled in his car. After about a week of wondering, I call my wonderful mechanic, bring the car in, and always it is just in time. This was the greatest compliment I have received in a long time. I almost asked my 55 year old mechanic to marry me. (Just kidding...kind really I am...mostly).

I think I'm not the only one who needs a fan. I bet everyone, at one time or another, feels like they wish someone was on the sidelines of their life cheering them on embarrassingly loud. So if you think about that today, maybe someone in your life needs you to be their fan. I bet someone has come to your mind already. Be their fan!! It's Christmas for crying out loud!!

Here are the people I am so proud of :
JP-Keep going. You are a great mom!!
LMB- You are an amazing wife and mother. Your sweet spirit and patience is something I wish I could emulate.
TJC- You are just wonderful!! You have such a gentleness about you. Your family is lucky to have you.
Dad- Someday I hope to be just like you. Keep praying for really works. Your steadiness in dealing with life's challenges is amazing.
Mom- I'm your biggest fan. I don't know how you've done it all. And you've done it all well.
JRG- The hardest working mom I know. You are amazing.
JRS-Don't ever quit all you do to help other people. It is a quality many don't possess. I'm proud to know you.
SCM- You are the hardest working man in the world. You have four girls who are your biggest fans.
KAS- One of the greatest examples of true friendship I have ever known. Your compassion for others is a gift...never change.
JN- You are a pillar of strength in the face of many adversities. I admire your dedication to your family, to your classroom full of junior highers and your loyalty to your friends.

...and by the way...Jesus is that fan standing on the sidelines cheering embarrassingly loud. Sometimes we just forget to listen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Here is Something I am Realizing

Friendship is really important to me. I am starting to wonder if it is too important to me, or more important to me than it is to the people I call friends. I am very thankful for my friends. In fact, my really good friends are the ones that know the worst about me and still return my calls (or e-mails). There are those people who I still call friend, who I am pretty sure no longer call me friend. (That is sad). These kind of things make me wonder about my personality flaws that maybe I am unaware of. Sometimes I talk too much...this is true. I think I may be annoying sometimes too. I'm not sure why I'm thinking about this stuff on such a beautiful rainy morning...but I thought I'd share.

I am done with my Christmas shopping. Now the drudgery begins of wrapping. I really loathe wrapping presents. There are probably many of you who have received gifts from me, still in the shopping bag from which it came. I probably hate wrapping because I am not good at it at all. My sister Julie is a pro. You would not believe that she doesn't do it for a living if you ever receive a gift from her. The corners lay flat; the tape is symmetrical on all of the seams; it is a work of art every time. When I wrap gifts I get comments like, "Oh you let Courtney help you wrap." or "Nice try Jenn, nice try." Or "I guess we can't save this wrapping paper for use next year." Truthfully, I just don't have the patience to wrap presents well. It is a time consuming, tedious event, that just never fits well into my schedule. It seems I can never find all the materials at once. Usually the item I am missing is a pair of ADULT scissors. So after turning the house upside down looking for one of the three pairs I have, I resort to using the kids crayola brand plastic scissors. So my would be straight edge turns into a zig-zag fringed edge. Since my kids love to tape things everywhere, the must have item of scotch tape is also elusive. Because of this I have to get creative and use a glue stick or black electric tape (i think my brother-in-law Rich, has a supply of this just in case). I have to wait for the kids to be asleep for another thing, and by the time that time rolls around, I am ready to stare mindlessly at the TV. I have had all of my gifts bought for 1 week now and not one of them is wrapped yet. I even bought nice, new wrapping paper this year, know exactly where the scissors are (in with the toothbrushes of course) and have horded two rolls of scotch tape for just such an occasion. So with all my excuses gone I still have not wrapped a single gift. Instead I am sitting here blogging, which I find very cathartic and much easier on my mental stamina.

Two good things that have happened:
1. I actually went out on a date with my husband. We met two friends we hadn't seen in a long time and had dinner. One was Steve's room mate, John, from college and it is always fun for me to see Steve interact with people that are like him and just enjoy being around him. They had a great time debating and challenging each other's concept of who God is. John's wife Laurie is one of the most genuinely nice people I know. She is the type that you can go months without having contact with and then get together and it is like no time has passed.

2. I saw the movie I am Legend. I mention this as good, because it has been a long time since I have seen a grown-up movie. The movie itself was definitely riveting, but.... Well it was a grown up movie so you will get no complaints here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What the Elf?

Instead of homeschooling today we decided to dress ourselves up as elves. Education comes in many shapes, sizes, and songs.

Or the lighter side of my beloved:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Money and Marriage

I read a survey not too long ago that said the #1 cause of divorce among couples is finances. I thought to myself, how could people be so surface as to throw away a best friend over money. I'm starting to understand. (not that I am planning a divorce at all) I am just saying sometimes the conflict is, at its surface about money, but at its core communicates a lack of consideration for the other party. If, for example, one spouse wants something, and the other spouse is more money conscious. The money conscious spouse thinks it may not be a smart purchase at this time. The wanting spouse may take advantage of the people pleasing quality of his spouse and buy the said item anyway. Now, I am speaking completely hypothetical. Because in my marriage, all of our major decisions are marriage decisions. If we do not agree then the status quo remains. We have nothing but the most respect and appreciation for each other. There are no decisions made above or around my head. We are in complete agreement at all times. There has never been a more in sync couple.

But I did receive this letter:
Dear Funny Because Its True Writer:
My husband is a great man. However, we strongly disagree about large purchases. He has an opportunity to buy a family heirloom. But at this time we are not in a financial position to buy it. I have begged and pleaded...I think he is listening, but I'm afraid he has already made his decision. Wait...he just walked in the door...oh, he already bought it. Never mind. What do I do now?
Signed, People Pleaser

Dear People Pleaser:
Well since he has already bought said item you have two choices. Make his life miserable and take the joy out of something that he wanted badly enough that he was willing to disappoint you and make a decision that you did not agree with. Or try and share in his joy and hope the financial stuff will work itself out. I tend to lean toward making his life miserable, but being that you are a people pleaser by nature...I think you will make the right choice.
Signed: Funny Because it is True Guru

Please continue sending in your letters. I love the opportunity to share my pearls of wisdom. In the end, it is my professional opinion, that finances are a red herring that take the place of locating the real problem in any relationship.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Things that Are Not Fair

Don't worry, I will still include two good things on this blog, but I need to express some concerns about how life sometimes plays out.

As I sit here writing, I am very well aware of the fact that I should go back to bed and rest. You see, I am sick. Sore throat, head ache, body aches, stomach ache, know all the fun stuff. I would still be in bed, except for the fact that one of life's certainties is that if I get sick, one or more of my offspring will get equally sick.

As I was trying to find a comfortable spot in my bed this morning as my fever racked body tried to get warm, I hear, "Mom...." I of course ignore it because...well, I'm tired. Then I hear a more desperate "Mom...." To which Steve yells a loving, "Go to sleep. Leave your mom alone." Then I hear the dreaded words, "Mom...I'm throwing up." Music to my ears....a tune that I wish I could play over and over. So I immediately forgot about the sickness ravaging my body and jump up to thwart any additional messes caused from the inside contents of my child's stomach. As I quickly move to her room, the fact that I sprung out of bed so quickly does something exciting and new to my blood pressure and I crashed into the door jam of said child's room. Ouch. But I still persevered toward the goal of comforting and cleaning my child. Of course when I get in the room there are small pieces of toys awaiting to pierce my bare feet, but I am oblivious to that pain since my shoulder is mirroring the throbbing pain going on in my head. The smell I am accosted with sends me immediately into my own rendition of "dry heaving." That's when I see my poor little Kayci Bean, doubled over, hair matted to her pale little face, crying, and asking if I can hold her. I of course ask the obvious question, "Where did you throw up?" She sniffs and says, "All over the place." In the dim of the room I try to locate the said throw up by gently patting the blanket. My first hand placement is right into a pile of warm squishiness. Yes, I said WARM SQUISHINESS. (I will pause here for those of you with weak stomachs).

Musical interlude..."It's the most, wonderful time, of the year.... with kids getting sick and the parents are ticked, it will be a great's the most wonderful time of the year.

So while I am cleaning up the digested contents of my middle daughter, my sweet Courtney says very impatiently, "Mom, can you get me breakfast..." Kayci says, "I'm hungry...." So after dizzily starting a very stinky load of laundry I get Courtney her breakfast...of course made her way. I give Kayci a banana and toast (Why, you may ask? She just threw up. Her stomach obviously doesn't want anything in her tummy. Well, I'm just not that smart.) So I give her a banana and toast and within 5 minutes she throws up again all over the couch. She did get some of it in a bowl I gave her, but most of it...not so much.

So now Kayci is snuggled up on the couch, watching the latest episode of Magic School Bus. Courtney is fed, snuggled up on the other end of the couch, waiting for her turn with the vile virus called the flu. I haven't heard too much from Haley this morning. Hopefully she is still sleeping. I sit at this computer expressing my frustration at how unfair it is that I have to be sick at the same time my kids are. Because truthfully, I don't feel like taking care of anyone right now. I want to stay in my pajamas all day and drink tea and read/sleep. Doesn't it sound wonderful? But alas, it is not to be. I have a friend who was just recently sick and he got to spend two glorious days in bed. Now I am sorry, of course, that he was sick, but I actually hate him just a little, because he really doesn't know how lucky he is to have been able to sleep off his illness in uninterrupted bliss.

So onto my two good things:
1. I had an amazing time with my college friends this past weekend. We haven't seen each other in a year, but as always it is like no time has passed. They are some of the most fun people I know. We laughed and laughed. I am so thankful to have friends that I can just be me with and not worry about anything at all.

2. Our dog Faith had her adoption/birthday celebration yesterday. I am so glad we have her. I am so glad she has not jumped the fence once. And I am so thankful that she is alive.

Uh oh....Haley is calling.

Nope...false alarm, Kayci is throwing up again.