Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Glorious Snow

We are having the most beautiful winter.

I know not everyone loves the snow, and maybe I love it more than others because I'm not required to drive in it constantly, but the beauty of a winter wonderland is captivating to me.

This was my view from the couch one day just before Christmas.

Though we have had two weeks of seriously cold temperatures, the rest of the time has been perfect for playing outside.  The kids usually want to go out to play, but if they don't volunteer, I kick them out for a while each day anyway!

I love to hear the stories of their imaginative play in the snow.  

One kind of worrisome thing is our monster icicles.  They are 8-10 feet long in some cases.  Either the roofer or the insulators didn't do their job correctly and our contractor (who was never here) didn't pick up on the mistake.  We'll have to do some mitigating when we thaw out.

You can see that our accumulation is now higher than the steps on the kitchen porch!  So awesome!

I bought six canisters of family size Hot Cocoa mix when it went on sale last week.
It won't be enough for the season.

I feel bad for my friends who are in Hawaii this week.  They are missing out on our perfect winter weather!
Of course, at this rate, it will be here waiting for them when they get back.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Staying Up Late

I have finally figured something out about myself.  I know why I stay up too late reading my books.  I will often fall asleep in the middle of a sentence, my arm cocked at an odd angle, holding the book aloft until I wake up with stiff joints from trying to stay in that position, despite sleep's desperate call.

I turn into a five year old when I am reading late at night.  I'll shake my head, change positions repeatedly, drink ice cold water, take a run to the bathroom, even hold my eyelids open sometimes in an attempt to stay awake and read just a few more minutes.

WHY in the WORLD do I do that?!

Well, I had an epiphany this morning and I now understand my motive.

Every day, I have my list of chores that must be done to keep the house running and my sanity intact.  I make my bed, unload or load the dishwasher, fold some laundry and start a new load, make breakfast and read the newspaper.  By that time, someone needs a ride or help with something.  I finish that, run in to fold the dry clothes and start another load of laundry and put something in the crock pot.  This list of chores continues, yet throughout the day, I keep thinking to myself, "I just need to finish this and then I can go read my book!"  But it doesn't work out that way.  I finish the "this" of that thought and it is time for a diaper change or a trip to the grocery store or any other number of things.  When I finally finish my chores and sit down, book in hand, to relish in the story I'd been trying to get to all day, it is late in the evening.

I sit by the fire or cuddle in my bed and read, read, read.  Ahh! Here at last!  The house is quiet, no one is demanding my time or butting into the magical moment to ask if I know where their shoes have gone or if we can buy a dog (and what breed would we get if we do buy one).  Even the three year old is sound asleep and not destroying the house.

I have to read late because I know that when I get up the next morning, I'll have to go through the whole rigmarole before I get a chance to savor the written word.

So even though I am tired in the morning and it is hard to get out of bed, I keep doing it.  I'll stay up late to read because I EARNED it . . . and I have to make the most of it before I have to start all over tomorrow.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

40 Blessed Years

And that's a wrap!  My thirties are done and I am on to my next great decade.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Little Master Mischievous

Our three year old has me in a frustrated state of parental consternation.  I am quite at a loss as to how to train up this child.  I'm not kidding when I say that I have a mental countdown until his 4th birthday, sure that the simple change in number will change the child (don't laugh).

First day of Sunbeams.

He is trouble from the moment he wakes up until the moment he finally falls asleep at night.  And even then, he's only conditionally receptive (he sometimes has night terrors and he really likes to sleep with me).  Whether it's caring for his sister's fish (feeding it the entire canister of food), drawing me a picture (on the wall), or helping with the dessert (two fistfuls of cake straight from the pan), he is constantly on a creatively destructive path.

Tonight, after he fell asleep with his arm carefully around his baby sister, I remembered an old favorite poem by Edgar Guest.  It goes like this:

Little Master Mischievous, that's the name for you; 
There's no better title that describes the things you do: 
Into something all the while where you shouldn't be, 
Prying into matters that are not for you to see; 
Little Master Mischievous, order's overthrown 
If your mother leaves you for a minute all alone. 

Little Master Mischievous, opening every door, 
Spilling books and papers round about the parlor floor, 
Scratching all the tables and marring all the chairs, 
Climbing where you shouldn't climb and tumbling down the stairs. 
How'd you get the ink well? We can never guess. 
Now the rug is ruined; so's your little dress. 

Little Master Mischievous, in the cookie jar, 
Who has ever told you where the cookies are? 
Now your sticky fingers smear the curtains white; 
You have finger-printed everything in sight. 
There's no use in scolding; when you smile that way 
You can rob of terror every word we say. 

Little Master Mischievous, that's the name for you; 
There's no better title that describes the things you do: 
Prying into corners, peering into nooks, 
Tugging table covers, tearing costly books. 
Little Master Mischievous, have your roguish way; 
Time, I know, will stop you, soon enough some day. 

If there is one thing I've learned in these 18 years of parenting, it is that the hardest parts come and go in phases.  While I'll obviously keep using every trick I can muster up to teach him, help him feel safe and loved, and avoid the serious disasters, I'm going to take a deep breath and remind myself that
"Time, I know, will stop you, soon enough some day."

Or as JM Barrie wrote it, 
"Young boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older, and then before you know it, they're grown."

I should know.  After all, I used to reference the exact same poem to this wild three year old . . . who is now on the cusp of his 18th birthday.

Four will come soon enough.  Enjoy him, Mama.
Take a deep breath, remove the sharpie/scissors/sucker/stick/gallon of juice out of his hands
and enjoy him.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Kids' Resolutions

For several years, we have made a point of sitting down with the kids on New Year's Day to review and resolve.  We read over last year's resolutions, favorite memories, hardest things and books read.  It is fun to analyze our progress and rate our success.  It is often confounding that this or that thing was so long ago or more recent than we would've guessed.

The hardest thing for this guy last year was when he was weaned.  That was just last year?!
After that, we read some of this year's favorite memories, hardest things and books read.  Then it is time to make those new resolutions.  This year, I think just about all of the children want to cook more and to learn more recipes.

Yesterday, I pulled out a sheet of paper and asked each child what they would like to learn to cook.  With as many children as we have, if everyone cooks one meal per week, I shouldn't have to ever be in charge of dinner again!  Here are some of the requests:  yeast bread followed by homemade pizza, banana bread, homemade spaghetti sauce, black bean soup, raspberry pie, chicken French bread pizza, cabbage soup, and Mexican spaghetti.  Of course, for this to work, I have to be in the kitchen to teach the children, but just knowing I don't have to come up with the menu means one less chore for me!

My new Christmas present was a 16 qt pot.  Now I can make a super large batch of soup that will feed everyone for several meals.  Cooking vacation!
And more accountability for homemade meals means I will be able to stick to my resolution of using cash and avoiding the I'll just pick something up mentality of a busy mom.  We can do it!

Spaghetti Sauce Skills

Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year

My beautiful baby, whose picture has nothing to do with my post.

I like resolutions, but not just resolutions, I like goals.  I respond to goals.  So, this year, I made a bunch of New Year's resolutions and downloaded an app with a bunch of ❤charts❤ to encourage me in keeping those resolutions.  (I thrill at charts that show progress!) And I'm off!

  • More reading (scriptures, books, aloud to my babies)
  • Less social media (only on my computer, not my phone)
  • More dating my husband (and not just running an errand together)
  • Pay cash 
  • Write more
  • Claim back my Project Mom title (stuff to build, things to create)
  • Have a stellar second (and final) 4H year with the pigs

Too much?  Probably.  But if one has high expectations, one will reach!

Happy 2017, friends! Let's get a move on!