Sunday, November 30, 2008

On With Christmas!

I'm a happy girl. I'm almost done shopping. And Thanksgiving is over. Bring on Christmas!

This past holiday was a rough one for me. All of November was spent being depressed for several reasons. The gray weather. The 21st anniversary of my father's death (two days after Thanksgiving). I have written about this before and I had hoped this year would be different. It wasn't. And it doesn't help much that my mother-in-law's father died on Thanksgiving as well (years and years ago). Too many reminders, know what I mean.

We always get together with Todd's family. This year brought an adorable new baby who cried through most of the dinner, a newly married happy couple (complete with slide show on computer - I cried!) though the new husband is apparently extremely allergic to dairy, and a family in the process of splitting up. The wife was there, putting on a brave face (she's tough on the outside) but did break down at one point, at least in my presence. Her teens were there, one an A-student, hard-working kid headed for college, the other a problem kid, substance abuser but getting help - he actually seemed happier than I've seen him in a long, long time. My heart goes out to this part of the family.

And then there's me, dreading this day for weeks, managed to get my kids ready (I'm learning how to handle Carmen's stubbornness when it comes to dressing nice!) and Todd even got to sleep a bit between work shifts. Yes, he had to work the day before and that night. We ate dinner, had pie and took him home to go to work. I decided to go back with the kids and we enjoyed that time but it got us home too late. I'm still tired.

God did answer my prayers, though. I enjoyed myself and laughed so much my face hurt (this is a sure sign I'm having fun). There wasn't one person there that I didn't want to see - they are all very nice people. And they like me. I'm so blessed to have married into this family. Perhaps next year I will be able to avoid the dark cloud that overshadows this holiday and focus on the blessings God has given me.

What I do look forward to is the day after Thanksgiving - shopping at our local toy store (20% off!) Alas, I slept through my alarm and didn't get there until 8:45 a.m. but perhaps it was better - the rush (all 30 people - this IS a small town!) is earlier than that so all in all, it was fine. I took the kids back later to buy gifts for each other. I have this down to a science.

So, now, we are preparing for Advent tomorrow night. It's something we all look forward to as it makes a bit of Christmas happen every evening. I'm so glad I started this tradition years ago. Carmen is really excited this year, which makes me happy. She's not always been so willing to participate - maybe this year she'll actually sing with us!

Oh, at Thanksgiving, my cousin had an Iphone (or something like that) and we were able to Google Earth to see my friend Paula's home (appleleaf) in Australia! Amazing! If only it wasn't so far away!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There Must Be A Better Way

I've been spending my evenings Christmas shopping online. It amazes me how much time this takes. Between my slow computer and looking for discounts, plus looking for a gift I can afford, it takes all evening just to do one order. Not just for my kids but also distant relatives.

So, that's what I've been doing. Blogging will have to wait.

Found any bargains lately?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kids Are Kids

Last week, I was loving homeschool. This week, Carmen is being toad-girl again. Sigh. I guess she can't help being 7 and female - two totally explainable reasons for her behavior. Not that females act like toads but her yo-yo personality reminds me of myself sometimes. And I am female and all.

Our triops are nearly 2 inches long! Ugly, ugly critters! One is so bold, he jumps at anything I put into the tank (for cleaning purposes). I have read that they are blind but with three eyes, I can't help but wonder if they really do see something. The tank is really green but it's supposed to be that way. I'll be glad when this science project comes to an end. However, Carmen has taken responsibility for feeding them twice a day and that's definitely a good thing.

I love how young children are so honest about life. How they say exactly what they are thinking. Except, however, when they are talking about me. I don't want to hear what they think about how I look or what I'm doing or how I'm doing/not doing something. THAT is stinkin' annoying! And my opinionated little darlings ALL like to tell me exactly what they think. Like, way more often than I can tolerate. It's so hard to bite my tongue and let minor comments roll off my back. It's even harder to explain why certain comments may be insensitive to others. But such conversation is necessary, at times. My kids aren't always being disrespectful, just honest. Tonight, when Carmen kissed me goodnight, she said, "Your cheek feels like a blown-up balloon." I said, "Is that a good thing?" Her standard answer, "I don't know."

On the other hand, tonight as I was reading "By The Shores Of Silver Lake" (Laura Ingalls Wilder) to my younger son and daughter, I thought about how this time is not forever. I look forward to our nightly reading but I know it will end at some point. Even now, Alec doesn't always want to hear. Chad comes in and listens sometimes. Carmen is a devout listener. I would read to them forever if I could. But they will grow and change. Perhaps someday, when they are (hopefully) reading to their children, they will remember our nightly readings. I know I always will.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two Days Post-Election

It's been raining cats and dogs ... wait, that's how I started my last post.

Get used to it - it's supposed to rain for a long, long time.

That alone is reason enough to be depressed. But now I'm a depressed Republican. wah (just a little whimper).

I didn't buy anything at Boden.

I need some cheering up.

Oh, yes. God is still in control. I thought of that last night and I was just reminded of it a few minutes ago. God is still God regardless of what our country does.

I feel a bit better now. Just a bit.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On The Eve of Election Day

It's been raining cats and dogs all day. I'd love to know where that saying comes from. Well, maybe.

And the shingles are still dead.

It gives me tremendous satisfaction to look at our front lawn and not see those stinkin' shingles there. Just a semi-green lawn.

Well, I'm off to a slow start here. I'd much rather be ordering something from Boden but blogging is way cheaper.

And tomorrow is Election Day. No comment.

I did vote today, along with my husband. We had a lot of measures to discuss. A lot of nonsense, mostly. I hate those mug shots that appear in the Voter's manuals they send out. Absolutely no one looks like someone I'd want to vote for. Some of the photos even look scary. For years, there was a man who continued to run against an elected official in our area. He repeatedly lost but continued to run just for spite, I think. He always used the same photo and, geesh, if I saw him on the street, I'd run! In our small town, I probably have seen him around but we have quite a few scary individuals living here, he'd just blend in.

Which leads me to another train of thought - if you know nothing about a particular race, do you vote for the person whom you like the looks of? Oh, come on, I think more people do this than we realize. Which tells me that your campaign photo is pretty important and warrants a jacket and tie or at least a good hair cut.

And, speaking of small towns, I am always amazed at how often I see people I know, or used to know, or have met somewhere, or whom I recognize from their place of employment. Our town is 10,000 and the neighboring town that I am frequently in is close to that if not more. So, in an area of 20,000+ people, why is it so likely I see so many familar faces?

Let's take Halloween night, for example. On Halloween, we always eat at a Chinese food restaurant that we enjoy. Just after we sat down, in walks a family that I knew from swimming lessons - from 2 years ago. In fact, I think this same family was at this place last year - it must be their tradition, too. And just before we left, in walks a family that we lived next to when we first moved here - 18 years ago! The daughter is married with a toddler of her own now and we laughed at how she remembered my oldest being a toddler. All this happened within an hour, and during that time, only two other groups of people came into the banquet area we were sitting in. Small town, indeed.

Well, with the time change, it's later than I think. And it's still raining. Todd is working. I might just have time to do some Boden window shopping ...