Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just Thankful

The kids are nearly all in bed and I'm headed that way, too. But I just wanted to write about what a nice Thanksgiving I had. After reading my last post, it made me want to write something more upbeat, right away. My pies came out just fine, Todd's mom decided not to brine the turkey but did end up nearly setting in on fire. Fortunately, it only burned the underside as she turns it over halfway through the cooking time. The dinner was very good. I drove back and forth, delivering pies, children and husband at different times, then returning him home in time for him to go to work. Went back and chatted for several hours before leaving. It was a terrific group of family members (very nice people), we all get along and enjoy talking about anything. Nothing is sacred and we laughed a lot. I missed Todd being there but I'm glad I'm comfortable enough to be at ease with his family. And they seem to like me, too. Todd's Uncle Dick is especially dear to me, I realized tonight that whenever I see him and go to hug him goodbye, it's so natural for me to tell him I love him. He's been there for us many times and has treated me like a daughter since the first time I met him. A great guy and a terrific storyteller. I can always tell that I've had a fun time when my jaws hurt from laughing.

God is good. He gets me through the rough patches and blesses me with loving family and friends. Thanks, Cristina and Cate, for your friendship here. You lift me up with your encouragement and make me smile! Todd ... thanks for putting up with me these past few weeks - love you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I Don't Like November

There are times in one's life that just seem a bit too crazy. I am having one of those times.

A week ago, I had to hold my son's hand while he went through minor surgery. Ugh!! My nurse husband is usually the one to do this but since it was on a weekend, Todd was unavailable. My poor son was in quite a bit of pain which is so hard to deal with but God got us both through it. Alec is doing fine, now, and we are glad it's behind us. It's one of those things that I look back and think, "How did I ever get through that?" but I guess Moms are strong when they need to be ... or at least we hope we can be! Later that day, I was sitting with Alec and holding his hands. He had taken a pain pill and was feeling a whole lot better. I looked him in the eye and said, "You know, I would have taken that pain for you." He said, "No, Mom! But you know what? I was thinking how Jesus went through a lot more pain than I was and if He could do that, I could handle my pain." Wow! It's amazing to hear something like that from your 12 year old son! I was praying for Alec during the surgery and told him to pray, plus I was talking to him to try and distract him. I didn't know what was going through his mind but how sweet to hear these precious words. God is good.

Prior to this surgery, I was talking to my Mom and right before we said good-bye, she chimes in, "Oh, your sister is in Portland now. She's living in an apartment with her daughter and granddaughter." I was so stunned I couldn't speak. There is a lot more here than I want to write about but let's just say that I don't want my niece anywhere near my family. It took days for me not to be depressed about this. But, there's nothing I can do about it and she is 2 hours away. So, it's not a problem unless it becomes one - don't worry, right? Two days after Alec's surgery, I get an email from my sister saying that her son (still in Texas, where she moved from) is getting married Nov. 20. There was more in the email and then there was an ecard invitation to the wedding. It said not to reply unless we were attending. Call me old-fashioned but this was pretty tacky, in my opinion. And weird.

But here was a good thing that happened: Two weeks ago, I remarked that "Wouldn't it be nice if we got money in the mail?" Since then, I have received about $225.00 in the form of refunds, rebates, credits and store rewards. Hot dog!! Be careful what you wish for, I say!

And last Sunday, my mother-in-law came to borrow our camping cooler. She had told me she needed it to store food in for Thanksgiving (she's hosting quite a crowd) and, of course, she was welcome to it. Turns out she's going to brine the turkey in our cooler. Hmmm... Stay tuned on this one. We are thinking that the cooler will probably always smell like turkey. It sure doesn't make me look forward to the turkey feast. Somehow a brined turkey just sounds, well, like olives in a jar. Perhaps I'm not being adventurous enough.

So, whether you are hosting the family for Thanksgiving or lucky enough not to have so much work to do, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Please drive safely ... it's been lightly snowing on and off here so anything is possible.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just A Few Things

I've been thinking about how to motivate my middle son to read more, or at least, expand upon his rather narrow realm of reading material. I have heard/read about keeping a list of books one has read (as oppose to me, who has a list of books I'd like to read). I suggested it to the kids as a fun way to see just how much they've read. My oldest, Chad, thought it a good idea and has spent days listing all the books he's read. He's at 300+ and counting. Carmen is thinking about making a bookworm, you know, cutting out circles for each book read and making a picture of it. That would be right up her 9 year-old alley. I told Alec he could start at the end of one of our many bookshelves and read his way through it. He's thinking about that, but has finally given in and decided to make a reading book list also. Who knew? I never know what will motivate my kids toward learning and it's always a happy feeling to see something spark some interest.

Saturday night (a working night for Todd) I sat the kids down to play Careers. It's a busy boardgame that involves a lot of decisions and risk-taking. We played for over two hours until Chad reached his pre-set goals. The rest of us continued until we had each finished. We had so much fun that Alec, Carmen and I played the next day, while Chad was in town, working as an usher for a local concert. Carmen asked if any learning happened while we were playing this game and I pointed out the decision-making, etc. She always wants to know if what we are doing is something to learn from. Some people would warn me not to tell her, for if she knew, she wouldn't want to do it. This way of thinking is so wrong, I think. It really makes a mockery of kids' intelligence. Anyway, it makes Carmen happy to know she's learning!

Sunday morning, I realized that Chad needed some nicer clothes for his usher job. We had less than 2 hours, of course! The store in town didn't open until noon so we rushed over to a store across the bay and, praise the Lord, we found just what we needed. Racing back home, lunch and then out the door to where the concert was, right on time. I really felt like I earned my Mom points that day! His grandpa was playing in the concert and his grandmother was in charge of the ushers so it was extra special for him to work that day. I was very proud of him. He looked so grown up in his new clothes - one of those moments you want to remember.

Found out I have to bake three pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. Can't complain, if that's all I have to do (Todd's mom is hosting). If you've known me for more than a year, you know I hate Thanksgiving but somehow I'll get through it. I have promised myself not to wallow in sorrow this year like I have for the past few years. My dad's been gone for, what, 24 years now? I fail to understand why it seems to get harder the older I get. But since I can't ignore the holiday, for the sake of my family, I will walk through it. This is one instance in my life that age has not softened the blow.

And lastly, while the rest of the nation is either enjoying their new Republican government or lamenting "What happened?", our state has, once again, elected a governor that I did not vote for. What's worse is that he has been governor before, running two terms before the last governor (someone else I didn't vote for). That's Oregon, for you ... recycle, recycle, recycle!