Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Is In The Air

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have so much for which we are thankful. My sister and parents were in town (my brother just started a new job, so he didn't come down) for the holiday. That meant some fingernail painting for niece and aunt (C is named after my sister). I'm so thankful for family.
 My aunt and uncle brought my cousin's daughter up from Louisiana with them. I haven't seen my cousin's little girl since she was a toddler. She'll be four in January. C had a blast playing with her. We spent some time at the park downtown the day before Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful C had a playmate for the last couple of days.
 Thanksgiving morning I participated in our city's annual Thanksgiving Day 10K. I haven't run this race in 6 years. To be quite honest, between 2 pregnancies and some health issues, I haven't really run much at all until recently. I was glad and thankful to be out and running in the sunshine again (with 12,000 of my closest friends). Miss C ran the last .2 miles with me. She was so excited to get a finisher's sticker and kept telling everyone all day about how she "ran the marathon."
 After the race we headed to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving "lunch." We went to One Ordinary Dad's parents' house for Thanksgiving "dinner." The kiddos were worn out and definitely slept well last night.  I'm thankful for good rest.
This morning was all about Christmas. Our Elf, Buddy, returned (our Elf on the Shelf). We put up the tree. One Ordinary Dad and C went to Home Depot to get a Black Friday Christmas train on sale (our only Black Friday shopping stop).

 They also came home with a cute little penguin for our yard. I'm not normally one for giant inflatables, but we'll keep this little guy. He's pretty cute and makes me smile.
 We're actually done Christmas shopping (with the exception of about 3 people) and our Christmas cards arrived from Shutterfly a couple of weeks ago. The majority of our presents are wrapped. And by the end of the weekend, all of our decorations should be up. I feel like I'm a little more on the ball this year, but given that this time last year was pretty crappy for me (see this post), it's really not much of a surprise.

I'm looking forward to a December full of relaxing and merry-making. We stocked up on our favorite brew (Great Lakes Christmas Ale). We brought out all the Christmas books and movies to fill our evenings. And our calendar is full of time with family and friends.

And seeing as we have that full calendar and I'm not quite sure how often I'll get to blog, I'll just say it now-- Happy Christmas Season to all of you!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

And on a totally unrelated note...didn't C's school pictures turn out so cute?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


As a kid, this time of year always always brought a thrill for me, not just because of the magic of Christmas and the joy of being with family, but because of the "stuff." I'd spend quite a bit of time pouring through the big Sears wishbook and the Toys R Us ads and the American Girl catalog, making the list of stuff I wanted. A lot of times my list was inspired by things my friends already had or were asking for-- I wanted to keep up and have the same things. And there is really nothing all that wrong with this attitude. It's not like I was nasty on Christmas morning if something I requested wasn't found under the tree. I was always grateful for what I did receive. But envy continued to be a struggle for me and a lesson I'd learn over and over again. It wasn't until rather recently (within the last few years) that I've really started to understand something about envy. It's not just ugly, it can be downright soul-destroying.

I spent a lot of time (and money) in my teens and early twenties buying things and acquiring stuff because I wanted to "keep up with the Jones'." I envied the Jones'. I wanted their name brand clothes and shoes, and later their new cars and shiny appliances. Sometimes their jobs, their vacations, and well, their lives, seemed enviable.

But what I've been starting to realize is that there is another side to envy-- the cost of those things. God blesses us all differently and allows us all to be challenged by different burdens, and it's not up to me to understand or question it, though the child in me sometimes screams, "it's not fair." And it's not fair. Sometimes that new car or big house came with the price tag of many 90 hour work weeks or a spouse who is always at work. Or it came because the old car died and a new one was necessary and now vacation isn't happening. Sometimes that job came with the sacrifice of less time with family. Sometimes that vacation is a last ditch effort to save a marriage. My friend's mom put it pretty well in this post. That Queen for a Day idea has been sticking with me ever since I read it.

And yet, many more times, there are no strings attached. We simply are given things and need to openly receive them. Sometimes the money is just there to buy that new car or take that vacation. Sometimes that friend or family member just wants to take your kids for a bit to give you some alone time. Sometimes the grass is greener simply because it rained.

That other side still gets me though. In this season of Thanks and Giving I am trying to be thankful for the many blessings I get for what sometimes seems like no reason. And in the times when I find envy creeping up, trying to destroy my soul, trying to get me to cry, "not fair," I try to remember that sometimes there is a cost. That I don't necessarily know the whole story, and that if I did, maybe I wouldn't be so envious. But if I knew the difference-- knew the blessings that came with a cost and the blessings that were simply blessings-- then there wouldn't be much of a lesson to learn.

Tonight I am super thankful for so many things. Mostly though, for time with family. One Ordinary Dad and I are looking forward to a 24 hour kid-free period this weekend courtesy of my awesome in-laws. We have big plans to do a little more Christmas shopping, go out to dinner, see a movie, and enjoy a new brunch place I recently discovered with a friend.

I am thankful that last weekend, we had perfect bonfire weather. 

 I am thankful that last night I saw the most beautiful pink sky.
I'm thankful that so many of my family and friends are enjoying blessings right now.

And I'm thankful that I no longer feel the need to cry out unfairness or to keep up with them (well, most of the time; every once in awhile, that ol' struggle rears it's ugly head).

Wishing you all many blessings this season!

~One Ordinary Mom

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Eighty

This time last year, I was at the beginning of what would be a nearly four month quest to figure out why I was experiencing many an unpleasant GI system-- turned out to be a newly-developed sensitivity to eggs and since we ate them scrambled every weekday morning, I was kind of doing it to myself. But they had to rule out gall bladder, thyroid, ulcerative colitis, and a few other things before we figured out the eggs.  So this time last year I was a hot digestive mess, on a few medications to subdue the symptoms so I could make it through the day. B was still a needy, crawling baby who couldn't do a whole lot for himself and had some reflux to top it all off. C was slowly gaining independence, but also still reliant on us to snuggle her to sleep and to help her out in the bathroom and all of those other things three-year-olds still need. I found myself crying to God many nights to show mercy. I prayed that my doctors would get answers sooner rather than later. I prayed for rest.

This year, I feel like we're 180 degrees away from where we were this time last year. It's a testament to God's grace and provision and blessing in our lives. With the egg thing figured out, I feel great. B is slowly gaining independence, which makes life easier, and C is super independent (and super fun). They both feed themselves, they sleep well at night and go to bed on their own, they're developing quite a friendship. I could go on and on. I feel like our house has been blessed with rest and peace and love and so much more.

It's funny how sometimes it takes some less than stellar periods of life to help us appreciate the really awesome periods of life. And just because we're in an awesome period of life, doesn't mean the poop is about to hit the fan, so to speak (although I used to be someone who totally held my breath during the "good times" waiting for the bad to grab a hold on me).

I'm thankful for this one-eighty. Though the weeping may last for a night, the joy really does come with the morning.

May all of you find joy and be blessed this holiday season! In this house, we've started Christmas shopping (I cannot wait to blog about some of the deals I managed to snag already this year), we're paying attention to and thanking God for our blessings, we're raking leaves, we're slowly taking down the Halloween and fall decorations in preparation for the Christmas and winter ones, and we're soaking up every sunny fall day that we can outside, because the snowy, blustery, cold days will be here soon.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

P.S. No post would be complete without pictures. This year, Miss C drew the face on our jack-o-lantern. She wanted square eyes and a rectangle nose. Both kiddos "helped" scoop out the pumpkin guts. C was excited to wear her mustache (we saved it for trick or treat night). B left the head piece for his costume on 50% of the night (I'll count it as a victory).

 And this past Monday was Parent Observation Night at C's dance studio. Her dance teacher even remarked how far she'd come since she first started taking dance in February of 2011. A year truly makes a difference for everyone.