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23 Dec
2014
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Bringing Back Christmas Spirit

boy decorating a gingerbread house with candy

I count the days until Christmas break. I look forward to the freedom of non-scheduled days and taking part in family traditions. I long for slow mornings with long breakfasts and second cups of coffee. We reacquaint ourselves with board games and craft projects. Bedtime is pushed later. I feel my shoulders relax as the two weeks go by. It’s the best of medicine.

I only have to make it through that first day of break.

boy decorating a gingerbread house with candy

That first day is notoriously not the best. The children have looked forward to break for so long that they lose their minds that first day. The rules seem to fly out the window. Listening and parental respect seem optional. By 2 p.m. on day one of Christmas break, I start to think the entire thing is overrated.

boy holding a paper snowflake

Day one had moments of Christmas break greatness, but by late afternoon, it had deteriorated, leaving me with depleted Christmas spirit reserves. At times, I felt I should remind my darling offspring that I’m the mother and all that entails: chef, chauffeur, laundress, multi-tasker extraordinaire. Pull it together kids! This is the happiest time of the year! Act like it!

girl decorating a gingerbread house with candy

Even on the not-so-good days, I really don’t have anything much to lament about as far as the children are concerned. They are a few of the best, and at times, must deal with an emotional mom who struggles with the weight of parenting four people. By evening on day one, I was refilling my Christmas spirit tank.

This morning I woke up feeling grateful. The children were repentant. My sidewalk was shoveled without anyone being asked. The garbage was taken to the curb. There was much laughter and joy with no bickering or back-talking. It’s Christmas Eve eve, and we’re where we wanted to be when Christmas break was just a longing.


 
The Christmas Gift of a Good Day
By     |    Dec 17, 2014
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The Christmas Gift of a Good Day

The only things missing from today were rainbows and unicorns. Every nook and cranny of my day was filled to the brim with goodness. I wish I could bottle this feeling for those days when crawling in bed seems the only viable option. I know I shouldn’t feel the need to apologize or justify my good fortune, but I know others whose day fell far short of anything resembling good. I’ve been stuck in lackluster existence lately. There are too... [Read More]

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Avoiding Christmas Failure
By     |    Dec 10, 2014
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Avoiding Christmas Failure

Every year when we pull out Christmas boxes filled with decorations, I think I’m going to cutback this year. We won’t put up quite as many decorations and only do those traditions that we absolutely LOVE. Then I start sifting through the boxes with my helpers and quickly realize that’s not going to happen. Each tradition is special and each of the children can make an argument for why we most definitely cannot live through December without XYZ. We haven’t... [Read More]

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Always the Little Things
By     |    Dec 4, 2014
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Always the Little Things

I’m a fan of the small gesture. A text to say hello puts a smile on my face. I appreciate the effort put into a hand-written note or card found in my mailbox. A genuine compliment or inquiry into how I am makes me feel noticed.  You never know when two minutes of your time may be the bright spot in someone’s day. Our oldest son finished his first quarter in middle school on the honor roll. His name was... [Read More]

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The Abundance of Thanksgiving
By     |    Nov 27, 2014
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The Abundance of Thanksgiving

I spent yesterday in a kitchen with four kids baking and prepping food for the feast we’ll share with friends today. Christmas music was our soundtrack of choice. The counters were sticky. Crumbs littered the floor. Every single mixing bowl I own was dirty. The sink was full of dishes waiting to be cleaned. It was perfect. When I give myself time to truly reflect on what I’m thankful for, my breath catches. I live in a house with on-demand... [Read More]

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The Impact of a Decade
By     |    Nov 21, 2014
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The Impact of a Decade

Our second child hits double digits this weekend. We’ve had the privilege of calling him ours for 10 years. Those years hold so much life….accomplishments, laughs, travels, tears, struggles. I’ve caught myself this week involuntarily remembering moments from the last decade of J’s life. I’ll be washing dishes and be caught off guard by a moment from years ago. The night he was born, the nurse brought him to me all cleaned and wrapped like a baby burrito. I held... [Read More]

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Stuck in a Parking Lot
By     |    Nov 20, 2014
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Stuck in a Parking Lot

I left the house this morning just before 9 a.m. to drop off my youngest at preschool. I was rocking this Thursday. I had exercised, dropped three kids off at school, done dishes, cleaned two bathrooms, put one load of laundry in the washing machine and sorted a second pile. It wasn’t even 9 a.m. I was riding a supermom high. That feeling is rare in this house. I remembered paperwork to take to preschool, books to take to the... [Read More]

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Enjoying a Needed Dose of Nothing
By     |    Nov 17, 2014
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Enjoying a Needed Dose of Nothing

I stood staring at the calendar Friday night. Something was wrong. There was nothing written in the Saturday box. I told myself to think. Think. Think. THINK! Obviously I had forgotten something. There is never a square on the calendar without something written. There is always some place one of us is required to be or some task needing attention on or before a certain date. Saturday was gloriously blank and not because I had forgotten something. It was a... [Read More]

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Brrr…Living Somewhere Cold
By     |    Nov 12, 2014
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Brrr…Living Somewhere Cold

Our youngest is not impressed with the recent cold temperatures in Wyoming. She had to be pried from the cocoon of warmth and comfort her bed provided this morning. She scowled as she ate breakfast and stomped off to get dressed for the day. We were bundling up to drive to middle school for drop-off when she exclaimed, “Why do we live here?!” Her brothers and I just stared at her as her rant continued. “I want to wear flip... [Read More]

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Rejuvenation from Prayer
By     |    Nov 10, 2014
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Rejuvenation from Prayer

I believe in the power of prayer. A gathering of people praying for the same cause has the ability to bring me to tears. People praying and laying hands on each other renews my spirits. Community is powerful. I went to church this past Sunday morning assuming the motions would be the same. I know where to sit. I know about how long praise will last, followed by any reminders, a prayer, a sermon, a prayer and dismissal with a... [Read More]

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Weeping and Gratitude for Old Photos
By     |    Nov 3, 2014
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Weeping and Gratitude for Old Photos

I’ve been sifting through old photographs and making digital copies to preserve what remains from a photo album of yellowing 35-year-old memories. The desire to archive photos for my extended family led me to sitting in front of my scanner weeping for the majority of Monday. I wept tears of sadness for the smiling people in the photos that have been gone more than a decade and some even longer. I wept for all the young people in our family... [Read More]

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When Serving Seems Like Taking
By     |    Oct 28, 2014
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When Serving Seems Like Taking

“You’re always helping and never with us.” Truth from my nine-year-old filled me with guilt, even if “never” was a bit of an exaggeration. We were talking about the upcoming annual fall festival at the elementary school my two youngest boys attend. I was telling them about some of the games and how they’d have to help daddy get costumes together before they came up to the school that night. I’d already be up there helping. That prompted the small... [Read More]

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