Vacation is a Relative Term

So we are on our Christmas “vacation” or holiday “break” from school. And as I do dishes two or three times a day, fold four loads of laundry, bake cookies that stick to the cookie sheet, chase the kids around the house, “Get down! No jumping on the couch. Have you lost your mind?!”…I wonder when the “break” will begin because I think I’m losing my mind.

christmas 2012 022  When you are a mom, the term “vacation” or “break” doesn’t really mean time off to relax or get things done. That term is deceiving. It means chasing the kids around the house, being a referee to the fighting and bickering, “Mum, Bradley said ha ha to me” and “MOM! Collin threw a car at me.” It is thinking (and really believing) you are going to get all kinds of things done with this “extra” time, like organizing the closet and cleaning out the cupboards and then get all stressed out because you barely got anything accomplished and are counting down the hours until daddy gets home because mommy is really starting to lose it. Where is my break? And why wont these children nap?!

christmas 2012 066

I will admit, the first week or so was fun; waiting for christmas, baking cookies, wrapping presents, playing games, making crafts, admiring the christmas lights. But ever since New Year’s…well, I am totally over it. I am ready to get the hell out of the house!

I need to work for my sanity. I need to see people. I need to talk to somebody over the age of 3. Now, Bradley (my 7-year-old) is pretty good company and we have some great conversations…but it’s not the same as seeing people “out in the real world.”

I love my kids. I just don’t want to be home with them every day, all day. I will lose my mind…sweet and cute as they are. I really don’t know how stay at home moms do it. It’s just not for me. I find myself wishing for work so I can have a “break”…oh, the irony.

Must be time for a mommy night out…or a drink, either one or both will do.

How do you make it through “breaks” and “vacations” from school?

xxx

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A Letter to Santa

The other night Bradley sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote his letter to Santa. I love his first grade handwriting and creativity. I love the fact that he put directions on how to open the letter – that is the “rip” at the top of the page and an illustration!  But I think my favorite part is that he asks if he has been good or bad. Shouldn’t he just know? I thought most kids just said they were on the good list no matter what. He just cracks me up. I can’t help but laugh. I think he thinks there is some kind of chart, like the clip system at school.

santa letter In his letter he did list all of the nice things he did, like helping his sisters put on their shoes in the morning and working hard in school. On the other side was his list. Surprisingly it was a really short list! And at the end, he wrote “I am 7,” and circled it, just so Santa would know.

I “mailed” it to the North Pole this morning, which is basically dating it and putting it way in my cedar chest where I store all of my favorite keepsakes. I can’t wait to give him that pile when he is older.

I wonder what my Santa letters were like when I was little.

How do you save your Santa letters? Which ones are your favorites? I would love to hear your stories!

xxx

 

 

 

Who is Your Valentine?

I was putting Bradley to bed and crashed on his top bunk next to him. “I love you so much,” I told him.

“Mom,” he says, “My favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day,” he said out of the blue.

“It is?” I asked. “Who is going to be your Valentine this year?”

“Ummmm…” he said, looking into the air for the answer with a sly grin.

“Who do you love lots and lots?” I asked, smiling and waiting for the obvious answer.

“Ummmm…” he grinned, knowing what he is supposed to say.

“Who do you love to the moon and back? Who loves you all the way to the stars?” I went on, “Who makes your breakfast? Who washes your clothes? Who gives you lots of kisses?” I asked, kissing his forehead.

He didn’t answer. He just sat there with a Cheshire grin.

“Ok. I will give you a hint,” I said. “Her name starts with an ‘M’ and ends with an ‘M’.” 

“MOM!” he shouts.

That’s my boy, even though I had to work for that one. Little stinker.

I gave him hugs and kisses. “Good night. I love you.”

xxx

Oh, Christmas Tree…Oh, Christmas Tree!

The first weekend in December:  I hauled up the Christmas tree box from the basement. I didn’t even get it set down on the floor and the boys were trying to tear into it like it was a present on Christmas day. “You have to wait. This is just the Christmas tree. Mommy is going to set it up. THEN you can help put the ornaments on,” I said. This seemed to appease the little Christmas beasts.

I pulled out the pieces. The top, middle and bottom. Gotta love these new trees that practically come put together, lights and all. No more sorting branches by faded color stickers at the end of each branch. No more waiting for Dad to put the lights on the tree.

 Oh, the childhood memories I have of pacing while waiting for the tree to be ready. Trying to wait patiently as my Dad made piles of similar sized branches. Getting anxious and digging through the boxes of ornaments to decide which ones to hang first.

“Dad, are you almost done?” and “Dad, can we hang the ornaments yet?” and “Dad…Dad…Dad…” We probably pestered him the whole time, but he kept working away, meticulously straightening branches and hanging lights. Now, I am the same way about straightening each branch, making sure the lights are strung around evenly. Thanks, Dad, for passing on this obsessive behavior about how the tree should look.

When I was pulling the tree out a sparkly green ball bounced across the hardwood floor. I recognized it immediately. It was one of Grandma Jean’s ornaments from last year.

I miss her. She would be so happy we are putting up her tree. I can hear her now, “Isn’t that a nice tree? Look how each branch is so perfect and how all the lights sparkle. It is a beautiful tree. Uncle Steve picked that tree out special for me (every year he would come and help her set up the tree and even come back and take it down. What a good son. I hope one of my kids will do that for me when I am old),” I can hear her now, as I sit here thinking about her. I can see her in her beige leather recliner int he big living room, crocheting away on a multicolored afghan, watching tv, and admiring her tree.

 

If she were here now, I know she would want to see all of our trees. She would ask, “What do the babies think of the tree?” and she would remind me (even though I know) to “make sure you keep the ornaments away from the babies. They could swallow one of those hooks. You have to keep them safe. Get down on the floor and make sure a hook didn’t fall off that you didn’t see. You have to be real careful. Run your hands along the floor.”  And even though I know this, I would reply, “Okay, Grandma,” and I would probably tell her about how I have the tree set up on a card table in the living room so none of the little ones can reach it. And she would say, “I know, hunny. You take such good care of those babies,” and she would tell me how proud she is of me. Man, I love her and miss her. 

It was a trial and error with the trees this year. I put up two. A small one and a regular sized one. I put up the little tree first just to see what the kids think of it…and I was also making sure they weren’t going to try to climb it. I set it up on a small table in the corner. I put the ottoman in front of the table and a small chest ont the other side. The twins couldn’t reach it, but it was still a bad idea. Collin just used the items as step stools to get right up to the tree.

See what happens when my back is turned?!

Needless to say, it was moved. I also used a taller table for the large tree so there were no stepping stools. One of these days when the kids are older and I am able to put the tree on the floor, like normal people do, they are going to be confused. I can hear them already, “Why is the tree ont the floor, Mom?”

I located the plugs on each different part of the tree and had that thing standing upright and lit in five minutes. Hallelujah!

I put Grandma’s sparkly green ornament right by a white light so it sparkles and glitters all the time.

I love Christmas. I love all of the memories, even ones as simple as a small ornament.

xxx

Pumpkin Carving

The newspaper covered the linoleum floor. We sat the fat pumpkin with the chewed up stalk (thanks to our dog Mickey) on the kitchen floor, ready to be carved. I examined the knifes in my kitchen. I picked the one I thought was sharpest and started cutting the lid. It was hard and I was barely making any progress. I scanned my knife selection again and chose an old one. It was skinny and extra pointy at the end with a good angle to it, it looked like a Jack the Ripper knife, perfect for Halloween. It cut right through the pumpkin flesh.

My job for pumpkin carving is simple. I cut the lid and help the kids clean out the pumpkin. Brad carves the face. Before I had kids I would spend hours designing and carving elaborate designs on numerous pumpkins. Now with so many little ones and limited time, we carve one or two and clean it the best we can. A little innards left gives it a spooky feel. I forget about the day of a perfectly smooth and even flesh of the inside of the pumpkin. I have forgotten about the elaborate designs. We go by Bradley’s ideas on how he wants his Jack-o-lantern face. It always ends up really cute. Oh, and my other job is snapping a lot of pictures until Brad grumbles so much that I just put the camera away…for a few minutes.

My favorite part about carving pumpkins is that last cut and pulling up the lid. I love the smell of the fresh pumpkin that rolls out when you pull off the lid, the strings and seeds trying to hang on to the inside, even though they have no chance of clinging on. I love digging my hands in the slime and pulling out all the junk and seeds. I love the smell. I love feeling the cold fall nights that are stored in there.

We did pretty good and it went pretty well. I rolled up Collin’s sleeves and the boys dug in, grabbing handfuls of pumpkin brains, as Bradley calls it. For the first few minutes they did good working together. It didn’t last, though. Before I knew it they were thunking each other on the head with theirs spoons and throwing pumpkin guts at each other.

“Mom! Collin just hit me,” Bradley whines.

Collin stands up and points at Bradley and yells something back. I’m assuming he is trying to whine and yell back to defend himself. It’s the same tone as Bradley’s. They stick their tongues out at each other and bicker.

I eventually get them on track, after I sit back and enjoy a little bit of the show. Because I know one day they will look back at these time and miss them. I miss fighting with my sister over silly things.

“Mom, it’s a pumpkin until you cut it. When you make a face on it, it’s a jack-o-lantern.” Bradley is very particular about which is which.

I’m very particular about my pumpkins, too. I like a clean-cut so you can see the light of the flickering candle shining through. I also like a properly cut lid. This means some sort of crazy shape that kinda resembles an octagon with way too many irregular sides. I don’t like a pumpkin lid cut around in a circle. It’s too hard to figure out which way the lid goes on. I like an obvious shape to match up. It’s really quite obvious if you think about it. You always know which way to pop on the lid.

We turned on our fake plastic candles and the boys dropped them in. We turned off the light and admired our jack-o-lantern.

I love Halloween!

xxx

Easter: Part Two

 

10 Cadbury eggs

9 nests of m&m’s

8 messes making

7 handfuls of jelly beans

6 chocolate bunnies

5 marshmellow Peeps

4 super hyper children

3 broken eggs

2 tired parents

2 twins a burping

ONE… priceless day!

Ok…Easter was a fun and busy day, but the kids got more candy than you can imagine. It’s a belly ache and several trips to the dentist waiting to happen. They got more Easter candy than they did for Halloween. Oh well, we had a great day.

First we went to my parents, good ol’ traditions. The big kids running through the grass picking up plastic eggs packed full of goodies and Collin trailing behind and picking up all the leftovers. This time the plastic  eggs  had dollar bills. We liked that. 🙂

Then we went to Grandma Chris and Grandpa John’s house. A new tradition is about to begin. Easter egg hunting from horseback.

The Easter bunny hid the eggs way out in the forest and the kids rode Jasper to go find them. When they came to a clearing there were eggs everywhere! Even hanging from trees.

Videos soon to come.

Have a great weekend.

xxx

Easter: Part One

It has been very quiet on my lil’ blog lately, as well as home. So quiet that you could hear the robins chirp and the squirrels chatter through my dusty and dirty windows that are whining to be opened for a spring breeze. Except for Easter… that was a very busy day! That is why I will have several parts to my Easter posts, one for each place we went or event. That is also why it has taken me so long to get back to my blog, I had to recuperate.

It was the night before Easter, and all through the house,

many people were stirring, coloring, and dying

Easter bunny eggs.

It was crazy and chaotic,

It was a hustle and a bustle,

 to dye all these eggs.

A plop and a drizzle,

stir the orange and please pass the green…

The dinosaur egg.

I think I ate too many cupcakes and jellybeans.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!
 
xxx
 
Below are more pics 🙂
 

My favorite way to color eggs is coloring crayons and food coloring. What is yours? Do you have a favorite method or kit?