Christmas Days

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Today I held two sparkly, handmade tree ornaments in my hand thinking that one day, many years from now, I’ll be unwrapping them from a box to place back on the tree, like I do every year, and a teenage Oliver may be sitting on the couch reading a book, not wanting anything to do with decorating the tree.

Teenage Chloe might help me but she’ll be as tall as me and will gaze at her own handmade ornament and wonder when it was that she made this. I’ll remember. I’ll look back to little 6 year old Chloe, up to my waist with lovely bobbed hair, brimming smile and eager creativity wanting to decorate the tree. I’ll close my eyes after I stare at my grown girl and remember the smell of her hair, the smallness of her hands and her constantly wrinkled, wet thumb that she use to suck. I’ll tell her the date when she made the ornament and she’ll just shrug and say, “Oh. Cool.” then put it up on the tree. She won’t close her eyes and see or smell back into those memories and years. She won’t remember how sweet and small she was or see how anxious and giddy she use to get around Christmas time. She’ll just see the tree in front of her and some old ornament that I told her she made and she’ll hang it on the tree.

But I will watch her hang it and stare at her lovely, growing face, her carmel colored hair and I’ll watch her young lady hands put the ornament on the tree and I’ll wonder, “Where did all the days go?”.

Time to deck the malls, again

I took the kids to my mom’s for a few hours today in order to de-stress and gain my sanity back. This past week has been hard with the kids, for some reason. I met up with Matt for his break but, because I was at the mall, I decided to get some shopping done for Christmas. I know, not the best way to spend some much-needed free time without the kids.

I stopped at a store which I am embarrassed to say the name but I ….ok it was Forever 21! I can’t believe how enormous that store is; two floors of clothes all ‘organized’ by color. I almost had a heart attack inside while looking for a dress for my friend’s wedding. To top it off I hadn’t bothered to use deodorant today (this is a step in the grooming process that honestly gets skipped quite often) and I felt myself beginning to sweat more and more the longer I was in there. I worried for the next unlucky girl who would try on my salmon cocktail dress. In my defense it wasn’t that pungent but I did notice.

Then I noticed the line and thought, “Not too bad. I’ll just go grab a scarf for my friend who recently had a birthday”. When I came back the line was stretching all the way to Cleveland and, again, I started to sweat. Did I mention that I had coffee an hour prior with Matt so I was kickin the foul, left over coffee breath as well? I was like your high school math teacher who has trench mouth and insists in helping you work out your math problem right up in your face as you breathe out of the side of your mouth. Yep, that was me today asking the nineteen year old girl with the skinny jeans and Ugg boots where to find salmon colors throughout the store. Maybe it was the fact that I was surround by tight, unflawed youth that made me so self-conscious about what my breath and body smelled like. See, I remember being that young and thinking a lot of stuff was gross and that old women’s butts looked funny. Today I was the old woman with the funny looking butt and funky underarms in the kid’s store.

To top it off I waited so long in the blasted line while the mom and daughter duo in front talked to the cashier about each and every item that they were purchasing. Then the girl went back up stairs for another shirt while we all got to stand and wait for her. WHAT THE !@#$??? Now I’m really feeling the fact that it’s like 100 degrees in the store and I’m still sweating and the girls behind me in line are now really quiet. Hopefully not because it smelled like someone just cut up fresh onion in the store. Damn! When did I get old? When did I get so uncool? Was I ever cool? Probably not.

Well, at least it’s that time of year again. Enjoy the malls, the shopping, the overpriced lattes and underpriced clothes all made in a large Asian country! Just remember to rock the deodorant and take some Altoids with you.

 

The Weather Outside

Trick Or Treat

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather outside is indeed frightful

Since we bought our house and have had two children occupying this house with us winters are generally a time when we are huddled up in our home for many days on end, trying to deal with the chill in the house and the icy snow outside the window. I have an active boy that wants to play outside in blizzards and dangerous, plumeting temps. Frost bite does not seem to phase his little cheeks in the slightest.

For me winter ends up being a time to bake, sew, read and write. My garden is buried under 18 inches of compacted ice that once was fluffy snow, so I won’t be doing any winter gardening this year. The writing is the one I get the least time for since I have to put aside a few hours for it if I really want to write anything of substance. It’s painful to be on a roll and have to stop after you just got started. So I keep my time and projects in small chunks. Bake something for an hour, play with kids, clean, read for a half hour, do a bit of schooling with the boy, sew when the kids nap, read before I go to bed. This makes the most sense when you can’t get outside as much as you want.

In the past few weeks I’ve been reading The Art of Commonplace by Wendell Barry, A Christmas Carol by that Dickens fellow, Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon and various children’s books with Christmas themes. I’m in the process of sewing some house slippers so that when people come over and kick their shoes off they have something toasty to slip on between feet and our hardwood floors. I have all of these shrunken wool sweaters that are just asking to be used on someone’s feet. Today I’m making orange and cardamon cookies and hopefully a rocking dinner menu. Winters are frigid here but I have to have a way of hibernating without checking out. It also beats sitting in the snow and weeping as I chew painfully on my mittens. I’m not fond of temps in the single digits.

Here’s to a lovely winter and the hope of a speedy spring!

Reading to my children

I stop by this site a lot mainly because I love to read and I zealously read to my children. I consider this a part of our homeschooling. Books, books, books. I take them to the library a few times a week at least and my son got his first library card  last Spring. Granted he still runs straight for the computer and the DVD section but I still stock up on the books and I make reading a part of our daily routine.

Steadymom always has great ideas for books and I love her site because I get so many new suggestions on what to read to my kids. She does the research and I get the benefits. This is the beauty of blog sharing. So stop by and peek at her ideas for Thanksgiving books to check out, or purchase, for your children. Incidently, I have learned so much by reading short and colourful biographies from the children’s books collection. Schooling my kids teaches me a lot!

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Chloe reading

Trick or Treat

Oliver and pumpkin

Like most women, I LOVE the holiday season; the colours, the crisp air, the foods and the traditions. Halloween is actually one of my favorites. For some reason I love to see the traditions we have of putting stuff on our porches (even if some of it makes me want to vomit), carving these orange members of the squash family and dressing up as characters to celebrate whatever we are celebrating now. I’m sure the origins of the day of the dead are not my cup o tea but I love harvest time and I love to see people get on the bus dressed as a pirate. It’s so random.
As a family we aren’t opposed to taking our kids trick or treating. In fact, I absolutely love doing it. It makes me laugh the hardest out of the year. My kids will RUN up to a strangers door and say some odd phrase because they never remember to say, “trick or treat”. This year when the host opened the door they always said, “Happy Halloween”. Then they get their loot and they run off. It tickles me to see these little munchkins running around in a strange outfit, excited and operating in team work to be more efficient. It’s so damn cute!

This year Chloe was a flower fairy and Oliver was cowboy. I love that he wanted to be a cowboy and not a Power Ranger. I don’t even know why. I just thought it was really sweet. I dressed up as a cat mainly because I love to dress up. My mom always dressed up on Halloween and it really made me love her more. I loved that she got into it and felt free to have fun.

Happy Holidays

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A season of plenty

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These days my  breath is foggy during my morning coffee with cream. The creaky wood floors in our home chill my bare feet now that the air has dipped into the 50’s. I love the autumn. I am eating my purple cabbage with farm fresh beef and homegrown beets and carrots. My kids zip up yellow and red sweatshirts and slip on purple Wellingtons over stripped socks.

Today we visited the library to hear pumpkin stories and pick up another bag full of children’s books. Soon these colors of orange, red and yellow will all die and turn to brown and black. The dead brown will cover the landscape and I will sit inside my chilly house wishing we had a fire to rub my hands next to.

Recently I ordered a book for my daughter’s birthday (which is tomorrow) and I am thinking of ordering another for myself. I love the poetic description of colour in each changing of the seasons. It reminds me to love the changes of the year even while living in Wisconsin where the winters weigh heavy.

My garden will soon die leaving us to buy our vegetables at the store (instead of picking them from our back yard) and our family will hibernate inside for the next five to six months. For now I’ll juice the apples from our tree and throw our massive butternut squash into a lovely curry. We can think about Winter another day. Enjoy the colours of autumn.

This is what I’m enjoying today….

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Leaf-hair masks

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Farm fresh milk with cream on top

 

Dirty garden carrots

Dirty garden carrots

 

 

Our pumpkins are turning orange

Our pumpkins are turning orange

 

 

My dusty gardening boots

My dusty gardening boots

 

 

Apples sitting ready to be juiced

Apples sitting ready to be juiced

 

 

I still have tons of peppers waiting to invade a fresh mozza pizza

I still have tons of peppers waiting to invade a fresh mozza pizza