Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Computer problems.  Arrrggghh. I am up and running again, but so far behind in emails and blogs I am overwhelmed.

Sooooo,


Happy Holidays! I will start again after the new year.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Light Show

Don't know if any of you caught the show on ABC Monday night where families compete for the best Christmas light display and the winner gets $50,000.00.

I never watch reality shows, just don't, but this one came on directly after a Christmas cartoon the kids and I were watching so we were already in the mode.

This show was really moving and I ended up crying at the end which shocked me! The host went to four different families in different parts of the country to see their light display and judge it by how much thought and planning and spirit went into it and why it was so important to them to do this. Most of the stories were so heartwarming and the different reasons (always men, by the way) they decorate were told and everyone of them genuine and definitely coming from the heart.

The man who won was a retired firefighter who fought in 9/11 and you just knew when you saw how much work and how organized and how many different mediums of decorating he used he was going to win.

It so clearly meant so much to him to win, the tears just rolled down my face. If you get  a chance, they are doing another one next Monday and it really is very emotional and the displays are unbelievable! It was on at 9:00 central time, so hope that helps.

We are below zero again today and they are saying tonight will fall to fifteen below. Brrr. Even for us that is extreme this early in the season. Don't know if that's a sign of things to come or what, but it will be a long winter if this keeps up.

Tomorrow we go with my daughter's group to see "The Nutcracker" at a college about an hour away. After that, my son's Christmas concert, so, busy day!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The wonderful world of blogging

Brrrr! We are below zero and the wind chill makes it worse. My daughter had art class today and I had errands that had to be done. Not a fun day, that's for sure.

The kids are curled up on the pull out couch watching Batman. I don't know which version this one is but Arnold Schwarzenegger (I know I didn't spell that right) is in it so it must be old. Shame on him by the way. What an idiot. And he had such an amazing wife.

But I digress.

I was thinking today about the world of blogging and how it changes your life. And I never really thought it would. But it does. And maybe I notice it because I lead a quiet life, I'm not sure..

I am amazed at how connected I feel to people who are actually total strangers and yet I do.

I mean, most bloggers post several times a week so after a while you get to know a little about their lives and what they are interested in and their families and you find yourself wanting to open their post the minute you see the name of their blog in your email because you want to know if they're okay or what they did or what they found at the thrift store. Just little things, really.

You have to be in awe of a computer system that connects people from all over the world the same as if they lived next door. It is truly a miracle.

I an very, very new at this and still haven't decided what I really want my "platform" to be. I love decorating and projects, but do not have the time nor the talent to really make that a "thing." I'm sure I'll figure it out as I go along,

One thing I already know for sure. It has changed my life.

Just a burst of reality here. Said children who were curled up so nicely watching a movie are now fighting and threatening bodily harm and I think my furniture may suffer. Sigh.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow, snow, snow

Snow, snow, snow yesterday. They predicted 2-4 and I think we have about 7 inches.
 

I have a six foot wood fence that runs along my driveway holding in every possible snowflake it can.
The result is my driveway ends up with more snow than the lawn. Fun fun.

It wasn't too cold though, so shoveling wasn't so bad. My son helped as best he could and the dog ran around, so we had a good time.

Although when I had to shovel again about 8:30 it was not so fun.

Having said that, I have to admit, snow is so very pretty to watch as it falls. The quiet peace is somehow soothing.
 

Sometimes when life gets to be too much I sit and listen to classical piano solos. It is my favorite music and instantly takes me away and relaxes me.

Today was one of those days. It gets dark pretty early and the kids were upstairs on the Wii, so I closed the drapes, turned on the trees, and started Pandora on my laptop. I wear ear plugs which just makes the sound so much more beautiful and clear. It was awesome and just what I needed.

Having the trees to enjoy as well just made it a perfect time.

Stay warm!






Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter is all about the cold!



Freezing cold here today in the Midwest!! Five degrees, lower with the wind chill! The dog refused to go out for most of the day until she literally couldn't wait any more.

The Christmas parade in town was tonight and honestly, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I am way past my peak of loving to bundle up and watch for Santa in freezing weather! However, when you raise kids during the second half of your life, you "suck it up, Nancy," paste a smile on your face and pretend it is the most exciting thing ever!

I was genuinely happy it was a short parade, though. Can't lie about that.

The kids were so excited to see Smurfs 2, so we rented that for tonight and they are curled up in the sofa bed watching it and eating popcorn. Of course I am eating popcorn, also. And I so don't need to be eating it. Sigh. It just seemed to fit.


I spent way too many hours out of the last three days reading Patricia Cornwell's latest book, "Dust." She is one of my favorite authors and this book does not disappoint. Her attention to detail both in her sentences and what she writes about is incredible. I won't give anything away except to say that she is one of the few authors who could make 24 hours last 500 pages. And fill everyone of those pages beautifully.

Had to buy a new battery for the car this week. The other one was only two and a half years old, but I was having to jump it to get it going when it became so cold. I cannot risk being out somewhere with the kids and have the car not start and I don't have a cell phone. Right before Christmas was lousy timing but there ya go. Have to have a reliable car.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Elf on the Shelf, love it or leave it?

I read a variety of blogs containing all types of subject matter. I read decorating blogs(props to you guys, such hard work), motherhood blogs, blogs from women in my age group, and writing blogs. I have different interests, like everyone, so I read a little of this and a little of that.


What has become completely fascinating to me and seems to be traveling across blog boundaries everywhere, is the infamous Elf on the Shelf controversy. I actually hesitate to capitalize his name, it seems to give him too much importance!

Elf on the Shelf must be a fairly new idea as I do not remember hearing or reading anything about it when my first kids were growing up. But it seems this tiny little elf has stirred up a hornet's nest of controversy for women everywhere.


Apparently, in some circles, you are not considered the "perfect mom" unless you spend whatever amount of time moving this tiny little toy all over your house in the dead of night and creating vast scenarios that make him appear alive.

Which would scare the h-e-double hockey sticks out of my autistic children, by the way.

In other circles, you are looked down upon if you chose to create an elf with behavior issues as it makes the rest of the hardworking already multi tasking mothers look "lazy."


The mommy blogs are chock full of posts with varying opinions on the subject and I have been very surprised to find the infamous and very controversial stuffed elf crossing into decorating blogs, also.

I am not normally an outspoken person, don't really see the point, who really cares about one person's opinion in the grand scheme of life, but I have to just throw in an older mom's two cents.

I have six children, three grandchildren, I have fostered, I have babysat. A large part of my adult life, in fact, all of my adult life, has involved caring for or raising children. I can tell all of you young mothers with complete and one hundred percent certainty, that elf on the shelf is NEVER, and I do mean NEVER, going to change the type of mother you are and how your children are going to turn out.


There are so many reasons we as women struggle with confidence issues, low self esteem, and high stress levels. And things like Elf on the Shelf, a cute stuffed toy with airs of grandeur are just the type of unimportant ridiculous stressors that put us there.

Let it go, moms!! You are so important to your children and this is so not. If there are moms who chose to make this a tradition, then let them, who cares? And for the ones who don't chose to, who cares? This is not a life defining choice.

You are all wonderful moms and work so hard in all you do for your children and your homes and that is all that matters.


Life is hard enough and we, as women, unfortunately, are hard enough on each other.

There are enough legitimate bandwagons to jump on. Segregation (not just race), discrimination, child abuse, hunger. These are life changing. And they matter.

Just my two cents. I'll be quiet now.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Memories

Christmas is filled with memories both happy and sad. The unpacking of ornaments and decorations you only see once a year can produce a colorful mosaic of feelings as our world can change in so many ways from the last time our beautiful memories were hauled them up from the basement.


When life was different and I lived in the "big house," I had cabinets full of Department 56 Snow Village. I loved it more than anything, my collections were on display year round and lit up during the Christmas season thanks to many, many adaptors and cords. The small houses and stores with their tiny lights and colorful characters really added Christmas magic to the season.


Life changes, that's normal, and this house does not lend itself to the many display cabinets. They looked heavy and out of place, their former grand glory lost in the small cottage house we now live in and love. So the snow village went in large plastic totes stacked in neat rows in the basement. I thought about my imaginary towns and neighborhoods now and then but for the most part I just let it all go.


For some reason this year I had a nostalgic urge to have at least some of my Christmas magic to enjoy. I cleared a table and set up a scene with just a few bits and pieces. My daughter was ecstatic while helping me and loved the tiny lights and people.


She was so little the last time they were all displayed and didn't really remember much about them. She asked lots of questions about the pieces and loved helping to arrange them. It was a wonderful afternoon and we made some great memories.

 I do wish I was better with photographs as they look so pretty lit up and I couldn't seem to capture the look.


I have other memories as well. These two characters were bought for two foster placements I had years ago, they giggle when you shake them which the little ones did constantly as the laughter would make them giggle, also. When they moved on, I sent everything except the two "giggly" characters as I wanted to have something "real" to remember them by. I think of those children often, but especially when I unpack the "giggle's." They were going to a good place, I think, but you always wonder.

Part of the magic of Christmas, I believe, is to encourage you to stop and think about your life and where you've been and where you want to go. The value of our ornaments and decorations is not determined by how much you paid or what store you purchased them from but in the memories of where you were in your life the first Christmas they graced your home.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas shopping fun? Don't believe the hype!!

I have no idea at all why I remembered Thanksgiving weekend as a fun weekend to shop. Too many people, all in a hurry, and waaaaaay too many long lines at any cashier.
  
How on earth I ever for one single millisecond thought this would get me in the Christmas spirit, I cannot even begin to imagine. Never again. I am completely committed to being an internet shopping professional.

Our dish satellite company offered some free movie channels for the holiday weekend. And I know why I don't ever want those channels permanently.


 The last four days have been a movie binge every minute we have been home. And with the shopping day a bust, that was a lot. Every time one ends another one starts that I just HAVE to see. Just one more and then one more and then, well, you can imagine. Not good for my productivity.

 Other than the day we did the trees which are in the living room, I have not wanted to leave the living room for any great length of time. So, tomorrow it will be good to be back to normal and do a good clean of the house.  
 
I have enjoyed it, though. So many movies I have not seen for a while. My two favorites, "When Harry Met Sally" and "The Notebook" were both on and it was so great to see them.

 I still cry every time I watch "The Notebook," it has to be the most romantic love story ever. And "When Harry Met Sally" is just good fun and a good message movie that you just never know what life has in store. The snappy dialogue between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal is great. Whatever happened to her, I haven't seen her in a movie in years?
 
Tomorrow I have one last piece to paint white, set up a Christmas scene on top of it and then the living and dining room furniture will be done. At least for now.

 
I think the kids have watched Jurassic Park at least five times. I won't miss watching that one for a while.
 

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Start of Christmas......(at our house)



Women everywhere breathed a sigh of relief as the first "mass cooking holiday" is now under our belt.

And any of you who were lucky enough to go shopping on Black Friday, I am so jealous!! I used to do that every year, but times change and now I internet shop. I miss that first Friday, though, I used to love the Christmas carols and decorations and everyone bustling about.

Not that internet shopping doesn't have its advantages though. Shopping in your pajamas at 10:00 at night is not too hard to live with.


I have traditionally decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving and today was no exception. My space challenged living room flaunts its small size when I am making decisions about where to put the tree. This year I decided to go for a grouping of small trees instead of just one big one. I was able to use all of my ornaments and not choke my living room.


We have lots more decorating to do, but the tree part is the most important. You can see my dresser, also. It's just a soft shade of blue so that it blends more with the wall and the small room. Way better than the bleached whale it looked like in high gloss white.
 
Tomorrow we will be doing some light Christmas shopping. I say light because both kids will be with me, so ambitions will be high, but expectations, well, not so much! That's okay, 'cause most of it will be done online, I'm just itching to walk around the mall and soak up Christmas!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The dresser is finished but so is the sun!


November has to be the darkest month of the year. Logically, you would think January, but honestly, the sun has been very lazy this last week. I have been waiting to take photos of my latest paint project but the sun has not cooperated.

It's painted a soft blue which isn't showing at all without the bright light of the sun. I haven't been able to get out to find some glass knobs so I just painted the old ones for now so it's functional.

It wasn't so much a huge transformation for this piece as just making it fit without looking as if it overshadows the tiny living room. I am so happy I have finally found a permanent home for this dresser. I love seeing it there.


I am already working on my next piece, it's already white, I'm just giving it a fresh coat.

I decided to just continue the oak laminate through the living room for now. I can't live with two different surfaces, even for a year. When the carpet was down, it was more of a normal transition, now, it just looks like garbage. I've been paying close attention to the DIY shows featuring laminate floor installations!!!! It can't be that hard.

My son's asthma has been flaring up with the winter weather that has swooped in a bit early by my standards. Shoveling snow yesterday was a wake up call as to how much I love that chore! (not at all)
Good exercise though, at least that's what I kept telling myself.

Thanksgiving is in two days, so hard to believe. I say that every year. And I mean it every year, so what does that say about me??

This is one of those odd years when all of the adult kids are going to their significant others, so they decided we will get together at one of their homes Wednesday night for our holiday dinner. I have been very fortunate to have my children at every Thanksgiving, so I am certainly not complaining about this.


My two little ones are going with their dad on Thursday, but I decided to cook a mini Thanksgiving dinner anyway so we have the leftovers which is the best part of hosting!!! I'll just make everything and refrigerate

Hope everyone enjoys their holiday!!! Eat lots and don't worry about diets!!!