Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Settle Down for a Long Winter's Nap

I’ve been neglectful. Neglectful of any readers I may have. Neglectful of any writing I’m trying to do. Neglectful of my house.

I have come to the conclusion that I can do only so many things at one time. This may seem obvious to some, but not to me. I still hold on to this delusion that I can have and do it all. Silly and naïve, I know.

The holidays were magical for the children. They had a wonderful time. We had loads of houseguests. The first relatives were in prior to and through the holidays. The second group came after the holidays. The third group comes tomorrow for New Years. All have had a nice time. We hosted Christmas at our house. It went well.

I swore it would be different this year. I would share more responsibility and workload. I would concede some things and not try to achieve perfection.

I didn’t.

I am exhausted.

I am the only one for whom the holidays might not have been so magical-just tiresome.

We did too much. We hosted too much. We ran around too much.

I want to just be still.

To be bored.

To linger.

Is this possible any more? Are others capable of this and just not me? I’ve read the other mom blog descriptions of their days and everyone seems to have relished in the wonder of it all. Cherished the traditions. I feel that. Less this year than others. But, am I the only one spent?

I’m going to get there next year. It’s my New Year’s resolution. I’m taking back my holiday. Mine. Hopefully, it won’t wreak havoc on anyone else’s idea of what that means.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I wish I had a loving, heartfelt story prepared for this post. But, alas, this Mrs. Claus has been going nonstop and has left no time to write. Do not fear- the cookies have been made, the stockings hung with care, each present is wrapped and the feast is prepared. The children are happy and T is excited. And so, my job this season is winding down. Now comes the fun! To each of the Mrs. Clauses out there- get some rest, relax and enjoy it all. So much work goes into the preparations for our families. You ladies make the holidays happen. In case anyone hasn't said so- Thank You and Job Well Done to each and every one of you! I wish you a very Merry Christmas from my home to yours. Peace and good will to all and to all a good night.

Wordless Wednesday

A perfect night. My favorite Christmas movie, a comfy blanket, roaring fire and cuddling up with my kids on the couch. Aahh.... makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

Merry Christmas! Hope you are doing well this year. It’s been a tough one for most people. I know this is probably not in the rules, but I wanted to write you a letter with a few requests. I know that I am 35 and have really passed the age where I’m allowed to ask for things. But, well, I’m going to anyway.

If you can find it in your heart, I’d really like someone to come and take care of my laundry. You see, it has finally beaten me. I am succumbing to its evils. We have people in from out of town and I just can’t keep up with a family of five’s laundry along with the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, baking and general merry making. So, a laundress (God bless the woman who decided to make a career out of this) would be a Godsend. I thank you in advance with all of my heart.

Also, not to be greedy, but some additional items that I would find useful are:

a child occupier

a noise reduction machine

a full time housekeeper

a hand washer

a nose wiper

an activity planner

Wait-maybe this isn’t a good plan. These presents may cause for my position in the household to be eliminated. Well, either that or I could finally get some rest and relaxation. Go ahead. Bring ‘em if you can. I’ll take my chances because I’m flat out pooped. And I’ve been a pretty good girl this year. Thanks so much for remembering me!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Griswolds

When I was a child, a portion of our extended family moved from Chicago to California. Another portion lived up in Wisconsin. These were my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. So, at Christmas time, we would get a huge contingency of out of town visitors. Most of them would stay with us at our house. As a child who had only one sibling, I thought this was awesome. For a week or two, we had the chance to see what it was like growing up in a family like the Brady Bunch. Or at least that’s what the scenario was in my head. Christmas came to mean that your house was bursting at the seams with family.

Those relatives still come for the holidays. However, it’s not necessarily every year now. But this year, they’re here. And I have to say; it feels more like Christmas now that they’ve arrived.

We do your typical holiday activities. So far, we’ve seen Santa, had a feast or two, watched Christmas movies, and had lots of good conversation and laughs over numerous bottles of wine. Last night, the little ones put on a fantastic play about Christmas and even the 3 year olds were given a part. Six little people built this spectacular gingerbread house. As they each wore their red Santa hats, they colored and taped up mistletoe around the doorframes. They couldn’t be any cuter or filled with any more anticipation.

My grandparents are getting older. They are 90 and 83. These are their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I’ve been talking about. I am so grateful this Christmas that we can be together. Grateful for the opportunity my children have to experience a Christmas full of family. A house full of love. And all of the crazy chaos such a large group brings with it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Giving Tree

Just when you are starting to lose faith in Christmas, something like this happens. Yesterday, B and A and I were able to help out distributing gifts for our church's Christmas Giving Tree project. Those little branches sticking up in the middle were filled only a few weeks ago with hundreds of gift tags. People from lots of different agencies with not a lot of hope for a present this year at Christmas. Most of them children. Even in this year, even with this economy, the tags still were taken from the tree. Each and every one. That generosity resulted in this pile of presents. A gift for each individual on those lists. When you entered the family area of our church and saw this pile of presents, this pile of generosity-it was overwhelming in person. On a stressful Sunday in December, it restored my faith a little. It showed me that some people have not forgotten what it's really about. That people are still good. That they have the ability to get outside of themselves still. B and A helped attack that pile. They sorted, they checked off the lists to make sure that no one was left out or forgotten. They bagged and labeled. All the while truly enjoying themselves. I couldn't have been more proud of the fact that not once upon seeing that large pile of presents, 2 weeks before Christmas, did they mention gifts for themselves. We are fortunate and blessed in so many ways.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


My dear friend, Tiffany, over at ElastaMom’s Excerpts has tagged me as a Theta Mom. Theta stands for The Truly Authentic Mom. Thank you Tiffany! I am honored that you thought of me. You are so sweet and do an amazing job each and everyday with your children.

This title comes with some responsibilities and one of them is that I share five experiences that have shaped me as a true authentic mom. The other is that I tag five other ladies who I think bring a certain sense of authenticity to the title of mom. This is beyond difficult to do because there are so many wonderful mothers out there each doing it her own way. That’s what I call authentic. But nonetheless, those are the rules.

Here are the 5 experiences that have shaped me as a Theta Mom.

1. When I was in the operating room having B and A, I was terrified. I had made my husband swear that he would not leave me for even one second at the hospital by myself. I am not too keen on hospitals and I used to almost pass out upon entering one and having that hospital smell hit me. Anyway, being the wonderful man he is, he swore up and down that he would stay by my side like glue. I already had to leave him to get my epidural because of hospital policy. I was lying there and B was born first. Within one minute, A was born. We were hitting a rough patch in the delivery concerning myself-not the babies. Long story short, I survived something that 99% of women die from during delivery. Even though I knew something was not right with myself, I heard them crying. I immediately turned to T and directed him to go to them. Go now I said. They need you. In my head I was thinking they are alone, they are scared. It’s your turn now to be there for them. And I braved my dilemma on the operating table by myself. I was scared, but I thought of them first. I didn’t even really think. It was just a natural gut reaction. The mother in me took over and I knew what they needed and I put that first. T hesitated to leave me. I can still see that torn look on his face. Leave my wife here or go to my children? I think he saw my face and knew I meant it. So, he went to be with them.

2. The decision to leave my career behind and become a full time mom when I had B and A. This is never an easy decision. To me- the financials didn’t matter, my career path didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that I was there with my babies whenever they needed me. So, I left and didn’t look back. There are so many moments that make up their childhood. I have been there for almost all of them. That is important to me. People say that these stages only last so long. They are only little once. It goes by so fast. I couldn’t agree more and I am so glad that I have my memories of it and that I am a part of theirs.

3. When you are pregnant or have small children there is always someone pushing their ideas onto you. Try this. Do that. When I first had B and A this happened to me constantly. There may be something about the frazzled look of a first time mother of twins that screams "Please help me!"-whether that person really wants you to or not. I listen when others talk about their parenting philosophies. I take in people’s advice. I read books. However, I will never let someone else push their parenting ideas on to me or influence how I parent my children. In other words, I’m doing this my way. The way that I see fit. The best way I know how. You can judge. You can question. Feel free. But, you won’t affect my parenting if I don’t completely agree with you in my heart or in my head.

4. Getting pregnant with R. We had a hard time conceiving B and A. There was a time when I questioned whether or not I’d ever be a mother. For four years after we had them, we left things up to fate to determine if we’d have any more children. I wasn’t willing to go through fertility treatments again, but would have liked another baby. The exact month that we said, ok that’s it. They’re getting too far apart in age. It would be too tough to start completely over at this point. Let’s close off the possibilities now. Guess what? Bingo. I think getting pregnant on my own somehow justified to me that I could do this. That this is what my body is capable of. On it’s own. It just happened. I had the chance to be shocked by looking at a pregnancy stick. And she has been surprising me ever since!

5. Each and every time one of my children needs me or calls me or hugs me or kisses me. Each time I see their little faces light up because of something that they want to show me or because they are excited to see me. I know. I know then that this is what it means to be a mom. Each time I have the opportunity to teach them something new-a math problem, how to tie a shoe, how to be kind, how to support a friend. Each time I have the ability to influence them in a positive way. I know that this is what it means to be a mom. Each time I realize how it feels to love someone more than you ever could have thought. To love someone more than yourself. To worry endlessly about their well being. I know then that this is what it means to be a mom. An authentic mom. Doing it my own way. Hopefully, when they look back, they’ll feel all of the love and thought that I have put into raising them.

And finally… here is the list of ladies who I am tagging as Theta Moms. Can’t wait to hear about what makes each of you authentic!

2. Kristen at The Norwindians

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Tale of Two Trees

Once upon a time, a young girl dreamed of lovely Christmas decorations. She fantasized about a home of her own, with her new husband. One where the halls are decked and the lights twinkle. Ribbons and bows of rich velvet and frosty tulle sweep over the tree. Garland swags line the stairs. Everything shimmers in elegance and beauty to reflect the season.

When that girl was first married, the young couple had only a few ornaments for their tree. They also had a limited budget with which to decorate. But, she made the best of it and went about making most of what they put out-from the stockings to the bows to the garland. She crafted, she glued, and she even sewed! And her home looked lovely. Yet, she would eye up the department store trees. Oh, how they were color coordinated or themed. They were so very pretty to look at. One day, she swore she’d have a stunning tree of her own.

Well, when the girl moved into her current house, she finally was able to put up such a tree. She bought the new ornaments. All of them in gold, amber, and chocolate hues. She draped it in tulle and put a rich chocolate velvet skirt underneath. She had a special bow made for the top. The tree was lovely. People commented on its beauty. The girl was pleased, but also surprised.

While she liked looking at the tree, it didn’t put forth a feeling of Christmas for her. You see, her heart belonged to another. Her true love was for the family Christmas tree. The one with ornaments like these.

These ornaments symbolized a life lived. There were those that marked all of the major milestones in her life. Ones for new babies, a first home, and vacations spent with friends and family, graduations, marriage and anniversaries. Her wedding ring was even presented in a little wooden ornament box one December day. That very box now hangs on this tree.

There are the ornaments that were made by her children. These are the ones that she cherishes more than anything. These are the ones that can never be replaced. The ones made out of love by the people she loves more than life itself.

This is her tree. The one she truly cherishes and adores. The one that her heart desired all along. When thinking about that young girl and what she was looking for at the beginning of her married life, she realizes that it can be found on this tree. A life. Spent with people you love.

This tree is Christmas. This tree is family. This tree is home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's That Time of Year...

I love the holidays. Really, I do. Truly love them. I do. Really. At least I used to with my whole heart. Now a days, the holidays and I have more of a love/hate relationship going on.

Since I have become a mother, I feel the pressure of the holidays. I never used to. They were just something to enjoy before. Now, I know I am responsible for someone’s memories and I want them to be truly fantastic. So, I hold myself up to unbelievable standards.

I used to be able to swing every thing when it was just T and I. I could run around like crazy, manage to get everything accomplished and still be a sane person. I was working full time, yet I’d do elaborate things like make gift tags by hand, copy a Martha Stewart truffle tree dessert, sew Christmas stockings for T and myself. By the way, I don’t sew. But, I still did it. And they looked great. You get the idea.

It’s a little bit tougher now with the three additional little people I tote along. Harder to get things done. Harder for it to look easy. Harder for me to feel like I am happy or enjoying it and not just feeling the pressure.

We have so many great things that we do as a family during this time of the year. So many wonderful traditions that we’ve carved out. But lately, I feel the squeeze to get them all done. So, I’ve been contemplating when is it time to let some things go? What is going to make everyone in our family happy?

I’ve pleaded my case to my husband. I tried to explain to him that I haven’t lost my passion for the holidays. They’re just beating me down a little. So, this year, he has promised to chip in. He went shopping for our ridiculously lengthy gift list with me this weekend. He took a peek at the holiday card and gave input on which one he liked and why. He assembled both trees and fluffed them himself while I got out the rest of the decorations. We decorated them as a family later on in the day. It isn’t anything crazy or over the top that he’s done, just little things here and there.

I think I feel different this year sharing the load more with someone. Even if he’s not outside stringing the lights with me or doing the baking, at least he’s checking in to see how it’s going. I am pleased about this little shift. I guess more than anything I just don’t want to feel like it all rests on my shoulders. Maybe that’s all I needed was someone to take some of the pressure off.