Monday, December 19, 2011

Just Barely Golden

On Sunday I baked 6 dozen sugar cookies for me and the kids to decorate.  And guess what?  I didn't burn a single one.  I didn't even overcook a single one.  Now THAT, my friends is a Christmas miracle.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We Three Trees

Man, I hate getting behind. Where was I ....

Brian turned 33, and just like last year, he and I (and Skip this year) spent his birthday weekend in Ashland. And once again, he ran a 31-mile, muddy, freezing, trail run. Crazy. And I went shopping--Walmart, Costco, and the shops and Farmers' Market of Ashland. At the Farmers' Market, I was so excited to find a bunch of berry boughs ( I can't remember what kind of berries they are) to hang on the branch that I have suspended over my kitchen table. I wish I had better pictures of it. The lady that sold them to me told me that she had just sold her entire crop to the folks at Sundance Magazine. I thought that was kinda cool. (A quick aside: lately I've been very discouraged by the fact that I'm never going to be able to capture any pretty part of my home on my blog because I don't have the camera or skill to take good pictures. Do you know what I mean? As I've drooled over decorating blogs over the last year, it has been clear that these girls don't just know how to decorate, they also know how to take pictures. But anyway...what can you do?)

And then later in November, my Gain Goo turned 6, and Sarah's whole family was here to celebrate that and Thanksgiving with us. And can I tell you? I LOVE MY SISTER. I love all my sisters (and brothers, for that matter) but it is just so, so fun being in the same stage of life as my older sister. We understand each other's lives. You know what I mean. So anyway...Jane had a wonderful birthday. She's such a good girl--a little bossy at times, maybe, but practically perfect in every other way :) She still has a lisp that Brian and I love, and she still spends hours a day creating artwork to deliver to the

neighbors. She's loving school, of course. Yesterday, she walked into school in tears for fear of the lunch ladies pressuring her to eat her veggies. I had run out of stuff to make her a lunch, so I insisted she buy one. The funny thing is--it's not that she's so afraid of eating the vegetables (she gets forced to eat vegetables by me every day.) It's the experience of having adults requiring something of her that makes her feel disapproved of. You know what I mean? I was the same way. Before she left the car, though, we said a prayer that everything would be alright and would you know it? Everything went just fine--pizza eaten, vegetables averted. Happy Jane. Happy Mom.

And then I celebrated my second favorite holiday--my Favorite Things Party day :). Yep. I turned 33, too. And this year's party was super fun, although maybe not quite as fun as in years passed. This year I was super tired and much more unprepared than I would like to have been. I hadn't finished decorating my house and my bathroom was a mess--and those two things alone were enough to throw me out of my groove. But thankfully, Becky was here again (it is a tradition) and she totally saved me again. She wrapped all my gifts up nice and pretty in brown paper and string ((you know, from the favorite things song)--dang, I wish I had taken a picture of them. Thanks, Stacy, for that idea) and helped me clean the house and get the food on the table. And hopefully, my guests had as good a time as in the past. I really do love it.

 This year my 33 favorite things are (in no particular order): my Pottery Barn-like entry shelves (the ones with the hooks) that Brian built, the leaf trivet that Camp made me, 3M picture hanging strips, tomato and red onion sandwiches (thank-you, Heather), blackberry cobbler, my IKEA drying rack, bedding, my blue and yellow t-shirt, boughs of berries, Christmas decor, DIY projects, decorating blogs, my magazines, my driftwood wreaths, Christmas tree light remotes, sales, dinner someone else made, my blue earrings, B&BW Mentha Lip Gloss, Costco's version of Bare Minerals makeup--the powder/bronzer (which is no longer being sold as far as I know. If you can get me some in medium, I will do something really nice for you!), my Walmart jars, blank notecards, white eyeshadow, cut branches, 3X5 index cards, my yellow book, my blue book, Brummel and Brown butter spread, the scents of Christmas, new clothes, my black exercise pants....and finally--Adele's Someone Like You . And have you ever seen this version or this version? I LOVE all of them. And you know why I love this song? Because I have been heartbroken before and because it reminds me of Sarah. She hooked me on it while we were both at my mom's this summer. We'd float around in the pool belting out the chorus: Nevermind, I'll find someone like you....Oh, man...I wish you were all here to sing with me again. So there you go. Maybe someday you will all get to come to my party and you will all sing and dance with me and I will send you all home with one of my shelves (Stephanie got it this year :) ). I would sure love that...

And finally, I've been decorating for Christmas and putting away the boxes left from decorating for Christmas for about three weeks now, and I'm loving it. I do wish I had some holiday toss pillows. I had intended on making some, but oh, well. My front room and family room trees are both Frasier Firs this year. It's funny, because every year it seems my trees are leaning more and more toward the Charlie Brown variety. As a young kid, we always got Douglas Fir trees, and then at some point we all got smart and went for the Nobles--no offense to you true blue Douglas fans. And now I just seem to me more and more drawn to the trees with more space in between the branches. The thing is, though--I really miss the smell of the Douglas Firs. Nobles and Fraziers don't smell like anything and that is a major sacrifice. So maybe next year I'll get Douglas Firs and just chop a bunch of branches out. Yeah, that might work... But this year I felt a little sad that my bedroom didn't have any sparkly lights, so when my friend mentioned to me that she lived on an old Christmas tree farm, I packed up my saw and some rope and headed out to chop down a third tree. We all know it's best to decorate in threes. And this third one--well it really is a Charley brown tree, but I really love it. Every night I go to sleep to it's glowing lights and Manheim Steamroller's Silent Night on repeat. So wonderful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Still, Still, Still

You know what? Ignore what I have written in my personal little ditty on the left side of my blog. Sometimes it isn't fun being a mom. I don't always love it. Some of the time I don't even like it. Too often I realize I've gone through an entire day without really smiling or laughing with or even at my children. And I then I feel awful. But it is really, really hard. My personal belief is that we are commanded to get married and have kids mainly because it is in doing so that we have the greatest opportunity to become perfected. In other words--it is in marriage and raising children that we are forced to confront each of our weaknesses. And I've got a slew of them. Thank goodness for forgiveness. Thank goodness for the atonement. Thank goodness for tomorrow. Oh, thank goodness for tomorrow.

What would I do without my children? I would go shopping all the time. I would have a really clean house. I'd have conversations all day long without being interrupted. I'd probably get dressed and do my hair everyday. And I'd be miserable. That's for sure.

You know what I love? Mannheim Steamroller's Still, Still, Still. There's nothing like a little Still, Still, Still to restore my peace.