Monday Musings

Hello world and hello Monday.

Didn’t we just do this??

Is anyone else appreciating that the days are slowly getting a bit longer and for us, warmer as well?

So I’m feeling a bit victorious...

Why you ask? I’m coming off a 9 day stint of taking care of my very active, busy, precocious 2 year old granddaughter while my son and wife were in Ireland.

Rough for them I know ūüėõ

Anyway, I dusted off my 24/7 mom skills and thankfully they were still in place. And it should be mentioned, being fit has payoffs in keeping up with a non stop 2 year old.

Thankfully she enjoys being busy and enjoyed running and going places with me.

She loves being outdoors with the sun in her face and wind in her hair. She wants to explore and is open to new adventures. She’s fearless and doesn’t hesitate from jumping into things.

She’s my spirit animal, seriously.

We went to the park one day. And of course she wanted me running up the hills with her, and then climbing up the big slide. She delightedly waited at the bottom for me to slide down squealing in joy. We got on the swings, her in my lap holding on to the chains thrilled we were sailing into the trees.

***me…attempting to bend all 6’0 under the slide over hang***

It was all fun and games till she let one arm go. I was trying to keep her on my lap while the swing was twisting wildly and I’m internally freaking out ’cause I’m terrified I’m gonna break her little arm. When I finally get the crazy swing under control and stop us, she turns to me and says “Nanny come on, do it again!” While my heart is still pounding out of my chest…

I got to climb bars, swing from them, and all kinds of other things while well behaved moms in yoga pants sat chatting watching my antics.

It’s the cool thing about being old. You just do what you want and you don’t care if anyone may or may not be approving.

There’s a crazy amount of freedom in that.

And you know something? It is true…what people used to tell me…that grandkids are awesome and blah, blah…I thought they were just running their mouths

You love them in this crazy, awesome, different way from your own kids. They are the reward for not eating your own offspring ūüėú

They own your heart in ways you can’t explain.

I have 6…and a 7th due in less than a month…another little girl to own my heart. My first born son expecting his first born. I can hardly wait to see him in a daddy role to his baby girl.

I just hope he doesn’t pass out during the delivery….

So yeah, grandbabies are kinda cool.

Then one day, we’re in my car hitting the highway. I drive a Charger and it never gets old letting it open up, hearing the engine kick in, and that swift feel of rapid speed. It’s a head rush.

I do love it.

Then from the backseat I hear….”Whoa!” Followed by a wild delighted laugh. I glanced back to see her with this big smile on her face. ¬†It appears she may enjoy it too…

This was us “driving” later. I may be ruining her for her dad hahaha

The next morning as we were going to car she runs for drivers side and I hear…”Nanny are you ready?”

I spent a whole lot of time laughing. ūüėāūüėā

Her parents returned home after a fun trip and collected her.

I missed her sleepy little face that first morning they were back, waking up, calling me and giving me morning hugs and kisses.

We had been partners in crime.

Fortunately they live next door so I don’t have to go to long before I get those again.

Later, I got to enjoy my coffee in a cool cup. Pretty sure not many people have a coffee cup like this around Texas….

Oh yeah, aside from busy 2 year old care, I had time to work on lots of projects for my business. That has kept me running too. I love all the creativity that comes with it.. I find it quite relaxing in a weird way.

I finished this cool antique table this week. I’m excited it has sold already.

Look at those claw feet. I’m a sucker for those.

I repurposed an ugly vintage suitcase…

Look at it now…

And I turned a boring brown table into a clock table which I love…

I’m on a black and white kick….

And one other thing. Check out this super cool antique radio cabinet I scored. I’m totally repurposing it for something else…I can hardly wait to start it.

In other random stuff….

I was running through the store the other day and spotted this.. .

Like…what the heck Barbie?? I know times are a changin’ ya’ll but.. this isn’t the Barbie I knew and loved.

I love the glamorous Barbie even if the world thinks she’s unrealistic. What’s wrong with fantasy and fun play? I like my Barbies with crazy long legs and unrealistic waist sizes.

She had amazing clothes, cool cars and equally spiffy boy friends.

I don’t want a thick Barbie in mom jeans.

I know that may not be politially correct to say but it’s my personal opinion. Childhood is short, why can’t you have something wildly fun and non real to enjoy before you have to grow up?

Maybe there is a market for the mom jean Barbie….I prefer the Barbie who knows how to dress and has the cool car.

Your turn to weigh in…what do you think about a modern looking Barbie? What new projects or adventures have you been up to this week? How will you spend longer days?

Advertisements

Monday Musings

Hello world! Well not only is it another edition of Monday Musings, it also happens to be Christmas Eve on this particular Monday…. which gives me another perfect reason to write a Christmas post.¬† ( I told you it would be coming ) We’ve got plenty of time heading into 2019 to continue our health and fitness conversations.

But for now…..

As I write this it’s Sunday night. My weekend has been busy with all kinds of preparations and the usual Christmas activities getting ready for the big day.

Who else out there hasn’t been up to their eyes in wrapping paper and tape?

I’m ready to be still for awhile, drink some coffee, and let my thoughts out writing.

20181223_201108
this is my current mood and comfy place while I’m writing. This cute fox cup is one of my favorites Starbucks offered at Christmas two years ago.

Yesterday the kids and grandkids were over to decorate cut out cookies. These are definitely a more time consuming cookie to make, but are so worth the effort.  I get the cookies made, (using cutters that were my grandmothers)  and the kids decorate till they are covered in frosting and sprinkles.

20181221_230716
Can you resist a fat sugar cookie?

I may or may not have eaten one or two”ish” ūüėČ

I love building memories with my family. It’s especially fun watching not just my kids playing and making cookies, but my grandbabies as well.

Oh… and if you know anything about cookies like this then you know they have to be rolled out to a specific thickness.

Rolling pins are the necessary tool….

20181223_193328
Old family rolling pins and some greenery gave this a festive look…. just ignore the coffee part… I was to lazy to change it ūüėČ

So the cookies are done ( well mostly) I never think I have enough. I kinda like giving stuff away to people too and the clan likes having some left to graze on… which means plenty of candy and cookies all around.

Speaking of all those treats…..¬†

It’s always tricky finding the right ways to put the treats out, yet keep them safe from the dog or little child hands.

I love how this 100 year old desk I refinished earlier this year looks so festive with some¬†goodies on it….

20181223_192831

The cookies are made… the packages are wrapped and spilling from under the tree….

20181223_172302

Christmas evokes many emotions and feelings…..

I love all of the traditions we have during this season. I love the energy and excitement of it. Most of all I love watching my kids during this time. Even my adult kids still get excited.

I recently asked them what made Christmas “Christmas” for them, excluding gifts. (this is what happens when your Mom has a blog and writes. Everything becomes a writing exercise. )

My oldest son told me that Christmas made ¬†home feel “extra homey”

Another one told me that “Christmas is Christmas when all of us are piled up in the kitchen in our jammies, anticipating gift opening and just enjoying the company of FAMILY.”¬† ( when everyone is older, it’s easier to wait till day breaks to open gifts haha)

Another told me she “loves the “glorious mess” created in the living room on Christmas day.¬†” she continues…. ”¬†I love the excitement we get waking up, eating breakfast and then opening gifts .”

( it should be noted, they anticipate my breakfast as much as gift opening)

I am going to remember and hold onto the “glorious mess” reference.¬† I think it’s one of those cool statements to keep for future use. ( I will attempt to remember this in the aftermath on Christmas day)

Christmas is also bittersweet……

I think of all markers of time, each Christmas shows me how we’ve all changed in a year. I look at my children, now adults, and in my mind see them years ago as they were on Christmas morning, children.¬†¬†Now I watch my grandkids with the same eager anticipation of the morning and know next year, they too will have changed.

Next year as well,  we will have a new family member with the addition of another granddaughter.

I look at all of their excited faces as they sit in their “spots” we all claim each year. This has had to adjust at times when someone new comes into the¬† Christmas morning.

I see my husband playing “Santa” handing out gifts as he’s done for …well… a whole lotta years now….and think how blessed I am to have him and share another Christmas with him… our 36th.

The dogs are awkwardly everywhere not sure of this loud chaos in their morning.

As I look around the room at my “tribe” my mind also goes to Christmases past, thinking of family no longer with me. Thinking of times when my parents would take certain places on the sofa, or how we’d tease about them falling asleep on each other in the afternoon when things had settled down.¬† They would come loaded with beautifully wrapped¬†gifts for everyone in huge bags.

My parents were children at heart during the Christmas season and loved doing for others.

They haven’t been gone that long that the ache in my heart isn’t still tender and deep with a carefully grown scab on the grief.

My mom has been gone 4 years and my dad not quite 2.

So my mind sees them and thinks of those days… I remember them in their places and with all their funny quirks that amused us.

I miss them and fiercely wish they were still a part of our family and Christmas celebration.

The beauty in bittersweet….

Although my mind may wander back to Christmases from the past and memories of those I loved, I focus on the beautiful blessings of those I have and the memories we are creating together.

Nothing makes me happier than one of the kids telling me something they enjoy or mentioning a tradition they look forward to.

I find myself doing the same thing I once used to tease my grandmother and mom about. Everyone would almost be done opening gifts and they would have a pile of gifts around them, lost in watching everyone else open theirs.

Last year my kids were like… Mom! open your gifts! As I too, had my pile around me,¬†watching the antics of my family.

So I will join in opening my gifts this year, watching, and adding to the “glorious mess” of the morning and another Christmas will go down in the books.

20181223_172447
Gorgeous right? An unexpected gift this week

But for now…..

For now, tonight, I will sit and admire the beauty of the tree with all the gaily wrapped packages under it.¬† I know in just a short time, the place under the tree will be empty again. a “glorious mess” left in it’s place, ¬†so I will appreciate the view for this season, for these last few hours.

I will drink my coffee in my fox cup, memories dancing through my head, with my mind thinking about things to still do, tasks still waiting on my list before Christmas day arrives.

I will give thanks I have so much that can’t be wrapped and put under a tree and it’s those gifts I value the most, those are quite priceless.

And Christmas will come and go, and long¬†after a¬†gift may be forgotten¬†there will be new memories, stories and traditions that will become a part of the tapestry of our family, and that my friends, is what makes Christmas “Christmas” for me.

I wish you all the merriest holiday season and a joyful New Year!

Now tell me… what makes Christmas “Christmas” for you?

20181223_215109

 

 

 

 

The Beauty Of Adoption

Birthdays. We all have them and if we’re lucky and blessed, we will be given a good number of them as we spend our days on this earth.¬†Kids eagerly anticipate them and often are planning them longer in advance than Christmas.

Even though I’m in the age range of “approaching older than dirt”¬† I guess I’m still a kid at heart.

I want presents. I want an amazing cake and my favorite ice cream. ¬†I want balloons. I want all the good stuff.¬† I don’t subscribe to being old means you don’t need/get that anymore.

Nonsense.

In my family we are entering birthday season and yesterday we celebrated my youngest, my daughter.

She officially left the teen years behind. She was the last of my brood to do so.

I have grown adult kids.  Holy cow how did that happen??

Yesterday was her official birthday but we will kinda be celebrating her through out the week.¬† I will be making some type of wicked cake this Saturday, but yesterday we had monster cupcakes ’cause you need something to celebrate moving into a new¬† decade, right?

20180424_170653
Cupcakes are larger than they appear ūüėČ

 

 

Kids grow up, that’s normal right?

Yep, they do. And as mentioned she’s the last one leaving her teen years so I’ve got a little practice on me with several ahead of her.

But here’s the deal.

We got her when she was 8 years old. Half of her childhood had gone by. Sometimes maybe, I have a hard time realizing she is now a young woman.¬† Maybe I’m still caught up thinking there should be more childhood years.

Of course add to it she’s a whopping 4’10, ¬†I¬† sometimes forget that she isn’t a “little” girl anymore.

The choice to adopt.

born under my heart

 

We had children. We had three perfect, wonderful,healthy sons that we were quite happy with.  They were all big when we made the decision to add to our family through adoption. Our youngest son was 11.

We knew we were done with babies and wanted a child that could just get up and go with us and start to fit into our family. We were told adopting older children was fairly easy since there were so many and families tend to want younger children.

The labor begins

Adoption has it’s own labor as much as carrying a child and then delivering them. It’s just a different labor and delivery process.

We adopted our daughter through the foster care system. There are literally hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. foster care. We found an agency to work with and began the classes and working on home requirements, inspections etc that were required.

There was loads of paper work.

Some of the classes were painfully boring. Some things as a parent, we already knew and were just understood yet we had to sit in parenting classes.

We told the agency about the type of child we wanted. We settled on somewhere between age 7-10, race wasn’t important and of course, we wanted a girl.

The delivery

We got the call not many days after all of our official paperwork was done. There was a young girl who needed emergency placement within a couple days or she would be taken to the children’s shelter.¬† She fit into our criteria, would we want to meet her?

Well, of course we did.

We made arrangement for the next day, a Wednesday, to meet her and her foster family as well as the caseworker at a local restaurant.

It is a weird experience walking in and seeing a child that you know is going to be yours. It is weird knowing you are getting someone else’s child and are picking up the reins to raise and care for them.

There are a whole lot of emotions that are going on.

And not just for us, but for her too. At 8 years of age she had been through more than a lot of children. She also knew that something was up and was trying to be her most ‘impressive”.

We enjoyed our time meeting her and told the caseworker we were willing to move forward.

That was on Wednesday. On Friday December 1, 2006 our daughter arrived with a book, one stuffed animal and a small trash bag of clothes, most of which did not fit.

She was nervous, a bit hyper and desperately wanting to do all the right things.

You see we were her fifth placement since October of that year.

5 homes in a few months through no fault of her own.

Imagine being at your job one day. Your life isn’t perfect but it’s what you know. Then a nice man shows up and tells you that you can’t go back home but you are going to go live with some other nice people. He has stopped at your home and brought a few of your things but that is all that goes with you.

You leave everything you know behind to walk into a new home and life… immediately.

Imagine for a moment if you can, what that would feel like.  The complete uprooting of your life.

Now think of a child having to deal with it.

Is it any wonder they all have some sort of “emotional issues”?

The journey begins

It’s hard sitting here writing this, to think back to those early days when we got her, attempting to remember the way she was.

She’s always been sweet and loving. She desperately wanted a family and to be able to stay somewhere. She also was prone to immediate temper tantrums, biting, lying, and delivering words you might not expect from a child.

In the beginning any wrong move terrified her making her sure that she “would have to go”

I remember asking her one day what did she think was so bad that she could¬†do that she’d have to leave… that we wouldn’t keep her.¬† In her child’s way she had all these reasons that I assured her weren’t reasons for us to get rid of her like a bag of trash.

How did that happen?

It took day after day of love, care, patience and showing her that in families people make mistakes or do things wrong but you love each other and keep moving forward. There wasn’t going to be something she’d do that would make us send her on to another home.

It took day after day of love, correction, discipline, and showing new examples for changes to occur.

Since we did the foster to adopt route and she was older with parental rights already terminated, we were able to move forward in a quick way with the adoption.

In May, 5 short months later, she officially became ours. But even then it was a long time before I think she really believed she was truly home and no one could take her or make her leave.

We had to develop routines and consistency and set boundaries. We had to show her love in ways our boys never needed it. We had to work through some negative behaviors that are really more survival skills kids pick up going through the upheavals of changing homes and being in foster care.

After about the second day of having her I realized I needed to handle her just like my own kids. For awhile it seems like you’ve got the neighbors kid and you find yourself allowing or even giving them little things they request.¬† So that’s what we did. If we were committing to make her our daughter then we would handle her like our own.

And then the years move by

Day by day, moment by moment you’re living life. And somehow this new life merged into ours.

Love, patience, training, teaching. helping, more patience and she began to blossom.¬† The more secure she became the less talk there was she might have “to leave”.

She made friends, was doing well in school was liked by her teachers and was living a normal life a kid should have.

As I contemplate the young woman she has turned into it’s hard not to feel a little proud. Her dad and I consider her no less ours than the ones that biologically were given to us.

She went through her entire high school career on the dance team, maintained awesome grades, worked, kept a close circle of friends and was an overall good kid.

She has finished her first year of college and heading into her second. She has goals set for herself. She is focused and determined. She has continued to work and has arranged her school schedule around that.

She is sweet, compassionate, loving and giving.  Oh, and she still has a strong little stubborn will too haha  But she is also always grateful, always thankful for the life she was given.

I’ve tried to show her how to be strong, how to do things for herself and how to be proud of who she is and not compare herself to others.

I want her to be a woman who knows how to get things done and can see ways to make it happen.

She always says she is blessed and grateful but we remind her we feel the same way.

Adoption.. things to know

We did it more than once. In fact we did it three times. Like pregnancy and delivery each one has their own story and out come.

If you feel led to pursue adoption consider doing it through the foster care system. A little known fact is that it costs next to nothing to adopt.  This could vary state by state but for ours it was nothing.

There are tons of myths about kids in foster care and adopting them. Yes, some do have serious issues. You would need to know and understand your level of abilities and care giving skills if you felt called to care for them.

Overall, there are more kids that are like yours but unfortunately they are in situations they didn’t ask to be put in. They’ve done nothing wrong to be there. They just want to be kids and do kid things and be safe and loved.

The children are many and they desperately want the same things your own kids do.

Love, security, family, a sense of belonging, birthday parties, friends, holiday celebrations etc.

Many “issues” are from the emotional trauma of what they’ve been through. With love, care, patience and a little time these behaviors leave.¬† Our daughter exhibits none of the behaviors she came with all those years ago.

You can pick the age, sex, race and level of behaviors you think you can handle in a child. You can ask for a single child or a sibling group.

We found the agency and workers we dealt with to be very helpful and encouraging. To this day I maintain connections with many of them.

Keep in mind, you might be excited about the adoption idea, but when you share it with family they may or may not be immediately on board with the idea.

Don’t worry about it.

This is about you and the calling you and your family have. The rest will eventually come along you may have to give it time. Even if they entirely don’t, this is about your family. Just focus on that. Adoption will take all of your positive energy.

Finally, adoption is simply a most beautiful way to not just add to your family but to give a child their forever family, something they all long for.

It’s a beautiful gift you both give to each other and there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Todays post is more of a life post. Sometimes I’ll spend some¬†time sharing things that impact us in our lives. Have you had any connection or interaction with adoption?

Monday Musings

So another Sunday evening and I’m attempting to unwind after a long¬†evening and a busy week. I have coffee by my side, my warm solace, as a sit here letting out thoughts from the day and ¬†the week gone by.

I may regret all this coffee later, but for now, it’s delicious and soothing, an enjoyable way to end a rather long day.

20150215_195819

Speaking of my day. My daughter has decided she wants to start cooking¬†a meal during the week and Sunday is the day she’s chosen.

Is that ok with me? Huh? Say what?? Food I don’t have to cook? I’m down for that. Soooo down for that.

I actually think she’s showing off her potential future wife abilities to her boyfriend who enjoys her efforts.

It’s like he’s studying and taking notes… “Can cook, check.”

Anyway, it is nice to sit down and eat and not have to do it. It actually gives me more time outside in the lovely afternoon working on my projects without stopping to make dinner.

In the process of watching all my kids ( who are adults) roam in and out of the kitchen and put dishes in the washer, I am semi-amazed to watch them barely crack the door open and work their plate or cups in without pulling out the rack and doing it you know, the easy way.

Like, “Hey, we paid full price for a dishwasher that completely opens to allow you to easily put your dishes in!”

I’m not complaining, I mean at least they are making the move to not leave them on counter.. but still I find it amusing…

Stupid things heard in the news this week….

Well, truth be known, I’ve heard a lot of stupid things in the news. I’m left wondering “did someone read that out loud before they decided to use it?”

For instance… “ The foods you choose to eat can impact your health”

Like really Susan? You mean if I choose to eat Cheetos, cheap convenience store hot dogs and wash it down with a Big Gulp Diet Coke followed by a King size candy bar for dessert it’s not the same as having a Salad loaded with colorful veggies and grilled chicken breast or having a whole grain sandwich with a side of fruit ??? And that will have an impact on not only my health but my ability to wear skinny jeans?

You don’t say.

Ah, there are so many other cheesy things. I need to keep a journal and write them down. I don’t know, maybe the world just lacks common sense and the news needs to remind us of that.

So yeah, whole colorful healthy foods are better for you than colored Cheetos AND your fingers won’t turn orange either…

In the ways of things that make me laugh….

I like to laugh. I love people who can make me laugh. We can be friends if you do that easily. If you happen to have my off beat, quirky sense of humor, that’s even better. Sometimes I find humor in the most unexpected things.

For instance, I was randomly trolling a online site looking for my next potential furniture project when I came across this photo….

knee pic
Photo bombed by a leg… no it’s not mine.

Ok, my first thought was, ” another poor¬† victim of that awful blue paint”. But then I was thinking, why on earth is her leg just stuck in that photo? Certainly she is aware that her leg is in the photo before she posted it, right?? Like, how do you miss it?

So I read through the brief description of table for sale. At the end it says “it goes to my knee”.

This dear reader, if you’re not following yet, is her unit of measure.

That is how tall the table is.

It goes to her knee.

I happened to have taken a sip of coffee the day I saw this and almost choked on it from a very un lady like outburst of laughter that was more like a snort.

I’m giggling sitting here writing this thinking again how insane that is… I mean.. my knee to floor ratio is like… 22 inches.

So, I don’t even know how tall you are Karen. How the heck am I supposed to know the length of your leg from floor to knee to know how tall that table is and if it would work for me ? IF I did want it in that awful color….

you’re laughing, right ? ūüėõ

New things I’m perusing….

I got this book recently. A friend was reading it and I thought it sounded interesting so I grabbed a copy.

20180321_154231
One of my fun spring time pleasures… coffee and reading on the patio at my fav coffee hangout

 

 

I am in the first chapter. He talks about the hierarchy of order in creation. He talks about lobsters of all things. Do you know if a lobster loses a fight with another lobster he not only loses his confidence but something more extreme happens. If a dominant lobster is defeated its brain basically dissolves. Then it grows a new, subordinates brain one more appropriate to it’s now lowly position.¬† It’s original brain just isn’t sophisticated enough to manage the transformation from king to bottom dog without dissolution and regrowth.

Isn’t that crazy?? Yeah he does have footnotes to support that although I haven’t, you know, checked his sources.

That’s all I have to offer now on it. Lobsters can grow new brains. Ha who knew?

So the guy writes in a fun way that is already making me laugh ( see above how I feel about that) while getting his point across.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is busy and sometimes it is chaotic and well, rules are good to help keep balance, right? So I’m slowly picking my way through this when I’m not running.. or working on one of my many furniture projects…

Speaking of….

Hubby tells me today on his way out… “Now no new projects ok?”¬† Of course as he says it we both know…well yeah… he’s likely to find something new soon… haha

I however, smiled and told him probably not….I mean… unless something reallllyy¬†awesome showed up ūüėČ

Ok so, he’s¬† a pretty cool guy and he really does encourage my shenanigans. He is my creative carpentry assistant when I encounter something that I can’t fake or learn on the fly… like.. building in the lower part of a drawer on a 1930’s¬†vanity I scored last month.

Belle, as I named it, is almost done and will be ready for her debut soon and I’m so excited at how it’s turning out.

Not only did hubby create the bottom half he had to do some dovetailing on it ( that’s what you get with older furniture, those cool interlocking drawer pieces.¬† Check it out…

20180324_170409
the light board is what he did… pretty cool eh?

 

 

So now Belle has a repaired usable drawer. I’m always amazed at the stuff he knows how to do…. Nifty right?

I also got to spend some time outside enjoying our emerging spring weather working on my antique Sligh dresser I got last weekend. Poor baby, it’s gonna need a ton of work. It’s pretty low on my project list right now, but I am going to try and do little things on it mixed in with my other stuff.

20180320_194551
All that hard bumpy stuff is old paint that needs scraped. The smooth part is it’s original finish.

 

 

And I did get a new piece this week. The sweetest night stand that matches my project dresser, a real fixer upper, Eleanor that I mentioned in previous posts.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/26/monday-musings-5/

In the beginning, I totally wasn’t feeling the love with Eleanor and almost considered flipping¬†her¬†in “as is” condition. I got it for 50.00 and in serious need of lots of¬†veneer work. I’ll¬†say this… I’m now done with the repairs (yay) and she’s ready¬†for her new look and I am totally¬†in love with it now. ¬† Both are a French provincial style and both will be painted the same colors.

Just look how cute this nightstand¬† is…..

20180321_164212

 

 

20180321_164305

And I’m pretty thrilled it doesn’t require any repair work,¬† it’s just ready to have it’s face lift ūüôā

What about that cute little door on it? I love it.

Alrighty well that’s a wrap on my musings, thoughts and various fun projects. I can hardly wait to show you some more of my transformed sad pieces in the upcoming weeks.

Tell me how your week went. Have you read anything interesting lately? Are you enjoying spring weather yet or are you still trying to escape the clutches of winter?

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

20171201_223904

As the old Christmas song goes… “it’s the most wonderful time of the year….”

This is a disclaimer before you proceed reading anymore :

I’m gonna get all kinds of nostalgic on you so either buckle up and grab a fresh cup of coffee or abandon your computer for higher ground .

You’ve been warned.

I’ve always loved Christmas but I’m pretty sure my mom and grandparents had a lot to do with making that impression on me.

My memories of childhood were of fun, festivities, and family. Of course there were always lots of delicious baked goods and candies, and everything was always beautifully decorated. Christmas music was on and I remember my mom and grandmother singing along with various songs. There were special table linens and candy/cookie trays that were brought out every year to be filled again.

20171206_204153
Speaking of childhood and vintage. How about a couple pics of yours truly age 17 mos. and 6 years. I look thrilled over that baby which I still have…somewhere.

 

Cookies. Can you say… cookies? Of all the ones to be chosen, the cut out cookies still have my heart. All of those fun Christmas shapes in sugar cookie form … is there anything better? That is one thing today my kids all still love doing. Piling in at the kitchen table and decorating trees, Santas, reindeer, angels, sleighs, snowflakes, gingerbread boys and girls. My mom had tons of cool cutters that I enjoy using as well along with the ones I already had.

The season was steeped in many traditions for me.

As a family we always went together and bought a fresh tree. I’m grateful no one had any issues that kept us from having one because to this day it’s one of my favorite things to go do… pick out the biggest tree I can get my paws on… thank goodness I have 12 ft ceilings now! As a child our ceilings were much shorter so we were limited in the height we could drag home.¬† This years specimen comes in right around 11 ft and it smells soooo amazing. Some years the fragrance isn’t as strong, this year, beautiful AND fragrant.

20171201_223623
The photo really doesn’t do it justice

 

No, I don’t mind a real tree, and no I don’t mind cleaning up at the end of the season. It’s all worth it to me.

My children are adults now ( good heavens… I can’t believe that sometimes) and they too continue to expect a real tree and the married ones plan to carry on the tradition.

20171206_201115
I love looking into the tree when it’s lights are the only thing on. It’s still magical to me.

 

So we had the tree covered in bright lights ( remember those big C7 lights you could line a run way with?? I do have those on my tree but they are the more modern ones that stay cool and wont burn the tree down) and family decorations, amazing homemade treats, beautifully wrapped packages, family, special meals, worship service and of course the celebration of Jesus birth.

I simply grew up immersed in the beauty of Christmas, and not just the beauty, the magic too. The magic of waiting expectantly for Santa on Christmas Eve and the inability to fall asleep from excitement. My family always worked to make sure that the magic was a part of Christmas.

My mom was such a child at heart¬†about Christmas till the day she left this earth. I’m afraid I’m no different.¬† I still get excited at Christmas and I have a hard time sleeping sometimes.. only now I’m Santa and my kids and grandbabies get to experience it.

It was a sobering moment to me thinking this year that I’m the only one left to carry on all these traditions that have become precious to me. To pass them on to my children and their families.

Let me say I’m fully aware that Christmas isn’t fun for many, especially when they are acutely aware of loved ones that are missing from their lives.

Nothing brings that loss home more than Christmas time and I can fully speak to that.

In the last 5 years I’ve lost my brother, my mother, and this past year, my dad.¬† At this time of year there are moments that the pain and anguish strike my heart and spirit¬† so hard it almost takes my breath away.

I deeply miss my people.

I miss the ones who shared those long ago memories with me. I miss taking out certain decorations or ornaments and reminiscing about them. Oh, I still do on many¬†items as I share stories of various¬†treasures with my kids but they don’t have the memories associated with it.

In this last year I’ve also¬†been busy cleaning out my parents entire house and going through years of….life. It has to be done but there have been so many days it’s been an agonizing road to walk.¬†¬†There were times¬†I went in with the intent to work and only found myself sobbing on the sofa longing for those I loved to be there again.

However, in the cleaning process I’ve found some beautiful treasures that I have brought home to enjoy and to share with my kids. One thing I finally felt emotionally strong to do was go through the various boxes of carefully wrapped ornaments that had been my mothers and my grandmothers. I tried last year but opening the box that she had last carefully packed away was a bit more than I could handle at the time.

This year, I brought everything out. I laid them all¬†on the table¬†smiling, laughing and sometimes crying looking at all of the years of Christmas treasures in front of me. I pulled precious old ones from the mix, ones of my grandmothers that date back to World War 2.¬† There were treasured delicate glass ornaments that have always gone at the top of tree to protect them, now in my care to treasure. There were silly ones that for some reason I always loved, like these colored glass balls that had big fake eyes and a foam mustache. When my brother and I moved out my mom gave me a blue one and my brother a red one. Two years ago mine fell from the tree and shattered in a million pieces. Yes, I cried.¬† Going through my brothers ornaments I came across the red one… somehow it was like an old friend was back as I settled it into a position on my tree.

20171206_193717
He’s old and not fancy, but I love him. As a child I named him Oscar.

 

 

20171206_193822
One of several from my grandmother that date back to World War 2.

 

Speaking of trees….

I realized that one poor tree, no matter how big, reaches a point of holding all the memories of Christmas past.¬† However, I can have several other trees that are fun or have a theme. Of course my kids might¬†secretly be wondering if I’m turning into a crazy old tree lady… ūüėČ

20171201_223716
I love this little pink tree. It’s fun, whimsical and is my gingerbread/candy tree in my kitchen. I add real colored candy canes to it as well.

 

20171206_193932
The tinsel tree is a new acquisition this year. The tree is new but it’s covered in vintage glass ornaments. The little house in front is actually an old light bulb that my great grandmother used on her tree
20171206_100102
I love the rustic look of all of this. The trunk was a great yard sale find years ago for 15.00. It’s an 1800’s steamer trunk.

 

20171205_230639
I won’t lie. I’m seriously in love with this. I picked up the tiny white tree this year and it’s covered in more vintage glass ornaments. The old wooden coke crate contains many more that were on my grandmothers tree.

 

So many treasures are vintage collectibles now. Not just that, it’s the history they hold as well that means so much to me.

AH! I’m vintage.

Ha well in the life of Christmas decorations when they are up and over 50plus years that’s pretty old. I’m fascinated with the Christmases they have seen and sometimes wonder how they’ve survived so long.

My cardboard Christmas houses, so delicate and fragile and originally only pennies in a dime store are now worth hundreds of dollars depending on the era it came from, style etc.

I am completely enthralled with them. However, my love again, was started as a child when my grandmother would place her little village out with the Barclay skater people. It was one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I was thrilled when my mother let me have the beat up old village when I found it in the back of the loft long forgotten. I took them home and carefully restored them. It was only when I began digging into their history that I found the ones I grew up with were actually the end of an era of these unique houses. The first ones had been produced in the late 1920’s -early 30’s into the 40’s and 50’s and were last made in the mid 60’s a far cry for the original grandeur they had been crafted in.

Today, I have my grandmothers original set I still put out for that is where my childhood memories are.

But I’ve also carefully collected some beautiful, unique houses by shopping carefully and skillfully on Ebay. There are some I have to look wistfully at and let go as they soar in price zones I won’t participate in.

All of the houses in¬†my collection are¬† 70-80 years old. How they have withstood the test of so many Christmases gone by always amazes me. Some I’ve purchased and carefully done some restoration on. Others, I’ve purchased knowing they will stay “as is” in my collection mainly because the coloring or materials would be impossible to find and replicate now.

20171206_194304
Shhh step into my quiet winter wonderland…

 

20171201_223516
Churches are my favorite pieces. The red windowed one is from the early 1930’s.¬† The one on end hales from the same era. I’ve collected seven unique ones.

 

I wrote a post on them last Christmas, you can learn more reading “Favorite Things Of Christmas”¬† https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/12/22/favorite-things-of-christmas/

I guess I should¬†say for a more modern, trendy girl, I absolutely love and adore vintage Christmas. The new cheap modern day stuff doesn’t have the same appeal to me. I think though, it’s more because my heart is connected to the times gone by with the old items from the past.

But life moves forward, and memories are sweet and dear and keep us connected to those we’ve loved and have been privileged to share the journey of life with. As I’ve decorated this year it has been¬†a sweet treat to incorporate so many things from the past that are old and beautiful with newer things I’ve collected with my family over these past years.

I love being able to create a magical, special season for my family like I knew growing up. It blesses me that they appreciate it so much and enjoy being there. I want them to have memories of special times and special things that they can share with their children.

Traditions. Simple or elaborate I want them to have the history of traditions.

But Christmas is so much more. It’s a time in the year when we should be more mindful than ever of peace,¬†love, and joy. To be mindful of those we hold dear and the treasure that they are to us.¬† To give those gifts freely and generously back to them.¬† To embrace some of the simplicity of the season and not be swooped up in the commercial money train it has become.¬† To enjoy the presence of each other because that isn’t always granted to us.

I hope that you make your own traditions with those you love. I hope you value and embrace the simple things that make Christmas so beautiful and magical. I pray you know the peace and joy that this season is about and that it stays with you all year long.

As I’m concluding this post, and thinking of peace, I can’t help but mention it has been snowing here now for¬†over an hour.¬†I’ve watched big white fluffy flakes tumble from the sky and blow through the air, silently beautiful, peaceful.

It’s kind of a big deal for a girl who lives in south Texas… we rarely ever see snow.

Resized_20171207_222523
Do you wanna build a snowman? My adult sons crafted this big guy.

 

Resized_20171207_192935 (1)
Oh my! Did we get some snow! How beautiful is this?? Our first real snow since 1985. What an exciting day and night it turned into! A bit of a white Christmas for us.

 

 

It’s peaceful and quiet… it’s been reflective for me. I pray you know and experience all of the things that matter most in this Christmas season and that you have eyes of a child to still appreciate the magic and a spirit that receives the peace and hope of the Christ child.

Do you have special traditions or things that make Christmas magical to you? What are your favorite childhood memories?

Weddings And All Things Lovely

373

This is gonna just be one of those “life” posts.¬† Because my life is made up of a wee bit more than my athletic adventures, debunking current health nonsense, and offering up sane and practical ways to be fit and healthy.¬†¬†Sometimes¬†I just want to write about those “other” things.

As in… my first born son will be married in less than 2 weeks!¬† That my faithful readers, is a big life event for this momma.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo marrying off a child. My middle son will celebrate 2 years married in just a few days. THAT is hard to believe.¬† In those 2 years of marriage I’ve also received a beautiful granddaughter who turns one in a few weeks.

Will time just slow down already???

But yeah… I have a wedding coming full steam at me and as I write this today I will admit it’s my first round of actual, all out nervousness and that “OMG are we really ready for this?!” feelings.

By nature I’m not prone to that. I’m usually the more focused and in control of my feelings and emotions person. I don’t get all crazy from my nerves ( shhhh don’t ask hubby about that when I’m hours away from a race ūüėČ )

But today my mind is filled with all the little details and things still being done. My “to be”¬† daughter in law has been very good with getting stuff done so that’s helped a lot. I’ve tried to work and help her to the best of my abilities.

Team work, right?

Planning a wedding is…well.. a big deal. There are so many details.. but you know…women…. we are into details.

Just ask us to tell a story ūüėČ

So there are flowers… how many and where do they all go. In the church on the tables, off the rafters haha. What will the tables look like ? tablecloths, plates, decorations etc.

What goes in the church? Just the right touches to add to the beautiful old, antique look of it.

Food. Guests want to eat. We got to sample the goods recently and make decisions on that.

Cakes. Oh. We’ve got cake. We might have cake for days afterwards. They will be gorgeous though and oh so tasty.¬† I hope I have time to enjoy some of it that day.

374

Brides dress… all done. Portraits done.

Bridesmaids dresses and tuxes picked out and ordered.

Mother of groom dress. Ordered and hanging in my closet.

It is stunning.

Unlike many who might try to knock some weight off before the big event, I’m over here hoping to maintain my weight so my “custom made fits like a glove” dress still fits¬†like that¬†on the big day.

How many mothers of the groom are heavy into training for a duathlon with a wedding also on the menu?404

All of that aside… I know… it will happen. My nerves will settle, it will be beautiful, and I gain a new lovely daughter in law in the process.

Marriage. I’ve learned a little about it in the 33 years I’ve been married.

Weddings always take me back, make me think, how I’d do it all over again with the same wonderful man.

I don’t mean for that to sound clich√© or corny. It’s just true.

You grow and learn so much about each other in a married relationship. You have good times and bad times. I’m thankful our years have been filled with more good than not.

I’m thankful that no matter what, we’ve always respected each other and I think that’s a huge key to a successful marriage. Even if times aren’t great, love and respect are (I believe) huge factors to longevity.

You learn to pitch in together with common goals. work for things you want together, support each other in their own individual passions (I’m serious when I say my husbands support of my athletic and health shenanigans are huge to me) you go through kids ( and some of the literal hell they roll you through) you deal with aging parents and illness and death, finances, job changes, health issues… life stuff people.¬† Sometimes it isn’t pretty and you want it to just be over already.

Then there are quiet moments of waking up together and talking about the day or savoring that first cup of coffee together.¬† Special dates and doing those things that matter to the two of you… things that have been born from years of being together… things that are about you, as a couple.¬† There are the inside jokes and weird quirky things that are between the two of you that you could exchange in a room full of people and no¬†one would get but the two of you.

You learn about the whole “better or worse” thing that you recite in your vows. In all our years together I can honestly say that nothing has ever caused us to use the separation or divorce words.

And don’t you either.

Those are harmful words and should never be thrown around in your anger with each other.

When you make a commitment to love the other, it may mean you love, but you might not always like each other.

If you’re married and deny that, well, I’d call you out on it …’cause well.. it’s true. You’re two individual people, who different ideas, likes, interests, opinions, thoughts etc.

You will never mesh on everything, and you shouldn’t.

There is such a beauty in the differences of individuals who learn to mold and blend those differences together.

I am definitely the fiery, outspoken one of our relationship. He is calm, sees things in different ways and keeps me tethered when I’d go flying off on a tangent on something. ( Ah he tries… sometimes.. I do go untethered haha)

It’s a beautiful balance of give and take. Learning and growing. Accepting and changing.

It’s the beauty of years of lives being blended together in something sacred called marriage.

So as I work, prepare and get ready to watch my first born son become a wedded man my heart desire is for him ( his brother too) to learn these things. To allow large measures of grace to always permeate their marriage, to allow it to be in their relationship as they grow together. To be patient when they might not feel patient. To be loving even if they don’t feel like it. To be understanding of the others weaknesses and flaws. To be a helper and not a taker. To support, encourage, and build each other up. That they will cling to each other in rough times, and learn to appreciate the goodness of simple, daily life and life events. To not sweat the small things and let them go. To not waste time on being mad or arguing because they are wasting time they could¬†love and enjoy each other. To think of the needs of the other before themselves. To live sacrificially.

Marriage is a commitment. A lifelong one. Is it always easy, no. But the beauty of having another soul who knows you inside and out. Good and bad. Knows your sense of humor and what makes you laugh. Who knows those little things that make you smile and who loves to hear about your goals and dreams, someone who is willing to go the distance with you, works with you and desires to be with you, that my friends, is nothing short of priceless.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back to my to-do list and settling my nerves down.

I’ve got a wedding coming.

 

353

 

Ordinary Kids

ordinary

 

So it’s getting to be that time of year again. Some years, I get to participate, other years I’ve been able to skip it. Those are the years we save our money and our sanity.

What you wonder am I talking about ?

Having the privilege to graduate another child out of school.

The culmination of years of homework, teacher meetings, open houses, class parties, field trips, school projects, peanut butter sandwich lunches, new clothes shopping, tons of school supplies, sleep overs, class birthday parties, band concerts, yearly school pictures,¬†dances shows, football games, fun and unexpected calls from the Principal ( if you have boys you may understand this better ūüėČ ) early morning practice sessions, after school tutoring, school dances, boy friends, girl friends, college applications, college testing…

Ok.. I could go on… the list of things you do in a child’s school career is rather vast and endless. At times you wonder if you’ll ever get to the end of it.

I can say I’m there. My final one is exiting school and heading into the big world with college in her future.

We’ve ordered announcements, taken final pictures, and done the hundred and one things that seem to come crashing in the last few months of school.

I gotta admit this. She’s the last of my big brood.¬† By this time I’ve pretty well felt like I could lead parent/teacher night. Or that I could predict with certainty that when I showed up for another year starting in dance, it would be same lines, new year. Or that some things in school just never changed much and it was comforting already knowing the drill on it.

I was the older, smarter more seasoned mom. I figured that in a few years they’d get it too… it takes some moving through the ranks before you learn you can say “no” to things.. ¬†ūüėČ

By the time¬†my daughter hit Senior status I was pretty much like… “just deliver me the necessary paperwork”.

I knew the drill for it all. Many of teachers through middle and high school had already had the rest of the crew… a new year was like old home week… meet and greet… just another new family¬†face rolling through their room.

Although in all fairness to my daughter, one of my sons had made quite a um…mark… on several teachers going through various grades.. she’d get the “ohhhh… you’re so and so’s sister?”

If you have kids then you may have one of these… the high energy, high maintenance, social, outgoing never slow down, yet charming,¬†kid.

Anyway, thankfully, the daughter child was probably a bit more quiet and laid back than previous brood members who went through.

No matter what the bottom line was this…

Get them through. Get them on that stage wrapping their hand around that cherished diploma.

I swear when middle son walked the stage it was ALL I could do not to stand and cheer and whoop like some wild woman. There were debatable days in his final year I¬†wondered if we’d make it.

Now each class has it own “cream of the crop” the “cr√®me de’ le cr√®me” right? You¬† know the ones who’ve been marked since first grade to be the Validictorian ? Every kid in the class knows it. They simply accept it as what’s going to be and move on.

Then there’s the whole “class ranking” thing which was making my daughter get all twitchy one day till I reminded her…

“they don’t hang a number around your neck when you walk the stage. No one will know, and honestly, no one cares..”

I reminded her when she’s out in the real world it will be completely irrelevant as well.

Then there’s the whole college thing. The angst of wondering if one will want her… if¬†she will “make the cut” or be found acceptable. It doesn’t help when her friends are collecting admin letters like candy at a parade.

I reminded her that she could only go to one school and she will still get her degree to do what she wants.

In a community that’s big on pushing college it’s a lot of pressure on kids ( and parents) to feel like they need to perform up to some lofty expectations.. who’s.. I’m not sure…

’cause you¬†see I have ordinary kids and it’s ok.

I’ve never tried to make them do things they didn’t want to do.

Support them in their goals and plans, yes. Push my agendas and desires on them, no.

We learned the hard way when we registered my oldest son for a semester of college, paying cash for it so he wouldn’t have any debt. He went like… three times? and then he said something that really paved the way for the rest of the brood yet to come down the college path way…

He said “you never asked me what I wanted to do. IF this was what I wanted”

Ouch. Point made.

Did I consider him any less successful for not jumping on the college boat? Not at all. My son has always had an artistic bend and was in a band. He traveled around the country for months with them. He lived every 19 year old young mans¬†dream… being in a band in a new town every night, living for those moments on stage. ¬†Living in new places and eating off value menus and sleeping folded up in a van driving down highways in the dark of night. He didn’t do that forever. He settled down and works with his brother now in a family business.

Two of my other sons have wanted to pursue college. One went for awhile and then quit to take on a floundering business that he has turned into a success over the past few years.   One is in college right now working on his degree.

But through these years of raising kids and wanting them to find and embrace what their own passion is I realized it’s ok, really ok, for them to be ordinary.

And I don’t mean that in¬† a plain vanilla way or that they lack value, substance and intelligence because they are all¬†very bright, funny, and clever. They know how to learn and teach themselves things and they are always actively learning.

I mean they don’t have to live someone else’s ideals or expectations or get caught up in the hype with friends and feel like they are somehow “less than” ’cause they perceive the friends are somehow more successful. I don’t¬†need to have them do things to feel validated as a parent.

I saw a T-shirt recently that made me laugh ’cause it’s how I feel so often. It said:

“Worlds okayest Mom”

Maybe I need to buy it. It reminds me I can be me, can be the best mom I can without having to “do it all” or be at every meeting or every event, or get my kids into Harvard.

At the end of the day its about my kids being happy, successful, productive  adults and maybe even a bit, ordinary.

However, if they make an impact in their personal worlds and are decent human beings, I will consider them, and myself, quite successful indeed.