Saturday Snippets

If you missed it, last week was my first edition of my Saturday Snippets. You can find it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/12/08/saturday-snippets/

I’ve had the idea for awhile to just toss out something short and sweet ’cause on the weekends yours truly is busy and I know you are too.

These posts will contain anything from a current recipe I’ve found and love, an exercise idea, thought, inspirational quote… well… you’ll just have to check in week to week to see what it is.

Today I want to offer up a sweet treat recipe. Birthday’s are still a big deal in our home regardless of how old you get.

Every year is worthy of a celebration.

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My amazing hubby just celebrated another trip around the sun so when I asked what kind of delicious cake he wanted me to whip up for him I got the not so unexpected response of…

Carrot cake.

Now don’t start gagging if the idea of veggies in a dessert seems every kind of wrong. Carrots make a wicked, moist and tender cake… and I promise you have no idea they are there.

Anyway, I’ve made these before but went searching for something “new” and found a recipe to try.

Oh my goodness. It was worth the little extra effort it took to make it ( you make a buttermilk glaze to pour on warm cake.. then frost when cooled) the frosting is …well.. can I find words??

Cream cheese and¬† real butter with a hint of vanilla…

It made a marvelous 3 layer cake that even my carrot cake hating kids were drooling over… they are now singing a different story ūüėČ It really was the most amazing delicious cake.

And here’s the recipe to try out. Be sure and check out my board “homemade cakes” on Pinterest!

Are you a carrot cake lover or hater? If you don’t like it, why?

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Monday Musings

Happy Monday beautiful people! It’s really Sunday evening as I write this, and I’m ¬†finally finding a moment to sit down after a long busy day and catch my breath.

Football has been on all day and of course all my men must keep the sound at a level that resembles being at the actual football game.

When the games are over, the sound comes down, it’s then I’m reminded how nice a quieter house is.

With everyone here I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family…. even if they do have the football games ridiculously loud ūüėČ

Family.

It’s hard to not reflect on how blessed I am with my family. I have an amazing, wonderful husband, great kids, my sons wives, grandkids ( another on the way arriving in the spring!) and my daughters boyfriend who after 2 years of putting up with her ūüėČ is also family.

I’m grateful for who we are as a group. For the love, laughter, silliness and uniqueness of each person.¬† I guess I’ve become even more appreciative in a world where so many families aren’t like that, who are mean spirited and cut throat to one another, where jealousy and petty things take place over the value of relationships. These behaviors are so sad to me.

It just makes me want to hold closer those I love and what we have. I don’t mean “perfection” because not one single person or family is “perfect”… that also is an illusion many try to present…. just learn to love perfectly with not perfect people.

But really though, if you don’t take care of your family, at the end of the day what do you have? The world is a rough place, love those who are yours, over look faults, be patient with weaknesses, set loving boundaries, speak truth,¬†love fiercely and ¬†value the uniqueness of those who are your tribe.

Ok I’m gonna get off my soapbox now ūüėČ

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Speaking of family… for me Christmas and family are closely tied together.

This past week I’ve gotten all my Christmas decorating done and my massive tree all decorated.

All 13 feet of it.

It’s got over 400 lights, 180 feet of silver beaded garland, and 100’s of ornaments.¬†It took pretty much every ornament I have and my 6’0 body hanging precariously off the very top of a 6’0 ladder… but it’s done.

It is really, I think, the most spectacular tree¬†we’ve ever had.

I love turning all the lights off at night and just sitting in the quiet house before I go to bed and just looking at it.

I find those times peaceful as it lets my mind unwind and wander and reflect on so many things. It’s a practice I’ve enjoyed for years and I¬†find simple joy in it.

Here… I’ll let you have a sneak peak at it all….

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All of the glass ornaments that were my grandmothers and moms go at the top for safe keeping ūüôā

 

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How beautiful is this?

Long before you young whippersnappers had that crazy little Elf on a shelf thing going on, I had this little guy be a part of all my Christmases…which are getting up there now ūüėČ

According to what I was told a long time ago, these little guys came on dish soap bottles back in the dark ages.

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My grandmother was the one who got them ( a green and a red one) the green I retrieved from an old tub of my mom’s where Christmas decorations go to die. Although faded and more worn looking I dragged him out and he has a spot on my primitive toy tree ( I’ll show you later )

The red one comes out every year to quietly perch among the branches of my tree.

I don’t have to do anything with him, move him around or pose him in a bowl of cereal.

He’s just a quiet sentinel marking another Christmas in his family.

I love having things from my childhood past to share with my kids and grandkids. Those things evoke feelings and memories of Christmases long ago and the people I loved who I shared them with.

I hope these traditions continue a long time in my family.

 

But on the topic of trees….

I somehow, in the past few years, have managed to have more than one tree. I’ve got little theme trees that I haven’t been able to resist doing.

A primitive toy tree surrounded by my old rocking horse obsession. A cool black and silver tree that holds all my kids ornaments they lovingly brought home from school projects years ago, a silver tree that holds tons of little glass ornaments that date back to my great grandmother. It’s so vintage looking… I love it.

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This tiny tree is only about 2 feet tall. In a old wood crate it’s surrounded by old glass¬† ornaments who are “wounded” and can’t hang on the tree anymore.

A few years ago I got a pink one. Sorry, I’m a girl and pink is like one of my favorite colors. It’s in my kitchen and it’s all gingerbread and candy themed and my granddaughters adore looking at it.¬† It’s full of whimsical sparkly play candy and garland although I do buy various colored candy canes to add to it.

I think I’ve got like five theme trees around my home… but hey! It’s better than being a crazy cat lady, right??

In other news….

in a busy month with not only usual life activities, but holiday preparations as well it might be tempting to skip your workouts.

May I suggest something short and sweet that also brings a punch ? HIIT (high intensity interval training) is hard work in a short amount of time.

Got 20 minutes?

Here’s an example of one I did last week.

10 push ups

10 burpees

10 jumping squats

20 jumping jacks

20 mountain climbers

30 sit ups

30 second plank hold

Do as may sets as you can in 20 minutes.

It was a cold morning when I did this. I was sweating at the end. I managed to get 5 sets done. I was thinking that didn’t seem like…a lot.. until I realized I had done 150 sit ups in those 5 sets. I do butterfly sit ups with a 25 lb weight plate to make it a little harder.¬† I do a longer hold on my plank as well.

It’s important to remember that you can always modify a workout to your current physical abilities.¬† If you’re stronger, add some weight or push a little harder.

If you are just starting out, reduce reps if you need to and go at an easy pace.

Short, powerful workouts are very effective and if you are limited on time, they offer a high energy boost and get you on your way.

Visit me on Pinterest and find more short workouts on my fitness boards.

Ok and you know I need to leave you with something tasty….

I will also encourage you to maintain healthy eating habits during the festive season of Christmas and all that goes with it however there are going to be tasty treats to eat as well…..

My daughter in law found this recipe and suggested we should try it. We are quite the dessert lab rats around here haha

These are delicious and will probably be added to our list of favorites. Don’t take my word for it, go make it and see what you think.

My cookie baking and candy making will be getting going soon so I’ll share some of my favorites with you in an up coming post ūüôā

So tell me… are you ready for Christmas? How goes the decorating? Are you done shopping yet? Do you have a favorite Christmas item or recipe?

 

 

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

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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

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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.

 

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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
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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.

 

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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.

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Shhh step into my quiet winter wonderland…

 

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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.

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

 

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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

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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.

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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.

 

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Ordinary Kids

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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.

 

 

 

Holidays, Traditions And Memories

It’s that time of year when I find myself in my pantry taking inventory. No, I’m not¬† extremely obsessed with what’s in there or making sure no one has found my hidden stash of chocolate ( admit it, you have a stash too ūüėČ

It’s honestly to check out what baking ingredients I have or still need before I get ready to¬†start all of my Christmas baking and candy making for the season.

We just wrapped up Thanksgiving where I  made a variety of pies and an amazing Pecan Pumpkin cheesecake.

Christmas will be all kinds of cookies, some new recipes, but mostly old, tried and true ones that have been in my family for awhile that everyone looks forward to.

For me, the traditions of the season mean as much as anything else to me. I love that my kids have been raised with certain things that as adults, are now traditions to them. My son is now interested in carrying on similar traditions with his children.

Last week I was whipping up some pumpkin pies, using a batter bowl that had been my grandmothers. She has been gone since 1994, but I know that piece from my childhood, remember her using it.

 

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When she passed away, my mom naturally inherited all of her things. She stashed the “old” dishes away saying she had seen them her entire life and wanted to use different¬† dishes.

When my mom passed away two years ago, the task fell on me to begin sorting through items in her house. Of course the first things I brought home were some of my grandmothers now “old” dishes.

Now long worn with wear, sporting some chips and an occasional crack, to me they reflect life, use, and the service to family. They reflect a time gone by. Family who is no longer with me today. Memories. Traditions. Shared experiences. Life.

Using these items somehow makes me feel more connected to my mom and grandmother.

I will admit, this time of year, from about October thru the New Year is hard for me since my Mom loved the entire “holiday” season. She loved the baking and freely shared her talents with so many people. She worked so hard to make the holidays enjoyable not just for her family, but those she encountered in her daily life.¬† I miss her plotting and planning with me for our big family meals, her festively wrapped packages, and childlike enthusiasm for the season.

Being in the kitchen is just a way I feel connected to her during this time. Using dishes that have been passed along are just a soft touch for me to keep my Mom, grandmother, and memories alive in my mind.

It’s my hope to share, teach and inspire the young women in my family to carry on the traditions for upcoming years and generations for their families.

What traditions do you have in your family during the holidays? Have you started new ones or do you carry on ones that have been in your family for a long time?

Below you’ll find the traditional pumpkin pie recipe I use each year.¬† Enjoy!

(1) 9 inch pie crust. ( homemade or a defrosted all ready crust)

2 eggs, lightly beaten, (1) can 15oz. Solid packed pumpkin, 3/4 c sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, (1) can 12 oz. undiluted evaporated milk

Prepare pie crust, mix filling ingredients in order listed. Pour into crust. Bake in preheated 425 oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350. Bake an additional 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burning.

Cool and garnish as desired.

 

 

Oh Baby!

“We interrupt the usual programming of health, fitness, cycling, running, and all things athletic for this important message….”

So this is just gonna be a fun post. Let’s call it a life event post. You know those cool things that happen in life that you want to celebrate and rejoice over?

It’s baby time in our family. Actually, it was baby time¬†last Monday as my son and his wife were delivered of their beautiful baby girl, Trinity Ally, who made her entrance into this crazy world.

I really am having a hard time grasping she’s here since it honestly seemed like yesterday that we got the excited news from them.

And October seemed sooooo far away…

So when the news started coming to me that a baby would be arriving sometime Monday and as I made my way to the hospital, I had some time to think and reflect on all that was happening.

I mean as far as babies being born and all that, it happens every day, and has for a zillion years.

Circle of life and all that, right?

But it’s not every day that babies come into my family so that well, makes it a big deal.

I guess one of my thoughts was… how can my child already be a grown man having a baby?

Oh, I did my baby time. I was fortunate to have three beautiful sons with easy pregnancies and deliveries.  I loved the process. I loved nursing them and those sweet, precious baby days in the weeks following the deliveries.

The days seemed long in front of me before I would have to worry about them being a grown up and having their own children. I had well meaning people tell me to appreciate and enjoy them because it would go so fast. Yet, when you’re caught up in the day in and day out moments of raising them somehow that all seems so very, very far away.

Yet here I was in this moment as I waited for the arrival of his daughter. Years rushing by in my thoughts and ponderings.

I was getting ready to put the “grandmother” hat on again ( this would be my 4th one) time to get into the present…

My daughter in law had pretty much sailed through her pregnancy glowing and beautiful, staying slim with her little baby belly, and embracing the journey of carrying her daughter.

My son, well, was a total goof with her most of the time watching him pet her tummy and wait for the baby to move under his hand. He was so fascinated with the entire process it amused me watching him.

By the time I arrived at the hospital her labor was progressing well and we were all excited at the prospect of baby girl arriving later that evening.

I said 10 pm. I also said 7lbs….

as deliveries go, we stayed and hung out with expectant momma till she was ready to be alone and then we retreated to the waiting room to… well.. you know… wait.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long when we started receiving news that little baby Trinity had made her arrival.

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In the nursery after, I couldn’t help but pet her tiny foot.

 

 

At 9:55 p.m. weighing 6.14.

WHY didn’t we have a betting pool?? I woulda won! Hahaha

Of course, knowing she was there and having to wait while they did everything that needed to be done with mom and baby… was hard!

But finally, I got my moment to go back to the room.

What is there about entering that room when a baby has been born that’s almost hallowed and sacred?

A new life. A process as old as time yet, as miraculous and beautiful each time it occurs.

More beautiful when you’re gazing upon your child’s, child.

Tiny baby girl laying on her glowing mothers chest, I’m not sure there is anything more lovely, or overwhelming.

After months of watching her move actively in her mother, she was here.

Tiny, beautiful,¬† perfect and healthy. She also has a good set of lungs ūüėČ

I know I swallowed twice to keep my wits about me.

I teased my son about surviving the birth process. His accounts of things later would have us all laughing. There had been a common joke about worrying he’d pass out on the floor…. ūüėČ

Yet, like all new parents, they had made it through the process, basking in the glow of a miraculous experience.

I think, the thing that almost overwhelmed me was when my daughter in law asked me to take her off her chest and swaddle her. It was then made known my son hadn’t held her yet as she had been on mom since the birth.

Swaddling that baby, and then placing my child’s (¬†child ) in his arms was one of the most precious things I’ve ever done.

Yes birth is a process as old as time yet, still so mysterious, magical and always amazing to see a new life ready to unfold full of promise and dreams.

And most of all in it, this gentle reminder,

 

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