Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Procrastination is biting me in the butt.

We have more fresh snow this morning. It was a pleasant surprise, I can't lie. But it was just a fluffy inch or so ... not enough to hide all the stuff on the patio I haven't put away yet.

I do this every. stinkin. year.

I did at least get the lawn mowed one last time before the weather turned really cold, so our front yard doesn't look like the snow fell on a hay field. But I still have patio furniture and flower pots scattered hither and yon. At least most of them are empty - I did get around to doing that. But every time I walk in or out the front door I am reminded of these half-done projects and it grinds on my nerves. I don't know why I let it bother me so much; it's my own darn fault. I need to use that annoyance as motivation to get it done, though. It looks like temps will be a little warmer this weekend so maybe I'll ask Rachel to bundle up and help me.

One thing I have not been procrastinating on is my Christmas shopping. I'm feeling pretty good about having checked some items off my list, and even got a few of them wrapped today. I've got some Christmas tunes playing and I'm about to pull out some decorations. The more I think about it though, the more I am convinced we should keep the decor very simple this year with the puppy still "exploring" everything/everywhere with his mouth. Gunnar was just at the vet on Monday and he weighed in at 66 pounds. He's five months old and he's huge. His tail alone could take down an 8-foot Christmas tree. So we're going small, fake and on top of a table with the tree, and we'll make it as fabulous as we can. If I have a tree all lit up and my nativity scene set out I'll be happy. I'm really looking forward to doing some crafts and baking and watching Christmas movies with the kids leading up to their holiday break from school. And hopefully Steve will have a nice long break from work over the holidays, too.

My goal is to have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas season ... starting now!




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clean Slate Sunday: 11.25.12 edition

Here we are at the cusp of a new week.

I'm in my jammies, ready to stretch out in my big bed, a little sad that I'll be alone.

Steve is safely back in Colorado.

The kids are tucked in.

It was a lovely long weekend, but Steve and I agreed we are both ready to get back to our everyday routines. It's a crazy life, but it's what we're used to. And I am ready to get some Christmas boxes out of the closet and start decorating. We got a little snow last night and it stuck around today, which really gets me into the holiday spirit.

That, and having walked around in Sam's Club today after I dropped Steve off at the airport. It's like Christmas in overdrive in that place. Which isn't so bad, if you can look beyond the consumerism and just enjoy the colors and sounds and smiles, which I did.

Thirty days until Christmas!

Here's to a wonderful week ahead.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blessings galore.

The week of Thanksgiving has come and gone, more or less, and I am left with this feeling of contentedness that has me looking forward to pulling out the Christmas decorations and turning on some holiday music.

These past few days have been busy, but relaxing. Wednesday afternoon I picked Steve up at the airport when he flew in from Colorado for the weekend. We went out for dinner before heading home, something we don't get a chance to do very often, just the two of us. We visited friends for their daughter's birthday party Wednesday evening, we enjoyed a low-key dinner with Steve's family for Thanksgiving, and have pretty much chilled out, slept in, ate leftovers, watched football and movies, the guys have gone hunting, and we've enjoyed some great family time. And it snowed! It didn't stick around, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.

I am not a hardcore Black Friday (or Thursday) shopper, but I did make two trips to town on Thanksgiving day - one in the morning and a spur-of-the-moment one at night - to snag a couple of items I've been wanting that were on great sales. The morning at Meijer was a piece of cake. The trip to Wal-mart in the evening was insanity, but my shopping buddy (my future-sister-in-law) and I had a blast chatting people up and joking around while we stood in line. And I have to say, maybe it's because we live in a relatively small town and people here are generally pretty tolerant, but for the most part everyone we encountered was in good spirits and very helpful. Customers and employees alike were kind and courteous, and the few grumblers were the exception. Sue and I agreed it was worth the trip and the wait to have gotten the TV's we went for, and I was happy to have also been able to knock a few other gifts off my list.

Gift shopping aside, we have so much for which to be thankful, this year and always. I can't help but reflect a little on years past and the ups and downs we've been through and feel overwhelming gratitude for where we are now.

Steve heads back to work in Colorado tomorrow afternoon. The kids head back to school Monday for a few full weeks leading up to Christmas, which is probably when we'll see Steve again. In between I plan to decorate the house, finish the Christmas shopping, enjoy the quiet time during the days, and do my best to relax. I love this time of year. I look forward to our little family of four being together again ... that'll be the best gift ever.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A quick and random update.

Sam got the cast on his leg yesterday. Praise Jesus, it did not have to go all the way up to his thigh as the ER doctor had said it would. It ends just below his knee, and is much less cumbersome than the splint, according to Sam. What a relief. Also a relief: they took more x-rays and said the bones are healing nicely. We go back to that doctor in five weeks ... so Sam will (hopefully) get his cast off for Christmas!

The weather here has been weird, which has become the norm I guess. It was pushing 70 degrees over the weekend and this morning I have snow on my deck. Brr. I don't mind, though. I love those first few days of snow ... it really gets me in the holiday spirit. I do need a new winter coat, though, so I guess I better move that up the priority list.

This week the kids have a short week of school because they get the deer hunting opener (firearm season) off on Thursday, and then a teacher in-service Friday. Then next week is Thanksgiving, of course, and - HAPPY HAPPY! - Steve is flying home from Colorado for the weekend. I feel like I've been living in my truck lately and there's no end to it in sight.

And the dogs. Gunnar has bypassed Ladybug in height, and probably at least caught up to her in weight. His head is twice the size of hers. I do love this cute stage where he's half-puppy/half-big dog and really fun to play with, but I also look forward to the time when he will lay on my feet and not give a darn when the cats walk by. I'm really trying to take a few minutes here and there to play with the dogs and let them stretch their legs since they've been cooped up with Sam hobbling around here on crutches. Now that I've given them some time to run around this morning, I'm off to have lunch with Rachel at school. They have their annual Thanksgiving celebration in which each child can invite a guest. It's the one time during the year I get to experience school lunch again, Turkey Day style. And this is the last year I will do this, at least with my own kids ... as Rachel will be moving up to Middle School next year.

Awww. My babies are growin' up.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Clean Slate Sunday: 11.11.12 edition

Whew.

It's late (for me, anyway) and the house is finally quiet. Just a couple of hours ago I was ready to call it a day and head to bed early, but I so look forward to my Sunday nights that I stuck it out to be sure I'd be the last one up. Even just a few minutes of quiet time is worth the wait.

So the television is off. I just finished a chocolatey peppermint latte from my favorite mug, and I'm not even concerned that it might keep me awake. I have a fall-smelling candle burning, my new little electric fireplace is flickering away, and I can hear rain on the roof. Perfect.

It has been a long week. Sam is getting around quite well with crutches, but is still having some pain. He's now beginning to feel the frustration of needing help to do so many things, not being able to just jump up and walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water ... and the boredom - or cabin fever, maybe - that comes with limited mobility. Having been there myself, I feel for him. I wonder how much he'll have to relearn after tomorrow when he will have a cast put on the full length of his leg.

Aside from the drive, I am looking forward to Sam's appointment tomorrow with the orthopedist. Mostly because I am eager to hear a report on how he's doing, and I'll be glad once he has a more stable barrier between his broken bones and the rest of the world. Sam finally felt he could handle school on Friday last week and I was a mess all day thinking he might stumble and fall or get jostled too much in the hallways. I'm beginning to think my friends' suggestion of bubble wrap for this kid isn't such a bad idea. Fortunately we have two short weeks ahead with Thursday and Friday off school both this week and next. Which will be great for my kiddo to relax and heal ... not so great for me, who could use some kid-free time to catch up around here.

Does it seem like I am always trying to catch up? Geesh.

Lots more to talk about, but I am getting sleepy and if there is one thing I know for sure, it is that sleep is almost always a good choice.

Have a blessed week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

When a good afternoon goes bad.

Poor Sam.

This kid has been riding a bicycle since he could walk, practically. He chucked those training wheels as soon as he could work a wrench to take 'em off. And he has made my heart skip a beat on countless occasions with his tricks and tumbles.

I wouldn't call him a daredevil, really. More like ... determined. He knows what he wants to do and he will try and try until he gets it right.

But Sunday afternoon he was just a teenage boy riding his bicycle around in the driveway when he popped a wheelie, the back tire hit a hole, and when he bailed off his body went one way while his bike - with his right foot caught between the pedal and the rear peg - went the other.

He told us he heard the snap.

I know. *shudder*

So Sam and I spent the evening and most of the night in hospitals and ambulances - first a ride to a local hospital, then a transfer to a children's hospital a miserable, bumpy, 1.5-hour drive away.

At any point in the night I would have gladly traded places with him so my kiddo didn't have to experience that kind of pain. But that second ambulance ride? Oh man. Talk about feeling helpless. It was definitely one of those moments when it would have been nice to have Steve here - a strong shoulder for me to lean on and the voice of comfort Sam really wanted. Because mom will do in a pinch, but he truly is daddy's boy. And I know that was hard for Steve, too. Hard to hear me tell him what happened, and then Sam's scared voice on the phone. But as parents we suck it up for our kids, don't we? We stay strong for them when it feels like we're dying inside. We offer them comfort when we feel like we don't really have any more to give.  

Sam is now experiencing the pain of a broken bone. Two, in fact. Right above his ankle. At the children's hospital he was sedated and his leg was set back into place and splintered. Sometime within the next week we will go back to see an orthopedist who will put a cast on. The ortho doctor in the ER told us the cast will be up to Sam's thigh because the break involved the growth plate in his ankle so the entire leg needs to be immobilized to heal properly. He will likely have to have it on for at least 3-4 weeks.

Dude. That sucks.

He's been getting around on crutches pretty good, mostly between the couch and the bathroom. The last couple nights he has slept in my king size bed with me - it's just easier for him to get to the bathroom if he needs to, and I'm right there if he wakes up in pain or needs to adjust his position. And frankly, his room is a disaster so he'd probably break the other leg trying to maneuver around in there. I'm going to remedy that any day now. Right after I get a shower. And maybe wash some dishes.

The house may be a wreck, but my boy is fed and appropriately drugged. And as I write he is actually doing homework. Mom Of The Year? Come on, throw me a bone.

Speaking of bones ... this caring for a kid with a broken leg thing is 100 times harder with two dogs in the house. I would pay a million dollars for a fenced-in yard right now. Gunnar is totally freaked out by those crutches, and I'm sure Sam smells a little funky. Yeah. When we get around to getting him in the shower ... that should be interesting. I know how difficult it was for me when I had a broken ankle a few years ago, and I didn't have a cast/splint to keep dry.

And we're not even going to talk about the younger child who already feels like she gets the short end of the deal. *sigh* I am only one person.

If you are the praying sort, we sure could use some.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Good news.

Steve made it safely to Colorado.

And it's payday Friday.

That is all.


***


Enjoy your weekend, and don't forget to turn your clocks back an hour Saturday night or you'll be way too early for church on Sunday morning.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What I'm doing today.

First, I must tell you that I adore my husband in so many ways, but some days I really really appreciate his handiness. I can do a lot by myself - I'm a pretty independent lady that way - but some projects I will 99 percent of the time save for Steve. Like anything involving plumbing or electrical work.

So it was with incredible excitement that I offered my loyal assistance to help Steve in any way I could as he relocated our washer and dryer over the course of his time off. It meant removing the corner garden tub from our master bathroom (I know, I know. But it was huge and awkward to get into and out of, and we hardly ever used it.), rewiring for new outlets, rerouting plumbing, and installing a new vent for the dryer, and then capping or removing all that stuff from the former location in the utility room. And all of that meant Steve did a good deal of shuffling around under the house in the crawl space. Bless him.

I told Steve moving the laundry from here to there would be life-changing for me. He chuckled. I wasn't kidding.

I think as our families grow and priorities change, if we are lucky enough to live in one place for several years, going in and out the same old doors, tip-toeing around the same corners to the same bathroom at night, pulling the dishes out of the same cupboards for breakfast, lunch and dinner, over time we all discover ways our homes could work better for us. It might mean trying a different setup with the furniture, or putting those dishes in the cupboard on the left instead of the right, or using the back door instead of the front door. For me, now that my babies aren't babies anymore and would rather shower than bathe, the giant tub in the corner was pretty useless. And it was taking up valuable real estate next to the door to my walk-in closet where my clean clothes should go. The utility room, where the washer/dryer used to be, is right off the living room. So we constantly had piles of clean clothes on the living room furniture (because there was no space in the utility room to do any folding, and somehow even once they are folded it's like pulling teeth to get anyone to put them away) and piles of dirty clothes up and down the hallway waiting to be laundered. I don't know about y'all, but that kind of chaos makes me crazy. Plus, nobody wants to air their dirty laundry - literally - to everyone who walks in the front door.

Now the washer and dryer are in the master bathroom with plenty of space for me to sort, fold and organize. Plus I can use the sinks in there if something needs soaking, and I can hang whatever needs to air dry in the shower or on the back of the closet door. A bonus: all of this is right under a skylight, so I don't feel like I'm doing laundry in a dungeon.

On the flip side, we now have a little more storage space in the utility room, so I can move some stuff out of other closets or spaces where they never really fit. Along with several loads of laundry, that's what I'm doing today.

Yes, this seemingly simple thing is life-changing for me. Because it makes our home run more efficiently and gives at least the appearance that we are somewhat organized. Will it magically make my children take their clean clothes to their bedrooms and put them away? Not likely. But they will eventually get tired of walking through mom's bedroom and bathroom to get to their laundry baskets, so there's hope. I'm not holding my breath, though.