Category Archives: Family

Dread


I have found myself dreading certain aspects of Christmas the past couple of years. I’m not a grinch about all of Christmas. Just the decorating and the stress of trying to manage all the get togethers.

The decorating became overwhelming for me. It seems like every year I received some sort of decoration as a gift. Usually in a dirty santa game. Please don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that I didn’t like the decorations I received or did not appreciate the thought behind any of the gifts. I did. But the sheer number of Christmas decorations and ornaments that we’ve received over the years has overwhelmed me. I mean do I really need 8 large boxes of decorations? My house is not very big. The only way possible to use every decoration or ornament we’ve ever received would be to decorate every solitary surface and put up 3 trees!

Someone told me I should enjoy the memories we make of us decorating the tree. The only memory I would be making would be of me decorating the tree. My dear husband always put the live tree we would buy in the stand and get it set up, but then everything else was left to me. Sure our son would help hang the ornaments, but after hanging a handful he was ready to move on to something else. Leaving just me hanging ornaments and putting out decorations for hours. It’s just not something I enjoy.

It also felt like we had some sort of Christmas party to go to every week. Sometimes more than one. Trying to manage those as well as coordinate family gatherings stressed me out. Granted I know this is not caused by anyone or anything other than my own quirkiness.

I love buying gifts for everyone. I love coming up with something I can make our two nieces each year. I love seeing our son open his gifts and stack them in his neat little pile (he’s like his daddy) after he opens them. I enjoy spending time with our families and celebrating our nieces birthday on December 23rd when we have Christmas with my husband’s family. I have a photo of our niece sitting with her birthday cake each year for the past six or seven years. It’s one of my favorite memories each year.

And of course I want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the significance it holds in my faith.

But the decorating and running from this to that adds nothing to Christmas for me.

So last year I decided to simplify. I had a small three foot artificial tree in college that we still have. We sat it up on a small table in front of the window and put lights on it and a star on the top. We hung the stockings on the mantle and pulled all of Squirt’s nutcrackers out and put them on the hearth like we always do. We love his nutcrackers and there is a special story as to why he collects them now. They make me smile each time I pass or look at our hearth during the holidays.

That was all the decorating we did. We scaled back on parties also. Other than our family gatherings, I went to one party and we went to one as a family. We also went to our Christmas Eve service at church.

I wasn’t overwhelmed with too much extra stuff sitting out around our home and we weren’t exhausted from being on the go the entire month.

And you know what? It was perfect. I enjoyed Christmas.

Do you find yourself becoming distressed during the holidays due to the overwhelming amount of stuff or activities?

And just for a laugh I saw this on Facebook a few days ago and it pretty much sums up how I feel about all this Christmas before Thanksgiving.

Life: Unmasked

Unkept House: Life Unmasked

Can I tell you something? A small and not so serious bit of my life unmasked?

My house never seems to be in order. There are piles of papers from school on the kitchen counter. There may or may not be dirty dishes from the night before in the sink.

There may or may not be dirty clothes in the bathroom floor. In my defense they are my son’s and not mine. He is always running late to school (the child is not a morning person) so I did not have time to remind him to pick them up. But I’m not his maid. How else will he learn to tidy up after himself?

You probably could have written your name in the dust on some of the furniture except my son was grounded and kept complaining that he was bored so I made him dust the furniture two weeks ago. He has certain chores that are his, but dusting isn’t one of them. Maybe I should ground him more often.

The floor needs sweeping and vacuuming and mopping. I hate to vacuum. I hate any household chore for that matter. I would love a house elf. You know like Dobby in Harry Potter. I would treat him well I promise.

So there is my bit of life unmasked for this week. I hate household chores. If I were the perfect wife and mother my house would always be spotless and everything perfectly in place. But I’m not perfect. I tried that for a while and honestly? Being perfect is overrated. Not to mention exhausting. So I’ll choose a house that is lived in instead of perfectly kept.

And with that being said, I’m going to clean my house. Because there does come a point where it will push me over the edge. And well….it’s at that point.

The Quilt


I pull the quilt out of the storage bag. Aged and tattered the fabric still remains soft from years of use. From years of giving warmth.

Mismatched fabrics. Some solid while others patterned cut into diamond shapes. Pieced together to form stars or whatever shapes your mind can imagine. Mismatched yet cohesive.

I wonder about the fabrics. Did my great grandmother save scraps from handmade clothes? Or were they passed along from friends? Did her children, one of whom was my grandfather, wear clothes made with these fabrics? Perhaps not him, but his sisters? Or her own.

The family having little could not have afforded much. In a time when women made their own clothes out of necessity not because it was a hobby or the latest thing to do.

The hand stitching worn in one place. Batting peeking out from under the top layer. Looking over the surface another worn place appears. Not as damaged as the first.

How many years did she collect scraps of fabric to make the quilt? How many hours did her hands stitch each piece together to make this quilt that was used and loved? My dad and his siblings warmed by it during cold winters. Fetched from the closet to keep myself or my sister warm during childhood and teen years.

How many nights did the love poured into each stitch bring warmth to those she loved and those she loved but never knew? Through a quilt passed down to four generations so far.

A quilt from one side of my dad’s family. A rocking chair from his other side. Both heirlooms well loved.

Do you have heirlooms handed down through generations?

Linking up with Peter Pollock for the One Word at a Time: Quilts blog carnival.

As Seasons Change

I'm joining in for 5 Minute Friday at The Gypsy Mama where you stop and write for just 5 minutes where you just write, for 5 minutes, without the pressure of getting it just right. 

Our son, also known as Squirt here on the blog, is growing up on me. I don’t blog too much these days about him. He’d rather me not. He’s living his own story to tell and I’m trying to find the balance in sharing the part that is mine while allowing him to write his own. But these preteen years are turning my premature gray hair even grayer. In all honesty I’m not exactly ready for it but I guess it will happen whether I'm ready or not. 

Conversations about girls creep up with more and more regularity. This mama's heart feels uneasy. He slips during a conversation telling me he asked one to be his girlfriend which thankfully at this age doesn't mean much but still. She told him no, that he was too good of a friend. So while part of my spirit sighs relief the other breaks for him. He struggles to deal with bullies and wanting to fit in, but wanting to be his own person. 

Yes the seasons are changing. I'm no longer the twenty something mama to a sweet strawberry blond bundle of energy and endless questions. Instead this 30 something mama is adjusting to the sight of a preteen edging closer to looking me eye to eye as he grasps at the teen years while clinging to childhood just a little longer. 

Five Minute Friday: On Distance

Distance. 

I walked over to our sister-in-law to tell her a quick good-bye as she greeted friends who have come to pay last respects to her dear daddy. I look to our nephew standing next to her. But this time I had to look up, way up, craning my neck to look him in the eye.

Distance.

The oldest of our five nieces and nephews. He was ten months old when I met my husband. I chased him around their house and neighborhood. Big brown eyes and brown hair. Adorableness wrapped up in an all boy toddler. 

Life moved them away to other cities. The distance only just over an hour now, but still enough to keep us from being involved in their daily lives. 

All of the five growing up. Oh sure I’ve known this. Every few months when we see them all they are a bit taller, a bit more grown looking. Each year a bit more mature. 

I miss seeing them more often, but in an odd way I am thankful for the distance. 

It’s the distance that makes me pause and reflect, to fully appreciate the young men and ladies they are all becoming.