Category Archives: Holidays

For the first time in about 8 years….

I did a craft!  Notice the excitement in my tone?  That’s right, I, the most unsuccessful, least crafty mom you will ever meet, did a craft!  AND, not just one craft, but 3!

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most mommies.  In fact, it’s pretty common within the mommy-community.  But like I said before, I have never been your typical SAHM mom.  Even when I was a SAHM with just two kids, the most I ever did was decorate cookies, and they were usually the Pillsbury ones that are already cut out with the frosting that looks like toothpaste (I cringe as I actually admit to that).  And I’m pretty genetically inclined to be crafty.  My mom was the macrame queen (yes, I grew up in the 70’s) and my sister could scrapbook and sew dresses in her sleep.

Being the not-so-crafty-mom, I learned a few lessons today:

1.  It’s OK if you don’t get it right the first time.  Just like anything there is a learning curve.  While some things come very easy to me (I can cook up a gourmet meal like nobody’s business using only ingredients that I have on-hand and never need a recipe), it is just fine if I struggle with a few things here and there.

2.  I am creative.  Maybe I’m not the mom the creates the fun things that go on Pinterest, but I can adapt anything to fit my personality and lifestyle.  And that still makes me feel like I have a teeny-tiny creative bone within me.

3.  I’m not, have never been, or ever will be the mom who can make a memory book, darn a sock, til the garden, and make a pot roast from scratch all before the kids get home from school.  Working outside the home gives me a little more of an excuse, but even when I was a SAHM, I didn’t do those things.  I’ve learned to accept it and focus on my positive mommy/wifey skills.  Besides, I can wear 3″ heels to a field trip and still keep up with twenty 12-year-olds with no problem!

Image

These are the Valentines that Autumn chose to make for her class party.

What are your strengths?  What can you do better than anyone you know?  Focus on those and be happy with what you do and are!  And maybe in the midst of it, try something new.  You never know what you can accomplish, even if you think you’d never be “that girl.”

Advertisements

525, 600 minutes.

I realize this has been a day of reflection for most of the world. As we look back on 2011 and remember things that were accomplished and memories that were made. Good and bad habits that may have just begun or happily ended. I look back on 2011 as an uneventful year.

Not uneventful in the way most people would think. Uneventful because my family didn’t have a lot of big change. In the 14 years that Duane and I have been married, we usually have some kind of a show-stopping, life-changing thing that happens. New job. New house. New car. Not are all good. We’ve been though job losses. My mom passing away. And losing an unborn baby. Good or bad, we’ve pretty much run the gamut.

This year however, was uneventful because of the lack of change that happened in our marriage. But 2011 held some huge changes for me, personally. I had a lot of “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” moments. Here they are in no particular order.

1. I went to LA by myself! Twice! This may not be super huge for some people, but for someone with a huge fear of flying and the never-ending thought of my plane plunging to the ground resulting in my demise, this was a really big step for me. Both trips resulted in me feeling a little more confident about who I am and where I want my life to go.

2. I started a blog. Again, not huge for some people, but for a non-writer, non-creative like myself, my blog has been a huge turning point for me. I realized that I am comfortable stepping out of my happy homemaker box and finding a creative outlet that doesn’t seem very mom-ish. Thank you to everyone who reads and subscribes. You make me feel like I have something important to say that isn’t aimed at the stylings of a preschooler.

3. I went back to work. Another huge step in the life of a stay at home mom. I took the plunge to find something more than scrubbing toilets and wiping noses. Granted, I still do both of those and more, but I feel like I have found something for myself that I enjoy, my husband likes to brag about, and my kids take pride in. To me, a huge win.

4. I grew back my green-thumb. My garden was happily restarted, a little late in the season, however, but still flourished to my happiness. I also managed to can and freeze most of my crops. Yes, little Suzy Homemaker still exists and thrives in her suburban home.

So, how do you measure a year in the life? 525, 600 minutes doesn’t seem like much time, but in this last year of my life, I have accomplished much. And much happiness has been had during this season. I hope and pray that this next year will welcome such change as 2011.

A must-see movie before the holiday ends.

I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to movies. I typically go into a movie assuming that I’m not going to like it. Of course, if it happens to star Gerard Butler, Orlando Bloom, or any of the Avengers, I’m usually first in line. This holiday season was no exception. When my husband and 4 kids were all dying to see The Muppets, I tagged along, knowing full well that I wasn’t really going to enjoy it. After all, The Muppets hadn’t put out a good film since Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992, which happens to be one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. Much to my content, The Muppets did not disappoint.

As a child of the 70’s and early 80’s, I grew up with The Muppet Show as regular part of my weekly routine. Pigs in Space, cooking segments from the Swedish Chef, and science experiments from Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker were something I looked forward to every weekend. And The Muppets did an amazing job of helping my relive parts of my 80’s childhood.

A majority of kids born into the year 2000 or later have no idea how amazing The Muppets were in their heyday. So it seemed so aptly appropriate for The Muppets to seem like “losers” as the movie started off. However, us 30-somethings knew far too well that they weren’t, aren’t and wouldn’t be losers for long. The film had me sucked in from the moment it began with its broadway-style like production including Jason Segel dancing and singing down the street to “Life’s a Happy Song.” Amy Adams always looks amazing, but her 1950’s styled costumes were so gorgeous that she just seemed to glow. Complete with numerous cameos including, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, and Mickey Rooney, this movie went back to its Muppets roots and had me laughing from beginning to end. As with any good movie, I typically find multiple moments of happiness in the form of tears, but the highlight for me was “Rainbow Connection” sung by Kermit. I don’t remember the last time I cried so hard during a film. I even my kids questioning if I was going to be OK or not.

Fortunately, for you, it’s not too late to see this movie in theaters. Just go to fandango to see showtimes and locations. With or without kids, it’s just plain fun, and more important, super quotable. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Start small.

As I have previously stated in other blogs, I’m not the best at keeping with my goals.  I love setting them, but when it comes to crunch time, I’ve usually checked out 3 days prior. So as 2011 nears its end, I have been putting a lot of thought into what my New Years goals might be.

I usually go with the old standard goal of “Get in Shape.”  You know, cut out sugar and carbs, daily trips to the gym, and that sort of crap.  I usually do great with it until, like most Americans, 2 weeks into it and time gets ahead of me and I lose interest.  Next up?

I know, I’ll organize my house!  Clean out everything.  From top to bottom.  Everyday adding new and more chores to my list.  Except, even as I write this, the thought becomes overwhelming with 4 kids, a part-time job, and a house that I, for the most part, maintain by myself.  I guess it’s a good thing I got caught up on laundry this morning because now, I don’t want to touch it for days.

What’s a super busy mother of 4 in her 30’s to do?  Simply, start small.  One new-ish thing a day.  Yesterday, I tackled a project that I have been putting of for about 2 years.  I cleaned and organized my spice and baking cabinet.  It felt so good to accomplish something.  As small as it may be, it’s done.  And it feels great.  Today I will try something else small, like cleaning the baseboards in my bathroom.  Small yes, but it’s something that gets neglected.  Slowly, but surely, tackling things that I’ve been putting off.

And of course the “Get in Shape” goal is still on my list.  But I have a feeling that as I’m doing a cleanse of my home, my body and soul cleanse will come naturally.  It will also follow my mantra of my New Year’s goal – Start small. Maybe even with a trip to buy a new pair of cross-trainers.  Small, but oh, so satisfying!

 

Not just another 3 day weekend

Memorial Day.  The “unofficial” start of summer.  Barbecues and home improvement projects.  I will admit that I look forward to Memorial Day just as much as the next guy.  Even today, while I made my Dill Potato Salad, I day-dreamed about how I would spend my summer.  But how did you use this extra day off?


Growing up, my dad was in the Navy.  Not just in the Navy, but career Navy.  We actually had a brass eagle mounted to our mantle just above the fireplace.  We were definitely a patriotic family.  My brother was in Boy Scouts, so every Memorial Day, we would go to the local cemetery and sing God Bless America while gun shots were fired.  It was very moving for me, even at a young age.  I was more than aware of why we celebrated Memorial Day.  But how can I emphasize the importance of this day to my kids the same way that my parents did with me?


Enter my extremely America-loving husband!  Every year, we pop our Patriotic CD into the minivan and drive slowly through our closest National Cemetery, crying.  It’s sad.  It’s happy.  It’s beautiful.  It’s encouraging.  Encouraging to know that, even though so many men and women have taken their lives so fearlessly for me and for you, there are still many more anxiously awaiting to serve.  Wow!  God Bless America!


So.  How will you pass on your Memorial Day traditions to your kids?  Will it be about how many rooms in your house you can get organized on this extra day off?  Or finding the greatest sales at your local mall?  Or will you really remember that man, woman, brother, father, mother, sister that died for you?