Friday, December 28, 2012

warm wishes

well...the surprise went down.
it's now safe to say that we are sending warm wishes from iowa.
we surprised the kids yesterday and told them to pack their bags.  we left yesterday evening and drove straight through the night.  we surprised chad's sister and our nieces and nephew...with a little help from the brother-in-law, and then rang chad's mother's doorbell and surprised her.  needless to was fun.
the happenings of this christmas will have to wait to be told...or maybe even just tucked snug in my be kept with the many other non-told about christmases of my past.  we will see.  something tells me this week will make enough stories of its own.
i will tell you that my favorite memory from this christmas came at the midnight, christmas eve candle light service at my parent's baptist church.  this was our first year to make this work with the kids...and it went down about like you'd expect.  it had a little of a: The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever feel to it. 
first of all...annslee insisted on holding her own candle.  which anyone within a 5 mile radius would see that this is a bad idea.  but she would not be deterred.  and you can forget about "helping" her hold it.

i kept a close eye on that flame.

i used to be all thrilled about the candle light service as a kid.  it was like stars flickering in a magical night sky.
this year i just kept thinking...
this is a lot of fire.

my favorite part of the service was when annslee swiped all of the communion from nearly EVERYONE in our row.  she would sweetly walk up and stand in front of preciously...and just as you smiled back at her thinking about what an angel this child is...she would reach in and swipe your communion cracker right out of your hand.  when she did it to colton...i nearly fell of the pew laughing.  that child.  i swear.
santa came and sipped his milk...ate his cookies...fed his reindeer...worked a little bit of the puzzle...and tucked his elf friends in tight.

it was a good night. i must go.
i'm pretty sure we have a snowman to build this afternoon.
warm wishes, friends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

North Pole Party

Saturday night, little girls and their mothers were welcomed to the North Pole. Our home was transformed into a winter wonderland...where magic could be found around every corner. Right smack dab in the middle of our hectic schedules, we all slowed down and experienced the wonder with our children. Their eyes lit up when they had an actual Elf sighting and squealed in delight when they found some of Santa's belongings. It was a special night for all of us. Many thanks to Kelle Hampton for the ideas and some of the printables. This is a night that I hope becomes a yearly tradition.

north pole party video from on Vimeo.

Friday, December 14, 2012

soccer, lessons learned, and footed fleeced jammies.

i have about 78 lists on a bazillion different pieces of scratch paper and note pads going at the moment.  santa, himself, would be confused.  and he's a professional list maker.
the north pole party is in full preparation mode.  and i have some excited little girls over here in anticipation.  thank you to kelle hampton for the idea.
more on that thing later.
i am nowhere close to being ready for christmas.  every time i ask annslee what she wants for christmas...she says, "nofing."  we have no idea what to get her and time's a-tickin'.
and this weekend, alone...i have my soccer team christmas party, the north pole party, a couple's christmas party, and a soccer game.  and i say...this kind of business is good.  it means that festive fun is to be had.  with a little bit of the best sport in the world mixed in.  it's a good reason to drink spiked egg nog and consume ridiculous amounts of things like fudge...and wassail.  which brings me to another point.  wassail is not appreciated like it should be.  there.  i said it.  we americans need to get with the program.  there ain't nothin' better than a cup of hot wassail.  plus...the word is fun to say.
wednesday night...on 12.12.12...a dream came true and i got to go watch the U.S. Women's National Team play live.
chronicled in pictures:
alex morgan became my favorite soccer player her rookie year.  she is a forward.  her job is to score goals and make assists.  it's a position i understand.  and one that i love.
this is her warming up.
the team warming up.

kick off.  alex morgan #13 and abby wambach #14...a dynamic duo.

tobin heath #17

lauren cheney

wambach and carli lloyd

lauren cheney's corner

alex's south paw shot on goal

goal keeper, hope solo, with dark pony tail in the middle

and one of my personal favorites...a whisper to me that just because you are a mother...

...doesn't mean that you have to give up on all of your other dreams.
 it has taken me 11 years to understand that.
a mother isn't all that i am.  it is the most important role that i have been blessed with...
but it is not all that i am.

i often struggle with the "what ifs."  what if i hadn't given up on ___________?  (fill in the blank.)
what if i hadn't been afraid to fail?
i have learned something about myself over the last several years.  i realized that i would usually quit something before i could fail at it.  somehow i thought that it wouldn't hurt as bad.  it wouldn't be as disappointing.  but now...i can look back and see how wrong i was.  the disappointment is worse in the long run.
this is a lesson that i hope to teach my kids using my own fear of failure and the regret that i now have as a tangible example.
i'm living my life differently now.  it's not that i no longer fear.  i just refuse to let it tell me to quit.
"never let the fear of striking out get in your way." - babe ruth
lesson learned.  a little late.  but learned, none the less.
you can't get much sngglier than a babe in footed fleece jammies. 

i know this girl like the back of my hand.  and this is what she was thinking:
"i'm gonna push that button...even though i'm fairly certain i'm not supposed to."
"i'm pretty sure that something big will happen involving this monstrous tree we have sitting in our house if i push this button."
"and further more...if she didn't want me pushing this red button...then she shouldn't put it right here under her desk...knowing that under the desk is a perfect place for me to play."
"apparently...she put it here so that i can push it.  yes.  that must be it."

"yep.  i did it.  and i'm pretty satisfied with myself."
"do they realize that i am the one actually running this place?"
the sugar plum has quite the group of friends. one should have to watch a christmas movie alone, anyway.

it's mid december, folks.  time's a-tickin' indeed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

the stuffing

although it's already the 10th...i finally feel like i may have caught my groove.  i wish i could say it's the 1st of december and that all things christmas are just beginning...but i can't.  and that's ok.
our home school co-op had it's last day for the semester this past thursday...polar express day for my preschool/kindergarteners...thank you very much.
we read the littlest angel...wore our pj's...

and downed hot chocolate, marshmallows, and candy canes like our lives depended on it while we watched the magic of the polar express on a computer screen because the dvd player decided that this would be the perfect time to quit working.

and kids drifted off, one by one...into sugar induced comas.

and after you remove a big portion of teaching pre-school from my plate...(similar to finishing the flavorful but filling, gravy covered mashed potatoes that takes up so much of my platter)...i now have time for the stuffing.
and the stuffing often gets pushed to the side...waiting to be appreciated like the potatoes because the stuffing is what the meal is actually centered around.
the stuffing thursday evening was making homemade christmas cards for honey.

after chase and aiden were at school on friday...i packed colt and aj in the car...along with their pictures and christmas wishes...and to grandmother's house we went.
we dug out her treasured nativity from the garage and set it up properly in the center of her small home.
as luck would have it...i stumbled across a box full of outdoor lights.  and it's not like i could let those things go untouched...

so we put those suckers up...and stopped to smell the flowers for a bit.

saturday, we waited for chad to return from honduras by crashing granna and grandaddy's tree decorating.

and my faith in my children's ability to find the magic in the transforming of a simple tree into a splendor of twinkly lights and meaningful decorations was restored.

everything in my mother and father's house is...


wonderous.  it takes me right back to childhood...where my littel brother and i would be trying our darndest to see up the chimney on christmas eve, wearing our matching red and white striped pajamas.

right down to the matching aprons, hanging in her kitchen...waiting for her little elf bakers to make their way over during a christmas cookie baking marathon.

my very favorite nativity from childhood is set up in the dining room.  this is the one that my brother and i would use to tell the story of Jesus' birth every christmas eve to a room full of spell-bound family members.

and this one was honey's that has been passed along.

all of them beautifully crafted to take you to that place in bethlehem when the babe was born. maybe the camels and wise men weren't actually there that night...but the shepherds were.  and i imagine those shepherds appreciate that they have miniature statues that commemorate the most important night of their lives...and chronicle the fact that they were, indeed invited to the Christ child's birth.
and what would make this a better day, you ask?
the cowboy santa.
that's what.
things like this add the element of childhood fun.  they can touch something and not worry about breaking it.

they can dance to have a holly jolly christmas and wiggle their booties with a cowbow boot and hat wearing santa.

and maybe even steal a kiss.

and without complaining...or fighting...or breaking anything...

they did it.  they transformed that tree.

we shared christmas tea...a tradition that was started by my mother back in 1997...the year i left for clemson.  we read the story (a cup of christmas tea)...a beautifully written story about a young boy who didn't want to take the time to accept the invitation to his great aunt's home for tea.  it's well worth the read if you need any inspiration to slow down and focus on what is really important.  people.

the weather has finally cooperated...and seasonally and properly chilled.  i sprang from my bed this morning...
turned on the christmas lights...
started my orange, cinnamon, and cranberry pot of water simmering...
and donned the kids in cute, winter wear before kissing their heads and sending them on their merry way.

it's december 10th.  and it's high time that i enjoy the stuffing.