Is it January yet?

A friend wrote me this week and said that the year her dad had died, she was ready for Christmas to be over early in December.   That kind of sums it up nicely for me at the moment.  I am so aware that there are a million blessings and my list of gratitude grows every week.  It’s not that I’m not thankful.  There have been totally sweet memories made that will be treasured.

But I keep waking up feeling like I’d just like to blink and have it be next year already.  My kids have new toys that I expected would keep them happy as I wrapped up all the infamous loose ends that always present themselves before big holidays.  But with the rain and cold and being inside, just with me, for days on end it more feels like they’re just climbing the walls.  Arguing about whose is whose and complaining every time they get asked to pick something up is their MO at the moment.

Two days ago they were even fighting about the nativity scene.  Shepherds were bashing into one another and baby Jesus went missing.  Without a word, I swept into the room, packed up the whole scene, put it in a bag and took it out of the house.  It was so not serene.  I felt guilty ushering the wisemen and angel and the rest of them out of my house.

It’s easy to blog and post the perfectness of life.  It’s certainly easier to read.  I tried to write a delightful Christmas greeting post since we totally missed the boat on Christmas cards this year.  But it just didn’t work.  I had lofty goals for celebrating Advent in a purposeful way this year, books to go through, an heirloom beautiful wooden candle wreath to light every night.  We were going to make a Jesse Tree.  The supplies are still sitting in my room, the how-to book unopened.  The same room I’ve been trying to clean for about a month.

Honestly, one of the only things that is propelling me forward at this point is daily doing something that isn’t for me…or for my presently-rather-ungrateful children who even dared to complain about the homemade breakfast I made for them the last 2 days in a row.  Something for someone who will be blessed, encouraged, loved in some way by something I can do.  I’ve written before about the many “can’t do” things when you have a bunch of little kids.  But there are always “can do” things.

One of my closest friends lost a baby last week, later than most miscarriages take place.  We had been so delighted to get to be pregnant at the same time.  It has been deeply sad.  So every day this week I’ve been cooking and baking food for her freezer.  I can’t get in my car and go hang out for the day with her and help clean her house.  I can’t mend her heart.  But I can love her with food.  And in turn, I feel a tiny sense of purpose that gets me from sunrise to dinner somehow still standing.

The big picture is too big for me today.  All the large, amazing truths that I know and try to live by are wonderful.  But they just feel…so big, so out there.

So I look at the tiny picture.  And I do the tiny things, one step at a time.  I am a happily-obsessive-list-maker.  They make me feel productive and organized and good.  But I’m finding that navigating the season this time around can’t be relegated to my lists.

List-free, loving the only ways I’m able, taking tiny steps and crossing days off the calendar.  That’s the way we’ll get to January.  Heck that’s how we’ll get to tomorrow!

The little things I love

What is it about olives and holidays?  Kids don’t even need to be taught this, it just seems to happen…I love it!

This smile.  A big sister that dotes on her little sister.

A sister that lets her big sister dress her in way too big princess clothes “Just because she’ll look so beautiful Mama!”.

A freezing cold walk on a hazy but not rainy winter day.

Catching grins from kids as they breathed in fresh, cold air.

Beautiful, matching, hand-plied-cashmere knit hats from an uber-talented knitter friend in Idaho!

Getting a grandparent/grandchildren photo is harder than it looks.  The two little ones would only sit while holding (and sucking) on ice.  The Kyler was not at all impressed with the whole ordeal.  And Caleb?  His face looks as if he’s about to puke all over everyone!  Hope someone got a better shot that I did for the Christmas card photo…

And a side note (from my mother who was concerned that she might be low on ‘special Christmas mugs’ for each of the grandchildren):

“I went to Michaels and bought more, just to be sure I had enough.  Then I unpacked boxes and found that I had more than I thought.  I now have ELEVEN mugs!!!  So you can have lots more kids and they’ll still be plenty mugs for everyone!”

I love my mom.

Carvin’ up some fun

Saturday morning we went to a local pumpkin patch with Stephanie, Danielle, Todd, and Isaac.  It had rained significantly on Friday, so by the time we got there, it was pretty muddy.  You will have to wait to see some of the pictures to come from that day, but for now we will show you the vegetable of our labor.  We let the kids pick some nice pumpkins (they had to be able to lift the pumpkin into the wheelbarrow on their own).  Daddy cut open the tops and then each  of the kids took out the guts.  They each then chose something to go on the pumpkin and then watched as Daddy tried to come up with something that resembled what they were hoping for.  Going right to left: Rylee, Caleb, Kyler.  Maybe next year Audie will be able to lift one into the wheelbarrow.

Kyler Carve
Caleb Carve
Rylee Carve
Group Carve