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This Magic

 

And so here we are.  Christmas is drawing to an end.
And as the final hours of the holiday tick by, I find myself lost in thought.

For too many years, the magic of the season has alluded me.

That’s not to say there haven’t been happy holidays, moments of great joy.
Memories that I carry close to my heart and look back on when I need a little pick-me-up.

The truth, though, is that much of the spirit of the holiday season most often sat in the shadows of my mom’s depression.  Where my friends found joy and excitement, I learned sadness and anxiety.  And though I’ve put much of the pain of the past behind me, that anxiety has remained.

But on this, my 35th Christmas, I think back on the past few days, and, finally, I understand.
Magic.

Christmas 1

My little boy, a year ago too uncertain and questioning to speak to strangers, climbing confidently on Santa’s lap and declaring his longing for a steam engine and a new pair of slippers.  Magic.

Christmas 2

The tree?  Neglected far too long, thanks to too much hustle and bustle in the past few weeks, followed by a pesky & nasty cold.  With just a day to spare until Christmas, the ornaments were finally hung.  Runt did it all himself, as I coughed and sniffled in my chair.  Watching my sweet boy proudly climb the step ladder, full of concentration as he placed each and every ornament in the exact, perfect place?  Magic.

Christmas 3

Christmas 4

The image of Runt, helping to make Christmas goodies, giggling uncontrollably after he turned the mixer on too high and was instantly covered in a cloud of flour?  Magic.

Christmas 5

The sound of his feet hitting the floor this morning, running towards the living room as he quietly chanted to himself “Was he here?  Was he here?”  His gleeful shrieking of “Train!  Train!  TRAIN!!!” as he tore into the goodies the Jolly Old Elf left behind for him.  Magic. 

The glances and smiles shared between Hubster and I throughout the day as we watched our sweet boy busily playing with the latest additions to his beloved train set. Magic.

Christmas 6

Before he headed off to bed tonight, my little man declared to us, “I can’t WAIT for next Christmas!”  And as I kissed him goodnight, I found myself thinking “Me too.”

Shoving the anxiety aside, letting go of the baggage of the past.  Living in the moment.
Magic.


Linking up:

Mama  Kat’s Writer’s Workshop
Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t Say

This Passion Of Mine

I worked a 14-hour day today.  All of it outside; most of it on my feet.  Various parts of my body are currently competing for the chance to prove themselves to be the pieces that hurt most of all.  I’m deep-down-to-my-core tired.  When I got home tonight, I stumbled into the house, not unlike a highly intoxicated person might.

In a few moments, I’ll surrender to the gentle calls of my bed, crawl under the covers, and drift off to sleep.  Tomorrow, the cold and exhaustion will be a foggy memory.  The aches & pains may last a couple more days, but they’ll, too, soon be gone.

What will be left is the wave of emotion that hit me as I drove home at the end of the day.  The scene that played out before me throughout the hours, as friends and strangers gathered together in our mission to stock the warehouse at the Food Bank, to help those with little have just a bit more.  With each can that was sorted into a bin, each car that came through our lanes, my heart swelled.  From the homeless man who brought a bag full of groceries, to the major corporations who presented us with checks in astounding amounts, and every single person in between, the goose bumps that covered me throughout the day had little to do with the cool temperatures.

And as I stood surrounded by the people I share my day-to-day grind with, my heart pounded with an immense pride.  Because the only thing better than spending your days working at a place that inspires you a little more each day is to do so with people who you can only hope you’ll “grow up” to be just like someday.

It’s all too easy to find ourselves feeling cynical about life, about society.  Oh, how I know how easy it can be.  But trust me when I say this, friends. This world?  It’s filled with kind,  compassionate people.  People who pour out their hearts to care for others, for people they will never meet, for nothing more than a smile and a thank you. And that inspires me in a way that leaves me searching for words, unable to find the exact right ones.  Every.Single.Day.

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This holiday season, and all throughout the year, please consider making a donation to your local Food Bank or to Feeding America.  Whether food or money, no matter the amount, every single donation makes a difference in the lives of those who may otherwise not have a meal.  What they say?  It’s true.  Together, we can solve hunger.

 

Pouring my heart out this week with Shell at Things I Can’t Say.

This Time

The anxiety is starting to set in.  It always comes this time of year, an unwelcome guest, pushing its way in and taking up space in my head that I’m not prepared to share with it.

I can feel the sadness, lurking at the corners of my mind. 
I brace myself for the moment when it will start to seep in.

My mind races.
My heart thumps heavily in my chest.
I gasp for air.
I close my eyes to try to find the stillness for a moment. 

And I realize that I haven’t been taking care of myself.
Haven’t taken the time for some of the things that I enjoy most.
Somewhere in the midst of all the mothering, and the wifeing, and the working, I got lost.
It seemed there was no time left for just…being.

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But this time I refuse to surrender to the anxiety and the sadness. 
I see it, recognize it for what it is, and I make a promise to myself to fight against it.

So, this morning, I snuck out of the house a little early, determined to find a moment for myself before the frazzled day that lay before me. 

I took a different exit for work.  Wandered the back roads for a bit, lost in the music blaring from the radio.  And when I finally stopped, it was at this beautiful place that I drive by everyday, always telling myself that someday I’m going to stop and take some pictures there.

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This time of year, the colors are so vibrant.  Cheerful. 
They give me hope that I can feel that way, too.

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I stood at the edge of the water, lost in my thoughts for a bit.
But then…
My mind quieted, and my soul calmed.
And for 3o minutes, I stood there, just staring at the beauty that surrounded me.

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And then it was time to go work.  I took one last sip of my hot chocolate and brushed the dust off the bottom of my pant legs.  As I pulled back onto the road, heading towards my office, I glanced in the review mirror and locked eyes with a piece of myself that I haven’t seen in far too long.  The piece that’s not a mom, nor a wife, or a worker bee. 

Today, I shared a beautiful morning with the woman that I forget to be through the hustling and bustling of life.  And I was reminded of what amazing company she can be.


Linking up to Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t  Say.

Promise {Five Minute Friday: Last}

Take care of yourself.
Learn how to be happy.
And make Grandma proud.  Promise?

I shrugged my way out of her hug, flippantly telling her to stop being so silly. 

I didn’t know it would be our last good bye. 
I didn’t know it would be my last chance to make one last promise.

Three weeks later. 
Clutching tightly to her hand. 
Leaning close to breathe in her scent one final time. 

A piece of me was frozen in time that day. 
Left forever in that moment.

An 18 year old kid, desperately trying to figure out how to say good bye to the only one who’d ever always been there. 

“I promise,” I whispered, wondering if she could hear me.

For 15 years, I’ve carried that promise with me. 
Everyday, I’ve thought of her. 
Everyday, I’ve wondered if I was doing it right. 

And when that date rolls around on the calendar and time seems to stand still and I can’t seem to catch my breath through the constant battle against my tears, I close my eyes, remember her scent, and find peace in her last promise to me.

Remember.  I’ll always be there, no matter what. 
Promise.

The words drifted behind me as I walked out the door that day.
On my way to my grown up life.

They echo now in my head. 
Seemingly fill the room in moments when I need her most.

I can feel you, Grandma.
I promise.


Linking up to Five Minute Friday.  This week’s prompt is “Last.” 
Want to join in

8 Months, 8 Pictures: This is Our Life

Okay, so it’s a few more than 8 pictures.  But 91 pictures just didn’t really flow as well.  And I feared it might somehow sound a little excessive.  Either way, here is a bit of a tour through the life that we’ve been enwrapped in for the past many months while I’ve been MIA from the blog…

We spent a fair amount of time just hanging out, trying to relax a bit while squeezing as much family time as possible into always too-short weekends.

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We went swimming.  A lot.  We’re a family of water babies, so swimming is a great way for us to reconnect, play, and de-stress all at once.

Swimming

There were a handful of attempts at taking some semi-decent family pictures, with varying degrees of success. And a couple other photo sessions focusing just on Runt, with slightly higher success rates.

Family Pics

There was much cause for celebration.  Like…

Halloween:

Halloween

Birthdays for all of us, including Runt’s THIRD!

Birthday

And Christmas.

Chritmas

The Monday after his birthday, my little man started pre-school

Preschool

With all that fun and excitement, we still managed to fit in a couple of weekend getaways to Lake Tahoe, the first of which was Runt’s first time staying at a hotel. 

Trips

Along the way, there was also..

Thanksgiving Day, which was spent at the ER after Runt fell off a chair and bit through his bottom lip.  It took several hours, a few very scary minutes during which he was put under, and four stitches to fix him up.  We learned to be appreciative of our “24-hour town,” which left us with a handful of decent options for dinner since our homemade Thanksgiving had to be postponed.

A make-up Thanksgiving the day after that included the best.damn.turkey I’ve ever eaten… made by ME…and a wildly successful first attempt at the dressing Hubster’s family has been eating by the bowlfuls for several generations.  There were also smashing successes of ham dinner both at Christmas and Easter.

Our introduction to Five Guys.  And a subsequent obsession that has left Hubster stalking the building of the one that’s supposed to be opening in town in hopes that he’ll be able to get his fix a little closer to home.

 

An excited buzz has filled our home as we’ve talked more and more about our little family’s future.  Plans are being put into motion, and I’m excited to see how it will all pan out over the next many months. 

Life has been a nearly constant blur of busy.  There have been some rough downs along the way.  But we’ve been happy, having a wonderful time sharing this crazy adventure of life with one another.  I’m glad, though, to be finding some time now to come back to my little corner and share bits and pieces of that life here, too.


In other news, I made my first contribution to Reno Moms Blog this past week with a post about the Summer Food Service Program.  Head on over to check it out and get a little glimpse into what I’m doing in my worker-bee life these days. 

{Reno Moms Blog} A New Blogging Adventure

RMB_contributor_buttonA couple weeks ago, a momma on one of the neighborhood Facebook groups that I’m part of posted to share with us about a new blog that is getting ready to launch and that was looking for local moms who were interested in participating with the blog via a role as a monthly contributor. 

This sounds awesome, I thought.  I LOVE the idea of this blog, I thought.  Hmmm…maybe I should check out this contributor thing, I thought. 

That’s how this all began. 

A quick little post on Facebook that left a momma who is desperately missing the blogging world intrigued.  So, I clicked over to the link she had shared, read up on the details, and sent off an email before I could give it any more thought.  Then I clicked over to their Facebook page and scrolled through the various posts that had been made so far about the women who were joining this project.  Women I was completely and totally in awe of.  For a moment, I felt foolish for having even sent in a request for consideration.  Then, I shrugged it off and went back to life, mostly forgetting about the email that I’d sent.  To my dismay, a few day laters my inbox held an email from one of the co-founders and editors.  And the email didn’t say what I’d expected it would…thanks but no thanks

Maybe Hubster was right when he told me that I was selling myself short as I explained to him that these other women are AMAZING.  Maybe he knew what he was talking about when he declared to me “you are people, too…whatever that means.”    Or maybe these women, these awesome, amazing women who are putting together this awesome, amazing group of women, are bordering on being completely insane.  Frankly, I’m going with that last option.  And only partly because it’s a real buzzkill to have to admit that Hubster was right.  Okay, fine.  It’s mostly because I don’t want to admit he was right.  But it’s also a little because I’ve now had the opportunity to meet Annie, one of these awesome, amazing women, and I immediately liked her.  Immediately, I felt like I’d known her forever.  I wanted to be able to call her my friend.  And that clearly means that she’s got to be at least a little as unbalanced as I am.  (I’m only joking, Annie.  Kind of.  I seriously do adore you, though.  For real.) 

Whatever the reason, they liked me (they really liked me!).  And I’m SO excited that they did.  I’m honored to have the opportunity to lend my blogging voice to this amazing group of women.  And I hope that you’ll be excited to follow along with all of us as we work to build the blog up to the awesome resource that we all know it can be.  Head on over to the RMB Facebook page, hit like, and add the page to your Newsfeed and/or interest lists.  Then join the excitement on the Reno Moms  Blog in the coming days when it’s officially launched.

And stop back here in the next few days when I just might manage to get my act together and have a post put together that’s been rolling around in my brain for a few days.


Finally.

Life has been busy.  Chaotic. 

For the past seven months, we’ve been stumbling our way through finding our footing in this new everyday life we now live.  Evenings are a flurry of activity, a desperate attempt to accomplish a day’s worth of living within a couple meager hours of time.  Weekends a tug-of-war between the demands of an ever-growing to-do list and the need for a few blissful moments of down time.

Finally.  That’s all starting to change.

Finally. 

Blissfully. 

Life seems to be finding it’s way to a new sense of normal.  One that feels far more relaxed than the past many months have. 

Even my to-do list is benefiting.  A couple weeks ago, I actually managed to obtain a nearly-spotless living room AND have every.single.dish in my house clean.  It lasted all of 47 minutes.  And it may very well take another six-months before it happens again. 

But just the fact that it did happen…even once…allows me to feel comfortable finally breathing the relaxing sigh of relief that I’ve been craving for quite some time. 

Allows me to even contemplate getting back to some of the other things that life has been missing for the past many months. 

Like writing…blogging. 
Oh how I’ve missed my little corner of the internet. 
So I’m back. 

Did you miss me?

 


{Show & Tell} Seventeen

When you were 17, tell us what kind of car you drove, where you worked, and what you were usually up to on the weekends.

I drove a 1977 Malibu Classic that my dad bought for me at an estate auction.  It was bright orange and HUGE.  And I loved it! 

I worked as a waitress at Pizza Hut.  I loved that job.  We had so.much.fun at work!

Weekends were spent hanging out with friends.  My best friend had her own apartment, and I pretty much lived there on the weekends.  We did a whole lot of stuff that I probably shouldn’t confess to online.  Every weekend was an adventure with a great story to tell at the end of it.

Show us a picture of you when you were 17 {roughly}.

I had my Senior pictures done when I was 17. 

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I was really excited to have my dad come with me and to take a couple of pictures with him.  I didn’t have a single picture of the two of us together when I was growing up, so it was a big deal.

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I cried and cried (and cried!) when we got the proofs for the pictures.  I absolutely hated how my hair looked and swore that I would NEVER show them to anyone because they were so horrendous.

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Looking back, I can’t figure out what was so bad about my hair.  These days, I’d be more than content with a hair day like that one.

What I should have been crying about was this hideous sweater.

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Either way, my mom was nice enough to give in and agree to letting me do another session with the photographer.

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The second time involved more wardrobe choices that should have had me cringing.  But I managed to love the pictures that time around.

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When you were 17, tell us what you wanted to be when you "grew up." 
I wanted to be an Drug & Alcohol Counselor.

When you were 17, tell us the kind of boys that you dated. Did you have a type? Do you have a relationship you remember well? Tell us about it.
By the time I turned 17, I was in a relationship with the man who would eventually become my first husband.  He was your stereotypical bad boy.  We got married when I was 21 and separated two years later.  There was a lot of ugliness in that marriage.  And I am thankful every single day for the time that we were together because it makes me ever aware of how blessed I am to have the amazing husband and life that I do now. 

When you were 17, tell us where you pictured your life 10 years from then. Did it turn out the way you expected it to?
I fully expected to be finished with college, working in a career I loved and to be married with at least one kiddo.  In reality, I never finished college, was working at a job that I enjoyed but certainly didn’t love, and was in the midst of a 2-year long battle with infertility.



Playing along with Becky at From Mrs to Mama for the Show & Tell Link Party.

This Time

The clock is inching toward ten o’clock.  The minutes tick by, moving us closer to the end of my stint as a stay-at-home-mom.  I’ve spent the day busily prepping lunches, washing and folding laundry, and tidying up the house.

Ever aware of how different it all feels this time.

Last time, I wasn’t ready.  I spent days working to convince myself that I was making the right choice, that the adventure that lay before me was one worth being excited about.  This time, the excitement has bubbled within me since the moment I submitted my resume.

Last time, I stressed over the decision of where to send Runt to daycare while I went off to work.  And my heart broke when he didn’t adjust the way we’d hoped he would.  This time, there is no stress, no fears or worries about how he’s going to do.  This time, we didn’t hunt and search.  This time, there will be no day care.  Instead, Runt will spend his days hanging out with a very good friend who happily treats all of us like members of the family.  He’ll get the one-on-one time that he absolutely needs right now.  I won’t spend a moment worrying about how his days will go because I know he’ll be spending them with someone he loves *almost* as much as Momma and Daddy.  For the record, Runt actually told me earlier today that he loves A more than me.  I’m choosing to ignore that and go with "almost.”  After all, the kid also insists on telling me that he loves Hubster more than me.  Clearly, he isn’t always of sound mind.  And I’ll know that even rough days won’t be anything near as difficult on all of us as they once were, not so long ago.

Last time, it took only days for me to realize that we’d made a terrible mistake.  This time, I know that there was a reason for every moment of pain, strife, and unhappiness then.
Last time was exactly what we needed to get here.

Last time, as I tucked my little man into bed, I fought back tears, terrified of what the next morning would hold in store for both of us.  This time, we happily moved through our bedtime routine with hugs and kisses, while an excited energy buzzed between us.

He can’t wait to head off to the first day of many to be spent with his pal.
And I can’t wait to head off to my first day in a new career.

My alarm is set.  My heart is ready.
This time, I can’t wait for morning to come.


{Project Wheelerize} DIY Dry Erase Family Calendar

Today, the awesome Michelle from the equally awesome Heartfelt Balance | Handmade Life is featuring me on her blog for her weekly Handmade Crafter post.  I know I’ve been absent for a bit (don’t worry…I’ll spare you the reasons excuses for being MIA) , but this seemed like the perfect time to jump back into posting.

Of course, it would only make sense to share a little peak at some semi-recent craftiness.

I’ve been feeling restless lately.  Antsy over all of the kind-of done and thought-about-but-never-started projects that surround me everywhere I look in my house.  Last week, after accepting a new job offer (one of those previously mentioned excuses for being away), I took a look around my house and realized: I have two weeks before I am going to have what will like amount to zero time to get any of this stuff done.  That same day, my mother-in-law delivered to us the dining room furniture that she was passing down to us.  Including the gorgeous buffet that I’ve swooned over every.single.time I’ve stepped foot in her house.  And just like that, it was like the perfect storm of motivation hit me.

With furniture that I love now placed in the rooms, my kitchen and dining room are screaming for me to finish them.  Pick up a hammer.  Hang a picture.  FINISH ALL THOSE SNAZZY PROJECTS.  And so I have.  Or I’ve started to, anyway…

One of the first things that I really fell in love with when I first joined Pinterest last year was the vast assortment of homemade calendars that people were posting.  Project after project just blew me away with the awesomeness that one could do with a simple piece of glass, a frame, and some dry erase markers.  I knew that I had to make my own.  Eventually.

Finally, I managed to pull my brain together enough to come up with a bit of a plan for where I wanted to put the calendar, and then a vision of the project itself started to form in my mind.

And now that I have that gorgeous buffet, the vision has started to come to life.
But we’ll get to that part.  Eventually.

Right now, I want to show you my answer to those awesome calendars that I’ve been coveting for well over a year…

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I started with a bit of bonding time with Paint Shop Pro, designing the overall look for the calendar.  After a quick trip to Costco to pick up my print, I gathered all of my tools and got to work.

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My circle puncher and I spent a bit of time getting cozy together.

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Then, it was time to start placing all of the circles on my print.  I used foam adhesive to add an extra dimension (and, hopefully, a little extra interest).

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It took about a half hour from the moment I started punching circles to the time I was able to stand back and admire my work.

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After the calendar was framed, I was so happy with how it turned out that I quickly got to work on a couple coordinating items.

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I super loved this project from the  moment that it was finished.  So much so that I often would go just stare at it, sitting in the corner of the guest room, where it waited for me to get my act together in the kitchen.  And now that it’s making its way to the wall?  I love it even more!  And I’m counting on it helping me to keep some level of organization in this crazy, hectic life, as we prepare for things to get even more hectic.

Want to make your own?
GRAB THESE FREE DOWNLOADS:
What’s Happening Calendar | What’s Cooking Menu | Shopping List | Messages

 

Now it’s your turn to share.
What items have most inspired you on Pinterest?
 


Linking up to:

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