A child born to another woman calls me Mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.
Even though my day was amazing, my heart hurts for another whose day that I know was not. Another momma had empty arms and didn't get to enjoy the hugs and the smiles of our children today. There was no laughter that filled her home. She didn't get to unwrap cute little homemade gifts.
The ache that she is feeling I can only imagine and have been lucky that it isn't something felt in my heart. So many memories and moments that are happening and we are blessed to witness. While each year ticks by and she is missing out on all of these events and milestones.
Dear First Mom of Our Children,
You might not know this at the moment but you have created some very amazing children. They each are extremely creative and sweet. Every day it is astonishing to how smart they are and how hard they work. Each night they loving give hugs, kisses, and love yous.
We know that you love and miss your babies very much. That it hurts not having them and seeing them. Please know that we love them just as much and even though they are not made of our flesh, it is a fierce kind of love.
It is an honor and a true gift to have both your's and also our children in our life. We hope in time as the children continue to heal from all that has happened that we could have some contact. However, until then , please know that we are keeping them safe, loved, and cared for. They are a huge part of our hearts.
Always on our minds,
The Second Mom
Our one little guy refers to us as "first mom" and "second mom" when he is talking about both of us. This makes it easier for him to put his feelings, thoughts, and emotions into order. Now it just kind of sticks. The emotions that run through our little ones are big. Each one misses their first mom and each one loves us immensely.
The only thing we can do for now is continue our healing process. Work on our family bonding every single day. Give them a home filled to the brim with love and laughter, while working on the basics of life. At the same time sending prayers from my heart out to the woman who created these precious angels the we call our daughters and sons.
"Most mothers are instinctive philosophers."
~Harriet Beecher Stowe
Pretty little butterfly enjoying a flower on my walk.
You might be wondering what could possibly be wrong for a Mother's Day celebration with your children and spouse? Well this is being written from two different hearts point of view. Grab a cup of tea, bottle of water, glass of wine or a cup of coffee if you are a night bird. Get comfy with your blanket and start reading.
Today was a pretty amazing Mother's Day for me. I got to sleep in this morning to a little after 7 am. Normally I am up first thing in the morning. The option to sleep in a little bit was great. Then it was a delicious breakfast of French toast made by Chloe with our own farm raised eggs and milk from our goats.
When the tummies were all full, it was time for chores. Outside some of them went (Donald and the kiddos) while the Jazzaroo stayed inside with me. A whirlwind of activity happened around the house. Outfits were double checked that we had everything. Tights, shoes, shorts, t-shirts, hair bows, oh my! (Missing one hair bow that went MIA at Expo time.) Showers were quickly ran through and hairs were done. Everyone loaded up in the car. We are off to the last part of this year's dance adventure at Julie's Dance Studio, LLC. Wish each of them luck!
After the littles danced their numbers in the recital we then went to Phillip's Diner for a mixed bag celebration, Mother's Day and the success of another dance year. The food was delicious and we were all stuffed afterwards. Each little one used their manners and were so polite. They talked and joked together. Conversed with the waitress. It is amazing how wonderful they are. As I watched them laugh and smile and glow, my eyes teared up. These are my babies.
After dinner we headed home. Everyone changed and it was time to go out to the barn and get the chores done for the night. Which of course meant also playing with the baby goats. What a great way to end the day. :)
The only thing that would have made this day better was to spend time with my oldest daughter and see her smiling face. Kaitlynn did send me a Happy Mother's Day text. Understandable due to the fact she had to work. Devion joked with me. He is a goofy kid. All my children are loved with all my heart. My day was not bad. The flip side of this is in part 2 .
I hope you all had a blessed Mother's Day with your loved ones.
"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."
Christmas is always a whirlwind of festivities. This year was no different. We had to pick our tree and cut it down. Many festivities of being with family we were born into and family we choice. There was tons of laughing, sharing, hugs, and warm hearts just by being together. Oh, and there were cookies, too!
We normally do a ten gift under the tree and ten stocking stuffers. This year we changed a little bit. The kiddos got something they wanted, needed, to wear, to read, to make, to eat, and it was just enough. They were not overwhelm. Plus one new added toy. Less packaging, wrapping, and waste for toys they want for five minutes and than toss aside.
Us with the littles.
One of our big and the 5 littles.
Our book ends, Kaitlynn and Sophie.
The love of my life and the other half that makes me whole.
The joy that was on the childrens' faces as they unwrapped their gifts was wonderful. The fact that they didn't get a ton of toys didn't phase them at all. Devion got all of his little siblings bath items that they can use and their own caddies. Kaitlynn searched for Dungeons & Dragon books for them and added their own set of dice. The gift that Donald and I received from our dear friends, Melissa and Joseph Bellinger. It means a lot to us and we can't wait to get a photo in it to hang up.
There are so many more photographs that were taken. We haven't gone through them all yet. The ones here showcase our home and our full hearts. Blessed be to you all.
“What! Would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give?”
~The Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge, Charles Dickens
It never, ever fails when it comes to the holiday times. The grand plans that bounce around in my mind get bigger and bigger each year. I make a list and write it down on paper saying this is what "WILL" get done. Then adding one more thing to the list with a smile and a complete it by saying "I got this".
It starts with planning the Christmas card photograph. I always do these myself. This year the bright idea was going to be an Ugly Christmas sweater craft and than photographs will all nine of us together. One child has moved out and works insane hours, and we haven't had time to get the sweaters or design them. (And I don't want to pay $20 a sweater that we wear once.) That idea was scrapped and we used the beautiful family photos that we had taken by Gina Johnson Photography this fall. (You can see the family photograph on our R.A.O.K blog post.) The first part of the fail for the holidays or so I feel like it is. Second part would be not mailing them out due to I need to find our address book. *sigh*
The next part is the Christmas tree. Still don't have one. Not even one little evergreen bough. We cut down our tree and then bring it home from Bear Dance Christmas Tree Farm. There is something to be said about the smell of a real tree. We are aware that you can get those scented sticks for the tree, but it isn't the same. We will get one this weekend. Promise! (I hope.)
Then I make the ornaments by a theme for the Christmas tree. This year is Devion's year to pick and he surprise picked Video Games. I have the material for the ornaments, however haven't started a single one. There is still time. We got two weeks. Oye! (Who comes up with these bright ideas?) Yeah, please don't answer that one.
Last minute gifts need to be finished up. Wrapping them all pretty and perfect. I was going to make the nice cotton reusable bags that my dear tribe member, Sara makes. Except that means stopping at the fabric store, buying the fabric, thread, ribbon. Digging the sewing machine out that I have used only one time. Scrap that for this year and start early for next year. We did purchase wrapping paper right after the holidays that I forgot about. Win. Win.
Don't forget the class gifts, teachers (we still have dance and co-op), the mailman, garbage man, and the littles we like to do something for. The R.A.O.K. we have been working on. Other things that I might not be thinking about right at this moment.
I might or might not be starting to get a little bit cranky pants right now. The pressure is on and I am tough on myself to make it perfect. Making it magical for the littles. Giving is something I like to do and I love to see the smiles on peoples faces. Wanting to spend time with those I love. Annoyed beyond get go that I don't have our home all organized and ready to go for the season.
Kaitlynn's Tiny Dancer
Now this is what I need to remind myself. The holidays are not about the gifts but the time spent together as family and friends. If you don't get the cards out until after Christmas, that is alright. Your loved ones love you and want to see you more than one more thing in their lives (I got gifts anyways). Two batches of cookies are better than none. The ornaments to be added to the front of the tree.... Shhhh Don't look in the back.
Just remind myself that I did not fail. Over reaching is something that I need to work on. The littles will love what they receive and spending time with us. As for the home, it took 25 years to accumulate everything. It will take more than a few days to get rid of it.
Do you feel the extra weight of the holidays? What is the one thing that you would want done the most? Blessings to all of you.
“...freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin - inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night...”
~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain
We haven't yet gone to cut down our Christmas tree. This will be the third year that we have done this together as a new family tradition. There is just something to be said about the real Christmas trees. They smell amazing. There is no storing after the holidays. We don't use tinsel or sprays on it. The tree is appreciated by the goats after the holidays. It is actually an amazing help in keeping worms at bay. We get our trees from Bear Dance Tree Farm. Very friendly family and it is located right around the corner from our home which means getting the tree is quick.
Super Sid is getting a little impatient with us. Can you tell by his hint? He really would love to be smelling some evergreens about now. The naughty, creativity he got into during the night.
The littles LOVE play-do and we go through quite a bit of it. So Super Sid decided that he would create a homemade play-do recipe that smells like a forest. Sneaky little bugger got into my essential oils while I slept. The surveillance cameras took these still shots of him caught in the act.
*Note it was really late when this was being made. The mixture was sticking to my hands, I mean Super Sid's hands, so more flour was added. I hear laughter that sounded hysterical coming from the kitchen. So much for trying not to wake anyone up. Then the different colored sections were molded into trees and wrapped with clear wrap. Put aside with their labels telling what tree they represent.
Which tree do we choice?
There were five different essential oils used, Pine (Pinus sylvestris) by Young Living, Idaho Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) by YL, Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica) by YL, Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) by YL, and Peru Balsam (Myroxylon balsamum) by Plant Therapy. These oils all provide an amazing sent that is pleasant as the children play.
You can order Plant Therapy directly. Young Living has a great selection of oils, too. Click on either companies names and it will take you to their pages to find out more about essential oils. They have so many purposes.
Essential oils for the trees.
Super Sid created this beautiful card for the littles. Has everyone seen those fun glitter markers? The ones where you are writing and the glitter just flows from them. The Dollar Tree has them in four colors, two in each package. SCORE! Yes I am glitter happy. Plus I love pens, markers, and notebooks. Almost obsessively. These made my day. Of course, Super Sid likes them too. I guess that I can share.
James read the note that Super Sid left.
Below are photos of the littles playing with their scented playdo. They were having so much fun with the toys and creating different items that their imagination thought up. One of the toys that they really enjoy is the Star Wars playdo set.
Connor and James are both busy creating.
Sophie and Jazlyn were working on shapes and hair designs.
Chloe created this beautiful mermaid.
After this activity I have to ask myself why I don't make homemade playdo more often. It gives you quite a bit. The kids seem to like it just as much as the store brought stuff, if not better. There are many different recipes out there for playdo, kool-aid, peanut butter, and gingerbread just to name a few. If you have a favorite recipe that you use I would love to hear about it. Or a tip to help the dough not stick to your hands so badly when you are kneading it, please share below. Blessed be.
"Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination."
The above quote does hold some inspiration. Wouldn't it be lovely if a world was covered in art. All those beautiful colors used to draw animals, flowers, and houses to list a few ideas. Lets not forget the sparkle and glitter ones, too. A little bit of shine does the mind good. I am going to look up what color umber resembles.
Taking a quick nap.
Super Sid is lying down on the job. This is only day 4. How can he be this tired already? The job isn't that hard keeping five little monkeys entertained. Oh, who am I kidding! Move over please, Super Sid. I need a nap, too.
RAINBOW is a color.
Super Sid knew the little ones love to color. Honestly, it is one of their favorite things to do. Crayons, colored pencils, markers (gasp), oh my! But it helps their budding artistic side. Works at keeping them calm, most of the time. Sometimes they have a little issue with crossing each other's pages out. Must be a new Crayola Gang thing. I love sitting and watching them spend time creating colors on a picture they way they see it. The purple dogs really are adorable.
~Today is a hot chocolate kind of day.~
Cocoa for the kiddos.
There have been some bitter days since the snow started to fall. We shiver at the idea of all that cold temperatures that are heading our way. Though, we all do agree it is beautiful to look outside at the white snow covering the ground. Super Sid thought that since winter was coming and the littles do chores and enjoy hot tea along with cocoa that they should have their own mugs.
Let's do this!
First try... Oops!
We thought about doing the permanent marker craft. However, after reading a little more the fact is it comes off in the wash after a little while. Off to the nail polish then. Sophie, James, and Jazlyn helped gather up the colors that we needed to do our project. We gave it a try with Sophie's mug first. It didn't work so well. The nail polish was semi-dry in the bottle. Most of the bottles were almost empty. The children really do enjoy manicures and pedicures.
Daddy to the rescue! He saved the day by going off to the Dollar Tree and brought some brand new nail polish for us to work with. Now we could get down to business. I created a sample one first just to make sure we have it down before the littles started theirs. Sophie's oops was cleaned with a little bit of nail polish remover. Thank you to the dear husband, Donald on picking that up too.
After reading a couple different blogs (this idea is every where on the internet), we did the following steps.
Pick your poisons.
The littles did very well. Here is some of the photos from our mug making event.
Second go around for Sophie. It looks great!
Connor's has a Superman feel to it. Cool!
James chose a very Christmas feel to his. Pretty!
Chloe's turned out to look kind of like a flower. Artsy!
Jazlyn's is AWESOME! She did great.
The finished work. The blue and silver were mine.
This was fun to do. It would be nice to know how to do some of the amazing designs that you see or get more of the "Splash" look. If you have done this, or are thinking about doing this craft, we would love to see your results. Blessed be.
"Never ride alone young cowpoke. Round up your posse and off you go."
Super Sid heard that there was gold in those hills. He decided to saddle up Petal Puff and head on out west to find out if that is true. This boy elf has some big dreams. One of them being his own ice cream shop where you get a side of ice cream with your SPRINKLES.
Sid's letter delivered by Pony Express!
Now after putting on my spectacles and reading this letter a couple times, it is under great authority that Super Sid might need to stay out of the saloons. He wrote "Dear Little Dear Children." Think he had a little too much of that boot leg.
"Dear Santa, I've been good all year, no matter what the evidence suggests."
Looking pretty pleased with himself.
It didn't seem like it was that long ago when Super Sid visited us last. I mean the mischief that he caused last holiday season was enough for us to take notice and board up the house. However, we procrastinated and the little evil genius made his way back in here. Shhh! Don't tell him I said that or I will be on the Naughty List.
Coal! Just a little warning.
Super Sid really must be lurking around or peeking in a time or two. He sees the littles and the adventures that they have had this year. He said in his letter that he would only do a half piece of coal each and then turned around and gave them full bricks. He isn't playing around this year. However, I do think that he should be fair to them. There were many moments that they were very well behaved. So a small thimble of crushed coal would have been enough each.
A little "I know what you did" letter to go with the coal.
I must say that Chloe, James, Connor, Jazlyn, and Sophie were not deterred by the coal. They found it hilarious! The excitement as they exclaimed about seeing Super Sid again was all through the air. Each one was trying to guess what the days leading to Christmas might entitle? We can anticipate some shenanigans.
"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
Our "little" family. Photo Credit Gina Johnson Photography
Each year we try to do at least one thing that gives back to the community. This can be something for the Giving Tree, The Salvation Army, or donating to food banks. This year though we are going to do a Random Acts of Kindness calendar. Following some of the inspiration that I found while looking for a calendar, I decided to make one of our own and change days to make them fit our schedule. The change also includes a few acts that are set more towards our family. You are welcome to download and use it for your family, too.
In a world where there is way too much commercialism, it is nice to teach the little ones what it feels like to give to others. The joy of helping others to brighten their day. Even if it is something as small as a smile and saying "Hello". Both of those are free actions to give. You never know what their day or life is like and that little bit has helped make it a little better.
A Couple of Old Friends.
Our beautiful 7 Monkeys. Photo credit Gina Johnson Photography
The image of the old friends was created from stock obtained from Deviant Art. The artist: Zememz, Roy 3D and Sicky Jinny are very talented. It was a lot of fun to make something from their images. Kind of like a coloring page done by putting the pieces together. If you like creating, stop in and give them a like and look around.
If you don't have time to commit to the whole month, try to pick at least one activity. One little act of kindness makes the world a better place.
Love and light, everyone.