"I feel like it’s always about embracing what it is that you think is wrong with you. It’s often times your greatest ‘flaw’ which actually forays into what is also your greatest strength."
What can I ask for of 2019? This year is actually going to be easier. I have decided that this year is for me. It seems weird or strange to say, however, I am going to be courting myself. Finding myself again and falling in love with my inner persona. It is about time that my mind and heart meet up and remind me that I am good enough. That the soul, body, and heart are in a steady commitment and they need to bond to make a healthy and happy individual.
It is going to be hard to get back some of the individual I was so many years ago. The waist line might not come back. The hairline might not either for that fact. However, none of that truly matters as long as I work slowly towards it. Off came the fitbit and I am not using Myfitnesspal as I was obsessed with it. Time to go to pen and paper and pick better habits.
Resolutions are hard. These are going to be called goals instead.
Just Me being Me!
It is a start. Not perfect, but who wants to be. I know that I don't. Just want to be quirky and me. Blessed be all of you amazing people.
“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.
"I'm not a parenting expert. In fact, I'm not sure that I even believe in the idea of 'parenting experts.' I'm an engaged, imperfect parent and a passionate researcher. I'm an experienced mapmaker and a stumbling traveler. Like many of you, parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure."
Wednesday's are normally easier days. It is the day that we look forward to after climbing out of the trenches on Monday. Not sure about all of you, but for us Mondays are like a runaway roller coaster ride. Daddy has gone back to work for the week. The weekend of fun is over. Structure of school, getting up, and back into the routine. Let's not kid ourselves here. The big gruff teddy bear went back to work and most of the kids totally don't treat mom like she is a bad *ss.
My liquid gold (Seriously! It is just coffee.) in my favorite coffee cup.
Coffee!!! By the time I noticed that the tracks were greased I only had a half cup of coffee in me. That sweet loving hubby of mine took the rest of the pot. No worries, Chloe has learned a new skill that she loves to do. She asks me every day if she can make a pot of coffee. Might be the fact she likes to pour it and smell the aroma drifting up from the cup. Good life skill to teach and she is going to get tips.
James is extra happy today, however has fly away arms. Oops! There went one of our jelly jars we like to use for glasses down the stairs. This time it was a causality. No worries, there are more of those lovely trinkets in a box and no one got hurt. He was a doll about being a big helper and sweeping it up.
Breakfast starts and we have one not so happy camper because they are not allowed to pass out breakfast this morning (it was someone else's turn). Then milk was served, and our little banshee asked for the owl mug. Unfortunately, the mug was claimed by one of the little guys. A fifteen minute screaming fit entailed over this simple little fact. Followed by "I don't want milk", "I want water." In the end she just drank the milk.
Little man is on a mission to make me stay on my toes today. He has the whole circuit board of buttons that he knows how to push. What he doesn't know is I took the batteries out of the receiver. He has no power over me.
I will have a good day... I will have a good day... I will have a good day.... Dang it! Where are my ruby red slippers?! Check with Kit Kat. I have a feeling she would know where to find them.
We all know children will find things to do that will drive us bonkers. I am not perfect, a saint, or mom of the year. However, I love these littles with my everything. Enjoy your littles. Even though we don't like hearing it, we will miss these moments when they are gone.
Ponytail hair up. Just go with it kind of day.
"The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe."
Tonight I loaded up our three younger daughters and left the boys at home to help out dad. We had a great friend ride up with us to the training. The training was called FLIP It and the presenter was Kim Polstein She was phenomenal. The audience was a mix of adoptive parents, kin gap, foster parents, and just parents working on trying something new with their child's challenging behaviors.
There are four points to Flip it: Feelings, Limits, Inquiries, and Prompts.
Here is where I got smart. Putting it in the front of my mind what I learned tonight I said.
And just like that is how you get outsmarted and beat by a four year old. There is hope though. It wasn't a melt down. She answered questions. I didn't say but. At the end she did make me laugh. Kind of hard. She is too darn cute. Hugs and kisses and off to bed she goes. Chalk this up to another night of kissing the wall. Thank goodness I love our kids. Tomorrow is another day.
With our children who have experienced trauma and have special needs, the use of traditional parenting skills just doesn't work. No matter time out, lecturing, sending them to their rooms or grounding them. In the end the only thing that it ends up doing is further adding to what has left scars on them internally and frustrating us as adults. We have attended many classes on this topic. It is something that together as a team in parenting we are trying to apply with our children. Still a very big learning curve for us as it is for them. In the long run we will get it. For now we might stumble and trip on the way down the path. Love lights the way, though and as cheesy as it sounds, I have to believe that it can do some real good in the world along with compassion and understanding.