Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Turkey Day

THANKSGIVING 2016! :) My big kids had fun playing with the food after I did most of the prep and cooking. It was actually relaxing to have them upstairs or otherwise occupied while I was enjoying the calm and quiet of the kitchen while I mixed and mashed and created.
Here they are, playing with the giblets from the turkey. Nathan and Chloe were extremely scientific about the whole exploration and very curious; Jillian, however, was near retching and extremely grossed out by the whole prospect and wouldn't have anything to do with it.

Nathan also carved the turkey for me once it was cooked but was grouchy about trying to following the suggested protocol and ended up just whacking away at it. :) The turkey turned out really good - and so did the rest of dinner.
We had green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, stuffing both from in the bird and cooked separately, and both pumpkin and apple pie.
This is our traditional feast -- we have ham for Christmas. :) I was fairly impressed with myself, being able to handle the prep and cooking by myself. On the other hand, I did have a little help and I was only cooking for the 5 of us. Maybe next year I'll be ready to upgrade to a larger crowd. :)
When it came time to eat, we were going to prepare plates for our neighbors, Butch and Char, but they said they'd already eaten and were appreciative, but wanted us to keep our food. We also boxed up leftovers for Lowell and had plenty for ourselves.

 We spent time talking about what we were thankful for and just relaxing. The day was very laid back and informal - not traditional or what I could consider a "big deal" which was both a blessing and somewhat of a disappointment. I guess it would be best described as a non-event. Sometimes I miss the days of the huge family gatherings that were part of my childhood and wonder if my children are missing out because their experiences don't mirror my own. On the other hand, the day was full of smiles, was free of stress and there were no blowouts or fights. Peace... That was nice.
So much to be thankful for and so very blessed. #Grateful

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Days and Moments of 2016

 The many faces of my babies who I love so very much.
Nathan and his bike, riding and learning and gaining more and more independence. And graduating from 8th grade and moving into high school.
Chloe getting Oliver - Smoggy, her deaf Austrialian Cattle Dog; taking many selfies and running in the 5K Bubble Run with her sister and I.
Jillian perfecting selfies, working on her identity as a middle schooler; taking a trip to AstroCamp; enjoying 4th of July and generally growing into a beautiful young woman.
And Wyatt, the many, many faces of Wyatt. His expressions as so adorable. His eyebrows are amazing! 

Enjoying SnapChat filters -- especially the dog! These two girls make me smile every day. They've made me cry a couple times too, but usually because I'm just so proud of them!!!
People ALWAYS tell us we look alike, and I take it as a wonderful compliment. My girls are beautiful -- inside and out. This year has been one where they've been provided many opportunities to show their compassion, patience and empathy. They've been awesome and made me proud.

 Speaking of looking alike - this year was the 5th anniversary of the passing of my mom. I took that opportunity to mash up a picture of the two of us at fairly similar ages -- I was 35 and she was 40. She was only 46 when she died. Next year I'll be 36..... There was a lot of positive feedback from this picture - from the people who knew her, and that made me happy. I wonder what could have been, even now. I no longer wonder what she would think about me, however. I'm beginning to define myself without the approval of others, finally. Maybe letting go of this portion of my relationship with her will allow me peace. And to be more joyful about the times we did have together.

More look alikes... :) I am so in love with this giraffe filter and I am heart broken that they don't have it very often!!! I wish I could buy it and use it every day. I still have quite the obsession with giraffes and my bedroom is covered in them. I have posters of them on my wall and stuffed animals and tchotckes and statues of them all over my room. It is my little giraffe sanctuary. When the kids' friends see it, they often make comments about it, but my kids just laugh and say "That's my mom". It makes me smile that they love me just the crazy way I am and support me in front of their friends.
They really are special kids.

Back to Wyatt... This little ham and his crazy faces! He is loved by his teacher, by his friends, by our friends, and by people in public. He can have an absolutely, insanely strong-willed attitude and can drive me completely up the wall some days!! But then other times, he can be the sweetest, most loving child, and the funniest little performer on the planet! He loves to sing with very specific taste in music. His favorites aren't very age appropriate -- he tends toward AC/DC, Nickelback, GreenDay and others of the same genre. He loves to play the air guitar and is asking for a drumset for Christmas. Heaven help us! :)