Monday, January 24, 2011

Concert Time

Kennedy's Christmas concert was postponed in December due to a winter storm. It was rescheduled for the first week in January. On a Thursday evening, we loaded up the family and drove over to the middle school. It was a night of many firsts. For starters, Kennedy wore my dress and my boots. She will soon pass me in shoe size. She looked so grown up and beautiful. She wore her hair in a low french braid across the back of her head. She was stunning.

The next big news was that it was an enjoyable concert. Kennedy plays flute in the band and sings in the choir. Lincoln and I were both quite pleasantly surprised with the quality of the music.

It was a nice evening and left me looking forward to future concerts. They will only continue to get better.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exhausted, I am.

At about 3am, I heard Jesse coming toward our room, making coughing/gagging/hurling-type noises. I lept out of bed and ushered him quickly to the bathroom. He leaned over the toilet and spit some foamy, slimy, saliva in the bowl. But that was it. It almost seemed to me like he had gagged himself on his finger or something. It put me on alert, though, and I worried that before long he would come in spitting up more than saliva. He went back to bed and I crawled back into mine as well.

We did this every hour until it was time to get up anyway.

He didn't want to eat breakfast right away this morning, saying his stomache hurt, but he seems to be doing fine now.

I wish I could say the same for myself. I am looking longingly at my warm, comfy bed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

December Highlights

Hey! Remember Christmas? Was it a whirlwind for you like it was for me? December is always pretty crazy, so why would this year be any different? So let's see what I can remember.

I posted over on my other blog about going to get the tree on the first Saturday in December. The weather was perfect and we had a lovely time.

We managed to miss the parade this year, but we didn't miss Santa's Secret Shop. The kids look forward to this every year. They have fun buying gifts for their siblings and Lincoln and I get an hour or so to go do a little team shopping of our own. This year, unfortunately, the kids were grouped together so they all saw what they were getting. Jesse kept asking us when he could open up his cars from Julia. This was the first time that Jesse was big enough to be in on it. He almost didn't stay, but curiosity got the best of him.

I didn't even bring my camera to the church Christmas party this year. I am happy to report that the highlight of the event was that ham was served instead of sloppy joes.

We spent an evening decorating Christmas cookies, as we do every year. You'll be shocked to learn that I didn't get any pictures of the kids with their cookie masterpieces, but at least I got some of them during the creative process.

You can't really tell from this picture, but Renie did an amazing job on her cookies. The were neat and had lovely details.

We went caroling in our neighborhood with the Howells, Thompsons, and Spencers. This has become one of our favorite traditions. The Howells kindly hosted the after caroling refreshment party.

Christmas Eve it was just our family, but, as per tradition, I prepared enough food to end world hunger.

We had our usual orange chicken, cheese, crackers, chips, dip, rice krispie treats, wassail, and homemade candy, and this year I added spicy bean dip, AKA baby poop dip. Despite its fecal appearance, this was a hit and I'm pretty sure it will make the list going forward.

While I prepared food, the kids decorated a gingerbread house. I had planned to make one this year, something from scratch and fabulous, but I just ran out of time. At the last minute I grabbed this kit from Walmart and it really was the perfect solution. The kids were totally independent as they worked on it, giving me a few moments to get stuff done without them fighting or getting into stuff or asking me repeatedly if it was time to eat yet.

We opened our Christmas Eve jammies and I forgot to get a picture of everyone in them.

What is my problem? This year I bought myself some Christmas Eve jammies too.
Even Graham got in on the festivities. You can see he's thrilled about it.

We read the story of Christ's birth from the scriptures, inserting Christmas carols where appropriate.
Before bed, the kids went outside to sprinkle reindeer food for our guests we were expecting.

Then we tucked the kiddos in bed and sat down to watch White Christmas while we waited for Santa to arrive. This year, Santa had not one, but TWO elves to help him stuff stockings, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if there was a new elf next year. How do they grow up so fast?

The kids held off Christmas morning until almost 7:00. I love that you can see the motion and excitement in this picture. (And Hey! The Christmas Eve jammies. We did get Jesse a matching set, but he had a little peepee accident.)

Christmas morning mayhem ensued.

The Knouses, Aunt Di, Uncle Al, and the Johansens came for dinner at 2:00. We had, once again, a ton of delicious food. Natalie brought two gigantic salads, Knouses brought a ham, a pumpkin pie, and a cheesecake. I made another ham, rosemary roasted potatoes, sesame garlic green beans, cabbage salad, different salad, crescent rolls, chocolate pie, and orange cranberry strudel.

After cleaning up the kitchen, we played a few games. Jesse, who had been complaining all day that he didn't fell good, finally threw up that evening. Around 1am, Renie started throwing up. She threw up many times in the night. Not a lot of sleeping went on.

She was still pretty yucky the next day. I went to church by myself and sang in the choir. At some point that day Devon threw up. Kennedy and Lincoln both felt yucky Sunday night. Neither of them threw up, and they both felt much better on Monday. Julia and I seemed to make it through the carnage without falling ourselves.

Thursday we drove to Iowa to cabin we had rented with the Howells, Thompsons, Prowses, Lindners, and Rasmussons. The Thompsons couldn't come at the last minute and sent their kids with the Johansens in their place.

Lincoln and I stayed up until 3:30 playing games.

After going to bed, I didn't sleep well. I got up with the boys to go potty at about 6am, and once I was upright, I realized that I was incredibly nauseous. I crawled back into bed and waited for it to hit. At about 7:00 or so, it got me. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom. Let me just say here that I do not like throwing up. 'Nuf said. I spent the rest of the day in bed sleeping. Luckily I only threw up the one time. By about 4pm, I was able to get up and play a couple games. I was still weak and achy, but I hung in there to usher in the new year.
I was back in bed by 12:01. Meanwhile, Lincoln had gone to bed about 9pm. He spent New Years Day in bed. He just had the fever and aches, but no nausea.

I know that sounds like a crummy vacation, but it was actually kind of nice to be able to just lay in bed and be sick and not have any responsibilities pulling at me. Meals were already planned, with plenty of people to make sure they happened, Lincoln was there to take care of kids, nothing had to be cleaned, no laundry to be washed. I just slept. And it was bliss. I'm sure if I'd had to get up to deal with those things, I would have thrown up a few more times.

Of course, because I spent a day totally in a stupor, I didn't get a lot of pictures. But trust me, the cabin was beautiful, the views were gorgeous, the company was fantastic, and we had a lovely time.

And that brings us to January. Whew. That wasn't so hard. Now I feel like I can go forward with this blog and quit looking back. So here's to a new year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thanksgiving 2010

Remember Thanksgiving? Well, in my blog-slackery I never posted anything about it. So I thought, Hey! I'm gonna go ahead and still blog about it.

This year it was just us here for Thanksgiving. My cousin Karen, and her family, went to NY over Thanksgiving to attend Karen's sister's wedding. Knowing it would just be us took a lot of the stress off the occasion. I knew that even if it took until Friday for the turkey to cook, it wasn't a big deal, we would just eat on Friday. Because of this approach, the days leading up to Thanksgiving were pretty laid back as well.

Kennedy, Lincoln, and I got up early on Thanksgiving, bundled up, put on our running shoes, and drove to Madison to participate in our first Thanksgiving Day run. Kennedy and Lincoln had signed up to run the 5K (Kennedy's first race ever), and I signed up for the 10K, my first 10K ever. My stomach was in knots the whole way there. I had done no hill training and a few days before the race I had heard that there were a few hills near the end of the course. This really worried me. My goal was to run the entire thing, but I began to have some serious doubts on the drive over.

The spirit of a race is lots of fun, and I found myself anxious to just get started. The 10K started first, thankfully, and we were soon jogging over the start line. I determined early on that I wouldn't worry about people passing me, which was good because I was passed by thousands of runners. I am known for being a slow runner, but they just kept passing and passing like I was standing still. I wondered what on earth my time was looking like, but was pleasantly surprised when I passed the first mile marker and found that although I was slow, it was my best time. And I just plugged away at it. 2 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles. Each mile marker revealed that I was maintaining my personal best pace. Around this point, however, I began to be concerned that I would finish the race in dead last. I determined that if I died trying, I would keep from being passed by the last runner. Mile 5 is where the hills began. Challenging, but not a deal breaker. I was still running. Mile 6 seemed to be all hill. The last, big hill seemed to go on forever. I was neck in neck with an old lady that come hell or high water I was NOT going to finish behind! I dug deep, proud of the fact that back in the stragglers, the back of the entire race, I was the only one, in my view, who did not walk at some point on the hills. At the top of the last, big, hill, the finish line was in sight and I had left the old lady behind. I dug a little deeper, pushed a little harder, passed another lady I had been leap-frogging the whole time, and finished my first 10K without walking. It was a personal victory, despite finishing last in my age group. Kennedy and Lincoln were waiting at the finish line to cheer me on and take some pictures of me. (Those pictures are on our other camera still. Someday I'll transfer them. Maybe.) We grabbed some goodies at the food tent and munched them and sucked down water on the way to the car. Kennedy was frozen through and through and said she would never do a winter race again. I think she would have been OK if she hadn't had to wait for me. We headed home, grabbed some hot cocoa on the way, and cranked up the heat in the car. I seriously never thought I'd be able to run a 10K, but now I'm wondering if a half-marathon might be in my future.

We spent the rest of the day cooking, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, and eating.

It was quiet, easy, relaxing, and fun. Except I was exhausted by the end of the day. Running in the morning and then spending a lot of time on your feet in the kitchen and then eating turkey will really take it out of you! Lincoln built the kids a fort in the living room. I think they actually slept in it that night too.

I am thankful for my beautiful children and amazing husband. I'm thankful for my health that allows me to do all of this. I'm thankful for my husband's job that provides our food and home and the comforts we enjoy there. And I'm thankful for my husband and friends who encouraged my to go for the 10K and never doubted I could do it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

Blogland is filled with posts of New Years Resolutions these days. I'm not against resolutions. In fact, I think the beginning of the year is a great time to reflect on where we are and to contemplate where we want to go in terms of personal growth. Goals are a positive format for pushing ourselves to be more than we currently are. They give us direction and a plan of attack. I am sure that I will set some goals for myself in terms of exercise and organization, but my main thought and subsequent resolution has been this, To Be Content.

This year, instead of agonizing over the five pounds I want to drop, I am going to be content with the fact that I weigh 135 pounds, instead of 235, or even instead of 136 pounds. Or instead of 55 pounds, like that model that recently lost her life to anorexia.

This year, instead of getting worked up about the constant mess and chaos around here, I will be content with the fact that I have five healthy, happy, kids who run in and out of this house.

This year, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the mountains of laundry- dirty, clean, folded, stacked, or otherwise, I resolve to be grateful and content that we have so many nice clothes to wear.

Instead of spending my time longing for a house in the country, I will be grateful for the beautiful home that we have that keeps us warm and safe.

I know I have been blessed greatly, and I simply want to more actively appreciate what I have been given. I want to spend more time living in the moment and finding humor in the unexpected. I find myself wanting my children to behave perfectly, my house to stay clean and tidy, my husband to read my mind. I want to be skinnier, want to feed my family a perfect, well-balanced meal three times a day, want to organize every aspect of our lives. But trying so hard for all that means that I get grumpy, because, realistically, it's just not possible. I knew an elderly woman in Georgia who had had 8 kids in 9 years. She told me that she was very particular about how her kids looked. They were always neat and tidy. She ironed every piece of their clothing, right down to their underwear. Her house was always immaculate and she managed what is impossible for me. But she also told me that she was filled with regret that she didn't spend more time with her kids, just enjoying them. She told me she spent so much time and effort taking care of them, she never had time to play with them. I don't want to have that kind of regret. (Disclaimer- I am no where near as good as her at keeping things clean and organized. No. Where. Just sayin'.)

So, long story short, I resolve to be content. And it really shouldn't be hard because I have been blessed in myriad ways.