Thursday, December 23, 2010


I was just reading over at Night Owl Mama's blog her post about Santa and her family's take on the whole Santa experience. At the end, she poses the question, "Do you believe in Santa? Do your children believe?" which I thought was a great blogging subject, so here goes.

Do I believe in Santa? No. But that is not to say that I am against Santa either. When I was probably around seven years old, I remember feeling absolutely crushed by the fact that there was this man, who flew all around the world, after making presents for every child in the world (because Santa was a kind man and gave presents to *EVERY child* - more on that in a minute) and yet, no one cared enough to give presents to Jesus. It was HIS birthday and everyone else got presents. I was crushed. I could not fathom the idea that someone who gave up so much (His Life!) for everyone (who would chose to believe) was so utterly abandoned and forgotten on His Own birthday!

This might also be the part to mention that I was the only believer in my immediate family. My mom and her husband were not believers and focused only on the Santa aspect of the holiday. My grandmother, however, was a believer and in part from her example, I came to my own personal relationship with God. But that's also another post for another day.

But anyhow, back to the story, I was completely distressed over this whole idea of Santa and my grandmother was comforting me. I was sobbing in her lap over the unfairness of it all and I asked her if Santa was real. I don't know what caused me to doubt that, but I just remember having to ask. And my grandma told me, "Honey, there isn't just one man who is called Santa. Anyone who gives of themselves, their time, their money, their talent, anyone who chooses to help another person, they are a Santa. So yes, there is such a thing as Santa."

It kind of sounds off to me now, but back then, it made complete sense. Maybe that is because she followed it up with the story of Saint Nick. Yeah, I am sure that's why it made more sense. But anyhow, she essentially told me that the whole North Pole-dwelling, reindeer-raising, rooftop-landing Santa was not real. But that did not stop the Santa gifts. It was a conversation we had once and we never discussed it again.

Now for the story about Santa giving presents to EVERY child... When I was growing up, if I asked for a gift that just wasn't possible for that year (either because it was too expensive, it wasn't a good idea for a kid my age, or wasn't readily available) it could be explained away by the fact that EVERY child got a present from Santa. You see, Santa gave presents to EVERY child. The children who had perfect or nearly perfect behavior got the presents that they most wanted. If a child hadn't been perfect or hadn't apologized for something that they had done wrong or really tried to fix the things that they had done wrong, well, they would still get presents too, but it just might not be the presents that the child wanted the most. Growing up, I never knew any child that didn't get any presents. I lived in a highly impoverished area (the poverty rate of my grade school was at least 90% of students) but the kids were often sent home with a bag (or parents picked them up) with presents for the kids "from Santa." It was a wonderful thing, really. I knew how hard off most of my friends and neighbors were, so I figured if we all had presents, surely EVERYone else must get presents too.

When I became a mother myself, my husband and I discussed at length whether or not we would tell Natty about Santa. We treated Santa entirely as a fairytale and the Santas at the mall and such? Simply actors. We focused strongly on Jesus' birthday as being the sole purpose of the season. And that was just fine with us and with our little Natty. We did tell him, though, once he started school (a private, Christian school) that he was not to tell any other child that Santa was just a fairytale, because some children believed that fairytales were real.

But somewhere along the way (I do believe it was my mother-in-law) Santa crept into our lives and our holiday. And well, over time, it has evolved. For the last few years, we have given "Santa gifts" that come in Santa themed wrapping paper and has a Santa themed gift tag and has distinctively different writing than Mom or Dad's.

Natty is 10 now and he mentioned Santa the other day and I looked at him and since it was just the two of us, asked him, "Do you believe in Santa?" and he looked at me, incredulously and said, "OF COURSE!"

Today, on the way home from the mall, my little four year old, Punky, was talking about Santa and how the North Pole is a different land than the one that we live in. I told her that it is a magical land. And she said, "Yes! Like Pixie Hollow!" (where Tinker Bell lives for those who are not in the know of all things fairy) I told her she was right, that it was like Pixie Hollow. Then I asked her if Pixie Hollow was real or pretend. And she said it was a pretend land. And then I asked her if the North Pole was real or pretend. And she said, "Real! No, pretend! Well, maybe it's kinda like pretend real," which I found adorable. We have never discussed the whole concept of Santa with any child except for Natty. But we watch the movies, we have the decorations, we give the presents, but we don't actually discuss it.

So, do my children believe? I haven't the slightest clue. And you know what? I like it that way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Traditions in the Making

I think my mother-in-law must have found my blog. Yesterday when we were over there, she gave me some ornaments that she had picked up from the store for us. She had gotten a special ornament for each of our children. For Natty, she had picked out a violin ornament, JoNo got a soccer ball wearing a Santa hat, Punky got a cupcake and Boo got little car vehicle ornaments. Natty plays the violin, JoNo loves soccer, I call Punky "cupcake" and Boo loves cars and trains and planes and all things like that typical of a three year old boy.

She said that she wanted to give them each an ornament every year so that when they grow up, they can take their ornaments with them as starters for their own trees. Awww!!! I love it! How great is that?! That is one of the kinds of traditions that I would love to have with the kids. Maybe Grandma can give them each a special ornament as part of Christmas and we will put them up in their own little boxes so that they are protected from year to year as well as being able to tell whose ornament is whose. I think I'd also like to buy the kids ornaments for past Christmases from the time they were born. Something that would be symbolic for each year. For instance, a football for the year that Natty played football and Cub Scout ones for the years that he was active in Scouting, a book for the year he learned to read. For JoNo, I would do something with math for this year since this is the year that he got moved up in math class. Things like that. It could be a lot of fun!

I am even considering making them each an ornament every year as well. Using just random Christmas designs and putting a year and the kids' initials on each one of them. The interesting part though, will be with JoNo and Boo's initials. They have the same initials. "JDF" But usually, when I am abbreviating something, JoNo's intials are in all caps and Boo's initials are in all lowercase letters.

So, anyhow that's what is on my mind at the moment. Traditions and making memories is what has been running through my brain lately. Does it show? Oh? It does. I'm good with that! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If you love someone, set them free...right?

Well, it seems that I am managing to get on here once every other day or so. I guess that is okay too though. My mind is still on relationships. This one is a different but related one. I have been friends with this one woman since eighth grade (aka fifteen years). About five or six years ago, she was living with this guy (who is now her husband) and he was not good to her or her kids (he has since changed that and is really wonderful to and for them). She was thinking about leaving him and I fully supported her in that thought process. I supported her and whatever decision she decided to make in that case. Anyhow, she ended up not leaving him (obviously) and they got married. And guess who organized their wedding? (If you guessed that it was me, you would be correct!) Almost immediately after they got married, he decided that he didn't really want her to be friends with me anymore. Because I was friends with her ex-boyfriend and he was afraid that I would "hook" them up together. Not going to happen, but okay...

So, we weren't in contact for quite some time. Then we renewed our friendship via social media (I think it was myspace) and we even went to their church with them as their guests a few times and I was there when she and her husband and her sister all got baptized. It was beautiful! And I thought we were pretty much past the whole fear thing again.

But then one night after they bought their house, they had a house-warming to celebrate and it just so happened that the same night, my other friend (her ex-boyfriend) needed a babysitter for his daughter, so the daughter was staying at our house for that night. And I talked to both of my friends, my girl friend and my guy friend to see if it would be okay if the daughter came along with our family to the housewarming party. My girl friend knows the daughter and they actually get along really well. The guy friend was okay with it, but when I called my girl friend to ask her, she said that we were not invited to come anymore, because we had the other friend's daughter with us and the daughter (and now I) were just reminders of her ex-boyfriend and she wanted to cut all things to do with her ex-boyfriend out of her life. Never mind the fact that she and I were friends BEFORE she and said guy started dating. Never mind the fact that they dated for two years when they were thirteen and fourteen. Never mind the fact that she decided to sleep with him years later when I wasn't in contact with either one of them and she was separated from her husband at the time. Never mind any of that. The fact that I was babysitting his kid was enough reason to cut me out of her life. I tried to reason with her briefly and then decided that it wasn't worth it, and that if she didn't want to be friends, that was okay too. It wasn't worth my effort, my energy or my heart to try to keep a relationship that wasn't wanted by the other person.

So, we parted ways. And, as you may be able to tell from my post the other day, the guy and I are still friends. And recently, the girl friend decided she wanted to be in contact with me again. This happened before the guy friend and I went out that night to talk. So we have been talking here and there. She "can't" be friends with me on facebook because her hubby is on there too and would see that we are friends and he is still not okay with it.

I have responded to her when she sends me messages but I haven't initiated any contact with her at all. I have talked this over with my hubby as well and we rather feel that if she wants to be in contact and be friends, since it was her hubby that decided it was not okay to do so, that we should have his blessing to be friends again. I hope that makes sense. But I do feel that we should have her hubby's permission to be friends again. She wants to sneak around and be friends behind his back, emailing and texting when she is at work or at least when he is not at home. I don't want that. I want to either be friends and be allowed to be friends, or walk away. Maybe that is harsh, but I don't want to go through this again and I also don't want to cause a wedge or any negativity between her and her husband. I just need to figure out how to go about that...

And at the same time, it breaks my heart to know that this is what I need to do. I don't want to do it because I really do desire a friendship with her and if I say this to her, she may turn away completely and walk away. And that would hurt. But it would hurt more to hide our friendship from her husband, have him find out about it and then restrict her from being friends with me again, and continuing to not trust me or her. And that would hurt even more, I do think.

Not to mention that I want to do the right thing. Which would be to honor her husband's wishes and be supportive of their relationship. Even if I don't agree with husband's wishes. It is the right thing to do. It just doesn't make it any easier. And I am dreading doing this because of my own fear of losing her once again. Even if I don't really have her right now either.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hodgepodge Post

Yesterday, the final of our four children got sick. There was a stomach bug going on at work and I brought it home to share with our family. I got it first. Two weeks ago to be exact. But I persevered and I stuck it out and worked through it all. Then a week ago this past Friday, it really hit me. I was sick on the way to work. And by sick, I mean, emesis. I got to work, worked for two hours, had another round of emesis and then continued the last six hours of my shift. Drove home, stopping on the way at a rest area to sleep. Then continued on home and then I slept that Saturday from essentially 8:30am until Sunday morning at 8:30am. I think I actually got up for a couple of hours in there somewhere and did things that needed to get done, but I don't exactly remember to be honest.

Then on Monday, Boo got sick. Wednesday, Punky got sick. She got sick fifteen minutes before school got out and got to hang out with Pastor until Dad picked her up from school. Natty got sick on Friday at school and Grandma picked him up, then Saturday, JoNo finally got sick. So now, all four of the kids and myself have gotten hit by the stomach bug. Hubby so far has evaded it. Hope that he will continue to not get hit by it. I need him to be well.

The weather here has been interesting. Thursday and Friday had temperatures in the fifties. Saturday, I drove home from work in blizzard-like conditions with a whopping temperature of five degrees. Woohoo! Saturday night, driving to work, the roads were clear but we had both a wind advisory and a windchill advisory. The windchill was something like -30 degrees. And this morning, when I left work, the actual temperature was -7. Brrrrr! It's cold around here! And a friend of mine on Facebook had a status that accurately portrays the way it feels around here. I don't know where she got the quote but I like it! "It's colder than a tin toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg." Um, agreed.

In other news, a local novelty store burned down today. On a Sunday morning. In 9 degree weather. You should hear the jokes going around here about that one! You should read the articles about it that are available in our city's newspaper. You can read the actual article here and then the funny follow-up article written by a journalist that I loved reading for years. Her article is available here.  Hilarious! Love your style Cindy!

It just so happens that Cindy and I met early this year. We both happen to play an awesome game called Cribbage. And we both belonged to the same Cribbage league. The night that I played against her was an awesome night for me! I was excited to meet her. (She beat me by the way.)

My late Grandma K. taught me to play Cribbage years ago, but I had forgotten how to play it and when Hubby and I got married, he taught me how to play. For a long time, we played cards together after the kids went to bed at night, but before we went to bed too. But I work nights now and we haven't really had much opportunity to play cards anymore. We also used to play pitch and liverpool and pinnocle with a couple of friends as well, but my night time work schedule has made that difficult to do as well. Boo. I miss cards!

Work last night kicked our butts. I just wrote out (and then deleted) the basic flow of the way things go at work as far as side jobs and who is supposed to do what and when. But suffice it to say, that last night, nothing (or nearly nothing) worked as it was supposed to and it sucked. I was so exhausted when I got off of work! I made it most of the way home though, without having to take a nap! That was some serious progress in my opinion! And I work tonight, but have tomorrow night off before starting another four day stretch and then my schedule goes all weird. We are supposed to have block scheduling (same shifts that repeat two weeks) but this month, it went all wacky and weird. Before I had one four day stretch of work and two three day stretches and now I have two four day stretches and one two day stretch. It's weird. But I'll work it just the same. I am seriously looking forward to Christmas week though because I have three days off that week and although the schedule is really odd, I will definitely take it! I need a little break. Starting that week, I work two days, have a day off, work a day, have a day off, work two days, have a day off, then work the next four (or maybe it's the next six?) days straight. Then will go back to the block scheduling, which may change yet again, since someone is taking over the actual scheduling. I am pushing and hoping for a Sun-Thur night schedule so that I can work, come home, get the kids off to school and then sleep! I drive three hours a day (more than any other person who works there) and being able to sleep while the kids are at school is really important to me! Plus, because I would be working every Sunday night, it would also keep me working four weekend nights per month, as we are scheduled every other weekend at work (so four-five nights working a weekend every month) If I did every Sunday, it would be half of every weekend, so possibly the same as working every other weekend. A girl can hope, can't she? :)

But it's time to stop talking about work and to start getting ready to go to work, so I will depart for now. Sorry for such a hodgepodge post about so many different things, but it just happens sometimes. And now, I feel ready to start my work night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Relationships and traditions

Since I said that I was going to be coming back to posting, I have been trying to come up with a topic. Something that I really felt like writing about. But I was coming up empty and it scared me. Scared me that maybe I had lost the knack for writing. But then today, while watching a show online, a topic came to me. Relationships.

Not just any relationships. My kids' relationships. With each other. Now and in the future. Wow, now there's a lot of sentence fragments. But you know what? It's my blog and I'll use sentence fragments if I want to. I talk in fragments too, so just pretend that you are listening to me instead of reading my words.

So for the background information...two kids stayed home sick today. Punky and Boo both were home sick from school today. It doesn't affect me much because I sleep during the day. The only part of it that actually affects me is whether Hubby is being attentive to them and the noise level that they create. Then, when I woke up early this afternoon (much earlier than I needed to or should have - will have to sleep some more later) I decided to check my voice mail messages, since I saw that I had missed a call from the older boys' school.

It was the health tech. NattyNu threw up at school and they had wanted us to come pick him up. They called my phone and got my voice mail. They called Hubbys's number, but it was his old number that I didn't realize had not been updated yet. Then they called my mother-in-law, who gave them Hubby's number. But Hubby had misplaced his phone (it's under the recliner that I'm currently sitting in, but I'm too lazy to retrieve it at the moment) and left a message on his voice mail. Then they called my mother-in-law back and she went and picked Natty up from school. I found all of this out from the tech at the school, then went up to let Hubby know that Natty was at Grandma's house and he should get in touch with her or go pick Natty up or something.

He left to go pick up Natty and then ended up staying over there so that Natty, Punky and Boo could all nap. None of them are feeling well and they all need the extra rest. I was here at home and couldn't sleep, so I decided to catch up on a couple of shows that I watch online but haven't had the chance to since we didn't have internet at home. One of the shows was a Thanksgiving episode. That's how far behind I have been on my shows, which as you might be able to guess means that they aren't that high of a priority to me. I enjoy watching them, but I don't feel that I have to watch them right away and the world will crumble to pieces if I miss an episode.

Anyhow, that is a complete side note about television. Back to the story at hand, I was watching the show "Parenthood". It is a show about a couple who have four grown children with families of their own, and basically the day to day things that happen with this family.  They are actually a close knit clan and the cousins are friends as well.  Anyhow, it got me to thinking this afternoon about my children.

I wonder what it will be like, twenty or thirty years from now, when they have their own children.  Will my children be friends?  Will my grandchildren?  Will they all stay close to "home" to raise their own families or will they fly the nest?  Will they be more attached to our family or to their spouse's family?  I mean, I know what I would like to see happening in thirty years.

My desire is that they would each have started their own families.  That they are all married and happy and have children of their own.  Married and with children are not requirements, but just as this is my blog and I'll use sentence fragments if I want, this is also my dream and I can make them all happily married with children if I want.  There's nothing wrong with wanting that for your children, now is there?  Nope, I didn't think so either.

Back to the dream for my kids... So they will all have their spouses and children, and they will live reasonably close to "home" and they will talk to each other and love each other and want to share their lives with each other (and with Hubby and me as well).  And their children will play together and be friends and will develop wonderful relationships with one another.  They will all come over to our home for a holiday (even if it is not on the actual holiday) and we will have family traditions set up that they each cherish as well and want to continue and will feel like the holiday is not quite complete without it.  It will be something that they want their children to experience and enjoy and share as well.

And now that I have really thought about what I'd like to see happen in the future and have a goal in mind, I have decided that it's time to put that into action now.  Take the steps to make that happen.  I just don't know how to really foster strong relationships between them.  I didn't have a sibling until I was twelve.  My closest thing to a sibling was my best friend, Nick.  We have been friends since we were two.  We're both 29.  We have known each other longer than we have known even some of our own family members.

This is a picture that he took with his phone one night recently when we were hanging out together and having deep, meaningful conversations over (cough, ahem) mixed drinks.  But regardless, I want my children to have the kind of relationship with each other that Nick and I have now.  Only I want them to actually spend more time together than Nick and I do.

But it is really being impressed on my heart to help the kids build that kind of relationship with each other right now.  So now I am thinking of ways to do that.  Or at least trying to think of ways to do that.  Punky and Boo already have that kind of relationship.  They are the best of friends (and the worst of enemies when they want to be, which thankfully is not often).  JoNo and Natty are developing that as well.  They often play together and they share many friends, in spite of having a gap of three years between them.  And when their friends are not available to play, they willingly play with each other.  That's a good basis, correct?  I'm sure hoping so!  And Natty also has a good, albeit different relationship with Punky and Boo.  JoNo and Punky have a pretty good relationship going as well.  They get along and fight about even amounts, but that is where JoNo and Natty were before as well.  And they are different genders and they have that same three year age gap between them also, so I am hoping that their friendship will come with time, just as Natty and JoNo's did.  JoNo also seems to get along well with Boo.  They enjoy playing with the same toys and watching the same movies and doing many of the same things.  So I think they are well on their way also.

Maybe that is it?  Maybe I just sit back and let their friendships among each other develop naturally?  Maybe just provide them the opportunities to build those relationships with each other.  Say no to some of the outside activities that really draws our family apart from each other and say yes to the activities that draw us closer together?  Just as we have been doing for quite some time.

And maybe at the same time, throw in some family traditions that we have every year that we all look forward to.  The one tradition that we had that we did EVERY single year from the year before we were married (in 2000) until this year (2010) was our "Friends Thanksgiving".  Every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we would have friends over for a full all-out Thanksgiving dinner.  The kind of meal that I had growing up with tons of side dishes and everything.  We didn't do it this year because I had to work overnight that Tuesday and Wednesday both. :(  But maybe that's part of what is causing me to think about this - the lack of one of our traditions.  I would definitely like to start new traditions with the kids as well.  For instance - with Christmas presents, like I mentioned in yesterday's post.  I'm also interested in doing a Jesse Tree project each year as we gear up for Christmas.  I had forgotten all about it.  I heard of it last year and thought about it for this year, but then forgot about it this year until I saw Michelle's blog the other day.  And it was a great reminder of something that I want to do with my kids.  I'd really like to start a meaningful tradition to go along with every major holiday that we celebrate and put our own spin on it too.

But it's time to grab a quick rest before I go back in to work tonight.  I'm exhausted and I still have 3 hours of driving, 8 hours of working and 1 hour of an in-service ahead of me yet.  *yawn*  So tired!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back again

It's been awhile again but I'm back and not planning to go anywhere anytime soon! We have had quite the past two months. In October, Boo started school and has been doing well with it.
This was as close to the boys' first day of school pictures that I could get Boo to cooperate with. He didn't want to stand next to the tree but he would push the play mower around and occasionally look up at the camera too.

That month, I also started a new job an hour and a half from where we live - so long commute every day but well worth it! I also got into a bad car accident that following week. The van was totaled. Miss Punky was in the van with me when it happened. Another driver ran a red light and hit us in an intersection. Thankfully, no one was hurt and we have already replaced our van with a new one. It is newer and has fewer miles but does not have all of the bells and whistles that our old van had. It's also a bit smaller as well, but it works for our family anyhow.

Then in November, Hubby and I went for a week-long, kid-free mini vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Hubby's aunt and uncle own a second house (which we all refer to as "the cabin" even though it's actually a two bedroom house and not a cabin) where we stayed. It's on a private lake and has it's own beach and it was just gorgeous! We definitely want to do that trip again!

And now, we are geared up for Christmas. I have some of the Christmas shopping done. Hubby is done and we got a big gift for the family as well. And then the kids I decided were going to get gifts in the following categories: an outfit, a game, a puzzle, a book, and a toy. I feel that giving them each one thing in each category is sufficient. What do you all think?

Oh - and I normally don't discuss knits on here because I have a different blog for my knitting business, but I just have to share these with you! I was making a knit hoodie sweater for my dear friend's son and I, um, messed up my gauge so one of our teddy bears ended up with a sleeveless version of the hoodie.

Well that will conclude with the catch up posting.  Stay tuned for regular posts!