Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Week 2013

(All pictures in this post are from LAST Christmas)
In case you were wondering at my quiet, I would remind you of something I said a couple of years ago, "I blog on the upswing."  If you are new to the blog, this drop in visual productivity, it has happened a lot over the years...I feel the downward pull of emotion or circumstance and I can't.find.words.

A girl and her "Grinch Punch" and her living back stop

Those closest to me will recognize it in my arguing style...I lose nouns and descriptors and start calling everything "crap" and "thingie" and "stuff" and find that, while I may have a valid argument in my head there is no way that it will be passing my lips anytime soon. So, I go quiet and stay that way until I find I have control of my faculties again.  It's just how I process.

The girls and Uncle K putting up the lights that I STILL have up on my back fence.

But, today, dear reader, I found my upswing.

Uncle BakerMan chattin them up

This has been a hard week for me, well...honestly...a hard month.  It's Christmas for crying out loud.  Usually I'm one of those OBNOXIOUS "Let's sing Christmas carols on Halloween" people.  I usually start in about September sizing up my kid's friends to see which would be caroling fodder and try and teach them new songs they might not know so that when Christmas comes around I can drag them around the neighborhood.  BUT...not this year.

Those are his ACTUAL horns...been there all his life...only
became so prominent as he lost his hair.  Just ask Uncle J...he'll tell ya.

It's odd how a fact that underlies your life affects you.  I've know since the divorce last year that my-ex and I would be trading off holidays...he was nice enough to give me the first Christmas, and I've KNOWN that meant that I wouldn't have my kids this Christmas.  KNEW it.  Prepared my head for it or so I thought.

There is a whole series of these
I'm saving them for her wedding video.

See, I've been "crankier" than normal since putting my feet back in my house after my Florida trip.  It started out as just little things...running out of coconut milk and butter.  Other people have other staples that they never run out of...in my house it's coconut milk (for curry) and butter (for life)...I am NEVER out.  Over time it progressed to either me being too weepy or too silent with everybody. 

Hilarity all around.

When last week started, I could feel the completely counter-productive desire to tell the kids to just "GO ALREADY!"  It's been a surprising emotion for me, "get out of here, it hurts me to know you'll be gone, so just GO."  I've felt that way a lot in the last year.  Thankfully, by the time Mom GOT married, I think I was better at recognizing it for grief and NOT saying stupid things that I didn't mean...I think. 

Anyway, when it hit this week, I definitely recognized it...I lowered my goals for the week...I pulled my kids close and actually WENT caroling on a whim with zero preparation (which was great by the way) and finished up school and tore apart caches of clothing that needed to be torn apart and went to a movie and did everything I could to ENJOY my last week with my girls for the year.

I was SO sick in this picture...but it's become on of my favorites
Go figure.

And then they left.

Singing with my family around is not something to miss...

And then I sat on the floor in the middle of the mess and cried...for awhile.  And then I reached out to people in one post...spent awhile chatting, texting, and talking...to say that my phone 'LIT UP' would not be an exaggeration.  And then I realized that this was something I was going to have to walk through ... So I did what any self-respecting total geek would do...I set up my laptop in my bathroom,  watched a couple of episodes of "Farscape" from my tub and decided that sleeping was a pretty good option, all things considered.  I find Science Fiction soothing...it is part of my charm.

Ah wrapping...a skill I hope their daddy realizes HE needs to teach them.

I wish I could say that my "funk" was over at that point.  I'm not sure it's over now.  But over the last couple of days of quiet within my own house, I realized something pretty great... I realized that I walked through another valley and made it...again.

Nine of us last year.  So much fun.

In "The Screwtape Letters", chapter 8, C.S. Lewis talks about the "Law of Undulation".  If you've not heard of this book, in a nutshell, it is letters from an elderly "Uncle" demon (Screwtape) to his younger nephew detailing ways to bring people AWAY from God.  It's a very interesting juxtaposition in Christian writing, taking it from the devil's point of view, everything that seems like a triumph is actually a defeat for Christ.  In the quote below, the "patient" is this nephew's charge.  The nephew has noticed that the patient is downhearted and supposes it is his success that has make him so.  Dear old Uncle Screwtape offers insight into our lives in his answer.

If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life - his interest in his work., his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down.  As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty.  The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it. 
Let's just say there is a LOT of estrogen in my house, and leave it at that...

I made it through another undulation...another turn of the wheel.  YAY ME! Every one of these "undulations" has taken me farther into comfortable-in-my-own-skin and given me proof that I'm capable.  It's hard to admit, but without these dips I wouldn't have made the progress that I've made.  When things coast along, I get proud...supercilious (one of Bean's words this month ...  go on, go look it up...I'll wait. ;) ).  I guess I need that humility of despair now and then, maybe we all do.

Monkey Face dazzling her Grandma

I've gotten a couple of emails from the girls and it sounds like they are having a GREAT time.  I wouldn't take that away from them for the world.  The hardest part of this week is that guilty feeling that I have in the low moments where I would rather it be ME having fun with my girls.  How selfish is that?  And narcissistic? And entitled?  I pray THAT part goes away.  I think that it's probably a natural reaction...but so SO destructive.  Just keepin it real.

Monkey Face's mantra last year, "I'm going for the Yahtzee"...and she got about 8 of them. 

Today is Christmas Eve...by tonight, Nali and I will be tucked in among our dear friends, probably eating cookies and playing Rummi Cube.  Tonight, I will be surrounded with family I've adopted as my own and I will make memories and they will be beautiful, too. 

Scott and Stacey 2012
Love my big brother.

And next week, when my girls get back, for the first time in THEIR lives, we won't be starting school on the 2nd.  Nope, we're going to figure out some new fun New Year's traditions beyond taking down the tree, so the NEXT time I have my Christmas week to myself, I have something great ahead of me.

I have so many pictures of the sky changing colors over those roofs.
Just my favorite spot to watch the sky change.

Well, unless we get bored...then we'll just break out the microscope...

My loves, 2012
See ya around...

Friday, December 6, 2013

snow, Snow, SNow, SNOW!

I really hope you heard Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen singing that title, because that's how I wrote it. Well, truth be told, I wrote it singing all by myself; but, as is completely possible in one's imagination, I was part of that chord while I was singing it and typing it...so, dear reader, you should endeavor to hear it thusly.

Yes, indeed.  We have snow.  Well, that's not exactly true either.  Here in Texas we don't really GET snow.  At best it's a "wintry mix" which includes some snow, more sleet and a bunch of just plain ice.  Last night and this morning was no different...it wasn't exactly snow that fell from the sky.  And now, on the ground we have solid ice covered by powder.  And it's cold...and that is a wonder for my children. 

This is the seam of my garage, where the door goes down...

Monkey Face was up at 6:45 and in clothing and outdoor gear sometime before 7 am.  THAT never happens.  She had this icicle and wanted me to eat it.  I declined.  I try to keep my icicle eating to after my morning tea...and only when it's more than 65 in the house.  She seemed to enjoy it, though.

As for the other two, they were pretty content to stay in bed until I offered them the chance of a shortened school day.  First I had to check the weather because the temperatures can change VERY fast here.  There have been other times that I've tried to get school done first only to have the snow completely melted by the time they were finished.  At least for today, we aren't getting above 28 degrees, so it was on.  They had to work hard until noon and then they were free.
It's amazing how much can be done when "snow" is on the table.  Seriously.  I wish I had such a great carrot for every day. 

Once all tests were taken and all assignments safely stowed in my inbox, they started putting on clothes.  I've heard that at least two people have on two pair of socks, two pair of pants...and after a dip in the slush at the end of the drive way, two MORE pair of unmentionables.  ;)  Not sure how much EXTRA warmth is to be found in a second pair of choneys...but there it is.

I always feel badly that we don't own a sled on days like this.  Now, to be fair, we only have a couple of these days a year and I've never, even one time, seen sleds on sale in my local stores...but still, I think it would be cool for them to have a sled.   However, every single time we do have a day like this...many things are tried to substitute for a sled.  I think they nailed it this year.

I, for one, hope it doesn't last forever as I prefer dry pavement overall. I start getting antsy about three days into a forced stay-in-the-house ice storm.  But at the same time, I'm glad they get a few of these.  Everybody needs a different-than-the-norm day now and then.
 I personally hope this child survives...she likes to jump...and slide...and skid...and splash...waaaay more than her sisters.   I try really hard not to watch because she stresses me out and who needs momma stress when you are flying through life, really?  So, I provide extra choneys and look away.  Good thing she's cute...


Happy Snow-Day, y'all,

See ya around...