Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ramble, Christmas Edition!

 These past few months have been interesting. I was finally released from my intense church assignment, but I still feel as busy as ever. The nice part of that new busy-ness is that is doing things that I need to get done in my own home with my own kids and their schooling etc. And, something that sort of rubbed me the wrong way about being in a leadership in the Church is that every time I did something nice, I felt like people assumed I was doing it just because I was "supposed to," and that felt very forced and unnatural to me. Probably no one actually thought that. I have an active imagination. But now, I can do nice things for people, have parties, ask people over, just because I actually am a nice person. No strings attached! It's been very freeing for me. (Please tell me that's not crazy??)
 Other happenings: I've been adjusting to having my best friend in town live across town. It sort of stinks. We have to drive a lot more, and we both have kids in the same charter school (plus I have G in preschool) so we are already driving quite a bit. It has put a damper on things and we're trying to figure out our new rhythm. We used to hang out all of the time, drop of the hat. Neither of us like it.
 We've done our best to compensate. We went over to their house for Thanksgiving (best thanksgiving ever. I appreciate other people cooking the main courses SO MUCH now that I've had a year to only do side dishes!) Then she invited my kids over for a Christmas party and let John and I go out on a date. Of course we're broke this time of year, so we went out and shared an ice cream, walked around a used book store and Goodwill (best date ever!) What a great friend and a great gift. A drive across town won't keep us down.
 I've been busy this year making Christmas presents and Christmas decorations by hand. I've never made Christmas gifts before, so I'm not sure how they will be received. I'm only brave enough to make gifts for the people who will love me no matter what I give them this year ha!

That canvas is one thing I've wanted to make for a long time. It took months to find a huge canvas at goodwill big enough. It had a painting of an old lady and was pretty hideous, thus they priced it $3. I swooped on that price and painted over the top. The original version of that canvas is $200, so I am very happy for my cheap-o version. I posted that on instagram and had two people ask me completely serious if they could buy one from me. Usually I am pretty mercenary and would have made it happen, but holy cow, it took a TON of work. My hand was pretty cramped afterwards.

 So we march forward in the month of December, hoping that there will not be any further monetary travesties (John's brakes went kaput, Grant's ER bill came, plus Christmas obviously).
 This time of year can get stressful, but I am trying hard to kick back against that. I'm painting my little projects, trying to get creative, trying to remember that the most important things about this time of year are not things. (easier said than done some days. Especially days you are forced to go into a shopping mall, which I try to avoid like the plague during Christmas, but thus far have had to venture into TWICE.) thank goodness it was during the week, and no major crowds. whew.

 Man my kids are cute, but they always seem to look a little ragamuffinish. The perpetually brown tennis shoes, the not-quite-matching pinks, the boots without socks. Anyone else ever feel like they are fighting a losing battle against entropy? My van and my floors are victims to this losing battle. Everything in my life looks just a little disheveled. It's sort of irritating. I want to be one of those clean van/floors/baseboards people. But then I don't want to spend my life cleaning. Are those things mutually exclusive? I think they might be, until we have harry potter magic in real life.

 This picture makes me laugh. He was wearing that old equestrian helmet while we were putting up Christmas stuff. That kid is so funny.
 This picture MELTS ME.

 Ta-da!! I felt sort of sad that we didn't do some amazing trip to the field of Christmas splendor for our tree. We went to Lowe's and got the cheapest trees and picked one. But the kids were JAZZED. They could have cared less. Bless their hearts. Seriously.
 In our quest to save some money this season, we're really really trying to cook everything from scratch. In order to not go crazy, I make people help me cook as much as possible. We made vegetarian lasagna and it was really good. We also made a bunch of these lunch burritos for John to grab and take to work. It makes me feel all sorts of accomplished. I'm usually not this organized. It makes me feel like a good wife to open that freezer and see them all lined up.
And my last minute thoughts are these (in no order, because I'm feeling disorganized and lazy tonight if you couldn't tell): 1. the podcast Serial has me hooked like most people in America. Are you listening? I've never listened to podcasts, and I'm a fan. Any other podcasts you can recommend? Don't say Stuff You Missed in History Class (John already had me listen).

2. I tried La Croix drinks because my friend always has one and she made them sound so delicious. They are NOT.  My beverages of choice are still: ice water (always a huge glass at night before bed funnily enough), orange juice, orange pellegrino, and cold root beer with pizza.

3. I hosted a party (NOT at my house) with two other new ward friends this past week, we did the whole favorite things party. It was a blast. We had so much fun, and people loved it. We had people come in their pajamas, which at first I thought might be awkward, but actually made it much nicer. People were just comfy and chatted more easily.

4. I'm singing a solo in church for the first time in a reeeeallly long time. Maybe since my older brother left on his mission? I've been nervous about singing solos ever since I lost my voice in high school after going to an amusement park and I lost my voice screaming and now my voice will randomly crack. I feel your pain Julie Andrews. Anyhow, I'm singing one of my favorite Christmas songs, I Wonder as I Wander, that old Appalachian carol.

5. My cats haven't knocked down our tree yet, but it's just a matter of time, am I right? Last year we lost like four ornaments (only my favorite ones luckily). I'm going to try and love my cats and not wring their scrawny necks when it happens. But...we'll have to see. If they take out my disney honeymoon ornament they are dead to me.

6. Speaking of Disney, John's parents are taking us and his brothers on a mega trip to Walt Disney World. My kids have NO IDEA. We're going to tell them on Christmas. They know we are going on a trip and so far they have guessed we are: going mini-golfing, going to Atlantis. We had to explain that Atlantis is still technically a missing city, so no one is going there. Thanks for raising my kid's hopes, Netflix original animation movie.

7. Do people budget for Christmas cards or just find amazing deals? Because holy cow, the expense! I love to get them, but I have Christmas stockings to fill (and wooden shoes, because I was sort of dumb and started that tradition).

8. One of my grants was rejected. It completely ruined about three of my days this week. Rejection is totally normal for writers, this I know. But this isn't for me, it's for my daughter's school. I felt like a huge failure. I'm still not 100% ok about it, but in my head I know it is time to suck it up. So I will. I'm about 97% over it. Maybe 72%.

9. My kids are still sad that we are the only people in America that don't do Elf on the Shelf. I wonder if we should start our own version with a barbie doll or something else we already own. I asked John what we should call our poor man's version, and we came up with: Hotty on the Potty, or Fool on the Stool. Trademarks are no doubt forthcoming.

Ok, that's enough of that. It's obviously a little too late for me to be writing stream of consciousness. :)