November 30, 2012

From Thanks...

November 26, We Are Thankful For:
Ryan: Bumble.  Ahhh.  We have returned to his first love.  It feels right, after days of forgetting, for this to be his answer again.
Allie: Ming Ming.  From Wonder Pets.  She actually really struggled at first.  She couldn't think of something for which she was thankful.  Finally it came to her.  She does love that little duckling.
Me: Returning to real life.  I don't necessarily enjoy it.  I so enjoy being surrounded by people I love. I enjoy a house full of chaos and laughter.  I enjoy the special adventures that come along with visitors.  And I especially love the break I always give myself from the usual housework.  Aside from doing dishes (so we can eat future meals) and general picking up (so we can move around the house), I want to spend my time spending time with people with whom I don't get to spend enough time!  But the day after everyone leaves it is time to return to the real world - especially catching up on laundry!
Making Christmas Cards.  I needed a project for the kids.  I needed to get things accomplished, but I didn't want them to watch tv all day.  I remembered a container of winter-themed, foam stickers (some of them glittery) in the craft room, and we had some card-sized card stock left over from another project.  So I handed it over to the twins and invited them to make some Christmas cards.  I thought they would make enough to send grandparents and cousins - maybe even the great-grandparents if I was lucky.  They loved it and made over 50!  I'm thinking all I need is another morning and I might have enough for our entire Christmas list...I didn't think we were going to get cards out this year, but I might be changing my mind now that my little elves are so enthusiastic about making them!
My favorite of the turkey pictures.  I saved it to put up for Thanksgiving...and then forgot.  So I'm using it now (since I don't have many pictures for this post).
November 27, We Are Thankful For:
I completely forgot the twins AGAIN.
Me: Items Shipping. Okay, last year the children really convicted me by asking what we would give to Jesus for His birthday.  In their innocence they got something that I felt I had really missed.  I have been thinking ever sincer about how I wanted our Christmas to be one that is outward focused, and ways to bring that about.  One of the things I had wanted to do was make sure that everything we asked for was a gift that gave back in some way - a portion of the proceeds going to charity, etc. (which turned out to be more difficult than I thought, but that is another long story).  Then we figured our Christmas budget and I didn't have the money to do what I wanted for my kids.  Conflicted isn't even the right word to describe what I felt.  We believe that everything we have (including and especially the money Lucas earns) is from God, and really is God's.  We try to be good stewards and to give generously wherever we can, knowing that our needs are really few.  But suddenly I wasn't sure I could provide the Christmas that I wanted, and all that flew out the window.  I wanted to hoard money, to stop being generous, to save it all for them.  Is it bad to want to give my kids good things?  No.  But I was completely losing sight of the exact thing that I wanted to infuse into our Christmas!  It took some wise words from my mom and a lot of prayer for me to even start to realize that my attitude and example would really determine what my children took away from Christmas far more than the presents they receive.  In the end, some savy shopping got us the amazing table AND the train set (for about half its price) - making it possible for us to do even more than we originally planned for Christmas (although not much...just because we can doesn't mean we should.  I don't want the volume of presents to take away from the value).  The kicker for me was when I received the e-mail, from the website where we ordered the train set, telling me it was on the way.  At the bottom was a little note telling me that for every order they ship, they also provide 3 meals of nutritious  organic food for a child in need.  It was like a gentle reminder to me that it was possible to look for good deals, to give my children good things, and to still give back - even in small ways.  It was the nudge I needed to continue in my plans to infuse this season with a spirit of giving.  And with that, I'm going to tell you all that you should hop over to and see if you can do any of your Christmas (or birthday or anytime) shopping there.  Because my order might only have provided food for a child for one day, but every order adds up, and if I can add to that by encouraging others to shop there, I will.
November 28, We Are Thankful For:
Allie: Mommy, Daddy, and Ryan.  There is a story here.  Lucas was actually doing bedtime.  I was taking a night off to just relax.  Thankfuls were (once again) completely forgotten.  Suddenly I hear Allie say, "I need to say what I'm thankful for!  I'm thankful for mommy!  Mommy!  I'm thankful for you!"  Melt my heart.  It took about 1 second for me to close my laptop, come out, and help them fill out their thankfuls.  Then Daddy felt sad that no one was thankful for him...and soft-hearted Allie asked me to add him and Ryan (to pre-emptively ensure Ryan wouldn't feel sad).  Best bedtime ever.
Ryan: Mommy.  Seriously, could they melt my heart any more?
Me: Laundry Complete.  Because of our stupid water softner, we can only do 3 loads of laundry before we have to recharge the softner (otherwise it starts to leave rust stains).  When I haven't done laundry for almost a week, this makes catching up difficult.  It felt good to finally be there!
Feeling Good.  Something I haven't talked about much is this major change I made about 7 months ago.  I changed my diet.  For years (5 or so) I have struggled with chronic pain.  I haven't had a dr. come up with an explanation yet.  Last year I finally started working with a dr. here to try to find a solution, but in April we had only found dead ends.  I was discouraged.  And then I met a friend of a friend who had struggled similarly (she was luck enough to get a diagnosis, but whatever), and had been able to control her pain primarily through diet.  So I jumped in (literally, 2 days later).  Within days I felt like a different person.  I have (for the most part ) stuck with the diet for 7 months now.   If I cheat (I have) I can usually feel the pain within 30 minutes (and now that I feel good I can't believe I lived with that level of pain constantly for so long).  I know now that I am only cheating myself.  For me, the time I felt the worst was during the winter - and I really struggled during the holiday season when the exhaustion from being in pain all day long collided with a much heavier schedule than normal - which all collided with the expectation I place on myself for Christmas and the things/memories I would provide for my children - creating a perfect storm of pain and mommy-guilt tat clouded the holidays.  I'm still not 100%.  I still have pain (MUCH less). I struggle with sticking to the diet (in case you were wondering it is no gluten, no nightshades, no citrus fruits, no onions, no pork, no caffeine (I'm down to 1 cup of half-caff coffee a day and working on going caffeine free), no eggs (although I have found that farm-fresh don't bother me, or at least not as much as store-bought), and no sugar (not sure I will ever fully give up this one) - a LOT of things to give up).   But today I did some cleaning, some organizing, some projects with the kids, some Christmas decorating, AND had energy left over in the evening.  It honestly was more than I used to be able to do in a week stretching my energy as far as I could.  Being able to feel, see, and enjoy the vast difference made me so thankful.  Ask Lucas.  I was practically bouncing all evening because the difference was so amazing and made me feel so happy.  And feeling this good is making me really excited for Christmas this year.
November 29, We Are Thankful For:
Ryan: Daddy.
Allie:  Daddy.  Apparently tonight was Daddy's night.  I didn't even ask if they would include me.  They are in such a mommy phase right now that I thought it was nice for Daddy to get the spotlight for an evening.
Me: Moms Group.  Yeah I started it, and coordinate it, and perhaps it is basically just me making friends for myself.  But I really enjoy the mornings getting together with other moms.  I enjoy the laughter and the opportunities to support and encourage each other, and the fun my kids have with their friends.  Best morning of the week.
Our tv Night.  Thursday night is the night most of the shows Lucas and I watch together are on tv.  Some of them we have watched for years and watch out of loyalty even though they aren't as good as they once were.  Some of them were shows I liked first, and he grew to like. Some of them are shows at which we once turned up our noses...and now they are a guilty pleasure we wholeheartedly enjoy.
November 30, We Are Thankful For:
Allie: Mommy and Daddy.  She rounded out the last night of thankfuls with both of us.  Sweet girl
Ryan: Trees.  Lucas asked if he meant Christmas Trees?  Ryan said nope.  Just trees.
Me:  Helping a friend.  I have a friend who has been having some medical issues and needed to have some tests.  I was not only able to help her out by having her son over to play while she was at the hospital, but she happened to know the tech who was working in the department where she needed tests and she got rushed through.  She ended up having enough time to do her tests, go to the chiropractor  and run some errands - all in less time than she originally told me the tests would take!  And then we got to hang out and talk while the kids played.  And then we all went to lunch together at the church.  It was a great morning!
LIFT.  The night of the church bonfire, a few ladies thought it would be nice to hang out and decided to start a new group - Ladies In Fellowship Together, or LIFT.  We had the first get-together and it was wonderful.  Sharing a warm cup of tea and delightful conversation with the women of our church was wonderful.
Last-minute productivity.  With an entire week between Thanksgiving and the beginning of December, I felt like I had plenty of time to 1) work on presents and 2) Get my advent activities together.  But somehow the week got away from me and I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.  I spent the evening pulling together our December schedule/advent activities/making the advent calendars....although I fell asleep before I completely finished.  Good thing the one I have left to finish isn't needed before bedtime...
A shot of the finished Thankful Tree
And that concludes our month of Thankfulness.  If the next month wasn't Christmas (with it's own theme/projects) I might continue.  It was a lot of fun, and I especially loved the twins getting into the habit of saying every night before bed, "Wait!  I have to write what I'm thankful for!"


Anonymous said...

The tree is so pretty, and it is a wonderful thing to have the kids say what they are thankful for. Good Job! This was lots to read and I enjoyed it all. We all have plenty to be thankful for. I'm really moving at a slower pace this year and enjoying the beginning of the season much more. Decorating the church last night was super great because it reminds me that I should decorate Gods House as much as my own. Don't ever think your blog isn't appreciated Kim because it is!! God Bless and Love you all, Nana

Anonymous said...

Nana said it best. You are and always have been a blessing to me and Dad. Now you have brought to us Lucas, the twins and his whole family. what blessings. You do a great job with the twins and we enjoy the blog so much we both try to be first to read it. we are Thankful for you and all you have brought to our lifes. We love you all, papa and Gigi

Lauren and Jeff said...

Lovin' that you are thankful for "Returning to real life" even if you don't enjoy it. I know exactly what you mean by that paragraph because I just finally got my laundry caught up yesterday!