Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to a terrific 2014, and hopefully more blogging!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Musing

Today I'm thinking about all my long held notions about Christmas and gift giving.  Some time around becoming a mother, I grew to hate all the consumerism of the holidays. I tried so hard to make the holidays "authentic." And economical. I made everything from scratch.   I made some things by hand, and encouraged the boys to do the same. poured over ads, scraping to get the best possible price for the things  I had to buy. One year I even got my family to agree to a gift exchange, which everyone more or less hated.  I struggled internally through the entirety of many Christmases to design the perfect balance of needed things, wanted things, and surprises for the kids, without going overboard. Yes I ventured out on Black Friday a couple times, to get $20 scooters, and blue jeans for the boys (an exhaustive task, keeping them in jeans!). And I've ventured out on Small Business Saturday, in search of the "perfect" hand crafted one of a kind gift for the people I thought would appreciate it (and received lukewarm response.) I tried to convince my family to only give me experiential gifts, which made me feel like really I was just shilling for gift cards. And I tried giving experiences, only to end up in the awkward situation where the other party didn't understand that the dinner out, trip to the movies, etc. WAS the gift. I've sent Christmas cards, because I genuinely enjoy sending them, then switched to e-cards because they're greener, which led to me receiving far few paper cards, which bummed me out, and then I sent none at all, except to post a family picture with a halfhearted greeting on Facebook. I've baked and decorated tons of cookies and sweets, feeling quietly guilty because really none of use should be consuming this quantity of sweets, especially when many of us are struggling with our weight and health issues. I've given to charities in other peoples names, only to have them do the delayed response "wow...how cool" thing. And I've asked for a list and bought them what they wanted or a gift card and it was really just like a cool business transaction.

Then I realized I am exhausted. I'm tired of stressing about all this stuff. It really shouldn't be this hard. The thing I've come to realize is that we lay so much on these holidays---we try to make up for not being present for the people we love during the rest of the year. Then wonder why we have the foggiest idea of what to give them.  Today is November 29th and officially this is the latest I've ever put off Christmas shopping since becoming a mom. And I'm in no hurry.

Here's what I miss: I miss that excited feeling I used to get when I was first getting into the whole gift giving thing. Imagining what the person might like. Not worrying that it was mass produced in China or that it was commercial or inauthentic. Getting my dad the Old Spice gift box because 1. He liked Old Spice and 2. I could afford it. Home run. I used to spend a day or two at most and finish my list no problem. People usually liked what I got them, and it didn't seem like it was anybody's main focus in life. Somehow, in my zeal to simplify and de-consumerize the holidays, I've convoluted it all to the point that I'm now HYPERfocused on them. 

And honestly I'm done.

This is not to say I've gone Scrooge. I want the cocoa, the tree and decorations, and the festive meals. I want to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Carol" and "A Christmas Story" with the kids. I want to string up the lights (the evil incandescents are just prettier, sorry) and listen to (and sing with) Andy Williams and have everyone over. I want to take the kids ice skating and sledding and hiking. And I want to go to church.

But the gift giving---I'm going back to basics. A list, with a budget. Give the people what they want. Get it done quickly and enjoy the season. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


The past few months feel like a whirlwind.
The boys were gracious enough to not join a winter sport.
I needed this so badly.
Then I promptly got sick with what amounts to a really bad cold, 
but it knocked me down just the same.
I'm hoping to change some old habits:
Like obsessively checking email every ten minutes.
Reading forum posts like Huffpo, or the local news Facebook pages.
So negative. They really can wreck your worldview.
Will resume daily walks once the coughing subsides.
Cooking at home has returned as the rule 
Rather than the exception.
Getting a handle on the scout calendar.
Doing a better job of delegating.
And the house is fairly clean again.
Morning coffee and journaling are back too.
It's nice to enjoy the season's change a little bit.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Flag retirement

Had to share this lovely photo from our pack's flag retirement the other night.
You wouldn't believe how quiet and reverent those 40 wild little boys were.
A night hike and games preceded the bonfire, which helped, no doubt.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween: time flies while you're having fun!

 Today, as my little big football players were on there way to school, I thought about Halloweens past.
I just can't believe it went by so fast.  I know trick or treats are numbered now.

 Zack's first two Halloweens, when it was just the three of us.

The year Zack really wanted to be a fireman, and we got a new baby for Halloween :-)
Zack the builder, and Nathan, my punkin.

 Zack's best costume idea ever: Mike Rowe, from Dirty Jobs. Nathan was our little John Wayne.

 Nathan as "spaceman" (Apollo Landing Tee shirt and helmet.) Zack as Remi. 

Nathan was a "giant gorilla" and Zack was Bugs Bunny.  Fun birthday party for Nathan.

 Nathan's best ever costume: a sack of leaves, with his bro, the pilot.
The best Jedis ever followed.

 Last year: Nathan was home sick from school: it was a bummer birthday and Halloween.
He was going to be a Cubs player.
Zack trick or treated with his best bud.

This year they're calling for some wild weather, so hopefully the lads will have a fun trick or treat.
Stay safe and have a great Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Slowing down, finally

Happy to report we have survived popcorn selling season, ugh.
We've managed to find time for a family hike, which was fun.
And we got to see the Columbus Blue Jackets, and high-five them in the tunnel.
Sports season has ended, finally, without too much bad weather.
The weirdest thing happened today: I had nothing to do.
Oh there's always something to do.
But for a change, I wasn't in a hurry.
I had time to talk to the kiddos.
Time to watch a show. 
I read a little.
Nice change.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Still here!

I'm still around!
Got real excited and busy this month doing Mama Scout's "Book about me" and 
"Dream" labs, so I was doing a LOT of journaling.  I'd highly recommend any of her labs, and she has one coming up for the holidays and I probably will take that too.

In other news, I've been super busy with scouts.  I am happy to report that fall sports come to a close for our family this weekend, and I look forward to the "off season" where we don't have to run quite so much.  My little guy started guitar lessons this month too, so now they both have an instrument to play and the scout stuff to do and that's fine.  It is also nearing the end of the annual popcorn sale and I've got to say that I'm pretty glad about that too.  

In my daily routine I'm trying to take a walk or go to the gym each morning.  I don't know how it happened that I fell off the wagon, but it did.  I'm doing a ton better with writing every day, so that's something too.

I'm looking forward to getting back on the blog and catching up!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

This and that

Random happenings of late:

:: Harvesting a ton of garden produce, esp. tomatoes. 
:: Elder son has been visiting Boy Scout troops with his Webelos patrol.
:: Elder son's fall baseball team is doing okay
:: Young son is rocking at soccer (but now wants to switch to baseball)
:: Taking morning walks at a beautiful local park.
:: New author I'm loving: Juliet Marillier. She writes historical  fantasy/supernatural fiction,  mostly with a Celtic flavor. Finding something to read has been hard lately.
:: I grew a nine foot sunflower. The flower is about 18 inches in diameter!
:: Working hard to completely revamp my garden beds. I came to the realization that I don't like 90% of the flowers and plants we have. Its a beautiful week to be out doors.
:: Finished the Mamascout lab and decided to sign up for the next one. I used a Smashbook to record all my journaling, and it was a cool experience.
:: Planning my next Cub Scout meeting: we are doing "crash test pumpkins" where the boys are invited to bring a pumpkin in a contraption-on-wheels of their own design to roll down my ramp into a wall. They think it's just a fun thing, but really it's engineering ;-)
:: Helping the boys with their popcorn fundraiser. My favorite thing all year (not, ha ha.)
:: Celebrated 11 years married to my best guy :-)

What's new?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dusting off my rose colored glasses

(Myself, age 7 months or thereabouts)

Hello neglected blog world.
I've been away.
Spending time staring out the window.
Well, a little sick, mainly evil allergies, better now.
Had a few things not go my way.
Made me wonder if I could handle certain responsibilities.
Started to doubt those around me.
Mamascout's excellent lab reminded me of this photo.
I've allowed myself enough wallow time.
Time to dust off the rose-colored glasses
And get back out there!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's new

I've been so busy...

::Cleaning and purging specs of the house now that the boys are back to school.
::Hauling the boys to their sports practices.
::Planning and prepping the new scout year and recruiting.
::Getting back into the gym.
::Taking this course from a favorite blogger, Amy, of Mamascout.
::Getting back into the groove of regular-time.

How's everybody?

Monday, August 19, 2013


Yes, more camping.
This time with the Cub Scout pack. 
I wish I could show more pics,
But of course they need their privacy.
Over two days there was much fun.
Frog catching, hiking, games.
Foil dinners and fossil digging.
Bonfires, s'mores, songs, skits.
Exploration and discovery. 
The simple fun in nature.
I watched new friendships form,
Among the kids, and parents too.
And old friendships soldered.
Shy kids spoke up.
Rowdy kids found a purpose 
in helping out.
Non-athletic kids found that a friendly game of whiffle ball can be fun.
Jock-boys settled long enough
To weave a paracord survival bracelet.
Scouting is so much more than just camping.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cool morning, plans for fall

It's a crisp cool morning.
I'm huddled under my favorite blanket,
Drinking coffee on the porch.
The stack of library books is in reach.
Doing that fall thing I do,
Where I roadmap the coming year
With big plans and cool ideas.
Fall is the most chaotic season for us.
There will be a flurry of scout related things-emails and phone calls from new families, finalizing the schedule for the year, meetings and training with the leaders, and the fundraiser, O joy.
Then the fun stuff, the bonfires and camping and trips to the firehouse.
The return of homework and after school sports and wedging in some music lessons so the little gents might have some refinement.
And if course we will try to do some apple picking and pumpkin carving and all that cool fall stuff. 
But right now all is quiet.
The phone is quiet, all the friends busy finishing up their summer bucket lists.
(Glad I don't make those anymore.)
It's the awesomest kind of day.


Monday, August 5, 2013


Okay, we had something of a long weekend, here goes:
---visited Mammoth Cave National Park
---Saw lots of rock and flowstone in the cave
---Ken rescued a turtle from sure demise in the middle of a country road.
(Thank you, Google, for misdirecting us.  The turtle is grateful.)
---Went to the Louisville Slugger Museum.
---Got to hold a Johnny Bench bat!!! (The kids were more excited about the Votto.)
---Learned that Louisville is a beautiful town, and we must go again.
 ---Found a cool little Mexican place while in town.
---Watched the Reds lose bad to St. Louis. 
---Stayed for post game fireworks, got the kids' pic on the big board using #Instareds.
---Laundry,  shopping, Lawn and garden, Olive Garden, wine.
---My nephew's 13th birthday, in a totally RAD (tip of the hat to Lady Cordelia) video arcade
in which all the games are old school, and "free" (Paid by host, of course) and 
music like Van Halen and A-ha and Flock of Seagulls.

Two weeks till school goes back, totally hoping to blog more!
How was your weekend?

Linking with Amanda