Tag Archive | blogging

Christmas review

This was the first Christmas in the new house

This was probably also the first Christmas that all the kids were into it.

Sure, they had moments, short tempers, fights over the dumbest things (so dumb I don’t have a funny example because my brain can’t even fathom how they managed to fight over it) however each said without fail that this was the best Christmas ever.

I missed being in NY, the kids missed their cousins and grandparents and quality time was spent on facetime.  On the other hand, I feel refreshed after 5 days of break instead of trying to fit everything in and burning sleep to do it.  Not that I’m napping the break away, it is just removing all responsibilities beyond feeding the kids is mentally nice.

There is also a new secret weapon to sanity; I can leave the kids home for an hour or two and it is OK.  Not just legally ok (and it is) like, actually ok – they don’t seem to kill each other while I’m gone and I’ve come home to happy kids doing their own thing or watching a show every time.  It is incredibly freeing to run to the grocery or hardware solo, or, with Lars and NO KIDS.  They BEG to stay home,  I didn’t know I had been torturing them so all these years but I did read a good article once about viewing shopping from a kid’s POV. Where you have no control or choice about where you are going, have to stick with someone else the whole time, can’t ask for anything, can’t even touch stuff that catches your eye.  The article said imagine doing that with an adult friend – you would never – since then I’ve been treating shopping more kindly and looking at things that they think are cool and treating their opinions as I would a friend and it does help, but hey, it isn’t as good as undiluted Minecraft/kindle/TV/game that spreads toys all over with no one to tell you to pause and come pick up your socks or load the dishwasher etc.  Anyway, sorry for that tangent, but it is relevant to my current good mood because I had the BEST Christmas eve and a really good Christmas day and day after even.

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sugar cookie production

‘New house’ is an excuse I’ve used long enough that I’m sick of it.  Yes, the house has eaten a ton of money and energy but when we made the decision to stay I also felt like I could reallocate some energy to getting back to normal and not so frantic.   We actually made 3 types of cookies and creme brulee for Christmas.  We used frosting and cookie cutters and we just stopped when they were ‘done’ even though that means there are 3 dozen unfrosted cookies in the freezer.  I wrapped a mountain of gifts, nearly all in fabric so the clean up was relatively easy and I didn’t feel like I was filling a landfill.  We threw out one single kitchen size trash bag and that was mostly packaging, not wrapping paper.  I’ve posted about it before but it really is so easy to pack soft things or oddly shaped things, it all fits in a bag and bags don’t rip on crazy open areas to ‘show off’ the toy.  They also make a very pretty collection if you make 6 or so a year, after 5 years you have a variety.

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easy wrapping!  You see here 2 sets of ear muffs, a hat, a LOL ‘pod’ and 3 odd shaped toys.  Tags are from previous years Christmas cards and I usually manage to keep them year to year.

We got teacher gifts and even neighbor gifts done. Having Christmas on a Tuesday actually made things easier because that last weekend saw lots of Christmas prep time.  For teachers, I broke the candy rule and made them all emergency sweet boxes.  I know all the teachers well this year and I’m pretty confident they all like candy.  If they don’t, still a useful bits box once they give away the 20 odd pieces in there.  Neighbor gifts were from Pinterest and I hit a great sale early in the season at Michaels where nice wrapping paper was only $1.50 a roll and a 3 pack of tape was $3 ish and then there was a coupon….  It didn’t get together until 2 days before Christmas but the point was that it was emergency last second wrapping supply.  I also sent each of them an invite to a new years day party so even if I don’t do it again, I had a good reason to this year.

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neighbor gifts

Christmas Eve we had no plans – being in a place you never usually are cuts down on traditional invitations – but we kept busy somehow.  I used my freedom to go pick up groceries using the pickup service and it was great to avoid that store on Christmas eve AND gave me time to pop into the thrift store.  I intended to go to buy butter knives for Lars who has taken up thrown weapons and saw a youtube about using butter knives and to keep his grubby hands of the silver I got him a dozen of his own.  While I was there (solo) I browsed the Christmas clearance and scored a house for my collection, a nutcracker for Zoe who is oddly into them and it was the best dollar I spent all year for her joy, and my best purchase was specialty Christmas dessert plates.  I have room to store them finally and I really love them and they were under .50 each.

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my new plates from ‘santa’ and Niamh’s cinnamon roll trees.

Santa was left a tray and kids practically put themselves to bed.  This being the first year in the house the furniture got re-arranged to suit gift opening and this room is more and more my favorite.  I wish the chair could stay full time but it is also needed in the living room.  The final crazy thing we did is total potty humor but that is still very funny over here.  The Tamtes all pooped mints for Christmas morning!  We put a handful of mints under each one and it was worth it because they noticed right away and are delighted by it.  I had intended to do it earlier in the season but this worked too.

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selection of baked goods and drinks by the tree.

Christmas Day started early (2am Fiona!) but they did let us go back to sleep until 7:30 and Niamh made cinnamon rolls and Fiona made coffee and Zoe made joyful noise and they actually spent their time organizing the gifts into people piles and that was helpful for opening, plus, it gave them time to wonder over the gifts and that is the best part sometimes.  We had nearly no lull because Vacation Mom came for brunch and then the rolling family calls and then we hosted dinner for a set of friends and we finished the night with a new game that was a bigger success then I had anticipated.

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loving her biggest gift, wearing the new hat and new shirt.  Zoe is the most expressive of the 3

Boxing day was totally lazy.  PJ’s worn well into the afternoon.  Kids cheerfully doing kits and playing with toys.  I sequestered myself in my room to finally get my closet organized.  It still had lots of boxes, lots…. I didn’t finish but I did get the shelving up I needed and I’m at 70%.  I’ll have a picture when I’m done but there is no before picture, however, you can just imagine a small room full of boxes and 30 graphic t-shirts hung up.  (ps. Lars didn’t notice there were boxes in the closet?!?).  Maybe unearthing so many of my things beget my good mood but I definitely have one.  I said goodbye to 2 bags for donations and 1 bag of garbage but I’m ok with letting it go.

Here we are today, on a bonus December day.  A day off that has no obligation to society, church, family, or even airlines.  Our plan is to go to the zoo but it is somewhat weather dependent.  Tomorrow or the next day we need to start pulling out of vacation and getting ready for our open house party on New Year’s day but that isn’t today.  I have house projects cooking too but none are quite done enough for pictures.

I hope your holiday week has been as good, good enough to outweigh the not so pretty times in the week.  Believe me, there have been lows in my week too but as always I am focusing on the positive here and it doing so it sets the positive points in my brain.  It is my worst fear that someone reads my blog and feels bad about themselves in comparison – I’m cherry picking – I could post a giant list of shortcomings, fears, messes, and disagreements but I don’t want to, and would that be interesting or helpful? In the interest of full disclosure and your feelings trust me they were/are there!

Can’t end with that, just not my style so;  Merry Christmas and enjoy the last few days of 2018.

 

 

Guess What?

I love my blog enough to pay $13 whole dollars for an upgraded membership.  I realized some of the reasons I was not blogging was because I was nearly out of space and pictures really do make the story.  So, after the 3million and third targeted add with discounts and ‘last chance’ notes from WordPress I did it.  I have no idea what all will change but I have more space and that is what I was looking for.

What about the daily post?  Well, that didn’t work out this year.  I’m as disappointed as you are (btw I’m assuming nobody was all that disappointed).  When last we talked I was suffering from a truly annoying mouth issue that actually persisted for a full 7 days and now I have the creepy crud of congestion.  These are not conditions conducive to happy chatting online.  Beyond those minor annoiances, the week was really great and super full.

Thanksgiving felt like the end of a marathon.  One that started so long ago when we first decided to put the house on the market and then escalated when we were prepping, then selling and building then moving and homeless, then traveling, then moving in and figuring out where things go and a truly giant list of things to do.  No sooner were we in the house the kids were to school and the election tasks started, Halloween, and a rather full social calendar of weekend events culminating last week with the first big house party and 8 out of town guests and then Thanksgiving with more guests.  No wonder I feel tired and out of planning energy!  Sunday I sat there and realized that I have nothing major on the immediate horizon.

Does that mean I am doing nothing?  No way, just nothing like building a house or moving.  I have a vague hope that I’ll be catching up on the active to-do list to the point where I can get back to a normal week that includes meal planning and working out and generally not just chasing the ball down hill constantly.

So how was your thanksgiving?

here are some pictures because I have space now

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family game time!

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possibly not the best group pic ever but oh so true to life.  ps we are missing one child completely somehow

 

Hello November!

Blog every day in November is going to be extra challenging this year since I’ve fallen down to once a week recently…  I occasionally reflect on the fashion of webpages/blog/online journals that have come and gone and feel like they are maybe coming back again.  Oh well, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing here in my corner.

Today you join me on the day I celebrate the lives of the people who have left this earthly coil.  A little All Saints day, a little Dia de Muerta, a little bit all my own.  The point is to remember the people and teach our kids about those they never met or those that died when they were young.  Sure, as a memory comes up in the year I share it with the kids but this is the day we make it a point to go through the book.

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Speaking of the book.  I was worried I would not find it in time…  Last week was the push to get the book shelving up and over the past few days, I worked on clearing all the ‘house stuff’ boxes that were hanging out in the room.  Today I went and got the top 5 boxes in the ‘book’ pile in the garage and it is luck or fate but the 3rd box opened had my album for today.  I added my grandmother, the first addition in years, and now I’m thinking about what to get to celebrate her.

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I usually try and bring in a special food for the person to share with the kids.  My Grandmother though was on a perpetual diet most of my life with her, with a memorable highlight of a liquid shake diet that looked (and smelled) like chocolate cement.  She uniquely liked to eat maza bread but I know that isn’t exactly something she enjoyed for the taste, and, isn’t really available in our area.  When I lived with her in Malta she cooked a bunch of things that blur together in my memory except for when they were super spicy.  My grandmother was absolutely not a baker (to me at least)…  When I give it real thought most of what I remember is that she enjoyed what was put in front of her and my grandfather making her toast and tea so to honor them both I think that toast and tea might be what we do today.

I’m excited about the challenge this month, good timing since it will be a crazy and fun month to document.  The election next Tuesday, a giant group of house guests coming mid-month and our first official party at the house.  Most of my family will visit for Thanksgiving so it will be plenty of running around, family events, and getting the house ready.

 

Where am I?

Good question!

I’m about 17 different places.  I think I’m developing ADD because I do a little bit on a project then run to the next thing and do something and off to the next.

Yesterday I laid out all the Halloween costumes to make sure I had all the bits and pieces and I didn’t so I had a crafty afternoon.  Still a bit to do but nothing too major.  When I post daily in November I’ll have DIY Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and Supergirl posts.  I’m already too late for this year, might as well do them right instead of rushing.

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still missing a few things, better pictures to come!

I’m mid-major library wall project.  We would be further along but we got all the shells up and decided the center unit was too small so we had to go back to the store and that is a trip all on its own.

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All of the tall ones will get taller, we were just doing the layout.  Don’t mind the clutter, yes, that yellow is last min Halloween costume making… 

Campaigning is an on and off thing.  I’m not a ‘major candidate’ but I still feel like I need to attend everything and keep an eye on issues on Facebook.  This grabs chunks of time and attention at unexpected times.

I have an entire post in my head about how we have entered the ‘taxi’ phase of parenthood.  A quarter of my brain is dedicated to the logistics of getting 3 other humans to the places they need/want/have to be.  It is fun overall and the things I hear in the car are priceless, especially when I have an extra kid in there.

Random house projects are still chugging along.  The garage has quite a bit of shelving now and we can, most importantly, park in there now.  I have acquired curtain hardware for the entire house, and fabric for upstairs, and we are working through getting that done.  Given we live in a giant field, privacy isn’t that much of an issue and now that the sun isn’t rising until past 7am I think we actually waited out the situation.  Curtains might be waiting until spring when I get a 5am face full of sunrise.

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Family and friend dynamics, like always, are ever in need of attention.  Happily given but those who feel maintaining kids, marriages, friends and family and hobby relationships take no effort might look around one day and have very few.  Same with the poor neglected blog; I feel guilty that I can’t do more with everyone, the house is like a newborn!  Thankfully I hope everyone who matters understands.

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And that is all I have time for today.  I need to get back to all the things before they get worse and spawn dangerous things for the neglect…

House day 37 and blizzard spring

Current status; We have a roof that is nearly all done, we have (I’ve been told) something called “foam and grade” going on.  We also have evidence of plumbing in the places plumbing is expected and also some odd holes.

Next; I don’t have to guess because we got something appearing to be like a schedule with dates and actions and next up really really is the floor on or around 4/23.  Between now and then is more floor prep and laying the in-floor heat.

Status; 300 of 1000 <- I gave a big bump because now I have a list of what will be done

 

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tiny bit of roof left but I took this around 2 today so I’m sure that guy on the roof finished up by now.

Holes… to hide things inside?

 

All the plumbing parts!  I can id a few, some have name tags, some are mysterious but I’m sure there is a plan.

 

All this was done in and around and despite a massive blizzard.  We got 18 inches of snow over 2 days in a crazy storm.  I’m not sure if it was ‘fortunately’ but we left town on Friday and driving back on Saturday night it was not a pleasant drive but we actually missed all the really bad snow.  Reports of the storm before we got to MN were whiteout conditions but by the time we got there around 9pm it was not snowing at all.  We actually got lucky with that because it was merely a pause and by the next day we were in blizzard part 2 and the driving was 10x worse from where we were.  People thought we were crazy not spending the night but we got lucky.

 

The snow was so bad we had a snow day for school on Monday.  I had a series of meetings in our state government to try and get better/rational school funding and these meetings don’t come together easily so I was NOT going to miss it.  Therefore, kids got to go too.  They got tons of positive comments about being good so it worked out and I hope we were heard.

 

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politicians love kids 🙂

 

For anyone counting, this is the 8th Monday they have had off since Jan 1…

My life otherwise centers around cleaning my house and then sitting quietly until I need to leave because there is a showing.  I have possibly never cleaned it so much, I am getting pretty efficient at it, and, I’ve finished 3 books over the past 2 weeks.  When people ask me if the house sold yet it feels a lot like when people would ask if we were pregnant yet – both situations where I’ve done all I can and I’m not really able to affect the results much more, and, saying ‘no’ somehow feels like a personal failure.  Today is the 2 week mark and I’m as sick of it as anyone but sometime soon the right person will make the right decision.  Telling me about how your aunt’s cousin sold her house the day it was listed is a lot like telling someone in the throws of infertility about how someone got pregnant by walking past their husband.  Sure, tell me those things when I’m under contract, we can swap war stories, but right now I’m not in a place to hear that.  Same goes for horror stories like when a house took 6 months to sell or how buyers fall through at the last second…  Trust me, I won’t keep it a secret, when we have an offer worth talking about I will tell everyone!

So that is pretty much it.  I am in a limbo that includes a lot of dusting and vacuuming on this house and watching and picking things on the new house.  I feel like a broken record over here.

Any positive thoughts you can spare for this process are appreciated!  I would love to just move on to the next phase where I can *just* worry about moving and building and summer and not SELLING.

3 Quotes – day 3

3 and done, just like my kids.  See my Monday post for more background, and, here is my final installment (although I might make a quote a weekly thing, sooo many good ones out there)

Rules; Thank the person who challenged you, post a quote, tag 3 others, for 3 days in a row.

Thank you, Fancy Paper – you are right, these are fun to post

Quote;

I didn’t come this far to only go this far

 

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this isn’t me, but I guess it could be.  I hope she finished the race!

 

I found this quote last year and have found dozens of uses for it over time but today I tried to find if it had an original author.  I’m going to say the origin is unclear but it has been said by plenty of big names including Tom Brady (a pro football star) and Mick Kremlen (fitness guru) but I can’t imagine that they were the originals.  Either way, it is a great ‘stick with it’ phrase.

The funny thing about quotes as I have noticed over time is that sometimes the opposite is equally true.  The one I often use is “don’t throw good money after bad” meaning that just because you invested so far if it is not worth doing; just stop.  Also, a good one, and a favorite of my mom “the first rule of getting out of a hole is to stop digging” . It depends on the situation whether you need to just finish the thing, or, recognize that it is time to stop.  Personally, I tend to hold onto certain things like friends and hobbies for ages, I place real value in the persistence of a long-term relationship, or, experience gained over a long-term hobby.  One can come and go but never quits.  This is probably why I’m still acquainted with friends from elementary school, and, I’m still blogging way way after the peek of popularity.

Tagging – Please please, if you are reading this and you want to do it, consider yourself tagged.  I know the ‘left out’ feeling of not being picked and seriously, I’m giving thought to my picks but also consider my brain addled by lack of sleep and focus in 55 other directions at all times.  If you do it, put a link in the comments and I will be overjoyed to read your quotes.  Seriously, I actually subscribe to a quote a day blog, I like them.

Miss Zoot – This is one of the first blogs I started reading ever, we are often on the same page about what is going on in our lives and I always enjoy reading her.  I tag her now not with any real hope she will do this because she tends not to, but, because I recommend reading her thoughts.

Unbound Roots – In contrast, this is a blog I just started reading because it was tagged in a Fancy Paper post and found that she is from 2 towns away.  Her style is fun and well written and she even edits her work (unlike me.  I edit for work, here I write fast and between projects)

Amanda’s Plate – a cooking blog I found while researching how to make a Muslim girl my daughter is friends with comfortable in our home a year ago.  While Amanda is Muslim, she mostly just talks about great looking food.  Again, finding another person who is more the same than different is one of the great things about the internet.

 

This concludes my 3 quote posts for this challenge.  I look forward to reading other people entries if they feel so inclined.  I also am looking forward to getting my life back and with that, more time for things I enjoy like blogging.