Friday, November 26, 2010

Gratitude List 2010

Thanksgiving may be fast becoming one of my favorite holidays.  I love the tradition and simplicity of it: the idea of setting aside a day to recall your blessings.  So here's a partial list this year, in no particular order.

I am grateful for:
1. healthy kiddos, and thus, by correlation, their fingerprints on walls and tables, extra messes, and laundry as well.
2.  an unselfish and thoughtful spouse.
3.  a dog who is super loyal and patient, even though I don't have enough time for her, and I constantly call her a him.
4.  a mother who loves me to the moon and back again.
5.  a curious nature.
6.  good books.
7.  great teachers for my kiddos.
8.  baby talk (from real live babies, never ever from adults).
9.  40 years on this amazing planet.
10.  girl friends who support me and inspire me.
11.  our nation.
12.  our founding fathers.
13.  my ancestors and their many sacrifices.
14.  truth, faith, and everything in between.
15.  my Savior.
16.  a comfortable bed.
17.  saturday morning breakfasts.
18.  Sesame Street.
19.  the moments when my children aren't bickering.
20.  the ease and comfort of living in the 21st century.
21.  siblings who make me laugh.
22.  good neighbors.
23.  blog writers who inspire me.
24.  friends I've never met (that may be YOU).
25.  technology, even though it makes me feel super old.
26.  sunshine.
27.  the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
28.  laughter.
29.  more time to practice being better.
30.  freedom.
31.  education.
32.  compassion.
33.  heavenly guidance.
34.  do-overs.
35.  hugs and kisses from my kiddos.
36.  hugs and kisses from my Mr.
37.  old friends who are still in my life and continue to make it better.
38.  home.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Soccer 2010

It's over. (Sigh of relief.)  It's not that I don't like soccer...well, maybe I don't like soccer.  But as long as my kids like soccer I'll be out there.  Even if I alledgedly say something like, "Hey, Griff!  I did not come out here to watch you stand around."  Maybe I might have said that...once. 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I remember quite clearly the day I lost my vanity.  It was perhaps a year or so ago.  We were out to eat, and at the end of the meal I excused myself to use the restroom.  Upon returning to the table, I had a fleeting thought about the condition of my lipstick.  And then it hit me:  I'd just been face to face with a giant mirror, and I hadn't even taken a peek at my reflection.  Not even a glance to check my lipstick or adjust my hair while washing my hands, my face a mere twelve inches away from the glass.

How often does that happen?

I am no Narcissus, gazing forever at my own reflection, but I have logged countless hours makeuping, grooming, picking, plucking,washing, and viewing this face.  I used to worry about this face, disliking my nose and always trying to cover up that pesky skin.  And the hair.  Oh, the hair.  Give me one teenage girl that hasn't thrown a brush across the room in utter frustration.

And then, last year at the restaurant I didn't even give this face a second thought.  I don't know what else I was busy doing or thinking, but it wasn't about this face.  Not any more. 

Don't get me wrong, I still make up and wash and comb and groom and fight wrinkles.  I'm a big believer in putting my best face forward, but I like this new season of life where I fix it and forget it.  This season of life where other things are more important than the physical me.

And I wonder how I got here.  Is it the children that have given me a new perspective?  Having children has certainly forced a little more selfishness out of me, that's for sure, but they've also taught me how much richer my life can be when living for something beyond myself.  My children are ever present, either physically or mentally.  They have usurped all the empty, nonsensical space in my life, and some of the already filled space as well, to be honest.  It is exhausting sometimes, but there is something freeing in it, too.  As much as I may give up of myself in this mothering gig, I've also given up some pretty petty concerns.  I see life beyond myself.  That's a gift.

Perhaps, too, it is my age.  After 40 years, I've made peace with this face and the rest of me as well.  Maybe there is something to this aging thing.  Maybe it just takes this long to settle into one's skin.

But whatever it is, that night, at the restaurant? I smiled.  Because I know one thing for sure, and that is that this face--this body--is not the essence of me.  It is simply the shell I walk around in.  The real me is much bigger and deeper than I can comprehend and vanity has no place in it.  In fact, the temptation to judge ourselves based on our outward appearance robs us.  It keeps us from knowing who we really are, for we are so much more than we see.

My relationship with the mirror is a funny balance as are so many things in life.  Sometimes I celebrate the looking--in the acceptance of this face and this body; in the desire to care for it rather than the wish to change it; in feeling gratitude for it rather than pining for something very different.  In that way I celebrate the looking.  And I think that is possible because of the not looking, and so I celebrate that, too.

I don't, actually, think it is possible for vanity, or ego, or pride, or selfishness to fall away in one night.  I think it is a process that has been a long time at work, and I'm sure I'm not done yet.  But I got a glimpse of how far I have come in not glimpsing myself at all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So Cool

This girl, right here,
My Photo
is really, really cool.

At first I thought her name, which I saw on a mutual friend's blog, was cool.
So I checked her blog out.
And then, it turned out that I liked not only her name, but her brain, too.

I really, really like her brain.  'Cause the things she says make me go, "Yeah.  That's right!" and they make me laugh, and cry, and nod my head, and feel inspired.

And I pretty much want to read everything she writes.  She's that good.
And she wrote a book.

  Yes, she did!

And it's really, really cool.
Check it out here.

And someday, we're gonna' do lunch.  How's that for cool?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday Progress

So you know when I'm freaking out about how much there is to do for the upcoming holidays, the only thing that can be done is to get started and check some of those items off the list.  That's what I've been doing.  Let me give you one example to illustrate how well it is going.

I ordered my holiday cards from Costco this year.  Homemade was not going to happen.  Something's got to give.  AND our picture does not look holiday-ish at all--I don't care.  Got it done.  So I order them to pick up the next day.  Of course there is no school, but being the unrealistic-optimist that I am, I think I'll kill two birds with one stone and grab a quick Costco lunch and pick up the cards.  Bwahahahahahaha. 

Nothing happens quickly with kids.  Nothing.  Especially when they bring a friend.  And especially when the snowbirds are out in abundance giving you very dirty looks about said kids who have the audacity to dance around, and get excited, and don't look where they're going.  Basically acting like kids.  I guess kids annoy a lot of old people.  Whatever.

So we finally get the lunch, go to get the pictures when Griffin informs me he has to "go."  Number two.  Fantastic.  Did I say we were going to get this done quickly? 

After the bathroom we finally we get through checkout.  The line out the door is forever long.  Baby is now melting down in the cart.  I'm just trying to keep track of the other three, when I look down and see that baby has spilled soda all over the Christmas cards.


That's how it's going.

I managed to salvage them, but if you get a card with a little soda stain on the envelope, you'll know the rest of the story.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holiday Hyperventilation

I woke up at 6:15 am on November 1st in a panic.  My eyes flew open before the alarm and my heart was already racing.  I don't know what kind of dreaming was going on, but I was half-way through making my holiday to do list.

The panic has not yet subsided.

There is so much to do at this time of year.  Not only do we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but three birthdays, and--Hey!--let's throw in Veteran's Day!  Why not!  We need one more holiday packed in there.  Between that, Thanksgiving, and professional learning days, my kids don't have a full week of school the entire month.  That's messing with my schedule.

If I think of everything that needs to be accomplished, I start hyperventilating, so I try to limit that to just once a day, just to get the plan in motion.  The rest of the time I am just focusing on the task at hand.

This week?  Finishing Christmas Cards and Mom's exciting but enormous Christmas project.

We can do it.  Right?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Bargain's in the Eye of the Beholder

I thought it was a joke when I saw the giant produce box of over-ripe bananas sitting on my counter.  I really did.  But I should have known better.

"Only a dollar!" Mr. Wicke brags.  There is nothing my man loves more than a good bargain.  A close second is food.  Now you put those two together, and we are talking about a heady kind of euphoria. 

He shops a grocery store as most women browse the mall, picking up whatever catches his eye.  There are things I never, ever buy and yet we are always stocked (or overstocked) with cold cereal, ice cream, jello, cake mixes, canned frosting, cottage cheese, cool whip, and Kool-Aid.  Some of these items don't even register in my consciousness, but one look at my pantry would convince you otherwise. 

Stopping by the grocery on a whim or to pick up a real steal, Mr. Wicke will return home from work with bags of goodies; then the real fun begins.  We get to play the game, "Guess How Much This Cost?"  It goes something like this:

"Guess how much this cost?"

"Uhhhh, $25.00."

"No!" he crows, joy radiating from every cell in his body.


"Lower!" he nearly sings.

"I give up."

"$3.00!  And guess how much I saved?!"

"I don't know."

"Four hundred and eighty-three dollars and ninety two cents!"

Something like that, anyway.  And then the real fun begins because I get to play, "What the Heck Can I Make With This Stuff Anyway?"  Inside the bags will be rice, motor oil, nutmeg, Jell-o, and Kool-Aid, of course.  So then I have to go to the store and spend the $400 he saved so we can actually eat.  But it makes him happy, so...whatever.

But the bananas?

"A dollar?"  I repeat far less enthusiasm.  "What am I supposed to do with an entire box of rotting bananas?"

"Banana bread?" he gapes as though the answer was so obvious.

"Two loaves of banana bread takes 3 bananas.  There are like 15 bunches in there!"

And did I mention that this is the Friday before Halloween?  As if I have time to makes loaves of banana bread!  I've got a school party to run, costumes to pull together, candy to buy, cupcakes to make, a side-dish to make, decorations to gather, pumpkins to carve and now banana bread?  Loaves and loaves and loaves of banana bread?  Who needs this kind of pressure?!

Oh, and I know.  You can freeze bananas...but only if your freezer isn't full of FIVE GALLONS OF ICE CREAM!  There was not even enough room for the NINE LOAVES of frozen bread dough that he ALSO brought home because IT WAS SUCH A GREAT DEAL.  I had to cook those up on Saturday and take them to the church Trunk-or-Treat just to get rid of them.

I am drowning in good deals around here.  Good deals and loads of bananas.  And those great deals are costing me my sanity.  I'd take time for the breakdown I deserve, but I've got banana bread to make...and banana muffins, and banana chocolate cookies...and banana....well, you get the idea.