Friday, November 29, 2013

28 Days of Thankful

Since I didn't do the whole things I am grateful for each day of the month, I thought I would do them all in one day, so here goes:
  1. Kids who love to cuddle
  2. On that note, ugga mugga's (rubbing noses) from Amy who insists she must have one before anybody can leave the house.
  3. My husband who lets me read him every blog post for approval before publishing.
  4. Chocolate
  5. Books
  6. Libraries
  7. Tuesday Dinners
  8. My little niece so I can still buy baby clothes
  9. Nursery, both being called to Nursery, and when I got to send the kids there.
  10. Our dog who no longer pees on the carpet since we started buying potty treats.
  11. When we have deer and elk meat in our freezer.
  12. When I get my husband back after hunting season.
  13. The smell of pine from the Christmas Trees at Smiths.
  14. Children who climb into my bed when I am afraid of the dark. (just don't tell them that)
  15. Plastic plates and spoons cuz when you don't have a dishwasher, plastic is your best friend.
  16. When my husband does the dishes, he's so much faster than me.
  17. When the kids hold the couch cushions apart so I can vacuum between them, really makes me happy!
  18. The days that Hunter wakes up before I do and cheerily lets the dog outside all by himself.
  19. When kids brush their teeth without whining, it does actually happen on occasion.
  20. Long drives in the mountains
  21. The perks of working for an airlines, like flying for free.
  22. People who now call me Anya with a Y, you are so endearing, you have no idea.
  23. Audiobooks
  24. My job who gave me time off work when we got stuck in the Primary Childrens waiting room for two hours.
  25. The awesome Christensen's, no place I'd rather be on Thanksgiving!
  26. For tons of cousins for my little ones to run around with while we stuff our faces with Turkey.
  27. For Christmas Tree's from Smiths Marketplace, ahh the smell!
  28. Online shopping, so I can get my Black Friday on even though I have to work, especially Amazon :)
Merry Christmas!
(yes! I can finally say that now!)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our Broken Bone Story

For the last two weeks I've been in kind of a funk. I'm sure it has to do with Amy falling off the kitchen counter while somebody else was watching her. I rushed home from work and took her to the IHC InstaCare.

We've gone there many times, usually when a cold isn't just a cold and we know there's going to be a prescription involved, but it's the weekend. Isn't it always the weekend when the kids get super sick? But this time, we show up and the name on the outside of the building has changed to After Hours Medical. Well, I've got a kid who's screaming her arm still hurts an hour later, so we're going in. We get x-rays, a soft cast, with the tiniest sling I've even seen and we're on our way.



"We'll call your tomorrow to let you know if it's broken" they say. Next day at 7:30 pm I call them.

"We'll let you know tomorrow" I"m told again. Next morning the receptionist calls me back.

"It's not broken" she says.

"That's great, but what do I do with it?"

"What do you mean" she says.

"Well, she says it still hurts." She puts me on hold for a few minutes.

"Then take her to Primary Children's Orthopedic Center."

"But you just told me it's not broken?" I say

"Well, that's what the doctor said."

Thanks. So another 24 hours of wondering what the right thing to do is. I called her normal pediatrician and spoke with the nurse. She was great, and gave me some advice I could really use. Keep it in the sling, and if it still hurts in 7-10 days bring her in. Finally, now we had a plan. Initially I thought, now I can relax, I don't have to be worried anymore, I just have to wait week or so. Then later that same night the doctor After Hours called. First of he and the receptionist both said,

"Hello, is Amy there?" Don't they know she's 3? I kept wondering to myself.

"This is her mom." I answered

"Oh hi, this is doctor so and so, we spoke this morning?"

"Um, no, I spoke with the receptionist this morning."

"No, we spoke earlier today."

"The person I spoke with was female." I think I've irritated him by this point, so he moves on.

"We've got the full report back from the radiologist, and I'm just going to read you exactly what it says here." From which he basically used a lot of big words to say that they believe there's a good chance it's fractured, but they can't see it in the x-ray.



So my relaxed mind had about 5 minutes before I spent the rest of the week feeling like bad mom. I know, it could have happened to anybody, but I couldn't help the detrimental feeling that this happened because I was at work, instead of being the person taking care of my kids. Honestly, it could have happened to anyone, it even could have happened while I was at home. Alight, let's put working mommy guilt aside, I waited, hoping she would magically get better. After 10 days, I took her soft cast off, prodded her elbow, watched her wince and scream at me for touching it, and called the pediatrician back.

Take her to Primary Childrens. Appointment scheduled and 3 days later we arrived! Two more x-rays and I finally knew for sure without any doubt that she had cracked the pointy tip of her elbow. She would be sporting a neon pink cast for the next 3 weeks. Oh the relief! I never thought I would be so happy to hear my child's elbow was broken! But seriously, bad news is a whole lot better than not knowing. To alleviate any more guilt I ask the very kind lady doctor

"Did I totally make this worse for her by waiting two weeks to bring her in?" And in the most kind way she says

"It's no big deal, she didn't break her inner elbow, with the cast on she'll heal right up." Thank you, thank you, thank you, lady doctor. We can all move on, I'm not a bad mother, Amy is healing, and she's lovin' the pink cast.



Have you ever had a kid with a broken bone? What's your story? Did you go through something similar, or completely different?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Last night I finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I'm a little bit torn on my opinion of it. On the one hand I loved how Cheryl was able to move on with her life after the death of her mother by taking her life into her own hands hiking from the Desert in California up to Northern Oregon. She writes beautifully without being cumbersome in her descriptions, and I love the way she weaves her past into the story of her 4 month hike.

On the other hand, I read about how she does heroin, and in my naive mind I think, STOP what are you doing? This is bad this is very bad! How will she recover, how will she ever become a functioning member of society? I was amazed to find that there are people who have done drugs who are able to leave it in the past. Okay, so it's pretty apparent I don't have any experience with drugs or friends who did them. So maybe it was good for me to read about it to gain a new perspective, instead of living in a bubble world, but I will admit it startled me.

What also startled me was sex with strangers. Just repeat all the reactions I had about her doing drugs, STOP, how will she recover, and then she does. The whole thing really served as a reminder to me that we're all flawed, we're all going to make mistakes. I think we're actually meant to, not in the sense that we should seek to mess up, but in the sense that in case it happens, there is always another side to everything, and nothing in our lives that we can't change, should we decide to become different people, and hopefully along the way we will have learned something about ourselves and the the rest of the world, and become happier more insightful people than we were before.

So do I recommend reading Wild? Yes. Will it be on my favorite books of all times list? Debatable. But it was a close call.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

my Sunday notes and musings

Every Sunday during Relief Society I take notes on my phone and then later that day or sometimes later in the week like today, I read over my notes and rewrite them in my journal. (I know, should probably just take the journal to church).  Feeling a little self deprecating at the moment, so I thought I would look over my notes. They were short this week, only two.

"Forget yourself and go to work." Written by President Hinckley's father. Reminded me not to bemoan all the difficulties of being a working mom with two little ones, which for me right now probably means going to sleep instead of lying here worrying about things that can't be fixed in the next 12 hours.

"You're a small package when you're all wrapped up in yourself." Made me think about how we all want to be the perfect package, the perfect friend/mom/wife who always listens and never looses her temper, who volunteers for every PTA activity, and wears a size two, but I'm not that package I'm me, but I can be a great friend/mom/wife if I stop worrying about myself and get that inner chant going that says I am enough I am enough I am enough. Thanks to Scenes from the Wild for the sweet reminder.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mom, did you make it with love?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner I've been reading a lot of blogs about the drudgery of cooking. I will admit many times my family will beg me to make dessert and I will think I just cooked you an amazing meal, wasn't that enough?  In contrast my son often reminds me why I cook for my family.

So many times when I have made my kids lunch, or dinner, or whatever, my five year old son asks me "Mom, did you make it with love?"

I stop and remember back to what I was thinking about when I made it. If I did make that dinner with love, he seems to gobble it up, as if those vegetables really do taste better because I was happy when I made them. Perhaps there is a connection between the flavor of our food and the spirit we held with us when we prepared it.

I don't know why he asks me if I made his dinner with love, but I'm so grateful he does. It's a constant reminder why I do all the things I do for them. For love. I hope we can all remember this as we slave in the kitchen for days before Thanksgiving, and cook our dinners "with love".

Monday, November 18, 2013

What's a Friend Crush?

Is there such a thing as a friend crush? I believe there is. I've been listening to The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch and I find myself comparing my behavior to his asburger driven eccentricities. When meeting a couple at a party with his wife he says,

"We need to become close friends with these people as soon as possible. Invite them over this weekend, they like us it's obvious. He mentioned they have a boat, that was an invitation for us to join them on it, right?" His wife responds with,

"They were just talking to us the way people do at parties, I think they might be drunk."                            

While his reaction may sound weird to some, I think it's partially perfectly normal, either that or I am extremely weird. I find myself meeting people at church or at work, or even on the playground picking my kid up from school, about whom I think to myself, wow this person is so intriguing and I think we'd get along really well. But I'm pretty shy, so it takes monumental effort for me to take whatever that next step is to getting to know them better.

Enter the "friend crush". I will obsess about what's the right thing to say when I see them so I sound interesting and not like an ignorant idiot. Should I call them to hang out, is that too forward, am I staring too much when I see them, maybe I should ask them questions about themselves so they will feel important around me and will enjoy my company more? My self queries and inhibitions are endless.

Does anybody else get "friend crushes" and if you do, how do you go about moving past any anti-social inclinations that come more naturally to you than easy going normal behavior?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I thought it was supposed to snow yesterday? I can't wait for the winter wonderland to begin!



When it snows Hunter and Amy can't wait to help Mike shovel our driveway. They don’t care how cold they get, they are captivated by the wonderment of white, wet, snow.

I am 8 years old and I truly believe that if I pray, God will make it snow. On Christmas morning there is frost on the Bay Area lawn and that is good enough for my prayer, but I still hope for a miracle, maybe next year.

I am 9 years old, it is the first time I've seen snow. I am driving in a minivan with faux wood panels through the Cascade Mountains. There are patches of melted snow on the side of the road. Every time we pass a dirty mound of wet snow I yell “SNOW” as loud as I can. I am hoping my Aunt Debi or my Grandma Betty’s husband Dan will pull over and let me play in it. I had no such luck.

I am 10 years old. I’ve just arrived in Oregon. Debi has bought a farm house. As I get closer I see the snow. It doesn't snow often in Newberg, sometimes not at all during an entire winter. There are 2 inches on the ground, not enough to bury myself in, but enough to build a snowman. Dan helps me roll his head and body. It seems like we used every inch of snow from the gravel driveway, all rolled up into a jolly snowman. I could finally say I had played in snow.

I am 11 years old. We are driving from California to Utah in a moving truck. It was February the daily high in Fremont 65 degrees. Twelve hours later it was 30 degrees in Utah. At the house we were going to live in for the next 4 months there is an dirty pile of snow taller than me. I had missed the light fluffy fresh snow, but it was a promise that I would never have another snow-less winter.

I am 12 years old. It’s Saturday. I trudge through the snow to Amy and Lindsay’s houses. They tell me we are too old to play in the snow. I am too old for snow angels, too old for snowmen, too old for snowballs. I am shattered. I am wishing I could go to California and find my 8 year old self. I would bring her here and revel with her in the snow until she can't feel her fingers and toes anymore.

Amy is one Hunter is three. I look in the back of their closet and find snow pants, a heavy coat. I walk over to their dresser and quickly pull out gloves and hats. The snow is too deep for Amy to walk in so she crawls through it sinking to her shoulders. Hunter is bounding past her. I pick her up and run her to a place in the back of the yard near her brother. He is eating snow and swinging at it with his little gloved hands. Amy sits, her eyes huge, staring up at the snowflakes falling on her nose. I attempt to make a snowball and roll it across the yard. It’s more difficult than I remember. Hunter is more interested in smashing the ball than rolling it. I teach them how to make snow angels. The toddlers are delighted. I feel so warm in my coat, with the snow cradling my body. I am in a cocoon of crystal.

With time we have our snowman. He’s a little crooked; one tree branch arm is longer than the other. He has a carrot nose and rocks for eyes. One of Amy’s pink scarves is wrapped around his neck. We strip off our layers inside the house and stare at our snowman through the large window, and I am 8 years old again.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Guest Post at Segullah

Today I had a guest post published.

The prompt was to tell your story in a tweet-sized byte. I'll admit I let myself ramble for a lengthy 220 words but I think it sums up my story pretty well.

So head on over to Segullah to check it out and if you feel inspired, share some comments as well :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Dinners

Tuesday is the most enjoyable evening of our week. My husbands Grandparents, their three children, and their children, everybody who can make it, comes to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner. No matter how much I drag my feet to get myself there, I've never regretted going. Here's a few of the reasons why.

Grandma's cooking. As an uncle always says, they are "above average" dinners. We've never had an average or heaven forbid a below average meal. Grandma will tell you, it was easy to do, nothing to worry over, but secretly we all know she spends all week doing her planning, preparing, marinating, and roasting.

The Japan Game. Grandpa served an LDS mission in Japan. When their kids were little Grandma and Grandpa served in a Japanese ward here in Utah. Japan holds a special place in everyone's heart. Every Tuesday, our uncle tried to find ways to get Grandpa to say "Japan." A Tuesday dinner is not complete until Grandpa has said the magic word. Tonight I think Grandpa finally won the game by proclaiming "Japan!" right in the middle of conversation, making the moment worth every giggle and praise we paid him.

Feeding Grandpa. In his senior years grandpa has a hard time making his body eat enough food. He's lost a lot of weight in the past few years, so our cousin was assigned to sit next to Grandpa, encourage him to eat, and report back to Grandma. She tried so diligently today to get Grandpa to have some peas, she made all the sounds Grandpa has taught us to get babies to eat, gwowing, which is a sound produced by saying gwow in the back of your throat while rolling your tongue. She even barked at him, Grandpa's specialty, but he could not be convinced and gave her his kindest scowl.




Teasing the whale. I think it is in retribution for our cousins excellent care of Grandpa and making sure he eats that in addition to saying Japan, Grandpa always remembers to chide her and call a whale. She laughs and elbows Grandpa as she munches on her salad, and pours her second drink of juice. We all like to join in and everybody has a good natured belly laugh about it, including the whale.

Ask the Uncle. Our uncle is the kind of person who throws everybody else off. I never know what he's thinking or what he's going to say next, but there's no denying how intelligent he is. Mike and I love to save up our questions to ask him, like when we read a scripture we didn't understand, or what does he think about tattooed wedding rings, or what he thinks of Obama. He always has an answer that makes us think just a little bit more, and he's our well of information and good opinions.

Talks with Grandma. Grandma always seems to get around to every person by the end of the night, and ask how you are doing, how's school, how are your parents, how is this project you were working on, what is new in your life? She always knows what to ask, and always remembers what you spoke about the last time, so she can ask for a follow up and get an update on your progress. Grandma says that when she was young, she was shy, and that she has learned to have good conversations through practice. She has the ability to make you feel like you are the most important person in the room, and her love for her family shows through, when she talks to each of us.

Eating Competitions. When all the older boys have come to Grandma's from school, or work, or we have another one home from a mission, there is always an eating competition. The best competitions take place over hot dogs, mini tacos, skewers, and ribs. I'm not sure what the Tuesday Dinner record is on ribs, but it's got to be enormous. Even I have no self restraint on Tuesdays and usually eat twice as much as I ever normally would.

Grandpa's Garden. I learned how to garden from Grandpa. I saw my first homegrown potatoes in Grandpa's garden, learned what wall of water is and the proper planting time for tomatoes, cucumber vines grow upward on a slanted wire fence he created, fruit trees must be sprayed for bugs, carrots and beets can grow all winter. He taught me to put plastic over my garden and cut holes for the plants so I don't have to weed as much, and he taught me how to install a drip system for watering. All the kids are required to help Grandpa with his garden, and even us married kids are no exception to the rule.

Sometimes it is tiring to sacrifice the time I could be spending relaxing in my own living room. "Ugh" I'll say "I just want one quiet evening at home, it seems like we're always going somewhere." Later, when we're all loaded in the car after an above average meal, great conversation, and had our souls lifted, I'm never sorry I went. I fear the day when Tuesday Dinners will come to a close, I know they can't go on in Grandma's house forever. When that happens I've decided to carry on the tradition with my children and parents, and someday Mike & I hope to be the Grandma and Grandpa we have witnessed so many Tuesdays before.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Pero Addiction




There seem to be three drinks that I rotate from each season. When it comes to drinks they're all an addiction to me. In summer it's smoothies, preferably with blueberry. I can't get through a hot day without my smoothie. In the fall it's vegetable juice, carrot, apple, ginger, it's delicious and screams autumn to me. But now that we're past Halloween and I'm starting to feel the holiday spirit, and I've gotten over my yearly hot chocolate craving, I've turned to Pero. It's almost as yummy as coffee, not quite, but almost, and with a little sugar and cream, I have my winter drink. Extra bonus, with only barley, malted barley, chicory, rye and nothing else it's only 5 calories per teaspoon, beat that hot chocolate! mmmmm I love my Pero.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rise and Pray

Scripture of the day: Why sleep ye? rise and pray lest ye enter into temptation. Luke 22:46

I love winter, the snow, the chilly air, the sweaters and boots, but I do not love that chilly air when it's time to get out of bed. Just five more minutes, I can spare ten more, five more, ah crap, I've got 20 minutes to get out the door. In the summer it's so easy to roll onto my knees, it's just as warm on the floor as it is between my sheets. But winter, forget it! Occasionally I drag all the blankets from my bed with me to the floor as I pray, but I only get away with it when my sleeping companion is out of bed. Most of the time I snuggle up as close as I can to him for warmth and sleep as late as I can. This is probably exacerbated by my temptation to stay up too late.

I love that quiet time when everybody rests including me, just without the shut-eye part. Last night I worked on my 2013 photo book at Costco.com, or I'm up because I couldn't put down Wild by Cheryl Strayed, or I'm catching up on Revenge and Nashville, or hey I'm blogging, maybe you've noticed a lot of my posts are around midnight. But I can't keep on like this, I have little people to feed and dress, places to be, and a morning run to get in, because yes I'm that stereotypical person who if she doesn't work out in the morning, she doesn't get it done at all. You've probably noticed I've been posting less as well.

Maybe I've hit a slump. I debated for a while over which is better, quality or quantity, but then I remembered why I started blogging, it was to hold myself accountable to write every day, for the experience of it, for the consistent practice of putting words to um, screen? The second reason was to train my brain not to worry about what people will think of me. So I'm going to go with quantity, granted you may see some short posts, or something less than entertaining. That's okay, read the ones you like, ignore the rest. Hey, I do the same thing when I read a book; if it hasn't got my attention after the first few chapters, I move on and find a book more interesting.

So when I roll out of bed tomorrow with an extra blanket on the floor and a space heater next to me, let's all hope I'm well rested so I can pray for morning inspirations, a good run, and my sanity.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Palpitations

I lay down in bed and Mike says

"Why are you breathing like you're out of breath?" I hadn't noticed but realized my heart was racing when he brought it to my attention.

I've felt this before, had many nights where I lay in bed and felt my heartbeat pulsing, my body one throbbing mass. I can feel the throbbing in my lips, like my pulse is trying to explode around my mouth. My body feels like an undulating river, or like waves pounding on the shore. It must be stress related. I must be worrying. In fact I do have a huge decision to make about my job. It's one of those things that's so important I feel like making the right choice is life or death.

I've only been 100% sure about one choice I made. It was about getting married. I knew before I had gone through the motions of prayer, that Mike was it for me. I was so sure, as if God had stood before me and spoken the words out loud. I was so young and I knew I wasn't ready for marriage, but I couldn't deny the powerful feeling that I was supposed to marry Mike. Ten years later I have no regrets despite how unprepared and young I felt.

I wish I had that certainty about every decision I've made. I have made most choices relying on my strong analytical senses, with detailed pro and con lists, one, two, and five year plans all worked out on paper. But each time the decision end up being made based on feelings. Maybe that is because I am a woman and we are driven by emotions more than any other influence. I have come to recognize one thing, that making decisions based on fear causes regression instead of progression.

If I choose against something due to fear, I probably made the wrong choice. But fear and red flags must not be confused. Red flags occur when morality and integrity are questioned by making the choice. So far I don't see any red flags, and the only thing to fear is fear of the unknown. Do I play it safe, or decide on something that is unknown but has the potential to significantly benefit my life and my family's life?

When I choose I hope I will have the peace of mind allowed by choosing the path that will cause me to lay in bed, head burrowed in my pillow making its familiar curve under my neck. I will close my eyes, breathe slowly, and quickly melt into the restful sleep of oblivion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Letter From Mom

The events I posted about in Firstlight are a story I seem to be telling more often. I think I'm no longer ashamed of my past and I'm finding that sharing it feels like cutting tethers I had carefully tied to hold myself back. I read a post over at Segullah: The Scars We Bear, which brought me back to my past, and allowed me to realize that I would never give away the scars I earned growing up. I have learned too much and contrary to Daisy Buchanan, if I lost them I would be a beautiful little fool, the worst thing a mother can be in this world.

I also see the scars I've carved into my mother. Scars I wish I could take away, but it's surprising to me to see how they have also faded. Five years ago my mom wrote me a letter. It means the world to me that she wrote this letter. Perhaps it's one of those things that heals the wound, without making the scar disappear, so we'll always have a reminder, but no longer suffer the pain. It shows me how she is thriving despite all that she has been through, and all that I have put her through. It is another illustration of how firm my mothers faith is and the amazing example she is to me. This is what she said:

10/16/2008
Dear Anja,
Today our RS Lesson was about the letters Joseph sent to Emma. Out teacher gave each of us paper to write a ‘love letter’ to someone dear to us. I pick you. Anee girl I just want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. You know things were pretty shaky after the divorce and I felt like I lost you. . . then Hunter was born and I got married again. . . .I got you back! Yeah!! I love you so much and think you are a wonderful mother and daughter. I feel like you accept Darrel and that makes me happy. I was thinking if dad and I didn’t get divorced you might not have met Mike. . . .I’m not going to dwell on the past but go forward with faith. Thank you for accepting my husband and letting me be a part of your life again. I cherish our relationship.
Love you,
Mom

Monday, November 4, 2013

We lit our first fire of the season yesterday and it reminded me of this

I was 8 years old. I could smell a wood burning fire. It smelled good enough to eat like having a barbecue in winter. I heard the crackling logs as I walked down the hallway into the living room. I loved that our fireplace was open, that I could see the burning wood through the heavy metal mesh that blocked embers from sputtering out onto the carpet. Dad had made the fire before he went to work. It was a school day so I wouldn't be able to enjoy it’s warmth for very long. I relished in the smell as I got ready.

I was 24 years old. We had bought my father-in-laws house that same year. We had decided to remodel the master bedroom as soon as we moved in. Neither of us wanted to share the same bedroom Mike’s parents had shared. There were no other usable bedrooms in the house, so temporarily we put our bed in the corner of the living room, right across from the wood burning stove. We used a couch to create a divide between our bed and the rest of the space.

The living room built 30 years after the house had been built. It was now 40 years since then, but the vents in the living room had never been attached to the furnace. Every day when Mike came home from work he would load the brick shelf around the stove with wood and make a fire. Each night I would warm up rice bags in the microwave to heat my feet, when the warmth of the fire had died down. All we had were the silk sheets we'd gotten as wedding gift. Every morning I could see my breath when I woke and opened my eyes. I knew we needed warmer sheets but I was waiting until we have the money. New house, new baby, things were tight. After 3 months we went to Wal-Mart to buy something else, and we saw some bed sheets. They were fleece so soft and cozy and warm looking. Whatever it was that we had gone to the store for that day, we bought the sheets instead, and we've never regretted it.

We got home at about 2 in the afternoon. Mike made a fire, and I immediately put the sheets on the bed. Then I had to try them out. Mike tried them with me, and Hunter at 18 months couldn't be left out. It was warm, it was the first time I had nestled into bed and the sheets weren't cold. It felt so good I needed to close my eyes. Maybe we would take a nap with Hunter just to enjoy these new sheets. It was like I had taken a drug, and all I could think about was how warm I felt, how I never wanted to leave my bed again.When we woke up it was 7 pm and we had missed the family Christmas party.

When I was 26 years old we decided to replace our furnace. The old one had been removed months ago. We had ordered a more efficient one, but it had not arrived yet. With the old furnace gone, all we had was our wood burning stove. Although our bedroom had been finished, with no heat it was useless, so we moved our bed back down to the living room again. We hung a blanket over the opening to the hallway so all the heat from the stove would be contained in our living room. I became very good and lighting fires on my own. I had even figured out how to get it going without letting any smoke back fill the room.

We lived and slept in the living room for two weeks. The only time I would leave it was to use the bathroom or prepare food in the kitchen then quickly bring it down to the living room. We had a fire going 24/7 those two weeks. We used an entire wall full of wood outside our home. I had never been so grateful for the wood. I had wood splinters in my fingers by the end, I smelled like wood, and all I saw was wood surrounding the doors that led to the driveway, piled around the fireplace, chips all across the tile where we had split kindling. All I could see was pine and chestnut logs surrounding me in a wood paneled room. The smell of burning wood has a cleanliness to it. Like all the bad in the world is being smoked out, and what remains is pure sweet smoldering home.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My New Favorite Holiday


I've remembered how much I love to trick-or-treat!  For some reason I always ended up working on Halloween until this year. This was the first Halloween I was able to relive my trick-or-treating fantasy and take the kids out.

It felt so good, all the excitement washed through me as I stood back and watched my kids race each other to see who would get to ring the doorbell, and in their young sing song voices call out trick-or-treat! Halloween is officially my new favorite holiday, all I have to do is buy or make adorable costumes and I get all the thrills of going around the neighborhood without having to dress up myself. Most fun, least work of any other holiday.

In case you're wondering, the adorable Troll is my niece.