Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Turn

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, has read this blog, or heck, even met me once, that I do not do a very good job taking care of myself. I almost never put myself first. This does not make me selfless; it makes me stupid and tired and filled with pain. Ever since I hit 40, every day seems to be a new "what fresh hell is this?" I have gained weight, my joints hurt, my hands go numb, I don't sleep well, I have digestive problems, and the latest delight? It seems that I snore. Loudly!
I have always associated snoring with being sloppy and unkempt. I know it's not true, but there it is anyway.

I start the beginning of every new year and summer with the same vows: I will exercise, eat healthy, lose weight. There always seems to be something that distracts me from this ( a new book, laundry, dishes, school work, the girls, the dog, Rob, the computer, the TV, chocolate, cookies, a warm blanket...).

Well here it is again. I weigh the most that I have ever weighed and feel generally all around crummy. I am going to start with a couple of very simple things: drink more water (easier than I thought), eat more vegetables ( and consequently less junk), and walk whenever I can. I'll see how I feel after that and then go to the doctor. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Craft at Your Own Risk

This was the year of the ugly sweater. Caroline was invited to an ugly sweater party. In a moment optimism, I showed her a site that showed steps to make your own ugly sweater. I also found and bookmarked sites with directions for making candles, vapor cubes, and root beer reindeer. In my defense, it was the beginning of December, and we had just put up the tree. I was so excited and full of the holiday spirit. Flash forward three weeks, interim reports were due and I was behind on all things school and crafting. I pushed through with much grumbling and frustration. There were some arguments, but eventually fun took over. The kitchen was a mess of candle wax, thread, felt, and baking materials. I also spent a few late nights sewing the sweaters.

The night before break, I'd forgotten that Lily had girl scouts. I dragged my sweater with me and stitched gloves onto it for moose antlers. Caroline knew how tired I was, so she  got all of the ingredients together for saltine toffee ( my traditional gift for the staff at my school). Once I got home, I settled down to make saltine toffee. I was trying to work on the sweater while making the toffee and scorched the first batch. I only had enough butter for one more batch, so this one had to work. I put the sweater down and paid close attention to the butter and sugar. I got everything in the oven and things were moving right a long, until I opened the oven door. As I pulled out the pan, a couple of pieces feel off the pan and hit the bottom of the oven. I got the pan safely onto the sink before the pieces caught fire. I slammed the oven door shut as the smoke alarm went off. Caroline went over to fan the smoke detector. She noticed the fire and started screaming for Rob, "Dad there's a real fire in the oven get down here!" I knew the fire would go out and stood there with the tongs ready to pull them out after the fire was over. Rob made his usual smart remark about my cooking. I yelled at the kids to grab the dog and I threw open the back door to let the smoke out. I yelled something along the lines of "Calm down for God's sake these things happen all the time!" Caroline countered with "Jesus, Mom, the neighbors can hear you!" before she realized she cursed too. We ended up laughing and trying to finish the toffee. The chocolate wouldn't melt because by that point the house was freezing. Caroline took a picture of the charcoal/saltine once I pulled it out of the oven. She posted it on Facebook with a cheeky remark.

We ended up spending the rest of the night laughing and joking. We had so much fun making all of the crafts. There were quite a few bumps, but we had a blast. The toffee didn't end up looking very beautiful, but it was very tasty. Everyone loved their homemade gifts and our sweaters. I heard a lot of "I had no idea you were so crafty!" I am sure that none of the gift recipients envisioned, fire, cursing, BIG messes, and last minute rushing. They were probably envisioning mother and daughter togetherness with an adult who had her crap together. What they don't know won't hurt them.

Oh, who I am kidding? I can't resist a funny story. Of course I told everyone I made a mess and swore and set a small, yet controlled oven fire. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't teach my girls to keep calm and laugh on?

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Traditions Meet Old

December was a blur, but what else is new? I got the idea to be crafty this year. Partly because it is fun and partly as a way to make it through the season. Grieving during the holidays is such an odd mix. I want to make it a special time for the girls. I always loved this time of year, even when I was traveling between my parents as a child. It is so hard to have a holiday without your family. I having been reading posts by bloggers who are separated from their families by misunderstandings. It is hard for me not to be judgmental. Every misunderstanding and frustration that I ever had with my parents and grandparents, pales in comparison to not having them at all.

Compared to last Christmas, this will be a much calmer one. We are going to my brother's for Christmas Eve and my step-father is coming over to our house for Christmas dinner. We had our annual Christmas party with our friends. We have reached an ease in our "old" age. Our children are older (the youngest is five) and more independent. The kids hung out in the den, watching Rudolph, eating candy canes and cookies, and playing Candyland. Meanwhile, the adults holed up in the dining room, drinking wine, beer, or hot rum punch, and playing Cards Against Humanity. We laughed so hard, our stomachs hurt. We all share the same sick sense of humor, so it was a perfect group.

We are off from school for the next two weeks. I spent the Sunday after our party doing absolutely nothing. It was glorious! I am looking forward to a lot more relaxing.