Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Great Sky Con and Selective Laziness

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I couldn't sleep last night. I was too excited. The forecast promised snow, and I may have mentioned it once or twice before, but I am always eager for that first real snowfall. Last night, however, my delight translated to insomnia. First, there was the age old issue of the cold feet keeping me awake. When I finally fell asleep, I continuously awoke wondering if it was snowing yet. I wanted to run to the window and look out to see, but fear of my feet getting cold and keeping me awake for hours more kept me snuggled in bed. After eons of agony and anticipation akin to a child waiting for Christmas morning, dawn approached in the form of Keith clunking around in the kitchen. It was 6:30, which was late enough, I reasoned. I got up and found Keith huddled in front of the heater beneath the sink, eating a bowl of cereal. The boy loves cereal. I laughed at the guilty face, mouth dripping with milk, as he looked up at me. I winked, and crept to the window, frantically beckoning him to follow. Together, we knelt on the couch and pressed our noses to the glass peering through the darkness, to see if the weatherman's promise had been fulfilled.

There it was, small and taunting, barely visible to the human eye. Beneath our imaginary microscope we were able to divine that it really truly was snow!

Softly, lazily falling, like a senior in high school who doesn't want to go to class but knows he has to, the flakes with attitude eventually, reluctantly touched down. An attitude that, unfortunately, rubbed off on all of us.

"Who wants pancakes?" I shout whispered.  Faye had joined us in our spying out the window position and at the mention of pancakes, both kids squealed loudly, oblivious that the baby
might still need some sleep, which is why I was whispering. 

Knowing I held some very powerful bargaining chips in my hands, I instructed them both to get dressed, make their beds, clean the bathroom, and for Keith to get everything ready for school. Loudly they complained, but since I wielded all the power, they were prompt to obey.

Pancakes were had, in a mostly clean house on the first snowfall of the year, my friends. And that is what a Thanksgiving miracle is all about. Because I am still giving thanks. It is a tradition that needs repeating. Maybe when the sky mans up, so to speak, and isn't so greedy with the snow, we will do it again.

But the promise of more snow held strong my desires, and optimism and expectancy were high all morning. We were late getting out the door. Something about everyone refusing to get in the van because the dusting of white on the grass and driveway were so much more fun. No longer could I bribe the kids with pancakes so I resorted to begging and pleading with them to get into the van. The big kids grudgingly obeyed, but I had to chase Beth down the street as she shrieked happily and tried to catch the wimpy snowdots on her tongue whilst dodging me. The girl is so good with her serpentine run the snakes are jealous. However, much to her dismay, I am the mom, and moms always win. It was a hollow victory as we were super late and I do the morning carpool, thus making everyone else late.
Mischief is brewing in those eyes, can you see it?
When we got home, the girls and I got our snow clothes on and went outside for our First Snowfall of the Year Walk. Since it was a measly taunting snowfall, we walked around the cul de sac. I didn't have time for much more, nor did I want to commemorate that as the first snowfall. Besides, I had to dust off the driveway and put salt down so Mimi wouldn't slip when she got here. Beth hated her snowsuit and tried to tear the gloves off nearly the whole time we were outside. I learned that 12 months just doesn't fit her anymore, and yet 2T is still way too big. But she did love playing in the snow. And Faye, well, she was like a... what is the equivalent to fish in water when it comes to snow? An Eskimo in its element! Boom! It is going to be a thing now, Eskimo in its element. Suffice it to say, they were deliriously happy out in that 18* weather, flirting with the sky dandruff.

We came inside and warmed up with some cocoa and marshmallows. And then the day began. Just a regular day now that the novelty of fake snow wore off the little ones. Business as usual. I cleaned out the fridge, did some laundry, helped Faye with some homework, put dinner in the crockpot. Just usual stuff.

Jeffrey got home from work and then Keith came home from school and the hilarity and rough-housing began.

Beth grabbed an armful of books and followed me around and she and I snuggled and read the same two pages over and over and over. She shrieked every time we turned to the cat page. And then she mewed for the next half hour, waiting for people to either laugh or comment on it. She would walk up to someone, stand right in front of them and then mew. She wouldn't stop until she got the expected response or praise, and then she would move on to someone else. And she made the rounds. Faye joined in on the reading part and was Beth's greatest encourager.

After another jaunt into the cold to check on their fortress, the kids came in with cheeks and noses glowing and eyes bright from the fresh air and running around. Of course they were treated to cocoa. Again.

she never stops moving. Never.
Finally, when the day was over, I got to help Keith with his spelling. He has a spelling test tomorrow, and we wanted to be prepared. I sat down with him and had him do a mock spelling test.

That kid is all kinds of smart, except he sometimes makes things much harder than they need to be. For the word "safe," at first he spelled it "Saeph." And for the word "snake," he spelled it "snaeck." When I corrected Keith on the "safe" spelling, he was indignant.

"But that doesn't make sense. Why would it end in 'F'? Ph says fffff. Besides, read it. It still says 'safe.'"

I laughed, barely able to get out my explanation that 'F' as in Faye also makes the fffff sound. I then had him take the test again. This time he got them all right. Just to make sure it stuck with him, I had him write each word three times.

And then Faye asked if I would tuck her into bed, and Beth ran away from me, knowing I was coming to put her to bed. She hid behind her closet door, opened her dresser drawer (which is in her closet) and threw socks at me. This was completely backwards from the norm. Usually Faye is the one hiding and playing while Beth is in her room, binki dug out from under her crib and clamped firmly in her mouth, one hand rubbing her eyes while the other is patting her bed as she looks imploringly at me.

Finally, all the kids were in bed. I quickly straightened up the kitchen. Some rice from dinner was on the floor, and thinking it would be too much effort to get the broom, I bent over and picked up the rice.

Every grain. 

By hand. 

Because that was so much easier than doing a quick sweep of the area, right? That is what my friend calls Selective Laziness, and I have it bad tonight. Another example? Blogging instead of sleeping.

Will I ever learn? 

So, with the kids in bed


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Puddle I Like To Call My Heart

Beth loves to go for walks. Or play outside. Actually, it doesn't matter what we are doing, so long as we are outside. It is her favorite place.

This morning after dropping Keith off for school, I got little miss Betty Spaghetti out of the van and she immediately ran over to her stroller and tried to climb into the seat. Grunting with the effort of just not being tall enough, those cerulean blue eyes gazed up at me, imploring my help. I laughed, scooped her up and carried a back arching, leg kicking, torso twisting, protesting little girl into the house to dress in warmer clothes so we could go for the walk she so desperately wanted to have. A happier girl you have never seen when we completed our preparations and headed outside and for the stroller. It was 19* outside, by the way. Not even the frigid temperature could deter us girls of Scandinavian blood. Cold is our heritage and being able to champion it is a badge of honor. My family hails from Denmark and Sweden. Jeffrey's great grandmother was part of the first Norwegian (or ever, I think) expedition to the South Pole, for heaven's sake. If she can do that, we can surely go for a walk around the neighborhood. Bundled up in our coats, hats and gloves we embraced the arctic blasts that cuddled around our bodies, trying to push pull and blow us away. We took some of the bread I made last night to our neighbor as payment for piano lessons for Keith. Beth laughed nearly the whole time we were walking, letting out particularly exuberant squeals when a gust of wind tore between the houses, clutching at our clothing. When we headed back home somehow she caught wind of it (pun intended) and let us know she was not amused through the kicking and back arching antics again. Somehow she knew we would be going inside soon. It must be a sixths sense with her.

The Scandinavian blood runs deep in this one.

When we got home, I ground some wheat to bake more bread because the two remaining loaves would last about half a day around these parts. In some homes sugar disappears quickly. In others, it is the fatty foods. In my house, we can't keep carbs to save a life. I will probably have to bake bread again on Friday. But the smell that lingers in the house is intoxicating and nearly as delicious as the actual bread. While the bread baked and Beth napped, Faye and I pulled out the winter snow gear in preparation for the promised snow of tomorrow (don't lie to me, weatherman. We are far too excited for lies. You don't want to break our trust in you this early in the season) and tried to get a little caught up on the laundry. It was so nice to spend that one on one time with her.

All day long, though, I had been ignoring a headache. Because quite frankly, nothing would get done if I surrendered to the pain. Maybe it wouldn't have gotten as severe as it did had I pampered it, but that is something I will never know, and there is no use in wondering. The point is, I ignored it for the greater good of playing with the girls and getting necessary things done, and by the time Jeffrey got home from work the throbbing pain was nearing incapacitating levels. No longer was it a mere headache, the thing had morphed into a migraine. I had just enough enduring powers left to rush to the store for some self medicating supplies. On the way home we had to ride in silence because the pain had breached all my self hypnosis training. I got home and crumpled up next to Jeffrey in bed. He had been napping.

The older kids went outside to work on their fortress and Beth saw a need and decided to fill it. She climbed onto the bed and just gave me hug after hug and lots and lots of kisses, sometimes with her teeth and sometimes without. If she wasn't on top of me, she was playing quietly by my side, mothering and nurturing her little dolly. She is my little orbiting moon, always by my side and always giving me the balance I need. Because kids do that. They give life balance and purpose. Bless them.

After a  while, Keith burst into the room, cheeks flushed with the dusk air. "I'm home." he announced. We asked him where Faye was and he told us she was still at the neighbor's house. We asked him why he had come home and he answered "Because Faye said to go home at 5."

"Wait, I'm confused. Did she say you both had to come home at 5, or just you?" I asked.

The look of complete confusion and betrayal on his face was incredible. I wish I had been able to capture it. After thinking for a minute, he turned to go back outside to play. Jeffrey told him to be back home before dark and to have fun. With a huff he disappeared into the glacial evening air.

We laughed for the longest time at that. I am still laughing! Keith is so obedient and Faye is so in charge. I love that Keith left her playing and came home by himself merely because she told him to. What a great kid that boy is.

When it was officially dark, both kids came home and climbed into bed with me laden with books.

The Excedrin I had taken was beginning to work, so it didn't hurt as much to move and I welcomed their cold bodies to be warmed by my snugly blankets and stories. Keith offered to read and so Faye and I listened to him go. He is such a great reader, he only needed help when the words were written in cursive.

Half way through the book Faye suddenly remembered she had left her smarties outside in the fortress. She jumped out of bed, ran to the kitchen where Jeffrey was and demanded he take her outside to get them. He told her to go on her own to which she stoutly replied "No! It is dark and bad grownups take little kids. Do you want a bad grownup to take me away? You have to come with me, now go get your flashlight!" He laughed at her confidence and got a jacket and flashlight and together they went off in search of a pack of smarties. How cute is that husband of mine to humor a little girl and her treats? If my heart hadn't already been melted from all the Beth cuddles when she knew I didn't feel well, or from Keith still reading at my side, it would have been a puddle all over again from that.

And then Keith went to play legos so Jeffrey took over the reading. Moving my eyes that much still hurt my head but I was very happy to listen. Remember that puddle I mentioned? The one that was supposed to be my heart? It became smitten all over again by the time Jeffrey was finished reading to Faye.

He read a book called Butterfly Kisses which alternates between a Daddy talking to his daughter and the daughter talking to him. Jeffrey pulled out a funny voice and did the daughter's lines and whispered the daddy's lines to Faye so she could feel like she was reading.

I sniggered behind my hand while watching them. I didn't want to outright laugh as that would distract them, but they were so precious together. Jeffrey is such a good dad, and I love that he enjoys reading to and playing with the kids.

Because that is what nights like tonight are for. Family cuddles and reading and talking and above all, laughing. Laughter keeps the cold out and the headaches away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Not With a Bang but a Whimper

Today was the end of the world.  

Just ask Faye.  

I told her it was time to clean her room.  I don't know what that girl is thinking, but it seems every time she gets dressed, she has to take all of her clothes out of her drawers and off her hangers and strategically carpet her floor with them.  It gets old.  Fast.  Then, when it is time to clean up her room because I can no longer walk in there or stand the mess, she throws an Academy Award worthy fit and cries like an actress.

Today I told her I wouldn't clean for her.  I sat on the floor and pointed out what needed to be done, because she still has a hard time knowing what to do next. Especially when the mess is overwhelming.  And so there I sat, pointing, and acting like a scratched cd saying the same thing over and over and over. She threw a fit every time I pointed to an object and told her where it goes.  She stuck out her tongue at me and blew so many raspberries, I began to worry the vibrations would damage her tongue.  She point blank ignored me whilst throwing herself to the floor in agony complaining that her legs were soooo tired and couldn't move anymore. After an hour or so of putting up with that abuse, she threw an etch a sketch at me and put a large dent in the wall.  I told her I couldn't help her anymore if she was going to treat me like that, and that I would love for her to join us for lunch as soon as her room was cleaned up.

That is when the world ended.  

At 12:43 this afternoon.

Eventually she came and apologized and we finished up with her room.  To celebrate, we decided to go outside.  I wanted to get things ready for the lovely snowstorm we are promised on Thursday, and she and Beth were just happy to frolic in the leaves.

My dad came by with his wood chipper.  Earlier in the fall he helped me cut down some bushes.  Not cut them down as in pull them out, just manage them so they didn't suck unsuspecting children into their deep dark bowels.  And so, my yard has been littered with bush branches for the past month or so. While I was helping my dad, the kids and a neighbor got together and built a fort out of the branches.  I told them they could keep the fort up until the Spring when we would order a dumpster from the city to have them hauled away, and each and every one of those kids did a happy dance right there.  I fulfilled their Christmas wish and I didn't even know it!

When it finally got dark outside, they all came in for some cocoa and soup. They chattered on about the plans for their fortress and how wonderful it is going to be.  Then while I baked bread, all three of my kidlets climbed into the bathtub and splashed around happily.  It was music to my ears.

After her bath, Beth went to sleep immediately, and Keith, Faye and I sat on the couch listening to Keith read to us Harry Potter. That insane aroma of baking bread washed over us as Keith tried so carefully to get his voice inflections right, painting a picture of danger and excitement for us. When both kids began telling me they were tired, I sent Keith down to get Jeffrey for family prayer and continued to sit with Faye.  She laid her head on my arm while I took care of some things for primary.  At one point her little elbow was digging persistently into my leg, so I shifted and saw that she was sound asleep.  It was too precious!  I picked her up and her fresh clean bath scent with her sleepy arms around my neck nearly overpowered me. I love that girl so much, and I really miss spending alone time with her. That is something I plan to fix very soon.  Jeffrey and I are trying to simplify Christmas, so rather than give stuff, we are planning on giving our time.  I am planning to make Faye an apron and give her cooking lessons.  Every Sunday after church she will don her apron and join me for a baking session.  I am sure we will bake all kinds of yummy treats, and I am completely okay with that.  For Keith, Jeffrey and I are discussing them having a game time.  While Faye and I bake, the boys can be playing board games. Keith is obsessed with Jeffrey's Axis and Allies or Risk games.  Also, he loves chess.  It will be a wonderful bonding experience for both of them, and I am actually quite excited for this simplified Christmas.  Who knows, maybe it will stick. If not, at least we will create some wonderful traditions and memories from it.  Long tangent later, I finished breathing in my little girl, tucked her into her bed and tenderly kissed her forehead while she snuggled down into the pillow. It was a picture of the sweetest contentment and I didn't want to leave.

Today was a rare and much prized Golden afternoon.  

Autumn seems to have the loveliest Golden Afternoons. No other time of year can quite compare, simply because all the other afternoons just aren't golden. There are nice afternoons in the winter, spring and summer months, but in my mind, they cannot be classified as golden because that haze of delirium simply does not exist except in the autumn. Add to that the crunching leaves, the spicy smell of hearth fires wafting through the trees, the musty leaves slowly decomposing in forgotten and hidden corners, and the invigorating fresh air coupled with children's laughter and squeals of leaf jumping and you have a recipe for an absolutely perfect afternoon.

All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
...While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide
~C.S. Lewis

I tell my kids if a leaf falls on them from a tree it is good luck.  Double dog good luck. 
And so when we go for walks or spend any time outside, they insist on walking beneath the trees in hopes a leaf will fall on them.

Sometimes they will keep the leaves until they are dry and brittle and crumble at the slightest touch, and then I wonder how on earth so many leaf bits got all over their room until I remember.  It was a lucky leaf that touched them, so of course they had to save it. Because they are kids and lucky leaves are magic, as is everything when you are a child.

Days like this make me happy.  And yet, somehow, they make me think of T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men

....This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I am sorry to contradict you, Mr. Eliot, but the world did indeed end with a bang today.  A great and glorious golden bang.

Just ask Faye.

Dreams and Nightmares

The primary program is this weekend.  I feel ready.  I am not stressing about it at all.

At least not when I am conscious.

Last night I tossed and turned and flipped and was worse than sizzling bacon.  Jeffrey eventually gave up and went elsewhere to sleep.  I can't blame him, though, I was a mess.  During that time of sleep exercise I was dreaming about the program.  Nothing dire or scary, I wasn't dreaming that it would flop, I was simply dreaming about it.

Jeffrey woke me up, told me my worries and fears are unfounded (he is wrong), and that I should try to get some sleep.

I tried.

Eventually I went back to sleep and had a truly horrifying dream complete with Bond super villains, and throughout that dream I slept like a baby.

Funny that I sleep fine through a bad dream, but through a normal just regular dream my body freaks out and smacks and kicks my husband numerous times.

Go figure.

I guess I am not as calm and collected about the whole thing as I think I am.

Oh well.  I am sure it will be fine.  And if not, everyone loves the antics of the rowdy little kids anyway.

Life is good and hectic and full of spontaneous moments and laughter.

Beth is a riot.  The other night I asked her to kiss me goodnight.  I said "Kiss Mommy night-night." She leaned towards Jeffrey to kiss him.  We laughed and said "Kiss Daddy night-night." She zombie walked over to me and kissed me.  She does know the difference, she was just being a goose. She loves sleeping, though she is a ridiculously light sleeper.  If she wants to nap, she will lead me into her bedroom and tap her bed.  If she wants to nap while Keith and Faye are active, they have to either go outside or downstairs as the noise of them talking will keep her awake.  It is endearing and annoying at the same time.  No vacuuming or wheat grinding while she sleeps, that is for sure.

Beth is beginning to talk a lot.  She says Mommy, Daddy, juice, drink, food (which sounds like dude), book, kitty, meow, and thank you.  She is ridiculously polite.  She always says thank you after you give her something.  every. single. time.  Adorable.

She is simply the happiest baby ever.  She doesn't get mad very often, and she is smiley and happy every time she wakes up be it from a nap or in the morning, she is always excited to great us. She is such a blessing in our lives.  However, Jeffrey is counting down the days until he can take her to nursery as she is a handful at church for him.  I can't have her in primary as she would wreak havoc and the kids wouldn't pay attention to anything but the super cute baby running all around, so she goes with Jeffrey who ends up pacing in the halls with her.

Faye is beginning to learn to read.  She has become quite the handful and more often than not I want to pull my hair out because of her antics.  She is sassy, rude, writes on the walls, her clothes and the baby, hits, calls names, etc.  She is just plain naughty.  It dawned on me yesterday while I was sweeping that she possibly feels a bit displaced.  She and I were so close before Beth was born, and I think her suddenly becoming the middle child has been a hard transition on her.  I need to figure out how to help her feel like she gets enough of my attention and love, and I need to use this time as a great learning experience.  She is just helping me learn how to control my temper, not shout, and to find creative responses to her actions.

Keith is doing wonderfully in school.  I was worried for a bit there at the start.  He told me he hated school as he didn't have anyone to play with during recess, but after talking with his teacher, that isn't actually the case, he is just dramatic.  He has lots of friends, and is just brilliant.  My opinion, but really, he is just so smart!  And honestly, I don't think the girls could ask for a better brother than him.

I guess that is my quick summary of life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Magic of Gratitude

Pumpkin cookies are magic.

I was in a grumpy cleaning funk.  I had been cleaning up the rest of the Halloween stuff all day, and was just tired and exhausted.  Faye has been on one for the past few days.  She has been screaming and stomping and slamming doors for the past little while.  I really don't know what to do with her. By the time Jeffrey gets home, I am completely exhausted and worn out from the little she-devil.

It was a morning of chaos.

I get so tired from her.  I want to pull my hair out, or lock her in a rubber room.  Anything to stay sane for the rest of the day.

And then I knew what to do.

I had a can of pumpkin burning a hole in my refrigerator (like burning a hole in my pocket.  Get it?), and I couldn't handle it anymore.  After I cleaned up Halloween the rest of the way, I busted out the can of pumpkin and a box of spice cake mix and went to town.


Pumpkin cookies.  Because anything with pumpkin in it is so much better, and cookies are always good.

So Faye and I whipped up a batch.  The kids were excited to eat the cookies and I was excited to let the smell permeate my house.  Because seriously, yum!

The smell had calmed me down and the promise of sugar seemed to be exactly what Faye needed.  Or bribery works.  One of the two.

We baked the cookies and listened to music, and the golden hour sunlight waterfalled through the kitchen windows.  It seemed to be some sort of a cure.  It was simply lovely.

Cookies are magic, I tell you.

And then I had a presidency meeting.

I love the ladies I get to work with.  We talk and laugh and bond over our concern for the kids.  They are amazing with coming up with solutions for seemingly impossible situations.  I just love them. And in that meeting I was ridiculously overwhelmed with gratitude for my friends who help me with the primary.

And that is my gratitude for today.

I am thankful for wonderful people who have the fire of their callings lit within them.  People who go above and beyond and are so full of love for everyone they serve despite a cloud of apathy which seems to permeate the area where we live. 

As for yesterday, it was a tough day.

Faye, you know.  She is wonderful and such a trial to me.  It was a day. A whole lot of cleaning and being tired like usual. And then my knight in shining armor came and rescued me.

Yesterday I was so thankful for my amazing husband.  He was tired, but he knew I was tired and so he let me take a nap as soon as he got home from work.  He watched the kids while I slept and he didn't even complain about it once.  What a great guy!

I am really enjoying this month of gratitude thing.  It is true what they say, gratitude makes happiness.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October is Over and Bladder Control

While sitting in church today, someone mentioned that it is November, the month of giving thanks.  I remember being startled by this news, and for the rest of the day it snowballed around in my head.

October was spectacular.

As always.

Keith had his very first friend birthday party.  It was Pokemon themed, and it was a lot of fun.  I was very happy that we could do it at the park.  He had a lot of fun and is already making plans for his party next year.

My birthday came and went and it was business as usual.  I just had so many things I had to take care of that couldn't be done on any other day, but the whole day I walked around with a spring in my step. Even if it is just a regular day, birthdays are always exciting and special. Even though nothing out of the ordinary really happened, it was beautiful and wonderful.  Every time someone smiled at me, or a stranger passing by gave me the nod in greeting, or said 'hi,' I smiled a secret smile, because I knew they had no idea that it was my birthday, but somehow, their greeting seemed to be extra special for my birthday.  I don't know if any of that makes sense as I can't really get my thoughts out into actual words, but it was a wonderful and very busy day. 

And we went to the park as a family.  

Keith followed a goose around and I found it absolutely hilarious.  I don't think the goose was amused, though. 

Beth was in heaven standing in the midst of a gaggle of geese and brace of ducks.  The sky was amazingly blue, the air was crisp and cool, and that amazing October wind was blowing the scent of harvesting crops and changing leaves all around is.  

It felt like it was a moment out of a story book, made just for me.

Halloween was spectacular dazzling.

The air was an unusual 73* and we were all able to wear our costumes without coats.  Yay!  That is a rarity in Utah.  The girls were bumblebees and Keith was Darth Vader.  I went as Weird Al.  

We did the grandma circut and the older kids began to get excited in anticipation.  When we got home the white chicken chili I had cooking in the crockpot was ready so we sat down and ate that.  Then we got the finishing touches on our costumes and headed out to trick or treat with our good friends in their neighborhood.

Norman Rockwell would have been proud.  The streets were lined with little monsters and princesses and tired smiling parents.  The energy exuding from the little ones was dizzying and contagious.  As we walked the streets, bumping into their neighbors, they would always stop and chat for a few minutes.  At the doors there was a lot of chatting.  A lot of good neighborly catching up went on.  The sky was cotton candy pink and I desperately tried to get a picture that would do it justice, but my camera just isn't good enough.  As we went down the rows of houses, we came to one that had picnic tables set up in the driveway.  The family was making scones and had made pitchers of root beer.  So yum!  I was so impressed by that.  People just don't do things like that anymore.

We finished our scones and I was told it was a good thing we got there early as every year the street was lined with cars of people who were not trick or treating, who just stopped by for the scones and root beer.

We got the rest of the houses on that street, and then we turned into a cul de sac.

I think I want to move there.  Or somehow convince my neighbors that we need to copy them.

They had set up a sort of grave yard in the street.  You walked the path through it and at each bend one of the home owners in the cul de sac stood, costumed up, and gave out candy.  When we got to the end, they gave us a bag of popcorn, movie style, and a cup of hot cocoa.  Seriously, these people know how to Halloween the right way!

And we continued on through the neighborhood.

It was so much fun and I was so impressed with all the good old fashioned fun that went on there. Some of the houses had spooky things out.  Motion detector things, or projectors with scary movies playing on their houses.  The very best one had a strobe light, and just because he felt like it, the 10 year old boy who lived there and his friend were crawling around in a creepy fashion on the ground scaring people.

Beth was my favorite part of the night, though.  At first she sat in the stroller, clinging tightly to her bucket.  As we progressed through the streets, I could see the wheels working in her head, and the moment she figured Halloween out was epic.  I stopped the stroller in front of the next house, helped her out, and she was off like a shot.  She ran to the house and pushed her way to the front of the group of our kids.  She held her bucket out patiently and expectantly.  When she was given a treat, she would quietly say "thank you," and then hold out her hand for more.  Or her friend Katie (who is a few months older than her) would get a treat from the people at the door, turn and put it in Beth's bucket, and then turn around and ask for more.  The people would give her more, because they saw her put it in Beth's bucket, and she would do it again.  She once got 4 extra pieces of candy from a kind lady because she was sneaky and sweet like that.  Those girls are a riot!

Towards the end, the kids got tired.  I had to laugh.  

My friend and I were talking to the people at the door, I turned around, and saw all of the kids laying on the grass, looking completely passed out.  It was great.

And then Halloween was over.

October is over.

In thinking about that statement and what the lady at church said today, I began to think of the many things I am grateful for.  I decided that this month, I am going to take things that would usually drive me crazy or upset me, and find a way to be thankful for it.

Today, I am thankful for a husband who is so good to play with my kids.  I am thankful for laughter in my home, even if the combination of Jeffrey tickling Keith results in a loss of bladder control all over my couch.  I am also grateful for the amazing power of cleaners and elbow grease.

I am also grateful for the great joy I have in decorating my house. It was a lot of fun to take down Halloween decor while arranging and putting up Thanksgiving decor.  I am excited to be able to finish that tomorrow.  Because a decorated house is a happy house.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Absolute Zero on the Amy Scale

Cold feet.

You may be familiar with the term, but I doubt many are more familiar with the physicality of it than me.  
Or Jeffrey. 

It's not that we are nervous people.  We aren't.  It's just that I really have cold feet.  I remember the first time I learned that it was an abnormality.  It was February. I was at a friend's house and we were watching Planet of the Apes which is a great Junior High movie, I'm telling you.  I was sitting on the couch with my feet tucked beneath a blanket, attempting the impossible task of warming them up when one of my friends, looking for a place to sit, sat on the blanket covering my feet.  I was grateful for the added warmth and told him to not move as it was helping.  After about three minutes he got up and found a new place to sit.  After the movie he told me he couldn't sit there any longer, the cold from my feet had seeped up through the blanket and was making him cold!

For as long as I can remember, when the evening temperature wanders below 60* my body decides my extremities no longer need heating thus leaving me with literal cold feet.  But not just cold.  No, that would be playing fair.  My feet lose all heat energy and scientists leave off trying to achieve absolute zero and begin striving to reach the thermodynamic temperature of my feet; 0 A. Forget the Kelvin scale, they focus all their scientific minds on the Amy scale.  
Zazzle shirt
True story.

I remember being engaged and blissfully thinking of the future time when I would be able to warm my feet on my super hot husband, thus enabling warmth in my limbs and sleep to overtake me much more quickly than the game of 5 pairs of socks until I can't stand the restriction of socks under covers, removing the socks one layer at a time to achieve comfort in movement only to realize it was too soon, and my feet were still too cold for comfort or sleep. 

And then we got married.
google image found here.
And then came the day when I realized that putting blocks of ice on my husband while he was trying to sleep was possibly not the best way to reach marital bliss, and so my pre-marriage dream was shattered from the cold.

As happy as I am that Fall is here, the one thing I regret is the downward spiral of the thermostat because those feet of mine will be perpetually cold again until May.

On the plus side, however, I am delighted to share with you the exciting news that I have figured out how to fight my insomnia.  The best part is, it is doing something I love.  Basically since May I have been having trouble sleeping (thank you for that, Primary calling).  At times it gets really bad.  Last week, however, by complete accident, I stumbled upon a cure.  If not a cure, at least a drastic help. If I read before bed, I fall asleep so much more quickly. Or, I can actually fall asleep.  Yay! Which is wonderful as I am really enjoying reading again.  I am in the middle of Catch-22 and part of me wishes the book would never end.  The other part of me, however is anxious for it to end so I can move on to some of my other books.  But here is the thing.  Reading, to me, is a guilty pleasure.  It is something that I don't just do, I have to make time for it.  But I have so many other things going on right now, that I don't feel I can justify a little reading.  Every time I sit down to indulge, I feel guilty.  In the back of my mind a little responsible voice is poking me and listing off all the things that I should be doing.  I find her very annoying.  Sadly for my book, though, she usually wins.

Thank you, Insomnia!  You have reunited me with my true love; the written word.
image found here

As for life, well, it keeps chugging along.  My primary program is in two weeks, so we are frantically trying to get everything prepared and ready for that.  I am not so much concerned about the program as I am with the Missionary meet and greet we are trying to organize for after.  And then there is the Christmas breakfast we are in charge of.  And getting things ready for the new year, and all that entails.

But for now, I try to just take one frozen step at a time.  I don't always succeed and then Jeffrey has to pick me up from the mess that I fell into from too much stress, or trying to take on too much at once, but at least my absolute zero feet and I can escape into the world of a good book every night in the meantime.

pinterest image here

And she lived happily ever after.

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