/> Raising Angels: November 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And the Crafting Continues...

I think God is getting me back for being jealous of people who have time to do crafts. I don't have time for them and I totally miss it...so God forced me back into it to prove that in the midst of the craziness, He can give me what I love.

Our school's big winter fundraiser is the Christmas Festival and every family has to donate bakery goods and crafts as well as service to make it work. Most years I wish they'd just let us all make a sizeable donation so we wouldn't have to go through all the effort. I love it, don't get me wrong, but as fundraisers go I don't think it's working quite like it's supposed to. You see, we donate everything then we all attend the festival and pay for it again. Honestly, it would be cheaper to just throw in a chunk of money and be done with it...especially this time of year.

This year the craft chosen for me was dropped off on my porch Monday at midday. The finished product is due back to the school tomorrow. On top of that I have to make a cake, bread and a couple dozen cookies. Tonight I had a 3 hour class with Mackenzie. Thursday we have a funeral. Friday night we set up for the festival and then my brother has a birthday party. This is all on top of the two jobs I have, not to mention four kids to care for.

I was tempted to just let it all slide. I do not have time to hand paint these plain wooden letters, let alone come up for designs for them. And yet, through my belly aching, I remembered that it's all for a very good cause...our school. So, I bucked up and put the base coats on last night having absolutely no vision for what the finished product would be.

After school I got right down to it. The first one I tried was the zebra print and it turned out so totally cool, I jumped into the giraffe print. Before I knew it I was on the third one while wolfing down a salad before taking off for the class with Mackenzie (which is a whole entry in itself).

When we returned home at nine, I got back to work and by the last one I was giddy from the rush of creating something I am really proud of. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I remembered how much I love art, how long it has been since I've painted something fun, and how much I'm going to love knowing that I made the school some money.

So maybe, just maybe, this whole festival is more about the process than the product. It's more about the service than the hardship. It's more about putting our God-given gifts to good use than assuming someone else will do it.

I'll let you know if I'm still feeling the love when I start my baking.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We're Rockin' Out Advent!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Raising Him Right

This evening as I was weeding through the newspaper ads, Max ran across a picture.

"Look Mama, there's Santa!" he yelled excitedly.

"That sure is buddy," I acknowledged, surprised by his memory. "And what does Santa say?"

"He says, 'ROLL TIDE'!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crafty In Spite of Myself

Funny how things work out. After this post, we hit church Sunday and ran into the Advent Fair with the kids.

It was craftapalooza! Jesse tree ornaments, Advent wreaths, Nativity sets, and prayer journals all set up for the kids to make with our help. It made me smile.

Tomorrow there are some big Thanksgiving feasts planned for the elementary classes and both the boys have to bring snacks and be dressed as a pilgrim or Indian.

Today I pulled these the costumes together with minimal effort (pair of scissors, tape and safety pins) and major success. The cookies are made from a cutout of Dawson's hand and I actually let him decorate them all by himself (I've come such a long way!).
Seems I do manage some crafting after all. However, my pictures, taken with my phone, are not quite as beautiful.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Question of Time

Tonight I was taking a rare peek at the blogging world (meaning I checked in on all 4 of the blogs I sometimes read when I have a moment). One of my particular favorites is full of beautiful pictures that the blogger, who is also a professional photographer, takes of her life with her kids. She was talking about how crafty she's been this week and posted pictures of two banners she made, along with her already set for Thanksgiving table complete with homemade napkin holders and pine cone turkey place card holders, a tray she helped her daughter make as well as her ready for Christmas Advent countdown she has hanging on her fireplace.

Suddenly I found myself terribly sad about the lack of crafting I do these days. I looked at those pictures and felt jealous of the time she has to just sit and create things with her kids. I love to craft but these days I don't have time to go to a craft store, let alone make a craft (though I did have my 4th grade class make some turkeys out of paper plates this week and they are totally cute).

Before I knew it, I was wondering what I was doing in lieu of crafting. Maybe I'm spending my time doing outdoorsy things with the kids because I like that too. But alas, I don't remember doing a lot of hiking or bike riding lately...or ever for that matter. Next was the downhill spiral. What do I do? How can I be wasting my time cleaning when I could be creating beautifully photogenic crafting moments with my kids?

I was instantly shaken out of this terribly weird moment of depression by the sound of Max's bedroom door opening followed by the shuffle of sleepy feet. He rubbed his eyes in the light as he mumbled, "Mama..need to go potty."

I scooped him up and carried the little lump into the bathroom. He finished and even though he was still half asleep managed a, "Mama, I'm really thirsty." I got him a cup of water and picked him back up to put him in bed. And then I had my moment. Kneeling at the side of his tiny toddler bed, kissing his sweet cheek and telling him goodnight again as he rolled to the side and hugged his dog, I knew what I've been doing with all my time.

There have literally been thousands of moments just like this: lots of rocking and reading; brushing teeth and serenading; teaching to cook and cookie decorating; training to sort laundry and clothes pile jumping; bathing and hugging. And, most of the time, I am savoring each little moment.

Tonight I held Max for a split second longer than usual because I realized it won't be much longer before I can't do this anymore. I tried to carry Mackenzie upstairs last week and I about fell over when I picked her up. The kid is heavier now than the last time I tried this. Time is short, so tonight I savored this ordinary moment a little longer.

What I've been doing with my time is parenting and I wouldn't trade that for all the crafting in the world.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Had to Get Something Out

Today involved a grocery shopping trip and a few other errands followed by cooking 5 lbs of beef followed by a quick change followed by a three hour stint as a 4th grade teacher followed by homework supervision and research paper tutoring followed by cooking for 3 families followed by cleaning up after that followed by helping again with the paper followed by 5...count 'em 5 loads of laundry washed and folded followed by gathering names and numbers for calls to be made tomorrow followed by taking out the trash followed by dwelling on this devastating death of my "adopted" brother.

And here I sit. The hour is late and I'm bemoaning the fact that I have so much to say, to process, and absolutely no time to do it. I have some serious bottled up emotions dying to be cathartically emptied onto the page.

I can't even begin. I'm too tired to do them any justice. I'm afraid the moment may never get here. I want to get there. I'm determined to get there.

But first...I have to...need to...sleep.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't Think This One's Going to Save You

Max was trying to convince me to give him a snack this morning. This is his regular rhythm lately: eat breakfast...2 or 3 times, and then ask for a snack.

He asked, "Mama, can I have a nack when we get home?"

"You can finish that banana muffin from breakfast," I told him remembering I had left it on the table in the mad dash to school.

"No...I don't want the nana muffin. I want a nack," he responded rather matter-of-factly.

"Well, finish the muffin and I'll get you a snack."

There was a brief pause after which I heard him pray, "Dear Jesus, help me not to have to eat my nana muffin today. Amen. Father, Son, Holy Pirit. Amen."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Culinary Con

Tonight the menu was roast, rice, gravy, rolls and peas. As the kids came to the table, one by one they all made gagging sounds and squished up their faced in disgust as they moaned, "Peas."

Mackenzie decided to choke them down first to get them over with. Aiden tried mixing them in with his rice and gravy. Dawson stared at his.

As dinner progressed, Mackenzie asked if she could have some more gravy with her rice. When Nelson asked her why, she said simply, "It just tastes better with more gravy."

Aiden agreed with Mackenzie on the taste factor and asked for some more gravy on his meat.

Dawson by this time had made finished most of his meal but he continued to stare at those dreaded peas. "Hey!" he reasoned. "Can I have some gravy for my peas?"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's a Sliding Scale

Dawson was trying to talk me into a later bedtime tonight over dinner. "It's not close to bedtime. We go to bed at 8:30."

"Not on school nights," I reminded him.

"Oh yeah, it's around 7:30 on school nights isn't it."

"That's what we shoot for.”

"And on broken arm nights," Aiden added, "it's 2 AM!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Just Wanted to Drop You a Note

Dear Awful Sickness,

I loathe you so. Why do you come at the most inopportune times? Why do you show up when Nelson leaves town? Why do you hit the one kid who has a big field trip tomorrow? Why is this the same kid who missed his first field trip as well?

I must admit I have never really liked you. In my defense I have been more than tolerant of you. I have tried to see the bright side of you by holding my babies longer and hanging at home.

These days however, life has to go on in the midst of sickness. There are multiple children with multiple activities run by a mother with multiple jobs. We don’t just miss out on time; we miss out on fun field trips and other activities.

So, if you don't mind (or even if you do), I'd like you to leave the premises immediately...and don't come back or try to sneak in and hit someone else. At that point things could get really ugly.

In all sincerity,

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Angelic Moves

Here's what happens when you ask your big sister to put wings on you after you've spent the summer watching So You Think You Can Dance with your family.

As you can hear in the background, all moves are choreographed by Mackenzie. Ah, it brings back memories of my childhood - torturing my little brothers with activities only a girl pining for a sister would make her brothers do.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

No Self-Esteem Issues Here

As I was brushing Max's hair this morning he exclaimed, "I'm SO handsome!"

It's just a repeat of what I tell him each day after and I'm so glad it's taking root.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Little Miracles

This afternoon, when I got home from school, Dawson informed me that he had a book to read to me. Now this is not the first time he's said or done this but up until now it's consisted of books with the sight word for the week along with a picture. Things like "The" and a picture of a book, "The" and a picture of a crayon.

Today however, he was more excited about reading to me than usual. When I sat on the couch with him he pulled out this book and proceeded to read it from cover to cover.

My mom said she read it to him once then he read it to her. It contains words like Savior, shepherd, Christmas and design. I was amazed.

It thrills me that even though this is my third child to watch go through this transformation from recognizing letters to reading real words, it is still every bit as miraculous to watch it happen.

Having children is such a wonderful way to regain appreciation for things and processes that as adults we take for granted. Life is full of little miracles and it’s so much fun to watch them unfold.