December 2008


Okay. It is Christmas Eve and I am up to my ears in laundry and luggage. I just about have the boys organized. Now I have to take care of myself. It has been a good day, though. In spite of the packing hassle (I am NOT a fan of packing), the atmosphere in our home is lovely. Well, it is at the moment. There were a few not-so-lovely moments earlier. Like when Carter ate the jelly beans off of Tyson’s gingerbread house. And when Lyndon climbed out on the roof to un-freeze the sewer vent. Oh, and when Carter told Colton what he got him for Christmas because Colton wouldn’t go downstairs and play with him. Oh well. Deep down I know we all love each other, but the Cleaver family we are not!

I was thinking, as I wrapped Santa gifts for my kids this morning (which I am usually doing at midnight on Christmas Eve so I am giving myself a big PAT ON THE BACK, although it was probably more of an excuse not to pack!)… anyway, I was thinking of the gifts I would like to give my children this year.

Here’s what I came up with:

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I’m going to work on those. I mean, I’m going to ask God to work in me to establish those. Yep, that’s my New Year’s resolution in a nutshell.

Well, nine nutshells, actually.

Christmas is in three days and the day after that we leave for Mexico. I think I need a plan. I plan on making one. Today. Sometime.

The Christmas season is such a wonderful, busy time of year. I love most of it. The last few years we have tried to make the shift away from the commercialism of Christmas and toward the giving/serving/loving stuff that makes Christmas such an awesome holiday. Not to mention the food.

Last week the boys and I took a day and drove to Moose Jaw with a friend to do some last minute Christmas stuff. It was fun to visit in the car with my good friend. I even enjoyed zooming around the stores with the boys. The best was when I gave each of them ten dollars and set them loose in the Dollar Store where they purchased gifts for each other and their dad. They had such fun picking out gifts and then wrapping them when we got home. We did a quick tour through Walmart where I found some Christmas candy for their stockings. I also bought the first season DVD set of the show Happy Days. So funny, still. We have enjoyed watching Richie and the gang the last few evenings. The Fonz is still cool.

Saturday night our church got together for a turkey supper and some games. We played a Christmas version of Jeopardy that was hilarious. Tyson played three songs on his violin as part of the entertainment. And then on Sunday the children performed their Christmas play for the congregation. They all did a great job. Sunday afternoon we filled goodie trays to deliver to the older folks around town and then gathered at the Villa to sing Christmas carols with the residents there. Tyson played again at the Villa, so he has had his share of performing lately.

Today, the peacefulness of the season is seeping into my bones. We all slept in this morning and had a late breakfast. Lyndon is hauling water so that I can get the laundry done. I brought up the Mexico luggage from the basement and am preparing to begin organizing clothes for the trip. I need to make a trip to town at some point to get a few groceries. I should do a bit more baking since we’ve already eaten the stuff I baked last week. The house needs a little attention, as do the children.

So I guess that is my plan. I’ll post this, light my cranberry scented candle, and… Christmas.

Cold. Very, very cold here. And it is supposed to stay for a while. When it gets this cold our old house begins to talk to us. She groans and creaks like an old lady. Poor old girl. Thankfully there is no wind so inside it is not too bad. Lyndon crawled out of bed at 4:00 this morning to head back to work and I couldn’t seem to get warm again after he left. He plugged in the car (which is fixed!) when he left so I can take the kids to karate this afternoon. We need some groceries, too.

Yesterday afternoon we attended the 80th birthday party of our friend, Roy Bailey. Roy and Helen are another of those amazing couples that have journeyed successfully and lovingly through life together. Inspiring.

Lyndon measured his hand against Tyson’s this weekend. Guess who’s was bigger? Yep, the thirteen-year-old is growing up. He is continuing to enjoy playing the violin. He got to perform a bit for Grandpa Tom and Grandma Marilyn yesterday.

I just finished reading two books. The first, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, was lent to me by a Social Worker friend. I wept my way through this dying man’s beautiful account of what makes life worthwhile.

The second, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman, resonated in my very being as I read it. Without church-bashing, Jacobsen has presented a challenging story of what he believes life could be like when lived free of religious obligation.

… the more organization you bring to church life, the less life it will contain.

Hmmm.

This morning the boys and I were listening to the radio. I had tuned in to a Regina station, looking for some Christmas music. The host started talking about a dinosaur show that is coming to Regina in the spring. It sounded very interesting and Colton was oooing and awwwing and talking about how great it would be to go. Then they offered four free tickets to anyone who could answer the following question: What is the smallest dinosaur ever discovered? I looked at Colton. “Microraptor,” he said. I started dialing and sure enough, after a few other people had answered incorrectly, I made it through. It was strange because I could still hear the radio guy talking to the previous caller on the radio and yet he was talking to me on the phone. Anyway, the boys were dancing around the room when they heard me talking and then the announcement that we had won the tickets. So, that is where we will be on April 15, 2009. Thanks, CKRM. (I don’t know if there is a dinosaur question out there that Colton couldn’t answer.)

Still haven’t started that Christmas baking. Other things keep coming up and interrupting our plans. Yesterday a friend came and picked us all up (still without a vehicle here) and hauled us all into town. Carter went to his karate class and Colton and Tyson went to the church to make three doors for the Christmas play. Jodi and I ran errands in town, picked up pizza, picked up the boys, and went back to her house. I fed the boys there, and then Tyson walked over for his karate class. Jodi and I set the little boys up with a movie and popcorn, told them Tyson would be back shortly, and went to the Ladies Christmas Dinner at Cafe Paris. It was lovely. There were around twenty-five women. Toes, the owner, served a lovely salad, seafood pasta, and Saskatoon berry tart for dessert. We listened to a presentation on Hannah Project, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of oppressed women around the world. Sarina ended the evening with a devotion about Making a Difference. When I looked at the clock I couldn’t believe it was 9:30. Jodi and I went back and picked up the boys and then came home.

When we pulled in I saw Lyndon’s work truck. I felt bad that we were gone all night but I didn’t know he was going to be home. He was already in bed. Apparently he had arrived around 4:30 and of course did not know where we were. So the boys said a quick hello and goodnight, and he was gone again by the time we got up this morning.

The other night, as I was getting ready for bed, I saw a little parcel that looked like it had been wrapped by a seven-year-old. It was tucked under my covers. Inside was a small sculpture made out of k-nex. When I asked about it the next day, Carter said it was for me and that it was called The Smile. The Smile is now sticky-tacked to my kitchen wall, and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

Last week we took Bella for a haircut. I forgot to give my specific instructions to the groomer so Bella emerged looking very poodle-ish. That is, she had a puffy bit of hair on the top of her head. Usually I ask for her hair to be trimmed the same length all over. When Lyndon was home on the weekend, he and the boys decided to “improve” Bella’s look. They cut a strip through the middle of the poof, so now she has… like… a reverse mullet-type hairdo. It looks beyond hilarious. I wasn’t impressed at first, but it’s grown on me.

Carter has begun a new Christmas tradition. It involves a tiny nativity set that my sister-in-law gave me one year. It is really adorable: itty bitty angels, shepherds, wisemen, etc. And a very teeny baby Jesus in his manger. Anyway, lately I have noticed that whenever I go by the table on which sits this little scene things are… different. The camel might be standing on his head, or the angel might be hanging out next door with the Santa figurine, or the wisemen might be hiding in the pottery dishes. I haven’t said anything. I just reassemble the cast of characters and wait to see what happens next.

It finally snowed. And it turned COLD. Amazingly, even though it is December and long past due, the cold weather is still difficult to get used to. Lyndon smacked the car up a little in Regina this week. Slippery roads. He was able to drive it home today and dropped it off at the shop. We’ll see what the damage is. I am afraid he will have to take the truck to work this week, which means, of course, no water-hauling vehicle for me. Actually, it means no vehicle, period, for me. We haven’t had a chance to figure things out yet. But the thought of being vehicle-less all week is not terribly appealing to me.

We have been reading the My Side of the Mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George. I remember reading My Side of the Mountain and On the Far Side of the Mountain when I was a kid. I loved them then and have enjoyed reading them to the boys. We are currently on the last book in the trilogy, Frightful’s Mountain, which was published in 1999. Quite a time gap between the books. There is a wonderful foreword in the last book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. where he talks about reading My Side of the Mountain as a boy, and the impact it had on his friends and him. My own boys, of course, are now talking about taking up falconry.

Tyson is making great progress on his violin. He has learned a handful of songs, and is now working on some Christmas carols. We found an internet site that offers free violin music.

Colton has discovered the wonderful books of Bill Wallace. I bought one of them for him at the Scholastic book sale a few weeks ago. He loved it and was pleased to find another title, Skinny-Dipping at Monster Lake, in our local public library. He finished that one in one night and is anxious to order more of Mr. Wallace’s books.

And Carter, besides playing hide-and-seek with the Baby Jesus, is enjoying all things Christmas. He is anxious to help do some Christmas baking. We picked up some Christmas books at the library, one of which talked about making taffy. He is now convinced that taffy-making is an essential part of Christmas preparation. I told him I would try to find out how to make it, but I didn’t make any promises.

Hope the holiday preparations coming along pleasantly in your homes. If anyone is a taffy-making expert, let me know!

I realized that it has been just over a year since I started blogging. So, thanks all you guys that check in from time to time. And thanks especially to those of you who comment. Feedback is always fun.

Someone asked me why I blog? I don’t really know. I like to write. And I guess I like knowing someone is reading what I write. Otherwise, I’d just journal in that old, ratty notebook like before.

One of my goals in life is to try to live transparently, honestly. At this stage I think I might have achieved, on a good day, opaqueness. Or like, maybe, clear but with ugly water spots. But transparency is a goal, and so that is one of the reasons I blog. Also, I am a little lazy. And blogging is a way of staying in touch, albeit virtually, with other people. Without actually having to talk to anyone. And I like the idea of keeping a record of things: life, experiences, thoughts, the funny things my kids say. So I guess that might be another reason I blog.

Ultimately, I suppose blogging satisfies some need inside that I have… to connect, to share, to be remembered. Or maybe it’s just fun.