Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And to all a good night...

Christmas has come and gone.  In a flash.  I took the kids for portraits with Santa.  Ivey sat on Santa's lap and he asked her what she would like for Christmas.  "Mac and Cheese", she said.  From that point on, Ivey was stuck on getting Mac and Cheese for Christmas.  When she would start to get whiny, or throw a toy, or hit her brother, I would tell her, "If you are bad, Santa won't bring you any presents!"  She would grin, with her silly little grin, and tell me that she didn't want Santa to bring presents.  Just Mac and Cheese! 

In order to cope with the pre-holiday festivities, Jeff and I took the kids and headed off for an adventure.  We spent a few nights at the cabin in Ellijay, making (and devouring) a gingerbread house, decorating Christmas cookies, popping popcorn, and watching movies.  We went to Blue Ridge for lunch and some fudge.  We saw Christmas lights.  We were our nice little family unit, and it was absolutely wonderful!  I wanted to stay through the entire holiday, but it just isn't possible.  Plus, Asa was truly homesick being away from the house at Christmas.  Little did he know, he wasn't going right home-- not until the house was ready for the big party!

Back in the fray, we enjoyed an awesome Christmas party and a whirlwind of visits and fun.  The cousins all had a blast together, as they always do.  Christmas left us with a bunch of very happy children.  The go-cart, which was intended to be for Asa and Addison, really ended up a hit for Asa and Ivey.  It is amazing.  More like a dune buggy than a go-cart.  Adjustable seats, key start, headlights.... Asa was all over it!  Addison, our risk manager, was more concerned.  After the scavenger hunt which led him to his go-cart gift, he asked, "Do I have to buy the gas?"  He didn't want to ride it while Asa was driving. When we talked about him driving it, he explained that he wasn't 16 yet, and that he was really nervous about getting a ticket.  No, this surprise isn't really his style.  His brother and sister, on the other hand, were all over it!  Addison did, however, get every book that he had asked for... and enough Star Wars and Harry Potter Lego kits to keep him busy for a long, long time!  Oh, and Santa came through.  Ivey not only had boxes of Mac and Cheese under the tree, but she had a plate of it ready for her to eat!


While we were in the mountains, Asa quickly began to get homesick.  He explained that he just "liked to be home at Christmas".  I agree.  But, I am homesick here at the house.  These last few weeks I have missed my home in Bethlehem more than the day we left it.  The town, and our home, was beautiful at Christmas... and it felt equally beautiful to decorate, bake, cook, and sing in it with my children.  All the pieces are in place and enough is done next door for us to start moving, which hopefully we will do in a matter of days.  I await the day that our little unit can start to get back to our autonomous life... and it will be my belated Christmas gift.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Addison Time

Since May, Tuesday and Thursday nights have been Addison and Granddaddy nights.  You see, these are the nights that Granddaddy takes Addison to Aikido practice.  The run down goes something like this...  I get Addison to his grandparents' house.  Addison cons them into feeding him something for dinner, even though he just ate.  Addison and Randy drive to Aikido practice, while Addison talks non-stop in the car about how much Disney World's electricity bill runs them or how Daddy cannot regulate how much frozen 42 cent per ounce yogurt to put into his cup at Yotops.  Addison and Randy both take an Aikido lesson together, Addison being the youngest (and probably most self-confident, as he knows not of humility) only in the class.  Addison cons Randy into taking him to get a burger or a shake after class.  This pretty much is the rundown that I hear each and every Tuesday and Thursday.  It seems the little man is getting quite good! Hopefully, the two of them can keep this up, as I think someone would be very disappointed if the one-on-one time ended... and I don't mean Addison.

Friday, November 25, 2011

So thankful.

It is 1:30am, and the hectic day, for me, has wound down enough for me to truly focus on my giving of thanks.  Usually, this would be a time for me to sit in a quiet house and reflect, or just breathe in the quiet.  But, we will have our Thanksgiving dinner here tomorrow, so Mom is downstairs preparing for the festivities and jamming out, for some unknown reason, to what seems to be high energy Latino Christmas music.  Although it is not quiet, it is a different kind of peace.  It is a busy house full of energy that I am stopping and appreciating tonight.

As adults, we do not often spend time with our parents during the ins and outs of our day.  Yes, there is most likely a good reason for this fact.  We all like our independence, our autonomy, our way.  We talk on the phone with them (for some of us, daily), but even though we hear of their days, we do not live them.  For fourteen months now, I have not had a glimpse of my parents' life, I have been right there in it.  Although it may have been more time than we bargained for, and although the project in no way went in the way we had envisioned when we made the decision to move, I will no doubt always look back at this time as "bonus time" spent with them.  Not a visit, not a vacation, but life-sharing that only cohabitation can create.

We have something right now, at this moment, that I could not say three, or even two, months ago.  We have a light at the end of the tunnel.  It isn't until this week that I have allowed myself to start absorbing the reality that in the next few months I will be returning to my life as we knew it... of being together as a couple and as a family.  Like all life experiences, I have learned to appreciate many things.  I have learned to appreciate how hard my parents work at their jobs, how much I enjoy (and really need) a Monday through Friday schedule, how easy it is to get along with my mother, how bickering means little in the unconditional love of a family, how nice it is to be alone with my husband, and how even a family of six can be considered quiet in comparison to one of eight.  I am stopping tonight to be thankful for the time that we have spent here... and how it is ultimately helping us to get to our final house-building adventure.

I am thankful for a wonderful husband who is perpetually on the same page as me.... a page from an out-of-print book written by an obscure author that no one else has heard of.  We have crazy ideas.  We bite off insanely large projects.  We consistently take the rocky, twisted mountain hike instead of a leisurely stroll.  We are nuts.  But, we are nuts together.  I have come to realize that the two of us can accomplish pretty much anything.  It may be hard and stressful.  I may be overwhelmed and second-guess our path.  But, we work well together.  When we stood in the yard of our last house, staring at its horrific state, I saw potential and said "yes" without question.  I said "yes" knowing full well that it would make me cry, stressed out, and that I would have moments of questioning our sanity.  The right decision does not come with a pain-free guarantee.  The knowledge that their will most likely be pain should not hinder the decision to do something good, something right, something that makes your heart full.  

No regrets.  No stagnation.  No going through the motions. 

I am thankful for our amazing children.  There were times that I questioned whether or not I would ever get to be a parent at all.  Those short times of hopelessness have been replaced with this unbelievable life that I have as a mother of four.  Although at times I am desperate for a reprieve, I am so thankful for all of the time that I spend with my little crew.  At one time, I calculated how many hours of time I gain with them by homeschooling.... and I realized how much time that is in comparison to the short years that they will live with us.  Again, I am blessed with "bonus time".  Life is too short not to grasp on to any "bonus time" I can get.  If you want a farm, or you know your kids would thrive in a class of like-minded peers that isn't available to you, or you yearn to live near the ocean, or you have always dreamed of writing a book, then get on those hiking boots, hit the mountain, and make it happen.   

No regrets.  No stagnation.  No going through the motions.  

I am thankful for the opportunity to give my boys the classroom experience that I had envisioned for them.  I do not know what the future holds.  I hope it holds many more years of this custom made educational experience that we are creating for them.  Soon, I will be planning for another year in our hybrid school... recruiting students, lining up teachers, and organizing the year.  But, for this moment I want to pause and just revel in this school year that these boys will remember always.  We are truly blessed.

Six months from now, we will be settled into a new routine all our own, in a house to call our own.  We will be looking forward at the monumental task of building an entire house with our own hands.  But tonight, I am thankful for this leg of the journey.   We are truly blessed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

All decked out.

The entire month of November has been spent in dress-up clothes for Miss Ivey.  Halloween opened her eyes to the sparkly dresses that were in her very own room.  Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty... she has tromped around town in each one, much to the enjoyment of pretty much everyone who passes by.   She has even gone to her Play Pals class in costume on more than one occasion.  I told Miss Gina that there were two choices.... a happy Tinkerbell or an unhappy Ivey.  Happiness wins, of course.  I'll take Cinderella in galoshes, a huge smile, and a bounce to her walk any day.

Yesterday, Ivey was watching the intro to a Disney movie, where Tinkerbell flies up to the castle.  She said in her matter-of-fact way,  "That's me, Tinkerbell.  I was Tinkerbell first... when she was a bat."  Ahh, the three year old mind is a glorious thing!  The synapses of three year olds must fire in a completely unique way.  It's like the information must jump, skip, dance, and twirl across those little heads.  Ivey talks to herself a lot in the car.  I was listening in the other day and overheard her having a very serious conversation... with her toes.  "Hey!  We made a deal.  Now, zip it!"  I don't know what kind of deal the eleven of them made, but it sounded pretty serious.