Monday, December 29, 2008

quote of the week...

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

--Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, December 22, 2008

quote of the week...

"Women wish to be loved without a why or a wherefore; not because they are pretty or good, or well-bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves."

--Henri Frederic Amiel

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

quote of the week...

"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

--Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, December 13, 2008

took a tag...

I took this tag from my friend, Sari, who isn't sure that 4 people read her blog.
Well I read it, 1 down, 3 to go.


1. Go to your pictures
2. Go to the 4th file & upload the 4th picture
3. Post & tell about the picture
4. Tag 4 friends

This is mine. It's from the recent drama night at my son's school. They were doing a selection of one acts, and his group was asked to perform. This picture is when they first came on stage and were introducing themselves. Two lovely girls named Ali and Ashley, and then the tall guy on the end is my boy. The one act was from "English Made Simple" and they did a really good job. It was fun to see this side of him, performing in front of others. It was also fun to watch because he has a bit of a crush on one of the girls in his group. ('s the one on the far left.)
I tag Kim (mamahen), Jan G, Vern, and Brittany.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

car conversations...

Last night, driving to and fro with our 1st grade son.

1st grade son: So, Mom? Did you know that Hanukkah is before Christmas? And it lasts for longer than 1 day?

me: I did know that.

1st grade son: And, Mom? Did you know that it's called the Festival of Lights? Because it is.

me: I think I knew that. Did you know that not everyone celebrates Hanukkah? It's a special group of people who celebrate you know what they are called?

1st grade son: Ummmm.....(tentatively) Hanukkahans?

I almost had to pull over.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

large family mommy guilt: how I got over it and found complete peace in giving my children just 3 gifts at Christmas

I'll let you in on a secret.

Moms of large families can have a lot of guilt. I get the feeling that the general public isn't aware of this on any major scale...this feeling being based on how many times I have been asked by friends and total strangers if I "know what causes that" or "plan on getting fixed" or, my all time favorite, "you done yet?".

If people knew that the average large family mom is already walking around with her own little folder of guilt that she regularly refers to all on her own, they might back off a bit. At least I think they would, but I'm optimistic like that.

The guilt comes from a concern that whatever you do, it will be determined by the well meaning folks around you that you do it because you have lots of kids. If your kids ever go out of the house with torn or dirty clothes, if you take simple vacations, if you stay at home mother, if sometimes dinner is worry that everyone who sees what you are doing figures it's because you can't do anything else, because you have enough kids to qualify for an at home day care license.

Which brings me to Christmas.

I used to buy my children lots of Christmas presents. It took me several years to determine why I felt the need to overindulge my kids. Part of it is my own nature, to be sure. I am a gift giver. It's one way I like to show love. But as the years went on, I noticed that I found my children's gratitude diminishing, and my joy in getting them lots of "stuff" turning into irritation at the waste and expense of it all. And not just the financial expense...the expense of just owning and dealing with more things.

So, after a year or two when Christmas just gave me a stomach ache, I started to consider that maybe, just maybe, we should pull back, pare down, get less, and appreciate more.

It was then that the large family mommy guilt reared its ugly head.

"But--what if the kids and everyone else thinks that the reason you only give a few special things at Christmas is because you have lots of kids and can't afford to do anything else??"

And, as much as it pains me to say it, what it looked like mattered to me.

So--I had the large family mommy guilt, and had the part of me that just wanted to make Christmas meaningful. I started to ask myself questions...what did I want my children to know, to feel, to believe about Christmas? What did I hope they would remember about the Christmases of their childhood? What precedent did I want to set for their expectations of future Christmases, and for their future family's celebrations? And most importantly: what is the best thing to do, regardless of how many children we have?

That's when, with the hubby's help, I determined that we would do 3 presents for each child. One from Santa, one from Dad, and one from Mom. We also had the children draw names and buy gifts for one another. Grand total: 4 presents.

I'm telling you--one of the best things I ever let go of my guilt long enough to decide.

Christmas is now the fun and reflective time I hoped it would be. I have yet to hear any of our children even notice that we changed what we do. (it's been 5 years now) But I see the difference in the tone and the mood of the house--both on Christmas morning and every day leading up to it. There's just a lot less stuff...and a lot more peace.

So I've let go. And in letting go, I finally care a little bit more about the way things are and a little bit less about how things look.

Which is,as it turns out, what I really needed to begin with.

Monday, December 08, 2008

quote of the week...

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."

-- Edith Sitwell

Friday, December 05, 2008

because I don't have enough problems...

My husband's cat peed on my laundry room rug. Again.

It's like the cat wants me to kill him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

quote of the week...

"It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn't, and when it does, we may well reject it."

--Spencer Tracy