When I am having a bad day with Clark I should probably just stop what I am doing and watch this.

(PS. He had a ton of sand in his hair from the sandbox and it was driving me nuts.  I do not routinely do that to his hair. HA.)


Christmastime again

Seven days until Christmas, people.

I shared my Retro Christmas Pandora Station on here last year, and have had lots of requests for links to it but I swear I cannot figure out where to find one? And anyway this year I also have a Spotify playlist to share, which I named Merry + Bright and affectionately refer to the songs as, well, retro hokey. I want to make another, with traditional Christmas carols at some point but for now we are singing "Christmas Candy" and "Santa Claus' Party" and all is retro hokey happy.

I added so many ornaments to our collection this year, finding them and squirreling them away all Summer.  We have SO MANY fun vintage ones and flashing oversized bulbs and bubble lights.  Bubble lights!  Unfortunately I don't have many photos of all of this, because my laptop is dragging along, not uploading things, crashing and crashing.  I think this is a direct result of the ten million photos stored on the hard drive.  So I kind of brought this on myself.

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Not everything is out this year, because Hal is at such a grabby age.  But it IS our first year with a real live Christmas tree.  We used a 30+ year old artificial tree for years, until it was too shabby to reasonably put back in the attic.


Seven days. Merry and bright.


drops from the day

I was going to blog Thanksgiving, oh, ten days ago.  But I didn't, so I am blogging it now.

I want to tell you about it.

How I cooked all of the food and it actually tasted really... good.  

How nice it felt to be in my kitchen, on my feet all day long for two days in a row, actually producing something worthwhile rather than treading water and re-sweeping and spinning and spinning.

It was hard work but the final product was so satisfying.  I think that sometimes it may actually feel better to do just slightly more work.  Sounds counter-intuitive, I know.

Hey look!  I made all of that!

I made seven courses plus two pies, all from scratchy scratch scratch. See those white squares on the top of the stuffing?  Those are butter.  I used... (hide your eyes) four pounds of butter in this meal.

It's unbelievable how much time and energy we have to put in, just to scrape by.  Just doing the bare minimum or even a fair amount.  Just living, especially as a parent, requires you to do thousands of things you don't want to do every day.  It is easy to get stuck in that hollow place-- just doing all the necessary stuff, silently cursing it in your head, toiling in ways that no one will ever see or recognize.  Turning around to a new mess and then turning back again to another one.

I feel like I am squeezing every drop from my day but am I really? I want to look back on every day feeling unblurred.  I want to close my eyes and know that something happened.  Not just the done-and-then-already-undone stuff of life, but something beyond that.  I write here fairly often about my thoughts and ideas and creative drive, how they are all pushed to the side, how I don't have the time or energy to get them out or organize them. 

I'm just trying to get by, or so I say.  I just want my house to be clean and my family to be fed.  And I do want those things, except at the end of the day I don't ever remember what happened.  It is a 11pm and then it is 11pm again and again and on and on, and when it isn't 11pm it is time to get Clark from preschool or it's meal time or bath time or whatever and weeks and months go by, spinning and spinning, wondering what happened.  It isn't a horrible lot or anything and there are so many things I love about this life, it's just often so static.

I always wonder about those other people, the ones who keep chickens and teach their kids other languages and write books and create and I don't understand them or how they can do all of that AND the daily grind stuff.  I always imagine it would involve letting something drop, but it is becoming clearer:  it would really only take a tiny bit of extra planning, a tiny bit of extra effort, a tiny bit more of me.  

A tiny bit. 

The difference between making dinner and making Thanksgiving dinner isn't much, but the difference in satisfaction at the end is great.  Maybe the answer to my static is to take on more, raise my expectations for myself rather than lower them? I think that "just getting by" might be 90% of the effort. It's just that little hard bit leftover separating me from the feeling that Something Happened each day.  

This is probably all very obvious, except in my day-to-day moments when it doesn't feel obvious at all.  So I guess I am writing it here as a way to remind myself, and for you too, if you need reminding.  

And anyway, I also learned how to make pie crust.  So hey, there's always that.

(Did anyone else make the whole Thanksgiving for the first time this year?  High five!)

And now? I can officially start blogging about Christmas.