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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Updating!

Hi everyone!   I've been messing on the computer while I'm on school break and saw this widget (to the left) and knew we had to have it - hope you enjoy! You can click the weeks and days on the widget and it swaps to how much time is left and how much time has past. 
   As much as I tried to convince mom that we needed a pink baby countdown, she said no.  But she is almost all the way convinced that it is a girl.
  Does anyone have any good baby names? We are right now leaning towards Sophia Mariel, but not 100%.  - and haven't sold Dad on it yet either.  Comment the names or e-mail them to us! (maybe we'll have a poll to decide? :) )
   Hope you have a great New Year!
Born in the wrong century,
Jane Austen Wannabe

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Popcorn Night!

I love traditions, not just the Christmas ones, but the year around ones too! 

One of the traditions that I started with my family was what we dub "popcorn night."  It hits on Wednesday nights and consists of popcorn, of course, and playing a board game.  Over the years we have grown from Candy Land and Hi-Ho Cherry O to some really fun games that we've just recently purchased:  Quelf, Wits and Wagers, and Logo to name a few-all of which I completely recommend.

This tradition has been brought to mind lately because Christmas family gatherings, for us,  always mean board games.  This season we've just attended a few family gatherings, games in tow. and we have at least one more to gatherings to go.  While my husband is usually found off talking to adults, I weasel my way into the teen or children's tables with one or two games, and we generally start having so much fun that the adults in the area are soon joining in also.     

I think why our popcorn night tradition is so meaningful to me is because when growing up, I was always the one (out of the 6 family members) who wanted to play a board game.  Yet, in thinking back to all the times that we did manage to pull together as a family around a game, I only have memories of one or more of my sisters and  maybe- only maybe- myself, bringing the game to an abrupt end- because someone wasn't following the rules, someone wasn't fair, or someone was breathing on someone else!  (Close family time can be SO stressful!)   I do have to say though that growing up I can only recall two games that we tried- Monopoly and Clue.  Both of these games are a push to include parents down to ages four or so- at least without some kind of fight taking place.  All that considered, I am a sucker for board games and now have a closet full to choose from each Wednesday night. 

It's not all bliss.  There are still arguments.  There are many times when at least half of us are just not into playing a game.  There are times when the game gets canceled altogether and a movie takes its place.  Yes, there are complaints about someone breathing on someone else!  (I know, I'm too touchy!) But, we are all together with a common goal. . . so, I love it!  Now that my husband (as of this past week) has taken a job on first shift, he too will be included in on the tradition- despite the fact that he is not a big game player.
Too bad! 

I never knew that this traditions meant much to my kids as it did to me until once when The Bookworm  was staying a couple of nights at Grandma's and was very insistent that she return home by Wednesday so as to not miss popcorn night.  (Warms my heart!  Guess all the arguments that accompany tradition are worth it.) 

Now that my kids are growing up, taking on jobs, committing to outside activities, it gets harder to hold popcorn night.  But we do our best, even it it means having "Popcorn Tuesday."  I hope that as they continue to grow and move on that they will know that the door is always open on Wednesday night and the popcorn is popped and waiting!  And who knows?  Maybe someday I'll drop in on one of my childrens' houses and find the same tradition occurring, complete with "Mom, make him stop breathing on me!!"

Surviving myself on each and every popcorn night,
Mary

Friday, December 9, 2011

(Don't) Let it Snow!

 It's cold outside.  The sky is typically gray.  It's winter time.  Humbug!

I wish I were the type of person who anxiously awaits the cold season.  Take that back, I'm glad that I wouldn't want to live in Alaska, or any place North for that matter.  I enjoy a fire, but I like the ones that actually put out heat, not the ones you have to crawl inches away from to feel any temperature change.  I do love a white, serene, spotless snow cover, but I hate the mud trampled dirty snow that sits in my back and front yard, leaving bare mud spots to slowly, but surely take over my entire yard all year around.  (We are definitely the scourge of the neighborhood when it comes to lawns!  If it's not that I'm sharing my cottonwood leaves with the neighboring 3 or 4 houses on each side, it's that I do grow a fine mud patch- while other yards are beautiful green.  Of course I understand that this is because I have 7 kids trampling around- no make that more, the neighbor kids are playing at my yard too. Hmmmm, their yard looks beautifully lush and green. . . ) 
Boy am I a humbug!  But, I really wouldn't trade any of my swamp like, snow trampled yard if it meant no kids.  Although I kind of doubt that my neighbors are sitting in their houses saying "Wow, it should would be nice to have kids livening up our yard and leave it looking like the tar pits of old!"  It's a unique look that is all ours- thus making it easy to find our house.  Bonus for holiday visitors!
Back to snow though.  I feel very vulnerable while driving in the snow.  Yes, I've had a number of accidents in the past that play a huge part into this, not to mention a lot of close calls.  But this year I have the Jane Austen Want to Be out on the roads at least 4 times a week by herself.  This is more than unnerving.  My mother hen instincts kick into red alert. 

Yet, as I sit by my window and humbug, I do have to say that I'm not looking at anything white- no snow, no mush, not even any ice,  To which I say THANK YOU LORD!  You see, The Jane Austen Want to Be's college class ended yesterday- which means she made it though the first semester of the half hour each way drive by herself without having to deal with snowy roads!  That was something we had prayed about, and ironically enough, there was a forecast for snow yesterday to come a 3:00- the same time her last class ended.  (It didn't come- but I'm okay with that.)  Never mind that her next class starts up on January 4th and that date is still in the winter season : P  (I'll deal with that worry later.  Just enjoying the blessed feeling for now!)

Other snow- yes, snow comes in forms other than wet precipitation. 

I was standing in the shower today, enjoying the hot water, when a pelt of "light snow" hit the door.  It always starts as a little rap of tiny 2 year old knuckles on the lower part of the door.  However, within minutes, I'm being bombarded with the "snowballs" of teen pounding.  Oh, it wouldn't be so bad if each knock was followed by "Mom, just wanted to tell you I love you!"  or "Mom, while you are showering, we've decided to clean the whole house!"  But no, sadly, these snowballs are always accompanied with "Mom, so and so is doing this.. . ."  or "Mom, make so and so stop. . . "   To which I always reply some non-audible nonsense that I later blame on the inability to understand them over the shower water.

Please DON'T let it snow!

It's funny, I attended Mass yesterday and the priest had everyone clap for the 2nd graders who just make their first reconciliation.  I heartily applauded that, but still snicker at various priests' comments that hearing 2nd graders' first confession like being pelted with popcorn.  I love this analogy!  I am going to make it a fond wish that all my confessions were just a sprinkling of popcorn (or a light rap of snowballs) and never to excel to a mound of snow drifts! 

My father made the comment last night that the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas rush by in such a hurry.  I responded that this was because he was old.  What I mean was that he is not awakened daily by The Boy and his 4 year old innocence that makes him ask "Is tomorrow Christmas Eve?!?"   I could give him an exact number count of how many days he has, but it wouldn't really matter- he lives in the here and now and tomorrow might as well be 10 years from now.  I did set up a Jessie Tree to show the countdown of the days to Christmas; I even have the advent wreath in a prominent place with only 2 candles on it as it's supposed to be.  But each morning I have to again face the snowballs of "Is it Christmas Eve yet?!" 

Forget it, I'd rather waken to that then to The Baby's greeting of "Mom, change my diaper!!" 

--That's more like waking up to a blizzard!!

As you are counting down the days to Christmas, I hope you are finding joy in the snow storms you are facing.  I pray that the Lord blesses you with the right tolerance to face all the precipitations of life.  And, if you happen to catch the Lord's ear, please whisper to Him to NOT send any snow my way!

Dodging snowballs while surviving myself,
Mary