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Showing posts from December, 2017

Merry Christmas!

You never know who will be the first person out of bed on Christmas morning.  It might be me or it might be one of the boys.  It's never Ken.  Except this year it was! He got up early to start making homemade chocolate chip cinnamon for our Christmas breakfast.  I turned on the Christmas tree and banister lights before making my morning chai tea latte.  Gage, who had heard cupboards opening and dishes clanking together, came down and sat on the love seat.  Last to get up this year was KC, who definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed. How can anyone get up on the wrong side of the bed on Christmas morning!? Eventually, the dough was set aside to rise and we were ready to open presents.  As always, we start with stockings.  It usually takes two people to get them down - one to untie the ribbons holding them in place and one to hold the stockings so that gravity doesn't win.  Gravity usually wins at least once.  Also, as per usual, not all the stocking stuffers cou

Christmas Through The Years

I thought it might be fun to pull together some old Christmas pictures. An old scanned photo from when Ken and his sister, Ronnie, were little.  That's their dad in the front. I'd say this one was taken in the mid- to late 70s. Me and my dad.  Mid-70s. Am I crying or laughing?  I bet I'm crying.   Early 80s.  Pictured here are my mom and dad, my two brothers, and me. I have no idea where this picture was taken.    This one makes me laugh!  Let's see.  My Uncle Steve and Aunt Monica with a few of their kids, my siblings and me, and another random nephew (David). My grandma is walking into the frame.  I don't recognize the house.  What I do find funny, though, are the poses my cousin, Jessica, and I are modeling.  She's in the red dress and I'm in way too much pink.  From the mid 1980s, if I had to guess, which I do.  Holding the fire truck is   my youngest brother, Jason.  This picture was taken at our step-grandmother's ho

Today's Quote: On Failure

Our society places a great deal of emphasis on success.  We are told in so many different ways that our value as a person is in may ways dependent upon our successes.  Failure, on the other hand, is a shameful act that highlights our ineptitude and diminishes us. Failure is shameful. To fail is to feel shame. This programming begins early.  I would dare say it begins before we even start attending school.  Parents compare notes, measuring their children's milestones against siblings, cousins, and peers.  Oh, your two year old daughter still isn't potty trained?  Mine's being using the big potty since she was 1 1/2.  This type of comparison puts the pressure on parent and child alike, and failure to perform to whatever arbitrary standard results in feelings of frustration and shame.  Why can't little Suzie just go to the potty like her little friend?  Is it Suzie's failure or mine?, the mother wonders. What's wrong with Suzie?  What's wrong with me?

Weekends in Baldwin

A few days ago I wrote about how Ken and I met .  It was on a rafting trip down the Pere Marquette River in Baldwin, Michigan.  In that post I mentioned that my family owned a lot on a little two track dirt road.  On that parcel of land sat a couple of trailers.  Well, I found some old pictures from when we were either dating or just married.  In either case, these are from the 1990s, either early or mid-decade. This was at a time in our lives when money was tight and our vacation options were limited.  Often, we'd drive up to the trailer and stay for the weekend because it was the cheapest getaway we could manage.  The only thing we had to worry about other than food and gas money was refilling the propane tank before we left and, perhaps once or twice a year, handing over a small amount of money to help cover the electricity bill. It was vacationing on a budget for sure! At the time this picture was taken I'm fairly confident the trailer had a working bathroom in it. 

My 2017 Christmas Reads

I know a lot of readers like to set aside the month of December for holiday-themed books.  I'm not really one of those readers.  If you were to look at the books I'm currently tracking on Goodread's, you'd find that I'm in the middle of an epic fantasy novel, a literary short story collection, a non-fiction title, and a vampire short story collection.  You would also spot a holiday book on the shelf because I'm definitely not immune to the sentimental pull of Christmas books. My husband thinks my goal is to cry at least once a day.  It's not a goal, but I'm not opposed to having my heart strings plucked on a regular basis.   Earlier in December I read The Stupidest Angel Vol. 2 by Christopher Moore and Christmas with Book Club by Heather Woodhaven.  One was funny, one was quaintly heartwarming.  The Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport is yet another type of Christmas read. Sure, it's heartwarming, but it also touches on some o

December 2017 Book Club Meeting

Our book club struggles when it comes to our monthly meetups.  Some months we meet, most months we do not.  Life often gets in the way and people have to beg off in order to attend to their family or their jobs.  I'm no exception, either!  There are times I would love to attend, but the day and time proposed just doesn't work in my schedule. This month I volunteered to host. I wasn't sure how many of the ladies would actually show considering Christmas was a mere eight days away.  Some had family parties to attend, others likely had shopping or baking or decorating to do.  Honestly, I half expected those who had said they were coming to call or text and tell me it just wouldn't work out.  I mean...eight days. I should probably admit right here and now I was getting some baking in myself before the ladies showed up.  I made chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, peanut butter cookies, and white chocolate Macadamia nut cookies.  I was pulling the last tray out of the

When Your Amazon Music is Set on Random

I thought I'd share with you the first ten songs my Amazon player picks when I tell it to surprise me with random picks.

The Hunt for a Tree

Finding the perfect Christmas tree kick-starts our holiday season.  While some families like to have the tree in place and decorated before Thanksgiving, we always wait until December to go on the hunt.  If we go on the first weekend of December, which is my preference, it can sometimes coincide with our youngest boy's birthday.  Luckily, he doesn't seem to mind. When the boys were little we used to take them to a tree farm complete with Santa, reindeer, hayrides, and a maze made out of hay bails.  We'd hitch a ride to one of the back fields and traipse through the rows and rows of pretty spruces in search of one that wouldn't be too thin, too fat, too tall, or too short.  After Ken finished sawing the tree down, we'd sit by the bonfire and wait for the wagon's eventual return.  After we got back to the big barn/store, the boys would run through the maze, climb on the fence to get a better look at the reindeer, drink hot cocoa, and help us pick out a wreath