My House with a Different Perspective

All these pictures are shot with my Droid Retro Camera. Its a little addicting because I have the thing everywhere. Anthony even commented that he’s seen me take more pictures lately with the Droid than my actual cameras. This might be true of my own children but I’ve been doing lots of shoots with other families and I assure you they were not done with the Droid.

I LOVE decorating for Christmas. Its hard work but I love the results. I did make a status update on Facebook saying that it looks like Christmas threw up in my house – and maybe it does, a little. But I love for every bit of the house to have a touch of Christmas.  It makes me happy and adds to the magic for me.

So here are my droid retro camera’s views of my house’s decked halls.

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Grown Up Christmas List

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I love this picture that I snapped of the girls interacting with Santa this year. I love his face and how intent he is on hearing them and enthralled with whatever it was they were telling him at the time. He was a great “Santa.” Thankfully my girls are still enchanted by the magic that is “Santa Claus.” I say thankfully because I am not ready for that to change, and yet I fear it will happen all too quickly, especially for Isabella who is now pushing 7 year old.

Who knows if this will be the last year she believes or not, but something did change this year, their Christmas wish lists. I don’t know they just seemed more Grown Up to me. They aren’t quite the grown up Christmas lists that Amy Grant sings of, but we have moved on from asking for Barbie’s, baby dolls or the newest and biggest toy. 

This year Bella keeps saying that she is asking for a cell phone, an iPod, and books. (Good thing she doesn’t know about a Kindle or she might ask for one of those.) And Natalie? Well, she has said for about 2 weeks that she just wants to be surprised.  But,after visiting Santa she said she did tell him she wanted another Tinkerbelle Book, that’s it. 

About 2 weeks ago I asked them  if there was any toy they could think of that they were really wanting or hoping for and they couldn’t think of anything. Nothing. Usually they oh and awe over every precisely placed television ad, not this year. I am hoping that their lack of long frivolous lists show contentment in what they have. Whatever it is, it is nice because they haven’t spent their time (so far) pining over what they hope Santa will give them, but rather we’ve talked a lot about what Christmas is really about – love, kindness, charity and the little baby born in a manger.

Thanksgiving

A few nights before Thanksgiving my mother-in-law sent us a book, and as I read it to my kids I had a hard time not being emotional. So I wanted to share a few quotes from it in my Thanksgiving post. Ideally I would have posted this Thanksgiving night, so lets just pretend I did. (They come from the book Grateful, by John Bucchino)

“I’ve got a roof over my head. I’ve got a warm place to sleep. Some nights I lie awake counting gifts instead of counting sheep.”

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“In a city of strangers, I’ve got a family of friends.”

“Its not that I don’t want a log, or hope for more or dream of more. But giving thanks for what I’ve got makes me so much happier than keeping score.”

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“In a world that can bring pain, I will still take each chance…”

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“For I believe that whatever the terrain our feet can learn to dance.”

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“Grateful, grateful, truly grateful I am. Grateful, grateful, truly blessed and duly Grateful.”

As you can see we had a fabulous Thanksgiving celebration. Near the end of the day Natalie came up to me and asked, “Mom are our friends our family too?” And what did we tell her? “Yes, they are.”

Fun in a Box

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Today I am thankful for the big box that showed up at my door from my sister-in-law Meredith and her kids because it gave us a fun memory. A few weeks ago she and I were chatting on facebook and I was telling her about THIS great blog I read written by a fabulous and inspiring mom here in Florida. (If you haven’t read her blog, I am warning you, you’ll be hooked.) My sister-in-law told me how they’d been raking leaves and I told her how I missed fall leaves but how this blogger had leaves shipped to her by a family member and how I thought it was such a fun idea.

And can you believe LEAVES where in that big box that showed up today? It was perfect. It was fun and it was memorable. We waited for that golden moment of the day to go outside and enjoy our package.

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And as you can see the kids did indeed enjoy it. There was laughter, squeals and joy.

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We played until it was time to come in for dinner.

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And, in addition to the fun package (and its senders) that arrived at my door today –

I am grateful for these 3 who love each other so deeply. They truly love one another. They play so well and so hard. And if you ask them what they’d like to do in a given day they’ll answer they want to be together, and I pray that never changes.

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Way Behind and a Bit Confused

Ah! So I don’t have any pictures to post. The days have been busy – sorry, but I wanted to continue my “I’m thankful fors.” Then I came to see what I had done last and I got all kinds of confused b/c I didn’t think I was that behind, or had missed that many days among them all. But I’m going to catch up on yesterday and today.

So yesterday – THURSDAY – I was thankful for my kid’s teachers. Natalie has a fabulous teacher. She’s sweet as can be, funny and Natalie just loves her. Natalie loves to go to school in big part because she loves her teacher. On Saturday’s she often begs me to jut take her to school, even though I try to explain that no one will even be there.

Isabella also has a fabulous teacher. To be honest we were a bit skeptical as the year began. At meet the teacher we didn’t get a lot of time with her so we just didn’t know. But as the school year as gone on we’ve been more and more impressed with her. The latest thing was that she has arranged a separate reading group in another classroom for Isabella and a couple other students from her class who are ahead of the rest of the class so they can continue to improve. She could have just let them be the top of the class and not worried about them improving since they’re already technically ahead, but no – she is providing them the opportunity to continue to grow. I love that. I love that she recognized they had the need and then found a way to provide for it. Like I said, she’s fabulous.

Today. Today I am grateful for energy. I’ve been totally tired all week, it could be my kids visiting my bed in the middle of the night a little too often. Last night we had a talk with the kids about how they don’t need to be coming into our bed every night. It worked, well, until 5am, but that wasn’t as bad. So with an early bedtime last night and a longer uninterrupted sleep I feel a whole lot better today and even had the energy to clean the garage (it needed it), and finally folded the laundry that has been washed since Monday. 

Ring Around the Rosie

I have really enjoyed thinking about these “I’m thankful fors…” I like how when I start the day if I don’t know what I am going to say in my night’s post it just comes to me in the plain and simple moments of my day. It comes to me quietly and I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude…for whatever it may be.

Today it came as I was crossing through an intersection on my way home from Walgreens. Suddenly in the middle of the intersection I was filled with a renewed appreciation that I am a stay at home mom. When Anthony and I married this was always the plan. When we had Isabella it was very difficult for me to return to work. I hated leaving her. About five and a half years ago I was able to begin doing what I always wanted to do – be a stay at home mom.

Many times I complain more than I should. It isn’t easy, it is harder than I anticipated, but it never fails day in day out that something small happens to remind me of why I wanted to do this. I am so thankful that Anthony supports me in doing this. He works hard to support our family and has a lot of weight on him to be the sole provider for the family. He never complains about that responsibility. Because of him among the chaos and mundane, even some unpleasant, moments of day to day life…I get to be there for moments like this on a daily basis –

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Today it was a spontaneous game of ring around the rosie. The girl’s way of including their brother in a game. As you can see, he loved it. There were giggles, squeals and pure happiness in the play room this afternoon. It was a moment filled with the magic of childhood.

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I love that I get to experience every moment of childhood with my children. I am glad to be here when they need a hug, even a little discipline.  I’m glad to be standing at the bus stop to welcome them home.

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I am thankful to be spending my days where I am.

The Sun, My Son

I started this post last Friday, maybe Saturday – I can’t remember. But I know I have missed 2 days of posting and I’m not supposed to do that this month. Whoops. So let me think…what was I thankful for those days?

SATURDAY: This day I was grateful for an evening away. I was grateful to have had the chance to walk slowly holding the hand of my sweetheart, to eat dinner without asking someone to be quiet and just eat what they had (lol), and to go to a movie (lets just say it had been a while). I was grateful that when we came home from that evening away it seemed that our kids had had just as much fun as we had and they can’t wait until we can do it again. (Me either.)

SUNDAY: This was a busy day. But on Sunday I was grateful for my husband and all that he does. I could gush on and on and go into detail, but my husband doesn’t need that, he just needs to know that I am grateful – because I am.

Today – well today I am going to talk about my son. Recently Isabella has been noticing the difference between words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Eye and I. Way and weigh. Hi and high. Sun and son.

Friday morning I got Ethan dressed in long jeans and a long sleeved shirt. We had had a cold front here in Florida that was very welcome and one of the reasons was so that I could pull out my much loved fall wardrobe. Ethan looked especially cute – and totally handsome. So I got out the camera, handed him a football (he needs something to occupy him b/c he’s certainly not about to sit still for my camera, I know this) and we went outside. And when I got the pictures on my computer I thought again about Bella’s discovery. Sun and son. Son and sun.

Ethan is my son and in many ways he is also my sun. He brightens my day. Every day, difficult or not. He warms my heart and warms my soul. Before I had him I never knew I needed him, but now that I do I realize my days would be completely dark without him. I love this kid. I am thankful for him.

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  Hehe…doesn’t his crazy hair make you laugh? He’d been wearing a hat all morning, and his hair doesn’t even really respond to water, unless you’re washing it…so for now, we live with that, and it is so cute!

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I love the above picture. Why? Its not anything that fantastic, I know. But look, his diaper is sticking out. Its a little bit of the baby in him that is quickly changing. A diaper is about the last baby thing he has (that and his blue blankey, which if he’s like his sisters he’ll still sleep with it at 7). I am hoping to and planning on potty training in the coming months. I’m not keeping him in diapers to keep him a baby, I haven’t postponed potty training one bit, but I sure think his diaper is cute in this picture.

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He is such a boy!

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And, I’m sorry, I’ve got to say it again. I. Love. Him.

Relief

Today it was simple to know what I was going to post. Today I am thankful for this smile:

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…because yesterday that smile was gone. She was one sick little girl with a vicious 24 hour flu. This morning she woke up much more perky, happy and hungry. About mid morning I came around the corner to find this:

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It made me smile, one of those big smiles. She was playing.  She was dressed up, with a flower placed in an awkward spot on her head, she was imagining, she was eating, she was being herself. What a relief.

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Today I am grateful that she feels better, and cautiously optimistic that all our hand washing, house sanitizing, and quarantining worked and no one else will get it over the weekend.

A day late but still grateful.

Okay, I never got this posted last night. I’ll make it quick because I’m already ready to do today’s post.

Yesterday, Thursday November 4th, I was grateful for Isabella and how well she’s doing in school. This actually could have been added to Tuesday’s post, but I decided to save it. I went to her parent/teacher conference Tuesday night with her teacher and was more than pleased to hear the things the teacher had to say about her.

Last year we worried about her in school.  She seemed to take some giant steps backwards after our mid-year move. This summer we tried to work hard to catch her up but even that was a struggle as she just wanted to play and have fun. But apparently sometime between the struggles and now she’s not only caught up but surpassed where she needs to be. And while her success level in school has nothing to do with my love, joy or even pride in her as a mother it makes me happy to see her succeed.

But, what made me even more happy and maybe even a tad more proud of her was hearing some of the good deeds she does in class. How she helps others with the class work they don’t understand and how she’s always looking out for and thinking of others. She is such a gem. I have thought many times, “What would I do without my Bella?” and I got the feeling that maybe her teacher has thought the same thing during this school year.

Its great to see another adult appreciate your child as much as you do.