Thanksgiving Week

Today, I’m thankful that it’s finally over. It’s not that I don’t love spending time with family. It’s just that it’s been a busy week with lots of travel and very little relaxation.

We had our third Thanksgiving today. It was the first one we’ve ever hosted in our home and I think it went well. The weather cooperated, so it was cool outside and gave our AC a bit of a break, and since it was nice all the kids could play outside on the trampoline.

I’m thankful that we had the chance to spend time with my husband’s side of the family — his mom and sister, our newly-engaged niece and her fiance (and his parents, who are friends of mine), and our younger niece and nephew. There was lots of good food and everyone went home with full bellies and leftovers.

What I have learned for next year: I don’t have enough serving pieces. Meaning both cutlery and plates/bowls. I made a list of what would have been useful, and my husband and I decided we need to go look for some unique pieces at Market Days and flea markets before we host again. I also learned that I need a more complete and organized to do list — my wrinkled table cloths didn’t steal joy from the day, but I wish I had remembered to at least toss them into the dryer before I had the kids put them on the table. 😉

Overall, though, we couldn’t have asked for a better day. So I am thankful for today. And for the clean sheets on the oh-so-comfy bed my tired little body is headed to right now.


Let the Madness Begin

Today I am thankful that we have a working shower and hot water heater.

I’ve spent most of the day cleaning. Not because my house was so dirty (although, ahem, it could use some help, too). But because I told my kids that they needed to get rid of the things they’re not using. We start this massive annual declutter every November in preparation for the holidays and the new year. I am trying to declutter our entire house, and convince the others who live here that we need to be less attached to things.

Their goal this year was 30 items each. 7 year old Charlotte reached her’s easily, because, while she may have a ton of stuffed animals and Littlest Pet Shop pets, she doesn’t have a lot of junk. I convinced her that she didn’t need 5 pillow pets (thanks, grandma) and that some of her toys were just not being used or in very good shape, even though she’s taken good care of them. It did take a little prodding, but she did the bulk of the work herself.

My 9 year old son is another story.

Despite a warning not to do this, his first offering included 5 broken toys, 10 pieces of broken toys, and some tortured little green army men.  His next two attempts were not much better. I ended up doing a massive clean up (and yes, he was right there alongside me) getting rid of all the trash he and his brother have accumulated in their room, discarding broken toys, and serving as the judge of what they would keep and what they would donate. By the time we were done, I was in a rotten mood. It really bothers me how carelessly they treat their things, when I know that there are so many kids who have so little. It makes me wonder where I have gone wrong as a parent.

How do you deal with this in your home? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


It’s quiet in the house this morning. The two biggles aren’t here much during the week, especially when their dad is out of town. The middles met the bus at 6:45 this morning, under the orange glow of a street light. The baby has been up since 4am, but decided that he needed a nap after ‘the fun ones’ left for school. That leaves me and the dog, who hasn’t found anything real or imaginary to bark at for the last few minutes. I love this time of day. It’s scheduled “writing time” — pretty much the only true “me time” I get during the day.

Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my kids. I love being out and meeting new people. I love checking off to-do items on my list. I am absolutely LOVING being a stay-at-home mom. But I cherish these fleeting moments of quiet when I can sit with a cup of tea and pour out my soul for awhile. The baby takes a fairly long morning nap, and while I could probably transition him to a later wakey-uppy time in the mornings, I like knowing that I can have my quiet time with God and my Bible, a cup of hot tea, and some writing time first thing in the morning. I find comfort and peace in this new schedule, and it has really helped me to start my day with this kind of quiet reflection.

I know that there are floors to be swept and counters to be wiped. I know that I need to do some research on homeschool curriculum and that there are some bills waiting to be paid. But those can wait. That has been my biggest step forward in the past few weeks: learning to give myself time without guilt.