December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas From the Farm

December 22, 2015
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Ahhh, Christmas.  My not so favorite time of year.  The stress level around here is off the charts.  Everything is off the charts.  The kids are greedier than ever.  They are constantly fighting and the expectations are ever so unreasonable.  Like you, I have a flurry of things to do and not the time or energy to do it.  The demands our culture has put on Christmas has left me defeated yet again.  Coffee:30 anyone?  No? Vodka:30?  Okay.

Aren't they cute?  Just the perfect picture of Christmas right here! Mason prefers "Boxers Only" attire these days.
If you really want to get me worked up just ask me my views on Elf on the Shelf.  I highly recommend we don't go there.  My heart tends to shrink just thinking about it.  Here is a little ditty that goes down in my car upon after school pick up Every. Single. Day.  From December 1st until the last day of school before the long awaited Christmas break begins I get punched with this:

"Mom, Ricky Bobby's elf left him pajamas!"
"Mom, Ruby Lou's elf takes baths in marshmallows!"
"Mom, Bessie's elf zip lines from chandelier to chandelier!"
"Mom, Dicky's elf plays house with Barbie!"
"Mom, Sally Sue's elf baked cinnamon rolls and iced them too!"
"Mom, Jessie Mae's elf toilet papered her bedroom!"
"Mom, Big John's elf poops chocolate chips in his potty!"

We have the lamest elf ever.  Look at him.  Nothin' to see here. He's not even the true Elf on the Shelf.  He's stuffed! How lame is that?   He's just chillin on the ladder where he's been for the last three days because Big Dog has forgotten to move him.  No Mission Impossible positions here. 
Really!?!?  How do I explain that our elf is totally lazy and boring?  I mean, who has time for the Pinterest inspired creative, over the top, you are amaze-balls mom of the year shenanigans anyway? Never mind that at least one of our five kids is up at any given golden moment throughout the night.  They either catch us moving the despicable elf or notice that he's already moved before they fall asleep. I feel like a total liar all Christmas.  "Oops! Elfie fell and since I'm a parent it's okay if I touch him to help him up." or  "Gee, honey.  I don't know why Efie didn't move last night.  Maybe the flight pattern was a little too crowded and it wasn't safe to fly." X three nights in a row!  I think I'm having a hot flash.  It's really hot in here.  
Do you suffer from Elf-itis?  Is the Elf on the Shelf causing you to lose your ever loving Christmas mind?  Has Elf-itis created tension between you and your partner?  
You are not alone.

Some common symptoms of Elf-itis are:

unintentional aggression towards the innocent elf
chronic Pinterest browsing
elevated instagram and facebook envy
nightmares involving you and the elf in a shoot-out outside Santa's workshop
loss if interest in where the little $%*&@# lands each night
elevated heart rate just thinking of your next plot
sweaty palms when restraining yourself from strangling the little *&%$%#

If this is you there is help.  No judgement, just help.  Please call

And then there's the crack.  The Christmas crack that comes wrapped in gold boxes, shiny tins and cute containers.  Christmas crack gets me every year.  You know, the chocolate covered peanuts crack, peppermint infused cookies crack, the salty mixture crack, peanut butter ball crack.  Crack, crack, crack.  And the 10 pounds it leaves you with.  Dear Mom, if you're reading this, I'm still waiting on the Rum Balls crack.  

Speaking of crack...these are the crumbs I left behind to "share" with my tribe.  
Now to the farm part.  Knock on wood....we have yet to experience the joy a busted pipe leaves us with this winter.  Would you mind knocking on wood for me? Thanks.  I need all the superstition I can get.  Our four goats that are expected to birth any day now....since October, are STILL pregnant.  There's nothing quite like watching and waiting for a milk sack to drop.  It may take a Christmas miracle.  My friends are pretty sure I've made the whole thing up.  And then there's the pasture gates situation.  One more gate goes down and we will have ourselves a livestock-nado.  A chicken lost an entire wing before going missing.  And our well.  Well, let's just say we don't have water more than we do.  The scattered and random sink holes have me convinced we live on a sacred cemetery.  But the pigs are fat and happy and I have 25 baby chicks in the barn that promise to increase the egg production near the end of spring.  Life on the farm is better than ever.  Not really.  Ok, so I may have asked Santa for a house in a neighborhood with a no animal law and only ten square feet of yard. 

Just a wing.  No chicken.  No clue. 
To sum things up, here is a sample of our Grand Year in Review:

Henry (7) loves football, soccer, and basketball but refuses to eat anything but Ramon. (Henry is also lucky to still be living with us after he affectionately described me as "squishy" read about that here)
Susie Grace (7) has a serious addiction to television and refuses to eat anything but candy.
Mason (11) continues to amaze us with his intense ability to play video games 23.78 hours a day.  He eats everything, non-stop.
Parker (13) is extremely helpful on the farm and is involved in competitive robotics (competitive robotics is serious business).  He eats his weight in Ravioli daily.
Lauren (18) joined the Army and will graduate high school this year.  She eats three square meals a day.
Carol (39 forever and always) is homeschooling and has no idea what or when she eats.
Big Dog (40 and furry) is sporting a beard past November, duck hunts and prefers to eat beer.  

Despite the crowds, Christmas crack, and cranky kids, I try my best to stay focused on what Christmas is truly all about.  Beyond all of the half lit/pre-lit trees, broken ornaments, glitter (I hate glitter), Elf-itis, sticky candy cane hands, Christmas card paper cuts, and financial hemorrhaging, there is a Savior that stands for us, reigns over us and His grace is more than enough for us.  He came as a babe, as a precious lamb. He came to redeem us.  To draw near to us.  To call us his very own.  He is the one true gift wrapped in the light of unwavering love and grace. May you receive the gift that is the one true meaning of Christmas! Amen!

Hallelujah, Merry Christmas everyone!

PS: My lashing out on the elf is of personal struggle and strife.  I admire all you elf enthusiasts out there!  You are creating memories for your family and adding to the magic of Christmas.  You go Elf advocate!  May the red and white force be with you.  

December 9, 2015


December 9, 2015
soft, not firm

flabby, mushy, pulpy, spongy, squashy, soft, squooshy

I had been away from my children for 24 glorious hours.  I came home and was rejuvenated. Distance made my heart grow ever fonder.  My seven year old grabbed my hand as soon as I had stepped through the front door and declared snuggle time.  Perfect!  I love snuggle time.  It involves my bed (one of my top three favorite things) and quiet moments with my children.  Snuggle time?  Game on!

Henry hardly gave me a chance to put my bags down.  Before I knew it, I was nestled in my bed with my youngest.  Snuggle, snuggle.  We talked about real Christmas trees vs. fake Christmas trees.  We were solving the problems of the world.  Here were were, sinking in real quality time sprinkled with sweet intellectual conversation.  And then he said it.  He said, "Squishy."  

Squishy.  The word squishy makes me cringe a little.  A friend of mine can't stand the word "moist".  Well I can't stand the word "squishy".  Ew.  

"Mom, I just love you!  You are just so SQUISHY!  I wish I could have a stuffed animal like you.  I'd name it 'Squishy' and snuggle it all the time".  Um...a stuffed animal of me?  Now, there's a vision.

Clearly I haven't taught my boy that the word "squishy" is not a flattering word to describe a female. 

Well, this fond adjective did come minutes after eating what might be considered my last meal at a Mexican restaurant on top of 24 hours spent eating pasta and cheesecake.  Squishy.  How endearing.  

What goes around comes around.  I remember crawling in my mom's lap and telling her with great affection just how "comfortable" she was.  Squishy stings a bit more.