We're starting our Advent Acts of Kindness a day early due to vacation plans. I know I promised a picture of the Advent Calendar my mom and I worked on, and that will come as soon as I hang it up! So, today, our Kindness Card is to make something for Monster's teacher. Here it is.
I got the idea from this site. Only thing I did differently was I used tracing paper instead of computer paper. I also used glitter crayons. You can't see in the pictures, but it really does look cool. While we were melting crayons, we decided to make some smaller ones for ourselves.
The Holiday Season has officially begun in our household. It started off with an amazing Thanksgiving with my in-laws. The food was great, but the company was better. Sunshine and Monster love spending time with their cousins. The cousins even built a spy obstacle course (that I've been promising to build) for the kids to do. When we got back home that evening, Oee, our Elf on a Shelf, was waiting for us. The kids were so happy to see him! Sunshine kept running up to him saying, "Hi, Oee!" and Monster read him a story!
Friday we decked our halls. Husband saw an add in the paper for a $30 pre-lit tree and sent me out on Black on Friday to get it. I was prepared for the worst. I don't do Black Friday shopping for a reason. I would rather spend extra to get something than waste my time. Time is much more valuable to me. However, it's what he wanted and he asks so little, so I went out and braved the crowds for that tree. It's been more crowded at Target on any given Saturday. Walked in, got my tree and walked out. No lines, close parking spot. It was great! Got home and the new tree went right up. We dug out the Irish Angel for the top of the tree. She must have been hitting the Jameson's too hard because we couldn't get her straight for a while, but finally she sobered up (those crazy Irish!) and she is perfect, like always, on top of the tree. We listened to Christmas music and enjoyed family time. Then, a new "tradition" was started. The babysitter arrived! Now, I have to first say, our babysitter rocks! My original intention was to have her come over so Husband and I could hang outside lights without interruptions. But, before she got here, Husband decided he didn't want to do outdoor lights this year. That meant we had four hours do whatever we chose. We chose to clean. It was great! No really...it was great! We cleaned out and organized the basement storage closet. We got items ready to donate to the hospice store. We got a ton of yard work accomplished (the awesome weather helped out a great deal with that!). We got Christmas gifts for the kids organized and gifts for our families at the Children's Center wrapped. Perfect day in my opinion
Saturday was again a beautiful day. Lots of cleaning. Re-organized the playroom and went through toys the kids no longer play with and got them ready for new homes. Did mounds of laundry. That part wasn't so exciting for me, but it gave me quiet time while the kids and Husband made pizzas. Best part of the day was the time we got to spend outside. Husband taught the kids how to play Four Square. They got their bikes out and road up and down the sidewalk. I got to mow and I learned how to use the trimmer (may not seem exciting, but for me it was. I love that stuff!).
Today, I actually get to go see my parents alone. I'm still working on the Advent Calendar. OK, so I haven't even started. I didn't get the right kind of material for a no-sew project, so I have to sew. I am taking the afternoon and heading up to my parents sans children and Husband. My mom and I are going to spend the afternoon sewing and chatting! I'm so excited! It's been a while since I've gotten to hang out with my mom, just the two of us.
The rest of this week will be filled with more holiday preparation! Just a bit more shopping to do. Gifts to wrap. Cookies to start making. Toys to donate. Acts of Kindness to fulfill. I can't wait! It is going to be a wonderful holiday season this year!
This year, Thanksgiving is a bit different for me. More relaxed, more recognition of the things I have to be thankful for. It has been a crazy year so far, but I've waded my way through and have found more to be thankful for than ever before. Not sure what happened, but I'm glad I can see all my blessings more clearly.
One thing I am thankful for is that every year, we head to my sister in law's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I am thankful I don't have to cook. I made cookies, pie and green bean casserole and I'm done. Monster and I also made favors for Thanksgiving. Really cute idea. It will take 10 seconds to destroy them, but we had a great time making them!
I just blew my kid's mind. Each of my children have a stuffed puppies named Heartsy. Monster's Heartsy is actually my stuffed animal that was bought for me 4 days before I was born. Sunshine's Heartsy is a Webkinz. She gets to watch him on the computer and feed him and, her favorite, make him go potty. Poor Husband has no idea the difference between the two Heartsies. So, Sunshine and Monster tried to explain to him tonight. Monster was telling Husband that you can see Sunshine's Heartsy on the computer but not his. That's when I blew his mind. I told him that his Heartsy was made before everyone had computers in their homes and before the internet was invented. He was shocked! He let me know that meant that our (mine and his) Heartsy was super old and really special.
Lately, we've been doing a lot more creative and "homemade" things. Here's some of the stuff we've been up to.
Masking tape race track
Garage storage (still a work in progress...going to add more rows of bins to ceiling)
Get Well Card
Some of these ideas I got off of Pinterest. I love that site. The recycling center was all Husband. He used scrap wood we had and made his own design. The garage storage was all him,as well. I saw something like it on Pinterest, but he modified it by putting metal bars to separate the bins (when we finish with more bins). Another thing that was all Husband are the Hairy Men. He started making those for Monster when he was just little. They have evolved over the years and we make all kinds of Hairy Men now. The dream pillow was a Faith Ringgold project in Monster's art class. The Ransom Box has been working out great for Monster. Sunshine doesn't understand it yet. She wants Mommy to pick her stuff up and store it in that box.
The kids have really enjoyed all the fun activities we've been doing lately. So have I. We've got a lot to do still, but I'm trying to hold off until we're all forced to be inside due to the weather. While it's still nice out, I'd rather them burn off some energy while I try to get the yard under control!
I have always thought health care has been a ridiculous in this country, but now, going through all my issues, I pay more attention to absurdity of what is going on. A family friend, who shall remain nameless for privacy purposes (but referred to as "A" from here on out), is very sick. This person has been in and out of the hospital many times in the past 4 months. "A" has lost over 60 lbs. "A" has been losing teeth and hair. Still, doctors can't pinpoint what's wrong. "A" is on all sorts of medications. The latest is that doctors think "A" may have tumors and want to do a scan. Yet, they don't have any available appoints for this until after the new year. Um, this person is rapidly deteriorating yet can't get an appointment to scan for tumors for two months? How does that make sense? What is this country's health care system coming to? I fear for my children's futures with health care. If it's this bad now, how bad will it be when they get to be my age?
Got a compliment today that gave me a little bit of renewed hope. Random person at the grocery store told me I was doing a great job raising my kids. What a great warm fuzzy to make my rough day better.
Where do we draw the line on the price of our health? This is yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of my health issues and neck pain. I've had to make some very difficult decisions lately in regards to my health and check book. How is it we have to put a price on our well being? I currently have good insurance, but my new doctor is out of network. That's fine, except for the part where my treatment program is going to cost $2000 out of pocket. That's just the treatment. There are also the tests. Today was another $200 for a hormone panel test. In the past three weeks, I have spent near a thousand dollars out of pocket for health expenses. This is just the monetary cost. This does not include all my time or mental health. I've been extremely worried over the price tag of this. The money makes me not want to get help. There's just something the matter with that statement there. Why do I have to think, "I can't afford to get better" ? I feel like I'm living an episode of House, minus the hospital and health insurance coverage, and the snotty doctor. I feel like they are just making guesses and then figuring out if those guesses are right. I know that in order to figure out what's wrong with me, there need to be tests run and treatments tried, but, again, at what cost? At what point do I just give up and say, "It's great you're figuring stuff out, but I can't afford this anymore."? What if the "cure" comes in the next session? After three weeks, my neck has more mobility. It still hurts, but it hurts just a little less. The mobility is a huge difference to me though. It's great to be able to turn my head after over year of not being able to do so. I can almost look behind me with out moving my whole body. All my other issues, they still don't know, hence the latest hormone panel. My concern is that I sink money we don't have into more and more tests only for them to come up with no answers. At what point do I give up? Yes, this is such a happy post, but the life of a mom isn't always bon bons and soaps.
I believe in destiny. I believe in soulmates. I believe that destiny brought my soulmate to me, literally. We met 16 years ago under crazy coincidences, which leads me to believe that it was destiny. Husband and I are perfect for each other. Similar yet very different. We compliment each other. In the areas where I'm laid back, he's more uptight. When he's stressed, I'm calm and can logically work through a problem. He's impulsive. I'm a planner. We fit. Maybe that's what makes these bits where he's gone so much more difficult. It's not just my husband who is gone, it's my partner, my best friend. I thank God every day that we found each other. With him, I'm complete.
I am an only child so the bond between siblings fascinates me. Growing up, my good friends either had siblings much older or much younger than they were. No one really had a close bond with their siblings. When I got to high school, I met people who had more of a connection with their siblings, but it was always sisters who had this bond. So it fascinates me to watch my children. They are truly each others' best friends. They fight something horrible at times, but, from what I've been told, most siblings do. It's so wonderful to watch Monster and Sunshine interacting. They both have great imaginations and they fall into imaginary play so well together. They always have each other's backs. When Sunshine gets soap in her mouth, Monster is right there to wipe it out (this makes me mad, but it is sweet). When one is crying, the other tries to give comfort. If I threaten to leave Sunshine behind because she's not paying attention, Monster starts to cry because he doesn't want me to leave his sister. If Monster and I happen to go someplace without his sister, he tends to forget to and then freaks out when she's not in the van, and vice versa. Sunshine so wants Monster to be proud of her. First thing every morning if Monster doesn't come to wake her up with me, she gets up and says, "I tell [Monster] I no get out of bed". Everything thing she does she wants to show her brother. And he's great about it. About 1/3 of the time, he ignores her, 1/3 of the time he says something to appease her, and the other 1/3 of the time, he congratulates her and truly shows pride in her. Sunshine wants to be just like Monster. Anything he does, she wants to do. You would think it's just admiration of an older sibling, but it's more. He wants to be with her, too, and wants her to be proud of him. He loves reading stories to her. He's so proud that he can read her stories to her. He draws pictures for her all the time. He includes her in almost everything he does. I'm so proud of them both. The love they have for each other is something I hope lasts a lifetime.