OMG, I need a nap!

We have been taking care of three housefuls of dogs, cats, horses, ponies and chickens besides our own.  Well, the horses, ponies, chickens and some of the cats are not technically in houses, but still, they want care too.  In addition, we have an extra dog at our house to go with our 2 dogs, 7 chickens, 1 mouse and 2 rabbits (and soon to be 2 fish too.)  And there might have been some recent holiday celebrations? That required preparation and attending events? Maybe?

Yeah, I'm tired.

To care for the various menagerie, we have to get up and out the door by 7:45am.  You realize that I don't usually get up until 9am right? And no, I can't just go to bed earlier.  It doesn't work.  I can't go to sleep before 11pm-ish. 

So in the afternoon, between twice daily circuits about town, I try to rest on the couch.  The dogs are quite sure this is NOT a good idea.  The extra dog and Tonks think that they should wrestle and play and lick my face.  Yeah, fun.  And if they aren't successful at keeping me awake, I have children.  My favorite question was, "mommy, I just wanted to check if we can have fudge later."  No, they couldn't have waited until LATER to ask that.  Silly question.

I am becoming more and more sleep deprived and more and more grouchy.  Not too bad, just a bit short tempered.  I'm looking forward to the day when I get my vacation and someone else watches my pets.

Hopefully on this vacation, the children are elsewhere too so that I don't have to be woken up to "mommy, can I use 99 cents to buy thestupidestappever?"

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We're getting a Death Star!!!

I was telling Sandis today about how a group had gotten enough signatures so that the White House had to respond to the proposal to build a Death Star.  While I know we aren't going to actually build a Death Star, the proposal is quirky and geeky and will be some comic relief for the White House, which I'm sure they sorely need. 

Sandis, however did not think it was cool.  She responded with, "we don't need a Death Star, what we need is a TARDIS."

Hard to disagree, really. 

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The birthdays are all done.  Halloween and Thanksgiving, fond memories.  All that stretches ahead of me is Christmas.  And so we are mired in the part I love and hate.

We are busy.  Crazy busy.  There is all the usual stuff, quasi-school, 4H, pony lessons, work, etc, but then you add in all the extras like parties and choir practices and caroling.  Yes, I do love those things.  And I want to do them.  But then all of the sudden it's Friday and you realize this is the 6th night in a row that you haven't been at home.  And you haven't been home during the day either.  (Bite me you "homeschoolers aren't socialized" people.) 

You are palpably tired.  Exhausted to the marrow of your bones.  Either I'm getting old or my chronic fatigue never fully left or some blend of the two, but I am truly exhausted without being sleepy-tired.  I get plenty of sleep.  Still, my joints and muscles ache and I'm worn down to a nub.  I've had headaches and I never get headaches.

Then there's the shopping.  I've finished the kids and I LOVE shopping for them (my Love Language is gifts,) my problem is all those other people.  I've whittled it down to the bare minimum, and yet, here I sit, 11 days until Christmas with a pile of things to do and no patience or energy to do them. 

What do I have to do that should already be done?
  • Christmas boxes - we do a letter and symbolic small things to tell the story of our year.  We send this to 4 different families who do the same for us.  They are wonderful and meaningful and it's always impossible to find the things you decide you want to put in there.  One year I wanted small toy snakes for something or other and there was not a single toy snake in the state of Colorado.  As soon as the box was mailed, toy snakes rained from the sky.  That's how it works, people
  • Christmas letter - my brothers are getting letters this year.  I have no energy or money to spend on gifts for them.  They never send me gifts, rarely a card.  We are pretty much estranged, though I see some of them occasionally and hear about them through my parents.  Still, need to write the letter.  It will be much the same as the letter that goes into the aforementioned boxes.  
  • Mail gift cards/card to my parents.  
  • Get Brian's gift.  I have a couple small things but there is one bigger thing I want to get him and I need to do it.
  • Wrap all the stuff.  Hate that part.
  • Clean the house.
  • Decorate the house.  The tree's up, that's about it.
  • Send the check for the 4H field trip in January.  That is supposed to be there no later than Monday, crap!
  • Call the dentist.  They called the other day and said we have a "small balance."  That means that whatever they thought insurance would cover, insurance didn't completely cover.  Not a lot of money, I'm sure, but another thing to deal with and pay for.
  • Call the Extension office and get the kids transferred into our new 4H club.  
  • Pay the bills - woohoo 
  • Take the dog back to the vet for her 2nd Lepto shot
  • Schoolwork? Yeah, that's done for the year, see ya in January.

Not to mention I wish I could do small gifts for all my friends.  The people who help me out in small and large ways throughout the year.  And I want to send out 100 cards each year like I used to do.  Reach out in that small way to friends far and near.  

I feel like a huge failure some days.  Other days, I feel great about how I've focused my energy, time and money on my immediate family and made things special for my kids.  All the days find me worn out and not getting enough done.

Where are the people who love and enjoy this season? How do they do it? I want the secrets.  And I don't mean a list of how to organize all the crap you have to do.  I want to know how to be freakishly happy about the season.  I want to embrace and love December without getting overwhelmed and hating myself.  How do I do that? I can enjoy it and get waaaayyyy behind in my responsibilities or I can get shit done and be stressed. I can't have both.  I don't know how.

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Meanest mommy EVER

I'm sure all you moms out there have earned the "Meanest Mommy in the WORLD" award before.  Probably on numerous occasions.  Today I earned it, allegedly.  I should think I would have had to do MUCH worse than I did to earn The Award.  Still, The Award is subjective and today the subject was being peeled away from computer games, not torn away from some arduous task, so that probably contributed to her state of mind when handing out The Award. 

How did I receive today's Award?

Well, it's cold outside.  Below freezing cold.  Chicken-water-in-a-heated-bowl-had-a-skim-of-ice cold.  Because of this cold, I had been out there this morning checking on the sister wives and giving them some hot oatmeal for a warm-up treat when I noticed the nest boxes could use some more straw.  I then asked Stella, curator of chickens, to fill them up.


I was told it was cold out.  The chickens were fine.  They liked it that way.  Chickens huddled together anyway so they'd be fine.  Which did I want, mom-my, cold chickens or a cold daughter? When I told said daughter that she could, gasp, put shoes on her bare feet and wear a coat when outside, I was answered with a flounce.

And out she went, sans shoes or coat, to fill the boxes with straw.  Then she sat outside on the ground and played with the chickens for awhile.  In the cold.  Barefoot.  sigh.

Now she is back inside, incident and Award forgotten, playing with her ancient praying mantis that has, at most, days to live.  Poor old girl is dying - can't eat, moving is effort.  She laid her eggs a good month ago, she is spent.  Truly an old wise woman by praying mantis standards.  Still, Stella is sad that her little friend is leaving.  It's like Wilbur and Charlotte only Stella knew this day would come.

I am no longer the Meanest Mommy.  I am the mommy who comforts the sad little girl and lets her tote her dying insect around the house everywhere she goes.

I have so many mommy hats it is hard to keep track of them all.  I need a huge hat rack.  Or maybe just a fedora where I could tuck a different title under the band for each occasion.  Then I would know who I was and who I was supposed to be at any given moment just by looking at the hat.

Think that would work?

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It goes to eleven

The oldest one has made it to eleven.  Eleven years ago we were amazed that this tiny thing came from us.  That she was so beautiful.  That she had RED hair.  That she was all ours.  Our first baby.  We could hold her and feed her and love her.  It was the start of our journey together.

Since then we've come to know you better, Sandis.  Here are some things we've learned:
  1. You are crazy about dogs.  All animals, really, but especially dogs.  When you were a baby, you'd yell, "DEEEEE!" while pointing at any dog you saw.  It hasn't changed all that much over the years.  The words are more fully formed, but the excitement is the same.  Don't ever lose that, kiddo.
  2. You are obsessed with the color blue.  It is your favorite color and has been since before you could speak.  You also needed everyone to have a favorite color.  When Stella was born, you assigned her a favorite color until she could choose for herself.  When people would tell you their favorite color (you always asked,) if they said they didn't have a favorite color, you would assign them one.  If they said, "black" you would say, "no" and assign them one that you found appropriate.
  3. You are highly artistic.  You have been drawing since you could hold a crayon.  Of course, you would also try and eat the crayons at first.  Small price to pay for art, right?
  4. You're a reader.  I knew you were my child when you walked from the library to the car to the house without taking your nose out of a book. 
  5. Soccer is your game.  BC (before children,) Brian swore his child wouldn't be one of those soccer kids.  He thought it was crazy that they all played and yet didn't care about the world cup.  Yep, you are one of those kids.  You decided you wanted to play out of the blue and have been going strong for 5+ years.
  6. You are quite particular about your clothes you've gone through stages when you wouldn't wear jeans, would only wear jeans, wouldn't wear leggings, would only wear sweatpants, wouldn't wear a sweater/sweatshirt, couldn't get you to take off your sweater/sweatshirt, wouldn't wear pink, wouldn't wear a dress/skirt.  There were YEARS when you refused to wear socks, even in the winter.  There was the year when you wouldn't wear any clothes at all....
  7. When you are into something, you want to know EVERYTHING about it.  You Google it.  You check out library books about it.  You draw pictures of it.  You talk endlessly about it.  You obsess. That is how you've come to know more than your entire family about dolphins, sharks, dogs, and many, many other things.
  8. Have I mentioned dogs and the color blue? Yes? Well, they deserve a second mention.
  9. Pizza is your favorite food.  Any meal.  Anytime. 
  10. You love meat and despise vegetables. The total opposite of your sister.
  11. You are a great sister and friend.  You stand by your people no matter what.  You don't care about things like gender or age, you care about the person inside.  When you've made a friend, they are a friend forever

Sandis my special girl, I love you so much.  You are so much like me and yet wholly yourself.  Stay true to that self of yours always.  It is sweet and pure and true.  I can't wait to see where this journey takes us from here.

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Advent Calendar Reveal

It's done.  Not as pretty as I would like.  There were gluing issues.  And cutting out numbers issues.  And pickingoutpaperforthenumbersthatdoesn'tquitematch issues.  Suffice it to say, I didn't do it alone and so it is perfectly imperfect. :)

I do really, really like the center paper.  It's whimsical, colorful and has a reindeer - what more could I want?

In each little cube are two small chocolates and a slip of paper.  Written on the papers are the following fun things to do (not necessarily in this order) :
  • Wrap the door
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Watch Frosty
  • Watch The Year Without a Santa Claus
  • Watch Rudolph
  • Visit Reindeer @ Bath Nursery
  • String popcorn and/or cranberries
  • Get Tree
  • Decorate Tree
  • Bake cookies w/friends
  • Play Elf Bowling
  • Make Felt Gingerbread Houses
  • Caroling @ Church
  • Make gingerbread house
  • Craft Day at Church
  • Drive around & look at lights
  • Make teacher gifts
  • Solstice Bonfire
  • Make a paper chain
  • Watch Elf
  • Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Wildlights @ the Zoo
  • Make glue snowflakes
  • Watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Watch Muppet Christmas Carol

Yes, there is one more thing than there are days.  That's because I'm not sure when we are going to the zoo.  So someday there will be TWO activities, bonus!

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