Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas is still happening!


Merry Christmas!

Yes, it’s still Christmas here.  The tree is still up, but shedding needles like crazy.  Probably a fire hazard!  It looks kinda sad, too.  But it has to last through this weekend!  My Massachusetts family will be here for  Christmas/New Year/Baby Shower/Birthday Party celebrations.  Let the fun begin!

(I went grocery shopping tonight, for all these people and parties.  I bought A LOT of food!!  I had to go through Sam’s Club twice, because it wouldn’t all fit in one cart.  It took me 5 hours to run a few errands with Zach… and I pulled a full grocery cart into the back of my ankle… and it was raining… so I went to Starbucks to reward myself after I finished shopping.)

I hope you all had as wonderful a Christmas morning as I did!  I have to say, I love being in my own home on Christmas morning.  Dee and I traveled up to Massachusetts the first Christmas we were married, but haven’t been back for Christmas since then.  With kids now, I don’t even think it would be possible to lug presents for five munchkins up and back on a trip like that!  I love that the kids can wake up and run downstairs to our very own Christmas tree, in our very own lovely basement, where Mommy and Daddy wrapped presents just a few hours earlier.

Waste of time?  Nope.  It’s tradition now, Dee and I staying up late to wrap all the presents on Christmas Eve.  Pretty lights, music, coffee, laughter, no kids… We had fun!

For the curious, I bought Dee a pair of Bogs boots, and he bought me an iPod touch.  Um, YEAH!  He rocks!

(Now I can be just like Auntie Anna and play Toby Mac for the kids on the way up to church.)

The only present-opening catastrophe was when Cameron opened a pocketknife that Cory thought Auntie Liz mailed to him.  Oh the tears!  Until I could explain well enough that no, Auntie Liz was bringing her knives with her later this week.  This knife was from Mommy and Daddy for Cameron, and Cory had one too… in his stocking…

(And just for the record, I bought knives first!)

We had Dee’s mom and dad and sisters and families to our house for Christmas dinner.  A 7:00pm dinner, since we have a dairy farm family in our midst.  We ate subs, fruit, and veggies for dinner.  We were going for ease, not health, but everything was SO yummy and easy.  It seems like a good new tradition to me!

Right now I’m trying to sneak in some school days before the partying starts again.  My kids don’t know that all the public school kids are sleeping in late and watching lots of TV every day this week!  (Oh wait we’re doing that too.)  Dee took this whole week off work, so he’s around to help with stuff.  Today he cleaned all four bathrooms for me!  See?  He totally rocks.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  Uh, morning…



Unless you live in this family and watched “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” with us, you didn’t just crack up reading my title.  But here in this family, all you have to do is strike a pose like Jim Carrey, mimic “Word!” and everyone starts giggling.

Words have been on my mind.

I bought The Jesus Storybook Bible for my kids and cried as I read the very first story to my kids.  About God speaking the world into existence with just words.  About His plan to send a Rescuer, the Word made flesh, because He knew we’d never measure up on our own.  It’s a beautiful, true story!

I’ve been thinking about how God doesn’t care if we don’t measure up.  He really doesn’t care!  Not because he’s a distant God.  (He’s Immanuel — God WITH us!)  No, because when He looks at us He sees Jesus, that perfect Word made flesh, the One that died in our place, and so He sees perfection.

Isn’t that great news for someone like me?  Struggling with perfectionism?  God already sees me as perfect.

I try to remember this as I straighten the house only because someone said something about my house not always being tidy.

I think about words as I drive to Dee’s work Christmas party, where I will be judged by what I wear and say.

I think about words as I load the kids into the car and take all five of them out to the post office and a local (breakable!) gift shop.  I don’t want to take five kids shopping!  Especially during school hours, because what will people say?  But I take them because I promised my son.  I spoke words, and he believed them.

I think about words as I hang up my cell phone after leaving a message for my husband.  The kids all chimed together from the back seat, “You didn’t say ‘I love you,’ Mom!”  I thought I did, but no, they assured me, I didn’t.  “We were listening!”  So maybe I was a little irritated that he didn’t answer his phone.  I don’t usually call him unless I have something important to say.  But what’s more important than, “I love you?”

Thinking today about the power of words… and about the powerful love of the Word made flesh.  A Baby, must vulnerable of all, and yet completely God and ruler of all.

We have no fireplace, but the stockings are hung!


I am just loving our pile of stockings this year!  So many!  My heart squeezed tight when I hung them up and saw what a huge jumble we are.

I can’t wait to stuff all the stockings with the candy and toys I bought!  We’ve always told our kids that Santa isn’t real, just a fat guy in a red suit.  We tell them Mommy and Daddy buy and deliver the gifts.  This year, my daughter is using this info to her manipulative advantage!  She says, “Mom, since you’re Mommy Santa, you can grant my every wish, right?!”

Bright child, that one.

Zach loves the lights.  I think all of us should let our excitement shine so transparently!

I love the Christmas lights too.  Especially since I gave myself permission to just throw away the ones that don’t work!  Like the garland that my boys used to play jump rope.  I remember when I was a child, sitting (for hours it seemed!) with broken lights, replacing tiny bulb after tiny bulb trying to bring the light strand back to life.

No more!

I’m throwing away lights, Ziploc bags, broken toys, plates and silverware…  ‘Tis the season!  It’s my Christmas nesting.

Crumbs are just trash if not wiped up with love


I was scrubbing lunch crumbs off the placemats, just in time for supper.  (Most days, we eat right on top of those leftover crumbs!)  I had hamburgers frying on the stove, a baby sleeping in the other room, and the rest of my kids playing in the basement.  I heard footsteps on the stairs, and then, “Mommy?”

What, Kirstyn?”

“Please don’t yell at me.  I just wanted to know if I could help you.”

Oh good Lord, I’m right back there again.  Right there where my patience snaps in half.  Right there where I look and sound just like I tell my kids NOT to look and sound like!  Right back where I thought maybe I’d left, for a new lesson in Motherhood.

Nope.  It’s me being harsh again.

Can I crawl in a big cardboard box?  I know we have one or two floating around.

I get this way when the stress comes.  When I start freaking out about, say, Christmas?  Un-bought presents, un-planned menus, un-cleaned house, un-packed suitcases, un-established traditions, un-mailed packages…

Now tell me, is that not foolish?  My friend Mary Behrens said something wonderfully freeing on Facebook:  “December 25th will come and go whether I’m ready or not!”

I don’t want to be ready for December 25th.  I want to be ready for Jesus!  And Jesus is here now, our Immanuel.  He doesn’t go home in between the holidays!  And I can’t be ready for Him if I’m stressing out over a pending, government-issued day.  A made-in-China toy craze.

Jesus is wrapped up in my children.  My children, they are here now!  They don’t need a stressed-out mom.  The need joy and patience, peace and laughter, love and memories.  My kids can’t sit and wait on the back burner until I get my life in order.

My kids and I, we were having a talk the other day.  Kirstyn wanted to know, “Do I have to love God more than I love you, Mom?  Because I don’t want to!”  Tricky question.  I told her that technically, yes, she needed to love God more than she loved me.  But, right now she was loving God by loving me, and obeying me, and hopefully I would never ask her to do something that God wouldn’t like.

(She came up with a hypothetical situation:  “Like if you asked me to kill a cat.”  Me: “I would never ask you to kill a cat.”  Kirstyn: “Well, if it was sick, and had a broken leg, and a broken neck, and broken everything, and it was going to die anyway.”  Me: “I think God would be okay with the cat dying then.”  Kirstyn: “Yeah.”)

I also explained to the kids that I love God by loving them!  How I’m treating them is how I’m treating God.  (All those mean faces?  Yeah… not good.)

For example, non-hypothetical situation:  If I huff, “What, Kirstyn?” because I really don’t want to be bothered right now, and please just leave me alone, then I’m breaking God’s heart.

Breaking God’s heart is not something I want to do.  Ever.  But during this season when we celebrate His birth?  I should be hugging my babies especially close, pointing out the stars, and the manger, and the angels, and the baby boy who was born to save us.  To bring hope back to the world.  To rip aside the veil to glory.  To give us justice and mercy simultaneously.

My gift back to this Baby should be love spilling over on the ones He has given to be Immanuel played out in my life.

Rotten mice, and “crabs” from the woods


Last months, I asked my kids if they wanted to write a blog post for me.  Kirstyn wrote about catching crabs in the woods, and at the time I smiled and thought, “What a great imagination she has!”

Well, it turns out, there are crabs in my woods!  My boys have been hanging out in the woods together, and the other day they brought me a treasure.  A crawfish.  I had no idea there were crawfish nearby!  We kept it in a bowl of water overnight, and the next day I made the boys bring the crawfish home.  (Back to its home, not mine!)

My boys come home muddy and wet almost every day, but I just smile and make them strip at the door.  I’ll gladly wash all the laundry required for these childhood memories.

They love to bring me treasures, my boys.  I try really, really hard to say, “Oh wow!  Thank you!”  I love their adventurous spirits, creative minds, and brave hearts.  Every once in a while though…

Like last week.  Cameron came to me with an old Wrigley’s gum tin.  Inside the tin, I found a dead mouse, full of wriggling maggots.  I yelled.  I told Cameron that live animals were fine, as long as he doesn’t hurt them, but DON’T touch the dead ones!  I made him scrub with soap and water, and reminded him again that he shouldn’t eat raw eggs out of the chicken coop either.

I think Cameron should have a career with animals.  He can be a farmer, a rancher, a rodeo cowboy, a veterinarian, a marine biologist, it really doesn’t matter!  I have a friend, who has a brother, who’s a horse farrier, who makes really good money, who’s looking for an apprentice…

Is four years old too young?  Not that I’m anxious to be rid of him.  I just think Cameron would love and thrive in an occupation requiring so much muscle and sweat!  Plus, then his mama can come and visit the horses.

(Yeah, I might have some ulterior motives!)

I guess I’ll just keep him for now.  I’ll be his treasure keeper.  All except for the rotting carcasses.  Those, I’m throwing out!