Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Living life from the pantry

I discovered a good place to count my blessings.

The pantry.

You guys, I was wandering around our new house thinking that I was hungry but I wasn't sure what for. I ended up in the pantry because that's where the food is (one can't stand in the refrigerator and this one who hates cold certainly can not). I wasn't seeing anything that struck my fancy. I thought something along the lines of,

"Hmph. All this food and nothing I want."

And then I looked around again, really looked, and thought,

"I am so incredibly ungrateful. I am standing in a pantry. A pantry, a room I've never had in any of the other houses I've lived in. A room dedicated to storing food. A room! How many people from around the world would be blown away by the amount of blessings right here in this room? Food. To cook. To eat. To nourish!"

Holy smokes.

Talk about blessed. Talk about cups runnething over. Ha, what a great word! An entire room dedicated to blessings.


Now I know where I can go when I'm feeling sorry for myself and need to snap out of it. I can go look around my pantry and count my blessings and give myself the mental smack I need to refocus on my amazing life instead of the fact that there are no chips.

We should bring back the pantry.

What's your pantry? How many blessings do you have in there, all inventoried and lined up and shoved in and heaping over?

Since I plan on being truly thankful by Thanksgiving, I'm going to be on the lookout for blessings. My life is full of them. Perhaps yours is, too. I'm betting it's fuller than you think.

It may not be that you have surplus food. Maybe money is tight this month or every month and you have a hard time making it to the end with enough to fill your appetites or the growing ones/ never-full ones of your children. Maybe you or a loved one has a chronic illness that limits the life you can live in very real ways. Maybe you haven't achieved what you set out to reach.

None of us are perfect, or even close. But our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Every morning there is a sunrise. Every evening there is a sunset. With a little imagination, we can see that our colorful world is amazing. Imagine if every bug was the same kind of bug, or there were only one type of tree or one kind of flower. Nature is filled with all different kinds of all of those. We're not stuck listening to the same birdsong. Heck, birds sing. They don't have to. They could just poop on the laundry and eat all the crops, but no, they add color and music to our lives.  The trees that are making incredibly huge messes right now with apples, pinecones, buckeyes, and walnuts are gorgeous with changing colors. Just take a minute, just 60 seconds, to watch the sun shining through them, or notice how the colors change if it's a gray day.

Perhaps if we all shift our perceptions with the shift in season, we'll find some of our overlooked blessings.

And no, I'm not going to want to hear this same lecture back at me once winter rolls around, but at least I'll try it. I'll try to relish the quietness of snow (at least something near my house is quiet, certainly none of the occupants are) and the differences in the angle of the sun, provided we see it ever. See? There was a conscious choice to be positive.

I'm going to try to take what I find in the pantry and pepper my life with it. If I'm to be salt and light, I need to have the right focus, which should not be on me.

In a few minutes, I have to go pick up our youngest blessing. He's had a full day already, and the big kids still have karate later, which means another trip in the car and back. I need the grace to deal with a tired out, "not tired, not sleepy, Mama" little guy in a way that isn't snappish or rough even though I, too, would love to skip the whole deal entirely and go to bed early. I'm going to choose to be a blessing to him and to be patient, to give us extra time to get everything done and the dinner we need and the snacks will also need and the books and the love and the laughter.

And if I can't? It'll be back to the pantry I go...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Eh heh. I said 'eh heh'."

Yesterday after all the kids were home from school, and we represent three different ones now- yoi, Damon had the blues about something or other. In an attempt to cheer him up, I started the following conversation.

"Do you know what I had to do all by myself today?"


"I had to get groceries all by myself. I kept saying, "Damon, could you put- oh, never mind. You're at preschool." "Damon, could you please get a box of- oh, you're not here." "Damon, could you hand me a- oh, that's right. You're having fun at school." "

Carrie, who'd been listening the whole time, tilted her head in pity and was about to add an, "aww, poor-" but she didn't get it in in time.

Damon, that precious little darling, started to smile, looked at me, and said, "Ha ha."


Monday, September 22, 2014

Status Update

At least, I guess this is a status update, ha. I've had several things happen throughout the move which I'd wanted to blog about, but now that I sit down in relative peace I can't remember any of them. So we'll start with:

Preschool has begun for the Damonator. He loves it. Every day he wants to know when he goes. He likes to be reminded, "after lunch." He knows that he goes Monday through Thursday, and then he takes a break and goes back the next Monday. So far they've done a lot with the Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The teachers even changed it into "Who Do You See?" and made books for each of the students with photos of classmates taken at orientation. Very cute way to learn names, I might add! He's over the moon about the small yellow trampoline with the handlebar that is in his room, and he loves snack. And the texture table. And the books. And the goodbye song at the end of the day. He loves school.

Liam the Lovebug has made some new friends thanks to Pokemon cards, though I was hoping we'd have skipped that particular fetish. Those were big when my cousin David was little. Who knew they'd endure? So not my thing. At any rate, his third grade teacher is very kind and calm and seems amused with him so far, which is wonderful. There have been a few skirmishes between boys, but I suppose that is to be expected with boys. He likes school and he loves to read, so I am counting my blessings big time.

Carrie is thrilled- thrilled- to be in school though she's not a fan of the early mornings. The first day she rode the bus she had to be on it by 6:45 AM! My heavens! They've since tweaked the route and she is now boarding at about 7:10, which is way better for our anti-earlybird. This morning she was blinking owlishly and mumbling about setting her alarm for 6:20 instead of 6:15. I told her she could set it for 6:30 if she'd move her butt once she got up, but she better keep it at 6:15 for a buffer if she's going to just sit and stare at her cereal bowl. We already do all that night-before stuff like getting out clothes for the next day, lunchbox at the ready if they're going to pack a lunch, backpack loaded, etc. Since she doesn't do hair/makeup/earrings/accessories, you'd think she'd be rolling out of bed at 6:45, but what can you do? You can throw a horse INTO the water trough, but you can't make it drink................

Dada says his commute (hehe) is almost exactly the same as it was from Beaverton to Portland all those many moons ago. I think that's funny! He's glad to be back from England where he spent all last week, and we're getting Stuff accomplished around the new house. Friday night the Richards crew came over and we had a small fire in our fire pit. Nina was spinning around in the yard, blissed out, and saying that perhaps because of this house she won't be afraid of bugs anymore. She had asked previously why we'd had to move, and I'd replied that we'd found our dream house. She toured it excitedly and claimed, "it is totally your dream house! I can see why you moved!" So that was gratifying, hehe. I think they'll be frequent visitors.

Dada cleaned out our gutters one weekend evening, which is going to be an ongoing battle until we can get leaf/ice guards on them. The kids have been collecting bins and buckets of buckeyes, and more buckeyes. We saw our first chipmunk yesterday and have been watching squirrels since we moved in. I've heard blue jays and cardinals and one woodpecker. Muggin needs to come over with her bird books and glasses so we can see who our neighbors are!

After the kids went to bed, we positioned and began filling two bookshelves in the living room. It was exciting to see old friends come out of boxes into their places of honor. I love books and would fill the whole house with them. We have a set of shelves in the "old lady room" (dubbed because of the wine colored carpet with roses on it) for kid books and a set in the "library" for grown ups, which include Stephen King, Max Lucado, Anne Rice, George R.R. Martin, Tolkien, Stieg Larsson, and plenty of others. I was giggling at how we have True Love by Robert Fulghum and the Princess Bride very close to The Road... you can't get much different in tastes or genres! I'm SO excited to see it come together. And yes, I know those are all supposed to be underlined, but I just don't feel like it...

Anyway, must go get some more Stuff accomplished before my dentist appointment and our library trip and lunch and preschool drop off. We're getting swamped with kid paperwork including photo package ordering forms, but I think since we have such a woodsy setting here at the new house that we'll just capture them in their element and have them printed ourselves. Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Lightbulb moment

I've never believed people who say that moving stinks.

Other than our first few moves, my hubby's company has always moved us and all our possessions from Hither to Yon. This time, though, we're doing it ourselves.

With three kids.

And a dog.

And an entire houseful of stuff.


First off, those of you with no kids but who visit others' homes where there ARE children, will just have to use your wondeful imaginations and dream up the sheer amount of Stuff that homes with kids acquire. It's ridiculous. Ridiculous! The toys, the clothes, the stuff to put the toys IN, the books, the stickers, the writing and drawing utensils, the LEGOS, oy vey. How can the smallest people accumulate so.much.stuff?!

Second, packing yourself while there are children around is like trying to clean in the middle of a tornado. Everything you pack and stack will have a child getting into it the minute your back is turned. And if they're not undoing what you've packed, they're picking fights with each other. The kind of fights that you need to stop what you're doing, again, and intervene in... usually with penalty of bodily harm involved.

Third, more often than not, whatever you need and/or are looking for is at the house where you are not. I needed brown sugar this morning to bake for moms' group. I couldn't find it anywhere and I know I have some. Thank goodness for friends and neighbors who can lend some sugar in an hour of need.

Fourth, always arrange to have the carpets cleaned a month before you know you'll be moving. I'm winking here, though you can't see it. Tomorrow the carpets will be cleaned in the new house, which means that the carpeted floors all need to be bare so we can get the Empty House Discount. Which means that all trips to the new house came to a grinding halt as far as getting furniture out of the old house goes.

Great, I'll just put the kitchen together. Noooo problem. Except that for once I'd like to have shelf liners and I had enough to line three shelves. And the grocery store didn't have any. So we'll have to check more stores tonight while the big kids are at karate.

Which brings me to dinner. Which I must make. But not before I attempt bodily harm on the children who are picking fights, again.

Can I just stick them all in boxes, too? They like bubble wrap!