making it last



Kicking off Christmas early during the week of Thanksgiving has made for a wonderful Christmastime for me. My children met friends and family whom I cherish, and we spent time with them doing and seeing things we never have before. The time we shared was split with people who made us feel loved and welcome and some who set the stage for us to feel decidedly unwelcome. There was no in between. And while it felt bad to be ill treated, I'm glad for the experience. My children were able to see quite blatantly how to treat guests—whether they are family or friends. The experience added to our ability to appreciate the gladness that we do share with others, creating space for us to feel the spirit of Christmas all the more.

Another way we've made Christmas last a little longer is going to see Christmas lights a couple more times than normal, and taking pictures with our little Santa Claus doll has been a very fun time indeed. I can't forget how we have watched all of our Christmas movies together too. 

The one thing that hasn't happened yet this year, and it probably needs to happen tomorrow night or it won't is going caroling. The attrition rate around here for willing carolers is high, and I think it might be the end of that era for at least a while if not for always. And I'm sad about it. I don't know if I should make my children go because they will appreciate it later, or if I should just hang it up, and let it go. Rest assured, I've listened to every Christmas CD I own, bought more Christmas music files, and I've been creating a playlist that will hopefully be complete before Christmas. I'm not lacking in Christmas music, but I sure am lacking in the rejoicing in caroling to neighbors tradition I enjoy so much. 

No matter what, I have felt loved this year. I hope I've helped others to feel loved. And I am filled with joy that it is Christmas this week! 



taking a break



At any given moment, I have about four different problems I'm pondering/solving, at least two vital tasks needing to get done, and about five appointments I'm forgetting to set or go to or both. Throw in the end of my first first semester as a teacher coming to a close, Christmas preparations, and having just gone on an epic journey across the Great State of Texas, and you get one completely overwhelmed, overstimulated, over scheduled, over all the complaining, whining, fighting, throwing clothes and trash on the floor by children mother.

I'm just done. The other day, I was driving home from an errand, and I stopped on the side of the road near my house, and I sat and listened to Christmas music for about twenty minutes instead of going straight home. I needed a break! And I took it that minute.

While we are on the topic of breaks, I want to say that I have become pretty good at taking breaks when I sense a need. Sometimes though, I don't get to do the break I know would give me the most benefit/happiness. It's tough when those sorts of things happen, yet even getting a second choice break is better than no break at all. I've found that having a nice warm cup of fresh mint tea or a buble bath can turn a bad day around. There are many little things I've learned to do just for me when stress is high, making all the difference in my level of happiness. And I'm sure my sanity thanks me too.




divorcedness



Each day has new discoveries, and sometimes a word is one because you make it up.

Divorcedness is a condition you feel when you don't think you fit in because you either got a divorce or you're a child from a divorced couple. Oftentimes divorcedness is something you can't see, and no one else can measure the height or depth of which it is felt. Even still, if it is perceived, it is up to the sufferer to overcome this temporary condition.

I'd like to share that I no longer feel my divorcedness to the paralyzing levels I once did. I see how my family is wonderful albeit fatherless in most ways, some of the most important ways. I take my children everywhere families typically go, and I refuse to stand at the back of any room to keep out of the way of the "whole" families. I don't mean to say that I don't want a father figure for my children because that's not true, but I am thankful that I have found the courage to step up and keep joining in, instead of hiding in corners.

Now, I just need to convince my children. 

shenanigans

Polka Dot Purple's Third Birthday Party: Denver, Colorado
photo: C.T. Duncan

I need to write a retraction of sorts. Some weeks ago, I shared a bit of funny stuff for Whimsical Wednesday after a long break, but I introduced it with a sense of having forgotten or rather not had time to employ my whimsicality. And Reader, I firmly believed this about myself—that I have been altogether serious and no fun at all.

Then, I got a reminder about Polka Dot Purple. This is no ordinary sock monkey. First of all, how many sock monkeys do you know who are purple with purple polka dots all over? And second of all, I don't think there's another sock monkey around who was given with as much love and care as Miss Polka Dot Purple was. Third of all, our sock monkey girl has been on many adventures AKA shenanigans—not always big time ones but the everyday sort that really count. Purple gave us a sense of fun during a time when, frankly put, our life was quite sad and almost too hard to bear.

On this Whimsical Wednesday, I want to celebrate my ingenuity in trying times and pay gratitude to a loving, mindful sister-in-law who sent us this wonderful early Christmas gift three years ago.

This little monkey has a buddy now too. If you'd like to see Polka Dot Purple and Tillman's latest (and greatest) adventures, you will find them on my Instagram: @th_purpl_lady under the hashtags #TheTerribleTwo and #PURPLETAKEOVER.