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Archive for December – 2008 – Mommy of Many®
It was a peaceful Christmas at the Lang house. We were all together and kept it simple. We open gifts on Christmas Eve which makes it easier for us to get to church on Christmas morning. After church, we headed home and I cooked while the kids enjoyed some games and old movies.
I gathered everyone together at the end of the day and they all offered a Merry Christmas to each of you. After everyone offered their wishes, Luke-Xavier broke into an original, Santa song. I couldn’t help but include it.
I hope you each had a Merry Christmas and enjoyed this holiday season. Now, onto the new year!
It’s only days before Christmas! I’ve had one of my sisters visiting and all of kiddos are home. The weather, even in San Diego, has felt like winter. JJ had an adventure getting home because of snow storms. But now we are all safe and snug in our little house. The kids are out of school and it’s time to kick it into high gear, wrap the presents, make some treats to pass around to the neighborhood and panic over the last few gifts that must be bought. But I’m glad it’s here. I’m glad everyone is together. We all went to a Christmas party with friends and extended family, a few nights ago. It was so nice to see everyone together, dressed up and enjoying the songs and feeling that goes with this season.
Here are a few pictures
The 5 oldest Lang kiddos
Luke-Xavier in his Christmas coat. Love to cuddle this little guy!
If you’ve followed the blog and the show since the early Fall, then you know that this year has brought a lot of change, experimentation and indecision when it comes to schooling. For the last 8 years all my kids have been in the local, Catholic schools. Over the summer I had to make some decisions about schooling based on one of my children. Instead of just focusing on that one child, I made a decision to change everyone’s schooling and pulled 4 kids from the K-8, Catholic school and put my 2 younger boys at the local, public school and my two 7th graders went into a homeschooling program. Once Clay came home, he reviewed the changes I’d made and watched me juggle the house, kids, blog, podcast, writing and homeschooling. To his credit, he agreed that my juggling skills were pretty, darn good, but that one of the girls should definitely go back to the Catholic school to finish out 7th and 8th grade and we could make other decisions for our other daughter as needed. So, off he went to the Catholic school to meet with the principal to see if there was still space and if we could have our daughter come back. Four days later she was back in uniform and sitting in class with her old classmates. We then focused on our other 7th grader and made the decision to stop homeschooling and put her into the local middle school. This was SO hard for me. But, I must admit, she’s doing very well, has met friends and is on top of her work load. Once the girls were settled and doing well, we turned out attention to the 2 boys. They’ve been doing great at the new school. They are both working well above grade level and have made friends that live near by. Our intent has been to let this year play out and then pursue spots for them back at the Catholic school. BUT, time has been sped up. Clay, once again, sat down with the principal and reviewed the openings that were still available. The decision was made that since there are openings now and may not be when it’s time to register and apply for next year, that we jump in with both feet.
So, after beginning this school year with all sorts of change, we are now going to have everyone back in the same school, except the one 7th grader. The boys were really excited to find out the news. It’s nice that they’ve made friends that they will be able to keep, here in the neighborhood. But for schooling, it’s going to be best for them to go back to the program that they were used to and for me to cut down by one school. Whew! This has really been an experience for our family! Leaving the Catholic school and then hoping and praying that the kids could get back in, has made us appreciate the education our kids get there and to know that no matter the cost, that we want our kids in a faith-based environment for their schooling. Yes, we still have one daughter who’s getting a different education, but in her situation, it’s what needed to happen for this year. Hopefully she will continue to excel in the program she’s in and we can reevaluate what the best schooling situation is, for her, for next year.
I’m amazed at how things have changed from when I was a kid. Back then, you just simply went to your local school. It seems that we’ve looked at the schooling for our kids, every year and asked ourselves what the best options are. But now, I feel confident that for as long as we are here, the kids will go K-8 at the Catholic school. As a matter-of-fact, Gabi and Luke-Xavier will both start preschool there, next Fall. I will have 5 kids in one school and on one time schedule! Not to mention the last of the Lang children will be walking out the door and into school!
Wow! Let’s talk about the life-change in that situation another time!
With less than two weeks left before Santa’s big night, I can’t help but look around and feel like I’m not quite ready. There’s still plenty of shopping to take care of, Christmas cards to be addressed, the tree to be bought and trimmed and all those holiday cookies to be made.
The key is going to be to take a deep breath, look around and enjoy the artwork from years gone-by and the fact that all my kids will be together by the end of this week. The feeling that this time of year brings can’t be matched but if we let ourselves get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of all the things that surround this season, we can easily miss the joy and warmth of it.
So, I’m making my lists and getting ready to tie up the loose ends. Wish me luck!
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Here we are, 10 days from Santa’s big show and I am NOT READY! This next week is going to consist of lists, lists, lists and much shopping. The remaining stack of Christmas cards need to get addressed and mailed and some gifts had better be bought!
Clay is heading out for our tree today which will make for an evening of decorating and arranging. We’ve never been ones to get a tree early in the month. We leave it up until the celebration of Theophany or the Epiphany, on January 6th. It’s the celebration of the Magi finding the infant Jesus and paying him homage. That’s when we take everything down, so imagine if we got the tree early, it would be up forever!!! Last year was the first time that I really let go of trying to dictate the decorating of the tree and I let the older kids take over. They did a fabulous job! So, this year, I’m going to step back from the beginning and let them make it theirs.
I love the feel around Christmas! I wish there were a way to just capture the feeling and not have to worry so much about all the things that keep us busy at this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have parties to attend and people to visit with, but it does take away from the magic that happens around the simpler things. I’m hoping that with the close of this weekend and the last party having been attended, that the cookie baking, carol singing and movie watching can begin.
I’m dreaming! I still have all the shopping to do! Snap back to reality! The kids can bake, sing and watch movies but I’ve got to shop, wrap and hide! ~sigh~ But even with all the hustle and bustle, there’s a magic that happens on Christmas Eve when they come into the house and see what Santa has left. I guess that’s what I will look forward to.
This afternoon all the kiddos will head to a friends’ house to make gingerbread houses. They’ve gone for a couple of years now and it’s always a lot of fun. Our friends bakes all the houses and assembles them and the kids get to spend the time making them beautiful. I’m sure there will be some great pictures to share!
People often ask me why (and sometimes, how) I get up at 4:15 am. I always give a rundown of what my morning consists of; checking the computer, answering emails, blogging, writing the Morning Memo, making the coffee, starting a load of laundry, making the school lunches and taking a shower. All of these things being done before the family is up, make for an easier and smoother day. But, from time to time, I cut myself some slack and I hit the alarm and give myself a little extra time in bed. Yesterday was one of those, rare, days. Because of my snooze time, I didn’t have time to shower until after the kids had gone off to school and the little ones were settled with breakfast and a movie. When I came out of the shower and went to check on things, I was instantly reminded of why getting up at 4:15 is necessary! Gabi and Luke-Xavier had decided to have a tea party while I was busy. This meant dragging out the plastic tea set, pulling a chair into the kitchen, filling the cups and tea pot with water and carrying them to the front room. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow they aimed the faucet in such a way that the whole kitchen floor was covered in water. All I could really do was sigh and grab some towels. The floor was in need of a washing anyway. So there you have it, a really good example of why 4:15 am and I are friends.
The kids have begun their trek home for Christmas. Kateri arrived Wednesday night and will be here for a month. JJ gets in next Friday. Even though there are more bodies in this little space, it’s more peaceful when everyone is together. Kateri does a really good job of picking up the balls that fall as I juggle. I suppose it’s because she’s the oldest and watched as I did everything, so she has a kind of intuitiveness about how it should all be done. No matter what it is, I’m happy for this time!
A full calendar can sometimes equal an empty brain!
I’ve had events every night for several nights. It’s the time of year when everyone is having parties and wanting to gather people together. I live by my calendar and if things aren’t written down, they simply don’t happen. BUT on the flip side, if they ARE written down, you better believe I’ll be there. Even if I wrote down an event that I have nothing to do with!
That’s right, the other night I got dressed, grabbed the gift I had purchased and wrapped and left for a military spouse function. When I arrived, I recognized a few faces, but quickly realized that something, just wasn’t right. Clay is in the flight community and I had (somehow) written down an event for the surface community. Ugh! At least I had a gift! I spent a few minutes saying hello to the people I knew, meeting a couple of new people and then slipping out the back door. I’ll be double-checking my calendar from now on!
Speaking of the calendar and events-
Each month I set up a coffee for the Naval Officers Spouse Club (NOSC) in the coastal area. This gives me a large area and many coffee shops to choose from. I usually pick some place close to the water because it’s beautiful and I have a particular love for the way the ocean smells and feels and if I can set up a social event that has anything to do with being near the water, I’m going with it! So, we usually meet at little coffee shops that have the ocean in the background. But this month I took the opportunity to have everyone taste some amazing gelato, have some coffee and meet some great people. Chuao is a local chocolatier who presents fresh and interesting flavor combinations in their chocolates and their gelato flavors are just as interesting and intriguing. I set up a tasting for the NOSC and we were not disappointed! We learned a little about how gelato and sorbet are created and about how the flavors were put together. It was great to be able to try each of the flavors but my favorite remains the cambur chip. Yum!
Today is the squadron’s Children’s Christmas Party. For the last few years, Clay has flown to the North Pole to pick Santa up and deliver him to the party. The kids always get so excited when that helicopter flies in and they know that Santa is going to step off. There’s nothing like the excitement of little ones!
This year we have a couple of other things going on at the same time, so all of our kids won’t be with us, but the little ones will still enjoy the event. As these kids grown, the dynamic keeps changing.
Tristan has his first kayak race today. Kateri will be taking him to cheer him on and help out and Maddi would rather watch Tristan than see Santa come in on the helicopter. I’m glad they will be there for him! He’s really having a great time being on the water!
Well, that’s it, for now, from here. It’s been a whirlwind of being busy and not being diligent enough to sit here and write about it. Sorry! I haven’t even been able to get a show out because I had gotten sick and didn’t have the voice for the show. It would have been raspy talking interspersed with coughing. So, now that I’m getting better I’m looking forward to talking about getting ready for Christmas and the whole holiday season and the traditions and stories that get passed on to the kids.
So here it is, one week after I made the original commitment to get moving. Last Monday (after I worked out the underwear issue), I loaded the 2 little ones into the jogger and headed out. My intent had been to walk the 2 miles to the beach and then head back. But, in my multitasking, mama-mode, brain, I knew I had to actually accomplish something during this time. So, instead of the beach, we walked the NEARLY 2 miles to Trader Joes, where the kiddos were able to search for Pokey the Fish, get a prize and I was able to buy a few needed grocery items. This all made me feel like I wasn’t just cutting out time that could have been used to attack some household task.
I know! I’m hopelessly locked into the mindset of having everything be productive. Unfortunately it’s really hard for me to carve out time that doesn’t get something done. So, I got some shopping done while also getting a good walk in. Seriously, I was sore for 2 days! BUT (I’m expecting to be chastised) I did not manage to get another one in for the rest of the week.
That leads me to today. Today………….yep, today should be the next step in getting out there and making it happen. However, I’ve ended up with 3 kids home from school, sick. Guess what goes out the window?! That’s right, Mom’s walk!
My intentions haven’t changed, but neither have my obligations. So, one day at a time. One step at a time, maybe I can make this happen. I’m shooting for Thursday.
Today is St. Nicholas’ feast day. At this house that means that there are a host of shoes littering our front porch. Some of the kids put out one shoe and some try to put out every shoe they own, in the hope that they’ll wake up this morning and find a candy cane.
For me, who forgot to buy candy canes, that meant a 4:30 am trip to the local 24 hour drug store. Thank goodness there is one!
I hope you are each enjoying the various traditions that come with this season! I really love having it mean more than just presents on the 24th and 25th! To learn more about who the man who became Santa Claus really was click here
I am sure that some of you have the house, inside and out, completely decorated and ready to go for Christmas. I am not there yet. I started opening the boxes yesterday. It’s a days-long process for me. Yesterday I started by taking out all the artwork that the kids have created over the years and beginning to hang it up. It’s always a trip down memory lane. I love it! There’s nothing like looking at hand-print wreaths from when Kateri was in grade school! It does tend to make me feel old, though. So, today, it’s on with the decorating! I’ve got the little ones in front of a Christmas movie, while I try to get everything organized and in place. We pack the movies away with the decorations so that they are exciting for the kids instead of being watched throughout the year and becoming “boring”. Then, it’s onto the many, many Christmas cards that need to be addressed. I love doing it, just wish I had more time! Starting last night, I am out for social functions EVERY night until the 12th. Yes, it’s fun, but it also becomes tiring. My sitter is happy to pad her pockets with some extra Christmas cash, though.
Tonight is the squadron Christmas party at a local hotel. I love the military functions! It’s always nice to get dressed up and to visit with everyone. So, off I go to continue decorating and then to prep for an evening of adult time.
Oh Dear Lord! There’s more to all of this than I thought!
So, with yesterday being Day 1 of my new commitment to my overall health, I put on a t-shirt and yoga pants and drug out my nikes. I stood in the kitchen, ready to get the kids off to school and then embark on my big walk, when my 14-yr. old said, “Mom, your underwear is cutting into your bum.” Nice! Here is the conversation that followed;
Me: Yes, Mariah, I know. What would you like me to do?
Mariah: When you wear yoga pants you can’t wear underwear.
She simply laughed at me and walked out the door. Well, I have friends who workout regularly, so I sat down with my phone and shot a couple of texts explaining my dilema;
Me: is it true that you don’t wear underwear with yoga pants?
Friend one: Mom’s should ALWAYS wear underwear (by the way I really appreciated this answer!). Buy boy-cut panties.
Me: what about today?
Friend one: Deal with the panty lines.
Friend two: it’s called a thong!
So there you have it! Not only did I have to get my head around the commitment to workout, I had to learn the ins and outs of the fashion behind (or should I say, under) the whole thing.
Now, make no mistake, I know the rules of underwear (top and bottom) for everyday and special event clothing, but truly did not think about the whole thing when it came to putting on workout clothing and heading out for a walk.
Today’s the day that I committed to make a commitment to working out. Whew! Is it really here? Is it really today? Do I really have to? I know I have to do this for ME. I have to get out there and work toward better energy and better health. Now, push me!
What I’ve decided for Monday and Wednesday (at least of this week) is to get the kids off to school and then put Gabi and Luke-Xavier into the jogger and walk the 2 miles to the beach. I’ve taken the first step, which was not to get dressed. Once I put on “real” clothes, there’s no way I’ll change into workout clothes. So, I’m in a t-shirt and yoga pants with no make-up and my hair still wet from the shower. I figure I’ll take the walk and then put the kiddos in front of a movie while I re-shower and get dressed.