Archives for December 2011

What if we all slowed down?

We wandered through the brush, the bristled fronds scraping against our bare arms.  December 7 and in shorts.  This is the things dreams are made of.

We stopped and peered inside the little windows and I let my mind wander.  Who were they that lived there then?  What sounds filled their homes in a time when the whirring of electronics was not yet realized?  When televisions didn’t dictate every thought and movement?  Did they, too, feel the rushing passage of time – they who had no option of jumping in the car and buzzing to this meeting or that event?

As the quiet moments ticked away the evening hours and their hands, weary from a long day’s labor, sat still in their laps, were they able to drink the moments in?  Or did those mothers, like me, find themselves each night wondering what happened and how did the day blur by in a blink?

One day older.

Did those mothers nestle their babes each night and wish they could freeze time for a brief moment just so they had the opportunity to drink it all in?  Did those same mothers also have some nights when the darkness brought a sense of sweet relief as the bustle and the energy finally stopped and they had a few brief moments of peace before it all started up again?

I imagine the mothers were very much like me in this regard.  Equal parts sad to see the days fly by and anxious for the peace the nighttime brings.  Perhaps even more so as the burden they shouldered was far greater than mine.  Their days were filled with much more labor and with far fewer luxeries.

As we walked into the tiny house, the tour guide met us with twinkling eyes, the lines in his face evidence of a life well lived.  With a gentle smile, he guided us through each room, his aging voice filled with awe, wonder and appreciation.  He understood simpler times and I heard the longing in his words as he pointed out the small tools and toys.  The days of quiet are not far removed from his mind.

I love the quiet, too.  Not setting up cable has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.  Evenings are filled with quiet togetherness.  Sitting on the floor, rolling the ball to one another.  Walks around the block.  Ice cream on the lanai.  Together without the noise.  It’s a step toward the simpler times.

What if we all slowed down just a little bit?  What if we all spent a little less time watching the lives of others and living our own? What if we all cut out just a few things so that the precious moments could at least be soaked in a bit before zipping past?  What if we just stopped for awhile?

I confess, the stopping and soaking in is hard for me.  It’s really, really hard.  There is so much to be done and the stopping feels like a halt in progress.  But is it?  When we stop, sit, listen and wait – does this stagnate us or, perhaps, move us forward still but in a deeper and more fulfilled manner?

As we pulled out of the gravel driveway, I turned off the radio and rolled down the windows.  This is a big deal for me.  I’m not a “wind in her hair” kind of gal.  I find it annoying and loud.  But today, instead, I listened to the wind whipping through the car, the echoes of movement passing through.  I breathed deep the salty air and glanced at the ocean just across the street.  I drove the speed limit, not pushing my speed but instead taking the time to enjoy the journey.

And they enjoyed, too.  We talked about the seagulls and the graceful way they danced on the wind.  The discussed what we would do if each of us were a bird.  How would the world look from the sky?

Even the (smokin’ hot) minivan has the potential to slow down.

What if we all just took the time?

What would life look like and how would it be different?

All photos taken during today’s field trip to Heritage Village in Largo, Florida.

Just me and my thoughts

The title of this post alone should scare you all.  I am welcoming you into my thoughts?


Because the truth is, I can go from thinking of something super brilliant and kinda deep to thinking up alternate lyrics to popular songs in the same breath.  “So, Kelli.  What ARE your favorite made up alternate lyrics?” I’m so glad you asked!

Sung to the tune of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s “Rock Your Body”

I’m gonna wash your body

Make it clean

Scrub with me

No lie, I sang this to the kids every time I bathed them and they ALL sing it now when they pick up a bar of soap.  It. is. awesome.

So yeah…that’s the kind of stuff that floats through my head.

Okaaaaay, then.  Let’s bring this crazy train on in to the station, shall we?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas these last few weeks.  I’m wrestling through my desire to teach my kids to really, truly embrace the power of this Christmas season without completely turning away from the magic of gift giving and receiving.  There have been a lot of really wonderful blog posts written lately on the topic and I’m awed at how many people have given up gifts altogether on Christmas, choosing instead to focus on the true meaning behind why we celebrate this holiday.

I’ll be honest.  I’m not there and I’m okay with that.

Because I really love the moment my children walk around the corner and see the twinkling lights and the gifts and the excitement leading up to that magical moment.  And I think we can still enjoy that tradition without losing ourselves to the marketing mayhem that Christmas has become.

Truthfully, the last few years we have pulled back significantly on how much “stuff” we give our kids.  Because they don’t need all the stuff.  Last year we gave fewer gifts and tried to make them more meaningful and useful.  And we are pulling back even more drastically this year.

There are other things we plan to do with the kids this year to keep the focus of Christmas outward and not inward.  And I may or may not share what those things are.  I am trying to keep some things private as a way to preserve the traditions, memories and even acts themselves as sacred between us, our children and the God we serve.  It’s a balance.

I can tell you this, though.  As the kids and I discussed the way that Christmas would change a bit this year, I mentioned today that we would be spending less on one another and more on others.  I was immediately met with disappointed stares and protests and for a brief second, my heart sank.  Perhaps we had gone wrong all these years if my children were going to pitch a small fit over receiving fewer toys.  Then Tia spoke.

“But Mom,” she said, her eyes big and round.  “I really, really wanted to get you a special present this year!”

“Yeah, me too,” Sloan said.  “I had a plan for exactly what I wanted to get you.”

*tears*  *hugs*

Then I promised them a pony.

I thanked them for thinking of me and not themselves and told them I would be honored to receive gifts from them, but that I wanted them to spend more time, energy and money on gifts for people who are in need than on me.


Our nativity scene usually includes Santa, Luke Skywalker, Moses, a Construction Worker and on occasion C-3PO likes to make an appearance.

I won’t tell my children they can’t buy me a gift.  (I think they’re going to buy me Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer – Mercy, I am loved).  I will, however, encourage them to think outside the box on how we can give to others.  I loved some of the ideas in this post – particularly the suggestion of giving children a sum of money and allowing them to use it however they want, as long as it’s for someone in need.

I am not opposed to giving gifts at Christmas, personally.  It’s not something that I feel we need to cut out entirely.  I am, however, finding myself more and more drawn to celebrating more simply, with the traditions surrounding the gifts and not the other way around.  I don’t have a problem with my kids believing in Santa because we don’t make him the reason for the season.  I don’t play the Santa card to encite good behavior (mortifying) and I read the story of the real Saint Nicholas every single year so that they know and understand the historical significance of who he was.  Santa gets a bit part in our the Christmas celebrations in our home.  And I don’t mind that.

These are things that I, personally, don’t sweat.  Because I don’t let them get out of hand. I am, however, pondering and thinking and praying over exactly how Christmas will look for us this year – how we will incorporate gift giving and receiving into our holiday in a way that is meaningful and precious.  Rest assured, though, that no matter what, Christmas will still be magical and filled with wonder.  How could it not be so?

The Lord is Come.

Magical, indeed.

How do you keep your focus during the holidays? Any plans to help your kids think outside the box this year? I’d love to hear what others are doing!

Just Call Me Grandma

“You are definately having trouble converging,” he said pulling the spidery metal contraption off my face.  “And you’re a bit nearsighted.”

And I was all, “Um…excuse me, what?”


Try taking three kids to the optometrist and NOT sounding like you have Tourette’s.  Try it.  I dare you.


I’ve gotten ahead of myself.  Let me back up a bit.

For the past couple of years I have had difficulty focusing when I read.  My eyes feel tired and the words on the page actually seem to move around.  The last two months have been terrible, though, and I finally decided that I should, perhaps, go see someone about the swimming words.  Because either I was going crazy and words really were moving around, or something wasn’t quite right with my eyes.

I also made an appointment for Tia to have her eyes checked.  Two birds – one stone.  The problem is I had to bring along the other two birds and they weren’t happy about it.  At all.  Vocally unhappy.

*eye roll*

So we piled into the opteometrist’s office and Tia hopped up in the chair and began her exam.  The first time she had her eyes tested, she didn’t know most of her alphabet so I was never really sure if her eyes were tested properly.  Turns out, they were.  Her eyesight hasn’t improved.  But her command of the English Alphabet is masterful.

Thank you.  Thank you very much.

So is Landon’s, by the way.  Because every time the doctor flashed a letter up on the wall he would blurt it out, much to the doc’s consternation.  Finally, Tia finished and it was my turn in the hot seat.  At this point, the boys were reaching the melting point.  I hissed a couple of warnings, then settled into the chair as the doctor lowered his space-age contraption.  Looking through the doo-dad’s on my face I saw not only the letters flashing on the wall, but also my children throwing down a serious wrestling match on the office floor.  It was all kiddie WWF and I was mortified.

“I can see you,” I said and the three froze, their eyes locked on the goggles nestled over my eyes.  “Sit. Down. Puh-lease,” I said through clenched teeth and the doctor chuckled in my ear.

“So when was your last eye exam?” he asked.

“Uh…gosh, I don’t know.  I guess maybe in high school?”

High school was a long time ago.

So after he ran his little tests and gave me the skinny on my not so stellar eye sight, he dilated my eyes and I headed out to the waiting area with my kids still wrestling on the floor behind me.  Then things got a little dicey.  The doctor assured me that the dilation would not affect my ability to drive, but within minutes I couldn’t see a blasted thing.  Nothing but a blur.

I called my husband, explained to him my dilemma and asked if he was nearby.  His reponse?


“You need glasses?!” he howled.  “That means you’re getting old.”

And I had no come back because dang it he seemed to be right.  Some people are born with poor eyesight.  It’s genetic and there’s nothing they can do about it.  And that’s okay.  But some people, like myself, are naturally gifted with good eyesight.  I’ve always been 20/20.  So the fact that my eyes are no longer able to focus the way they once could is merely evidence of the fact that I’m not as young as I once was.

I’m not a spring chicken anymore, people.  I need glasses to read.  Reading glasses!

He prescribed bifocals, for the love of Pete!

He also gave me a second prescription specifically for when I’m working at the computer.  He suggested I start with that one and if I felt like I needed something stronger he could fill the bifocal prescription at a later date.

My grandparents wore bifocals…on little chains around their necks.


It was a little traumatizing, my friends.  I have to be honest.  My eyes are failing me.  But upon thinking it over the last couple of days, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t really blame my age.  Nah.  It’s not that I’m getting old at all!

It’s the kids!  I blame them.

Three pregnancies and my feet didn’t grow at all.  They’re the same size they’ve been since junior high when I galumped around like Marmaduke for two years before my body caught up to my feet.  But, clearly, my eyes were terribly affected by pregnancy hormones.  They have been irreversibly damaged!

I have pregnancy eyes.

And I’m sticking to that story. Don’t try to tell me that’s not the case.  I’m not old.  I’m a MOM.

I went back to the doctor’s office the next day to pick out my glasses.  I couldn’t get them the day of the appointment due to the dilation and the fact that I couldn’t see anything at all.  I didn’t want to end up paying an arm and a leg only to find out later I had blindly picked out a pair of glasses with a tiny picture of Justin Bieber on the middle of the frame.

We were at the office inside the Holy Land Target, thankfully, so the kids and I walked around until my eyes cleared enough for me to feel confident driving home.

And you better believe I picked out the coolest looking pair of glasses I could find.  Think sexy secretary.  Because I’m not old, dangit. I’m not.  I’m just…uh…


Whatever.  Just call me Grandma from now on, m’kay?