Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I wrote a post addressing my feelings about being a SAHM right now, but I'm not going to publish it yet. It feels like one of those that needs to...percolate a bit.

Instead, I'll tell you about my husband's Christmas gift to me this year.

A little background on our gift-giving history though, first.

I think, despite what the quiz results say, that my husband's love language is gifts. He loves getting them (perhaps more so because he's difficult to buy for) and, when he puts his mind to it, is phenomenal at giving them.

My senior year of college we spent across the pond from each other; I was writing my thesis in California and he was helping his dad with renovations on what would become a B&B in northern France. During his first visit to see me in California, he went to a local florist and arranged to have a bouquet of flowers delivered to me in my dorm on each of my deadlines for the thesis. Flower delivery is always a treat, but it felt especially luxurious displaying them in a dorm room!

On our first anniversary, he commissioned an artist friend to paint a picture of a beach in France that is important to us. The artist painted from a photo and then added Chris and I into the picture. It's absolutely gorgeous and was just the perfect gift.
Each of our homes together has had a perfect place to
display the picture. Here, it's in our kitchen. 

For my 30th birthday, which I celebrated just a month after moving to Minnesota, he arranged for my mom, sister and nephew to come and surprise me. That in itself was totally awesome, but he also enlisted the help of a friend/colleague to send me a bouquet of one each of 30 different varieties of roses.

Each rose had a tag identifying its variety

This year for Christmas we were technically exchanging trips, his ice fishing trip for my visit to my sister. Neither of us had big wish lists (well, ok, he always has wish lists but they consist of things like boats and four-wheelers) and we agreed to keep it to the travel. I knew perfectly well, however, that he would ignore this agreement like always and so I went ahead and bought a gift anyhow. Glad I did because he came up with something pretty great again.

On Christmas morning he presented me with a letter, written in a "Night Before Christmas" style. It explained that my gift was 12 Weeks of Jaida-Mas. For the first twelve weekends of the year, he had planned a different activity for me. The intent was to a) give me some sorely needed time to myself as well as several dates with him and each of the older kids on their own, and b) provided some distraction to get through the next several miserable months of winter.

From there, the kids retrieved 12 numbered pieces of paper that had been hung on the tree, each of which explained a different activity he had planned (or piggy-backed in some cases, like this first week). They loved being part of the process and it was all very cleverly planned and executed. Kudos honey, you nailed it this year.

This past weekend was a previously planned outing with my BFF and her little girl to see Cinderella at the Children's Theatre. It was an unbelievable production and we had such a fabulous time (thankfully the temperatures didn't plummet to inhuman depths until Sunday so we weren't braving more than the typical winter weather). Can't wait for Week 2, a special outing with my oldest boy.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I feel no sense of obligation (or desire) to make a To Do list for this year. We achieved so much last year and this year I just want to settle in. Build some grooves that I then have to force us out of every now and then.

That said, I do have some things I would like to do better this year. We're nearly to the six-month mark of having a new baby and, while it's not exactly easy from here, it's time to move out of survival mode. So, in 2014:

More books and games, less screen time. I'm still not ready to impose a screen time limit...mostly because it is the only way I get even a moment without someone talking to me and my sanity (what's left) is still important.

More physical activity. It's pretty easy to just let the kids entertain themselves all day because they are so good at it. But while they are relatively active in their play, I'd like us to get outside more when the weather permits and run around.

More meals eaten together, less short-order cooking. This isn't going to fix itself automatically, we are still a family of four (eating members) that all have dramatically different preferences. However, I think there is more crossover to be found.

Less yelling, more teaching. Lately I've been feeling really sheepish when I crack down on the kids for something and then realize that actually I've never given a clear expectation in regards to that certain behavior. We need a list of Family Rules and we need clear consequences for breaking those rules. That consistency will lay a good foundation for differentiating between something that is annoying vs. something that is unacceptable in our family. As the kids branch out their social lives (weep) I know they will begin to encounter different values and behaviors and I want it to be clear to them what we expect in our home.

Laugh. Laugh some more. Stop taking life so seriously. Every day holds its challenges but many of those can be brushed aside with a deep breath and keeping perspective. This will get more manageable as sleep gets more dependable (for me).

I was out recently, can't remember where, with all three kids and was barely holding it all together. We have been so cooped up with the miserable, bitter cold here that when we do get out they go a little nutso. Anyway, an older gentleman smiled at our little circus and remarked, "Everyday is an adventure, eh?" I find myself drawn to that view and am going to try to keep that in mind this year.

Here's to plenty of adventures in 2014!