Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Bursting Heart

The last few days have been fun and loved filled, and my heart is bursting at the seams a bit.

Saturday we took our trip to the Christmas tree farm. A trip that I thought was well planned out, organized, and sure to be a success.

Landon was bundled so tight he could hardly move, which, in my mama brain, I thought was a good thing. But it took him about 30 seconds into the wagon ride out to the field to start screaming "GET OUT!!!!" and have his mittens ripped off his hands. So...we tried to let him roam once we got out to the field. But, like I said, he was bundled so tight, any type of movement was a bit of a challenge. So he got scooped up by some loving arms instead (which, lets face it, is THE best way to look for a Christmas tree. Just ask two year old me and my Gaga).

These men make my heart explode.

We continued on our hunt, all the while trying to keep Landon's hands covered, which proved to be impossible. Eventually, he just hit full out meltdown mode, really, unlike any we have ever seen before. I'm talking screaming and crying so hard he nearly made himself vomit. Thankfully, again, our universe collided with that of some more wonderful strangers, who gave him their phone, tried singing to him, gave him hand warmers, and tried telling me that it was ok; basically I wasn't a horrible mom for trying to make memories for my toddler in the freezing cold. They were wonderful, and I can add them to the list of things I'm thankful for this season. For sure.

We finally decided on a tree, and the men set to chopping it down, and my mom, the babe and I, jumped on the first wagon out of the torture chamber. Of course, our wagon took us on a nice scenic ride around the entire farm, and by the time we got back to the loading spot, Jeremy and my dad were already on their wagon. Oh well, we all got back to the warmth safely and (for the most part) in one piece.

The second Landon was back into a warm building, he was back to his normal, cheerful self. Aside from the few times he flung himself on the dirty, dirty floor. But once a donut was in hand, the hat was off his head, and he could move his limbs, he was good. 

We came home, and had a nice dinner, and a wonderful time decorating our nice, fresh tree. Grandpa and Landon snuck in a little reading and snuggle time, too.

It was what I would call a perfect day, aside from the near-puke inducing meltdown. But hey, that just adds to the story, right? Riiiiight.

Sunday we celebrated my Grandmother's 91st Birthday. 91 years!!! We all have agreed that the woman must have at least 9 lives, because this year alone, we all gathered by her hospital bed several times, sure she was leaving us. But, here we are, a day before her 91st Birthday, and she is still going strong. She amazes me. Daily.

Here is where I must gush about my Grandmother a little bit. At 91 years old, she still has more spunk, attitude, and fire in her than most people MY age. She's a fiesty little one. She has a tendency to be brutally honest, like the day she told me it looked like I didn't brush my hair, and I looked "pretty bad" on our way to a family birthday party. Or when she told me, after me driving 90 miles an hour to get to the hospital, because everyone was sure she was going, that she really didn't like my hair dark. "It really doesn't look good". Or maybe the time she told my mom she should ask my cousin if she could have some of her old maternity clothes. Coming from anybody else, these comments would make me want to crawl into a hole. But no, when they're from Grandma, they are just flat out hilarious. Up until about 6 months ago, this is also the woman who would get down on the FLOOR to play with Landon, and who took great pride in the fact that she could sit with her legs straight out in front of her and touch her toes, and I couldn't. The hardest days were watching her sit in that hospital bed, so small and frail, looking like she couldn't do anything, because I knew in her heart, how much she was still capable of. She is, hands down, the strongest woman I know. This year alone, she has battled her leukemia, survived multiple blood clots in her lungs, a double transfusion, surgery to place a screen in her leg, and endless pain. And yet, on Sunday, there she was. So thrilled to have all her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids in one room...to celebrate her. It was a beautiful, beautiful day. For all of us.

When I see Landon playing with his cousins, my heart, again, wants to burst. Reminds me so much of all the fun and love between myself and my cousins when we were younger. And I look at us now, and as I watch our kids all play together, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I know how amazing it must be for Grandma to be able to have seen her kids as young children, then her grandkids, and now her great grandkids. And the fact that we ALL love each other? Even better ;)

So much love for this woman. Without her, none of us would be here, living and loving each other. Happy, HAPPY birthday to our backbone. WE LOVE YOU!!!!!

Yesterday, Landon and I took a mental health day. We stayed in pajama's until after lunch, we did crafts, and we snuggled and slept on the couch. It was, hands down, one of our very best days. Nothing on the agenda except each other, and lots of love. Again, so thankful that I am able to have those days. Today, I have to make up for everything I didn't do yesterday. But, per one of my promises to God, I am making time every day for snuggles, love, and just enjoying each other. My chances to do that will be gone before I know it. When I'm sitting in an empty house while he as at school, or off playing with his friends. So I better soak it all up now.

I'm also in the middle of working on another one of my promises to God. I'm trying not to complain. {Cue my mothers laughter as she thinks back to Saturday's Christmas tree debacle} I know how lucky I am, I really, truly do. I have amazing parents. A wonderful husband. A healthy son. A house over my head. Food in my cupboard. Money in the bank. I'm healthy. I have been blessed with so much more than I deserve, and I know that. Yet, I still let myself get caught up in the small things. And then I let myself complain. And I need to stop. I need to stop and think about all the amazing, wonderful things in my life. Am I naive enough to think that I will never, ever, complain again? Um no. I know I will. And the vast majority of it will be unwarranted. But every now and then, everybody needs to get it out. Because sometimes, all those little things DO add up, and I they DO feel HUGE and overwhelming. And that's ok. But at the end of the rant, I need to step back and see it for what its worth. Little. Minor. And I'm working on it. I'm far from being where I want to be, but I promised God that I would TRY, not that I would fix it all over night. And I have faith that He sees my effort. 

I also have faith that He sees my effort in rediscovering my faith. I have always gone to church. I have always prayed. I have always believed. But I haven't always trusted. I've fought with God, been angry, and thought that there was no way He could possibly know what he was doing (because, let's be honest, a 9th grade heartbreak is TOTAL reason to be angry with God and think He hates you). But look at me. He did. He has gotten me here. And who am I to question Him? With all he has blessed me with? A bad day and suddenly I think He doesn't know what he's doing and He must want to see me suffer? Oh, Kelly. And so I'm working on learning to trust Him. To know that He has a plan, and I can't fight it, argue with it, or change it. I have to just trust in it, and go with it. To know that He loves me. Easier said than done, but I hope He can also see that I'm really, really trying here. 

And now it's time to throw in some laundry and then soak up some time singing and dancing with my favorite little man. Time to ENJOY today. Hope you all do the same!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

We had an enormously successful Thanksgiving day around here, I hope you all did, too!

Got up and watched some of the parade together as a family, then Jeremy started getting ready to head off to the Lion's game, and I headed into the kitchen to attempt making his late Grandmother's sage dressing.

The whole cooking process all went very smoothly, and I felt like a pro with all my machines out and working at once. And Landon was beyond occupied with his new Dora the Explorer / Diego Christmas video from Grandma Laeder, so he was happy as a clam, too.

After lunch and a bath, he headed to nap and I had the opportunity to get entirely ready, all.by.myself. ALL BY MYSELF! Nobody in the bathroom rummaging through cupboards, nobody shaking half empty pop cans all over the bedroom. Nope. Just pure, hot shower, christmas music playing, bliss. Yet another reason to be thankful!

Once everyone was up and ready, we headed to Jeremy's parents house. Landon was fortunate enough to be able to spend another holiday with BOTH sets of Grandparents, and TWO Great-Grandmothers. Not many kids can say that, and I feel so lucky that he can.

Two oldies and a youngen make picture taking pretty tough, but you get the idea.

Landon also greatly enjoyed stealing GiGi's snacks from her at every given opportunity. Sneaky little bugger, that one.

While we waited for the rest of the men to get to dinner (Jeremy, his brother, his dad and his uncle), Landon discovered the fun of the Mega Blocks wagon.

He also discovered that he could (somewhat) fit into it, although not at all comfortably, and it would take him about 15 seconds to start yelling, "Get out!!!!" once he was in. But of course, as soon as he got out, one foot was back in and he was saying "I do, I do" all over again. A bit of hilarity ensued.

Once everyone arrived (LATE thanks to OVERTIME), we enjoyed an amazing meal (of which Landon wanted no part of, except for the fruit, of course), and wonderful company. We were even lucky enough to have two sets of four generations at the dinner table!

So, so, SO lucky!

But of course, Landon's mass intake of fruit at dinner, reared its ugly head at around 10, when after sleeping soundly for two hours, he decided it was time to get up and play. Until 4 am. Mind you, I hadn't attempted to go to sleep yet, which means I, too, was up until 4 am. We tried everything. Laying him back down, rocking him, gave him Advil, thinking maybe his teeth were bothering him, changed his diaper, everything. Nothing worked. Until he finally gave up at 4. Only slept until about 8:45, so I was expecting a horrible day, but he actually did pretty amazing. Thank goodness, because this mama was BEAT.

This morning, we decided to brave just ONE store (in case you didn't already guess, yes, it was Old Navy), and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. We got ourselves a couple good deals, and came home to get ready to go see Santa, who, here in New Baltimore, shows up via helicopter. Fabulous.

Landon wasn't able to hang outside, he was pretty irritated with the wind, so him and my parents hung out inside, near the cookies, of course, and I went out to snap a few pictures.

I'd say he was much happier in Grandpa's arms with even MORE sugar in his mouth.

His first glimpse of the jolly ol' big guy. Didn't seem too impressed, or too freaked out, but he was with his Gramps and he had a cookie. I mean....he was in heaven.

So we stood around waiting, for a very long time, even though we were fairly close to the front of the line to begin with. But, Santa is a sweet man, and wanted to take plenty of time with each kid and their list, which I'm sure when Landon is older, I will greatly appreciate. But today, after about 35 minutes of line standing, my mind started turning. We are totally going to stand here for an hour, and then get up there, Landon is going to freak out, and we'll be done in 30 seconds.

Needless to say, my mom instinct was dead on.

Oy. Poor Santa.

And just because it is SO hideous, I have to show you the picture the kind, lovely people at Lumber Jack snapped for us.

Oh goodness. A high mother, a screaming child, and a petrified Santa. Happy Christmas, y'all!

But once we were done torturing the poor kid, we took him to fill his belly with food, and then back home to get some quality nap time in. Which I thought I would be desperately be wanting at this point in the day, but surprisingly, I was so pumped with the prospect of Christmas throwing up all over my house, that I just dove head first into that. 

Here is where I must say, my dad is a master. Him and my mom had a Christmas village that they would set up in their living room for years. I used to love it as a kid. I would make up stories about the people living in the houses, and I'm pretty sure if you asked my mom, she could show you a travel brochure I made once for the town. Yep. That happened. But, since they now have the 80 pound furry mistake I made, aka Scout, the village just isn't happening anymore. Two years ago, we decided to put it up on top of our kitchen cupboards and we loved it. Last year, Christmas came and went and we never got around to it. But this year, oh, this year. Michael went to work, and it...looks....amazing!!!

We discovered today that there is no good way to take pictures of this, but I promise you, it's wonderful.

While my dad worked away at that, my mom and I went to town on the rest of the house. Take a look around, it's lookin' good in here!

One of my most favorite things, ever. Our gorgeous nativity, given to me by my old babysitter, as a wedding gift. I still need to buy the rest of the pieces, but I just love it.

My gorge new buffet transformed from Thanksgiving fabulous to Christmas wonderful.

Including this vintage little Santa feller. 

These bulbs are all old, old, old bulbs from my Grandmother and Jeremy's Grandmother. With Landon in the house, I'm afraid to put them on the tree and risk them getting broken, or, even worse, not being seen. So they'll spend the season on display here.

Since Landon is still a little too young to understand the whole elf on the shelf deal, his elf is staying safely tucked away for one more Christmas, but this little dude, another retro addition, will hang out here for sure. I've decided to name him Clarence, since that's who he at one time belonged to. And, in accordance with his name, he gave me a lot of trouble when trying to set him up. Oooooh Clarence. Good thing you're cute.

A festive little centerpiece, eh? 

Landon's adorable nativity. Which as I sit here, now includes a lion, farmer, and a zebra. He's doing a little rewriting of the Christmas story, it would appear. 

I'm not totally satisfied with my mantle yet, I'm looking for the perfect wreath to hang above it, but this little tree is too beautiful not to share in the mean time. Agree? It's also pretty much the inspiration for all the rest.

This gorgeous addition is up there too. Loving Scentsy's holiday warmers this year. Please disregard my streaky mirror. Thanks.

Love these wooden blocks. They were a cheap find like 3 years ago, and they come with endless possibilities. 

And of course, Landon got his own little tree for his bedroom, which he was....mildly helpful in decorating.

When I snuck in to snap a picture of his little tree, I saw this:
....which melted this mama's heart.

Look at those little crossed legs! Such a little man. 

It has been an absolutely wonderful two days, and tomorrow is primed to be the same. It's Christmas tree day! We have always cut our trees down, from the time I was little, and then once Jeremy and I moved in together, we carried on the tradition. We ride the tractor out to the field, hunt for the perfect sucker, chop him down, and haul him home. Last year, because Landon was so little, we attempted to find a farm that we could drive into ourselves, so we didn't have to do the wagon. It was a big flop. We drove forever to find a sparse little tree farm with not much of a selection, and ended up at the corner lot at 7 at night picking out a tree. It was still perfect, and it's a story we'll always be able to tell monkey. But this year, Mama is making sure he gets to experience it the right way (at least, the right way for us). Soooo that should be wonderful. Here's to hoping that we all get to sleep tonight in preparation for the big hunt!