Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I am looking forward to in 2010...

1. being healthier
2. financial security and stability
3. giving more and taking less
4. watching my kids turn 2, 9, and 11 (11!!!)
5. 52 Tuesday nights
6. girls' nights
7. opportunities to grow
8. peace (please!)
9. laughing more
10. spiritual renewal

Tuesday's mitzvah was my sister's family. I gave my brother-in-law, my nephew and my niece each a little treat and a card telling them why they are special to me. They really are wonderful. And they make my sister happy. Which is the most wonderful thing of all.

Wednesday's mitzvah was kind of an annual tradition. I gave my sister the 25 Most Intriguing People magazine that I got in my stocking. I usually read it Christmas night or the next day and then pass it on to her. This year there was a bonus...a decade in review section. Wow. The end of a decade.

Today's mitzvah is to take my husband to lunch. Without kids. I honestly can't remember the last time we did anything without at least one child. Which we really don't mind. We both love being together with the kids. But it will be nice to be able to eat and talk without helping with the word search on the place mat or ordering something I can share with a one year old or sharing my soda and worrying about backwash. I am really looking forward to it.

And so ends my month of mitzvahing. It was an interesting and rewarding exercise. Thinking of who and what to mitzvah was often challenging. As was finding the time and opportunity. But I would suggest that everyone try it. It made me really think about who in my life is important. And it stretched my heart and mind and imagination. If you don't want to do a whole month, try a week. You will be as blessed as those you mitzvah.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Today is Monday...and I am not at school. I am instead sitting here in my pajamas blogging. This is my kind of Monday morning.

Josh went home with a friend after church yesterday and then when I went to pick him up, somehow that friend ended up coming home with us to spend the night. And I didn't mind at all when, while eating a warm grilled cheese sandwich, Josh told his friend that I was the best cook ever. Now I know that I am not, in fact, the best cook ever. I consider microwaving cooking. And make most things from boxes and cans. But to hear Josh brag about me, even if it was my skillz at making a mean grilled cheese, was priceless.

These sleepovers, though, do cause some difficulties. What do you do when your sons are only 19 months apart and one has a friend over? Adam wants to be with them. Josh wants to be alone with his friend. Adam gets picked on. Josh gets in trouble. A warning that the more trouble there was, the sooner the friend would go home stopped it for the moment. But I'm still wondering where the line is where Adam gets to be included and where Josh gets to be alone? It's one of those parenting things that we'll have to work through, I guess. But for now I'm going to go make grilled cheese for breakfast...because, well, I'm really, really good at making grilled cheese.

Today's mitzvah is to write thank you cards to all those who gave me Christmas gifts. That would be 19 thank you cards.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blessed Sunday

So I'm 37 years old, but I still love to get presents. The last week of school before vacation, a gift appeared on my desk at least once a day. It was so much fun to walk in to my classroom not knowing what new goody would be there. Then on Christmas Eve, I got my annual pajamas from my mom and dad. (No, I am not too old for new jammies every year.) Then Christmas morning I got a stocking full of goodies from my family. (Arrty and I only do stockings for each other.)

And then, if all that wasn't enough, we went to mom and dad's house for lunch and more presents. Dad made his first prime rib. Oh my goodness. It was so good. Everyone sat around the table and oohed and aahed and mmmed. I think it was decided that this was the new Christmas dinner tradition. As soon as we could pull ourselves away from the table we opened presents. The kids all got lots of fun toys. The boys got cars and Nerf guns, which were a huge hit. And the girls got blocks and a little stable complete with ponies. And Jules got a fleece blanket just her size and a matching one for baby in a Jules sized stroller. I got a new apron and some great kitchen scissors with all kinds of cutting edges. And the sweetest pictures of my kids that my sister mounted on tiles and embellished with paper and ribbon and little buttons that say faith, hope, and blessed. I love them. And then, after everything was opened and the paper was all thrown away, mom led Ada and I into dad's shop. In the back of his truck were two chest freezers with big red bows. You would have thought that my sister and I were 12 and the freezers were ponies with all the jumping and squealing that happened. Who knew chest freezers would be so appreciated? Today I'm going to the store just to buy ice cream and frozen pizzas to fill it up. :)

So I say all this to say, I have been blessed this week by receiving gifts...and by all those who gave them.

Today's mitzvah was to give little purse sized planners to two sisters at church with a happy new year card.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Week In Review

There hasn't been much time for blogging these last few days. So much festivity, you know. So I thought I'd catch you up on the mitzvahing.

Monday I went shopping for last minute Christmas stuff. I decided before I went to give to all my fellow shoppers politeness and to all those working in the stores a cheerful "Merry Christmas."

Tuesday I spent all day at home making Christmas gifts. The adults in our family were giving homemade gifts to each other this year, so part of my gift was to give time to make special things for each person.

Wednesday I was back in town to get more supplies after I ran out Tuesday night. And it was my dad's day to be mitzvahed. I picked him up from work at lunch time and took him to Panda Express. We sat in the sun and ate and visited. These lunches out with my favorite people have been my favorite mitzvahs.

Thursday we headed into town for Christmas Eve at mom and dad's house. On the way we dropped off Mrs. T's Christmas gift from the boys since their very repentant mother forgot on the last day of school. And then we dropped off two movies that we had rented the night before. (G-Force, which the boys seemed to enjoy but I was too busy to watch, and Julie and Julia, which I loved.) Then we went to the post office because the boys' Christmas gift was guaranteed to be there. It wasn't. So I gave the lady behind the counter a break since it wasn't her fault. Which then led to a quick stop at Target to replace the unarriving gifts since that was all we were getting them this year. (Now I have to go to Walmart next week to return the other ones that are at the post office today.)

Friday I gave a lot of things. Toys and clothes to the kids. Homemade jam (strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry) to all the grown ups. Homemade jerky to the guys and handmade cards to the girls. Plus spiced nuts to dad, personalized canning labels to mom and personalized recipe cards to my sister. And rice bags to everyone. But my mitzvah on Christmas day was to give to Jesus my attention and my heart. It's his birthday after all. He should get my best gift of all.

And that brings us to today. Today I am giving my family the day. I will watch whatever movies they want to watch. I will play whatever games they want to play. I will cook whatever they want to eat. And I will enjoy it with them. They are why I'm here. They are my purpose in this life.

So there you have it. My first week of Christmas vacation. One more glorious, unbusy, much needed week to go.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all having a lovely day with family and friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blessed Sunday

I am blessed with great friends. I've posted about them before, these sister friends of mine. In today's sermon at church, the preacher asked who would be on our list of people we could count on, people who would never let us down. They are on my list. I love them and they love me. So today's mitzvah was to give special Christmas gifts to each of them. Katrina got a necklace with the word hope engraved on a heart...because, well, hope is her middle name. Marci got a snowflake necklace...because she is so good at dressing to fit the season and it seemed perfect for her. Kim is getting bubble bath...because she is the one of us who actually takes baths. And Kathy got a basket of papaya and mango bath and body stuff...because I know she loves the mango.

Merry Christmas, girls. And many, many more.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All work and no blog

No time to blog today because today's mitzvah is to give my family a clean least for an hour or two.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Show and Tell

Today for show and tell I will tell you what I got from my students for Christmas.

a ceramic angel and a glittery white tree ornament
honey in a bear shaped bottle
a glass apple and a pack of note cards
a box of cookies, a bag of candy, and a journal
a candle that smells like apple pie
a gift card to Applebees

Now don't you all wish you were teachers?

Today's mitzvah--I gave plates of cookies and candy to all the school staff. And I gave stuffed animals to all my students. (Which they all used for show and tell even though we just saw them get them.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Things Thursday--Mitzvah Edition

10 things I love about my sister...

1. She knows. She knows things that no one else in the world but she and I know.
2. She is funny. Over the years, she has made me laugh more than any one else.
3. She is beautiful. Inside and out.
4. She is my perfect Pictionary partner. (See #1.)
5. She loves my kids. And they adore her.
6. She is an amazing mom. She loves her children the way a mommy should.
7. She is strong. She has survived more than her share of trials.
8. She is talented. She sings like an angel and crafts like Martha and cooks like Rachel.
9. She is my friend. The best kind of friend.
10. She loves God. And lets him love her.

For her mitzvah, she gets this list...and a big bunch of pink flowers. And my eternal, unconditional love and adoration.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I was up at 4:19 this morning. Yes, 4:19 AM. Miss Julianna decided to fuss. Which happens occasionally. I usually just let her fuss it out for a few minutes and she goes right back to sleep. But after about 5 minutes this morning, I whispered, to myself, "Please, go back to sleep, Baby." But she must have heard me through two doors and down the hall, because then she started saying, "Mama.....Mama.....Mama." Well, I can't not go get her when she calls for me by name, so I got up and went into her room. I picked her up out of her crib and went into the living room to snuggle for a few minutes. (I have a wonderful rocking chair in her room, but she refuses to sit in there anymore since she realized that life goes on in the rest of the house after she is in bed. Nothing was happening at 4:19, but she didn't know that.) So she sat on my lap with her sweet, soft head resting on my chest. I closed my eyes and had to smile because I thought of mornings I had spent like this a few years ago. 7 and 9 years ago. When the one year olds sitting on my lap in the early morning darkness were Josh and Adam. And how now, such a short time later, they can barely fit on my lap. And how now I wish I could once again feel their soft, baby heads under my chin. And how I wish, for just a second, that I could hold those sweet babies again. But they were asleep in their own beds. Not needing mommy to get back to sleep. So for that few minutes this morning, a few minutes longer than usual, I sat with this baby on my lap. This third baby. This last chance to snuggle sweet babyness. And I loved every second it.

Today's Mitzvah--Today I gave a card and some Avon goodies to Alyson. Alyson is my friend and sister in Christ. And she is the junior high science teacher at our school. She was also my secret sister earlier this year and spoiled me with all kinds of butterfly things, Oreos, and Diet Coke. And she's Julianna's friend Lily's mommy. But beyond all of that, she is an amazing example of Christian servanthood. She does so much for our congregation and seems to always be doing something to help others. She is a blessing to me and so many others.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's mitzvah--Today I am giving thanks to God for healthy children. Taking care of Adam while he had the flu over the weekend reminded me of what a blessing that is. I always feel so helpless when the kids are sick. I can pour 7-up and cover them with blankets and turn on their favorite movies, but I can't take the pain away. And I want to take the pain away. So I am giving thanks to God that I only have to deal with the flu and colds and tummy aches. Things that pass in a few hours or days. Not the life long or life threatening illnesses that other parents have to deal with. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, December 14, 2009


My brain is full of all kinds of ramblings today. Maybe if I get them out I'll be able to sleep tonight.

We've had the flu. Adam the worst complete with middle of the night bedding change and laundry session. Mine is about gone but I'm still achy and tired.

We went to a memorial service today for a close family friend. My dad did the service. He did well. Even though I didn't see John often, I'm going to miss him. I keep seeing him in the faces of men with long beards. But none of them are him.

My class (including me) is pretty much in Christmas break mode. My one and only goal for this week is to get their gifts for their parents finished and wrapped. I am a little ahead in my curriculum, so I don't feel too guilty for not doing all my lessons every day.

Today was the first day of coats and boots and snow pants and hats and gloves. Such an ordeal for kindergartners...and kindergarten teachers.

Speaking of gloves, send gloves to school with your children! I feel sorry for the ones whose little fingers freeze during recess and even let a few stay in today who didn't have gloves. But I don't feel sorry for the parents. Send gloves to school with your children!

I really want to buy the boys this biggish present for Christmas, but I can't bring myself to do it since we are still dealing with unemployment in our house. Urgh.

Okay, I'm blaming my whining on the flu. And now I'm done whining.

On another note...

Today's mitzvah--I collected some books out of our family's huge collection of books to pass on to a sweet little girl whose family is friends of our family. Her mom had mentioned wanting new books for her and so when I was thinning ours, I thought of her. Hopefully she'll get as much enjoyment out of them as we have.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Today's mitzvah was cards for two ladies at church who I really admire. They are kind and generous and funny. They are good examples to me of what a Christian woman should be. They are my sisters, friends, and a blessing in my life.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Today's mitzvah went to Julianna. I gave her my time (and three Hershey's kisses). I spent the whole day being attentive to her. We played and read and snuggled and laughed. I dropped everything else when she wanted anything and gladly gave her all of my attention. It was good. For her and for me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Show and Tell

Ironman action figure that came from the store (I had to ask questions to get that much information. At first A. just sat in the show and tell chair and held Ironman up and then got up and went back to his place. That's more like show and not tell I guess.)

Nutcracker that's "very special that I got from Santa last year. His hand kept coming out so we had to tape it. You crack the nut like this. And this is it's sword and it has a diamond. And that's it."

Two stuffed cats that are "very special"

Stuffed puppy that M. got "at Claire's and she had clothes but I lost them and her name is Alissa and I really love her."

Wind up flashlight that D. got for his birthday "a long time ago" (Umm, he's six so it couldn't have been that long ago.) (And if you're wondering, yes it's the same thing D. brought last week.)

"Outer space thing that lights up on the little buttons and goes with a bear and a story. When I read a story it's kind of good but I didn't bring the bear and story 'cuz it's too long."

Two stuffed puppies--"This one is the big sister and this one is the little sister and they are twins. This one is named Emily and this one is named Katie. Sometimes I forget to brush their teeth. They are my favorite puppies in the world and I play with them everyday and I have more puppies at my house and I like them and it's going to be all their birthdays next year and sometimes they just wiggle and wag their tails and hide behind things and sometimes they are scared and these dogs are so special and I got them from the store a long time ago, two days ago, and my real doggie at home is not a stuffed one and I'm getting five little puppies for Christmas and I'm going to feed them every time and they like jumping and they like laying down on their hands like this or like this and sometimes they run and chase squirrels and cats but sometimes cats chase them and I like them cuz their my real dogs."

Today's mitzvah--Today was Kathy's day. She deserves several days for being such a good friend, for making me laugh, and for having my back whenever I need her. But for now she gets today. Although what I gave her will last for more than a day. I gave her a Toblerone candy bar, which I know she loves, and a coupon book with coupons for things like a day out with me, a day of babysitting so she can have a whole day of quiet, days of me taking her recess and lunch duties at school, a box of Junior Mints when we go to the movies, and a latte from Costco (not counting the one I gave her today.) Oy vey! It's the gift that keeps on giving. Love ya, Kathy! And happy mitzvah!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I remember about 4th grade...

1. It's the first year of school that I actually remember. I can close my eyes and picture the school and classroom and playground and kids.
2. I remember thinking I was very grown up. I turned 10 that year, after all.
3. My favorite thing to do at recess was to play on the tire swings.
4. Joan Jett's I Love Rock and Roll came out that year. I still can't resist singing along whenever I hear it.
5. It was the year I first noticed boys. And had my first "boyfriend." The relationship lasted from lunch recess to the end of school that day.
6. I had lots of friends. I went to their house and they came to mine.
7. I was in Blue Birds. Kind of like Girl Scouts, I guess.
8. I was in the running club. I think it was the last time I ran by choice.
9. I walked to school. Better than riding the bus, even in the dead of winter.
10. 4th grade was the beginning of the end of childhood for me. It was a transition time leading into the strange world of adolescence.

I've been thinking about 4th grade a lot lately because Josh is in 4th grade this year. He, too, is beginning to have those moments where he seems older than his 10 years. Less interested in little kid stuff. And then the next moment, he might seem much younger. Enjoying the little kid stuff. It's weird, this 4th grade time. For the 4th grader and for mom. I'm trying to enjoy the kid moments with him, and help him understand the maturing stuff. The last 10 years have gone much, much too quickly. I hope the next 8 slow down.

Today's mitzvah--Today was Josh's turn to go to lunch with me. He chose Taco Bell and we shared the double steak quesadilla and 7 layer nachos. It was a nice, quiet time with him. He asked me if we were going to keep doing this lunch thing or if this was the only time. And I just think I might make lunch with one boy at a time at least a monthly ritual. It's just been too good to not do again.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Field Trip

Today the boys went on a field trip...without me. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I wasn't there to watch them and experience it with them. I did okay since I knew that the grown ups they were with are very reliable and trustworthy and like the boys well enough to make sure they made it back to school. And I guess they did okay without me, too. They came back to school and said the field trip was awesome. So I guess we all survived...but next time I'm going.

Today's mitzvah--One of the 8th grade girls at school comes to my class each morning to help me with my class in chapel. She sits on one end of our row and helps make sure the kids put the right hand over their hearts during the pledge and sit and stand when they are supposed to and are quiet when it's time to be quiet. I've known her since she was born and love her and her family. She has a unique sense of style that I love. She is funny and smart and good company at plays and movies and Applebee's. She has a heart for the Lord and is an example to me and many others. So today I gave her a card and little gift (nail kit, lotion, bubble bath, and lip balm) to show her my appreciation.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mitzvah Day 8

My mitzvah today was to take Adam to lunch. Just the two of us. And he got to pick where we went. He chose Wendy's where we had burgers and fries. He had a vanilla Frosty and I had a Diet Pepsi. And we sat and ate and talked and laughed. He is such a smart, funny, clever kid. I love him all to pieces.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Today's mitzvah--We are going to Santa and Mrs. Claus' house for a Christmas party tonight. I will be giving them "Santa's Magic Key" that I picked up a few weeks ago. It is for those houses that don't have chimneys. It's an oversized, old fashioned key in a blue velvet box. Very cute. I think they will like it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Another holiday tradition took place today. Every year our family decorates my mom and dad's Christmas tree together. There used to be four of us decorating. Then 5. Then 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and 10. And today there were 11 of us all helping with the bells, bows, and balls. The kids did most of the decorating so the ornaments were not distributed evenly. And Julianna didn't know to hang the ornaments so she just found a flatish branch and made a pile with hers. But we all know that mom goes back after we all leave and fixes everything the way she wants it anyway. And that is just part of the tradition. We ate hot wings and laughed and told stories. We teased each other and smiled at the kids. We took pictures and made memories. And isn't that what the blessing of traditions is really all about?

Today's mitzvah--Today is the last Sunday before we have our secret sister revealing at church so I gave my sister one last gift and a card reminding her that she is in my prayers daily before she finds out who I am on Friday night. I also gave a thank you card to the sweet lady who organized yesterday's craft fair. I've been in her shoes and it's a lot of work so I told her how much I appreciated what she did.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Craft Fair

Our school had our annual craft and gift fair today. We had about 30 vendors selling scarves, cards, soap, jewelry, candles and at least a hundred other things. It's always a fun day and a good community outreach project for our school. I had a booth and sold Avon. I spent almost as much as I made, but I got to spend the day with my sister who had her booth next to mine. We don't often get to spend time together without being interrupted by rowdy boys or babies needing to be changed or fed or held. And although I love sharing motherhood with her, it was nice to have a day of simply sisterhood.

Today's mitzvah--My mom took care of the kids today while I worked the craft fair and when I went to pick them up, I took her a poinsettia. She is an amazing, wonderful mom and grandma. There aren't enough poinsettias in the world to tell her how much I love her, but I hope the one I gave her today is one little reminder of how I feel.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Show and Tell

a "stuffed up" doggy--No it doesn't have a cold. It's actually just stuffed.

a wind up flashlight--Which is apparently more fun to wind than to shine.

kissing horses (they have magnets that draw their noses together)--"This one gots a broken ear. Sometimes I wash their hair in the bathtub because they like to go in the bathtub."

a toy tank--that A got for his birthday and he "likes having it."

little notebook--that H got "a long time ago" and that she likes to draw pictures in

a music box with tiny penguins ice skating on top--It plays Joy To The World.

stuffed Cat in the Hat that "has a hat and is a cat" and a Cat in the Hat pop-up book where he "comes in the door and goes out the door. Then on the next page you pull this and it does this to that guy. "

stuffed doggy complete with pink carrying case and stuffed horse complete with plaid saddle blanket

Today's mitzvah--I am taking my friend Allison to lunch at one of her favorite local restaurants. I don't get to see her nearly often enough and she's moving in 10 days. I'm going to miss her, but I know that God has big plans for her. I'm sure she will be a blessing to all those she works with in Santa Fe just like she's been to me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I did before 10am today...

1. threw a party...well, started to throw a party. But as soon as I realized that it was a pity party, I cancelled it. Yes, I'm a nice person. Yes, I try to do what's right. But, like I've told Josh and Adam a hundred times, life isn't fair. Move on.

2. was a little louder than usual making lunches hoping that my sweet daughter would wake up before I left so that I could hug her and kiss her soft cheeks. It worked.

3. made the boys homemade egg was worth the extra few minutes it took to know that they were happy and full to start the day.

4. prayed with my friends. We have staff prayer time every morning before school. It's a real blessing.

5. smiled in chapel when, upon being asked if anyone had ever had a deer for a pet, the little girl next to me raised her hand. When I asked her if she had really had a pet deer, she said, "Well, I have the horns."

6. laughed out loud when one of my students told me that her sister (who was in my class two years ago) called me Mrs. Weird because she couldn't say my real name. Mrs. Weird...if she only knew.

7. put up a stocking in the hall outside my classroom for "Drkvature." (Dark Vader, or Darth Vader if you prefer. It was actually just one of my students, who wrote that instead of his real name. Too bad for him because he'd probably get something good in his stocking, but I'm pretty sure Drkvature is getting coal.)

8. tied 7 shoes and zipped 5 coats.

9. forgot to give milk to the kids who ordered it for snack...again.

10. kissed the tops of Josh and Adam's heads before I sent them to class. I do it as much as I can these days before I have to ask them to bend down to do it. It won't be long. Not nearly long enough.

Today's Mitzvah--I am sending pictures of the kids with Santa to my in-laws. They adore the kids but don't get to see them often. They will be thrilled.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mitzvah Day 2

Today I gave two of my coworkers/friends who I know are especially fond of chocolate, a chocolate espresso dipped pretzel. These two ladies do a lot for the school and for me. They are encouraging and helpful and always willing to go the extra mile. They deserve a lot more than a chocolate dipped pretzel, but for today they get that...and my thanks.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mitzvah Day 1

So today starts my 31 days of Mitzvah--giving something to someone everyday and posting about it. I sat down and made a list of people who are important to me. People who make, or have made, a difference in my life. And those people are the ones to whom I will give this month. There are more than 31 on my list, so some of them I grouped together. But it's a good list. A list anyone would be proud to be able to make as important people in their lives. And that is true for me. These people, all 31+, make me happier than I'd be without them and are a blessing to me. So here we go.

Today's Mitzvah recipient is my class. My 10 students who teach me while I teach them. Who give me reasons to smile everyday. Who remind me of God's goodness. I have given to them free time. Free time is a big deal in kindergarten. We have a pretty full curriculum and so most of the hours we are together are spent working. But today as they sat on the story time rug, I asked them, "If you could do anything right now, what would you want to do?" Their answers were play with our new kitchen play set, play with Legos, and color. So that's what they did. And it was fun to watch them cook and eat and build and pretend. Free time is good. I'm glad I gave it to them. :)