Merry Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Zoo;
There at least 10 more things I needed to do.

A pageant before mass to be sung by the crew;
Then there was Mass we all must sit through.

The littles were restless from sitting so long;
All I was hearing was “Is this the last song?”

Wiggles and squirms I stopped with “Still you will stay!
From the message being given my mind did stray.

Father Jack called the children to sit at the alter;
His homily was for them the message did not falter.

The children were told the greatest Christmas gift ever given,
Was the gift of the Son from Our Father in Heaven.

To the children he told “Two simple prayers are to be said each day.”
“Jesus I love You” and “Thank you God” you will say.

With his message complete, he sent them back to the pews
“Give your parents big hugs and I love yous.”

The children came back and hugs we were given,
Right then I realized through them is my gateway to heaven.

God and my family are my gifts this year,
While sitting at Mass that became quite clear.

My Christmas to do list I completed right then
As the Mass ended with a great “Amen!”

The rest of the evening was filled with family traditions,
Heaven knows getting children to sleep on this night is a mission.

Presents are now set under the tree,
Dad has consumed Santa’s milk and cookies.

Now it is time for us to head off to rest,
So on the celebration of Christ’s birth we all may be blessed.

Merry Christmas to all of my friends far and near.
May you have many blessings in the coming New Year.

Update on my Mom

I am at my mom’s today.  Mom has been very sleepy and had not gotten up at all today other than early this afternoon. Thankfully her normal hospice nurse had arranged for a weekend visit from the on-call nurse today.  The nurse today had some wonderful ideas to help everyone out.  We have pre-filled medication syringes to make it easier for my brother to give her medicine or my mom to take it herself and not have to worry about measuring it out.

The nurse, my brother and I talked about coming up with a plan for after Christmas.  Mom cannot be left alone anymore.  She has to take the medication to ease her breathing and that puts her at a higher risk for a fall.  Plus her appetite is to the point where she will not eat, unless someone else prepares it for her.

Hopefully tomorrow she will be more awake so my brother and I can talk with her to let her have a say in the type of care she will receive.  If she is not, my brother and I will have to make a decision for her and then get her to agree to it afterwards.  I do not think this is a great option, but it may need to be done.

I have to return home tomorrow night so I can spend Christmas with my family.  On Wednesday my brother has to work.  I cannot be here either since Richard is starting a new job with the county.  Whatever is decided will need to be in place by tomorrow.  Hopefully we can have something in place so mom is not alone on Wednesday.


Preparing for Christmas

Sleep in this house is a precious commodity lately. Excitement building up to Christmas has the little girls sleeping very restlessly and when they wake up they often join us in the bed. With a king size bed, one girl fits, two girls means everyone is cramped with parents sleeping on the edges,  and if the third girl joins us, she sleeps horizontal across foot of the bed, lying on top of the covers. The third girl will grab the extra comforter kept on the cedar chest and wrap up with it.

With Christmas approaching, having one or more girls in the bed has been happening more and more frequently.  This makes it hard for me to sleep or stay asleep. So I am have been getting by on about four hours of sleep a night. Last night we actually had no one in the bed with us. But at 4:30 AM my mom called. My mom is sick and having issues with her COPD and anxiety. She meant to call my brother to come in to see her, but instead she called me, several times. About 6:00 AM I finally fell back to sleep.

At 7:00 AM, I was woken up by a 6 year old bouncing on my bed yelling 4 MORE SLEEPS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!! What an interesting awaking to a busy run around day.  We had to get everyone up and going. With the sleepless night, I was dragging and needed those two cups of coffee this morning.

In midst of all the chaos today, Mom has called several times. She is not doing well today and her nurse was not able to get in to see her. Her door was locked and she was not answering it. I tried to call her, but the phone was going directly to voice mail. She finally hung up the phone and I was able to talk to her to tell her to unlock the door because a nurse was going to come and see her.

Mom said she had opened the door; I called her nurse to get someone to her home to evaluate her. I am waiting on the nurse to call me after she has seen my mom.  I have packed a bag and will be heading down there this evening. My brother, mother and I have a hard decision to make regarding Mom’s care. It became evident to me today she can no longer live alone.  We will need to convince her to either move in with Richard and I or move to assisted living, neither of which she will want to do.  Thankfully my brother is off this weekend so we can make this decision together with a united front.

While all of this was happening with Mom this afternoon, Douglas began the Christmas baking with the family favorite of Peanut Blossom Cookies.  The first batch was just about wiped out with snack today.  I told him he will need to make another batch or two this weekend.

Since the mention of a recipe in a blog without posting it annoys me, here is the Peanut Blossom Recipe.

Peanut Blossoms Cookies

1 ¾ cup regular flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons water
Unwrapped Candy Kisses

½ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except candy kisses and extra sugar in large mixer bowl.  Mix on lowest speed until a dough forms.  The dough will be very stiff and possibly crumble a bit.  If it seems too crumbly add up to two more tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Place the extra sugar into a small bowl.  Take a teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball.  Take the ball and roll in the sugar, then place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and firmly press a candy kiss into each cookie.  Let sit the tray for about a minute then move cookies to cooling rack.  When completely cool, store in air tight container

Our family “secret” for baking the cookies is to take the cookies out at 10 minutes, press the candy kisses into the cookies and then return the cookies to the oven for about a minute.  This makes the kisses melt a little.




Logging off of Wastebook

Over the past month I have taken a long hard look at how I spend my time.  I realize I am wasting a lot of time during the day on the computer. I looked at where I was spending the bulk of this time and I decided to log off of Facebook. I have been drawn more and more into conversations which I shouldn’t have been. My views and beliefs are quite conservative, so many times I am forced to defend myself and my views. I have been called a bigot, ignorant, and stupid. I just don’t need that drivel and negativity in my life.
I started playing games on Facebook a couple of years ago to bury the pain of Elizabeth’s trials with her vision, my father’s illness and death, and my mother’s declining health.  The games were a quick and easy way to take my mind off of the trials of my life.  While in and of themselves, most of the games are harmless and don’t take long to complete the “tasks”, most of them require you to come back several times a day to “harvest” or “collect” items. If you don’t, the bounty is lost and you have wasted all the time and “money” so you are compelled to come back. More and more of these games were creeping into my life. I found I was easily spending three hours or more just playing games, not to mention responding to posts.  Plus the blogs I follow and the message boards in which I participate were adding another hour or two to my screen time.

When my children started to say I was always working on the computer, I realized I have more important things to do with my time. My house always has something that needs to be done, laundry is always in the works, my husband and my children need my time and attention and most important of all I found my conversations with God not happening.

Monday I decided now was the time. I could use the impending holidays as the reason I was taking a break. I do not plan on returning in the New Year. At some point in time, I will deactivate my account. My oldest two daughters do not think I can do it. My 18 year old gave me two days. She lost the bet; I haven’t been on it yet and today is the second day. My oldest gave me a week. I am taking these as personal challenges and whenever I have felt tempted to log on, I recall their skepticism and it keeps me off.

I have also greatly pared down the blogs that I follow on a daily basis.  I deleted my membership in several message boards, so now I only participate in four. One is a Christian woman’s board that focuses on the family and frugality, the second is a Catholic Moms board which challenges me to grow in my faith on a daily basis.  The other two are homeschooling boards where I can go and ask questions and talk with moms who understand what it is like to homeschool larger families.

I told a friend I have done, and she thought it was a wonderful idea and is joining me. Her husband has started calling Facebook, Wastebook. As I look back over the past three years; it has certainly created a wasteland in my life.  I am taking this final week of Advent and the rest of the Christmastide season to lead myself out of the wasteland and back the fertile ground of my faith and family.

Waiting for Christmas to be over!

I have decided that while Advent is supposed a time of peace while waiting and preparing for the birth of the Christ child, in my house it is not.  The emotional build up and increasing excitement leads to a lot of tantrums, from everyone, Mom included.

I have six year olds pulling each other’s hair, snatching toys away from each other and even pushing and shoving.  I have three twelve year olds and fourteen year old with major attitudes and refusing to obey basic house rules.  My oldest two have even gotten into it over various little things.

This final week heading into the Christmas has been crazy.  There are four doctor’s appointments that have happened or will happen this week.  On Thursday we are supposed to have the girls Little Flower meeting and the Boys Scouts Court of Honor and Christmas Party. This weekend is going to be busy running around too.

Thankfully, all the Christmas shopping is completed and the presents are wrapped.  We haven’t put them under the tree yet, because little ones would open them.  Not to mention I am sure they would become wonderful beds for a cat or two.

I hope your week before Christmas is a slower pace than mine and you are enjoying the time with your family.

1st Sunday of Advent

Today is the First Sunday of Advent.  Today we attended Mass and it was “Muffin Sunday” at our church.  Once a month, the church sells various types of muffins, and it has become a treat for the children (and for us too!).  You can’t beat a large size muffin being sold for only $1.00.  We usually buy a dozen, plus a few special ones for mom and dad. The children have them for snack and dessert.  We cut the muffins in half since they are so large.  Plus is it allows everyone to have tastes of several types of muffins.

We had an unplanned trip to the store for a few pairs of shoes.  It seems when certain young people decide to go through growth spurts, you wind up with shoes which do not fit, overnight.

The rest of today will be spent together and after dinner we will be watching the movie Brave.

I hope you are enjoying this First Sunday of Advent.