November 30, 2011

A Day of Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving with family and good food. Hosting holidays at my house really just makes me happy. Not sure where I get that from! I had lots of wonderful help from my girls this year. They are growing up so much and turning into quite the little chefs. Jenna made the cornbread for our stuffing and basically helped with all of the cleaning. Marah did most of the work on the sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes, and helped a lot with making the stuffing. She really enjoys helping out in the kitchen. Jenna always says she wants to help but then ends up bored and wandering off.

I really wanted to play games with the adults after the meal was finished but it seemed like we were all just too tired at that point so we just watched some shows on the TV instead. Marah was really just so excited about the day and kept talking about how she wanted to make everything beautiful and how she was so happy that our family was coming over. It was very sweet. I had the girls make placecards for the table this year and they really enjoyed that. Marah even made the centerpiece for the table. I had to let go of my control issues and let her proudly display her vase full of dollar store flowers. :) It was all very nice and the food was yummy and no one got sick from the turkey and so I consider it a success (food poisoning from undercooked meat that I cooked is one of my biggest fears)!

Sometimes, when you are struggling to make ends meet, when you're dealing with a long run of depression, when your mind keeps wandering to those sweet memories of the time you spent with your family in San Diego, when life just seems to be getting you down, it can be hard to feel thankful. It's sad, really, because I know that I have much to be thankful for. I know that my life is cake when compared with the long-suffering of people in other parts of the world. It's ridiculous to feel like my life is so hard or so dark and depressing. I need only look around me to see all of the beautiful people God has blessed me with. I need only look up to see that roof over my head. I need only look left to see my kitchen sink with clean running water. Hot and cold, at that! I need only walk about 40 feet to get to my bathroom. I am so very blessed. I need to remember that more often.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too.

Marah puts the topping on the sweet potatoes.

Marah and Uncle Fred peel the potatoes.

All the food is ready for consumption. Please ignore the big brown box that was brought by one of our lovely guests. This ain't no magazine cover, folks!

Grandma's place card made by Marah. The other place cards said Aunt Tera, Uncle Fred, Grandpa, Eric, and Ashley. ;)

The table has been prepared by the girls. Please pay special attention to the beautiful centerpiece.

Jenna was not happy about being told to sit at the "Kid's Table" but I told her it's holiday tradition so deal with it.

November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

We miss you, Nana and Papa!
(So. Cal post to follow)

November 15, 2011

Oops! Halloween :)

How easy it can be to forget to blog. Or even to just put it off because you have more pressing matters. And so it is that I am blogging about Halloween in the middle of November. I still have my trip to San Diego to blog about. In fact, I still have our family trip to San Diego to blog about! Crazy. Anyway, our Halloween was fun and simple this year. I made the kids use what we had around the house to come up with their costumes, so that we wouldn't have to spend any money, and it worked out great.

I helped Jenna come up with the idea for the Dios de los Muertos costume and we made paper flowers for her hair. Simple with a little bit of edge to it (Jenna always wants a scary costume). Marah knew she wanted to be a bride back in August when she received the play dress from her Aunt Krista. I ripped apart an old costume to make her veil and utilized the skills I picked up while making my sister-in-law, Ai's, veil. I think it turned out pretty cute! We added a lacy shirt under the dress and it ended up looking like it was part of the dress. Very Kate Middleton. :) For Alex's costume I just used his Woody pajama shirt, a red bandana, and a cowboy hat, which I realize is red but is all we had and worked just fine even though the girls said that was Jessie's hat.

We did our trick-or-treating, coming home with a ton of candy (of which all that remains are a bunch of Tootsie Rolls) and then settling in for some good old fashioned Halloween TV. We watched the Garfield Halloween special and Icabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I love Halloween. It's such a simple concept. Dress up, get candy, eat candy, watch fun shows. There is no pressure to buy gifts, make a fancy meal, put up a ton of decorations (unless you really want to). It's just easy and fun!


Jenna received a lot of compliments on her makeup.

Such a beautiful bride.

She knows how to make me laugh!

Recap for last week

Make each day count!

November 14, 2011

I may love rainbows but...

I have something I need to get off of my chest. I have struggled in the past with reading certain blogs that seemed to portray family life as happy, beautiful, perfectly lovely, something easily treasured and never looked upon as a burden or a source of frustration. I have read these blogs and wondered 'what am I missing?' and 'why don't I have this life?' I have felt the pang of wistful longing for that storybook life and I have questioned my own purpose, my mission, my place in my family. I have wondered, because of these bloggers, if I am doing something wrong or if I am just abnormally lazy, depressed, whatever...

Then I read posts like this: and I understand the point being made, I do. I know that they don't want to share all the negativity. They don't want to come across as complaining. I realize that there is a heavy weight placed on the spirit when you are always being fed depressing, sad, dark moments. I get that. I don't want to read a blog that was written by Debbie Downer, either. I love reading the happy posts. I love being inspired to do better because I see others doing fun stuff with their families and I read about them enjoying the everyday blessings. I'm so grateful to the bloggers with their bright and cheery, sunshine and rainbows, beautifully celebrated lives. Their blogs encourage and inspire me.

But, I have to say, I like reading about the hard times, too. And it's not because of some sick need to know that someone else has a messed up life, it's because I know that we are all imperfect and I strongly believe that sharing our imperfections can not only be freeing for us BUT for others as well! I have always felt that God wants us to bring the darkness into light. Isn't that what fellowship is all about? Aren't we supposed to form relationships based on reality? Isn't it important to know that we are not alone in our sinful nature?

Sure, the moments that make us feel good are God sends and He wants us to take the time to express our joy in those moments, but the trials and tribulations of life on Earth are also a part of being human, and in this age of technology and Facebook and blogging and internet friendships the opportunity to find comraderie in real life is becoming smaller and smaller. We are an internet generation and I think that it can be a bit of a hinderance to our relational intimacy, but it also gives us an outlet for getting things out that we don't feel comfortable sharing face to face.

And, really, why don't we feel comfortable sharing? I believe it is because nobody does it. It is very uncommon to hear someone sharing their "dirty little secrets." I think that keeping it to ourselves does our own spirits a deep injustice but I also believe that it does others an injustice. We need to know that people have been where we are. We need to know that there are others out there that we might be able to talk to who have been through what we've been through. If I didn't tell you that my marriage has suffered the deep blows of infidelity would you feel comfortable coming to me with your own issues on this matter? How would you know that my husband and I have worked very hard to overcome these terrible hardships and that I might have some advice for you if you are in the same situation? How would you know if I didn't share that? This is why I strongly believe that God wants us to share. He wants us to bring the darkness to light. Expose yourself and you might be blessed. It's not easy, for me it comes easier than others but it isn't easy for me either. I think it's important though.

Okay, so maybe your family blog isn't the place you feel comfortable exposing your marital problems. I get that. You don't have to go that far. It's a place I choose to go because I feel led by the Holy Spirit to do so. What I'm trying to say is that I want it to be OK to step outside of that perfect box that people feel so pressured to stay in. I want us to feel safe to share when life isn't perfect. I feel blessed by the sharing of these moments. Hearing about or reading about the times when life gets us down, that's what helps us get through our own rough patches. We need to know that we are not alone.

I know it's not for everyone, but I just wanted to throw my own feelings into the mix. I know some people blog the happy moments for a particular reason, and I understand their reasons, but I think it's okay to strike a balance between sharing our happiness and sharing our sadness.

Thanks for reading. :) I'm going through my own rough patch right now that I would really like to blog about but for now I'm just going to say that this blog here, it's about real life and all the ups and downs that go with it.