A Good O’ Snow Storm

I love a good snow storm.

The temperature drops as the wind picks up, blowing fresh snow, closing schools and roads.

Everything stops.

The calendar gets cleared.

My busy day turned into a vacation day.

I can hunker down in my nice warm house with my family around me and rest.

No schedule. No obligations.

There’s a bit of excitement in the air, almost a holiday atmosphere.

The kids sleep in.

Fresh scones for breakfast  – maybe some homemade hot chocolate later.

No traffic goes by.

We’re isolated in our little world – surrounded by a blanket of white.

The wind howls.

The furnace hums.

And my soul rests.

Later, when the wind dies down, we’ll pull out the sleds and the cross country skies.  Ready to slowly rejoin the rest of the world, reveling in the stillness and beauty after the storm. Refreshed after our unexpected day off.

But now is the time to cocoon.

For hot tea and warm quilts.

For jig saw puzzles and family games.

A time to savor home and family.

Oh yes, I love a good  snow storm!

Adjustments

ouray coloradoMany of you have asked how I’m doing now that my first born has the flown the coop.

And the truth is – just fine!

Those of you who have already experienced this massive undertaking are smiling right now. You knew it would be like this. 🙂

My mom told me that the first parting is always sad but it doesn’t take long for a new normal to emerge.

She was right.

Once the car left the driveway and Matt was on his way to Colorado – we watched the dust settle. Then we went in the house, picked up the school books and kept working.

That night we set the table for 6.

We divided up his household responsibilities with some of the younger ones stepping up and doing more.

Dagmar commandeered the massive desk in his room as her new “office”.

His siblings have made free with his extensive CD collection.

We savor his weekly phone call and pass the phone around the family until everyone has had a chance to catch up.

And yes – we miss him. But as my friend Cinnamon told me, “No matter where he is, he will always be a part of you.”

I understand that now.

We pray for him at every meal, remember him in family stories and jokes, and make plans to convince him to lose the beard. 🙂

We’ve learned that when he’s where God wants him to be, doing what God wants him to do – there’s an incredible peace.

Even in the goodbyes.

Graduation

Graduation 007Graduation is tomorrow.

Everybody’s been asking me if I’m ready for the big day.

Ready?

Well – the house is clean, the food is prepped, the invitations are sent, the cap and gown are pressed and we have several house projects completed in anticipation of the after-graduation party.

But am I ready?

Hmmm…good question.

Is it ever possible to be ready for major life changes? Was I ready when Matt was born? When we sat down at the kitchen table and started school? When he started driving?

Yet – at this point – after all the planning and preparations – I think I’m ready to just get it done and get back to normal.

But wait – that’s the problem isn’t it.

After tomorrow our “normal” will be different.

At the end of the summer there will be only be four students sitting around our table doing school.

My first-born will be out of the nest.

And it’s that thought – dear friends – that leaves me in a puddle.

When my sister Teresa graduated her oldest – she would burst into tears whenever anyone even said the word graduation.

I used to tease her about it.

Silly me.

I guess it’s my turn now.

Somebody please pass me the tissues – ready or not – here we go!

Our Christmas Tree

TreeI love the Christmas season!

Normally – Christmas music will start playing just as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey is picked over and in the fridge.

But this year the girls caved early and started listening the week of Thanksgiving!

And the Christmas tree goes up – by the first of December – if not before.

I will admit that our Christmas tree will never grace the cover of a home and garden magazine, nor would a passing stranger admire it’s beauty.

But that doesn’t matter to me.

Why? Because our tree is decorated with memories. Each and every ornament has a story. Each one is an old friend.

There are ornaments from college friends, former students, and coworkers. There is one “First Christmas Together” ornament along with five “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments.

Then there are the handmade ones, the art projects created by my children, the heirloom ornaments designed by our parents and Jan’s Grandma Moen’s tatted snowflakes and bells.

It’s not just a part of the Christmas decor – it is a document of our family history.

Just like everything else in our Christmas – it’s not about being picture perfect – it’s about making memories that tie us together as a family.

And that makes it a thing of beauty to me.

Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be quite a busy one – so busy that it’s taken us all a few days to recover!

We started out on Thanksgiving Day at church where we helped to serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal to anyone in the community who didn’t have a place to go or family to spend the day with.

LL

It was the second year the church opened its door for a Thanksgiving meal and we were thrilled with the attendance and support.

My responsibility was to cook and bring the turkeys and make the gravy. I fretted over that gravy.

I prayed over that gravy.

I’m happy to report that it was well received! 🙂

The kids loved hanging out after they helped served drinks and cut pie.

Then as soon as we had the clean-up under control we loaded up our crew and left straight from church to head up to Jan’s brother’s place in the Twin Cities.

It was a 6+ hour trip and as we headed north the cold increased – as did the snow.

TWISTER

But it was worth it! The kids filled every minute with cousin time! I think they slept at some point- but I can’t verify that statement. 🙂

They watched movies, played in the snow, and even had a push-up competition.

Meanwhile I had some sweet time with 3 special nieces (you can read more about them here, here, here, and here), and did some major “thrifting” with my sister-in-law. Ahh – the bargains we found! 🙂

Grama

Jan and I had also chance to slip away and drive the extra 45 minutes north to the nursing home where my Grandpa and Grandma are now staying.

It was another bittersweet visit. Grandma knew exactly who I was and we had a lovely time together.  She held my hand as if – when she let go I would disappear.

She cried when I left.

I cried too.

Grandpa’s in the Alzheimer’s unit and he didn’t know me, but he seemed glad to see me anyway. He looked tired and a little lost.

I cried when I said good-bye to him too. I always wonder if it was our last visit.

The rest of the weekend went by in a blur of laughter and food!

We packed the gang up on Sunday morning and left for the return trip home – this time with some very tired and sick kiddos.

It was one of those weekends that we filled to the brim!

But I’m so glad we did – the memories we made were priceless!