'Twas the Night


It is the night before Christmas. Like many parents, I am helping Santa do everything in my power to make Christmas morning magical.

I hope this holiday season you have had joy, that you have been surrounded by people you love. If you aren't able to be in the presence of your loved ones I hope that memories sustain you. 

This season is full of activities.

This season is full of crafting.

I thought I would write you a few times the last couple of weeks, but we have had every sickness under the sun. 

Last week, I even wrote a little poem about my family and the sickness. 

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house were sickies who like to wipe snot on my blouse.

Mom is so tired, the only way she shows that she cares. Is to line up the teacups on the counter so germs are not shared.

And the kids were snuggled up in the beds, one with tissue and one with a puke bucket right by their heads.

And mama is in her yoga pants writing this ditty, while dad is away for work again in another city.

I am here texting, emailing, and calling the schools while trying not to cause a clatter. I am praying for the kids to nap, for just ten minutes would really matter.

We have gone through the Netflix Christmas movies in a flash. We tore through so many there’s bound to be some screen time backlash.

The list of ailments between them both seem to grow. I think my weariness is surely starting to show.

When, what to my tired eyes should appear,
But another type of virus showing up here.

With my mother instinct so swift and quick,
I get out all the tools to help with the sick.

An arsenal of goodies the kids thought were lame,
But I persisted and called them by name;

”Honey, tissues, saltines, and soup!
Oh, ginger syrup, essential oils, and Lysol to boot!”

If children are bored mischief they will try,
When they are soon met with an obstacle it is mom’s mad sigh.

So down to the basement they flew. With hands full of toys, that they threw all a-strew.

And then, when I thought I could take no more. A big glass of milk spilled all over the floor.

As I drew in a deep breath, the kids were scurrying around. My yelling and screaming was by far the only sound.

The kids looked scared and it made me feel sad.
As we cleaned up the milk, I assured them they weren’t bad.

My lost temper was not something I could take back. But I could certainly make up for the empathy I lacked.

As we talked, their eyes twinkled and looked so merry. I couldn’t tell if it was the sickness that made their cheeks the color of berries.

I told them I was sorry for yelling and letting my temper show. They ask for some make-up toys and I promptly said “no.”

Christmas is coming much sooner than we think,
The sicknesses, the shopping, and the busyness are making me want to drink;

The pressure is mounting with each passing day,
My to-do lists are really making me cray.

But for today I focus on making my crew not sick,
Some R&R will hopefully do the trick;

The last minute shopping and the prospect of wrapping is something I dread. I have a cold too and I can hear the calling of my bed.

But for now, I am on mama duty and I will get to work. I really don’t want to be that bah humbug jerk,

And as I pop some Day-Quil and I start to blow my nose. The spirit of Christmas in my heart definitely arose;

It isn’t about the presents, the wrapping, or the tinsel. Christmastime is about something much more simple.

So as I am covered in a blankie and sipping some tea. Merry Christmas to all...may healthy loved ones surround you under the tree.

I am pretty sure another member of our family is getting sick. It. Never. Ends.

But these moments are fleeting. The moments of joy that only Santa can bring. 

Wishing you the best day ever. 

Finding the Beauty

Pretty Little Butterfly Doesn't Care About Whatever Crap Storm Your Life May be.

Pretty Little Butterfly Doesn't Care About Whatever Crap Storm Your Life May be.

Last night/early this morning I wrote the best blog post you ever read...you will just have to take my word for it, because around 1:45am I went to publish it and there was some sort glitch and it wouldn't save...it was all gone. You may be thinking to yourself, "Johanna didn't you save as you worked?" Well, I THOUGHT I did, but instead I think I was saving photos within the post. I hate when I am a dummy.

I was so upset and I started snowballing about ALL the stuff  I have to do today. I am starting a new fitness/lifestyle program, I have to unpack from Spring Break, I need to clean the house, I need to go the store, I need to get gas, I have to take the kids to school/appointments/sports...you know LIFE.

Look at these pictures...living out loud with mess! I have a friend that only comes over when we have parties and she was envious that we always looked put together and our house appeared clean. Sometimes the house is really clean...sometimes it LOOKS clean...sometimes it is all ape shit with mess. That vacuum has been in the front way longer than I care to admit. And yup, my son is eating breakfast right next to a cleaner bottle on a dirty table. And all that laundry...it is clean...just not folded and not put away. I got work to do.

So it is a bummer to do things over and over again. That is the hardest part about being a parent (for me) is the monotony. You cook, you clean, you organize, you run errands, you cart around kids...and you do it again and again and again. It can be hard and it can be especially hard when things go wrong. And things go wrong. You can set the best intentions and things can still go awry. But what you do in the face of those challenges is what makes you YOU.

Some of my life has been really hard...I got through because I saw no other choice...it was the way it was and you just have to get through it. However, if I have a choice...I can sometimes choose the easy route. One time I took a Women's Kickboxing class and I think this was before I had kids so I had a much different body then...one that should have been able to do kickboxing. Well, from the second I stepped into class (which was on a boxing ring) we were moving and conditioning ourselves. It was stinking brutal. I was hurting almost immediately and I was dehydrated and I was miserable. So midway through the class the instructor let us have a little break and I ran. I seriously grabbed my stuff and booked it out of the room and was heading straight to my car. As soon as I was outdoors I realized I had parked my car right by the windows of the classroom. So I crouched down to run and get in my car. The class was hard and instead of seeing what I could do, I humiliated myself trying to get to my car, to get far away. 

If something is important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, an excuse.
— Unknown

So I am trying to not take the easy way out when things are hard. I am finishing the blog post late, but it will be done, I will exercise today, and do some of my mom chores...I may not get to all the cleaning up today, but that is okay. I will do what is important to me. 

One thing that is important to me is to fast craft...like for reals, it brings me joy and joy is a priority. So today let's add a little color and a little happy to our life for Making it Monday...



First you need your supplies...

  • Branch-Any branch will do. This branch was the one I found at the beach at the beginning of Spring Break. 
  • Pom Poms-Get little ones or big ones...whatever look you are seeking! I really wanted pastel Pom Poms for an Easter vibe, but I could only find very vibrant ones. Annnnd I didn't care enough to drive around and get a different pack. 
  • Glue Gun and Glue Sticks-I have a low temp, little glue gun and I used some glitter glue sticks, but it doesn't really matter if you use regular ones or glitter ones.
STEP 1: Pom Pom Supplies

STEP 1: Pom Pom Supplies

Step 1

Collect yo supplies! Just put a little glue on the branch. It was easier to kind of "sandwich" the dap of glue with two Pom Poms. 

STEP 2: Glue on the Pom Poms

STEP 2: Glue on the Pom Poms

Step 2

Glue the Pom Poms all over. You may have to clean up some glue "strings," but other than that it is seriously a very easy project. Honestly, I may glue another bag of Pom Poms...maybe a different size. I think I would like it to be a little fuller. However, since my daughter wants this in her room I will let her decide. 

I think I am pretty happy with the end result. I wanted to do a Pom Pom tree to replace an Easter Egg Tree this year. Or maybe I will hang eggs from these branches.  This would be a fun project for Halloween too and do Halloween colors and instead of  cleaning up the glue "strings' leave them for a cobweb effect.

I love the little "pops" of color it provides. One of the reasons why I love to decorate, craft, and throw parties is to make the sweet parts of life even sweeter...to create some beauty in a world that sometimes it can be hard to see what is beautiful, what is good and what is joyful. Life can be brutal and unfair, but I hope you are able to see the beauty in it and in yourself...I will work on that too.

Life is hard, but so very beautiful.
— Abraham Lincoln

The Ties that Bind.

I adore these little Ladies.

I adore these little Ladies.

Spring break has been magical and yet it is kicking my booty! I feel like we have been in a whirlwind of nonstop commotion.

My husband was out of town for business Wednesday night, so I put the kids to bed and promptly fell asleep with them...accidentally of course. I woke up at 2 am and decided I should finish cleaning the house and pack since we were leaving town the next day (well, I guess technically the same day). I opened up the bedroom door and saw chaos and smelled poop. My dogs were locked in the bedroom (when dad is gone...everyone sleeps with me in my room...it is crazy, but it works for me). But right before bed, my daughter got up to get something and she locked the dogs OUT of the bedroom. It didn't go well. 

They had gotten into my new yarn (so much yarn in so many places), they tore apart two bags of garbage I was going to take out, and they had our clothes all over that I was going to pack for the trip. Both dogs looked at me with excitement like I might want to join in the fun. I declined the invitation. Instead I crated them and cleaned up the mess. Oh and the poop smell? One of the dogs pooped in the house. (I am not naming names, but it may have been the gross, spaz  dog.) However, before I got to work with what I really got up to do...the dishes, packing, taking the garbage out...I decided to flip the script for a moment. So instead I put some essential oils in the diffuser, I started a Golden Girls episode (you know I did), and I did what I love...I did some fast crafting. 

Okay, before you read any further you may want to stop if you are a knitting purest. I love knitting...all kinds of knitting, but really my favorite is loom knitting because it is basically instant gratification. Now, you may be poo-pooing this method, but you really can make some great things this way. In the middle of the night I made a baby hat and some baby legwarmers. I have a bunch of babies in my world right now, so it was the perfect little break for me and I was able to make a gift for someone we love super fast.

My secret.

My secret.

So in about an hour I whipped up a sweet little knitted set. Now I am not going to make a tutorial (why am I so mean?), but are ton of resources online...Google loom knitting and you will be set. If you are a visual learner there are a million videos or if you learn best by reading there are several sites that will give you tutorials. They can do a far better job teaching/demonstrating this technique than I. 

The rhythm of knitting can be so rewarding. You cast on and row by row you are making something. For me, row by row I am giving up something...my anger towards my dogs, forgetting about a hard day or hard feelings, whatever is ailing me at the time. It is meditative for me and once again something so mundane helps teach us about life. 

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.
— Elizabeth Zimmermann

One of the things we did for spring break was a meet up with some of my friends...mommies need play dates too! One of my nearest and my dearests has two little girls. It is so fun to watch our kids forge their own new relationships. They are legit friends...they are second generation friends. Reminds me about knitting, the loom kinds AND the regular kind; these relationships build off of one another...the new row needs the first row. I never thought my relationship with my friends could get better, but when you add these new little beings into the picture and the relationships they make with our friends and with each other...it really puts it at new level. Like when you get the hang of knitting and you all of a sudden can do more than just a scarf...the basics gave you the foundation to build upon.

Just as my kids have these "aunt" and "uncles' and these lifelong friendships...so is the case for my husband and I. There were "rows" before us. My husband recently lost one of his "aunts"...a woman who was not blood, but who was every bit family. She was an amazing woman. She made you feel  so important when you had a conversation with her. She was attentive and soooooo smart...if you had the pleasure to talk with her you undoubtedly were smarter and a better person from doing so. Her joy for life was infectious. And to see the love between her and her partner of a lifetime was awe inspiring. And he is the first person that all of us thought about when we first heard about this devastating loss, because he is still here and without his soulmate. Life is so beautiful, but can be so cruel.

Not only does her loss cut so deeply it reminds us of our own season of life. Our kids will feel these sort of losses with our besties. But the relationships they are making together with the next generation of friends will hopefully allow them to walk that path together when the time comes. Time (and that loom) keep on turning. We just need to enjoy the ride, pay attention to our rows we are knitting, and love our people. 

In life, as in knitting, don’t leave loose ends. Take the time to thank the people who matter in your life.
— Reba Linker