The Most Magical Time of the Year

Well, I was just done posting this and somehow deleted the whole thing! Ugghhhh! Yes, it was an accident. I was happy with my writing only to have to recreate the post in its entirety. That being said, what a wonderful theme to write  about, the holidays. 

Holidays are times for family and friends to gather and be merry. I’m nearly done with my interior decorations but we haven’t done much outside yet. I have shared some of my Christmas crafting in a previous post, and I am able to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. I’ve also made gifts for friends this year, but I’m not quite done. does it ever seem like you are never quite done, or is that only me? 


Decorations are a big thing in our house and it’s so nice to enjoy them for those few weeks before we take them down and decorate for the next much smaller holiday of valentine’s day. With the discerning eyes of my 15 year old and myself, we have managed to whip this place into shape for Christmas but we have more plans, or rather, I have more plans. Bringing them into fruition is the next challenge. 

Our next big holiday tradition is baking cookies, or course. The 15 year old wanted to make cut out sugar cookies yesterday but alas, the 1nswer was a resounding NO! Am I a mean and cruel mom? No, but the 18 year old will be home Monday and would be so upset if we made those without her. That’s a family affair in this house! if you don’t like to war these cookies, you must have something wrong with you genetically! They are the best cookie in the world hands down. Granted, we make many other ones like Swedish spice cookies, peanut blossoms, and a variety of others. These 3 are the staples of our Christmas baking.

I can’t wait to have most of the family together. Tomorrow is the day I’ll get to pick up my baby girl from school!  She’s coming  home for a month ya’ll! My oldest girl will be in California for the holidays and my dad and brother will be in sunny Florida.  I will still have the boy and my minime. I will also have my sweet and dear father-in-law for Christmas.  He has to be the easiest guest ever! 

Being together and celebrating Christmas us such a special tradition. We celebrate the birth of Jesus by heading out to midnight mass each year. Usually, my girls are singing but this year they will not be which will be strange. With one in California and the 18 and 15 year olds at their dad’s Christmas eve, you will find me with my remaining  boys in our usual spot are the church listening to the joyous and holy music and liturgy, all the while I will be thinking of my mom and nanan who have passed from this earth to join in the heavenly celebrations with the saints. I will be thinking of my daughters, my son, my dad and my brother, praying for their joy and health. I will be thinking and praying for my friends and relatives hoping their Christmas is blessed by happiness and love. I will pray for those without home, family or friends to be with at this time of year. I will try to make a difference in someone’s life this year as a always try to do each year. I will try to be joyous and bring joy and peace to those around me and to those whose lives I’ve been blessed to touch, if only for a moment. This is my Christmas wish. What’s yours?

Christmas Crafting

What is more fun than decorating for the holidays? Creating new items to make your spaces look even more beautiful. I am a Pinterest junkie. There, I’ve said it. They say admitting it is the first step to recovery but I don’t want to recover! I LOVE Pinterest! When I can’t think of a project to do or how I want to proceed with a new project, I check out all the fun and exciting things on Pinterest and get inspired. 

I have created gobs of projects from home decor and home renovation to new recipes based on my Pinterest addiction. Yes  it most definitely is an addiction. Lately though, it’s like about the holidays. 

I love decorating for the holidays but I love creating new decorations even more! Last year we made giant lollipops for the yard from pool noodles and colorful duct tape. So cute! This year my hot glue gun and I are all about wreaths. I’ve made several and I love them. 

Such a neat idea, right? Believe me they have to be simple for me to try them. It’s a Styrofoam wreath form covered with about 100 different sized shatterproof ornaments. I especially even have the burned fingers and a blister to prove I made these. 

I absolutely adore these wreaths. I’ve made 4 so far and have at least 1 more to go. I also love hanging home creations on canvas up for something a little different for this time of year. I created a “oh holy  night” picture that didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted it to, but I sort of rushed it. I could redo it but I think I’m just being tough on myself. The artist is always the one to see the biggest flaws in their wi r just after all. For the most part though, I like it. It’s canvas that’s painted then I used Gabriel glue to do the rest. Overall, I’m satisfied with the results and would love to do this again with another song. Maybe for Valentines day…

I’ve also been busy repainting my dresser and now painting a brick wall in my kitchen. I have way too much brick in this house and want to update my house to bring it into the 21st century. There is never a time when a project isn’t being done around here. Maybe someday though… Then what will I do with my time? Just  bake? Nah, there will always be something that needs to be painted. Of that, I’m sure. Till my next project is completed I bid you peace. 

Ciao!

Deirdre

Fall Has Arrived

It’s that time of year when school is back in full swing and the weather begins to turn cooler. It’s fall! This is one of my favorite times of year, before it gets too cold. 

I am a lover of warm weather and sunshine, but when the autumn chill hits the air, I love to snuggle under my blanket, grab my cup of coffee, and write. Watching the world around me change each day gives me new life and brings about new things to write about.

Have you ever looked at the leaves on an overcast day? The leaves changing color becoming so vibrant in the coolness of dusk or more vibrant still when it rains softly.  What a beauty to behold!

Fall also brings about Halloween which in our house means festivities and decorations. I used to go all out and then life got in the way. Well my friends, Pinterest and I have become good friends and I have plans for this year! We even hope to have one of our parties since my biggest Halloween fan, my 15 year old, will have practice for a show on Halloween itself. Let the good times roll.

Another thing I’ve always loved about fall is the food. Comfort food. Chili and cornbread. I make the best cornbread. It’s sweet and tastes like heaven. Caramel apples, fruit cobblers, bread puddings. And there’s football and my favorite sport, hockey! God bless my St. Louis Blues! 

So as we begin this fall, take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. I have so much. No, ibdont have everything, but I have the most important things life has to offer. I have my health, my family and my friends. Let’s make this fall a fall to remember. 

Ugh! Calgon Take Me Away!

Ever have a day, a week, a year where you just want a do-over? Or maybe just hit the delete button for so many things that have happened? This year has been it for sure and although I’m not feeling like hitting the delete button today, I could sure use a bubble bath, candles, some expensive chocolates, wine, a vacation lodge in the bahamas. 

Oops, sorry, I meandered off for a moment. The point being that we all have those times where we need to destress! 

I’m not sure about you, but my life is hectic enough with just my 2 remaining kids at home, working and the house. But so much more is added on to us nowadays it seems. There’s carting everyone around and work and… homework.

Homework takes up my evenings with the boy. It just never seems to be finished. It isn’t for lack of trying either. I seem to lose him just when it’s time to pick up the other kid! Grrr. Getting him back to task is nearly impossible!

On days there’s lots of homework it makes getting dinner nearly impossible! Did I mention the ADHD issue? Today is one of those days and somehow homework is relegated to me because I have better luck with him, but not when there is this much.

I’m not sure how my mom did this, but I do know that my brother and I were independent. We did our own homework. When did this change for kids? When did it change that husband and wife couldn’t spend any time together because of homework? Calgon please take me away! I need a vacation and it’s only the second week of school!

Summer Is…

Summer is my favorite season. It always has been. With the exception of this summer, it means swimming, playing outside, spending warm summer evenings with friends and kids outside. In essence, it’s a time for renewal and reconnection that we aren’t afforded while we are stuck indoors on cold winter days.

Summer is a time to play in my garden and watch things grow. I love watching things grow.This year, due to my health, I didn’t even get my tomatoes in the garden and my entire garden looks like a den of weeds, as I’ve been unable to tend my beautiful pride and joy. I do miss sitting there in the mornings to have my coffee, but I hope to be able to tend it soon.
Summer is a time to spend with family. When I was growing up, I was very fortunate to be able to go on holidays with my family. We went to my family’s home in Ireland. I learned to work on the farm and I loved every moment. I not only got to meet my cousins far away, I got to have wonderful relationships with them. I have to tell you that family truly is everything to me. Growing up in a town where I had no cousins, I loved and appreciated those holidays to make the special bonds with my cousins more than you could imagine. Probably even more so since I had no sister growing up. I have only the one older brother who means the world to me, but I always longed for a sister. I saw the bonds with my cousins as if I had sisters for those weeks we were together. I know they couldn’t understand that since they all had sisters of their own, but I treasured their “sisterhood” in those summers more than anything you could put a price tag on.

One of my favorite Summertime activities is to play with my son in the back by my garden while having my coffee in the mornings. You see, he’s a secret agent and I’m headquarters. I’m base command with the computer. He’s going to save the world and sniper the bad guys with his stick rifles. Ah, his imagination. Sometimes it’s an alien invasion. It’s how boys think. You can not change that. He wants to protect and serve. I miss that this summer very, very much. I don’t miss the silly game, I miss spending the quality time with the boy I love most, my boy. He, like all boys, grows too fast. He’s my baby boy and he’s the only boy I have. He’s my youngest child. Now, he’s been reduced to getting things for me This summer. He’s been caring for me instead of the other way around. He’s wonderful too, just like his father. 

Summertime is generally healthy time. This year? Well, it’s more of a let’s not succumb to these wretched pancreatic surgery post-op complications summer. It technically is a get healthy summer, although I’m unable to swim and unable to even walk very far. I’m finally on the mend, I think, provided there are no more complications. I was even able to stay up past 9:30 PM last night. Not much longer, but I’m beginning to heal I think. 

Summer will remain my favorite season. I long to take a nice dip in the pool. I’d love to get on the tennis court. After all that I’ve been through this summer, I appreciate summer and life even more. 

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “Summer is…” and as usual, our host is the extraordinary, Kristi. Check out everyone else’s posts! It’s always a fun read!


Let’s be Clear

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As we headed out to the ocean in the shuttle boat, I was struck by the clear sky, the clean lines of the boats around me, the birds diving into the water for their lunch. Life out here was clearly defined. I was also aware that my own life lacked such clarity in it’s definition, or did it?

When you are on holiday and have the opportunity to let the wind sweep through your hair while the ocean breeze and sun pelt your senses, you have time to take note of things in your life that you normally don’t think about. Okay, well, that’s what I do while also trying to find the dolphins swimming along the boat. I did find the dolphins, by the way.

My life always seems to leave me wanting something else and I always feel less than this or that. I’ve tried to believe I’m just as good and just as worthy, but something always niggles at me and my inner diva deflates yet again.

When I’m on holiday, however, I get to pretend to be the person I try so hard to really be in everyday life. I even tell myself that when I get home I will be this person. Granted, this holiday was a bit bizarre with my trip to the ER and all, but I still long to be her!

I know exactly who she is. She’s really lovely and you’d love her. She’s a lot like me only she is more confident. She’s definitely cute and not as heavy as me. She knows what she wants and gets it once she puts her mind to it. Her kids listen to her and there is so much love in her house. No one ever yells.

Okay, okay. I realise this is my dream but the problem with me is clarity. It’s a clarity of vision sometimes. Other times it’s a clarity of instructions. I do know what I want, but sometimes I get in my own way. I think we all do that from time to time. We muck up our road, so to speak. Of we can keep our clarity of mind, our clarity of heart and our clarity of self and the goodness we all possess inside, that holiday person of our dreams can be a reality.

We have to be clear in our thinking and not muck it up with thoughts of “an I good enough” or “am I enough”. We pay too much attention to what the media tells us and really it’s pure and utter crap. Is your family happy? Well then, you are the person you are meant to be. Just be you and you’re enough.

Long Trip Home

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With the van stuffed to capacity, we finally began our long, arduous journey home yesterday afternoon.  Knowing you have 18 hours ahead of you on the road is never fun, especially with 3 teenagers and an 8 year old, but being prepared makes the world of difference.

The van was overstuffed with snacks, and I do mean overstuffed! Looking for any kind of snack food in particular? We were prepared. We even had the largest single rice krispie treat I’ve ever laid my baby blues on! If one person are the entire thing, they eat approximately 3600 calories! So, from that to wheat things to bananas, we were covered. My daughter even named the load of honey wheat bread, Greg, for no reason other than she could! We were prepared for a zombie apocalypse.

My hubby flew down the day before so he could drive us home since I was now on pain meds and loopy as heck! He is my hero! Nothing better than being stoned on Dilaudid and unable to drive )  husband drive. What a guy!

We stopped for one Cracker Barrel meal and several potty pit stops. We played Mad Libs, we chatted we slept. Jim drove on. He finally needed a break break after driving 14 hours so my daughter drove for a little while. Then my dear husband was back at it again and got us home.

All I had to to was sleep. Do you have any idea how difficult that is for me to do in a car, especially when it’s my van filled with the people I love and I’m not in control of driving? Thank you Dilaudid! Without pain meds, I would not only have terrible pain, I would also be fretting over everyone else’s driving! I am a superior driver in my own mind, don’t you know! I actually trust my husband implicitly but only him. It’s very hard for me to give up that control.

Did I tell you all of what happened on vacation? Of course not! Well, it’s Murphy’s law and Murphy and I are thick as thieves these days!

I was in the ER out second day there. Our van was hit in a parking lot and left without a note. Yes, there’s damage. The kids overflowed the Jacuzzi tub with mass quantities of bubbles, yes bubbles, more than once. My husband, in his tired state, locked the keys in the van while trying to fix taillights that were broken by the hit and run in the parking lot. And the topper-offer I left my full coffee cup on the counter of the condo and realized it 150 miles away! That was the Murphy’s law version of our week’s holiday to Florida!

The remainder was fun in the sun, sun burns, laughs, Harry Potter marathon, great food, swimming in the pool, alligator spotting, the ocean and more great times!

We take the good with the bad and the good always outweighs the bad. We remember all of the great moments. Holidays are bonding times a92nd this one was a great one. It just could have been longer! But I will say, oooh, my bed feels good!

While Buying Java at the Gas Station

This morning I couldn’t sleep. I was determined to get things accomplished before going on our boat shuttle to Keewaydin Island so I awakened early before 6AM. I found out that the greenskeepers are already working to mow the golf course at that hour with the headlights going on their riding mowers. Did you know that? I never knew!

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Once showered and dressed, I looked up the hours of my favorite market here in Naples, Florida so I could get some special goodies for our afternoon island adventure. You see, today is a very special day. Today is Michael’s 18th birthday. He is my daughter, Clare’s boyfriend and we took him along for our Springtime Easter holiday adventure. I wanted to maker his birthday a very special one.

Along the way, I stopped to get gas. I noticed as I was getting coffee that there was an elderly gentleman who was talking to a younger man. The younger man asked the older man if he had used the shaver yet. Then, the younger man said to the clerk that the older man was all hers.

I was struck by the fact that this man, who was clean shaven and well put together, probably was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. He and I chatted together for a little bit over the coffee pot. Granted, I will talk to just about anyone and can strike up a conversation with any store clerk and usually do.

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This gentleman was a gem. He was sweet, kind and definitely here because he had nothing better to do. He was a people person and maybe lost his wife. I will never know. All I know is that he touched my heart and so did the man who brought him into the store as well as the clerk. What kindhearted people to care for this aging gentleman.

If we could all take a moment and think about the importance of caring for our aging population. If we are lucky, we will one day reach that age. What a wonderful thing it would be to have the knowledge that we could rely on our youth to take care of us at that age.  This is something to teach our children about. No time like the present!

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This is a post written as part of FTSF which is awesome! Each week, we are given the beginning of a sentence, this week it is “The things I’ve seen this morning…” This is then written about and linked up with other amazing writers each week. Go check it out at http://www.FindingNinee.com! You won’t be sorry!

What not to trust your kids with

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I truly love being on holiday. When I’m not up to speed, it’s nice to know that I can trust the older kids with the care of the young one. There are a few things, however that one should certainly not trust them with.

Cooking is fine for my daughter, Clare. She’s a wiz in the kitchen. Her boyfriend, Michael, however, should not be trusted with peanut butter and mini chocolate  chips! The chocolate chips will scatter on the floor inevitably no matter how many times you tell him to be careful. I think this is part of his male teenage nature. My 8 year old is just as bad but isn’t as obsessed with the chocolate chips.

The Jacuzzi tub and bubble bath isn’t to be trusted with any of them! What the hell are they thinking? Well, the truth is, they think it’s great fun to make a complete and utter mess in there and think nothing of leaving the bubbly remnants behind as well as the wet rugs and wet tile floor. Did I mention this is in my bathroom? Oh yes, a seemingly regular occurrence after swimming or tennis. Tonight, they managed to outdo themselves and left the Jacuzzi on while they each got into the shower in their swimsuits to rinse off. Then, I walked in. Let’s just say, bubbles were so high you would expect to see them on a sitcom, not in your bathtub!

I’ve nipped that one in the bud though. They got to work and cleaned like fiends. I now have a spotlessly clean bathroom with a freshly mopped floor to boot! I know, kids will be kids! Seriously though, don’t leave any bubbles near your Jacuzzi tub or you may live to regret it. I only regret not taking a photo to share with you! It was a truly magnificent sight to behold, but don’t tell them I said that.

Towels. Towels. Towels. Did you know that children think that while on holiday the towel fairy, otherwise known as mom, will magically wash towels each day? Clothes are left in their bathroom as are dreadfully wet towels. God forbid they hang up towels or throw a load of wash in. The washer is right next to their bathroom, too! Great to always be a maid! Never trust these heathens with your towels. God only knows how many they will use once they figure out the location of clean ones.

I know this is a post of complaining, but really, for any mother who has any teenagers at home, or any mother of former teenagers, you completely understand and can laugh at the humour here. They will always make messes and eat you out of house and home. The boys begin early, like my nearly 9 year old son. He’s busy eating his weight everyday and obsessing over an 18 year old girl! Yes, he tells me how “hot” she is and today told me that she has a cute belly button. Lord save me!

I wouldn’t change these kids for anything. Just don’t give them bubble bath or mini chocolate chips and your world might be a slightly saner place. Keep only 6 towels in your linen closet so your laundry isn’t ridiculously immense and voila! Life is beautiful again! If you don’t love them, who will!

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On Gratitude

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There are many things I am grateful for in my life, least of which is my family. But today I want to stop for a moment and write about the little things I’m grateful for. I’m always talking about my family because my love for them is so immense, but sometimes we need to “stop and smell the roses” as it were. We all need to learn to appreciate the little things we have been given.

As you know, I’ve been under the weather this week, but I’m not letting that stop me from enjoying the beauty surrounding me. I’m in southwestern Florida for goodness sakes! Beauty surrounds me! I look outside and I see palm trees of every variety, luscious, green grass, blue skies, birds with long bills and flowers of red and purple and white. The sun is so lovely and warm in my skin when I am out there sitting by the pool or sitting at the beach.

I know I can’t do the things I would normally do on my holidays, but I am so grateful to just simply be here and to have the warmth of the Florida sun. I’m grateful for our church being close by. I say it’s our church when really it’s my parent’s church, or rather my dad’s. I’m grateful that in was able to be there Easter Sunday, even though it was packed and we had to sit on the floor or stand at the back. And we were early!

Those are all big things I’m grateful for. I’m very blessed, you see. I have things that others do not have. I try to share what I have with others on a regular basis. I teach my children to do the same.

We have a home and food and beds to sleep in. They have excellent schools to attend. We have clothes on our back. There are those people who don’t have those things in this world. I’m grateful for opportunities to share what I have with others. I won’t say we are by any means wealthy. We are not. But it will not stop us from sharing what we have with those who do not have.

Teaching our children to give is very important, but the way schools teach charity doesn’t seem to work. Charity begins at home. I’ve taught my children to feed the less fortunate, to clothe them and to give them something they truly need. They’ve seen the faces of those people and seen their appreciation. In school, they pay a dollar for a jeans day to raise money for something or bring in a canned food for the food bank. They never see the result of their charity. That is not truly teaching them charity, is it?

I’m grateful that I’m able to be here for my family and to teach them charity. I’m grateful to see charity being performed by my children. I’m so happy that some lessons I’ve taught them rubbed off.

It’s the little things in life that matter. We all need to remember that in the big picture, the small things will be what We remember the most. Make the most of the day and be grateful!