How've you been?
It's been busy around here but that's not why I haven't been writing.
I went through a period that (from what I read on other blogs) is kind of common with bloggers like me (people who are blogging as a means of documenting family memories). A period where I was internally debating whether what I was documenting was ethical to my family. I mean, I don't really imagine my little anecdotes are going much beyond my family and friends, which is more than enough, but on the chance that they were, I was struggling on whether I was going to do irreparable damage to my children's' psyche by publishing the stories and pictures that I post with my entries. I tried to imagine them at an adult age, reading some of the stories and wondered if they would find the stories an adorable set of memoirs where I documented their lives, or will they be angry about every little thing I documented and hate me?
Factor in all of the worries about weird perverts checking out my blog (and stealing innocent pictures) and I had a bit of a breakdown of my system for a while.
After some time in thought and prayer, I decided I would resume blogging as normal. I know there are risks to what I post but there are risks every day of what I am doing, so I try to be as cautious as possible for my children, but I'm not going to stop recording our memories based on fear. I've also chosen to believe that my musings will be considered a great memento of childhood for my babes and they will cherish me for documenting all of these silly stories and be glad for them.
Children, if you are reading this and you HATE ME for this blog, I'm sorry. I didn't think it would cause any harm. And I promise, I will only blog about you as teenagers if you do stupid things that I want to embarrass you about as a punishment and reminder to never do something that stupid again. Or if you do something super exceptional (like win an award, get an A, or just wake up on time for school) and I will try not to embarrass you at all.
So you might wonder what's new at Goodness Grows Farm?
Not much except a lot of GROWING!
I celebrated a birthday which pushed me into the next age bracket on surveys and questionnaires. I'm now closer to the next decade than I was to the previous one. That sounds weird when I think of it, but for the most part, I still think the 1990's were 10 years ago so my "age" doesn't affect me.
Christmas Eve was a bit different for us this year. I ended up taking the children to my hometown for a quick visit with my family before Christmas. We had a lovely meal on the 23rd with my Papa, Mom, Dad and a visit from my Aunt B. who was in town from Florida. We drove home the morning of December 24 and then had a gathering at our house for Christmas Eve. For some reason, our kids just started melting down one by one in the hour before we were to leave for Christmas Eve services, so we made a BOLD decision to stay home. We got the kids in their jammies, settled in on the couch and read scripture and some Christmas books we have about the birth of Jesus. It was something totally different from what I have done all of my life. I think it was the first time EVER (well, aside from the day I was born) that I didn't attend a Christmas Eve service. In it's own way, the night was peaceful and reverent. I missed the tradition of the Christmas Eve service, but I am glad I have the memory we made instead of the one that could have been - you know, that one where we sat in church shushing our kids, wrangling Whitaker, not being able to pay attention to the music or the message because I am searching my purse for gum, pens, paper and other paraphernalia to distract my hoodlums so I can get something from the service.
Whitaker had already gone to bed, but I got one picture with my older three on my birthday.
Best of all, my dearly beloved bestowed me with some beautiful bling.
The kids exchanged presents to each other. Will got Walker a watch
and Maggie a pair of Christmas socks.
Willie got a Lego kit from Maggie . . .
and was so excited that he gave his sister an unprompted bear hug as thanks!
I have to say, that over the Christmas Holiday and into the last few months, we have seen such a generous side to Willie. He was the first to raid his piggy bank to buy presents for his siblings. He took a great pleasure in picking out the perfect gifts for them too. I am so proud of his generous spirit and greatly look forward to fostering this gift.
On their way to bed to wait for Santa!
Christmas morning was a blast! Santa visited us and left some really great prizes and we had a nice leisurely morning opening presents, playing with them and having fun.
A few gifts didn't fit under the tree. Like Maggie's Barbie Doll house - the ONLY gift she asked Santa for. Santa found this gem at a yard sale last summer for $10! It only needed a little elevator repair and some new furniture to complete it. I have to brag a bit about Maggie on Christmas day. She opened up all of her gifts under the Christmas tree and there was no doll house. She looked under the tree, at me and then said, "Is that it?" I told her "Yes" and she got a very sad and dejected look on her face, but picked up one of her new toys and sat on the couch to watch the rest of the kids open their gifts. Her face obviously said, "I can't believe I didn't get the dollhouse I asked for!" But she never once complained or made fuss. She just sat there until I suggested that there might be other gifts to search for that might not have fit under the tree.
Once the boys finished opening their gifts from under the tree, I sent them on a scavenger hunt. She eventually found her doll house (after I prompted her with clues like, "What looks different in here from last night?" and "LOOK UNDER THE BLANKET!")
Walker got a basketball hoop that Santa didn't finish building in time. But that meant that Dad and Walker got to finish putting it up together.
When Erik and I went Black Friday shopping, we happened across this mo-ped at a really good price. We forwarded the info onto Santa knowing Willie would love any type of battery operated vehicle. A few weeks later, Willie told me he wanted a motorcycle for Christmas. Kismet! Willie has been zooming around the house on his flashy new Mickey Mouse Moped ever since!
Whitaker's big present was this giant plush Donkey. He absolutely loves it and sleeps with it every night. To get him to go to bed, I sing,
Where is Donkey,
Where Is Donkey,
In your crib
In your crib
Let's go find your Donkey
And go to sleepy
go to sleep
go to sleep
Some more pictures of Christmas Morning.
Four days later, Erik and I were blessed to celebrate our 10th Anniversary.
We hadn't planned anything very special and then at the last minute, thanks to Erik's mom, we were able to head to Pittsburgh for the night and enjoy an extravagant dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We pricelined a hotel room, made a reservation for dinner and had a lovely night away from home. Our server at the restaurant made our dessert an event.
Erik chose a Creme Brule, I had a triple chocolate mouse (which was to die for) and the little chocolate round in the top center was a chocolate cheese cake. This dessert and the potatoes gratin absolutely made the dinner. It was a great one time experience, but I can't say it was the best steak I ever had.
Since then, we've been raising puppies,
and getting them sent off to new homes.
Except this one. This is Lucy and she's Goodness Grows Farm's newest addition.
We've been playing in the barn.
Hunting Big Buck with our new Wii from Nana.
Visited the PA State Farm Show.
Played outside in the snow (when we have it).
Tried on and fit into size 18 month pants. (This boy is 8 years old)
Got our braces off too.
Just after New Years, we got a surprise visit from friends who had moved out to the Chicago area a few years ago. It was an absolutely fantastic visit and we got to catch up on each others lives. I'm now in cahoots to plan a trip to visit them in April since we have a long Easter break! Hopefully they're cool with that!
And the boys put up a shelter for my van. Now there's a big grey blob outside my back door. I like that I don't have to scrape snow off my vehicle, but don't like that I can't easily see the back anymore.
We took Walker and three buddies to the Science Center to watch an Omnimax movie and then out to a buffet restaurant for dinner for Walker's 8th birthday. It was a great day and we got a chance to hang out with some of the boys that Walker has been developing friendships with at school. It was a great lesson for Erik and I that all eight year old boys are the same! Crazy, inconsistent, and all movement!
We're now in mid-February and have our first true "arctic blast" snowstorm of the season. We got about three inches over night and once we finish making Valentine boxes and signing our Valentine cards we'll head out for some sled riding!
Thanks for coming back to see us. I promise, I'll keep you posted.