Posted in It's all in a day's work.

Exhaustion…

Total and utter exhaustion!

Fullfilling exhaustion!

Exhaustion where you know you gave your all. You laid everything you had on the line.

You walked away with nothing left!

For me, it set in around Thursday at 11:30am… When suitcases had been packed (and unpacked and packed again about 3 times due to carrying around gifts, 17 extra shirts which was the equivalent of 8 lbs in my suitcase, and projectors and staying in two hotels over the course of 3 nights). The 50+ slide presentation, presented.  The goodbyes said (to our New Bern Purchasing team).  Barely any Coke found (sadly, I’m not kidding, we were in the birthplace of Pepsi). The 5 pages of itemized receipts checked (that’s no lie). And we were loaded up in a GMC Yukon to make our trek back to TN from the lovely conference site of Atlantic Beach, NC. (Don’t have too much pity on us, we actually just took the  Yukon for a 1 hour drive & hopped the plane…no added team bonding of “punch bug, no punch back,” through an 8-hr car ride to TN–we were team bonded out!)

Myself and 2 other managers had completed our first 2-day offsite purchasing workshop for our team, and it was PERFECT!

Okay, so maybe not perfect to a “T” but with only having 2 months to plan it (all the articles I researched showed “to do” lists up to 6 months out!) and my perpetual  positivism (*grinning*), it really went off without a hitch!

We brought 15 people together for team bonding…and bonding we did! (Just ask my team…I am the Queen of Team Bonding…the cheesier, the better in my book). We didn’t just bond at the evening dinner events out on the back patio with the waves crashing in the background (yes, be jealous) but also during the two days of sitting in no-window rooms, discussing the highs and lows of what we do everyday…babysitting and firefighting, also known as “Purchasing.”

We started the day promptly at 8am, thanking them for the hard work in 2016 of achieving BP. No not gas…”Business Plan”. We set a few ground rules, which also included a gift…a Snickers bar, just in case anyone turned “diva” during our critical discussions. Then we actually got started with the day having each person put together a slide of photos or memes or videos to “introduce” themself within a 5 minute time slot, where everyone spoke for 8 minutes (yes, you read that correctly). But come on, who doesn’t love getting up in front of your peers, talking about yourself, to a totally captive (eh…”forced” captive) audience.  Then it was Coffee break time, which also came with muffins & pastries…Yum (well I hope they were good, I actually didn’t get to try one).

Throughout the rest of the days, we had overviews of how the interactions should be, set expectations for the upcoming year, had some lunch by the sea, where we discovered hotel guests out by the pool in bathing suits. I tried to explain that we were also in suits, just a different type…  (not buying it) . And there may have been some plotting on how to relocate the projector to display against the hotel & circle together the lounge chairs for the afternoon session, but since they were stuck having me mostly in charge, the relocation didn’t happen. (I’m cheesy, not easy…)

We had breakout sessions where the team could give their inputs of what is (and isn’t) working. We bonded through music and a game of “hot potato” (and yes, it was noted as such on the agenda-I told you I’m cheesy) to show the analogy of owning up vs. passing the buck.

The team laughed; some until they cried at the jokes and dry sense of humor we discovered in some of our folks.  They brought up the critical points, no matter how critical because it needed to be noted. A few of them tried to compensate for the lack of Coke by swaying me to drink a “Dr. Wham…The Cure for the Common Cola” #didntwork.  They asked good questions.  And most importantly, they seemed to have left feeling appreciated, giving the feedback that they fully enjoyed the workshop.

SUCCESS!

So the exhaustion of team dinners, staying up to rehearse slides (My apologies to the poor soul on my left, who had the pleasure of hearing purchasing topics and welcomes and transitions at midnight…), checking presentation order to match agenda time slots, and ensuring everyone was always accounted for (I will forever be a momma bear-Did it with youth groups, my own kids, and it won’t stop for my teams…and apparently it’s a nickname I have). And while the further exhaustion of setting the table places with gifts of gratitude, always being “on cue” for the discussions, and coordinating the details during the event, drains the ever-living life from you, I walked away knowing I laid it all out with the intention to bring nothing home with me.

But I did. I brought something home with me. And it wasn’t a souvenir.

It was a renewed scope. Refreshed vision. Re-energized passion.  Why Or How, you might ask… through them. Through their excitement and renewed passion and sense of gratitude to us for taking our time out (& away) to simply show appreciation. Sure, we set some hard tones, some new levels of expectations, but when it coincides with gratitude, anyone can bare the brunt of brutal much better. (I should Copyright that slogan😉)

And oddly enough, my pastor’s message for today was 100% confirmation of it all.

The title: How we can be “uncommon” in our communication.

The How: by giving and showing- Praise, Thanksgiving, Affection, Encouragement, Environment of Kindness, Truth in Love, and Prayer.

ALL of those things happened last week, in some form or fashion. WoW!

So while the weekend didn’t fully allow for the exhaustion to wear off, it settled and now resonates in my soul that all the work was for something greater and was purposed!

…but did I mention that I’m glad to be back in TN where they actually serve Coke more than Pepsi! Thank you Jesus!

 

 

Posted in The Home Front

The one that made me a mom

Today is Saturday February 11, 2017.  And today my oldest son and husband had a father-son day to celebrate his 5th birthday (which is tomorrow). They went to McDonalds to get Lego Happy Meals and go see the Lego Batman Movie.  Oddly enough, 5 years ago today, Chris and I were at the same McDonalds, looking at Lego’s on Ebay (my husband may have a slight obsession for Lego’s, which he’s passed onto our oldest son), while I was in the early stages of labor.  So let’s travel back and reminisce on the birth of the child who made me a mother, shall we?

I should probably preface the whole story with the fact that on Friday, February 10, 2012, I came home from work and announced that I was completely caught up. No emails in my inbox, my “Maternity Leave Notes” notebook (yes, I had one of these, would you expect anything less from this ODC girl you’re getting to know?) was updated and my desk was clean…  While I didn’t “pray” to have the baby that weekend, I might have mentioned to God in passing that this was great timing if He saw fit to proceed…

Chris and I were young…well I was young…and we started off the evening at McDonalds. Why?  We needed their WiFi and I, as a preggo women 3 days from her due date, needed a Reese’s McFlurry.  (Which by the way, they don’t keep as a standard available topping and sorry Sonic, your Reese’s blasts just doesn’t make the cut…good thing I’m watching what I eat these days, huh…).  Wait, What? Did she just say Needed WiFi?  Chris had just started his obsession with collecting Lego mini figures, but the problem was we didn’t have internet because we were “conservative in our spending”…okay, we had a tight budget to live off of, so yes, we needed WiFi.  (I know, for the millennials, this would be like living without water, but rest assured, it is possible to forgo this amenity).

Anyway, as Chris perused page after page of Lego figurines finding everything from Buz Lightyear to Sponge Bob Squarepants.  I kept feeling more consistent pain. Chris acted on his gut instinct and as we got home, he began to time the pain for the next hour.  At 11:00pm, Chris stood up & said “I better get dressed” (he was in ball shorts and it was cold outside, so jeans were a necessity). WHAT?!? I panicked! I didn’t want to go to the hospital & potentially be sent home.  I know many first-time pregnant women go into the hospital several times, but I didn’t want to be “one of those” women.  But alas, he made me get in the car and we headed to the Oak Ridge ER.

They began to monitor the baby’s heart rate & my contractions, while providing lovely room service of Red Gatorade and…nothing more! After about an hour, we noticed the screen said “Admit Patient”.  As I saw this, panic settled in…I looked at Chris & tried to calmly muster the next words…”I better finish this Gatorade because after they admit me, all I get is ice chips!”  (And you thought I was panicked about birth. Nah. But don’t come between me and food/drinks!)

They didn’t admit me for another 3 hours, when they came swooping through the doors at 3:30am, scaring Chris & I awake from the dead of sleep. Apparently the baby’s heart rate dropped 2xs & our doctor was now committed to having this baby boy within 24-48 hours.

Around 7:00am our doctor came to see us. I was so relieved to see him; the nurses were not my best friend during dilation checks and starting IVs…  He began to induce through IV meds and then went on to church, noting he’d be back shortly. (There’s something refreshing about the man that is about to deliver your child, going to church prior to the day’s festivities.)

Up to now, no one knew anything about the events that had transpired over night, we decided it was finally a reasonable enough hour to call them. My momma was the first one there!  I was elated to see her, as I longed to see someone who had been through this before, who could look me in the eye and remind me I am strong enough to do this!

As family arrived, everyone got their few moments with me, but around 1:00pm, we kicked everyone out…(per my request). Listen, my personal preference is the opinion that they didn’t participate in the event of making the baby, so they didn’t need to be first witnesses to the birth.  But again, strictly my opinion…and to each their own!

After several episodes of back-and-forth with increased induction meds, trying to break my water a couple of times, and nothing moving this process along, it was getting worrisome. Well for my family and Chris.  I knew nothing, but later (as in like 3 years later) I found out that apparently with the baby’s heart rate dropping sporadically and no dilation progress, mixed with constant contractions, it was about time to call for a C-Section.  And so while everyone was consumed with those thoughts, I was over here just begging everyone to pray the delivery happens with the first shift nurses, because I didn’t want to deal with a shift change to night nurses during the climax point of this process.  (I would like to take a moment to note here that my dear best friend and gal I call sister had little faith that this would happen…I love her dearly, but do, every-so-often, remind her how Great our God is).  Because in fact, I did have our first son about 45 minutes before shift change…

After having my epidural and still dealing with quite some pain, they were about to call the anesthesiologist back, but the doctor made a final check and said… “It’s time to push”.  And during the next 30 minutes of pushing, the baby seemed to give up. His heart rate would drop, he was tired, and he just wasn’t ready to be removed from his home of 9 months; my womb (that’s for my mom…she loves that word).  But by using the assistance of a birthing apparatus, the doctor was able to deliver him with no complications, and…

At 6:11pm, on Sunday February 12, 2012 (almost 5 years ago), weighing 5lb 14oz & 18.5″ long…our first precious baby boy joined the world!! Chris was a fantastic support & all he could say was how strong I was through the whole thing…20 hours of labor & only 2 spent on meds!

And as we shift back to February 11, 2017, tomorrow I will have a 5 year old, who is smart as whip, hilarious, a friend to all (at least his teachers say he can talk to anyone), sensitive like his mommy (almost to a fault), never forgets anything-down to the details, handsome and knows it, a good big brother, and who now declares that once he turns 5 I can no longer cuddle him (we’ll see about that, after all, I’m still mom).  I’m glad God chose me to be his mom!  Now let’s go have his birthday dinner…His choice.

Grilled Cheese!

Posted in Jesus Jabbers

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Ever feel that way? Like that sometimes we simply cannot handle the truth. Maybe it’s the truth that a loved one just received a bad report from the doctor. Or the truth that it’s Sunday night and tomorrow is Monday and your are simply not ready to adult again. Or the truth that all parts of your life *feel* messy and it’s just making you “sick and tired”.

Well that’s where I was at the end of last week.

And while I know better, I even decided to camp out there. I decided that it was “OK” to let these emotions and these thoughts flood me and that while I was camped out, I might as well through my “Debbie-Downer” self a nice “pity-party.” To which I sucked my husband into as well.

THANKFULLY, he stayed strong and tried his darndest to keep redirecting my thoughts and encouraging me. Of course in ever-so slightly subtle ways, as he knows if he pushes too hard in doing good and encouraging, I will push him away, declaring that he’s not giving me adequate time to, as the old country song says, “I just wanna be mad for a while”

Now mind you. My week started out pretty normal and on Tuesday, as we entered the 2nd New Month of the New Year, I wanted to encourage everyone with a FB post essentially noting to evaluate your 2017 goals for the month of January, start fresh in February, and Be Intentional.  (Very motivating if you ask me)

So why, you might ask, did my week end so sour? Well. After that post…

All. Hell. Broke. Loose. (Sorry to any offended by my use of *hell* but shew golly, sometimes you just gotta be real!)

Work=draining.  Draining emails. Draining situations.  People were draining. Now I love my job, but last week seemed to either bring negativity about loosing so many battles where we were trying to “bridge the gap” or “manager guilt” about my team.  I left Friday with the deadlift of defeat.

Children. They are 4, 2, and 8 months. Enough said.

Marriage. It’s just hard people! We had a conversation this weekend about how 7 years is a solid time and my husband was under the impression we’d really overcome the main obstacles. I told him…it’s only just begun.  But really, when you cut through the messes of our marriage (because come on, we all have messes–unless perhaps there is a 0.1% who truly have no messes while the other 99.9% of us do or are simply being real about it…) it circles around communication.

Small Group. It was starting in less than a week and I felt unprepared to handle my own life, much less help others’ lives to be impacted by Jesus. And if anything, I was running the opposite direction of Jesus.

But in the midst of trying to run the other direction, even when He knows we want to run and hide, He still comes looking for us (He did it for Adam and Eve and still does it).  And isn’t it funny how God can then enable us to “handle the truth.”

Because you see, then there was Sunday. After my Friday and Saturday of settling into Defeat Dungeon, there was Sunday.  The day my family chooses to congregate together, with fellow believers, and worship Jesus. And in that worship. In the melody of soft music playing.  An atmosphere of divinity.  There were tears.  Tears that streamed down my face. And when the opportunity was given for prayer with a counselor, I moved. And in that moment, with a dear friend, I stopped running. I fell into His arms. The one who ultimately holds my future. Who wants what’s best for me, but it comes with a price. Because to grow in Him, I must grow WITH Him. And sometimes the truth of that growth…that stretching and pulling and tugging from the ugly and yucky and “messy” parts of life…seems like a truth we can’t handle.

And we can’t- Not on our own anyway.

Why do you think there is so much “junk” in our world?  (I should let that sink in a while longer, but I’ll keep moving on…)

When we do it on our own, we aren’t “doing” life as God intended. But if we cling to him, and resist the enemy, he (the enemy) will flee.

And that’s what I did Sunday.

Clung.

Resisted.

And then rested, in Him.

Posted in New Year

#toast2016

365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, and 31,536,000 seconds gone…and on this final day of 2016, I thought I would recap highs and lows of 2016. But before I do, I actually have to start at the end of 2015, so you can truly understand and appreciate the fierceness that came with 2016.

2015 closed with our house on the market, pregnant with our 3rd child (and yes, for those that like to ask, we do and have known what causes that—people are so funny), and my job in the state of a hot mess that I was determined to fix by February 1 (yes, I literally set a date-even confided this date to my wise friends/spiritual mentors)…little did I know there was a whole ‘other’ plan about to unfold…

So let’s start there, shall we.

Career. You see as 2016 started, I was managing 5 people locally, while balancing the workload of 2.5 people.  As we had a first strategy meeting in January, with my boss’ boss, I found out that he would be my new boss and that we would be reorganizing.  This would happen by March 1, with the teams being ‘regional’ support instead of tied to location, thus meaning I now managed 6 people, and 4 of which sat in another state.  WHAT?!  “I’m going from the frying pan, straight into the fire,” I thought, “forget my February 1 plan, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, just no changes…” This is what I told myself as I drove home from work that day, but isn’t it funny that in those moments is sometimes when you can almost audibly hear the holy spirit speak…He said to me, ”one day at a time.”  Perhaps some of you would have been so seemingly overwhelmed that the creator of the universe decided to clearly converse with you, that you would have accepted this information immediately and moved forward holding to this…well, not this ole’ stubborn gal.  I proceeded to argue with God that this still wasn’t a good idea; no one wants a boss that doesn’t sit in the same office building.  I pleaded my case.  Argued the facts. Advised Him that this is just too ‘new age’ for this ‘old school’ girl mentality.  This continued for the next 3 weeks until our wrap-up strategy meeting; have I ever mentioned I’m relentless at times?!?  At least I did finally come to the point where I could pray “your will.”  I still begged and pleaded for alternate paths/plans, but in the end closed my prayers with “His will be done, not mine.”  And it was.  And it’s great.  I am the happiest I’ve been with the people and teams I get to interact with, and the opportunities that keep coming from the reorganization.  This would probably be a good time to quote some notable scripture like, ‘O ye of little faith’ but my ego is still quite bruised from all my arguing and pleading.

House remodel. Since less than 10 people within 12 months thought our house was interesting enough to actually step inside, we decided to remodel.  Never again.  Well, that’s what I said at the time, while taking an oath never to build…but that was 9 months ago and time has a way of healing wounds… (we’ll see)  Anyway, we decided to remodel our living room and kitchen, so we were bound to the back 3 bedrooms, where the master bedroom was transformed into a ‘cozy’ 1 room apartment; a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and dining room.  (Cozy was the best word for that, right?).  Try doing that with 2 toddlers and a husband that are home 3 out of 5 days each week and a miserable pregnant woman, who despises clutter…

As a side note, I have now switched over from indulging in live New Year’s coverage (I only like watching the 2016 highlight shows) and am now watching, you guessed it..”Friends” The one with all the resolutions…how fitting.

Last Pregnancy. So, 2016 was also bittersweet, as it held my last pregnancy…and as previously noted, I was absolutely miserable.  I tried so hard to tell myself, this is the last time, enjoy every moment, every baby movement, all the attention, rubbing my hardened belly (I’m weird, I admit it), blah blah blah…but most times left me, completely ready for delivery.  Sleeping was non-existent the last 4 months, my sciatica would throb daily, and delivery day was the worst of the 3…I’ll just leave it with the starting point, that it took the nurse(s) 4 tries before an IV was started…

Knud Carl Busby. But then an hour later, the baby had arrived and all was forgotten.  He made our little family complete.  Preparing for delivery, I had all these anticipations of visitors that would come to the hospital, but in the end, we only had one set of visitors, outside of family.  While I thought I would be really bummed about this, I wasn’t.  I spent the full 2.5 days holding him.  The. Entire. Time.  I am so grateful for those quiet days; that was our time, just the hubby, baby, and me, and it’s a treasured memory I’ll always hold dear.

Election 2016. What’s there to say really, everyone else has already said enough.  (On a side note, we celebrated election night by going to have our family picture made with Santa…top that!)

Farewell for now. At the end of July, my family said farewell to a man we all held so dear; my grandfather. He was loving, and stern, and a jokster, and fun, and served Jesus with his whole being, and a Golfer, and loved The Word, and cherished his family.  It was nice to see old friends and family that I hadn’t seen since I was a teen, while agreeing none of us liked the terms of what brought us together.  At least we could cry, laugh, and share our fond memories of a man that left a footprint on so many lives. He left a legacy.  One definition of legacy is something difficult to replace because of how widely known it is. This is grandpa; a legacy…to family, friends, his church, community…

All-in-All it was a good year comprised of: A new living space. Our family becoming to the likes of a small circus with the new addition. My last pregnancy. Ever. *sniff sniff*  A department reorganization that brought joy instead of the predicted pain.  A surprising election result, which apparently creates pandemonium among some Americans… My step daughter’s engagement, which I love to aggravate my hubby about (he’s sad to lose his first little girl), which he will repay me one day when the other 3 grow up.  My blog start-up, which I plan to be “intentional” in 2017 to write weekly, probably starting with sharing my word for 2017… Memories that we cling to a little more tightly as we miss a loved one at the turn of this New Year.  And a toast of Cherry Coke (don’t worry there’s no rum or whiskey in it). Enjoy!

#hello2017

Posted in Uncategorized

And just like that, it’s complete (not over)

Another Christmas in the books! Since I was young, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love the decorations, the music, the gift-giving, the spirit and cheer, the family get-togethers, and year-after-year treasure even more the true gift of the season…our savior.

As I reflect on this year’s holiday events, I know how blessed we are and I have such gratitude. Because, like the quote says, “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters,” and that’s where I find myself this year. Seeing what, or rather WHO,  really matters and having a greater sense of value for it…

From aunts and uncles, who know how to keep the laughter going and our spirits bright, but with the same swiftness, can pull us into a moment of worshiping Jesus through guitar playing and campfire-like Sing-a-longs.

To grandparents who poured out love through gift giving but more so through their presence. You see, growing up as an Army brat, we never lived close to family, so if grandparents didn’t visit us or vice versa, it was just the four of us! I loved going to my grandparents’ house, playing in my favorite spots, sitting in my grandma’s bar stools to play or talk to her while she cooked, and sneaking into my grandpa’s office, sometimes while he was in there preparing for a sermon, to play with his briefcase (the one I have the honor of carrying to work each day now). I also loved when they visited us, and recall a time where I begged them to come by writing something to the effect of “come visit us” followed by one-thousand “pleases.” (Literally). With them telling my mom over and over they weren’t coming, about 6pm Christmas Eve the doorbell rings and there they were! Still such fond memories.

To my brother, who would hate my way of gift giving.  I mean who doesn’t want a roll of wrapping paper filled with 20, $1 bills, stuffed between tissue paper… Or how we used to sleep in each other’s floor on Christmas Eve because we were so excited we couldn’t stand it! And to now, how he truly spoils not just me, as his sister, but also the hubs and my three babies. And I really do mean spoil.  He’s better than Santa😉.

To my parents, who made us wait for what felt like eternity before we could come see what Santa left because the video camera had to be set up, and dad had to get ready and have some juice, and do anything else that could possibly prolong the process. But, who is also a big pile of mush at the end of Christmas Day and always ready to reminisce about the highs and lows of such a great day.

To my hubby, who also spoils me (see a trend here?) but within our means…we decided long ago not to go into debt for the holidays. And he always supports any new crazy holiday traditions or ideas I may have, and this is huge. He loves the reason for the season, but Christmas is not his favorite holiday, so many times he does things simply to please my desires, and that, like I said, is huge!!

My mother-in-law and her ability to be her most generous self because she has a true love for our babies and it’s beautiful to see her joy through their excitement.

Speaking of my babies, living the magic of Christmas through them, brings me back to the excitement I felt year-after-year, and keeps it alive. Such a newness, but also difference because now I’m the parent with all the tricks up my sleeve.

And finally, to my mom. She is the glue. The thoughtful gift giver, always striving to get what you want and finding other simply “neat” things to stick in your sock or wrap in a box. She’s the one who makes the monkey bread each Christmas morning and cooks Christmas dinner. She also spoils us. She pours out her all to make your experience the best. She is our Christmas spirit and I am so thankful for how she instilled that in me to now pass along and even share with her.

And my feature photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, except to display a few favorites that I have received this Christmas. On second thought, it does go along with it…showing how I was “spoiled” by these great people I get to call family…

A fabulous handbag, to carry my new phone case, which is of course a print of my fav TV sitcom ‘Friends’. And doesn’t every girl need a great pair of RED booties??? And finally, the shirt. Ya’ll should have known that SOMETHING in this picture would have to do with Coke & Jesus❤. Because that’s my goal here…to keep it real & keep it focused on Jesus…and you can’t forget Coke!

Posted in Christmas Crazy

…and to all a good night

The stockings were hidden with the gifts from Santa behind the couch,                            in hopes that the littles would not escape their room, see the loot, and make mom a grouch.

Poor rhyming….I know I know, but it’s after 11pm (which is late for this granny) & Christmas hustle & bustle with 3 kids, ages 4 and under, who by-the-way are all strong-willed, hyper, excited, not a calm bone in their body, type kids is Not for the faint of heart.  And as our 2nd (maybe 3rd…honestly, I can’t remember) year playing Santa…this parenting at the holiday thing is tiresome! Not to mention the mommy guilt that comes along, free of charge.

First, you may be wondering why I wouldn’t know exactly how long we’ve been playing Santa. “It should be easy, how old is your firstborn…” Except, I learned this great trick from a very wise woman, that when they are that young they have no clue who the gifts are from, so let the grandparents spoil them, they are going to anyway. So, over the last two years is when we started buying major gifts for them.  (Don’t be judging…you’re just jealous you didn’t save up those first few years too…j/k).

Anyway, now that it’s getting real because our 4 year old understands, it’s so fun! But with that fun, I’m slowly learning, comes a whole pile of WORK! No one told me about trying to hide gifts in your closet for 2 months. Or baking special cookies for Santa. (My Santa was perfectly fine with oreos…j/k, I do think my mother had special cookies for ours…) Or putting together toys, trying to be quiet and avoid the stirring of one to walk down the hall to go potty and find their Santa gifts being put together by the elves known as “mom and dad.” Shew! Makes me tired just writing that!

And tonight, about 5 minutes after all 3 were put to bed and threatened….I mean highly encouraged…not to stick their head outside the doorframe of their rooms until mom and dad are awake, I sat to take a small break before toy building ensued and it suddenly dawned on me…we didn’t let them put out the cookies they cut, baked, and decorated!! And the milk! Ahhhhh (insert Kevin McCallister’s well-known scream when he realizes he’s “Home Alone.”) ” What kind of parents are we? How could we forget part of the typical Santa tradition? How do people with those elves keep up …Everday? (I forgot 1 task, on 1 day). Do we go get them up and all roused back up, just to set out cookies?” (I believe when I asked this question, my husband secretly thought, ‘She’s lost her mind’). So, we let them be. We poured some milk in a glass, and the Cookie Monster of my home, ate a bite from each cookie, and we continued on with toy construction.

And while you might be thinking, oh that’s not bad, just some toy instructions, there’s also stickers for the toys, and batteries, and screws, and boxes. Those darn cardboard boxes that are cumbersome and bulky but still have to be hidden because our Santa doesn’t leave his trash, he picks up after himself…

With all said and done, I’m totally excited to video them running down the hallway, for us to experience the joy of the season, through their tiny souls. So while I have now ranted about the difficulty of keeping up with “playing Santa”…I’m actually grateful. Grateful for all my parents did. Grateful for grace, and to give myself that same grace because, cookies are minor details. Grateful, for a husband that doesn’t add to the mommy guilt and yet checks me back into reality over cookies and hustle & bustle, and reminds me…”it’s okay” or to just go drink a Coke 😉

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Posted in Christmas Crazy

Another one in the books

Each year, for as long as I can remember, my mom had an annual “open house” Christmas Party. Meaning anytime between the chosen block of 4 hours, people could drop in, make a plate, have a few conversations with familiar faces, and then be on their way. No games. No requirement to stay the full time. No tacky sweater requirement, although that used to be my mom’s specialty outfit (sorry mom). And No obligation to come. Well, except that if you continually show no interest to come year-after-year, you will most likely not be included in following years invites…just sayin’

Over the years the party has changed for me. When I was a kid, I have no idea how my mother managed getting all the food ready and dealing with my brother and I, except that she’s a saint & made motherhood look like a walk in the park. You see,  I have vivid images of us hounding her about “how long till’ the party starts”, “when are people going to get here”, “can I eat yet”, “are my friends coming” and so-on and so-forth. [And this is why the Busby’s annual Christmas party lasted two years].

Then it evolved to my teen years where I played it cool. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, okay I think only once, I had a boyfriend who would come (and it ended up being the night I dumped him…I should blog about that!) Then I was involved in our church youth group, so sitting around cutting up about any of the dumb stuff we did became pretty popular material for our youth leader to use to make jokes to pass the evening.

Then it was young adult, “no I’m not married, yes I’m still single, no I don’t have a date for this party, and yes my job does satisfy my lifestyle right now” years… But thankfully I had “the girls” (you know who you are) by my side, otherwise I might have ended up admitting myself to a hospital for depression from the social network of parties and the questions that come in order to “catch up.” (This was also before the days of social media popularity-thank you Lord-or there would be no need for the game of 21 questions as everyone would already know my life circumstances, and would have expressed their opinion by the choice of “liking” my post or by making a comment, I’m sure)

Now I’m married with THREE kids (don’t worry, some days I don’t believe it) and so instead of frequent socializing, it’s more of corralling the kids to stay in the play room, “reminding” them in a stern but friendly tone to say “excuse me,” and keeping the youngest away from the crowd, because so far, he’s not a fan of humans (I’ll explain this shortly, but it’s a new phrase from my 4 year old). BUT, I do want to note, that my husband is fantastic in this arena, as he lets me socialize while he tends to the kids. I know ladies, I’m blessed! But listen, I was careful in the “husband selection” process, as I knew I already acted like “the man” in most cases, so the kids were definitely going to need someone

Anyway…the party always leaves me with a sweet sense of the holiday season from being close to friends and family, sharing stories of days gone by and days to come, with our bellies full of punch and goodies, and at the end, a house full of…

LAUGHTER. From sarcasm from the guys, crazy nonsense from “the girls” and whatever my children have done or said.

You thought I was going to get all sappy there, didn’t ya. And it does bring a good sense of the holiday, but with our crew, sometimes it’s just cray cray!  And tonight didn’t disappoint.

From my oldest starting to call adults “humans” which he was then asking my mom, “are these all the humans that are coming?” I tried to explain. Now he’s just doing it out of spite for the correct terminology (or it could be the fact that we keep laughing at him each time he does it).

To the baby throwing fits when people simply wanted to say “hi” and he wasn’t digging them being in his space, so all out screams would begin…

Or the disappointment that settled in when the oldest two came expecting one of my mom’s famous family dinners, only to realize the “party food” was “the dinner” and we would not all be sitting down together to break bread.

Which then led to daddy fixing peanut butter sandwiches. (I wish I had invented peanut butter-what a billionaire, & genius!)

Or when my “brother from another mother” (not really, but I just claim him as my brother) told me I look “mature” tonight as my outfit wasn’t as young and hip and stylish as I perceived, since others had it on too. I still liked it and plan to wear it again.

Or my oldest running up to my mom’s hair dresser and loudly proclaiming “hey, you cut hair but I don’t come to you because it costs money.”  To answer the questions in your mind right this moment: Yes, he heard one of his parents say that. No, it wasn’t his father. And we do still cut the child’s hair, but with three kids and this momma needing to keep her grays in check, you gotta cut costs somehow, so my husband has mastered buzz cuts and we are all just fine with it. Now, if only I could do the same for my daughter…Kidding, Kidding.

All-in-All a good night, leaving me happy with how the party has changed. I appreciate the value of this life so much more through the relationships of family and friends, and especially at the holidays.

That, and then you have the kids who sure do make it interesting.

*Disclaimer-the photo was actually taken at my mom’s! I love her home, but especially at Christmas!