When the spirit catches you....

I was up at 5:00 A.M. making coffee cakes for clinic staff. Hubby called me at 10:30 to tell me that I might like to know he gave the coffee cakes to a homeless family that came in. I know I should feel happy that they went to someone who really needs it. Instead, I feel sad and embarrassed for our riches. I stopped short of raiding our pantry and driving around Winona flinging out food because I know we do as much as we can and in some cases more. But it seems like no matter how much you do there is more to do and there is the rub. Staring at our tree and looking at the excitement on my little babe's faces lifts my spirits some. I want to hug them close and pray that they will never have to be on the receiving end of their daddy's morning exchange. I pray that they have his spirit and mine and perhaps even a touch of my melancholy. At least then we'll know the giving will continue and someday, somewhere another coffee cake will find a home.

Christmas Miracles

I don't have to leave the house. I see them everywhere!

Properly installed plumbing!
Oh heck- plumbing in general. We know we have it good.
Children creating and executing games together without fighting. Added bonus--not one screen was involved.
Meatballs. Crazy, right? But when all else fails, this is what I can make and everyone isn't just fed but happy! Again, who are we kidding? Like I should care when it's enough that bellies are full, but you know moms. We're a crazy lot, and we just have to make sure the brood isn't only cared for but satisfied.
Butter. It might not be a true miracle, but if you have ever dared to make a cookie worth it's salt (butter), you will know it is not really a cookie. So I am enjoying the pounds of butter that have flown through my hands to create the cookies I am sharing this season.
My common sense. I have forsaken cleaning in favor of baking to get to the spirit of giving this season. See above.
Snow tires. The untimely visit to a snow-laden ditch en route to a medical emergency in the midst of storm number 3 or 4 (I've lost track) finally inspired the purchase of said tires. They are amazing. They keep the car on the road and this seems miraculous.
More common sense. I know we are lucky beyond belief. In this crazy world, we are blessed with a warm home and all the things we truly need and a heap of extras. So I look outward, beyond this little space, and wonder if I can help someone make their own little Christmas miracles happen. I think I can. Can you?

Timing Schmiming

Who says we don't know when to strike when the iron is hot? Or really cold. Of course it makes sense to install windows in the winter. There's that tax write-off that's set to expire on December 31st and seemed much farther away on November 1st. We're Minnesotan's for cripes sake. We're hardy--never mind those record breaking snowfalls! Your contractors come equipped with snowblowers and they blow out circles and paths around your house so now you have just saved yourself time trying to find a place for the dog to pee. Two birds. One stone.

Oh...and parties? We know the best time to have those, too. Have one while aforementioned windows are installed, but the trim is off so that you can let everyone see that you aren't much for details anyway. This sets the tone and keeps expectations low. Go ahead even when that pesky pipe above the garage breaks 2 hours before expected the party is supposed to start, listen to children whine and husband cuss, and let the dog skitter around as if rabid due to all the turmoil. Now that is time for a party if I ever saw one. Keep baking during all of this because what else is there to do? The electricity is still working after all. Oh, but first locate a
plumber with emergency service offered, call, and have him ask you this after you've explained the timing of the dilemma, " You want I should come out now?"

Oh well. So maybe our timing is off, but don't they say there is no time like the present?

From the mouths of babes

Mom and Ben:

"Why aren't there any presents for us under the tree?"

"Because you are always around. I haven't had time to wrap when you aren't here. I work when you are at school."

"Well, maybe you should cut your hours."

Mom and Lucy discussing the fact that we don't whine.

"Hey, girl! This is Minnesota. We are a stoic people. Life's foibles don't creep into our voices-especially in the form of a whine."

Big pause.

"Mom, I was born in Wisconsin."

Mitten Season

I will perish from this earth shouting, "Stuff them! Stuff them in the sleeves of your coat! Don't lose your mittens!" Ugh....it's winter. Double ugh...it's mitten season. Three weeks of true mitten weather has found me at most major retail stores looking for cheap yet warm mittens. I've scoured the Salvation Army and other second hand stores looking for suitable inevitable replacements. Organized, well-mannered people teach their kids who apparently listen on the keys to success in keeping the same pair of mittens all season long. Maybe it's a clip attached to the coat, but this disappears in grade school. Usually it's the stuff-it method as I was taught, and who knows what else is out there? My daughter suggests magnets, but this idea doesn't seem fully developed. As the temperature plumets while my blood pressure rises in the attempt to keep those hands warm, I wonder-- why do I get so keyed up over this? Is it the money lost? Is it the time and angst caused in getting out the door? Because the hold-up is always, always, ALWAYS the mittens or gloves. Where is the other one? This pair is wet! These finger parts are scrunched up! These don't keep my hands warm! Please, dear reader, don't write and tell me that Land's End has great mittens because I KNOW. But one great mitten, no matter from where it hails, is not all that great.

Lonely mitten, let me introduce you to lonely sock. Perhaps...you have finally met your match.