Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Christmas

I bought a new calendar today.
We're less than two weeks out from 2012.  I just had a little trouble typing those numbers, I tell you.  How can that be? The year, I mean, not the new calendar.

It is a cutesy Mary Engelbreit number, not nearly as happy to me as the Dick and Jane 2011, but it was cheap and a much better choice than "Cleveland 2012" or "Precious Moments 2012" which were among my other options at the Big Box.  Really? Cleveland? Who wants a whole year of Cleveland, except maybe Cleveland's mom and is anyone sure that she really exists?

Care to guess the first thing I wrote in my new calendar?
Hint: It is pretty awesome.
Hint: It involves TV (something I don't have here at the Rural Route 2 Residence) and so...
Hint: It takes place at my parents' home.

Do you need more hints?
How about a really obvious video hint?
But only because I love watching this trailer...

Downton Abbey.
Prepare yourself.

In other, slightly less exciting, perhaps even disturbing, news: every single Saturday of January and February 2012 has "basketball" written on it.   Yep. Every single one.  Yay. Rah. Trying to contain my excitement over here.  What's the emoticon for resignation?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Compromising Christmas Shrub

I've been gone from {my little bitty rural blog} here.
First, I was sick.
No pictures taken of sick momma.
Then, I was busy getting my life back from being sick.
No pictures were taken of that, either.
But now my kitchen floor is clean, I'm almost done with the little Christmas shopping I do, and I've returned to show you something.

In case you didn't realize how we do things around here, please note that these Five Little Ruffers are sitting in front of one of the Smallest Christmas trees in North West Ohio.
It is a compromise between the Man of the House and myself.
One of us likes seasonal decorations

The other thinks cutting a tree
that took years to reach a height of six or seven feet just so you can
prop it up in your living room,
clutter it with lights, garland and glass balls,
spend a few weeks watering it and
shooing tiny children away from it
just to have it dry out and eventually burned is foolish. 
Care to guess who holds which opinion?
So we get a live {potted} tree. 
It is shorter than I, more shrub-like than tree.  We use fewer lights, so I guess we're environmentally friendly.  It lives in our house until February, then moves to the front porch.  When the yard thaws into its natural state of mushiness, the tree gets planted. 

We've repeated this compromise three times now.  By the time GBaby is in high school we'll have a veritable forest of ex-Christmas shrubs trees in our yard. 
Maybe some of them will be six or seven feet tall and we can revisit the decorations vs. foolishness debate.

Honestly, I didn't show you this picture to discuss our Christmas shrub/tree.
I wanted you to see how blessed I am. Truly.I'm speechless with gratitude.Only, I shouldn't be speechless, I should find words to say thank You for my Five Little Ruffers.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


"Look! Look!"
She ran into the kitchen, silken hair in disarray, nose running faster than her little feet, eyes bright with enthusiasm.  She had news to tell her older sister.  She settled for telling Mommy.
"There's Pink in the Sky!  C'mere!"

I couldn't resist following.
"There. Pink. And Purple. And Yellow. And White."

[There was no white, but it is one of her three favorite colors, so she had to find it.]

I don't remember when I discovered the glory of a setting sun, but I hope I never forget when she did.

I tried hard to photograph this moment, fiddling with my aperture and ISO settings as best as I could. [Can anyone tell I've been reading my manual?] 
I need some help, camera-wise.  A new {unbroken} lens would be a good first step.
But really.
This fuzzy shot is a good enough reminder, it will jog my memory when I'm a dear old wrinkled lady and my little discoverer is a mommy herself. 

It would be nice to take perfect pictures, but for now I'll settle with focusing my heart (if not always my camera) on the subject matter. 
I am on the lookout, maybe I'll find my own "Pink in the Sky."  Something tells me it is all about looking in the right direction.

Wow. I sound like someone in one of those 30-Second Self-Help spots on the radio.  A little cheesy and trite.  Oh well.  We all get to have a sappy day here and there.  I hope I run across this post sometime when I'm about to yell at those little discoveries.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grandma Claus

This is The Man's Grandma.  She came over with toy catalogs and let the children give her ideas.

She's pretty much a terrifically Great Grandma.  I am proud to share last names.  I'm also proud of those little kridlets. Not one of them was rude or whiny. Although they do tend to have expensive taste.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Clutter

Saturday marked the first weekend in December and officially the last day of the Holiday season when I can consider the effort of decorating to be worth the amount of time left before Christmas.  Maybe I typed that backward, it doesn't read right. 

Anyway, it was time to fight my way through the clutter and cold to those boxes in the attic.  I love pulling out Christmas decor.  If I repeat it to myself, I'll believe it, right?  But still, I just couldn't bring myself to add more chaos to our already disorderly and dirty house.  I made a deal with the kids: "You guys help me clean up the downstairs (just this one measly old floor, not even the toy room, bedrooms, or basement!) and then we'll get the Christmas stuff out."
They were more than willing. 
First, though, we had to watch some cool videos on YouTube.  We got stuck in a lineup of tiny home clips.  Like this:

And this:

I am fascinated by the minute dwellings.  I mean, how easy would it be to decorate this place for Christmas?  Even more exciting, I bet I could clean it top to bottom in 30 minutes. Brand Spanking New Looking for minutes every day. {Side Note: check out the origins of your favorite phrase and thank me for the lovely little diversion.}

OK. So those little videos did nothing to make our abode more festive (or cleaner), so it was time to get to work. And then to adorning.  I won't bore you with the details of our cleaning spree or the mom lectures delivered on-site throughout the process.  Somehow, between dancing to Christmas songs (them) and vacuuming under the couches (me) to breaks for dress-up (them) and nursing GBaby (me) and laying on the couch (them, again) we got most of our downstairs clean. 
Boxes lugged.  Contents strewn.  Discoveries remade.

In my mind, the perfect Christmas trimming scene is something like this: A fire in the hearth, Bing, Frank and Nat fill the air with old-timey songs while a mugs of peppermint cocoa sits near by.  Hints of fresh pine waft from our potted tree, and I hum along with the music as I artfully arrange each meaningful ornament.  The children don't fuss or break ornaments or grow bored and tired of the chore delightful task before it is finished.

Have we discussed that I'm not perfect here? 
OK, good. Then we don't have to go over that again.

I still have boxes of decorations sitting out in my living room.  (Excuse: We haven't purchased our tree yet, so we could neither put away the ornaments nor hang them upon the highest bough.)
The children's stockings are hung with tacky push-pins. (Excuse: It is pretty hard to come by a set of FIVE anything, let alone stocking hangers, let alone FIVE stocking hangers that are pleasant to look at and don't cost a few of my childrens' arms and legs.)
My unfinished wreath is sitting on a dining room chair, not the front door. (Excuse: Um. I'm out of excuses.)

Does it seem like I constantly post confessions of imperfections?  Someday, surely, I will get my act together and pull off something impressive.  With a camera that works.  But it's not looking like it will happen this Christmas season.  I could feel lousy about this.  Instead, I'm taking encouragement from one of the first embellishments to make it out of the boxes:

This is The Man's favorite contribution to our Holiday celebration.  I like it because he likes it.  And also because it reminds me that the trappings of this Christmas time are mostly burdens I pile upon my own back.  If he were home this evening (and not doing a disgusting activity that I will not even dirty my blog by discussing here except to say that it's initials are "Butchering" and "Deer") he would totally approve of me relaxing in front of a movie instead of perfecting the homeyness around me. 
I married the right guy.
That's why we have babies.
And they're why we have a ginormous house that doesn't clean or decorate quickly.
I'm one blessed {if inadequate} girl. 
Because, really, what would be the point of decorating for Christmas and then sitting around for a lonely cup of coffee? Right? 

Well, maybe I could just have one of those tiny homes for a few hours each week.  Sometimes a solitary cup of coffee isn't so lonely.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Old Deers

December 2010

I just elevated (or lowered) my blog to one of those frequented by red-neck types, didn't I?  Maybe I'm just trying to broaden my base.

Well, it's that time of year.

I may not believe in Santa, but I sure as heck am convinced that Rudolph is real. And his cousin is dead.

The Man of the House is out and about seeking the Bambi types for slaughter.  I can only guess that hunting is not politically correct, (I can only guess because I'm never sure about anything politically anymore) but it should be.  Think of the benefits:
1. Venison is a very, very lean red meat.  If masked in chili seasoned and prepared properly, it is also tolerable delicious.  If you've had "Bad Deer Meat" it was probably from a bad deer cook, not a bad deer.

2. According to Wikipedia and Ohio DNR, the Deer Population in Ohio is over-grown.  Basically, deer are becoming a pest because most of their natural predators (bear, wolves, man) don't bother to go out and get a hunting licence and deer tag.  Without a license and tag, it is illegal to kill a deer with anything but your car.  Of course, if you consult peace chickens, the deer were here first and therefore have a right to pester you all they want.  But if you do not consult the chickens, deer hunting is a time-honored tradition that helps keep the deer population (also known as the herd count) at sustainable levels.

3. Hunting deer uses up bullets that could otherwise be used to kill people and their best friends.

4. OK, I can't think of any more benefits.  Except that it gives pencil pushers and keyboard tappers a chance to don camouflage and traipse through the woods and mud.  [ *Quiet Giggle.* I just used the word "traipse" in reference to The Man of the House. And then I giggled. Quietly.]

I'm proud to have cooked for hunters today. 
I served chicken.
I bought it at the supermarket.  
Because I don't hunt.  I think that killing thing is gross.  Honestly, I had to type this whole post with the box scrolled all the way to the bottom, just so I wouldn't have to look at that dead deer butt at the top of my screen.  I'm really tired of this topic. It is so off-base for me.  Do red-necks even have computers?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Me Time

I've been complaining lately - as my husband can testify - that I don't really get to spend much time on my own trivial pursuits.  Mom Life is incredibly rewarding, but emotionally taxing.  When I'm done with the end of each day's laundry, cooking, dishes, toy-picking-up and toilet scrubbing, I don't usually have energy to tackle the fun projects.  Yesterday I decided that the dishes, toys and toilets would all stick around until tomorrow.  I lugged my mother's sewing machine out of the flooded basement and stitched out a few items on my "Christmas Sewing List."  I did accomplish something, but my surroundings degenerated into sloven.  Is "sloven" a word? 
Hang on.
I have to look that up.
sloven [ˈslʌvən]

a person who is habitually negligent in appearance, hygiene, or work
[probably related to Flemish sloef dirty, Dutch slof negligent]

So my house, as many years as it has been around, has not achieved person status.  Thus, my surroundings (i.e., the rooms of my home) could not have become a sloven.  They did suffer my negligence in their appearance.  Still, I do like using words that are related to Flemish & Dutch.  I haven't had any Flemish relatives before.

I'm off subject again, aren't I?

Anyway.  Time for my own pursuits.  I've got to type quickly, as the taco meat is going to burn (it is Thursday, people!)

Good News: I am going to have a little "Me Time" today.  Several hours of it! And it's going to cost lots of money!  Woo-hoo!

Bad News: Today's "Me Time" is brought to us by the dentist. Yuckity-yuck.  I have some emotional baggage from my dental past.  Maybe this is due to being a sloven.