A Few of My Favorite Gifts (I know I’m Late)

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So I’ll admit it. I am behind the times. Any blogger worth her salt has done her holiday post, her New Year’s musings, resolutions, whatever. Recap, re-hash, renew.

As for what has been consuming my time, (see The Roller Coaster Ride has Begun) it’s a wonder I brush my teeth twice a day lately. Let alone sit down to tap the keyboard.

But these thoughts have been rattling in my head for awhile now. And I guess the writer in me cannot let them stay there – outdated and oh-so-passé as they may already be.

So here goes…

Remember when you were a little kid and after Christmas break the teacher might go around and ask “What is the favorite gift you received for Christmas?” (Or was that just my teachers who asked that?? In which case, this segue will make no sense.)

My favorite gifts? This is the first year a motion was made among a portion of my side of the family not to exchange presents for the kids. It is also the first year my husband and I did not open a single envelope, gift card, candy wrapper or box from each other. LESS STUFF to jam in closets or drawers or cabinets. Fewer items to wrap. Just fun times enjoying each other’s company.  Less is more!

A run with friends early in the morning on Christmas Eve. Quiet. Not too cold, but cold enough. Great conversation. Good connections. Mind-clearing. Effortless.

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A favorite gift is always the familiarity of tradition. We visit the same three houses in the area, in the same order over Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. There is something so comforting to me about this practice. And yet it has been jostled around a bit over the years, tweaked and changed. And I know as time passes (serious gulp) it will again. Til one day maybe we are the ones whose house our kids will flock to with their children? Idyllic. Still bittersweet for what it may mean.

Then add in a 3-day migraine and nauseous stomach that started in the middle of Mockingjay on Tuesday and carried right on through the Ball Drop and into the Bowl Games. Pajamas all day on New Year’s and a nap that took me right past lunch. The sounds of screaming toddlers, sibling rivalry, Ice forced to bring a little hammer down and one young, single nephew sitting back and laughing hysterically at all of it. Now this was a twist.

But all of this pales in comparison to how truly challenging it was for me to wrap my brain around the addition of another child in our midst. One who comes with such love and quiet grace. One who comes with misunderstood anger and unknown history. And one who was placed in my life to teach me things I am only just beginning to scratch the surface of each day. It didn’t escape me how absolutely perfect it was that he came to us at this of all times of the year.

I’ve already shared my feelings about the traditional hype of a New Year’s Resolution (not a fan – see 2013, Thank you for the Lessons) but I see nothing wrong with being a work in progress and making a conscious effort to focus on and chip away at the “yucky stuff”. Not some magic switch that I’m going to flip all of a sudden but maybe more like a dimmer switch.  It gradually turns on til BAM! I see the light. I get it now. This is the way I should handle something or let go of something or embrace something.

So. Better late than never. Hope you made it to the end without going:

“Ick, she is so last week.”

Hope your 2015 is

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Cherry Pit Spitting and the Limbo

After packing suitcases for two days, 16 hours in the car, numerous poopy diapers, a couple of classic Chicago traffic jams, stuffing everything but the kitchen sink into the back of my car and listening to too many ear worm children’s CD’s it has been confirmed yet again – my family is so much fun.

It was with great anticipation that we took our first long road trip with Little Bee this past weekend. The mission: to celebrate my aunt’s retirement from teaching.

The most enjoyable part of the party was sitting down with her and witnessing the expression on her face as she reminisced about her career.  Who has a job for 49-1/2 years anymore? Amazing. Her interview consisted of talking with one person one day and being told soon after, “Which class would you like fourth or fifth grade?” She chose fourth grade for 20 years and then just for good measure she taught third graders for another 29-1/2 years.  Nowadays she said you must go though approximately 10-11 interviews, the last being with the district superintendent.  Oh, and the applicants for her city’s available teaching positions currently number in the THOUSANDS. Just in the nick of time Auntie…just in the nick of time.

The party was complete with the requisite backyard barbecue party games my family likes to play. Usually we get musical chairs and the back-breaking fave the limbo going. This tradition dates back at least 25-30 years. But this time around the new game on the block was cherry pit spitting. Hysterical fun. Whether you are 70 or 7, you are kind of curious about how far you can spit that pit.  Top it off with homemade cookie and ice cream sandwiches and s’mores over the fire pit, now you are speaking my language.

My aunt wistfully shared that if she was reincarnated she would choose the same career.

I feel the same way about my family. I wouldn’t change a thing. Pits and all.