Braveness- Otherwise known as “Will I survive Black Friday?”

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For Black Friday my family has always gone tree hunting. We avoid stores, all stores. Since the invention of online stores I spend any shopping time on that day clicking and waiting for it to arrive in the following week.
This year I have no choice. We need a new dryer to save money on electricity. I’ll have to figure out which place to go that will be likely to have room for me to park my extended bed 15 passenger van. I need to pay as little as possible but still get an energy star dryer. We also have a family of nine so we need to have as big as possible. My life won’t always require so many details to align right, but for now I have to use my ingenuity, do a lot of research and I have to muster a huge dollop of braveness like a glob of thick whipped cream on a pumpkin pie.

I’m just hoping I don’t get eaten alive. “Family, just muster on without me until I escape the black pit of traffic and parking insanity!” Maybe this will be the last time I have to torture myself with Black Friday shopping IN PERSON! You be brave too. We can survive such things. Right?

What do you do for Black Friday?

Just don’t get lost in all that black!

It’s the time of year for getting Squash-ed!

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Pumpkins are one of the great things in life. My family went to a pumpkin patch as part of our attempt to go on adventures. Some adventures will be close to home and some will be far away.

Saturday the sky was prone to fits and bursts of precipitation, but sunshine would break through as well. As part of teaching money skills, each child had a baggie of 8 quarters or more.

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It was raining when we left home, but thankfully stopped as we parked. It was like the fair at a farm! You could hurl pumpkins, go through corn mazes, play different games and more, but we just wanted pumpkins.

Our first stop at the farm was the pricing examples. Each size was labeled with a price and each child determined what sizes they could get with their money. (my older ones had more money since they want to carve the pumpkins and the younger ones will only be painting theirs)

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We found the closest field of large orange orbs and started our hunt.

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After picking our pumpkins we paid and headed back to the van when suddenly the clouds burst out in a downpour. Once home we sat in the driveway watching the flood down the windshield and the hail attempt to attack us. Then we made a run for it.

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We all had fun. Part two of the adventure will be in the next week: turning pumpkins into decorations.

Enjoy these pictures of our pumpkin adventure.

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Have a wonderful Harvest month everyone!

When it rains it pours… Or rather It Snows!

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The holidays did not go as planned for our family. Yes, that is a hospital in the photo above. The week before Christmas I wasn’t at my house. After waiting in a dark waiting room until midnight to hear about how my husband’s appendectomy went (scenarios of widowhood dancing in my head), I drove home to my wide awake and wired toddler and my exhausted teenage built-in babysitter. I fell asleep knowing I didn’t care if the kids made it to school the next morning.

Low and behold, morning came and what before my bleary eyes should appear?

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But two inches of snow making retrieving my husband more difficult than before. The good thing was school was canceled. The bad thing was the entirely white and barely traveled main road we live off of. I let my now well rested toddler enjoy this new phenomenon for a moment. Then I bundled up, gathered supplies and slowly, edging inch by terrifying inch, drove my massive tank of a van through the unspoiled snow. Going down the hill was nail biting. Or would have been if I could pull my clenched fists off the steering wheel. The closer I got to the hospital, a half hour away, the less of the nasty white stuff I encountered. Finally I arrived, retrieved my husband, sans his appendix, and we made the trek home–after picking up milk since getting out of the driveway the next day was an unknown.

My husband is doing well now, better than he has in nearly a year. How much of his general poor health in the fall was the appendix sneaking up on him? This led to us changing our diet for the better. Both he and I plan to leave an entire person’s worth of our bodies behind when we leave the rental house we live in and already the new lifestyle is working.

He got a needed wake up call for his health. I got him home.

We all go through things. They dredge up our soul and leave us to put it back into a better place. If occasionally my life keeps me from charming my readers with my dulcet tones, I ask your forgiveness. This is quite the ride I’m on!

When have you found the rain turning to a downpour or… snowfall?

Why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions

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I’ve never thought much of making New Year’s Resolutions. Technically the difference between December 31st and January 1st is a day. By the 1st of a new year, people have spent weeks preparing for stressful holiday times and are likely depleted of the energy and willpower needed to make a successful resolution work. It is something we feel obligated to do. Everyone will ask us what our New Year’s Resolution is and we feel we need to have something to say. When most people fail at the resolution a few weeks later, they give up.

This reminds me of the dancers at the summer stock theatre I used to work at. They were skilled professional, but nearly all of them smoked. We usually had two weeks between shows as well as weekly children’s plays that went up for day performances then came back down before the evening play. We always had one night for change-over. Change-over is taking down the sets and putting up another in time for the dress rehearsal the next afternoon. The whole summer is a fun, but busy roller coaster ride. The middle show of the summer allowed three weeks between the change-overs. This time was more relaxing, yet it never failed that the dancers would try to quit smoking the weekend of a change-over. Why not quit during the three weeks we had nothing but nightly shows with the same routine for nearly a month? Can you guess what result I always saw? Yes, they failed to quit smoking and made themselves crazy in the meantime.

I find myself setting goals for the year that are things I already have in the works and have plans to do better at. I make more determined resolutions when I feel the drive to no matter what time of year it is. You are more likely to succeed at something in the moments you get angry enough, fed up enough, determined enough, that you take action with a clear and likely-to-succeed plan. You don’t want to give out only a few steps up the mountain. So take time to make the goal realistic and planned out. Make sure you have contingencies for temporary set backs. Allow yourself room to grow through the process of making those changes. It is said that 21 days will change a habit. Work on those 21 days then see where you need to go from there. I say this for myself as much as anyone else.

What I end up doing that is more like the frivolous New Year’s Resolution is set goals based on my birthday. “I’m going to write a book before I’m 35.” “I will have a Master’s Degree by the time I’m 45.” These goals have to be adjusted or they can devastate me. I did have a book written before I was 35. It wasn’t publish ready though. Who knows if getting a Master’s degree by 45 is reasonable at all. I also find I set goals based on my children’s birthdays too. These tend to be family goals and are most often based on the youngest toddler child or the oldest teenage child’s birthdays. I will no longer need a massive van in 8 years when my youngest is about 10. Yes, by then most the kids will be well into adulthood. Wow, how time flies and goal making changes.

So make a resolution that is easy to succeed at. “I will think of something happy every day.” or “I will tell the people I love what they mean to me at least once a month.” Can you imagine someone you care about telling you why you matter to them twelve times this next year? Do we even hear that once a year? Please don’t torture yourself with a certain amount of pounds to lose. If you’re like me you can’t always control your weight no matter the effort. Make this a resolution you can control. That your willpower will be able to maintain.

Give your suggestion of a good New Year’s Resolution in the comments and I will send you the first chapter of my book!
I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Bring those ideas in like the ringing in of the New Year!

A New Year with New Adventures to Come

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There are so many ways to look at a year.

I started one year knowing it would be difficult. I enjoyed whatever little bit I could to get through what I knew would be hard. I called 2013 The Year of the Teen and the Toddler. My oldest child turned thirteen and my youngest turned one. I’ve been struggling with what to call this year. The Year of New Adventures? The Year of More Unknown? The Year of… Uhhh…

So many adventures for good and bad or even for good and bad exist in every year. This year I will have been married for 15 years! I plan to publish my first novel and possibly a short story relating to that novel. My kids will all be a year older and at least one more of them will grow taller than me. I have so many other adventures planned and so many that I know I will encounter that I can’t plan.

Once again I plan to enjoy every good moment. I don’t make New Years resolutions, but I do set goals for the year. What will things be like a year from now? No doubt I will have many successes and failures to reflect on. No matter what I will find hope to start the new year.

What adventures do you have planned for 2014?

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