New Year’s Eve Fun for Kids!

Knoxville_Contributor_BTNOne of my favorite parts of having a child is creating new traditions throughout the year.  Since our Pickle is at the age where she is beginning to understand celebrations, I wanted to find some fun, creative ways to ring in her newest Year!  Of course, I headed straight to Pinterest, and you can check out my findings on my 365+1 Pinterest Board.  But you can also get a peek at my Top 5 Favorites over at the Knoxville Mom’s Blog!

How do you ring in the new year with little ones?

I’d love some more ideas as we begin creating our own traditions for our little family!

NYE 2008

Celebrating in Times Square with my parents… before marriage and children!


Peace on Earth…

Peace on EarthI love the days after Christmas.

I think I always have.

While the crazy nights and busy days leading up to the “big event” are exciting and cheerful, it’s the after that really brings peace to my soul.

It’s the quiet morning coffee with the presents all unwrapped and still.  It’s crisp frost-covered grass glistening in the morning sun on a day where we have nothing to do but be.  It’s the purposeless, directionless floating around a messy house that doesn’t need to be attended to just yet. Continue reading

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions

Some things never change.  Or at least I try hard not to let them.

When I was growing up, we had lots of Christmas traditions that we clung to.  We always picked out our own live Christmas tree.  We decorated the house to the tune of the Beach Boys, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and the Carpenters.  I was the one who meticulously set out the big nativity.  On the last day of school before Christmas break my mom and I would make cinnamon rolls to take to our bus driver.  And every year we would make and decorate sugar cookies.

Now that we have a sweet Pickle and a flurry of traditions of our own, some of these have been lost.  The live tree, for example (it’s not allowed in our apartment).  I don’t have the Beach Boys Christmas Album (although you could purchase it for me here).  I probably won’t set out the big nativity until the kiddo is in high school because I’m pretty sure the first thing she’ll do is break it.

But sugar cookies?

That we can (and did) do. Continue reading

Someone to Miss

SomeoneWe had enjoyed a lovely two days at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains with my husband’s family when it happened.

I was watching his cousin make her delicious ciabatta.  His mom and aunts were milling about the kitchen while the men were outside grilling the steaks.  The kids were dancing in the living room.

When he came in.

Smelling of smoke and seasoning and cold.  Huddled up in his blue Kentucky sweater.  His nose red from the chill.  His hand grasping a drink of I don’t know what.  He walked up behind me and leaned in, speaking softly in my ear the way only a husband with a secret can do. Continue reading

The Other Side of Kindness

Knoxville_FacebookEver since we returned from SE Asia, my husband and I have been working our butts off to make ends meet.  He, a full-time student and full-time bank teller.  Me, a stay-at-home mom with a part-time teaching job.  Times have been hard.  Cupboards have been bare.  But we have never felt richer.

In this post, reblogged from the awesome Knoxville Mom’s Blog, my friend Kristen puts so well what so many of us have experienced at one time or another in our lives.  Please enjoy, then visit her blog When at Home and show some love! Continue reading

Generation Gap II: The Old Lady at the Pharmacy

Pickle with NanaI crossed paths with an elderly woman the other day.

I mean, she had white, tightly permed hair.  Glasses.  A cane.  I think she was wearing a blazer.  And she was in a pharmacy.  This was a genuine old lady.  I kinda knew that from looking at her, but I really knew it when she spoke.

You see, we had been on our way to an exercise class that would have, no doubt, made ME feel like an old woman.  On the way I had scheduled a quick doctor’s appointment for my kiddo.  She had been coughing for about a week so I wanted to take her in and rule out anything serious.  We went through the routine.  Throat looked good.  Lungs sounded fine.  Ears were ok.  None of us (nurses and doctors included) really thought it was anything, but the doc decided to check for mycoplasma anyways.  (Fancy word for the little boogers that cause walking pneumonia)

We were all just a little bit shocked and stunned when he came back in the room and said that she had tested “markedly positive” for mycoplasma. Continue reading

The Box: A Christmas Parable

The BoxWe lost our sheep.

Three of them.

And a shepherd… and an Angel.

This has eaten away at me the past few days.  I hate losing things, as you may recall from this post.  Losing things leaves an emptiness in my soul that cannot be explained.  It’s nothing.  They are plastic.  They are replaceable.  She doesn’t even know they are gone.  But I know they are missing. And I know that I cannot sit down and play “Christmas Nativity” with her unless I have a shepherd.  And some sheep.  And an angel.  It irritates me to no end.

So of course my response after I’ve searched every nook and cranny of our house is to plaster it all over Facebook.  To gain the pity of the masses… and hopefully stir some kind soul to send me a sheep.

I’ve looked everywhere.  But in the back of my mind I remember that rainy morning well. Continue reading