Catching Up

crackercrumblife.comMove along now, holiday season.

Is anyone else trying to catch up from the holidays? I feel like I put everything that I could put on hold during December on that proverbial back burner, and now it’s time to sort through it and get to it! Except I am feeling so crazy overwhelmed by my to-do list, I almost can’t remember what all I need to do.

I’m that person who always want to be super organized, but just isn’t. I know that this is just not who I am, so I roll with it, and plan to be the most organized that I can be, but I will never be that person who has the perfectly sorted rooms with cute and stylish baskets or whatnot, all with labels, that make the room look like it belongs in a decorating magazine. Although, that would be cool. I did however, start a mission last year to minimize our possessions, and I have slowly been going room by room. Very slowly, but it’s getting there. Having less stuff makes it easier to organize – obviously. Lol. And it does feel sort of liberating and cleansing to not be so weighed down by stuff. I could be a hoarder, perhaps, if I allowed it to happen. Now I just throw it in a bag or a box and drive it immediately to the donation center. Done and done.

But back to the now of catching up. I need to work on my business, get started on various projects, schedule appointments, figure out what books I am behind on reading and reviewing for my book review blog (quite a few!), stuff I want to do with this blog, and finish my office, which is currently housing boxes and boxes of books that I need to figure out what to do with, and cat items. The room is literally devoted to books and cats right now, there is no room for me. I need to reclaim some of the space (as we know the cats will not allow me the entire room now, after all this time) – as much as I love my bedroom, it is not the most conducive to working. More to getting really cozy and then maybe napping. Which unfortunately is not super productive.

Thankfully, my Passion Planner arrived. (not a affiliate link at all, I just love mine!) I love everything about it. I have so much I need to keep track of, most especially little man’s appointments! There are so many. He has a neurology appointment coming up, and I thought I had the date memorized, but when I went to write it in my planner, I found that the day was a Sunday, which I knew could not be right! I called, and found I had the right number date, but wrong month! See why I need a calendar? Lol. Lately, I always have three things close to hand – my planner, my notebook, and my pen case.

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Anyone else in the throes of catching up from the holidays? What are your tips? How do you keep track of all you need to do with all the your roles in life?

 

 

Hello 2018!

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art --

Happy New Year! I must confess, I am not the biggest fan of New Years. I usually find it is a melancholy day for me, saying goodbye to a year. It just makes me sad. But this year, I feel inspired. I feel inspired by all those quotes that say we have 365 days to make new experiences, 365 new chances. That we have a blank book upon which to write. To live our wild and to voyage our soul.

Neil Gaiman always writes the coolest New Year’s wishes. This is an older one, but it’s  my favorite. I think it sums up perfectly, every year, what I hope for.

I don’t like to think of these as resolutions, but more like changes in my life that I would like. I would like more time with husband, the two of us. We very rarely go out and are usually home hanging with the boyo. Which we love, but we need to make time for us as a couple as well. This is the hardest change to make, as it is dependent on grandmas and their time, and I don’t like to ask too often, although I know they love the kiddo.

I also want to create more this year. I want to write more, go back to the stories I had started and never finished, write the ones in my head. I want to bake more, cook more. Learn how to embroider. My husband got me the coolest embroidery kit for Christmas, designed for beginners. I am so excited to try it out, but I am a total weirdo about Christmas gifts. I like to hoard them all together in one spot, and look at them, like some sort of dragon. So, soon, I will pick it up and work on it.

I want to learn Swedish this year. I have always loved learning new languages – in high school I took four years of Latin and a year of French, and in college I took Russian. I taught myself some Gaelic one year, through internet lessons. I don’t remember much of any of them, but then, I don’t use them either. I probably won’t use Swedish either, but I am currently fascinated by these Nordic countries and their culture and lifestyle, so..Swedish it is. Maybe one day I will move there, and it will be handy to know the language. 🙂

I want to get outside more – I love being outside but we have some barriers to overcome to the outdoors. This year I plan to figure out how to accommodate my son’s needs to get him into nature more – firstly by figuring out how to use a back toddler carrier. Any suggestions? He has cerebral palsy with very limited mobility so he can’t help me, so when it is the two of us, I need to think about how to do it. I would front carry but he is getting so long, and I am so short! Lol.

Finally, I want more plants in my life. I think they just make a house more cozy, more magical. More something. I told my cousin this and she said that in Sims your room score goes up when you add art and plants. Lol. We have lots of art, but I need more plants. I am also currently addicted to throw rugs, which I have scattered all over the place right now. It’s been nice to have islands of warm and soft to retreat to, with our negative cold temps!

What about you? Any hopes and dreams for this year that you are willing to share?

 

Snow Day!

This is our season.

There is something so refreshing, so vitalizing about being out in the snow, in the cold. Feeling the sun on your face, the crunch underfoot the only sound you can hear. The crisp air, that seems so much fresher and cleaner in the winter.

We are bigtime fans of winter and snow, can you tell?

We used to winter hike all the time, even more than we did in the summer, honestly. But when Wyatt was born, we didn’t venture out as much. He was so small, born early and weighing a whopping 2 lbs 13 oz, he is still a little guy. But tough like crazy. He also has cerebral palsy, and while we are working on walking, he is not there yet. We are determined not to let this stand in his way, and want him to enjoy the winter as much as we do.

So today we bundled him up to the gills, popped him into a sled, and set off. And boy, did he have a blast! Big smiles on his face, mine, and his fathers. This time, laughter ringing through the mostly silent woods. We didn’t take a long walk, but long enough. Next time I will bring a scarf for his face, and we can go a little further.

The Norwegians have a word – friluftsliv, which means “free air living”. As different from hygge as you can get, which is about being cozy inside, friluftsliv is about living in the great outdoors, embracing the elements and nature year round.

This year, I want to embrace both concepts. Incorporate both into our lives. We don’t need to be exclusive. Some days call for cozy afternoons, snuggled up reading in the warm house, thick socks warming your toes, listening to a crackling fire, sipping a drink that warms your insides and soul. Other days, you need to move, explore the outdoors, to connect with nature and life and fresh air.

I just checked out a book from the library, There is No Such Thing as Bad Weather, which is part of the Norwegian expression, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. We did well on the walk for today, and now, we are enjoying some cozy time inside.

Friluftsliv meets hygge, the perfect blend.

A Friday Look Back

First:

Snow! I love snow. I don’t like the accidents or problems it can cause, but – I love snow. Especially that quiet hush as it falls, or walking through a wood covered in snow. One of my top favorite things to do. Last month we went on an Owl Prowl, and the air was crisp and cold, winter was on its way. As we stood quietly, our eyes glued to the horizon for incoming screech owls, I closed mine instead. And just stood there a few beats, feeling the cold and the dark and the silence, soaking it in. The past few days have been full of snow showers, those big ol’ flakes that fall fast, and accumulate like mad. (and incidentally, we watched White Christmas, one of my faves)

We had a pretty great week!

Last Saturday Wyatt spent the day with 2 out of 3 cousins – we began the day with his Aunt Chrissy and cousin L., making gingerbread houses at the library. They were constructed from graham cracker and frosting and all this delicious looking candy – the hard part was keeping the kids from eating it all! I told Wyatt that we don’t eat our art usually. I think we did a pretty good job!

Next we headed to my dad’s  house, which is a little over an hour away, to visit and go to his cousin Brayden’s tenth birthday party. Wyatt went bowling for the first time! His Aunt Katherine held him and let him put his hand on the ball before she threw it. She claimed he gave her luck, as she bowled very well after his magic touch. We also spent the night at his grandparents that night, and I think that was another thing Wyatt enjoyed – a sleepover with grandma and grandpa!

Tuesday little man had an eye doctor appointment, my least favorite of his multitude of appointments. At 2, he doesn’t understand what is going on, and I imagine it must be scary and invasive. At least this time they didn’t dilate his eyes – that joy is reserved for next time. The doctor said that his eyes are improving (he has nystagmus), but he wants us to patch him for an hour a day for the next 6 months. It looks like the whole family will be hanging pirate style for a while, as I don’t see Wyatt keeping that patch on without a little encouragement. Any tips?

We are getting down to the wire with Christmas – and I am still not done! I need to buy a few more gifts, stocking stuffers, make cookies and take boyo to see Santa. Santa at least will be done tomorrow morning. Oh, and then wrap. How is everyone else doing? And I even decided to do a small Christmas this year! I felt for our family, that we were going to try to have more moments and less things, so we are doing just three toys for kiddo, books, and a pair of boots. For Billy and I, we are just doing books and socks and maybe a gift or two, but nothing big.

I think tonight we are going to wind down the evening with hot chocolate, wine for me, and a viewing of Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. Anyone else remember that? I love that movie and I am so excited to show Wyatt. I remember the very night that it aired on HBO. We didn’t have that channel, so we went to my cousin’s to watch it. I was so excited! (and very young..) Still one of the top of my list Christmas movies.

 I am trying to blog more here – it is such an important thing to me. I really need to write, whether it is a simple recitation of the week’s events or something more fun, or even thoughtful. It’s how I process my days, the events of my life. So that is going to be a definite goal for the new year for me.

Anyway, that is my quick look back at the week! I hope you all had a great week too!

Keep on Keeping on

When you have a toddler, life goes on. Even on those days you don’t feel like doing a single thing, you get up, run a straight iron through your tangled hair, pull on your Converse and do what you gotta do.

Halloween is my favorite holiday – I say that a lot. I want to make the holiday fun and magical for my son, so this year I went a little crazy and lined up what seems like a million fun activities to do. Saturday was definitely worth it. Our local MetroPark, Oakwoods, holds  Evening Lantern Tours for people 10 and up every year, where they “haunt” the woods in the nature center. We haven’t been to that in a while, but after attending the little kids version with our little dude, we are putting it on the list for next year as a date night. We took W. to the Kids, Candy and Costumes event which was awesome. By far the cheapest activity we have been to (just $5~), it was also one of the most fun.

This is a definite redo next year. I thought it was very well done and the kids loved tromping through the woods in their costumes.

The following day we were at the cider mill, to meet up with cousins and kids. It was memories, as when my cousins and I were children, we all went to this particular cider mill together, a and would carve pumpkins and each chili afterwards. Now we are all grown up, with our own kids, so it was cool to be able to continue the tradition. It was hot as midsummer that day too – I even got a sunburn. However the weather the rest of this week has been dreary- but fall!

 

Grieving

grandma

Last week my grandmother passed away, in the wee early hours of the morning. She was an amazing lady, who was a tiny little force to be reckoned with, wrapped up in a five foot tall package. She was independent, fierce, with a sly, quick wit. She was generous, and kind, and never let you leave her house without at least something to take with you, from a cookie to a magazine to who knows what. You were not allowed to leave empty-handed. Creative and artistic, she painted, made things with stained glass, drew, knitted hats for children who had no warm clothes, knitted hats for my own child. She was a spitfire, who probably taught me how to swear, and she never backed down from a fight. She could cook up a storm, and made the best rice pudding. I remember winters, sitting in her kitchen, steam heating the room and fogging the windows, and being served creamy delicious rice pudding that she had made. It is one of those flavors that take you back in time, like Proust’s Madelines. She loved lemon meringue, and lemon flavored desserts, just like me, and my brother, and my son. We like things tart, I guess.

Her name was Marion, and she was my last remaining grandparent. I should feel blessed that I am the age I am now, just now losing my last grandparent. And I do. But you are never ready. And my grandma had a sense of invincibility about her.

It is the first time I have had to grieve, while caring for a child. I got the news on Friday, and then was alone all day with my son. It’s hard to be heartbroken and care for a child. In reverse though, it’s hard to be heartbroken and care for a child. Does that make sense? It was hard, but at the same time, being around my son made it a little easier, with his sunny smile. He is only 2, and won’t remember her, like I remember my great-grandma and great-grandpa. That will be up to me. And my brother and my father and my mother and stepmother, my cousin and aunt, to share our stories. And goodness knows, there are enough of them. She had a lot of living in her life, and many stories to share. I will miss her terribly.

Rainy Day Weekend

Lately, I haven’t written much here. I sit down to write, but first I usually scan Facebook. Then honestly, I get too depressed to say anything. My stuff just seems so trivial, so little in the scope of what is happening around the world and United States – devastating fires, hurricanes, earthquakes. Shootings. Where does my little post about what we all did over the weekend, or what I read, or what we ate fit. And then I thought, it is like everything else. We grieve. We try to make things better where we can. And we live our lives. That’s all we can do. So, I have gotten back to being me, being us. Celebrating life, this world and its wonders. Because amazing things happen amongst the sad – like that woman who biked her way out of the California fires, with her 70 pound dog in her duffel bag. That was some serious grit and determination, and love. All love for that dog. She wasn’t a big woman by any means, but she and her dog got to safety – on a bicycle. Like I said, just dang amazing.

Our family spent the weekend celebrating the Halloween season. It’s my favorite time of the year, and now with a two year old, I am even more excited about it. We started off the weekend festivities Saturday night, when we went to the Detroit Zoo Boo. It was rainy but not too terrible, and it did not stop us from having a good time. My son was all smiles in his adorable skunk costume, loving every minute of the night. I was soaking wet, but I didn’t care. (He wanted to be carried by his father so, dad got the umbrella with the baby. I really need to add another umbrella to my shopping list so we have more than one!) They had some fun entertainers at the end of the trail, people performing with flaming batons and magicians and bands and music – it was a good time. Plus, I got to eat some candy. Lol.

The next day we were off and running again, this time to the apple orchard, a time honored Michigan fall tradition. This is a Midwest thing I found out, or at least it is not a widespread United States thing, which makes sense. Going to the cider mill in the fall is one of my favorite things we do all year – and we had awesome autumn weather. Blustery, gray, windy, rainy – at one point my son and I were sitting on the wide front porch of the shop, eating donuts, when a crazy strong gust of wind practically blew us off of the porch. We just laughed in the face of that wind!

Before we had the boy, we searched for a cider mill without the gimmicks, and found our perfect one – Bennett’s Orchard. Simple, great prices, great products. There are no bounce houses, bands, or booths of vend, which is fine if that is what you like. For us though, it is all about the locally grown and made products. Pumpkins, jam, doughnuts, honey, popcorn, and .. for parents .. hard cider, made on site. By law they can only serve three tastings per person, so my husband and I got different flavors and tried each others, splitting them. We have different palettes apparently – he really liked the crisp apple that had strong cinnamon flavor to it, while I liked the more tart ciders. We both agreed though, that the elderberry shine was so good that we had to buy a howler to come home with us. Perfect for around the bonfire.

We had a great rainy day weekend, spent outdoors. Remembering what is important about life. Family, experiences, making moments and memories.