Sunday, December 1

A spirited start to the holidays

I was planning to write this post last week. Along with another one that never got past the first few lines. Sometime between last Monday and today, my week zoomed into "epic" mode and I am only now in full recovery. And while I try to reserve Sunday nights for family time, I felt the need to escape to the blog and make sense of my thoughts.

So here we are. How are you?

It was a good, long weekend that started Wednesday when the school week ended. I don't even remember what I did that day, but I know it had something to do with Thanksgiving meal prep and attempting to organize a Christmas list so I could make some responsible decisions when it came time to shop later in the week.

Or not.

The weekend-and-then-some included some good old fashioned fun. Not pictured is family in town, Badger-game watching, movie-going (2 times in one week!), and a rousing game of Fauxcabulary that had us all, kids included, peeing our pants.

in line to get into target; the xmas village is up; fire truck parade-goers; a boy and his turkey leg; my first berbee

It was good, and I am incredibly thankful. Sitting deep in my thoughts is the post I meant to do last week, when I was inputting a number of families into the Spirit of Giving program database (Sun Prairie community activity where we sponsor local kids for Christmas). A number of the forms completed by the applicant families had handwritten notes of appreciation and reminders that their children would be happy just to get anything at all.

All I could think about was the stories behind these lives.

Did a spouse recently lose their job? Is that a new child this family is fostering? Are they asking for boots because they don't have any? Is this a single mom? Did they get Christmas presents last year? 

Are they feeling the warmth, excitement, and peace my kids are feeling right now as we decorate our home?

In my life, I've been judgmental and have lacked empathy. I have been quick to assume. I've been frustrated and have been less-than understanding. If running this annual program has taught me anything, it's that I never know the full story. Really, I don't need to. I just need to love and show kindness to kids who may struggle in their life situations. This much I can do.

And it feels good to do something.

Speaking of that, let me transition to the other post that was-to-be. I've gotten a little further on "doing something" in accomplishing items on my 40-by-40 list. I wanted to share because some of you have been busy coming up with ideas for me, of things you can do with me, and that totally makes my day.

So let me catch you up. I've been cruising right along, although at some point I might need to cruise faster.

4. Try a beer from each state.
This idea came from a dear friend who knows that I like to try different food and drinks. So far, we have sampled from six states and are forming recommendations. We hear that this will be hard to accomplish fully, as Hawaii doesn't import their beer. So, if anyone is going soon, we need to put in an order!

5. Switch up the Thanksgiving fare.
I know. This one isn't terribly creative but all of our holidays are going to be a little different between now and my birthday (more to come on this!) so I thought I would try a few new recipes this time around. Kids were surprisingly not fond of the homemade mac and cheese, leading me to the conclusion that there really is no pleasing the 11 and under crowd. A new try was a cranberry dip that I will definitely make again. It was also the first time I brined a turkey and it was de-lish.

6. The Berbee Derby!
For the first time ever, I ventured off in freezing cold temps for a Thanksgiving morning race. I am so, so glad I did it, although I hope for warmer temps in the future. I couldn't feel my toes for half the race and ended up with swollen feet. Only a runner can appreciate this and vow to do it again sometime. I know, so weird.

7. Yes, we finally now have smartphones.
For the first time ever. Let's not talk about how far behind the times we are. Let's just enjoy the fact that I can, perhaps, blog from my phone soon. Good times ahead.

Much more on the list coming soon! Thank you for sharing this with me. It means so much more to have you all involved. I like stretching and growing with you. 

Happy December.

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