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I started writing on Facebook, not sure where I was headed.  In November, I brought my posts to WordPress to broaden my potential audience.  However, anyone reading on WordPress is missing the first part of the adventure.  So I thought I’d bring some of my old posts over, one at a time, here and there.  I will also be editing them at bit, preparing them for a larger audience.  Here’s the first.

So a few people have expressed interest in keeping up with our Alaskan adventures, so I thought I’d use Facebook notes as a sort of journal that you all can read, if interested. I will do my best to keep up with it, though as Xavier knows I promise nothing. We aren’t there yet, but I thought the first of the year would be a good time to start.  It’s a fresh start, and as I only have today and tomorrow before the packers come, we are close enough to moving.

It is January 1st, a time for New Year’s resolutions, and I have one this year. It’s self-fulfilling knowing where I am going, but that just means I’m gonna keep it.  I resolve to remember that life is an adventure and live it to the fullest.  But that resolution has many parts to it.  When things go crazy or I start to get overwhelmed I need to remember it’s part of the ride.  When it’s negative whatever, I need to remember that freezing my toushie off is an adventure.  I also need to live my life.  I need to embrace Alaska and do all the activities I can while I am there.  Three years are going to pass and unless I make myself go out and do, they will be gone and I will leave Alaska regretting that I didn’t make the most of my time there.  I need to love my family, not just in a mushy, touchy-feely sort of way, but in a practical live it out everyday sort of way.  And I need to get involved in my community and love the wonderful people God is sending me to in Alaska.  I can’t wait to meet all of them.  But all in all, like I said this really should be easy.  Some days may be harder than others, but waking up in Alaska should be more than enough to remind me that I really am living out an awesome adventure.

I know some of you out there have had a really hard 2010, and today is a good day just because it’s not 2010 anymore.  I remember being there exactly a year ago. 2009 was not the best year for the my family, and my husband and I rejoiced January 1, 2010 because even though we didn’t know how, we knew 2010 had to get better.  Well folks, it took a few months. We didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until the end of March, but it did come. And thank God, since April, 2010 has been a year of healing and restoration.  So I just want to say, follow God and trust Him that, whatever you are going through, this too shall pass.  And if you aren’t on speaking terms with God, well, that’s the first thing I’d work on to start the year off right.

Well folks, I have to get moving, the packers will be here bright and early Monday morning and I want to be ready for them. I also have a great family to enjoy and a super yummy first dinner of the New Year to prepare.  But I leave you with one last thought, even though you may not be going to Alaska your life is an adventure as well.

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Today was a good day.  Okay, it started late.  Yesterday’s workout kicked my booty.  I happily blame Julie for making me go to the gym.  I plan to give her credit if progress is ever made, but now I just blame her for the pain and make faces at her as I exercise.  Yesterday, I hit the point where it just hurts.  We’ve been at it for about a week and a half now.  At first, I was sore, but a good sore, an-I-just-did-something-good-for-myself sore.  Now, my muscles know what is awaiting them, so as soon as I get the elliptical going, my calves are screaming.  And I’m being super wimp right now, level 1.  I know that in theory it should get easier, although Matt says that when it gets easier that’s when you should make it harder, therefore keeping yourself in a constant state of pain.  Matt says constant state of soreness, but I can read between the lines, constant state of pain.  I don’t know having no experience.  This is about where I usually get frustrated and give up.  I can’t see results yet, and I feel worse than when I started so I quit.  This time I have Julie and Krysta, if nothing else peer pressure will keep me going.

Kids have been very good today.  Not much complaining about homework.  Okay, Clara complained.  She complained when, after an hour, I made her stop. I had other stuff that needed to be done.  She reluctantly played after that.  All three worked hard, even though it’s summer break here in Alaska.  I don’t believe in summer break, however, I do believe in summer slow down.  Especially on beautiful summer days when the outdoors and friends beckon, an hour was enough time to keep their brains in shape.  We will have plenty of time for all day school sessions when the snow comes back and the sun leaves.

Got back to working on my own Bible study.  I’m very excited about it, and keep thinking about all that I might just learn.  However, while working on it, it’s overwhelming how much, not knowing Greek, I need to learn.  There are lots of words I need to look up.  Did I really think I could do this?  But I will try.  It’s good for me, right?  I am getting much better at typing as I transcribe all the pertinent verses on the computer.  I am also seeing the Bible characters as much more human than I used to.

We also planned Austin’s birthday party today.  The theme will be Lego.  I had been waiting to make exact plans until Chase came home.  He was supposed to be on a plane this week.  However, things got busy and he’s pushing his leave back a little.  Now, not knowing just when he’ll be home I’m blazing ahead with plans without him.  Army or no Army, we have a life to live and the coolest Lego party a six-year-old ever had.  We planned the date, the guest list, the menu and the games today.  I am so excited.  The guest list is short.  I like children for the most part, but only in small doses.  Small numbers of children that is, we can hang for a long time as long as there aren’t too many of them.

Today is errand day.  In theory, Monday is always errand day.  In theory.  Reality is that there are days when attitudes, sickness, or snow will keep us home.  However, today we had no choice, so I was very glad to see perfect errand weather (perfect being streets I’m not afraid to drive on, this is one area I’m not too picky).  President’s Day or not, the electric bill was due, we were in great need of groceries, and I still hadn’t bought a thumb drive for tomorrow.  With all that I also planned on some fun so that we could get everything done and still have happy kids at the end of the day.

So we paid the bill and then I took the kids out to lunch.  Might as well be full before grocery shopping.  I’m totally impressionable when it comes to food.  It doesn’t take much.  Kramer talked about buying stock in Texas Roadhouse once, and now I can’t even think about Mad Money without a craving a steak and yeast rolls.  So it’s hard on a good day not to get caught up at the grocery store, to help matters I make sure I never go hungry and that I like the food I just ate.  A content tummy is less likely to see strawberries and think about making chocolate covered strawberries.  Well, I try to use eating time to talk with the kids about stuff, and eating out is the best time ever.  Somehow not being at home keeps the kids more focused on the conversation.  During football season we talked a lot about football.  Sunday we talked about what the kids learned at church.  Today was President’s Day so we discussed the two presidents in particular that are being honored today.  Granted our discussion took a lot of turns, from the Revolutionary War to WWII, from the Mayflower to the Dalton Gang.  Yep, we were all over the board.  We’ve been doing this for a while now, but I’ll never get used to the looks I get from the people around me.  I realize we are making noise, but we aren’t being overly loud. And it’s not like we’re the only people who make noise in a restaurant.  But when the guy at the table next to ours can’t keep his eyes off our table, I wonder what I doing wrong.  When the servers or cashiers are watching us, I wonder if we are being obnoxious.  But I just keep talking to my kids.  Because at the end of the day, it’s all about them.  And I’ll deal with all the weird looks the world has to give me to teach and love on my kids.

Then we went to what may just be my new favorite place.  I’ve been wanting to go to the local butcher shop since we moved here.  There’s something about the store that called to me.  But until today I never made the effort to get there.  After today I will be making up for lost time.  One, the people who work there are awesome.  Two, the meat is amazing.  I can’t wait to make stew with my stew meat.  And I bought Xavier some turkey for turkey sandwiches.  Yep, meat from Mike’s Meats from now on.  And in the summer they have a weekly farmer’s market I will have to actually go to instead of think about going to.

Then we were off to the commissary.  And going out to lunch worked.  The kids were well-behaved and none of us got caught up in cravings.  We actually managed to get mostly good food.  Of course there were areas that I did let us get whatever we wanted.  The produce area, the dried fruit aisle, and the juice aisle.  But we didn’t even look at the candy, sodas or deserts.  (Although, it’s easy to overlook deserts when I still have leftovers from my Valentine’s Day party).

In the past, I’ve been known to get upset when Chase does something nice for me because it’s not “just right.”  And I’ve been working on my attitude.  I’ve been working on seeing the gesture as my husband doing his best to please me instead of nit-picking and whining that he doesn’t listen.  Well, Chase has made it hard to work on that, especially with the flowers he picked out for Valentine’s Day this year.  It’s difficult to work on not nit-picking when there is nothing to pick at, when the present is perfect.  There is something about red roses for Valentine’s Day.  Red roses are in fact a very sexy flower.  But that wasn’t all in my bouquet.  I had mentioned to Chase once that I thought star-gazer lilies were really pretty and over the years they may have become my favorite flower.  When I saw the star-gazer lilies in my bouquet I nearly cried.  For all the times I’ve wondered if Chase listens to the little hints I give about what I like (and I give them constantly, I try to be easy to please even though I am very picky), I can now say with certainty, yes, he does listen.  And not only does he listen, he can remember.  I’m not a big fan of baby’s breath.  I don’t know why, but it looks cheap to me.  But I haven’t said anything about it since fighting the florist over my wedding bouquets.  I don’t think I was a bridezilla, but I was stubborn.  If I was going to spend tons of my dad’s money on a wedding, it was going to be perfect.  And baby’s breath is not perfect. But the florist couldn’t imagine a bouquet without filler, we finally found a flower that I liked and would be the filler he wanted.  Most Valentine’s bouquets I’ve seen contain baby’s breath.  And having fought a florist over filler flowers, I’ll never complain about it being in a bouquet I receive, knowing how florist feel about baby’s breath.  But my husband found a bouquet without it.  It is the most beautiful flower arrangement I have ever seen.  It could have been designed just for me.  And the vase.  I’ve been receiving roses from Chase for 13 years now and most have come in vases.  I’ve had to part with a few.  It’s made me sad, but I don’t have uses for all of them, and we are Army.  I would have to move, unpack and find places for all those vases if I kept them all.  This is one I will keep.  I may even find it a permanant home, it’s that beautiful.

Not only is my guy a great husband, he rocks as a dad as well.  He didn’t leave the kids out.  He got them mylar balloons.  I don’t like normal balloons, but I do love mylar balloons.  And so do the kids.  Each has taken their balloon to their bedroom so they can look at the balloons as they go to sleep.  Clara even wanted to take her balloon into the bathtub with her.  I can’t blame them, my flowers followed me to my bedroom, and the way cool thing about flowers is that not only can I look them as I nod off, I can smell them all night long as well.

I love growing old with Chase, it gets better every year.  I just hope I’m improving as a wife even half as much as Chase has become a better husband.

Bah humbug.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Valentine’s Day.  Today, however, I’m tired, hungry and it doesn’t help matter that my daughter just tried to flush her t-shirt down the toilet.  So I’m beyond cranky right now.

I have a wonderful husband who gives me roses every Valentine’s Day.  I was surprised the first Valentine’s Day we were apart and I got a delivery at my door.  I shouldn’t have been. He promised me roses every Valentine’s Day long ago.  Poor guy had to compete with the memory of a former boyfriend who ruined my notions of Valentine’s Day romance.  (Which is one of the many reasons I love the love story of my friend who just got married in December.  Even though it was a long wait they are each their first relationship.  I think how blessed they are to not have memories of someone else messing up the memories they are currently making).  Anyway, he patiently loved me and has replaced old memories with wonderful ones.  And even though he hasn’t deployed much, we’ve still spent plenty of Valentine’s Days apart.  But every Valentine’s Day I’ve had roses.  So I did expect a delivery today.  But today is PWOC, and while I eagerly anticipated my flowers, I wasn’t going to wait by the door all day long.  I hoped the delivery would be scheduled for this afternoon.  As long as they came between 1 and 5 I had nothing that couldn’t wait.  But they came early.  I was sad when I got the call.  When I told the girl I wouldn’t be home for another hour, I could hear that that just didn’t work for her in her voice.  But I told her I was flexible for the rest of the afternoon.  I didn’t worry about getting an exact time of when she’d be by because I could be flexible.  I called back at 7, because I don’t know what your definition of afternoon is, but to me 7 is definitely evening.  And I had plans.  I’ve had many plans for my evening over the course of the day, but I had plans.  I had offered to be a babysitter, and then my plans were to stay home and order pizza.  But when that didn’t work out, I had plans to go to the FPU class at my church.  Figured I’d pick up some Arbys on the way, and diapers on the way home.  I mean, we discussed the flowers being delivered in the afternoon, I was sure I could get away by 6:30.  It’s 7:30 now and still no flowers.  And that phone call I made to the delivery girl.  Had to leave a message.  Don’t know what company she’s with so I can’t call the florist.  At this point, I don’t actually expect anything anymore.

My husband has tried so hard to be wonderful this Valentine’s Day.  He sent all of us cards.  He sent me flowers and he put a Happy Valentine’s thing in the local paper.  Two out of three have been tainted.  The thought to send flowers even from halfway around the world is wonderful, and is enough.  I don’t blame him that they aren’t here.  However, their inability to show up is disappointing.  The paper.  It made me so happy.  However, his command got upset that he’d have the audacity to do such a thing.  Now, when I look at it I know he got in trouble to do that for me.  (Shows me what the command thinks of me though.  Good to know next time when I have to choose between a unit functions and anything else).  But I still have my card.  And the knowledge that even though we are a world apart, I still have the most thoughtful, wonderful Valentine on the planet.

Oh, yes, the t-shirt in the toilet, or should I say the icing on the cake.  My very close to being potty trained daughter, has decided that she doesn’t want to use the toilet.  However, she also refuses to wear a diaper that has been worn when she has even thought about peeing.  We’ve only been home since 1, but that child has gone through 10 diapers since coming home.  The joys of having a child old enough to change oneself, but for some reason won’t use the toilet.  I’m not out of diapers yet today, but at her rate I would have been by the time the flowers arrive (or bed time, which as I don’t think I’m getting flowers today will arrive first).  I had planned to stop by the store and buy a new pack of diapers when the flowers got here.  A very, very large pack seeing as we apparently need two dozen a day.  Anyway, to ensure we had a diaper for leaving for the store (and back up which I’m glad for now) I cut off her diaper supply and made her wear underwear.  I hoped she’d use the potty with underwear on.  I didn’t realize that she’d rebel and use the toilet in a whole new way.  Flushing her clothes.

Well, my pizza is here.  Ordered it when I couldn’t get a hold of the flower delivery lady.  Didn’t want to leave just in case she comes, but knew if I made anything I’d just be pissed off and miserable.

Groundhog day.  I’m glad to say that it was a unique day.  And no matter what a mammal determines or doesn’t determine, six more weeks of winter would be a short winter.

The Christmas tree finally came down.  I was organizing the living room and came to the conclusion that it needed to be done.  I can no longer say that I don’t have time to take care of it as I have alphabetized our DVD’s and CD’s.  Not all the Christmas stuff is put away yet, but this house is finally moving on.  The living room feels a lot cleaner right now.  Maybe a little bare, but I hope to get up the Valentine’s decorations up by the end of the weekend.

Yep, I’m back to the obsessive-compulsive cleaning that I do so well.  I know I started off the year with plans of organizing the whole house, then I came to the conclusion that I needed to just concentrate on the day-to-day stuff, and now I’m back alphabetizing everything I can.  I came to the conclusion that getting the whole house organized just so is not a bad idea.  I just need to take it slowly.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  However, I noticed that I am keeping my closet just as perfect as the day I finished it.  My dresser is staying clear and my make-up drawer is still organized.  I realized that I will take better care of things when they are just so, the trick is getting them just so and keeping them there.  So I am trying to live with all my original goals, just with a little bit of balance.  I do need to strive to be a better mom, but raising kids doesn’t happen over night, I do have time.  And no matter what I will make mistakes.  I do need to get better at house-keeping, but I have time.  The people from the show Hoarders haven’t called me yet, I haven’t even been nominated to be on Clean House.  I do need to get healthier, but I have time.  All these things are life-style changes, and those don’t happen overnight, and when you are able to change overnight it generally isn’t permanent.  So I may not be able to get myself down several dress sizes, have Xavier doing algebra and have a spotless, perfect house by the time Chase comes home.  But I can be closer to all those things, and keep getting better even after Chase gets back.

I have an idea in my head of what my life would be like if everything were perfect.  One of the things I envision is actually using all the games I have in my game closet.  So I’ve added a new activity to my daily routine.  After dinner we play games.  I think this is one change I won’t have to try hard to keep up.  Yesterday all three kids beat my in Life.   I think Austin landed on every space where you receive more than $100,000.  Today we played Spot It.  Now this game tests my I-refuse-to-let-kids-win-at-games philosophy.  Being 20-odd years older than Austin, I’m really just that much better at it than he is.  There is no way he could ever beat me.  But if he can never win there is no incentive for him to try, and it’s a good brain exercise.  So I have given myself a handicap to even the playing field.  I count to three before looking at the cards.  For the first time Austin beat me at the game.  Soon I may have to only count to two to be able to keep up with that kid.

I realize why deployments often begin/end around the holidays.  But as far as the spouse goes, the timing sucks.  Deployment is an adjustment that needs some getting used to.  The holidays are not the best time for getting used to anything, they are a time of confusion and business when nothing is normal.  Add deployment to that, and it’s hard getting your feet underneath you.  At least it is this time around for me.  And that is why I’m being so whiny about the little things, that are a part of life, going on right now.  I just need some “normal” time to adjust.  December was not adjust time, it was crazy whirlwind time.  Then we finally got to January, and I should be establishing a routine.  And I might just have one down, except that every other night or so someone threw up at midnight and needs comfort and rest, or someone’s tummy aches, or someone is needing more than just her diaper changed every hour.  And that has been going on for two weeks now.  Two weeks that I would like to be using to establish my new normal.  And I hope and pray that this too shall pass and not be normal for long.

So really things aren’t as bad as I might make them seem.  The repair guy will be here tomorrow.  It may cost some money, but that’s why Chase goes to work, so that we have money to pay the repair guy that I might live the life I am accustomed to.  It may not be fixable.  But we have been blessed with a spare washing machine.  I can’t say that I want to use it as I’m spoiled to my front loading (think agitator-less) machine, but my life will go on.  I may complain about having to take care of snow, but as I just got chided about blowing my own snow tonight, that’s just me, still wanting to be Wonder woman taking care of all things all by herself.  (I never truly wonder where my children get their independent streak from).  Yes, I had car issues Saturday, but they are only a result of being out in sub-zero weather for hours while I had fun at the theater.  Poor Katie (yes, I named my car, she was the first car that was mine and that special bond deserves a name) just doesn’t like the cold, she is from Tennessee after all.  As I don’t live in Fairbanks and I do have a heated garage, her dislike of the cold will not be an annoyance all that often.  And the kids.  They are truly wonderful children.  Taking care of things when the bug has me down.  Getting along so very well.  How many moms can say that after a week of only being let out of the house once her children still are playing well and being nice to each other?  Today they played hotel.  Boxes from around the house were packed and turned into suitcases, and the kids checked guests into all of our rooms.  Then they had a blast with Legos; Xavier is perfecting that crab boat.  Yes, Xavier and I had a bit of a trust issue, but he’s such a good kid.  And he’s working so hard to help out while his Daddy’s gone.  Not letting him off for his transgressions, just realizing he is a great kid.  Yeah, he still doesn’t like school work, but as we get into a routine that’s being dealt with.  And while we are all sick, it’s not a horrible bug, it just won’t go away.  Praying that last night was the last of it though.  So life isn’t really all bad.

Only one thing is still really getting to me, and that’s that I want a “normal” week.  I want some time to establish a new routine.  The way we did things while Chase was here just isn’t working now.  There are some things I’d like to try and see if we can’t make work.  When is the best time for grocery shopping?  What day is best for us to make it to the dump?  Will Tuesday work for a regular Arctic Oasis day or do we need to find another day?  What day should we do chores?  When would be a good night to invite people over?  Over one month in, I am wanting answers to these questions.  I should be into a routine by now.  But when going to the store is dictated by when everyone has been well enough that I can safely assume no one will have to make an emergency run to the bathroom, I can’t gauge when it really works the best overall.  I don’t know when is the best time to go to Arctic Oasis when we can’t go.  That’s what’s really bothering me.  The rest will take care of itself, as will our scheduling issue.  We just need time and a little normalcy.

I love Alaska.  I really, really do.  I’m so blessed to be here.  I can’t imagine a more perfectly beautiful place to live.  I was awestruck this evening by the peaceful beauty of the snow.  It was like a magical, fairy land.  Snow falling silently and constantly.  Big, beautiful, fat flakes that seemed sprinkled with glitter.  It was like being in a snow globe, not one of the plastic cheap one, one of the really nice ones.  And I love snow globes.  I think I’d have bought half a dozen for myself and my kids already, but knowing we will someday have to move has stopped me.  This last winter move to Alaska destroyed all globes but one.  The one not destroyed was not packed with the rest, but made the trip in the van, always being hand carried into the hotel when we stopped for the night.  I was taking no chances with that globe, it would have broken my heart to see it broken.  I was sad to see my children’s globes, I had purchased for them for Christmas two years ago, broken.  They were so perfect and matched each child’s interests.  For Xavier, General Lee and Traveler; for Austin, the space shuttle; and for Clara, ruby-red slippers or in her world sparkly shoes.  I thought the packers would refuse to pack them, like they were supposed to. Therefore, I made no efforts to move them out of rooms.  We had been told that because we were moving to Alaska items like that would not be moved with household goods.  We shoudl have been told items like that should not be moved, so you better get them out of the way of our packers because they will do their job well and pack everything in sight.  It’s okay, those globes can be replaced and new memories can be made.  My globe was with Christmas stuff and I knew the packers wouldn’t check those boxes to ensure all items were acceptable.  I’m so glad I did that.  My globe was a gift from my parents my last Christmas with my mom.  I’ll admit the globe is cute but not particularly my style.  The music is cool because it’s Christmas, but not my favorite songs.  But it’s from that last Christmas.  Granted, I don’t remember much about that Christmas.  I can’t even tell you how we celebrated.  The globe didn’t even mean that much until I saw the catalogue it had been ordered from with my mom’s handwriting “for Lori” written next to the globe.  It’s now special because my mom chose it especially for me.  I don’t know why, and it doesn’t matter.  Just knowing my mom saw that globe and wanted it for me is enough to make that the one treasure I carted in and out of hotels along with as few suitcases as we could manage.

Wow, that wasn’t what I had intended to write about.  I was going to write about the awesome craft fair we attended today.  I will say I love the talent that Alaska brings out in people.  The art we saw today was amazing.  I plan to make my house into an Alaska art gallery during the time we are here.  And everywhere else we go everyone who walks into my home will know where my heart is.

I’m gonna just admit it.  Right now I am being super selfish with my time.  I’m not normally this way, but for the next month I’m being über selfish.  Granted for the last couple months I’ve been a little selfish.  I’ve allowed myself to get behind on stuff because I’ve been busy.  But for the next month I’m also not participating in anything that may take time away from my husband.  Normally, I’d totally stay late to help clean and decorate the chapel, but that’s at a time I plan to be having lunch with Chase and Chase wins.  Tonight was a totally fun sounding party for the ladies of PWOC.  But I stayed home and watched a the comedic stupidity in The Darwin Awards.  Funny movie.  But it wasn’t about the movie.  It’s about spending time with Chase.  So I’ll catch up on e-mail later.  I’ll get everything done that needs to be done, just on my terms.  And in January I’ll stay late and come early, babysit, clean up and tear down. And all that stuff may very well happen in December, but right now I’m so overwhelmed at the thought of Chase leaving, going to Alabama, leaving my kids for five days, and Christmas with a visitor and kids that miss Daddy that I refuse to think about December.  Granted the wedding and Sarah’s visit will be so much fun, but everything all together makes my head spin.   Anyway, right now I’m being selfish and saying no to anything that doesn’t include Chase or takes time away from him.

I don’t want today to be over.  Tomorrow is back to work.  And back to work with a vengeance, I might add.  I have been so lazy these last two weeks, I have some major catching up to do this week.  I should have started today, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  It’s okay, I’ll have plenty of time to do all sorts of things  in just over a month.  Things will be crazy from here until I go to Alabama. Thanksgiving (for which we will be having company so I need to start planning), Christmas with Daddy (and presents have to be bought and we need to figure out when we’re doing this), Chase leaving, Sarah coming and me getting everything ready for me to leave.  I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it.  Chase’s birthday is in there as well, but I don’t expect him to be here for that and he already ordered his birthday present, so I don’t have to do much for that day.  When I get back I will still be busy showing off Alaska to Sarah, trying to keep her warm and doing Christmas stuff, but that doesn’t require much work and is all fun.

As my kids are still excited about getting paid to do chores, I shouldn’t have to do as much cleaning.  Today we spent some time in the Lego aisle at Fred Meyer.  All my boys were drooling over the sets.  I picked out Christmas presents and decided what I would ask Santa to bring my family.  Xavier found a small set that he could buy with his birthday money.  He didn’t bring the money, but I figured we could float him a two-hour loan.  Austin also wanted to get his own set.  But his birthday money was spent months ago and with his birthday still months away he didn’t see himself getting money to buy things for a long time.  So I told him I had a job for him around the house.  Cleaning bathrooms.  I told him I would pay a dollar a bathroom a week.  I’m not really asking much.  We have Lysol wipes that he needs to wipe down the sink and the toilet with.  So tonight he asked if first thing tomorrow morning I would teach him what I want done in the bathroom.  Not tomorrow, but I love his enthusiasm.  Xavier is ready to snow blow and vacuum.  Hmm, what else could I have the kids do?  I’m thinking about teaching Clara how to do the job I had as a child, emptying trash cans (not the big kitchen one, but the little ones in bed and bath rooms).  She might be young for that right now, but I can always try.