Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas, from the Nelson Family


photos by Mason Fotographie
and cute card designed by Jumping Jax Designs

On Christmas Eve I was picking up around the house and shuffling away papers, and I opened my nigh stand to find a handful of sealed, addressed, stamped Christmas cards. Oops. is our Christmas card! (insert sheepish smile) Some of my wonderful friends and family will be seeing this in their mailboxes in  3-5 days.

I hope your Christmas was filled with joy!

and here is another picture for the road.......


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do you ever feel like you are being busied with one thing, and then another thing, and going from one place to the next, and trying to get everything done and be everything to everyone, and do it all so well? And then when you feel like the end is in sight and you have met most of your goals/deadlines, you realize- wait a minute! I am missing it.

That's me, right now.

The truth is, I HAVE to do some things. I have to be at certain places. 

Like cleaning the house- that had to get done, because we listed it for rent. Having a yard sale, that sort of had to happen because, one- we made signs and announced it, and two- we desperately needed to shed some "things". Getting the kid's teacher's gifts- that probably did not have to happen, but I would have felt bad not doing it. 

I obviously have to take the kids to and from school. And I had to go to Jeremiah's squadron Christmas party, because I promised him I would go this year (I rarely go to those things, and I was reminded this year of why I don't.) I had to go pick up the kids Christmas presents, because they were paid for and waiting. 

It was all too much. Too many obligations. Too many things that needed doing.

And in all of it, my littlest was cutting a tooth and starting to say "get me up" (which is hysterical because she is loud and firm about it, and accompanies her declaration with a hand gesture). Jack was a potty-pooping machine. Kaiti was writing stories in her journals and so improving on her writing that she secured the only 100% in the class on their big story project. And Tyler was struggling with the idea that we would be saying goodbye to Jeremiah again very soon.

All of those things deserved my time. All of those accomplishments, milestones, and hardships warranted my focused attention. And they didn't get much. 

I am okay with failing at the cleaning, the baking, the reading, the laundry, the staying current on things. I am not okay with failing them- the ones I love the best. 

Most days I feel like balance is a myth. An unattainable standard by which we moms measure ourselves. Because, how can you possibly? How are we to do it all, and be it all, well?

And to top it all off, it is Christmastime. I should not be focused on things, but on Him. Am I living a life that pleases Him? Am I bringing glory to Him with the things that I am doing?

Not now, I am not. 

Because too much equals stress, and stress equates to shortened-patience, a raised-voice, and a not-very-fun Shannon.

(that was a pretty rotten look in the mirror, right there. deep breath.)

These things just steal my focus. The cloud my heart and they allow the unimportant to sneak in and grab hold. I got caught up in silly things, feeling pretty certain that they mattered, when they did not. 

Instead of scrubbing base boards, painting, magic erasing, boxing up, divvying out, buying, cooking, sweeping, stressing over a dress for the Christmas party or what kind of cookies I should make for the cookie trays, I should have just stopped.

Stopped and celebrated Jack's potty accomplishments, Kaiti's wonderful progress in her writing, Eve's grasp of new words and phrases. Celebrated the pregnancy of one of my favorite friends (who just got word that the celebration will be a pink one!!!!), celebrated the safe return of a friend from Iraq, who will celebrate Christmas with his family- something that just a month or so ago was in question. 

Stopped to sit and talk with my Tyler, to reassure him, comfort him, let him go through it all, with me at his side. Stopped to sit and let sink the emotion that the impending goodbye is loaded with, for him, my other children and myself. Stop and acknowledge that I cannot breeze through goodbyes with such amazing friends who have lifted me up, made me laugh, and jump-started my car these past 8 years. 

I need to slow myself. Because I don't want to miss a thing. 
(wow, I just worked an aerosmith lyric into what was turning out to be a pretty somber post.)

The best way I know how to get to goodness, to reshift my focus, and to drowned out the unnecessary is to just quit running and really be with my kids and my husband. No running around town, no planning or committing to eight thousand things, no cell phone, no tv. 

So that is where I am at now. Blogging it out because this is how I process. 

I am really tempted to wrap this up with another lyric from that plump-mouthed man and his band, but my gut tells me only one aerosmith lyric per post. So I'll go with that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

making a list (or fifty) and checking off two

It has been a frenzied week and I have some wonderful things to share. I was going to say that our days have been so frenzied, I haven't had time to catch my breath, which is definitely what it feels like, but I am sitting here blogging. So it can't be that nutty, right?

We got a call from LMH in Norfolk last Friday and they have a home for us! Yay! It was my husband's first choice, my 2nd or 3rd or 4th. It is very, VERY small. But it feeds a wonderful school (the best of all of our options), is less than a half mile to my husband's squadron (which means saving $$ on gas, zero commute time, and frequent lunch dates), and is safely inside the gates of the base. Also, there are only 10 homes, all of which are historic brick town homes. The insides have been renovated- granite/stainless steel, ceiling fans, new carpet- but you cannot change anything in order to preserve the original condition. So that's neat. There is a little park at the end of our block (and since there are only 10 town homes, it is a small block and a not busy park). The homes rest under the canopy of beautiful old trees and are backed by a fence and a river. The location is removed from so much of the base busyness and it's a quiet little spot. All things that make me happy. But it's a shoebox. A cute one, but still a shoebox. So we are downsizing.

We have been going through things like crazy, making garage sale piles, goodwill piles, and trash piles. Jeremiah has painted 90% of our walls back to white. BLAH!!! He agreed. I kept hearing him mumble how boring white was as he was rolling on coat after coat. We have been cleaning like crazy. We are listing our house for rent this week, so we need to get it super duper clean so it is ready for pictures and ready to show. If you want to stop by, please do, and know this is what my house ALWAYS looks like.


I've made about fifty lists of things to be done. Christmas lists, project/craft lists, cleaning lists, moving lists. lists, lists, lists. The next month is going to be cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-raZZZYYY!


I got accepted to grad school. I am going to start in January. Definitely going to be a challenge, but I tend to do best in these situations. Hoping that is still the case. So in January we will say goodbye to our friends and home in Jax, hello to our new home in Norfolk, hello to our kids new school, hello to grad school, and goodbye to my husband. wow. Typing that just made me hands start to sweat. I better go get a washcloth.

I'm back.

Okay, I need to go and cross something off the list before I have to pick the kids up from school. I still have to get presents for baby girl, one for Kaiti, and one for Jack. Tyler is done. And my husband's gift won't be purchased until I get my special paycheck. Does anyone have any great husband gift ideas by the way? He always tells me not get anything and refuses to give me ideas. I really want to get him an ocean fish in kayak, but they are around $600 and I don't have that to spend right now.

I'll leave you with a picture from our recent session with Mason Fotographie! Happy Tuesday friends.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

vocabulary lesson

irony- driving across town to the Navy Exchange to get a little portable potty to keep in the car for emergencies, only to leave the store and get stuck in standstill traffic (Vice President Biden was visiting Mayport today, and his motorcade caused traffic in all directions to halt). I wound up being super late and had to pull over on the side of the road and open the little potty so Jack could attempt to go potty on the side of the road.

-there's no picture for this vocabulary word- I was too busy trying to make sure pee didn't go everywhere in the back of the car-

grateful- after entering Jeremiah in a Military Appreciation contest hosted by Dell months back, he received an email a few weeks ago stating that HE WON (!!!!) and he could choose a computer that he wanted from one of 4 fun options! It arrived and it is awesome! It's a Dell Inspiron One Touch computer. It takes up very little space- as in I have moved it easily from the kitchen counter to the dining room table to the coffee table to the dining room table. The touch feature allows even Jack to play games on learning sites and have fun, and watching movies and listening to music on it is neato. I'm still a mac girl, but this computer is super duper and awesome for our family!

-look at her! she's a sight to behold! much thanks DELL!!-

blessed- sitting on the couch with my little girl on my lap listening to Christmas music and watching as my husband merged together two sets of stocking to hang six from our mantle. Or we could just keep our two sets and hope for 2 more people to hang stockings for :)

-clearly I need to put some of my pins into action because my mantle looks pretty weak-

amazed- I am the queen of over anticipation. every time. I don't know why, but despite being proven otherwise, I still always think things will be worse/harder/more stressful/scarier than they really are. like potty training. it is a huge commitment and as much as I believe the kiddo has to be ready, so does the mama. and I dread it because while Tyler was a breeze to potty train, Kaiti was NOT. so I assumed Jack would be tough, too. but wouldn't you know it, this little guy is just chock-full of surprises. (how do I not know this, as well?!?!?) he has been wonderful, and we are on a full week of underpants and only a few accidents...the majority of which were not his fault, because we were driving. (see also: irony)

-on a lunch/park date with my husband and jack announced he needed to POOP! I heart parks with potties!-

ready- after wondering for the past few years about whether the timing was right and what I really wanted to do with myself, I decided to take the plunge. I applied for graduate school to get my MBA with a marketing concentration and hope to start in January, as in, 23 days from now. yowza! (that's what my mom would have said!) if I work my fanny off, by this time next year, I will have my MBA, and will be all set to start doing something I've been thinking about for a while!

-I just wanted something to fill up all my excess free time. heh heh heh-

lucky- I misplaced my glasses a few weeks ago. as the lens shop lady put it, I lost my "fancy going out glasses". -since I skipped my eye appts while Jeremiah was gone AND broke my glasses and did not replace them, my vision got worse after 8 months of reading/working with no glasses. so now I am supposed to wear them all the time. like a constant four-eyes. it doesn't count as name-calling if you are talking about yourself, right?- anyway. my all the time glasses. I got two pairs- one was on sale, and the other set of frames I really liked but they were coach and cost triple what I wanted to spend. I actually said to the lady at the frames shop, "what could I get for about twenty?". I do that a lot actually. but then my husband said I had the hot librarian thing going on, so of course I bought fifteen pairs. or just one. and of course, the glasses that I lost: the FANCY NANCY going out ones that cost me 3 toes and a knee (because arm and a leg are so overused). but just yesterday I asked my husband to hop out a place we had lunch at the day I lost them, and WHADDAYAKNOW? He comes walking out with my fancy schmancy glasses in his hand. LUCKY DUCK Shannon! that's what you can call me now. that, or Elle MacPherson. people call me that all the time, too.

-that Elle MacPherson can be soooooo dorky! also, someone needs to tell her that the orange instagram filter isn't doing her any favors. that, or eat less carrots.-

Monday, December 5, 2011

Not Me Monday!

It's Not Me Monday time! Where I get to share all the things that did not happen in my week, all the things that I did not say or did not do.

Because I've got it together. And ALL of my ducks are in a row. But you already knew that.

Who completely laughed (very much out loud) when she saw a perfectly put-together, furry-vest wearing,  ice-skating mother try to do an eloquent spin at the ice rink and totally fall on her butt? NOT ME! I would never........

Who kept calling a friend's husband the wrong name, even after being corrected several times? At the bowling alley with friends, who kept calling someone J.R. even though she had been corrected by her husband AND by another firend, and told more than once that it was JUNIOR and not J.R.? I don't know, but it was NOT ME! That would be just a little embarassing......

Oh, and the other day at Publix, who was that woman who dropped her purse upside down when trying to nonchalantly just toss it into the cart? Who was that woman who stood there with her purse contents spilled in the entrance of the store- the woman who turned bright red when she noticed a pair of little boys size 3T Cars underwear laying on the floor of the grocery store for all to see? NOT ME!!!! But if it was me, I totally would NOT have snatched everything up and then rambled somewhat loudly about potty training a three-year-old to no one in particular, making an even bigger scene. If that HAD happened to me, I would have been way more graceful with the recovery.

You know that not a lot embarasses me, right? It takes a lot. So, if say, I was having a pretty serious conversation with my boss and Jack came running up, screaming "MOMMY WIPE MY BOOTYYYYYYY CAUSE I JUS POOPED!!!!!", I would not have stammered over my words and cut the conversation short. NOT ME!

-----and the grand finale, that happened about a month ago, but I didn't want to share because the woman in question would be so completely mortified!!!! but then said woman may have realized it's too funny not to tell and hopes you won't think she's just a terrible excuse for a parent---


While PG-cuddling with my husband on our bed one afternoon, I remembered something I had to tell him. I sat up, with my rear sitting on his thighs, and he was laying down beneath me, listening to me. So I'm talking and my husband, who is always very mature and appropriate and aware, and, my very mature and appropriate husband DID NOT try to be funny and bounce his hips up and down with me straddling his lap (before you ship us off to adult boarding school, we were FULLY CLOTHED), and since that DID NOT happen, there was no reason for me to laugh and tell him to cut it out. And you know what really DID NOT happen? My son sure as day DID NOT come around the corner into our room right at the moment, bust in the door, eyes growing as large as saucers, taking in all of this fully-clothed inappropriate cuddling (???) and shout out "MOMMY! You're riding Daddy like a HIPPITY HOP!!!"

Because, folks, if that HAD happened, I would have dropped dead right there on my husband.

I think I've shared enough for today.

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Friday, December 2, 2011

InstaFriday (I made it!)

Here is our week (or two) in instagram photos. The commentary is a clockwise one :)

-Rainbow Cupcakes
-Chic Fil A Birthday lunch with his class (and a sneaky 1st grader who ditched her friends for a cupcake)
-Football cupcakes with sprinkles? Totally.


-Thanksgiving dinner, Evie style
-anniversary night, but two people snuck in between our cuddling
-a condo if my mom's ice cream pie and a pinterest version and asti. good times.


-bacon for spaghetti carbonara. my friend michele's mom made this for us a gajillion years ago and it is still a remembered favorite.
-Kaiti with some tea party loot she scored at Emma's birthday party
-gifts of thanks for teachers and school staff
-I achieved it. gold status. some might say that's a problem. I don't say that.


-Tyler was the Student of the Month! Yay Tyler!
-looks like Everleigh got my hair gene. poor thing.
-My husband getting our house rent-ready. apparently pink and white stripes are not "neutral". bummer :(

-perfect late fall morning at the park with my littlest ones-

-the force is with them
-my other daughter got my fun-socks gene. and that makes me happy.
-bought canned pumpkin for pies, but no one likes pumpkin pie in this house. they sure do love some pumpkin cupcakes though!

Linking up with Insta Friday over here:

life rearranged


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