A Relaxing Thanksgiving Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had as fantastic weekend full of food and family as we did.  As per tradition, we spent the holiday on the Nelson dairy farm which we all love.  However, this year, my three boys were the only grandchildren (of 19 going on 21) there!  We gathered with Bron's parents and brother Kaleb and his wife Chantee and Call.  That was it.  It was the most quiet and relaxing Thanksgiving I've had in memory and it was exactly the kind of weekend I needed to unwind.

You see, I've been missing my boys.  Life has been so busy.  Even though I limit the boys' extracurricular activities to help simplify our lives, it seems as if there is always ten more things to do and I am twenty items behind.  One big reason is that my photography business exploded this Fall.  It's a wonderful thing; it really is.  I feel so lucky that I get to make some money doing something I am passionate about.  There was so much demand for photo sessions this year that I actually put a deadline on when I was done shooting for the season and then stuck to it.  We don't rely on my small income to pay the bills, so it is completely up to me to set parameters.  I enjoy the challenge of shooting clients and honestly love the social interaction, but the time and coordination it requires with my family's schedule can be stressful and draining.  I am happy to announce that I am finally done editing everyone's pictures - but my own, of course.  I thought I would feel relief, but I don't.  Instead, all I can think about are all the projects and deep cleaning I've put off for the last three months!

I figure I am constantly switching between wearing four different hats in this current stage of life:

1. Myself: my personal needs like exercise and the hobbies that give me life through photography and music.    
2. Mother: my greatest joys are my children and nothing makes me happier than tenderly teaching them and spending quality time with them.
3.  Housekeeper: dinner needs to be on the table every evening, kids need to be taken to activities, laundry needs to be folded, dishes washed, the closets reorganized, the bills paid, and the list is never ending.
4.  Community: I believe being active in the community is an important aspect of life.  I just received a new calling to be the primary chorister at church (awesome job!) and I've agreed to take on the title of Lacrosse Coach again this Spring.  Also, taking time to be a friend definitely ranks high.

Anyway, there are only so many hours in a day and the four parts of my job, or myself, seem to be constantly competing.  I guess that's just what happens when you're an extroverted multi-talented person?  Haha.  I think I have my hands in too many honey pots?  In other words, I'm just treading water in the deep end of the pool trying to keep myself from drowning.  It's hard not to feel stressed sometimes!  Such a delicate balancing act, life is.

I've learned from experience though that the times when I am feeling most stressed are when I get caught up in the to-do list at home.  I need to give myself a little more grace and be okay with "less" getting done.  So today I went with my gut: I spared an hour to help a friend out and just sat on the couch with Conrad and read stories for another hour.  It felt so good.  So the most important things got "done" for sure!  If that makes any sense...

Which leads me to my next thought on being intentional and not reactionary.  I'm guilty of both in my life.  Living my life intentionally means planning to exercise and eat right, making a habit of daily scripture study, putting money into retirement, teaching and disciplining little boys without completely losing my cool, planning for this summer's adventures and vacations, and so much more.  It's a lot of work to live intentionally!  And I fail more often than I'd like to admit.  But I think that's what Heavenly Father wants for us.  It takes conscious effort to leave the natural lazy pie eating woman on the couch behind to make something much more of my life that involves the well-being of so many more people than just myself.  And I know, again from experience, that when I put what is most important first, the rest seems to fall into place.  Mostly, anyway.  At least that to-do list fades into the background and suddenly seems much less important.

So here we are, full circle: beginning with the whining "I'm so busy" to ending with "life really isn't about me at all".  I know it.  Deep down I always know it, but I forget a lot.  A huge part of my purpose (and I think everyone's purpose!) is to learn to put others before ourselves; to be more Christlike.  Wow.  Well, that got to the bottom of my problem pretty fast, didn't it.

Part of the reason I keep this blog is because I have so many "light bulb" moments (name that movie!) as I write out my frustrations and feelings and beliefs.  It's just good for me.  So if you've read through this entire thing, congratulations!  You're a trooper.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Annnnyhow, tangent.  Back to the subject at hand: Thanksgiving.

It was good.  So good.  I had help with the kids (Conrad was a little stinker at night) and got to spend a lot of quality time with them and some of the other people I love most.  We played in the hot tub, watched the boys put on a special Thanksgiving play with some characters they made from paper, ate food, watched movies, played games like pinochle and canasta (the little boys caught on fast!) and ate some more.  On Friday, we girls went shopping in the morning.  (Christmas is 90% bought and done.  Woot!)  Then per tradition, we spent Friday afternoon bowling.  We ate more food.  And then we topped the whole weekend off with magical horse drawn wagon rides at Mountain River Ranch.  We bundled up and sat cuddled close together in the wagon as the snow came down and the Christmas lights sparkled and we listened to the horses jingle-jangle their bells on their walk around the property.  Magic.  Oh, and the kids met Santa!  I can't think of a more perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.  It's been nearly 12 years, but I still feel so lucky to be a part of this awesome family.

Pictures, because you know I had to document it, below:          

^^Rub a dub dub, my men in a tub.^^
^^Big brother Jed taking Conrad for a piggy back ride.^^
^^Riding the jets like a wave.^^
^^The man who anchors my world.  I love that face so much.  And I love that little hand on his shoulder too!  Haha.^^ 
^^Favorite photo from the weekend!  This one just makes me laugh and smile.  Little ham.^^
^^Or maybe this one is my favorite?  Nothing better than seeing my two boyfriends playing together.  Seriously.  Bron is my first love but I am totally sweet on Conrad right now.  He's too cute not to be!^^
^^Jed and Levi putting on their special Thanksgiving play.  So creative and cute.^^
^^This little cabin actually had some texture!  So cool.  I'm so proud of these boys' imaginations.^^
^^Indians and a pilgrim.^^

The table is set for Thanksgiving!  What contributed to its low-key feel was that Merri Sue prepared all the dishes beforehand.  All she had to do was warm up the food on Thanksgiving day!  Brilliant.  And don't worry.  I helped out.  I brought the most important part: pies for dessert!  Yum.  I'm wishing I had more to eat of it all right now.

Merri Sue did the cutest thing this year by printing out pictures of everyone as place cards.  Before dinner, we all went around and wrote a quick reason why we were thankful for each person on the back of each card.  Some answers were funny in the most truthful way.  It was a really sweet and memorable detail of Thanksgiving this year.

^^Jed and Levi trying unsuccessfully to get some old drones to fly.^^
^^Exploring the farm.^^
^^This cracks me up.  Conrad wasn't mad about the cow eating his hood.  He was mad about Levi petting "his" calf!^^
^^Always climbing into the calf pen.  Always mooing too.^^
^^Probably shouldn't have, but they did it anyway.  Jumping off the feed pile!^^

The boys hadn't been through the cotton woods in recent memory, so I took them for a short walk before it got too dark.  I love those cotton woods.

 ^^Levi had a list a mile long for Santa!  Haha.  Poor man.^^

And that concludes Thanksgiving 2018.  It's a special one that will be remembered for a long time.  

1 comment

  1. I think I'm going to have to put a cap on my photography season too...I just have such a hard time saying no! (Which is why you'll find me doing a photo shoot the weekend before Christmas...oops...)

    I know what you mean about all the different hats, though my life is much less busy than yours in general since my kids aren't in full-time school yet. I'm seriously amazed at how moms manage to fit in any personal time once their kids are older!


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