Friday, December 31, 2010

goodbye 2010

goodbye 2010
Originally uploaded by LeslieMc5
When it ends with good friends, good wine and lots and lots of laughter i can't help but feel good about 2011. We have some really great friends/neighbors - we all got to their house at 6:30, had a wonderful time and then everyone left by 10 to go home and join their kids for games, etc. Ours each had one friend over, they set the dining room table for a fancy meal and the 6 of them sat together over Chinese food while we were at our party. It is so nice that they all really like each other's friends. They will all spend the night and wake up to cinnamon/pecan waffles.
2011 - we are so ready for you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

right now

there is a fire in the woodstove
we have cleaned out closets, basement, garage
we are still talking about Christmas, how much fun it was and still repeating one liners that only family would think was funny
we are relaxing, playing games, asking each other what day it is, taking naps
we are busy, but it is the restful busy.
tonight B and I have dinner with some longtime friends downtown, M is baking something... again, the boys are going between playing outside and playing inside. their friends are coming and going all day and all evenings.
i haven't taken down the Christmas decorations yet, and that's OK.
i have decided to TRY the picture each day, 365 project, over on flickr, starting Jan. 1.
i think i will try to think of a theme, a saying, a way of living for 2011 instead of a to do list of resolutions

enjoy the rest of your break... and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I wasn't sure I had time for this today, but seeing how much fun they were having, and getting a really good photo of a longtime friend and myself made the trip worthwhile.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

holiday traditions

This weekend was the unofficial start of Christmas around here.  Three long standing annual traditions.  The first was a pancake breakfast with a group of longtime friends and all of our kids.  We have done this every year since the oldest ones were toddlers, all the kids draw names, we go to the same house, have the same menu and spend some much needed time together.  The kids and dads all go and have a great time, of course we moms all have hopes that it will continue when kids come home from college, etc.  This is one of those traditions that just gets better with time.

Today we put our tree up, the star on top is always the highlight.  Each year one of the kids gets a turn to place it on the top, we keep track in Sharpie on the back of the star.... 2010, this is Brandon's year.  This marks the first time he hasn't had to be held up there, I wasn't quite ready for what that would feel like.

And tonight, friends that are like family were at our house.  Each year everyone gets in their PJ's, they bring the pizza and the DVD, we make the Hot Cocoa bar with all the toppings.  Each year it is the same movie, The Polar Express, and each year we serve the hot chocolate during this song.  Unfortunately, this will the be year remembered as the time someone "got sick".  But hey, what great tradition doesn't have the year someone "got sick" as part of its history.

I hope your weekend was full of memories, traditions and good times.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

pre-school lesson

This is the season of giving, of connecting, of taking care of each other and those in need.  What happens when those in need help you?  I teach a group of pre-schoolers from Head Start, a Federally Funded program that provides a tuition free pre-school education for those living at a certain percentage below the poverty level.  They come to the Art Center once a week and this week it was cold, very cold outside.  Several of the kids were dressed in light jackets or just sweatshirts, no mittens, hats or scarves.  Some wore no socks, but,  all had huge smiles and excited faces, they had a surprise for me, a gift they had made as a class.  It was wrapped and they were holding it out to me, eager to give and wanting me to open it right away.  A quilt: a soft, warm, handmade quilt.  It took my breath away.  They need a warm blanket, I don't.  But this wasn't about the blanket, it was about the giving.  These children saw my tears of gratitude, tears of wonder and they felt that amazing feeling that comes from giving a gift of love to someone you don't really know and I felt that amazing feeling of receiving it.

And while we're talking about pre-school.... today was the graham cracker house day at the school where I teach.  This guy made me chuckle -

And look at these with all the decorations and also the birdseye view of our village.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I had dinner with some good friends last night at The Burger Stand.  The best part about the night was that we didn't talk about Christmas until the very end of the night.  It was a nice little break from it all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

drastic changes

When I went to run early this morning it was 49 degrees, 4 hours later it is 27 and falling. I went to bed with no blooms, this morning, these. Some drastic changes I like better than others.

Friday, December 10, 2010

little one

I have 19 of these, ready for frames to send home to their families. They are so little and it makes me miss that age, terribly, especially during this time of year. I've become one of those women who tell people to enjoy their little children, they grow up so fast.
Also, I'm stopping by this tomorrow and really looking forward to it.
And - bought tickets to this for next Friday, join us if you are local!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

cherry on top

cherry on top
Originally uploaded by LeslieMc5
As I was leaving work yesterday, a couple of ladies were getting birthday treats ready for a 100 year old's birthday party. On the drive home I thought about it and I wondered what that would feel like, to live to be 100. I decided that it is a little too much to think about right now, so let's just enjoy the cupcakes and see what happens.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


First weekend of December, you were a good one.

Went to Olpe, KS friday night for a basketball game.  Population 514, small town charm, Main street Christmas lights and dinner here! Oh yes I did!

Had good friends over Saturday night for good wine, great conversation.  I love these people - they come over and I swear I don't ever think that I need to pick up, or even change my clothes.  They are good people and the time spent is genuine, Holiday Cheer at it's best.

A family dinner at mom and dad's house.  The stockings were hung - mine was made 44 years ago, I love it.  I remember wiggling the garland when I was a little girl.  Also, I have always loved the fruit in the train.  I thought today, this stocking looks vintage, I wonder what that makes me.

And finally, our Christmas village is set up in our sunroom.  Today I told my family that the little people in it talked to me and told me they wanted a school.  Here is how I know they think I might be crazy:  I watched them look at each other and then smile at me with that look like they were agreeing with me, you know the look, the one that says, "We all know the truth but we're going to let you believe your version."  So I went with it!  


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

birthday tradition

I have a special tradition, there is a medium sized orange box down in the basement that has "special to me" ornaments, my faves. Every year, on my birthday, I bring it upstairs and hang them on my mantle. Today was that day.  I do this while they are all at school, I keep the box in a special place on the shelf and I take my time hanging them.  Some are from memorable trips, others are from dear friends and some are just ones I really love.  

Christmas is full of traditions, birthdays make you think about your life, your friends, your family.  I love that I get to start the Christmas season with a birthday - it puts it all in perspective, right from the start.  I hope your holiday season is filled with traditions, and more than anything, I hope you're able to take some time and enjoy them.

I'll be back here this month with some of ours.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The picture and the truth

the picture is nice, here is the truth:

the advent wreath - they all laughed and snickered and drove me crazy during the reading tonight.... nobody listened.

the lights you see out the window - only half of my house is lit with lights tonight, 2nd time this week and it's only Tuesday.

the boy - you can't see him. but he is there. to the right of the wreath. studying for a test tomorrow. that he forgot about... a big test and I'm sure he won't do well at this point.

the oven - has FROZEN GROCERY STORE PIZZA in it and burnt breadsticks.  at least the salad looks good.

me - i sat through an entire basketball game with only one dangly earring, no idea where the other one is.  also, i'm tired, the Christmas kind of tired, and it's not even december yet.

Tonight I'm grateful that I'm ok with the truth, it takes a long time to get here and it is a good place to be.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Grateful for this guy and for him getting this job done today.   We've been together long enough that I know he could care less about lights outside the house and he knows I love, love the lights outside the house.  I never have to ask him to do it and every year he asks me, "Are the lights OK?" It's one of those things I picture happening for a long time, and for that I am grateful.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving Day - grateful for family, extended and immediate.  Grateful for fancy shoes and teeter totters.  Grateful for gravy boats and after dinner walks.  Grateful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today I took all 3 kids home to help my parents get ready for Thanksgiving.  They had the option to stay here if they were not able to commit to about 3 hours of work.... not play.  My childhood home, "grandma and grandpa's house", is entering new territory in our family history.   I grew up with only a grandma, my grandpa died too soon.  My mom grew up with only a grandma, same story, too soon.  My kids are growing up with grandparents, their home that still hosts holidays, the two of them still engaged, involved, and active.  So for the first time in our family history, our sense of home and family is going through a normal progression.  The home I currently live in feels like home to me.  My childhood home feels full of memories, stories and love, it holds treasures from generations past, but it also feels like the kind of home I see mine becoming.  For the first time we have a model, the foundation for family can grow wider, deeper, stronger.   We are thankful people, we have family - a full, strong and really good people kind of family.
Happy Thanksgiving.


Flashmobs.... grateful for flashmobs!  Thankful for each other, thankful for a chance to gather together full of joy.... definition of a flashmob.  Wouldn't it be nice if this was the only thing we worried about happening as we gather in large crowds.  Oh how I want to be somewhere when one happens.

Here are some of my favorite holiday mobs.

THE Mariah Carey

Hallelujah Chorus - people, this is not easy to sing without a conductor!

New Year's

Monday, November 22, 2010


New recipes - 2 of them for dinner tonight.  I'm always grateful for new recipes!  And see those sticks in the reflection.. that means the raking is over for the year and for that I am also grateful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Gratitude today for our treehouse and the new trap door and also very grateful for shorts and t-shirt weather for the big kids.... they are participating in a homeless awareness project and will be sleeping outside tonight.  This is an annual event at their school, and I always feel funny crawling into my warm, soft bed while they are outside.  This song always creeps into my head today.....
So - here are some pics from the treehouse with the new walls, the new trap door and the pulley system.  Stay tuned, my old LEMNDRP license plate from my high school yellow VW bug has been requested as wall decor.

Look to far right of the one below, see him coming out of the trap door?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Now that everyone is old to enough to really work,  I'm always grateful when someone remembers to stop and do this....

Friday, November 19, 2010


Grateful for my job - I really, really love it there.  Some days are harder/longer than others, but in the end I love it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This article makes me grateful for Wildwood - our place to go for "forest therapy".  This was taken out there recently.

Monday, November 15, 2010


B got picked up early this morning for first basketball practice, he and I sat on the couch in our "nice room" waiting.  Today I was grateful for those 5 minutes with him, to sit together in that comfortable silence.  As he got up to leave, he noticed my paperwhites are beginning to grow roots and tips and I noticed the beautiful yellow tree through the window behind them... can you see it back there?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Grateful for this color of blue.  All year I am grateful for the many birds in our neighborhood and I love noticing all the nests up in the trees after they have lost their leaves.  

Did you see this story?

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Grateful for good friends and their birthday cakes with sparklers for candles ... and their birthday enchiladas and Mexican beer!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Grateful that the last 48 hours are over.... too much got scheduled, I hate that.  It ended with the volleyball banquet tonight.  I always sit in those things and feel so thankful that my kids are healthy and can participate in anything they want, I don't ever want to take that for granted.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Grateful for another day of clothesline weather and especially grateful to get to spend a few minutes this evening with a friend, one of the bravest, strongest women I know.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010


a lot of gratitude that everyone is healthy and able to help at 100% this year - everyone able, it makes everyone enjoy the work.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

3 of 30 - gratitude

thankful for the first fire of the season.  warmth from the wood stove - nothing compares.  there were also 2 hours this morning when everyone else was gone: gratitude for the silence on a saturday morning, gratitude for time to sit with coffee, gratitude that everyone was happy where they were.