I said good-bye to stress and guilt

I spent yesterday making ornaments.  Yep, you read that correctly.  It was January 22 and I was making ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree.  You might be wondering, ‘is she that far behind, or is she so organized that she is working eleven months in advance?’  Actually the answer to both of those questions is ‘yes.’ 

I am always that far behind on something.  Confession time:  I still have a pumpkin in my yard near my front porch and it is visible to all who drive by our house.  Here’s the worst part of it.  It is a REAL pumpkin.  (ick!  I know!)  I totally intended to get rid of it after Thanksgiving.  I would see it every time I drove up to the house and think ‘I’m going to go get that thing right now’ but then there was always someone in the house that had other plans for me.  Eventually I just left it there for my own humor in hopes that I will have my own pumpkin patch growing in my front yard next year.  Believe me, no one is trying to keep up with the Buxton’s on our street!! 

yes, this picture was taken THIS MORNING!

 Though I am behind on a lot of things, in a way my making the ornaments is because I am looking ahead to December of this year.   Last January as I was setting some goals for myself one of the things that I wanted to focus on in 2009 was establishing family traditions.  I am truly humbled by the fact that I get to create memories for our kids.  Kids find such great joy and security in traditions.  (If we skip hotdog/game night at our house, you would think the world was coming to an end!)

In early January of 2009 I looked at my Christmas tree and dreaded the thought of taking it down.  I savor the moments in the morning where I sip my coffee and read my Bible by Christmas tree light.  So the thought came to me, ‘why don’t I start the tradition of a winter tree?’ I was reminded of my dear seminary neighbor friend Bev who had a tree on her front porch that she decorated each month according to the holidays.  I always thought it was such a great idea.  Again…I must stop and say that Bev and her husband James are more friends that I know my mother prayed into our lives.  Most of our treasured memories from our second stint at seminary include the Brown family.  So if you aren’t praying friends into your kids lives…START NOW!

A tradition was born.  I had already been frustrated a bit with the month of December.  I can hear some of you gasping.  I know, I know.  It is the month we celebrate our Savior’s birth.  I’m supposed to feel joy and peace in December.  But in that month I am also supposed to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and my own wedding anniversary and quite honestly there are moments when I have the tendency to feel more stress than peace.  I truly wanted to take steps to change that.

So the winter tree was born.  My daughter’s birthday is December 6.  I made a decision that Christmas traditions at our house will begin December 7.  From Thanksgiving to December 6, my time and energy would be spent on my daughter’s special day.  Since the Christmas tree does not go up until after the sixth, I decided we would leave the tree up longer in January.  I knew keeping all the Christmasy decorations on it would drive me crazy.  So last January we stripped the tree bare and put all the Christmas decorations away.  I decided one of the Buxton’s January traditions would be making winter ornaments to hang on our winter tree.  Last year we made sleds out of short popsicle sticks and snowflakes out of beads and pipe cleaners.  This year we are working on ice skates out of fun foam and paper clips.  Thanks to after-Christmas clearances, I have been able to add some other white and silver accents.  All of this fun without the other pressures of December!

The ice skates we are working on this month.

The sled and snowflake from last year (and 90% off silver balls from Target!)

When I looked over my 2009 goals and realized that I had only fully completed 3 of the 10, I was frustrated with myself.  But then I looked at my winter tree and I was reminded to focus on the successes of 2009 not the failures.  I want to train my kids to do that so I must model it.

In thirty years I don’t want my kids to remember a mom that was stressed out during the month of December.  I want to model joy and peace for them.  No longer do I succumb to the pressure of having my tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  No longer do I feel guilty if my kids don’t have a meaningful advent activity to do each day of the Christmas season.  It seems contradictory to me.  Jesus came to this world as that precious baby to bring ‘peace to all men’ and so that we could live in the joy of our salvation.  Yet, so many of us have the tendency to trade our peace and joy for stress and guilt.

In my last post I said I might be brave and share some of my goals for this year…stay tuned that is coming and I am hoping that some of you might join me to help me complete two of my goals….

If you are on facebook I posted a video this morning I found that  some of you will really enjoy and it relates to this post.  Sorry I couldn’t quickly figure out how to get it to link here, so I gave up!

We interrupt all this seriousness…

I know some of you are waiting on the ‘rest of the story’…but as I was working on writing it out I had to take a break to celebrate what is going on in my life today.  Honestly, it is not the life that I ‘dreamed of’ but it is the very amazingly blessed life that God dreamed for me and there is no other place I’d rather be than celebrating my Savior’s birth with these three people…the loves of my life!  Enjoy a little Christmas chaos at the Buxton household!

Three days behind schedule (like anything is ever on schedule in this house!), the ornaments made their way out of the boxes.  And yes for those of you who have been following my insanity, do you notice the tiny label on the side of the box?…got crazy with the label maker last January!!  I almost didn’t post this one because just look at me…I’m a mess.  It is six o’clock in the evening and I look like it is six a.m.   Plus my hubby hates the OU sweatshirt that I have had since college…pre Joe I was a Sooner fan!

My photographer has a difficult time remaining serious . . . this one is for my roomie Kim who is now a dentist.  I married a man with all 32 teeth and he has NEVER had a cavity…grrrr says the girl with a mouth of teeth that cost my parents a fortune to fix!

The finished product.  Hmmm…I’m not sure what the conversation between those two was but I’m sure it was full of love and generosity (wink, wink).

I try to keep the xmas crafts easy at our house.  While I was cooking whole wheat waffles (my first time to make them from scratch and I feel my family has been deprived all these years!), Joe helped the kids finish up the Rudolph and Clarice candycanes that C is giving to his classmates at school….One of the things I LOVE teaching my kids is how to take advantage of opportunites at school to share Jesus.  Having been a public school teacher for five years, my heart jumps with excitement when I hear the stories C tells me about how he is sharing Jesus with his friends.  We are attaching the “candy cane legend” to each of these candy canes so all his classmates will get to read about the love that Jesus has for them…

The ponytail princess was too cheap to buy brown pipe cleaners when I had perfectly good white ones that could be colored…so my perfectionist had the job of transforming the pipe cleaners from white to brown.  Some of you who knew me in high school and college may never believe this but….I made that hairbow.  I was way too cheap to purchase hairbows at the overpriced boutiques, so God blessed me with an amazing friend who helped me out as I was trying to learn how to make them.  (This friend will enter the story I’m telling later…and you will adore her!  Another friend my momma prayed into my life!)   So if you ever need bargain hairbows…the ponytail princess is your gal!!!

Such a MAN…doing not so spiritual things with the candy canes!!  But oh how I LOVE THIS MAN!!!  And for some reason he would not let me make the antlers…I did not make them big enough, so I stuck to the waffle making!

B was excited that she “cheated” and hid the Rudolf book when we wrapped them so that it would be the first book she opened…

Blessings to each of you.  I hope you are making treasured memories with your little ones too.  And if you have any cheap, easy xmas ideas that your family does…please share…I’m never too proud to steal ideas!!

Thanksgiving Buxton/Higle style!

One of the reasons I was so hesitant to begin my blog site was because I knew that my inspiration to write comes and goes.  Somedays the things I think and write are not something I want revealed to the world.  (interruption of thought…I just looked up and saw a rather large female Starbucks barista leaning over and  saw my very first female plumber’s crack…does she know?  Wow.  Should I go tell her?  Wow)  Okay back to the blog writing.

I have been working very diligently on my 40 day challenge.  Much of the work has been mental work.  Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I was not able to stop and write much.  The things I have been working on are quite personal and I am not sure exactly how much of it I will share on a blog…I will see how I can formulate it onto a blog to protect the ‘innocent!’ Many of the readers of this blog have emailed me to tell me how it is helping them deal with things in their own life.  I don’t want to hold back if something I write can help one of you…so I’ll see what I can do tonight and tomorrow and I maybe I can share with you how I was able to triumph over two extremely painful events in my life.  Both of these painful things occurred within two years of each other…those two years were the two years before I married Joe.  I have been revisiting those events because it is those two things that solidify in my mind that Joe is the man I want to be married to for the rest of my life.  Even on days that I feel like throwing him out the window, I can revisit those two painful events and realize what a blessed woman I am to have him in my life.

So, since the next couple of blogs look to be rather heavy, I’ll end this blog with a light hearted picture diary of Thanksgiving Buxton/Higle style (because you can take away a girl’s name but you can’t take the name out of the girl!)


C is proudly displaying one of his school creations.  Though on the outside he is the spitting image of myself, his personality is much more like his father…almost every other student got up and read their poem to the class full of kids and parents…not C…not in a million years…he is his father’s child!

Mum & Poppa arrived the night before Thanksgiving to go get B’s bday gift.  In the pic, B is anticipating her birthday surprise.  She is waiting to see the present that she asked her Poppa to get her for her birthday.  You’re gonna love this….

her wish:  a comfy bed…poor child.  She sleeps in the daybed that I got for my 14th bday and it still had the same mattress.  Since the mattress was 15 years old (hehehehe)…she decided she was too good for it and that she needed a new one for her bday….of course I loved it because it meant I didn’t have to buy the mattress…she was soooo excited!

The Cochran’s arrived and Monta forced everyone to stay in their good clothes until I could snap a picture of them before lunch…I love them!!!!

my sweet turkey following his mother in law’s orders to carve the bird….(i’m not sure whose idea the apron was…but Joe is very submissive when it comes to his MIL)

older sister gets credit for the precious place cards…she still thinks i can’t handle things on my own!!!  (shhh don’t tell her but I can’t!!!!)

This is what the men do.  They had already inspected the Sears black friday ad so there is nothing else to do but watch football!

c & b muster up some love for each other.  after a post lunch walk we changed gears for a classic ponytail princess birthday party (one that can be put together in one day planning and 5 minutes of set up!)

love this pic…I used to want ‘perfectly posed’ pictures…now these are the ones I love best…me in my sweats, C making faces,  B striking a pose, and Joe going along with whatever I ask (well sort of!)

one of my faves from the week…B enjoying everyone singing to her…this girl has no idea how blessed she is!

somehow these two have convinced me that black friday shopping is fun…i hate shopping, but for some reason i go along.  in fact i actually sort of look forward to going now.  i am a bargain hunter to the core, but i don’t enjoy doing it with the entire city!!!  Ponytails and tennis shoes are a must on these days…even for my fashionista sis!

Joe went to his parent’s farm for the weekend with the kids so that he could take Caleb on his first deer hunt.  I wore the OSU socks shopping on Saturday in hopes that they would be lucky socks and the Pokes would pull out a win over the Sooners…that didn’t happen.  So I prayed that a deer would work with me so that I wouldn’t have to live with a man who hadn’t killed a deer and whose team had lost the biggest game of the year!

This is a reality pic for ya…can anyone tell me why before everyone arrived, I had steamcleaned the carpet of my quaint little rent house.  Noone would even see the carpet because of the beds & bags!

Since I was home alone on Sunday, I made a CVS/Walgreen’s run and played the drugstore game…if I were a good couponer I would be able to tell you my exact cost, savings, rewards, etc…Let’s just say I feel like I stole from them!  I payed somewhere between 30.00 and 35.00 total from both stores and came away with all this loot that are necessities and xmas gifts and then I still have about 18.00 of store credit to give Joe to go buy my stocking stuffers with!  i’m a little addicted to this ‘game’!

I would love to be able to say this is my 2nd pie I made for Joe, but I should be honest.  This is the special pie his mom makes for him to take home from Thanksgiving each year…I pinched the crust and dabbed the pumpkin a little so it didn’t look quite so perfect!  See why I never even wanted to attempt making one!!!

I must give a shout out to the little buck that sacrificed his life for the meat we will eat this winter, the antlers that will be a part of my living room decor (do you see them in the pic?) and made my life much more joyous this week because I have a partially (too bad OSU didn’t work with me too!) satisfied husband!

Finally (aren’t you glad) I must give a shout out to the makers of this coffee who made Black Friday shopping possible!  I promise my next post will not have so many pictures!!!

Turning ‘not so muches’ into SUCCESSES!

Thought I’d share a few pictures from the past couple of days… but before I do, I feel like I better apologize.  After exposing my frustrations about the blogging world (you know how I dislike only seeing the wonderfulness of everyone else’s life and rarely seeing the not so wonderful…why are we so scared to expose our ‘real’ life?), I stumbled onto my own photo albums in Facebook and I realized that I am THE WORST OF THE WORST!  99% of the pictures I share on Facebook are the best of the best of the Buxton world.  Now to be honest there are a lot of great things about living in the Buxton household…but it looks like I AM one of those people whom I get frustrated with when I get on social sites.  From my pictures you may get the false impression that I have it all together.  So, in case I too have given you the wrong impression of life in the Buxton house, let me clear it all up….the pictures don’t tell the whole story.  Now I must brag on my Jesus…He has given me a VERY blessed life.  However, one thing my household is not is perfect. 

So I decided it is time to post some ‘balanced’ pictures…some of my successes and some of my “not so much” as this ponytail princess tries to make some sense out of this crazy life of mothering and wifeying!

Success...November menu & food inventory

Yep.  I wasn’t joking when I said that I am obsessed with organization and categories.  I would like to be able to say that this gets done every month.  But, in 2009 I have only managed to do it 4 out of 11 months so far (about to start on Dec…I hope to make it 5).  Truly I am  a more calm mother/wife when i have these hanging on the fridge.  I am a lot more fun to live with when I don’t ask the question every afternoon, “hmmmm, what is there in the cabinet so I can decide what to make for dinner tonight?”  I won’t take the time to explain all the details of how I do menus unless someone asks.  Until then let’s move on to a ‘not so much!’…..

'not so much' : my kitchen when I cook or bake

To be clear, I DID NOT POSE THIS PICTURE.  I stopped midway through preparing dinner and said to myself, “Self, this is photo op moment.”  So with flour all over my shirt (because even though I have an apron I never remember to wear it!) and eyes crying from the onions, I took a moment to grab the camera so I could share the moment with you!  Now, I do need to give myself a little credit.  We live in a rental house with VERY little room to work in the kitchen.  As we have been looking at homes to possibly buy in the near future, I have decided that you DEFINITELY can judge a house by its kitchen counter space!

Success...I've conditioned my kids to eat weird things like spinach

All the force feeding my kids as toddlers did pay off…they love sweet potatoes and won’t even touch white mashed potatoes.  They are almost as addicted to avocado dip as I am.  My kids will actually eat asparagus and cauliflower (two things I would not touch as a child!).  One of the things my kids eat is spinach.  I love wilting spinach and putting it in recipes.  I had always wanted to make a spinach quiche, so this month it was on the menu for one of our weekly ‘breakfast for dinner’ Thursdays.  Now I must confess…I do not like eating breakfast food for dinner, but since it is easy to do and the hubby & kids love it…I do it every Thursday.   Why Thursday??  Thursday is movie night with Daddy at our house.  My sweet hubby allows me to ‘disappear’ every Thursday evening when he gets home from work.  So I sometimes cook the fam pancakes and treat myself to something while I am out on the town!

not so much...a very amateur attempt at making a pie crust

I chose to finally make a quiche because I needed to practice making a pie crust.  My husband LOVES pumpkin pie.  I have NEVER made a pie.  Not even with store bought crust.  Part of my hesitation comes from the fact that my hubby’s mom makes him his own special pumpkin pie every thanksiving and xmas.  If he is not there on those holidays, the pie is frozen and given to him at his next visit (i know, i know, i could say something snide here but i won’t because I’m supposed to be working on being a ‘good’ wife in these 40 day!)  Oh but I must add that it is not JUST an ordinary pie.   There are precious, perfectly crafted pie dough creations that adorn the top of his pie (leaves, xmas bells, etc). Being the thoughtful daughter in law that I am (hehehehe) ….I would never want to steal my mother-in-law’s thunder by making a pie.  (excuses, excuses I know!)

But the other day a strange thought popped into my head, “you need to make Joe a pie as a part of your challenge”.  I laughed out loud for real.  The thought kept resurfacing so I finally said to myself, “okay, okay….i’ll see what I can do! But don’t be expecting perfect looking crinkles on the edges and daintly little dough creations on top…you’ll just be disappointed!”

So I ran over to my friend Amy’s website www.amylovesit.com (for you Marietta natives…this is Nort’s wife…you won’t believe who Shane snagged!) because I remembered from facebook that she was a pie maker.  Funny thing…I don’t really know Amy that well…but she married into one of my favorite familys in the entire world…she may not even know this fact but…she married the guy who took me on my first ‘date’.  It was only the church’s youth Valentine day banquet and my older sister and Shane’s older sister (who are BFFs) convinced us to go together.  Bless Shane’s heart…you should have seen my hair..now that’s a picture you should see …too bad the scanner is broken!

Back to the point…sorry for the trip down memory lane!….I snagged her pie crust recipe and decided I would make my first homemade pie crust for my quiche so that I could practice for the pumpkin pie I plan to have waiting on Joe when he gets home from work Tuesday night…SHHHH don’t tell…he wouldn’t believe you even if you let the secret out. 

So the imperfect pie crust in the picture is a ‘not so much’ to look at but it really was yummy.  Especially my piece that I topped with Feta cheese…now that’s a breakfast for dinner I don’t mind eating!

success..family time in the back yard getting Caleb excited about his first deer hunt

I’ll include one more success in this picture (this is for you Aunt Stiney!).   My daughter is wearing a consignment sale Gymboree outfit that cost me 5 dollars total and she is playing with a box full of my little ponies and my son’s castle… ponies and Castle cost me about 3 bucks thanks to my summer garage sale addiction. 

not so much...the pumpkin we forgot to carve for Halloween

Though we had a blast this Halloween, I was far from having it “all together” .  Mid November rolled around and the pumpkins still sat uncarved on our fire place.  Notice the lovely mold on top!  Gross!!!!!!  But I think I may have turned this “not so much” into a success and may have started a new family tradition….I’ll close with my final success picture!

Success...carving pumpkins with an air soft gun...perhaps our new family tradition!

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