11th Day Of Christmas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
But yet I heard a knock at the door..
Who could it be, a delivery for me!?
I went to see but whoever was there,
was there no more.
Was it a sound in my head
or just a spirit in the air;
something telling me it’s time to prepare.
As the man in the family had to work half a day,
I decided there was no time to play.
My crock pot was lined and ready for use.
I pulled out the carrots, potatoes, and moose.
(Just kidding it was a roast.)
As the roast was cooking and made the room warm,
what better to do than pick up my dorm?
I did the dishes and made the bed,
took the garbage out and was ready to be fed.
Dinner was served and deserved.
The leftovers preserved..
We exchanged gifts full of if’s and thrifts.
Next up was a safe travel from here to there.
Munchies were bought and lottery tickets were a thought.
I had to buy them even though not everyone wins.
For even a dollar would secure me a new set of bobby pins.
We visited Ashley and surly but not lastly
watched the end of Home Alone which was very catchy.
Christmas Vacation was up next..
but I got a text.
Dad had made Gramma Aggie bars;
they’re a family favorite of ours.
From there to here after a quick drive,
to mom and dads house we did arrive.
Thanks to Sony and Un’s bogus phony bologna,
we finally watched The Interview
and then mom and I wrote this rhyme for you.
For now ’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a kitty was stirring;
for purring they were with such delight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Written by Orianah Fast & Julie Fast

2nd Day Of Christmas: ‘Tis The Season Of Giving

IMG_7437Today’s story comes to you in the form of a good deed done by my mom. My mom’s heart will always be the biggest of anyone I know. She has this uncanny way of being accepting and compassionate even towards those who least deserve it. She has the ability to look beyond the surface without judgement. She’s who I want to grow up and become because there really isn’t anyone much more wonderful than my mom.

If I’m correct, my mom has been donating to the Grand Forks homeless shelter; Northlands Rescue Mission for awhile now. $10 or so here and there whenever she could. I don’t think it’s been too regular or anything but I think the mission sends out donation requests periodically and if she can afford it, she’ll throw a few bucks their way.

Bags-of-Blessings-2014-231x300Recently, Northlands Rescue Mission sent out flyers with the tagline “Bags of Blessings.” As we all know, Christmas is definitely coming. Those [believers] of all ages, races, and income levels in some way, shape, or form have Christmas on their yearly bucket lists. Whether you have the money or you don’t; Christmas is special. ‘Tis the season where miracles are possible and kindness is spread.

My mom took part in being someone’s Christmas miracle this year. Instead of tossing the flyer she received like I’m sure a lot of people would do (sadly, myself included) she decided to spread the wealth. Good karma if you will.

On a routine trip to Grand Forks she picked up all of the items on the list including a sweatshirt, socks, shampoo, deodorant, and a few other things. She also bought a gym bag as asked and marked the front of it male also noting the size she had bought for. All that was left was to bring the bag with the items in it to Northlands Rescue Mission and that she did.

The total cost of all the items purchased came to $72 and some change. When I asked my mom what her reasoning was for helping the homeless shelter more than she usually does, she left me with this:

Matthew 25:40 “What you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” ~Jesus Christ

I’ve been one to judge too quickly and assume things that I do not know.  I’m sure that many people in homeless shelters across the region and country are truly in need of generous help from those like my mom and I hope that I can find the empathy needed towards causes like that. My mom deserves a round of applause not only for buying a few things and donating it to the shelter but for being a damned good person. Coming from someone (myself) who finds it hard to see beyond the grime and the dirt on the surface and actually wonder what the story behind the homelessness is – it really takes a heart of gold and compassion to donate towards a cause that faces so much ridicule.

IMG_7970If you’d like to donate to your local homeless shelter please do so; I’ve listed both Grand Forks and Bemidji’s contact information at the end of this post. They need more help than any of us are probably capable of even understanding. If you chose not to donate towards the shelter, find a cause that you feel comfortable donating towards even if it’s just one time a year.

In an effort to embrace the season of giving and to do some good; I’ve decided to do some research myself and donate a little bit this Christmas season as well. I fully believe that rehabilitation is one of the key factors to solve many of the homelessness cases in the area. I’ll be looking online and around the area locally for a non-profit rehabilitation program to donate towards.

Northlands Rescue Mission – 420 Division Ave, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Village of Hope – PO BOX 1035, Bemidji, MN 56619

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas!

 

Follow Up: TTGS

I figured I’d fill the blog-o-sphere in on my weekend adventures. With the help of my mom’s willingness to also go shopping, we decided to treat ourselves to a few new things after my last rant on WP.

I dug into the savings that I’ve been hoarding away for a rainy day and shopped until my feet hurt. (I’m glad I did.)

It was definitely a confidence booster to go place to place around town. I haven’t really gone shopping since I started loosing weight and I don’t think my mom had either. I’m so used to getting what I need rather than what I want. Over the past 4 or 5 years I’d only buy one item (like pants) because I needed them and my old pair (Yes, pair. I’ve very rarely allowed myself to have more than one or two pairs of pants at a time.) were getting worn out. It was both a breakthrough and a reality check for me. I was more realistic with what size I actually am rather than hoping I’m a size or three smaller than the tag shows. I made sure to grab a few different sizes before heading to the fitting room so that I wouldn’t be overly disappointed when something didn’t look as I’d hoped.

Obviously, I’m no where near where I’d like to be physically. To be honest, I don’t really see a change in how things fit because, like I said, I’ve never made “looking good” a priority until recently. But finding things that complimented my current body size nicely rather than just buying the cheapest thing on the clearance rack – it really felt good. And having my mom as my harshest critic yet biggest supporter really made me feel confident about my wardrobe choices.

I can’t wait to do it again in another 30 or so pounds.

Ciao.

IMG_7036This weekend was full of fun. I will try to spare you on all the rambling on details but it was nice to do something out of the norm. Not that my weekends have been “normal” or anything. I am pretty aware of the fact that I live a “dull life” in comparison to many of the people that I interact with on a daily basis. I’ve actually been busier than I’m used to over the last few weeks though. But if you’ve been keeping up with my blog or twitter feed, you already knew that.

We had a nice yet unexpected dinner with my aunt on Friday evening. And we also went to visit my SO’s niece and nephew which was a blast because they are both at such fun ages. I remember growing up and my Uncle Troy seemed to be always present in my younger childhood days. Moments with him were some of my favorite growing up.

We haven’t always had the opportunity to connect with our niece and nephew as often as we’d like to have in the past but are making a great effort to do so as much as we can presently. It’s a good feeling.

Bw-obAeCcAErsTdSaturday was full of JC, shopping, a baby shower for Channing’s sister and some good ol’ quality visiting time with my mom. When days are jam packed with thing after thing after thing, it seems that there are never enough seconds in the day. I loved every bit of the weekend but I wish that I could have spent more time doing each thing because it seems like an hour only last 20 minutes these days.

Oh, and my mom, brother, and I went to get our hair done at my aunts salon in Halstad. (This is a different aunt from my Friday venture.) I wish I had a picture of my moms new do as well because she looks great!

Does time go faster than it should? I began to notice that each day seemed to go a little faster when I was in 4th grade. I don’t know what the particular event was but I know that I was at school and I all of a sudden felt like the day zoomed by. Around that time, I must have become more concussions of the measure of time.

As I’m proofreading this post, it’s kind of silly I guess. To lay out what I did on my weekend. It’s actually kind of boring. I just felt like writing and really don’t have anything specific to write about.

Actually, I do have a couple things to write about but I’m working through how to construct the posts. I have some blurbs of thoughts down but nowhere to go with them. We’ll see what happens. Ciao.

Christmas In July.

10488215_10152518733063363_7056823897675192397_nI wanted to post some of my favorite pictures from the holiday weekend. Or, week I should say. The last Sunday in June through July 3rd, we stayed at a quaint little Catholic bible resort through the Diocese of Crookston. I’m assuming the Diocese has camps for kids that run throughout the summer based off of all the hand-written and carved names in the lodge. But for this 4-day getaway, it was reserved for our extended family only. No one else.

10442440_10152518723093363_715589565184503715_nUnfortunately the first two days were filled with chilly off and on rainy weather. It definitely got everyone’s spirits down because for most of us, it’s the only time that we’ll get a vacation in the calendar year. I’d like to say that we made the most of it, which we did, but we definitely got restless watching the white caps form on the little lake knowing that it was too rough for canoes and too cold to swim.
10446556_10152518802578363_3928342290805872018_nWednesday came as soon as it could. The weather let up and the real fun began! Fishing, swimming, driving a boat for the first time, finding out that I possess zero sense of balance in a canoe, laughing, scavenger hunts, s’mores…the list goes on.

Thursday we packed up and headed down the twisty road to Lake Itasca. We mosied our way through the biggest state park that I’ve ever been to. Checked out the beach, visited a pioneer cemetery and crossed the Mississippi Headwaters. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

10400844_10152518740063363_8975642485060600810_nFriday we traveled a bit further to Bemidji to see C’s sisters and nephew. The town had a carnival going on for the 4th of July. I can definitely tell that I’ve grown up and slightly outgrown the fair scene. I still like it. I love hearing the kids laughing and the rides spinning. I still laugh when the carny’s attempt to sweet talk you into playing a game. But man oh man, I don’t miss the crowd. I don’t miss the push and shove and the nasty looks if you’re in the way. When we were younger we must have been too excited to notice the amount of people crowded into such a small dirty area.

10418425_10152518751188363_6484200687791014883_nSeeing C’s nephew was an absolute delight. He’s 3 1/2 now and hilarious as can be. We watched the fireworks right on shore of Lake Bemidji. They were beautiful and he loved the heck out of them!

I won’t bore you with much more. I kind of just wanted to mention the highlights of our trip because memories so quickly become forgotten. I hope you had a happy 4th with friends and family.

Follow me on Vine to see a few 6-second videos from our trip @orianoelle!

How Long Is Too Long?

I’ve noticed more and more women of the last few generations including mine are deciding to be stay-at-home moms. Heck, if I had the opportunity, I would probably opt to be a stay-at-home mom myself. In saying that, I mean it in the sense that if I had children and if my significant other made enough for my family to be content and well off without extra income I’d do it too.

Up until recently, I thought that’s what a stay-at-home mom was. She stay at home with the children. But how can you claim to be a stay-at-home mom when all your kids are in school? Literal terminology I guess. Or laziness. Or talentless.

Don’t shit your pants. I know you’re not lazy or talentless. You clean the house, you cook the food, you plan the vacations and activities, you help with homework, buy groceries, you do it all. You’re Wonder Woman but so is every other mom.

What’s the point of staying at home when your kids are absent from the home during the hours of 7:30 – 4:00? So you can what? See them off to school and pick them up after? What do you do in between? Watch soap operas and do a load of clothes? Bullshit.

MjAxMy01MmU5NDI2ZmYzNTU1MGRjI’m not hating on the stereotype because like I said, if I were in the position to stay at home with my babies, I would jump all over that shit but that’s not ever going to happen for one. And two, I wouldn’t abuse it like drunks abuse welfare. I’ve simply seen a rise in stay-at-home moms beyond the age of 5 or 6 and in the most simple sense, don’t get it.

The daycare costs alone are what I’m assuming is the most alluring point of interest into making that kind of decision. Great way of thinking, I agree. Getting to spend time with your children, teaching them the way you want them to be taught, ensuring that they are in good care, breathing while they nap, ect. All great points.

The biggest downfall I think we run into with the stay-at-home mom force is interaction with other children. I worked in a daycare for about a year and a half and interaction in the infant to toddler age range is crucial for social development. As long as you make it a necessity to have play dates with other children and/or enroll them in similar programs (mommy & me, gymnastics, water park, ect) your choice in staying at home will prove to be triumphant.

But we’re getting off track as to where this was going. Beyond the wonder years, beyond the first. We know all the positives and negatives about staying at home, raising them yourself. I’ve done research on some of it and I’ve concluded that if it’s for you and you can afford it, go for it. More power to you.

But there should be a line. And that line is kindergarten. Once your child(ren) gets enrolled into some kind of educational system that is set to a consistent 6.5 to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. It’s time for you to move on and do something with your life.

807a68b1596840bbbcfa7f8e0f08e0b960Why in the hell would you want to stay at home every day to do nothing? The ONLY downfall of going back to work would be not being home right when they get off the bus. But in the age that we are in, there are after school programs, and an hour in daycare (if needed) isn’t going to kill them or your pocketbook.

You can join the rest of us and do you laundry while you’re waiting for supper in the oven. Or better yet, teach your children how to do the dishes and sweep the floors. Give them work to do or they’ll be helpless by age 18. The earlier you instill little chores, the less likely they will resist. Make it fun, don’t bribe them to do it. Teach the importance of it.

Staying at home during the primary grades and beyond is just an excuse. It’s an excuse to close your mind to the world. It’s an excuse to avoid social situations and most of all it’s showing your little girls (if you are blessed to have one) that they don’t have a role model to look up to because you’re just a housewife.

I’m not just being some crazy jealous “I want to be a stay-at-home mom” women here. If I were in your position and my children were off at school. I’d focus on what I love to do. I’d pursue photography. Work my way into circles of graduating seniors or other families I know to build a clientele. With the arrival of Pintrest into our world wide web of ideas, I’d love to live my life antiquing and making projects out of my finds to sell on etsy and eBay. I’d work or volunteer a few hours here and there at a local craft shop, art gallery, or humane society in town.

I’d be a “work-at-home-do-anything-and-everything” mom. What about you?