Monday, December 15, 2008
Hope everyone is getting excited about Christmas! I will be doing some secret Christmas things this week, baking cookies (choc chip with m&m's), and of course, finishing up my wrapping! Oh and mailing Christmas cards! I got them all addressed last night. And honestly, they did turn out pretty well after all. Next year, I'll just be better prepared! :)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
1. Don't work until you are sweating to make your card perfect and then get to the online checkout and find out that it will actually cost you twice what you expected because you aren't buying 800 cards and the shipping cost for the measly 75 cards you want to order is 35% of the total price! (Rather make a lame card first and go to checkout to see what actual cost will be.)
2. Don't go to the next site mad because of previous hassle and just choose the first card you see because you will realize later (after it arrives) that the card doesn't actually portray the joy of the season that you had dreamed it would.
3. Don't scour every Christmas card that comes in your mail and think, "Oh! Why couldn't I come up with some clever little sentiment to put on our card?" ... "What? I didn't put the date on it - how are people going to know that these are my kids in the year 2008 when they are rummaging through old shoeboxes of cards 20 years from now? How am I going to know??" ... "Should I have put our last name on the card? Can't people see it on the return address on the envelope? Am I sending this to anyone who wouldn't know us without our last name on it? Why am I sending it to them anyways?" Don't do this. It will only upset you further.
4. Don't think that just because the card looks good in the tiny little preview they give you online that it will look that good when you actually receive it. Note: blurry pictures look amazingly clear in the preview, and the fonts do seem to match.
5. Don't take a picture of the fancy expensive picture you bought and then use the copy you took to make your Christmas cards out of. You will realize later it could be a copyright issue. You will probably feel guilty and then you won't enjoy your Christmas cards at all. And you might secretly worry that Santa will put coal in your stocking as penance.
6. Finally, don't let yourself stress about Christmas cards. Just stuff and send. The worst that can happen is your friends won't put your kids on their fridge. You'll get over it.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Before the show, Danny and his good friend, Izzy
Getting ready to say her part
Emelyn and BFF
Daniel, cheering for his big sis
Daniel turned one on November 30th. I'm just a bit late getting his pics on here, but that's ok. You will still enjoy them, I guarantee! :) He had a nice quiet birthday. Garr's mom and sister were here for Thanksgiving, so they were here for the morning of his birthday. We made baked ziti, french bread, and homemade applesauce for his dinner (he loved it!) and of course, cake and ice cream afterwards. I guess I don't have to worry about him being one of those boys who loves to get filthy - he didn't like the icing on his hands much. He kept trying to wipe it off on the side of his tray!
As soon as Garr brought the cake to Daniel, he reached out and grabbed some icing.
Trying to get the icing off his hand
He didn't care for the cake, but he loved the chocolate ice cream!
Garr and I got him the drum you will see in the pictures. He loves it. He loves to beat the drum and chew on the drumstick (I think he imagines it is a lollipop!) I ordered it from Plan Toys - excellent quality; I highly recommend their toys. (And Amazon is the best price I have found.) Anyways, I actually gave it to him a few weeks before his birthday - you know, to make sure he liked it, - and then took it back to wrap and give him on his actual birthday. :) Yes, I'm mean like that. The drum is a special gift because Garr's first instrument was the drums and I am hoping we will keep this toy for Daniel's kids to play with someday too.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Yes! I will have her sorting and washing laundry before she can do multiplication.
I am really thankful to live so close to a children's hospital. Everyone is so kind and helpful there. And I love, love, love that they love, love, love children. It makes getting surgery or any kind of specialized treatment so much easier to deal with.
Olivia has to be sedated to have some dental work done at the end of this month. Read: we tried going to our normal ped. dentist and she kicked and screamed so much that she will have to be put under to have her cavities filled. I don't know what gets into her. My older girls practically beg to go to the dentist - they love it (I think it may have something to do with all the prizes they get...) But it puts Olivia into an absolute panic. She says she can't breathe and she literally fights off 3 adults on her own. Of course, couple her absolute fear of dentists with her absolute LOVE of candy, and we have a problem!
Daniel will be going to the children's hospital this Friday to get tubes put into his ears. Hopefully this will stop the dreaded ear infections that have been plaguing him since July. He has had 9 ear infections in 5 months. This makes for very little sleep for both him and me (and lots of sleep interruptions for the other members of the family). Please, please let this work!
We got our Christmas tree put up on Saturday. I miss not having the glass balls on the tree - I like how they reflect the lights. I just didn't think it was wise what with the little boy grabbing ornaments off and chewing on them. Definitely not a good year for glass balls! Even up high, I have this fear of him pulling the tree over on himself in his haste to get an ornament off and chew on it. We also had to move the gingerbread ornaments up - they were a bit too tasty for him!
I am still loving reading the Christmas stories to the girls - they look forward to it also. I have read two more since I last blogged so I'll tell you a little about them. First I wanted to mention that my girls are still talking about The Legend of the Candy Cane. We had a great discussion about it again on Friday night. They remembered all the symbolism and what it meant. We got into a deeper discussion about the shape of the candy cane being like a shepherd's staff and what that means to us as Christians. It worked out really well that the last line of Eme's Awana memory verse last week was "We are the sheep of His pasture." They had a good time describing sheep (dumb!) and describing the shepherd (kind, patient, caring, etc).
After that we read Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. This was a fun, whimsical book. Mr. W gets a really really big Christmas tree - so big that it doesn't fit in his living room. So he cuts the top off and has it thrown away. But someone takes it and makes it her own Christmas tree, but it's too tall, so she cuts the top off and throws it away. And on and on. I think you get the point. It is very cute though and I so enjoyed the rhyming throughout the book. Rhyming books are my favorites for read-alouds. This would also be a great book to start a discussion about recycling and helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
Last night, we read The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne. This story teaches how the traditional Christmas tree began and also how it relates to the story of Jesus' birth. I learned some new info from reading this and again, it was a sweet story. I would like to find other books that talk about the history of the Christmas tree because I think there is even more symbolism than this book touched on. (although it was very good and in depth.)
We are busy, busy as I'm sure you all are this Christmas season! Keep it merry! =]
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Last night, we read "God Gave Us Christmas," by Lisa Tawn Bergren. This was a great book to start off with. It talked about the real meaning behind the Christmas celebration. It also mentioned Santa a few times, but focused on the generosity and giving spirit that he brings to Christmas (this was well written - it did not discount a child's belief or unbelief in Santa). But it kept the primary focus on God. It had beautiful illustrations and seemed right on level for Olivia. Abby and Eme enjoyed it too. I believe it is the second or third in a series so we will be checking out the others soon.
Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
(Really, this makes my kids sound terrible! They are not whiny, greedy, ungrateful children - most of the time =). But they are children. And so I worry.)
For instance, I got the two older ones this crafty thing (they read my blog so I have to be careful :).) So I thought I should get the younger one something equally crafty. But after I bought that, I decided against what I was going to get for the older two because it would mean they would have 12 presents, and Olivia would have 11. So yesterday, I'm looking at the gift for the youngest and thinking,
"Wow this is really cool. I bet Abby would really like this too. Maybe I should go get her one. It's only $6 with a coupon. I could just run out Saturday and pick it up for her. But if I get that for her, what will I get for Eme? And if I get Eme and Abby another gift, then I need to find something else for Liv..."
Seriously. I was upset over this - mulling over it for hours. I called my BFF to see what she would do. Which just made her want to run out and get one of these crafty things also. Actually get two, b/c she has two girls. And then it occured to me. It's so simple, so DUH!
Abby has a birthday in the spring. I could wait and if she really likes it, get it for her birthday. In fact, all of my girls will have birthdays again next year. (duh) It really wouldn't hurt any of them to wait for something they like. It would be, like, a good experience for them. Wow.
How is it that this concept of them waiting and not getting every single thing they have ever wanted on Christmas morning didn't occur to me? I mean, it has because sometimes we just can't afford what they want. But on the little stuff... 'I mean, it's only $6'... We want our kids to "have it all." But really, while we're pushing all this stuff at them - what are they really learning - what values are we teaching them?
(BTW - I don't go crazy - I have kept my shopping to less than $100 per girl, and much less for Daniel - as in, we are wrapping up hand me down toys for him :). But still, I know there is this desire in me to give them every single thing they could want. )
Maybe the best Christmas gift I could give my kids is the one where they learn the value of going without so someone else doesn't have to. A relative of mine is spending their Christmas money to send a mom dying of cancer and her 4 kids to Disney for Christmas, rather than buy gifts for their grown children.
Maybe the best gift would be the value of learning to save their own money to buy something they really want. In this credit ridden society, maybe it would be good for them to experience the pride of saving to buy that special item. (They'd probably take better care of it too)
Maybe the best gift I could give them would be learning the value of "less is more." We don't always need more to be happy. Less clutter means more time and energy to enjoy life.
Or maybe I could give them the value of my time. A coupon book good for 'an extra story with Mommy,' 'a wrestling match with Daddy,' 'a game of Scrabble with Grandma,' 'a trip to the park with Grandad,' etc. Rather than a bunch of stuff, maybe some extra time spent together would be even better.
I'm not saying the kids shouldn't get anything for Christmas. I'm just trying to gain a better perspective of gift-giving. When I think about Christmas as a child, my parents couldn't afford a lot of stuff, but I always enjoyed what I got very much. I sometimes got a little green over what a few of my friends might receive, but it wasn't that big of a deal. I still have great Christmas memories. And I valued what I had all along - my parents' love for me and for each other - over all the "stuff". And God's love for me too. I need to focus more on showing that to my kids this Christmas season - my love for them, for their daddy, and for our God. Rather than my love for stuff.