Thursday, December 23, 2010

In Which Specifics Matter

Mommy: Savannah Lynn! Do not wipe your nose on your shirt!
Savannah: Sowwy Momma. (wipes nose on mommy's shirt instead)
Mommy: Sigh.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Which We are Sick for Christmas....Again.

I guess that I can hold out a little hope- we do have a few more days...but our track record isn't great!! Austin and I were discussing Christmas Eve services and I said the plan was to go to the 5pm Children's Service and the 11pm Midnight Mass.  Austin replied we'd never gone twice before, and I explained that we'd never all gone twice, but it's always the plan.  Children's service for the kids and Midnight Mass for mommy.


We really "like" to be sick for Christmas around here!! So far I've parked Austin at home with a sick kid or sent him to church with well kids while I sleep off something every year but 2!! This time it started 2 days ago with Savannah running a horrible fever and that turned into tummy problems and coughing/sniffling.  Now Logan is laying in bed with me sniffling away and getting warmer by the minute and both mommy and daddy are feeling pretty low, too.

Secretly (well, not so secretly now), I don't mind caring for sick babies.  Of course I want them to be healthy, but taking the time to snuggle and read and watch movies is so special, because I remember how comforting my momma was when I was small and sick.  I hope that my kids remember that, too.

Plus, at least there are lots of fun Christmas movies on TV! I'm still waiting for the claymation ones (like the Little Drummer Boy and Santa Claus is Coming to Town) but we've watched lots of other cute ones as Savannah has drifted in and out of sleep snuggled up on me. I don't enjoy all the goop coming out of her, but there is something very special about being able to comfort her the way only a mommy can :)

Prayers that we're all healthy for Christmas and that Riley stays well are appreciated!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Which We Purge Christmas....And Also Elf Away.

I seriously backed off of Christmas this year.  In the past I've let it way over stress me, mainly because I've tried to make Christmas the major production that my mother (who I love, please don't get me wrong) makes it.  She did such a great job of stressing, decorating, baking, polishing, tweaking, wrapping and making magic for us.  With my kids, though, I've never really wanted Christmas to be quite the way it was when I grew up, even though it was perfectly magical. I really want our Christmas to be about family and tradition and most of all about Jesus.  Over the past few years I've really frustrated myself trying to make Christmas what I want it to be, and "competing" with my mom, who will buy 3,000 presents by the time it's all said and done :)

This year, mainly because I'm totally burned out on other areas of life, I really let it go.  I let go of competing with her on the number of presents we buy, because honestly, our kids play with 3 or 4 of them and then forget about them.  I let go of freaking out about stringing 4,000,000 strands of lights in the front of our house because it's always frustrating to me that Austin doesn't "man up and hang the lights" so I did wreaths with bows and called it a day.  I think next year I'll buy pre-lit wreaths and be perfectly happy.  I let go of going to as many events and parties as we could cram in, and instead I filled our days with family projects.  I kept our advent devotions.  I kept the tree.  I kept secret shopping trips and the nativity scenes and ice skating. Also, the homemade thank you cards, but only because we really like painting things.

I let go of individually made cards and got free ones from Shutterfly for writing about them on my PWC Moms blog. And you know, somewhere in the purging, I found the joy of Christmas again.  My kids and I have enjoyed the snow, and the reading, and the making treats for other people.  We haven't stressed or run all over the place any more than we normally do, and I've actually worked to cut that down, too, so that we can savor the season.

I still think that Christmas has been great so far for us.  By not deciding that I have to do the nine million things I've made myself in the past, we've allowed ourselves to do what is special for us this year.  For example, my kids apparently love gingerbread houses.  This is the 5th one we've done.  It's got chocolate rocks on the sides.  How awesome is that!
 I've also tried not to freak out so much about the baking.  I bake with our kids all the time, but during Christmas I want things to be perfect, so I tend to micromanage or do it myself.  So this year, since I know it's really fun and special for them, I've picked things they can do.  We did chocolate dipped pretzels tonight, which ended up with around 6 different non-matching toppings on them but are still cute, and we also did gingerbread man cookies (I told you they love the gingerbread!!) I also decided that I'd chill out on the monstrous cookie platters we end up doing for our neighbors and share some of our home-canned goodies instead, so I've started getting some salsa and peach butter ready to go out.  We're caroling tomorrow (keeper!!) so we'll hand out goodies to our neighbors on Saturday.
 I think that for next year there are a few more things I'll bring back, but for this year, this minimalist Christmas has really helped me figure out what I really want to have in our family's holiday, and what I, and our kids, don't need to be happy and joyful during the holidays.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Which We Celebrate an Awesome Little Man

I still cannot believe that this little monkey baby turned into a SEVEN (7) year old this week.


It just absolutely blows my mind.  He is so very much the person that God created him to be- he held his head up just a few minutes after he was born and kicked and screamed until he rolled over at 6 days old. He still will not hold still to save my life.  He looked and explored and marveled at things from the minute his eyes focused in the light- and he still wants to know everything about everything.  I never thought I would say "Hold on, I'll google it" so much in my life. Aunt Elaine is visiting this week and Riley instantly had questions for her like "How many species of plants do you have in Texas that we don't have in Virginia?".

He reads.  I'm not going to lie- that was difficult for the two of us.  He needed to learn to read and I couldn't remember learning because I'd done it since before I was in preschool.  But my sweet boy reads and absorbs information and writes books in his spiral notebooks.  The first time I listened to him choppily reading a chapter book, I cried.

Big old round tears.

I just cannot believe this little thing who used to go all Dracula on my shoulders when he was hungry has turned into a person.  He reads, he prays, he wonders and he knows so many things that he's learned or that he believes or that he postulates.  He is so amazing.  We are such a blessed family to have him.  I have never seen a child who is a better big sibling.  I think I hit my brother way more than I ever helped him and Riley, although he has the occasional temper, ties shoes and fetches blankets and gives huge hugs and tells mean big kids to BACK OFF MY BROTHER.  There are just no words for how incredibly full and happy he makes our lives.  And I, for one, am so thankful to God for letting me have him.

We spent Riley's birthday exploring Skyline Cavern and then hiking at our favorite Christmas Tree Farm.  Uncle Kevin and his girlfriend Lauren joined us and we had a great time.  A mad scientist party is in the works for his classmates.

Happy Birthday little man.  We're so very proud of you and who you're becoming.