December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

Marah has thanked me for her play kitchen stuff about ten times already this morning. She's been trying very hard to share with Alex who seems to be more interested in her toys than with his own. There are puzzle pieces and wooden stacking blocks and candy and wrappers and stickers and tape all over the floor. The breakfast dishes are still on the table because we're all too tired/distracted to deal with them right now. The last of our gifts are being wrapped before we head over to The In-Law's house for the next couple of days. Diapers are being washed. A Christmas Story is being watched. I'm feeling happy but still a bit stressed and trying really hard not to take it out on the kids but sometimes that is hard to do. I keep reminding myself "It's Christmas and it should be fun and I should not stress." I just keep hoping that my crabby stress is outweighed by my joy and love :) and that the kids won't remember me acting so high strung.

December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve... feeling emotional

Today is the day before Christmas. The day known as Christmas Eve despite the fact that "eve" is defined by that time when the sun has gone down but whatever. It's also the day that I rush around trying to finish up the 97,000 projects that I started or wanted to start but never got around to. So, here I am, once again trying to make cinnamon rolls and a nice dinner and start and finish a baby blanket and pack for our trip to The In-Laws' and do laundry and keep the house clean and... and... and...

It's a good busy though. The kind of busy that reminds you of all the wonderful blessings in your life. The kind of busy that has you thinking of the memories you are creating for your children and remembering the memories that your own parents created for you. I like this day. So full of anticipation. The children are practically bubbling over with excitement and you just want to roll around in the giddyness, wrap it around you like a blanket and snuggle up with it late into the night. But, instead, you are sitting at your dining table frantically making that blanket you bought the materials for. :)

I've noticed since I woke up that I have been teary and finding every excuse to hold back sobs which means it's the most wonderful "time of the month," too. So I find myself opening Christmas cards with unexpected gifts and crying happy, someone cares about me, tears. This gets me to thinking about all that I have been given this past year by friends and family alike and I can't help but feel overwhelmed with emotion because, really, what would this year have been without these wonderful people? I am truly blessed. My children are blessed by you, too, because you make me happy and a happy mom makes for happy children. So thank you, to all who have given me gifts, of things, of time, of money, of travel, of friendship, and most of all, of love. Life's so much more warm and fuzzy and lovely with you in it.

I've got my cinnamon roll dough started and I'm thinking about how we're going to make it to the Christmas Eve service tonight. Plus I've got dinner in the crock pot, minus the mashed potatoes and rolls, and I have a few more treats I'm hoping to bake and make labels for gifting. Yes, it's all a glorious, last minute, procrastinators dream! Don't you wish you were here? :)

I've got plans for tomorrow, too. SO much to do and so little time left. I'll probably be up most of the night. So, I am signing off!

Random: Words Marah uses that make me smile: saus-a-sege (sausage), neck-er-ize (recognize)

December 9, 2011

Christmas movies

It's the time of year for those Christmas movies we love and hold dear! We have a box full of Christmas DVDs that we pull out with the Christmas decorations each November and it is definitely our mission to make sure that no movie is left behind. In our family, movies are one of our favorite forms of entertainment and we try to make each movie night fun and special even if it's not the most extravagant event.

The list of movies we must watch grows longer each year! The thing about Christmas is that people love it so much that the film industry feels the need to capitalize on that obsession by churning out new Christmas movies each year. Some become family favorites and others are best left on the shelves. However, in our family, it seems as if even the not-so-great Christmas movies are enjoyed by all to at least some degree because, after all, Christmas is a magical time of year.

Here is our list of must watch movies and specials:

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
A Christmas Story
Home Alone
The Santa Clause
Bad Santa (not for the kids)
Mickey's Christmas Carol
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
and pretty much any Disney Christmas cartoons

There are movies that I loved as a kid that I really would like to get on DVD to share with the kids but haven't had the opportunity to buy them yet. Movies like Heidi (I loved the Shirley Temple version) and Miracle on 34th Street. I think my girls would enjoy them. Maybe this year I can get them. We'll see.

Anyway, Christmas movies. They're a fun tradition. We only let the kids watch our Christmas DVDs at Christmastime. This keeps them as a special treat so that they don't get tired of them. I think I get almost as excited as the kids :)

So go pop some corn and buy some special drinks. Make cookies and put on Santa hats while you cozy up with blankets in front of the Christmas tree and watch movies in it's gorgeous glow.

Make each day count!

December 8, 2011

A Night in Bethlehem

The girls took part in our church's Christmas program for the first time this year. I'm not even sure what our church has done in the past at Christmas other than the candlelight service for Christmas Eve. This tends to be the time of year when we get caught up in other things and start to taper off on church attendance for awhile. When it gets colder we tend to hibernate. Plus I hate getting the kids ready to go out in the mornings when it's freezing out. It just takes too long!

We do like our church, though, and the kids have come to really enjoy going so we're trying very hard to stick to the habit because it's a good time for us to all spend time together and our pastor is a really great leader who really makes the Word come alive for us. Anyway, let me tell you, I do not envy our Director of Children's Ministry. She has a tough job and it's clear that she really loves it. You would not see me trying to get all these kids to learn these songs and line up and stay on stage and pay attention. Just the idea of it exhausts me! So I really appreciate her and the other workers who spend their time with my children. It means a lot to me.

The girls sang Christmas songs with the other kids and some of the older kids did some scripture readings. It was clear that most of the songs were not practiced enough (I think it would have been good to have the songsheets sent home so that the kids could practice because I had no idea what they would even be singing for the program) but it was still nice to see the kids trying because it's cute when kids don't know the words. It's not cute when adults don't know the words... :)

December 2, 2011

Christmas... already?!

Well, I can't believe it is Christmastime again. Time, could you please just slow down a little bit? I have lots to accomplish and you are making it very difficult to do so!

I have so much planned for Christmas this year. I love December. I love making this time of year special for my family. I am blessed to have a husband who loves Christmas (probably even more than I do) and we have fun celebrating traditions brought in from our families growing up as well as introducing new traditions for our own children to pass on one day.
The day after Thanksgiving is when we set up our tree. I believe it is good to keep the holidays separate. Keeping Christmas stuff postponed until after that turkey is consumed helps the kids to appreciate Thanksgiving which seems to becoming nearly an afterthought in this day and age (wow... saying that makes me feel incredibly old LOL).

This year I really wanted to decorate our white tree with simple, colorful, shiny things. Growing up, I always wanted to have a white tree with colorful ball ornaments. We always had a tree full of keepsake ornaments and I loved it, treasured the memories attached to those ornaments, but just wanted to experience a fun but simple tree just once. So, this year I did just that. I bought a bunch of pretty ornaments on clearance at Target last year. I have been admiring them in our garage all year (seriously) and thinking of how lovely they will look on our tree. And, I will say, I do think our tree looks pretty and cute and fun BUT it's not the same.

We didn't pull out each ornament and hear "that's mine!" I didn't look at each one fondly, remembering my childhood, recalling my children as little toddlers, clumsily hanging each one with chubby fingers. So, it has been nice for this year, and I might hang on to these ornaments and maybe one day we'll have a family room AND a living room and we can do a tree in each room. I don't know. We'll see. All I know is that I miss my eclectic, cluttered tree.

So I was a little excited to see that the first activity in our family advent devotional was to make a small heirloom tree. The directions were to use an evergreen branch and decorate it only using ornaments that were handmade by the children, ornaments that have been passed down, and ornaments that held special meaning. So I went out, cut a branch off of our very prickly tree (um, ouch much?!), and stuck it in some water. Then the girls and I picked through our ornament box and chose the most special ornaments and all the handmade ornaments and hung them on our heirloom tree. It was nice to look through that box again and it helped me remember how many special memories are there. Thank you, Mom and Dad, and Grandmere, for all of the beautiful memories in that box. Without you we wouldn't have them.

Our little heirloom tree. Right next to our photo wall. How perfect :)

And now I'm crying. Just a little. :) Alrighty, I have so much to do today! Let me show you what I'm working on for my latest customer (please ignore the terrible Blogger jaggy quality):

Like what you see? Check out my Etsy shop and purchase your own custom silhouette just in time for Christmas gifting! CLICKY HERE ----->

I have so many activities planned for December. I am excited to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my family! Please come back and see what we're up to. And leave me a comment telling me about your favorite Christmas traditions.