Friday, January 27, 2012

More to the story

There's so much want to remember about this Christmas (What? Christmas is long-gone and the last thing on your mind? Shocking!)

The way we made simple nativity scenes with the Activity Days Girls at church and Creed (forever thinking he is one of the 8 to 11 year-old girls) insisted on making his own (we only decorated the people and lucked out finding the stables at Target for $2.50)
 The way Creed's Mary looked starred eyed to say the least (I guess she just gave birthday afterall) and we carried those little people around all through the holidays.  I will forever treasure these sweet hand-drawn faces.
 The way Creed had to have this Rudolph hat, and I secretly had to have it too, because who can resist this?
 The way he proceeded to wear the hat all over.
 The way he was a dashing little wiseman in the live nativity at church
 The way it was the sweetest nativity I've ever seen.
 The way the reverence was smashed when they ushered all the cast onto the stage for a the last song and Creed desperately needed to use the potty.  I was wrestling with Ollie in the back so this is the only photo that we have, but oh, I wish you could have seen him hopping and holding his crotch through the whole song while earnestly singing with a look of desperation until Larry rescued him and ushered him to a bathroom the moment the song ended.
 The way both boys fell in love with their annual new Christmas ornament (Creed is oddly obsessed with the short cartoon Mickey and the Clock Cleaners, and watch are the chances we would come across this ornament?)
 The way he was not so thrilled in many of the holiday photos I took, and already has the look of a teenager obliging his crazy mom.
 The way Ollie knew which ornament was his and we found it in a new spot every day because he couldn't resist holding his Santa.
 The way the boys and I had a few adventures on our own like going on a scavenger hunt to find all the creepy elves around Gardner Village (Creed loved it so much that I swear he is already planning our trip back next year)
 The way their annual new Christmas books were loved to pieces.
 The way we came home with a million, zillion cookies that we planned to giveaway after my bookclub's annual Christmas dinner/cookie exchange and then we ate almost all of them ourselves.
 The way Creed glowed at his preschool Christmas program.
 And the way they still make four-year-olds sing the most random Christmas songs you've never heard of with a few classics mixed in.
 The way Creed was bursting with so much excitement as he left out cookies and milk for Santa that I thought he'd never sleep and he was out almost instantly.
 The way Christmas was on Sunday so we saw what Santa brought and looked through our stockings and then went to church without opening a single present and there were no complaints.

 The way Creed was thrilled to get exactly what he wanted.
 And ollie was happy to sit by bemused and not open a gift.
 The way we went to my parents' and met up with all my siblings families to open our presents and we could only get Ollie to open one.  After that if you approached him, he'd yell, "No presents, no!" and push them away so this bin of his gifts sat in our kitchen for the next two days until he got interested.
Christmas has always been a wonderful time of the year to me, but Christmas with kids is the best!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What I did wrong this Christmas

You know I love advent calendars.  This year we pulled out an advent calendar that I made a few years ago by adding numbers to a set of Ikea gift boxes and using command velcro strips to stick them on the wall in our entryway.

We usually just add a slip of paper to each day stating the Christmas related activity we'll do that day (drink hot chocolate and watch how the Grinch Stole Christmas, drive around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights and leave an award for our favorite house, attend a live nativity etc.). After Christmas last year, I picked up a bunch of little Christmas things on uber clearance to put in our advent calender this year.  I had a few things that didn't make the picture, but I didn't have a trinket every day. Each box always had an activity listed in it (and i love having them in containers that I can sneak open and switch up, in fact, I filled each box the night before we opened it so I didn't have to worry about peeking) and sometimes it had a small treat or one of the trinkets.

 Sometimes the paper and trinket were just waiting in the box, but often Creed had to do some kind of activity to find it. Like follow quickly scribbled clues on a treasure hunt around the house to discover our activity for the day.
 Or follow a piece of yarn winding through the house.
 Which made it easy to gift items too big to fit in the box we opened that day.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an epic fail, Creed loved the whole experience and was eager to open a box each day, and he was grateful and gracious and sweet, but the more I thought about it, the more I think I was going about things the wrong way.  Yes, it was fun, and I think Creed will remember it, but I think it set the wrong tone for our holidays.  There's already so much focus on the material side of Christmas, the last thing Creed and Ollie needed was to be getting more gifts each day up until Christmas.  How can I expect them to be focused on giving and to not have a case of the gimmes when I'm giving them gifts every day?  Ollie was oblivious and Creed actually handled things really well, but I think it would be so much better to put a part of the Christmas story in the advent every day or maybe every day should have some service or small item that the boys will have to help me figure out how to GIVE that day.  A few of the activities in the advent involved giving, like picking out toys for a sub-for-Santa program, but it wouldn't be hard to think of something small the boys could be involved in every day (Drive around on a cold day to find a Salvation Army beller ringer and drop off change and give the ringer some hand warmers, shovel a neighbors driveway, make teacher Christmas gifts, etc.). At any rate, it was sort of a missed opportunity to help the boys focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and I pledge to better next year.

I tell myself the boys are little and Larry and I have more time to figure out this parenting thing while they are too little to remember our mistakes very well, right?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thursday night, we arrived home after a two week vacation.  I have way too much to fill you in on from the last month, but let's start with how we arrived home just in time for a snowstorm (finally, this has been such a warm winter). of course we had to build a snowman right away.  

 Creed has been talking to me about how snowmen come to life sometimes (maybe it was all those readings of Snowmen at Night by the Beuhners and The Snowman by Raymond Briggs).  So after our upside-down snowman melted, I snuck out and rebuilt him right-side-up.  Creed was amazed when he saw it.
That snowman is now surrounded by much more snow and I'm tempted to go out there and surprise Creed again by adding a snowdog.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Dear readers,

Rest assured that I have not forgotten you, I've just forgotten where the charger for my camera battery is (or, more accurately, Mr. Oliver Danger decided to take the charger on a trip to a mysterious land and it has not returned yet). And what's a post without pictures?

We have all sorts of holiday loveliness and I pledge to share it with you when the new charger arrives, but I only got around to ordering it today so I'll see you back here in a week or two when it arrives!