Friday, December 24, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #24

Today was my kind of day. For those of you familiar with the five love primary language is "quality time" and I'm fairly certain that if I had to choose a second language, it would also be "quality time". :o)

This morning we literally did nothing. We drank coffee (Camden included...he prefers it black but I was sharing mine so he had to deal with a little half and half in it), we played games, we watched it rain, we prepped a baked strawberry french toast dish to have tomorrow morning for breakfast...but mostly we just enjoyed being together without a "to do" list in sight. Yes, we still ran a load of laundry and lugged out the suitcases to pack for our trip to NC tomorrow, but mostly we just enjoyed being in our jammies all (as Camden put it) nice and comfy and laughed the morning away.

This morning was not without it's "toddler moments" but it also held the moment when Camden just snuggled up next to me on the sofa and out of the blue said, "mom, you're the best mom". It's moments like these when I am reminded that all of the dinner prepping, potty training, laundry folding, discipline giving, manners teaching, etc, etc, is totally worth it. Being a parent is the most physically, mentally, and emotionally draining thing I have ever done in my life...but it's also the most rewarding thing as well. I have more than an occasional moment when I love my kids but I don't like them very much...but today was not one of those days (well, except during the Christmas Eve service when Camden must have thought I was a jungle gym because he climbed all over me the entire service!).

Tonight after the Christmas Eve service we had a birthday party for Jesus. We've been talking for weeks about how Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birthday and a couple of days ago Camden asked what kind of cake we were having. I'd never really thought about having an actual party, but it seemed like a great idea so we went with it.

We had a yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting (my favorite) but, according to Camden, it wasn't really a birthday cake without sprinkles so we had those too. After singing happy birthday to Jesus, Camden blew out the candle and we each enjoyed a slice (okay, two slices) of cake. (Camden even made sure that Jesus was part of the action...see his Little People Nativity Jesus hanging out next to the cake?) :o)

I then read the Christmas story from Camden's toddler Bible and we talked specifically about the significance of the gifts that the wise men brought - you should hear Camden pronounce frankincense! We are really trying to make it a point to explain that the gifts we open are to celebrate Jesus' birthday - that He loves us so much that He wants us to have the gifts instead of Him and that we can be reminded of His love toward us every time we look at the gift we received.

Back in 2001 when Ryan and I celebrated our first "married" Christmas we started the tradition of giving each other an ornament every year. We expanded that tradition to Camden in 2008 and to Alison this year. So tonight at Jesus' birthday party, we each opened our ornament for this year.

We really enjoyed having a party and I'm thinking this may become a tradition in our house. We're busy now packing the last few items in our suitcases during commercial breaks of our favorite Christmas movies. We hope that each one of you has a very Merry Christmas and we pray God's blessings on you in the year ahead!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #23

Today we finished up a last few tasks before Ryan has the day off tomorrow and we spend the whole day in our jammies just enjoying being together.

This morning we completed our task of choosing some toys to give to other boys and girls that don't have any or many toys. At first Camden seemed to finally grasp the concept, but after his first two choices of things to give away were Alison's toys, we had to back up and talk about it a little more. He finally caught on and we ended up with a brown paper grocery sack packed full of toys to give away.

Later in the day we delivered some homemade goodies to our neighbors and a few of our friends. We then enjoyed donning our Santa hats and walking around the neighborhood to deliver our reindeer cookies...
Tonight we picked up Ryan from work and drove over to Highland Park to look at all the Christmas Lights. Impressive...both the houses and the lights.

We're getting very excited about Christmas...and of course, the airplane ride on Saturday to see Oma, Papa, Granna, all the Aunts and Uncles and the ever growing list of cousins!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #22

Today was cookie decorating day at our house! Camden had a few friends over and they each decorated an "ornament" cookie.

Let's get this party started!

Camden chose a bell for his ornament.

Such concentration!!!

Camden really liked the chocolate sprinkles.
I didn't have the heart to tell him his cookie looked like it'd been pooped on by a mouse!

We had a lot of fun and Millie enjoyed cleaning up the floor when we were done.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #21

So today was a no-go on the Christmas themed activities. Between house cleaning, laundry folding, errand running and baby feeding/changing, there wasn't much time for anything else.

I did prepare for our playdate tomorrow where we'll be decorating "ornament" cookies in the shapes of bells, stockings and balls. Icing, candy bits and sprinkles galore for two 2-year olds, a 3 year old and a 4 year old...hmmm, perhaps I should have waited to mop the kitchen floor. :o)

Honestly, with it being 84 degrees outside today, it was difficult to get into the "Christmas mood" and way more fun to play in the sandbox in the backyard. We did watch "Diego Saves Christmas" today before naptime...does that count?

Monday, December 20, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #20

Today Camden, Alison and I worked on a few last gifts for Daddy. I can't tell you much about them here since he'll be reading this as well...but let's just say mixing cement was involved. :o)

Camden and I also spent a little time today going through some of his toys and talking about what we can give to other children that might not be getting any toys for Christmas. I say we spent a little time because we had to stop when I couldn't think of ways to answer his questions. I'm going to throw them out here so perhaps you can help me...

As we discussed that there were kids that might not get any toys for Christmas, he asked me if it was because they hadn't been good and if that was why Santa wasn't coming to see them. And, if they hadn't been good, then why did he need to share with them. I could answer the second one with relatively little stress, but the first one has kinda thrown me for a loop. We're definitely a "Jesus first, Santa second" kind of family and we try not to get caught up in the "you'd better behave, Santa's watching you" kind of stuff - b/c I want him (eventually them) to behave because it's what they should do...all year long...not just when Santa might be looking in on him. But we do celebrate the magic of Santa and we will wake up on Christmas mornings and make the mad dash to the living room to see just how much of the milk and cookies he consumed. So I am at a loss for how to answer the question about the other kids not getting a visit from Santa.

Any suggestions?

25 Days of Christmas - Day #19

Today Ryan got his Christmas gift from to the Redskins vs. Cowboys at the new stadium in Arlington. 
 And even though we had just toured the stadium a few days earlier, it was a completely different feeling when it was full of people. They also had the roof open for this game (it was closed during the tour) and that was kinda cool too.

The Redskins couldn't pull off a win, but it was a close, action filled game and it was nice to enjoy an afternoon without the kids. We're very grateful to our friends Jaime and Esther for keeping them for us so we could enjoy (actually watch) the game.

25 Days of Christmas - Day #18

Today we went to ICE! at the Gaylord Texan. For those of you who aren't "locals", the Gaylord is a giant hotel and convention center not far from where we live. Each year they bring in 40 or so artisans from China to carve intricate sculptures in ice that usually go along with a theme. This year the theme was "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown" which is Ryan's favorite cartoon Christmas special, so of course, we had to go.
Yes...all of that is carved out of ice...the characters, the tree, the tree's decorations...all of it.

It was really cool...literally. The room is kept between 12 and 17 degrees and everything that you see in these pictures is made of ice. They do give you giant parkas to wear and it doesn't last so long that you get tired of the cold.
It would appear as though Camden is not enjoying the outing if you look at this picture. The issue is that he is enjoying it and doesn't want to stop for a picture! :o)

There were giant slides in the middle (yes, made completely of ice) and of course, I had to go down one of them. Camden went down the "kiddie" slide as well. Ryan and Alison waited for us at the bottom and took some pictures.

The coolest thing was at the end. They had a giant "crystal" nativity scene carved out and they were playing the story of the birth of Christ over the sound system. As they spoke about each person or group in the story, that person's crystal lit up with a bright light and remained on until that person "exited" the story. Kinda like the Christmas Eve candlelight story that is done at Pleasant Hill (for all my Elkin peeps!). It was really cool...and it was great to see that the nativity was not only included, but highlighted.

Camden really did enjoy it...and has continued to tell people that he went to Charlie Brown's house several times since then. Alison just rode around (strapped to Ryan in her baby carrier) and enjoyed playing peek-a-boo at everyone through her "hole" in Ryan's parka.

Friday, December 17, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #17

Tonight was another "Christmas Lights" night. Ryan was able to go with us this time and we decided to make an event of it. 

After changing into our pjs (yes, even me and Ryan) we loaded the CD player with Christmas music and set out in search of some festive yard decor. We enjoyed a "picnic" dinner from McDonald's as we drove around and saw everything from the simplistically beautiful to the excessively obnoxious. We passed by one house that had a real Santa sitting on a sleigh in their front yard - and yes, I got my pajammed butt out of the car so that my child could tell yet another Santa that he wants a train set for Christmas...only this time he also added that the train set should have a bridge. All I know is that it's a good thing there aren't that many more days left until Santa comes...otherwise his elves might not have time to honor these specific requests. :o)

This isn't part of the 25 Days, but I would also like to share an email that Camden got from Santa earlier this week. You can watch it by clicking the link below:

It takes about 30 seconds to load, but it's worth the wait. I only wish you could watch Camden watch the's way better than watching the video itself.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #16

Unfortunately I am a little under the weather this evening so tonight's blog post is short and sweet...and still no video of Camden's preschool performance. Sorry - hopefully I will feel like doing more than putting on my jammies and crawling under the covers tomorrow...

Today Ryan and I took a tour of Cowboy's Stadium in Arlington. It's a long story about why we were taking the tour on a random Thursday morning...but that's what we did. After touring the general admission seats, the private suites, Jerry Jones' private viewing box, the cheerleader's locker room and the player's locker room, we headed out to the field to stand on the star for some photo ops.

Because we aren't Cowboy's fans, we decided not to have the professional (i.e. pricey) picture made, but we did get a couple with our own camera.

Just before we headed off of the field to wrap up the tour, I surprised Ryan with his early Christmas gift - tickets to Sunday's game...yes, against the Redskins. To say he was excited would be putting it mildly...he has assured me that this is way better than the dress shirts or the bigger microSD card he'd put on his wishlist.

Now if the 'Skins can just pull out a win on Sunday, it'll be even better.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #15

This morning we got a jump on our activity for day #15 of our 25 Days of Christmas. I was kind of at a loss on what to do today - I had planned for today to be our "take toys to those in need day" but we (and by we I mean Camden) woke up this morning and it quickly became apparent that he was in need of a low key day at home. Luckily my pal Kristina mentioned making these with her daughter so we jumped at the chance to stay in our jammies and eat pancakes!

Yummy! Snowman Pancakes!!!

Alison loved them too!!!

Later today we'll spend some time going through the toys and deciding what to donate...but we'll take them on Friday when hopefully we are in a much more "it's safe to take me out in public" kind of mood. :o)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Days #13 & 14

I wondered how long I could make it before missing a post...not too shabby considering my typical "once a month" or so blogging history.

So yesterday my 25 Days of Christmas Event was actually just for me. Last night we had our MOPS Leadership Christmas party. For those of you that are unfamiliar with MOPS, it stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. I am the Coordinator of the brand new group that was started at our church this year. (You can read the post from 8/19 for more info on all of that...)

Last night we got together to share a meal, have a gift exchange and spend some time together without talking about potty training, temper tantrums (our kid's, not our own...although we do have them) and effective discipline strategies. Okay, who am I kidding, we talked about all of those things...but it is the common thread that unites us all so it just naturally happens. And I think the best part about our group - and especially the gals on the leadership team - is that we are honest with each other about our struggles and our areas where we fail. There's never really a sense of "look at what I can do" because we know it's only by God's grace that we manage to survive most days. We love each other because we aren't perfect...not because we are. Just like we love our kids and like God loves us...completely in spite of ourselves. :o)

Today's event was Camden's preschool Christmas program. Ryan, Camden, Alison and I all had breakfast together at IHOP before heading to school for the program. Ryan manned the still camera while I shot the video and Alison just sat and took it all in. Camden did a great job...not with singing, but with waving and blowing kisses to the camera...which was fine with me.

I will try to have the video posted tomorrow. I can't work on it tonight because I am taking my SIX HOUR online defensive driving course to get out of the speeding ticket I got earlier this fall (see the post from 10/17 for a refresher on how that all went down). I'm on my 10 minute break between sessions right now but time is running out and I've got to get back to it. The fun never stops around here!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #12

Today's 25 Days of Christmas event was our church's semi-annual members meeting (aka church business meeting for all my dear Southern Baptist folk back in North Carolina). I know at first it may seem weird that I'm counting this in my 25 Days activities...what with all the budget approving, Robert's Rules of Order-ing, and votes of "yay" or "nay" - but our church doesn't do anything in typical fashion...and this is just another thing that they take to a whole different level.

First, we all sit at tables in the sanctuary - not in our typical rows - which facilitates a great deal more conversation. We sit at the tables so that we can share a giant 1/2 catered (bar-b-q beef and turkey from a local BBQ joint) and 1/2 pot-luck (sides, salads and desserts) dinner. And if there's anything that Southern Baptists get right, it's a pot luck beans dishes of every variety, casseroles that literally have butter floating on top and more desserts than we could ever eat in one sitting. After we enjoy our dinner, the choir sings a couple of songs and then we do some congregational singing...and then it's time to get down to business.

What I love about our business meetings is that the entire time spent making reports on what's happened in the past year and approving requests for the upcoming year isn't done like it's just the "business of the church" but rather it is done with such gratefulness to God in all He's doing in the life of our church. There's never ever a sense of "look what we've accomplished" or "let's see what WE can do next year to be bigger and better" - it's never about making us bigger and better, but about exalting Christ and advancing His kingdom. When we share about missions and make requests for money in the budget to go to China, Montenegro, and domestically across the US, it's never about what we can do in these places, but about being obedient to the work God is calling us to do and being the agents through which He will do His work. When we share and make requests about local ministries like MOPS, MDO, and our Men's/Women's/Children's ministries, it's never about making our programs the best in the area, but about helping others and equipping them to be the person God has called them to be and to do the things He has called them to do.

Our church is being blessed by God in so many ways and for that reason we feel it's our responsibility to be a blessing to others - not to grow our name but the name of Jesus Christ. I am personally grateful that God led Ryan and me to this church so that we could be a part of the work that He is doing there. I am grateful for the friends that we have in this body of believers and how richly they have blessed our lives. I am thankful for the opportunities that we have been given to serve there and to be a blessing to others.

So for Day #12 of our 25 Days, we are reflecting on the love and the blessings of the Lord - not just celebrating Christmas, but celebrating Christ.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #11

Today was "picture with Santa" day. We went to Vista Ridge mall in Lewisville b/c their theme is the claymation favorite TV special during the holidays.

I only have a second to post as tonight is also Ryan's work Christmas party and we're busy getting ourselves ready for that and the kids ready for their night with Kristina (I loooooooove co-oping childcare!)

Here's the picture we snapped during Camden's request to Santa for a train set...

Friday, December 10, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #10

Tonight our community had it's annual tree lighting ceremony. Around 5:30 this evening we, and several of our friends that live nearby, met at our house and then walked over to the park where the ceremony was held. From the time we arrived until about 6:00 we enjoyed hot cocoa, cookies, popcorn and a few magic tricks. At 6 p.m. Santa arrived on a fire truck - complete with horns honking and lights flashing (honestly, I think the fire truck was Camden's favorite part). Just after Santa made his entrance we started the countdown and then the big tree in the center of the park came to life with hundreds of twinkling lights.

After the tree lighting we did a quick photo with Santa. Camden shared his space in Santa's lap with his super-best friend Amanda. Her mom and I agree that this picture will be perfect for the "photo montage" that will play during the reception at their wedding. :o)

It's a little blurry b/c we took it with our phone. Kristina had her camera...when she sends me copies I'll post some better pics...

It wasn't anything spectacular when compared to the giant Festival of Lights in Omaha or the WRAL Tower Lighting in Raleigh, but it was fun for us...and the only traffic we had to fight when leaving were the strollers that had been parked along the edge of the park. :o)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #9

Today was a pretty normal day around here. Camden had school from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Alison and I had an appointment to get her 8 month pictures made. I've only seen them on my dear friend Susie's (the photographer's) camera but I can tell you, they are adorable...yes, I am biased, but you'll agree when you see them. We did several different "poses" with several different props and they look great.

After Alison and I picked Camden up from school, we made our usual stop for Happy Hour at Sonic and then we went to Central Market to pick up a few groceries. By the time that was done, we didn't have much time left in the afternoon before Daddy got home and it was time for dinner, our devotional/scripture memorization time, another reading of "Santa's Favorite Story" and then it was off to dreamland.

I did wrap a few gifts and complete a couple more steps on our homemade gifts, but other than that, it was just a regular 'ol day around here. But sometimes in this season of rush, rush, rush and go, go, is nice to just enjoy an evening together doing nothing but enjoying an evening together.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #8

Today was homemade gift day...or at least a start to it. We (Camden, Alison and myself) spent the entire day at home today - which is a rare thing around here. We didn't leave the house until 6:15 tonight and that was only because I had choir practice...otherwise we would have stayed in our pajamas all day long.

Since we were at home all day, I managed to do some laundry (which is a good thing...I was going to have to wear my bathing suit as underwear if I didn't get some done today) and we were able to get started on some of our handmade gifts. Camden especially loved the fruit loop sprinkle gift he'll be giving to a few of his friends. From the sorting, to the hammering to the filling of the jars, he was pretty much engaged in it all.

Sometime this week or next I'll have to find time to do the other homemade gifts. The ones that Camden didn't want to help me with today because he said they weren't as cool...I think it was because they didn't involve hammering. :o)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #7

Tonight we read one of my favorite Christmas books - "Santa's Favorite Story". Last year I saved this one for Christmas Eve and had planned to do that again, but thought perhaps it might be best to read it early (and often) between now and Christmas.

It's a great book - marrying the religious and the secular aspects of the holiday nicely - making sure to downplay the secular and focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I appreciate the fact that it doesn't discount "Secular Santa" and the role he plays during Christmas. I love that it's Santa himself sharing the true reason for the festivities - explaining to the forest animals that he's not the reason for the gifts, he just gets the honor of helping others celebrate the birth of Christ.

I'm sure if it's like most other "new" books that I've read with Camden, we'll read it a hundred more times between now and Christmas...but that's fine with me. Not only is it Santa's Favorite's mine too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #6

Tonight was Christmas Light Night. Ryan was stuck working late at the hospital so after taking dinner to him and having a "picnic in Daddy's office" as Camden put it, me and the kiddos rode around for a while on our way back home and looked at some Christmas lights. Camden oooooed and ahhhhhed as we passed each house with so much as a porch light on and Alison slept through the whole thing.

Perhaps we'll do Prairie Lights (kinda like Tanglewood for my NC peeps) one evening when Ryan's home. We'll save that for another one of our 25 day events. Because if I learned anything from Christmas Vacation, you can never have too many Christmas lights...

Aunt Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #5

At first I thought we hadn't really done anything to write about for our 25 days of Christmas and that if I took something we did at church and used that as my event for today I was "cheating" - but isn't what we did at church this morning what Christmas is really all about?

Camden came home with the cutest picture of a nativity scene that he'd assembled (obviously all by himself...which is his preferred method for doing anything these days) and we were able to talk about Baby Jesus and the other people in the picture.

I think at some point we may discuss why the sheep, the palm tree and one of the Wise Men are floating in the sky, but for now, we'll just be happy that Jesus is actually in the stable...and that his mommy and daddy are close by...that's the way it would have been in real life. :o)

We sang carols as part of the service this morning. Camden has been going with us to "big church" (only for the singing) for several weeks now. He'd been doing really great until this morning - today I rejoined the choir after a 3 month sabbatical to take the "Disciplines of a Godly Family" course that conflicted with choir practice. Now that I am back in the choir loft, he wants to join me there so Ryan had to make a quick exit with him just before the prayer...we'll try that again later...

So, it's not was very much about Christmas...and I love Christmas at our church. I love the decorations in the foyer and in the sanctuary, I love the "in memory/in honor" poinsettias, I love the fact that almost every woman over the age of 50 is wearing a Christmas/Winter themed sweater (or at least it's red), I love that we can mix a sing along of good old fashioned Christmas carols with an amazing orchestral call to worship complete with our electric guitarist rockin' out on Carol of the Bells. Mostly I love that our church is passionate about exalting Christ and making His name known - not just during Christmas, but every day of the year...and that's what it's really all about.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #4

Oh how I LOVE Christmas shopping. Seriously...I love the crowds, the craziness, and the exhaustion that comes from a day full of successful finds for those on my list.

Most anyone can tell you that my Love Language is quality time. I know they say you're "bilingual" - but I'm fairly certain my second love language is also quality time. I do think that if I had to choose a third, giving gifts would be next. I am not a "stuff" person and I need something else to find a place to put and then dust around like I need a hole in my head. If I am on the receiving end, my favorite gifts are things to do to a concert, a restaurant gift certificate (and free childcare) so that I can enjoy a date night with my hubby, etc. Like I said, "quality time".

When it does come to actual physical gifts, you can ask Ryan about my only rule - Christmas (and birthdays for that matter) are for gifts that you do not need and would not otherwise purchase. Do not give a vacuum cleaner for Christmas...unless it's the Dyson pet vacuum. Do not give me a coffee maker...unless it can make me a double shot latte and clean itself when it's done. The items at the top of my list are things that reduce clutter - a Nook to rid myself of books filling up every shelf in my house, Tupperware so I can organize and store things neatly, etc...

But even then, I'd rather give gifts than get them. I love the hunt to find just that perfect thing for the person on my list and then I love to watch their reaction when they open it.

I am trying this year to instill that love of giving in Camden. Before he could make out his list of what he wants to get for Christmas, he had to tell me what he wanted to give for Christmas. We thought of things for Daddy, Alison, Oma, Papa and Granna. We talked about what he might like to give Jay, Luke and Rebecca - the ever growing list of cousins. We added on a few more ideas for a few of his very close (get together multiple times a week to play together) friends and his teachers at school/church. By the time we finished talking about it, he was pretty excited about what we'd thought of together...of course now he's probably going to tell each of these people what they're getting the next time he sees them, but still, he spent some time thinking about giving to others before he thought about all the things he "thinks he needs" for himself. He's even picking out a toy each day (or so) to give to Goodwill in time for them to find a good home with another little boy for Christmas.

But most of all, I have been trying to explain what all of this gift giving is about - that we're celebrating Jesus' birthday! I hope that he will eventually understand that Jesus is the best gift of all!!!

As for Day #4's activity - it was all about the shopping. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. today Ryan and I got all but 3 of the gifts we need for Christmas - my family, his family, friends, teachers, and even pets. Camden and Alison didn't get to go with us - but they were having much more fun at Mrs. Georgia's house. My dear, sweet friend gave me the gift of "quality time" today by keeping the kids all day so that we could focus on our shopping, enjoy a rare lunch date together and make much better time than if we'd been schlepping two kids in and out at every stop. I am grateful that she has opened her home and her heart to be Camden's "Texas Grandma" - and he couldn't love her more if she was his actual Grandma!

So naughty or nice, the gifts are, if I can just start to love the wrapping, packing and shipping as much as I love the shopping!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #3

Today was kinda low-key...we baked Christmas cookies this afternoon.

Tonight Ryan and I have our Sunday Bible Fellowship party and there is childcare available (at no charge I might add) at the church. It is sooooo nice to be able to leave the kids in a familiar place with teachers who will love on them and care for them while we enjoy a night out with friends...and conversations void of any phrases like, "I am going to give you until the count of three to make a good decision" or "if you do that again we will have to go to the bathroom and have a talk about it" - although I guess part of that also depends on how Ryan behaves this evening.

We decided to show a little appreciation for those that will be serving us tonight in the children's department by baking them some cookies.

Camden loves to "help" me in the kitchen - everything from mixing and pouring to washing dishes - he loves it all. Mostly he just wants to be under my feet while I'm cooking and I've decided letting him help is easier than convincing him to play in another room by himself. Usually he makes more of a mess than is really necessary for the task he's trying to accomplish - we've lost many an egg to "more shell than I want to try to dig out" when I let him crack them - but practice makes perfect and he's loving every minute of it. Hopefully this will still be the case as he grows up and does get to the point where he can do these tasks a little more independently. As for now, I'll just tie his apron on and enjoy the fact that he simply longs to be where I am - even if that is just working in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #2

Today Camden and I shopped for the family our Sunday Bible Fellowship (a.k.a. Sunday School class for all my homies back at the PHBC!) has adopted this year. It's kinda like an angel tree, except we adopt them for the entire upcoming year - inviting them to church events and social events our SBF plans, giving gifts to the mom on Mother's Day, remember the kid's birthdays, etc... it's more about being in a relationship with them and showing them the love of Christ on a "long term" basis...rather than just "playing Santa" for a brief moment of time.

Our family has a 1 year old girl in it so we enjoyed picking out a few toys that light up and make sound...along with some necessities like socks, shoes and warm clothes...and extra batteries for said toys.

I really enjoyed watching him "figure it all out" today as we were shopping. First, he just wanted to pick out excavators and trains but as I explained to him (and it took several attempts) what it was that we were doing and that we were going to think of others before we think of ourselves, it was almost like I could see the light bulb finally go off in his head. By the time we left, I think he'd suggested every pink item in the toy section and was thoroughly enjoying deciding which sweatshirt/sweatpant sets to buy...btw, he decided on the pink ones and the teal ones because they had sparkley letters on them which made them the "mostest coolest".

I hope this is the beginning of a pattern of behavior where he continues to put others first. It's something that I still forget to do myself so I know he's not always going to get it right the first try...but at least we're making a start.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

25 Days of Christmas - Day #1

This year we are doing a specific Christmas activity each day during the month of December leading up to Christmas Day. Some of the things we have planned are "serious" in nature (donating toys and food to local charities), some are delicious (making and decorating Christmas cookies) and some are just downright today's.

Today I had intended for us to make a Christmas chain out of red, green and white paper with our 25 different activities listed - one on each link in the chain. To help my very visual learner countdown to Christmas, we'd just tear off one link each day and do that activity...watching the chain get shorter and shorter everyday.

So this afternoon I gathered our supplies and started cutting the paper into strips and for some odd reason, this greatly upset my child. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I've told him that scissors can hurt him and he thought I was hurting the paper or what?...but he was not happy with me for cutting it.

So, revamping today's activity, we just took the white paper, crumpled it up, and had ourselves a big indoor snowball fight. Even that took a little bit of convincing b/c he wasn't sure throwing something, especially indoors and at someone, was permissible...but I think when I popped him in the forehead with one and then laughed hysterically at his reaction, he started to understand that this was (what he calls anything fun and out of the norm) a "special privilege" he jumped right in - and I must say, that kid's got an arm!

Even Alison got in on the action...not so much with throwing, but if one of the snowballs landed within her reach she would grab it and chew on it.

Of course there's no video or pictures b/c I can't very well defend myself and snap pictures at the same time, but hopefully this will be a recurring event all winter and we'll get some documentation when Daddy's home to participate.

Meanwhile, I've got to get some paper strips cut while he's asleep or we'll never get this paper chain made!