Monday, December 28, 2009

Good day list...

In an attempt to ignore the dust bunnies, dirty floor, sticky tablecloth, and partially completed cleaning around here, I've decided to think about the good things about this day for the pleasure of the internet at large...

- Evan only got up twice last night and slept past 8:00 a.m. HUGE!!!!
- Seth didn't poop in his pants today! He actually went in the toilet!
- New nap nazi schedule is helping me a ton. Evan has to stay down an hour and a half now, whether he sleeps or not. This helps me carve out time that I know I can dedicate to Seth.
- Spent an hour and a half reading books to Seth this morning from the new library stash. What kind of almost 3-year-old would rather read this long than play? "No, Mommy, don't want to play play doh. I want to read another book!"
- Seth and Evan were great for a short grocery run before afternoon nap.
- Evan slept for 2 hours for his afternoon nap. Craziness!
- The floors are swept, if not mopped. I can vaccum after David gets home.
- I washed our sheets for the first time in a month. Now, can we get them back on the bed before we're wiped out? Hmm....
- Most of the laundry is clean. Don't ask me if it's folded.
- Both of my tiny boys have been very sweet and loving to me today. And Seth spontaneously thanked me for finding his "Little Red Hen" book to read to him before nap. Something's taking!

It's so easy to see all the things that need doing instead of the good things around me. You may need to make a list today, too. Go for it!

And, I don't know if y'all have any tips, but do you clean up the nursery rhymes you read your children? The Billy Goat's Gruff has some scary troll issues, and then there's the whole ax and wolf's stomach issue in Little Red Riding Hood. He doesn't seem phased by this right now, but I don't want to create nightmare fodder...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's lovely to be home for the holidays. =) Ok, well, sort of. We did got to my parent's for a few days before Christmas. It was a whirlwind of baking and sledding and tractor riding, of course.

Mom and Dad got the 5 inches of snow that we'd been denied here, and Dad dug out the old Snow Racer and cleaned it off. It took a lot of begging and watching his 6-month-old brother go down with Mommy first, but Seth finally decided to try the whole sledding thing. (The Snow Racer is this really cool sled thingy with a seat in between two skis with a steering wheel attached to a short ski. You can steer between trees and stuff. It's awesome.) So, I got to take both of my tiny boys sledding for the very first time. Seth couldn't get enough after awhile. He went sledding for an hour every day that we were there.

My mom's family always gets together for Christmas Eve, and my mom was in charge this year, since my grandmother is getting a little too feeble to do much hosting these days. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this trip, working on things for the dinner. I also made a ton of cookies to give to our family members. Mom is lucky I can bake. =) I made a lot of rolls in one day. It was nice to be puttering around in the kitchen with Mom and Dad, working together. My parents' rock. Mom also helped me to get things together so Seth could pretend to be a wise man. She looks more and more vindicated for saving everything all the time, unfortunately. =) Sorry, Dad, it's true. And then it was back home to sleep in our own beds on Christmas Eve...

So... how does a non Christmas tree and non gift giving family celebrate Christmas, you ask? Well, we're still learning our way, but this year, it looked like this. We all got up, I made a big, scrumptious breakfast (all Advent candles lit!), and then David lit a fire in the fireplace. Christmas music played while we ate. Seth put the Baby Jesus in his Advent calendar. Then we went in the living room, sat down together, and David read the Christmas story. Seth played his Wise Man game, and then we got out a hymn book and sang Christmas carols together. Seth loves to sing, and he knew a lot of the words to some of the carols. Then we pulled his little table and chairs in front of the fire, and he did a Christmas craft with me. (It was one I'd already done with the 2's Sunday School class we teach, so I just saved some extra stuff for him.)

In the future, I'm sure we'll do more activities, but this was perfect for us this year. I'm thinking of ways to make the Wise Man activity more full in years to come. We will probably pick out gifts for the Baby Jesus in the days before Christmas next year. I'm thinking of explaining to Seth and reading him the verses about giving to the poor in His name, and we'll go through a catalog of things you can give to families in other countries- like lanterns for indigenous missionaries or chickens for a family in Nicaragua. Maybe we'll wrap up pictures of those things, and he can put those next to the baby next year. It's going to be a work in progress, but creating traditions always is.

I consider this Christmas a success because David said that he enjoyed it, and he didn't even miss the presents. Score! =)

The afternoon was spent having an adult's only Christmas dinner with good friends while all the babies and toddlers napped. We reflected on how God had been working with us in the last year. It was very relaxing and pleasant, and Evan was extra good. Our Christmas miracle was that he slept for over 2 hours!

And now its a calm weekend at home, and we're enjoying the time to relax together. Merry Christmas! We hope that this time brings peace and blessings and rest to you as you celebrate His birth!

Seth the Littlest Wise Man...

This year, Seth was a Wise Man. =) We woke up, had a big, yummy breakfast, and then sat together while David read the Christmas story. After he read a short section about the Wise Men from the Matthew account, we asked Seth if he'd like to be a Wise Man and bring presents to the baby Jesus.

"Yeah!" And so it was time to don my brother's old king robe from a play of yesteryear. We had the roll the sleeves up about 5 times. =)

Following yonder star with Daddy... "Where is it, Daddy?"

Finding one of the tin foil stars Mommy had put on the walls... and the present to give to Baby Jesus underneath. "Frankincense" looked an awful lot like a nice smelling candle this year. =)

"Look, Mommy, gold coins!"

"I give them to the baby Jesus, Mommy!"
I think we've got a new Christmas tradition around here. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free gift tags on the web...

I found a great site with tons of free printable Christmas gift tags. I printed off a few pages of the "Baked pretty for you" tag on card stock. There's something for everybody there. Enjoy!

Trying to keep a quiet heart...

I'm feeling a little challenged today. =)

I want to keep a quiet heart, and it's been a struggle. It takes so little to get me in a foul mood these days. Last night was long and tiring, thanks to a couple of window candles in Evan's room that I hadn't unplugged. Even after I unplugged them at eleven, that didn't do the trick. I think either David or I were up every 2-3 hours all. night. long.

I made the mistake of letting Evan cry in his crib after he woke up after 30 minutes of nap because I just wanted to lie in the bed. The furious crying that is payback for that has barely ceased since he got up. And I'm worn.

Combine that with my inability to get the decorations up because of a million and one interruptions, now including Mr. Spirit of Christmas Unhappiness, and I'm not keeping a quiet heart. David has now taken him out for the second time this afternoon, and they've walked around the corner to get the walnuts I forgot for the cookies I'm supposed to be making for Seth and Evan's Sunday School teachers because of my mommy guilt.

"Buy gift cards" you say. Well, sure, if we hadn't spent and spent and spent the last two months on things as unexciting as suits for David's job, plane tickets, bar association dues, etc., maybe I would. But we have, so I'm not. We're fine and dandy; I'm just trying to be responsible, yada, yada...

And the lights are now draped across the mantel with care, and the house is quiet, and I've scrapped the plans to make soup until tomorrow. But its not that easy to get back on the horse. (I actually have personal experience with that saying because I once had a horse that liked to run away with me until I fell off, and I did indeed have to take my shaken self and climb back on when I didn't want to). I made myself hold Evan and calm down and pray for my anger at him to leave despite the screaming because he can feel my anger, and I know it.

It's a dirty little secret, ya know. Mommies aren't supposed to be angry. Ever. But I am angry more often than I'd like.

I need to go and sit at the foot of the manger filled with the baby that all the songs say didn't cry...

*** The day was saved by David, my personal superhero, who got both boys smiling and laughing, giving me time to finish up the cookies, which turned out really cute with the tags. We watched "Elf," laughed a lot, and now I'm going to bed with an empty, shiny sink. So, despite the sad tone of this post, all is not lost, and I'm not about to throw myself off a bridge. Yet. Good night. =) ***

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Comin' to ya from the Lone Star State...

I gotta tell you, I'm still surprised that I'm here. =)

If you've been keeping up with the saga via Facebook, you already know that it's been a nutty last couple of weeks. David was gone for a week, and I came down with a virus toward the end of the week he was gone. It involved a nasty fever, and eventually, a full body rash.

FYI, if you're a nursing mother, Sudafed will dry up your milk supply, and Benadryl is totally verboten. I know about no. 1 from sad experience, but we're back in the dairy business now. I know about no. 2 because I felt like I was on fire for a couple of days, and I deeply resented the doctor's cheery "Have a nice day!" after he told me oatmeal baths would have to be sufficient.

In the middle of all that, it was starting to look very much like we were not taking our plane flight to Texas to see David's brother and his whole family. I called Expedia to get our options, and we thought about maybe just sending David and Seth so we wouldn't lose too much money.

So when I woke up Wednesday morning almost completely rash free and feeling human again, I can't tell you how thankful I was. And Thursday morning actually saw us lugging two kids and our stuff through the airport. =) Seth thought the "high speed jet plane" was the best thing ever, and it was so much fun to see the trip through his eyes. Both boys did remarkably well, even after we traded our plane for a 2 1/2 hour car ride out to Dan and Kelli's town.

Texas. It's a different country. =) Yup. Everybody wears cowboy boots here, and there's this metal star all over everything, and they fly their state flag everywhere. Definitely a different culture when we come here. I grew up in a small town, but it wasn't like this small town. I feel like a tourist, gawking at the natives. =) I probably smell like a yuppy Eastern big city gal.

We've done a lot of playing, some nighttime sleeping, a girl's night out, and plenty of eating. Tonight is the children's Christmas program at church. I am looking forward to watching my bevy of lovely girly nieces sing their little hearts out. I wish Evan could be baby Jesus this year, but I think some of his recent behavior disqualifies him. He's not of the "meek and mild" persuasion. =) He likes to try and bungee jump backwards off our legs, squeal loudly, and blow spit bubbles at everyone.

Heading home tomorrow. We'll miss this branch of the family once again... Wish us uneventful travel. =)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pasta snowflakes...

If you have craft glue and wagon wheels and spray paint, you've got yourself snowflakes. =) Go here for all the coolness... and make sure to look through the comments for more detailed instructions.

Since I hadn't thrown away that wagon wheel pasta from over a year ago, I made a couple tonight. We'll see what they look like after I'm done. Since I can't stand glitter all over everything, I'm thinking of spray painting mine silver.

We've had a great start to advent around here. I dispensed with the advent wreath in favor of plain candlesticks arranged in a circle, since it took up much less room. And Seth LOVES the advent calendar. So far, we have taken out a star, a shepherd, and a sheep, and he's put them in the blank manger scene.

He told me today, "Mommy, there's a sheep. The sheep has a baby. It's Baby Jesus!" Well, He is the Lamb of God. =)