Wednesday, 23 December 2009

"Might as well put God on the train"

We have a Fisher Price "Little People" Nativity set. As I mentioned, we opted not to put our old very breakable glass ornaments on the tree this year. Ditto the hand-painted ceramic Nativity my mother made for me years ago. So out comes the Little people Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

I had Joshua put it under the tree in the right order. After all, Rob had sat down with the kids only a day or two ago to remind them of the Christmas story. In all the excitement leading up to Christmas, it's hard not to see the joy in the kid's faces, even as I continually pull them down off the ceiling and settle them down once again. But it's also hard not to flinch as they say - "I can't wait til Christmas - so I can open my gifts!"

Huh? That's not what we're teaching them. Gifts are fun, but we want to teach them that they are just a reminder of God's greatest gift - his precious Son. And the greatest gift I can give my children is to teach them that. So out comes plastic baby Jesus as we tell the story again.

What's important to you? Are you teaching your children the true meaning of Christmas? Or are you letting the stress of shopping, baking and wrapping take center stage? Are they learning to count Christmas lists or precious blessings? A family 5 streets over just lost everything they had to fire. One of the girls is Josh's age. I talked to Josh about it, so that he could learn to be grateful, because what we have here on earth is fleeting, precious, but only temporary. I want him to remember Christmas for what it truly is, not what he got under the tree or in his stocking....

What do you want your Children to remember about Christmas? What legacy will you hand down to them?

So here's the challenge part. It's the night before Christmas're swamped right? thinking about the food you have to prepare, gifts still to be wrapped, and hoping the kids will behave for just one more minute while you finish this.

Well stop. Stop and drink it in. Look at their faces. Take 5 minutes to make some hot chocolate, sit at the table and tell them the Christmas story. Get out the Bible, a children's book, anything and read it to them. Savor the joy and peace of it. Let them remember that that moment was more important to you than finishing up the last minute crazies...

Just remember.

One more note, so I think we are doing well with the Christmas story. I tell Josh to set up the Nativity under the tree while I clean up breakfast table. So of course Noah crawls over to see the new toys. Before I know it, I see Josh and Noah taking the Mary, the wise men and a sheep for a ride on the Christmas train. Before I can say anything, Noah plucks one of wise men out of the train. Josh takes a minute, looks at Noah and says "Might was well put God on the train" and on goes baby Jesus.

OK, maybe I have some work to do yet.

Friday, 18 December 2009

traditions - pt 2 challenge

OK, hopefully I gave you some good food for thought. What traditions are important to you? What would you like your family to remember in 30 years?

Take a picture of it. What is it? You decorating the tree? Baking cookies? Wrapping gifts? How about shopping? Maybe a particular movie? (My husband says it's never really Christmas until he's seen Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase)

Classic, truly a classic! LOL

Anyway, what's your tradition? Now write something about it. What is the tradition? Who does it involved? Is there a time you always do it? Does it mean something to you or remind you of something or someone? Now's your chance to record that memory.

Imagine if you do something like this each year and record everything in an album? What kind of treasure would that be to hand down to the next generation. I have an album with nothing but Christmas layouts in there. It's fun to look at it each year, seeing the children grow from year to year.

Well, we are expecting to get possibly two feet of snow...we never ever get that much snow. In fact, we rarely have a white Christmas! But I am prepared, even looking forward to it a bit. As I just wrote my sister:

"We are hankering down here for snow Sat and are going to make cookies, play in the snow, wrap presents, drink hot cocoa, finish decorating our tree (it only has lights) and watch Christmas movies. I expect to peel Josh and Katelyn off the ceiling about once every 5 minutes. It will be total chaos - and I can't wait!"

Of course I will have my camera at the ready too. After all, who knows when tomorrow's traditions will be born?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Remembering Christmas - Traditions pt 1

What kind of traditions do you have for Christmas?

I recently talked about tree traditions on the Scrap with Shelby forum. We take for granted that traditions will always be carried down through the generations, but not always. As couples marry and make new families, some traditions are melded together, some new ones created and yet others are lost.

Like many families, my family would go on their annual ornament hunt. Each member would pick an ornament for that year and we would make a day of it. I remember looking around the brightly decorated department store and looking at each and every one. My brother would inevitable pick something hokey like a sequined ball or a lego house....My father? a bird. He loved birds on the tree. My mom would pick something more delicate like a clock or teapot. We'd unwrap them each year from their tissue and put it in it's proper owner's pile for hanging later. It was like a solemn ritual for me. We'd hang it, then my mother would hang the garland just so and the tree would be like magic.

Me - I always went for figurines. I have some from before I can even remember and I always loved them. When I was married, the ornaments came with me to my new home, guaranteeing a piece of my childhood and those Christmas memories would always would remain with me. Along with my own, I have a teapot and a bell from my mother's collection, one from my father;s childhood, and even an old faded light blue ball that hung on my parent's first tree when they were married. It's old fashioned and browned, and most of the glitter fell off long ago, but it's the one I treasure most.

This one I've had for years - one I remember always having, and even though it broke a couple of years ago, I can't bear to through it out. It resides in my China cabinet, a fond reminder of Christmas's past.

Sadly, this tradition just didn't take with my family. Perhaps it was the sheer volume of "baby's first Christmas" ornaments I've received for each child, maybe there were just too many traditions to meld and create for this one to survive. I don't know the reason why, but sadly for me, it just didn't.

But that doesn't mean it has no place in my memories, nor for those of my kids. With the birth of children comes the loss of precious irreplaceable breakables.... and so I have started taking pictures of these precious gems that may be loss in a household containing three children under the age of 6 - two of them rambunctious boys! I'm too busy now to make an album, but the important part is the pictures... I have those before these items are lost forever, and I tell their story each year when we hang them. One day when the kids are grown, and before they are ready to make their new traditions, I will be able to sit down and create the album.

Who knows, maybe when my kids are just a little older, and I am no longer a frazzled mom, perhaps we can revive this tradition and they will love it as much as I. But for me, I know I have preserved those memories to live on, and when I am gone, the ornaments will live on to tell my story.

Tomorrow I will post your traditions challenge.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Remembering Christmas - day 1 part 2

OK, how did you do with the first assignment? Did you find something you were grateful for? Now how about a picture to go with it? It doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be a memory.

See that? See that about three pieces of laundry are folded and the rest lay undone. Wait, doesn't that ruin the picture?

So often our books are made up of "perfect" pictures. Life isn't what. But what do I want to remember...that my laundry was always neatly folded and put away, or this day when the older kids let their baby brother play "Cars cars" with them for the first time?

And if I am smart, I'll comment that that's Noah's new taggy blanket hanging on the playpen. I just finished making it for him and it's waiting to be wrapped up. And I'll write about how the kids brought Flo's cafe over so the cars 'can get their coffee like mommy" and that Noah brought in his dinosaurs and roared the entire time.

I say let the laundry lay unfolded for another day, because all too soon, the kids will be grown, or the minute will pass. What you do with the moment will decide it's it just passing time, or does it become a memory?

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of the series Remembering Christmas...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Remembering Christmas

What has you stressed? What's preventing you from remembering these precious times? I propose focusing on something else. What can you do to remember this precious time?

Stop what you are doing. Go get a notebook or a sheet of paper. Forget everything that is bothering you. Write down one thing you are grateful for right now this minute. If you're inclined, write a little about why but it's not necessary. And if you want, share it here.

I am stressed most about my kids. They place constant demands on me to the point of exhaustion. At one point on Sunday, Noah was climbing on me to try and nurse, Katelyn was shouting "look at this look at this" every 5 seconds as Rob brought down some Christmas decorations when Josh suddenly had exposive vomit right in front of me and all over the couch I was leaning up against. stressful times...

BUT I am grateful I have these children. When Rob and I got engaged 10 years ago, it was with the knowledge that I couldn't have kids. Then we had hope, then miscarriages. Now lots of drugs, negatives tests, 2 positive ones and a trip to China later, I have these three awesome kids.

So today, instead of getting upset with them because Katelyn is nagging, Josh is jumping on the couch or Noah is cranky, I'm going to remember how lucky I am. No craky mommy - only a grateful one. I'll save this note for some journaling in my scrapbook now.

Tune in tomorrow or go to the Scrap with Shelby forum to following this series on what you can do this Christmas to save your memories....

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Opening in Christmas card class

Life is so crazy right now with the crazy I am looking forward to the card class this Sat. I put on Christmas music and hot spiced apple cider and just have a good time.

There was a cancellation for the class, so if you'd like to join me, there's room for one more.