Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13

Today was the day. I sat down with 100 Christmas cards, and a list of well over 100 people. Sad but true, I under-ordered on the card front this year. I hated realizing I could not send cards to everyone on my list :( We did a funny card again this year. I had a different idea, but getting my Micah to participate in my schemes is not always easy.
Here they are... all addressed and ready to go. Well, except for the ones I couldn't find addresses for, or thought I could hand deliver, etc. Please note the carefully blurred address. ;)

Tonight was also the night of Lincoln's school performance. The school lures parents to PTA meetings by having the kids perform after the meeting. It is a stroke of brilliant parent bribery on their part, and we get suckered in every time. Who would want to miss the potential for Hadji to ad-lib lines?

and that is all for December 13.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12

A package arrived today. It was from my mom. We opened it. My boys shouted with extreme glee. It was a book. Not just any book... it was the Charlie Brown Christmas book. And not just any version... it was the recordable kind where my mom is reading it to them.


The boys sat down and read it three times in a row. Thanks Mom. Today's Christmas memory is dedicated to your thoughtfulness. It really made our day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11

Every year our boys look forward to hanging the German Pickle. My sister Sharon sent it to us when Lincoln was a baby, and it is one of our favorite ornaments. The tradition is that the pickle gets hidden deep in the tree on Christmas Eve, and the child that finds it, gets a special "extra" gift.  Now, I always make the extra gift one they would all share... a game, a movie, etc. or let's face it... the wild boys would be wrestling the tree to the ground to try and get to that pickle first.
So, again, even if you are not German, you too can hide the Pickle amongst your boughs. O Tannenbaum!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 10

There always seems to be a great debate amongst the church crowd at Christmas about Santa. Frankly, I don't understand it, and here is why...
I find the topic akin to getting an epidural during child labor. Get one. Don't get one. YOU need to think, pray, research, and decide what is best for you and your baby and your family.  But we like to make it a competition of who did and didn't, as if one makes us a better parent. Same thing with ol' St. Nick. We like to ask others and gauge ourselves of a higher standard accordingly. Do some reading on the actual story of St. Nicholas. You may be surprised what you find. No, I am not going to add in google links here. Research means YOU do the searching, not me. :)
I am also not saying I endorse telling your kids some fat guy in a red suit is watching them 24/7 and knows what they are doing. I will be honest, I think that is creepy. But so is letting your kids watch the Disney channel's kids soap operas and no one blathers on about them. (except me.)
I guess I get a bit weary when people, especially all who fall into the "church folks" category go all high and mighty on the subject. We see people get mad about stores not saying "Merry Christmas". We like to post things on all venues of social media about how de-Santafied our kids and home are, how we teach the true meaning of the holiday, how giving we are, etc etc etc. 
Oh, and believe me... I am glad people are teaching the TRUE meaning of the holiday. BUT here is the thing... the TRUE meaning of the holiday, is not for us to blast song after song about Silent Nights and Mangers, or to teach our kids Luke 2:11b by heart, or dress them up as shepherds for the church parade. Christ was not born into this world for you to acknowledge it for one month of the year. He was not born for you to get on your soapbox about how full of Christ your celebration is, or to bake him a birthday cake.  He was born to save sinners... of whom YOU and I are chief. He was born to show love, and grace, and mercy, and a kind of holy forgiveness I don't think we ever really understand this side of Heaven.
I think birthday cakes for Jesus are fine. I think memorizing scripture is awesome for kids... but don't get all "Jesus is Born" in December and fail to make much of his birth the other 11 months of the year. Don't bother with all this Christ emphasis if come January,your kids are hearing you gossip, worry about money, obsess with your new diet plan, criticize others, etc.
It's pointless if it is only for a season, and not year-round... 
How about come February, you have your kids do some extra chores to donate money to a charity? How about in June we read a scripture every evening about Christ? How about we make this Christ-centeredness a lifestyle and not a holiday? 
I know someone is going to ask, "Well, what does your family do?"
Our family does, what we believe is good and right for our family. So, take some time to think and pray and read before you toss out St.Nick and think that makes you a more holy Christmas family.
Just for the record though... I do not struggle in my faith AT ALL because my mom "lied" to me about Santa. I struggle with my faith at times because I am a sinner...

Friday, December 09, 2011

December 9

Today was crazy. My to-do list was too long and my got done list was short. BUT... I had been wanting to make these for my kiddos. I saw them on the internets, and knew the wild boys would get a kick out of them. Now, I had a dilemma...  The church staff Christmas Party was that evening, and I reeeeeaaaallly wanted to color my hair. So, there I was... at 1:35pm with a choice. My own locks or my kiddos special snack. I decided since I am so tall, my roots are up higher, and hence, less visible.  So I got cracking and made these just in time for the boys arrival from school.


Totally worth my root rot for the evening. ;) To make them I used that Betty Crocker sugar mix that comes in a bag. Hey, don't judge. I had already laid aside my own hair pride, I was not making scratch cookies too. You just pat them into little roundish circles and bake. Let them cool, and then frost with white frosting. I used ½ pound of confectioners sugar, ½ tsp meringue powder, and about 5-6 tbs. water. For the eyes and arms, I used black cake decorating icing. it come in a glue like bottle.  I stuck the marshmallows in a hot pan to melt them down a bit and then stuck them on the frosted cookies.  

Now... About those carrot noses...  Um. I was such a good mom this summer and never scrimped on the rainbow jimmy sprinkles in ice cream, so that when I went to find some orange ones to use as a nose, they were all gone. Not a jimmy to be had. Hmmmm... I needed an orange nose. I looked around the kitchen, and as I looked toward my office in jimmy-sprinkleless-despair, I spied the answer.
Yes, I took an orange sharpie marker and drew on those noses. Micah was a tad outraged. I was like, "Come on, its a 1mm nose! It's not like I'm drawing on the kids' tongues for goodness sake." So, there you have it. I shant be surprised when child services arrives on my doorstep.

And finally... a word from our own Frosty...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

December 8

Have you started to catch on that I am really writing these for me? I want to write down some of our December memories for my December Daily album, and last year the ol' blog proved very helpful come December 28th when I was playing catch up. As much as I love looking back at our DD albums, I refuse to let myself be stressed out when I don't have time to actually make all the pages in December.  Today, in what has become a tradition for a couple of friends and I, we worked on some crafts together. We had glue guns, and needles, and thread, and enjoyed a lovely day.  No faces are shone to protect the crafters involved...

and my dear friend Beth made my day... she sent me this lovely Christmas gift, wrapped so beautifully. She is thoughtful and kind, and it made my day. Here is my phone picture of it. Thanks Beth!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December 7

Today, I decided we needed a fun snack. S'mores was the chosen one, and lest you think I let the wild boys start a campfire in the living room, these are oven made s'mores. They loved them. A lot.

This may have also been the day when I realized, Alden was in desperate need of a Christmas haircut...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

December 6

"St. Nicholas Day... a good day to be the son of a German mama."

In case you have not caught on, I am German. Not "born in Germany" German, but my grandmother and all my great aunts and uncles were "boat people" who came into Ellis Island in the early 1900s. I love the traditions and German culture they gave me. One of my favorite German holidays, that we have incorporated into our Christmas, is Saint Nicholas Day. The kids leave their shoes outside the door (or in our case, by the door.) and Saint Nicholas fills them with candy... or twigs if you have been a naughty child. We don't play up the whole "naughty vs. nice" thing because I am not buying good behavior for one day with some candy laden shoes. We talk about the tradition, and such, but don't use it as a threat. Just our way.  (Although when Hadji was a grump on the way home from school the 5th, Alden said, "Ooooh, Hadji! You is gonna get twigs in your Shoooooes!" Ha! Love it.
This year, the shoes were laid out carefully the night before...

 And the next morning, after St. Nicholas' visit...

Emerson and Alden were up and ready. Lincoln decided to sleep was more important. He is my child~ he loves sleep :)

Lincoln must have heard the whoops and hollers of joy, he decided to join us...  I knew he would.

Saint Nicholas brought hershey kisses and such, and a mystery lego man for each boy. Here they are, all assembled for breakfast. (I encouraged removal of candy from shoes. Stinky shoes are not a good long term storage option for edibles.)

So, we love some Saint Nicholas Day. You too can celebrate it... even if you aren't lucky enough to be German. ;)

Monday, December 05, 2011

December 5

What does it take to make Alden happy?
A felt "Iron Man" ornament for the Advent Calendar.

What does it take to make Jude happy?
A concert by one of her favorite bands with some gal pals.

Well, and throw in some cool old stained glass windows at the concert venue. Excellent.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

December 4

 Today we had a busy day. I shot some photos of a cute family, as a favor. (its a secret, it is part of their Christmas gifts) My favorite part of the day was watching Lincoln read the book of the day to his brothers again. You are probably tired of photos of my kids reading. Sorry. It ain't gonna get better anytime soon either.

The place we took the photos was a really cool old area of our city that was the original settlement. I love the old buildings. Take this door for instance. So cool.

Here is one where Hadji's exact words were,  "Don't worry Mom. I'll get Alden across the street." Um, yeah. That pretty much translated into "Freak out NOW woman! I got your baby and I'm taking him into traffic!". I was behind an old stone wall though. So I took a photo instead. What? They WERE holding hands so sweetly after all...

and one more of the reading. Because I just can't stop.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

December 3

You know how you want every day in December to be chock full of Christmassy activity and such? But then you realize, things like laundry, dishes, and my arch enemy DUST keep happening. It really interrupts my December schedule of holiday themed days.
Today was a day of total chore related, cleaning up, laundry, and other boring stuff. I did however sneak in some time to start my December Daily. If you aren't a scrapbooker nerd mom like myself, you may not know that this is simply a scrapbook with at least one page for each day in December. I started doing it a few years back at the prompting of Beth and Nicole. Here is one of my first pages, just a little "filler" page. I have not bothered to take photos of each page, like I did last year, so this phone photo will have to suffice. (I blame the kitchen floor and its incessant need to be mopped for this.)

I also snapped a few pictures of Lincoln opening his first day of the Advent Calendar. I love this one, where I told him to just stand there so I could check my light.Knucklehead.

and the "real" pose...

All three boys' ornaments from the first three days. I am so happy that they are loving this, the books, and the Santa fluff.  Hope you are enjoying your December, dust bunnies and all :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

December 2

Two more ways we are counting down this year...
A Book A Day.
For the past few months I have been snatching any decent Christmas books I could find from the thrift stores, and putting them aside. I weeded through them all, choose the best 24, and wrapped each one. Then I got all crafty gal on those books, and date stamped, in a festive shade of red no less, white circle stickers and dated each book. They were placed  in a ginourmous silver tin next to the tree, and voila! 
Lincoln was first to open, and a vintage copy of Rudolph was our first book.

A wee bit blurry as it was a dimly lit iPhone shot, but Lincoln read the book to us before bed. I LOVE that he reads to us now too. Emerson was more than excited to follow suit tonight and read to his brothers. Since Alden still calls "G" "Number 3!" when asked, I think I'll just plan on reading when it is his turn for book day...

Number three:
We are puttin' the fluff back into Santa's Fluffy White Beard.  I took a clip art Santa, and some cotton balls, added in a glue stick, and the third countdown activity was complete. After all that Advent calendar sewing, I needed something quick and easy!
Here are some photos from the first day, when it was Alden's turn. I am not sure why he keeps taking the hood off his winter coat and wearing it around the house, and I am afraid to ask. I no longer ask why he puts his shoes on the wrong feet either though...  (and yes, that is leftover marinara sauce from dinner on his cheeks.don't judge.) 

Please note the carefully planned out chart. I was not risking anyone getting their turn mixed up, and since I knew I would never remember, this made my slightly OCD heart happy. The little bag is where the 24 cotton balls are, as well as the glue stick for putting them up. Oh, and the perks of having the butt ugliest ivy wall paper ever in your kitchen? I tape all this kind of stuff right to the wall. (the ivy's days are numbered. )

 So there you have it. The three ways we are counting down until Christmas Day.