Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love, love, love Christmas traditions

I love traditions more than I love the actual "stuff" of Christmas. In fact, sometimes the pure materialism of it all can be quite overwhelming and frustrating. Why are we celebrating CHRISTmas again? My mind doesn't need much to get distracted from why we celebrate Christmas. I think our human nature clings to what we know won't last, but in our hearts we know that the most meaningful gifts are those which you can't purchase. Thought. Time. Energy. Creativity. Giving of ourselves. Spiritual Encouragement. I think the simpler the better, so we can focus on what really matters. Thus far Brian and I have created some fun family traditions:

- Each year we buy a book to add to our collection (which we read to the kids in the days prior to Christmas). We always read one on Christmas day before the gift-opening begins. In years past, we've bought: The Tale of Three Trees (I cry every time as does someone else I know... wink. wink.), Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Lucado's You Are Special, Henry's The Gift of the Magi, and The Night Before Christmas. Any suggestions for this year?

- Each year Brian & I choose a Christmas CD. In years past, we bought: Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb of God", Sufjan Steven's 5 CD Collection (prob our fave!), "Christmas with the Rat Pack", "Your King Has Come," and don't forget "The Jackson 5 Christmas album"! No clue what we'll choose this year. Maybe an Appalachian instrumental CD with the hammered duclimer. Wish there was a compilation of folksy eclectic artists with a Christmas CD. Regina Spektor or Ingrid Michaelson? If we can't be hipsters we might go for Muppets. I'm just saying....

-Each year we usually go to one Christmas event as a date: Scrooge, a local Christmas Pageant, a Christmas concert like Behold the Lamb of God, or our church's Christmas dinner. I think this year we may take the kids to a live nativity and let Sophie practice her sheep sounds.

- For two years, I've helped organize a cookie decorating party for the kiddos and done a cookie swap for the mamas! We'll see if I have enough energy this year.... No promises. :)

- For gifts, I usually make a smorgasbord of delectable treats including chocolate toffee grahams, peppermint bark, mocha fudge, cream cheese brownies, iced sugar cookies, preacher cookies, dipped pretzels, etc. I try to make tins for all of my family. Last year I even made some Kahlua cookies- my own creation!

- For cards, have ordered them from shutterfly (totally redeemed all of my PAMPERS rewards!) and they are on the way.... yep I dressed us in Christmas colors at Thanksgiving with that in mind.... though the photo doesn't do justice to Sophie's adorableness. I look foward to collecting Christmas cards from everyone and putting them on the back of my front door. I usually quiz Chase on who everyone is. I'm sure Sophie will rip them off and give them to me (READ: WARNING-send us your Christmas card early so that you don't get stuck at the bottom of my door where your card might be eaten/torn/crumpled by my one-year-old!!)

-I also hope to continue with my annual blurbbook where I capture the years best photos of my kids and make them into a photo book. (Check out Hoping Santa gets me a new camera this year so the quality of my photos won't be so bad! (READ: Brian, are you listening?)

-And my most recent tradition which is kid-friendly.... completed in the Nick of time (yep pun intended- get it? Saint Nick?) ..........Drumroll please.......

An Advent Calendar! Woohoo! I did it! I finally made the Christmas Countdown calendar I had been wanting to make for like 2 years. I saw the idea on a blog: and it looked to overwhelming and the perfectionistic part of me was like "there's no way I could produce something that I like because I don't even own that kind of crafty stuff." Well... shout out to my dear friend Liz V!!! Thanks for leaving me a ton of cool crafty paper! All in all, I think I only bought the Christmas-themed scrapbook paper (for the backdrop), two sheets of sequenced stickers (like the snowflake and present and stocking), one roll of green ribbon for the bow ($1 at dollarstore) and one cookie sheet (also $1 at the dollarstore). In fact don't get the expensive kind of cookie sheet b/c the non-stick kind won't allow magnets to stick.

It's hard to see from the photo, but each day is a magnet (25 in all since it's a countdown to Christmas day) and on Christmas there's a nativity ornament to remind us what it's all about.

So that's what's in store this year. Haven't tackled the tree yet or much decor... I think I'm in disbelief that tomorrow is December!

Monday, November 21, 2011

in need of a feel-good "awww" kinda moment?

I'm not sure what is funnier:
a) that B sent this to me b/c of my owl-obsession
b) that I have the same expression when hubby rubs my forehead after a long day!
c) or that I asked B if we could get an owl for a pet after watching the video at least 3 times in a row.