Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The 12 Days of Christmas

This year, we have started a new tradition for Christmas. I can't say that I thought this idea up myself, I borrowed it from a friend who did it last year. I thought The Boy was a little to young to get into it last year, but decided that even at almost three, he will probably like most of it this year. The concept is a take on the 12 Days of Christmas. Since The Boy's favorite Christmas song this year is that song, it was only fitting that we start this tradition now. Basically, The Husband and I sat down and picked 12 things that are Christmas related for The Boy to do everyday until Christmas. This is what we have done so far....

1. Sing Christmas Carols

2. Write a letter to Santa

3. Make Gingerbread Houses

4. Do something for Someone you don't know

5. Go look at Christmas lights

Other things include making Christmas cookies, watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and leaving milk and cookies for Santa. I couldn't be more pleased with The Boy's enthusiasm for this tradition. Last week we painted a Christmas tree and wrote the 12 things on Christmas ornaments made out of construction paper. The ornaments were folded and taped and each day The Boy gets to open one of the ornaments. Since we started, he gets so excited when he realizes it is almost time to open the ornament. We do this every night after dinner. The surprise and wonder of child is a magnificent thing.
The pictures are from gingerbread house making. The look of excitement on his face is priceless.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mates for Life

A few days ago, I came home with The Boy in tow to find a poor dead cardinal bird on the deck by the patio doors. I know from seeing it happen before that this poor little bird must have hit the glass patio doors hard or repeatedly. Birds are flying into that thing all the time. I took The Boy inside before he saw the bird and went back out to dispose of the poor thing.

The bird on the deck was sad enough, but it just gets sadder. After getting into the house, we let the dog out. Atty kept growling and looking under a set of shelves on the side of the deck. I finally went out to see what the deal was and I just melted. Underneath the shelves tucked back into the corner was a female cardinal bird, they are tan. She was cowering in the corner. She was, I am sure, waiting on her mate. I got Atty inside and the bird finally flew up to the porch railing and just started calling over and over again. This kept up most of the night. So sad, she was missing her mate.

This made me wonder if Cardinal birds mate for life. Here are some facts I found...

1. The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder. (Read Cause of Death for our poor bird.)
2. There seems to be some evidence that Cardinals do indeed spend the entire year with the same partner. But saying that they mate for life gives us the impression that they spend decades of bliss together, the fact is, a Cardinal life expectancy isn't much longer than a year.

So, this poor female cardinal, I assume, has lost her mate....

It is nice to see another species, so far from ours mating for "life."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It Gives Me a Warm Fuzzy Feeling

In an effort to maintain the illusion that I am a 1950s housewife, I have participated in a number of different events and/or activities this year to keep up the facade. I have started and participated in Suppa Club, the 21st version of a knitting circle only cooler and with no yarn. I have taken a sewing class and made a vest, pillow shams and a sewing accessories bag (the bag has since become The Boy's crayon storage container). But most of all, I have turned all my holiday energies to baking like a mad woman, pretending I have nothing else to do like work and sleep. In the last two weeks I have made a chocolate cake, cupcakes with homemade frosting, toffee bars, about 12 dozen cookies and fudge. Whew, I am tired.

Why in the world am I doing this? Well, I think it goes back to the silly innate need to make people happy and often times in America, we make people happy through food which in turns makes us happy when the reaction to the food is good. I know, it is an absurd cycle. You feel good, then I feel good, and I want to make you feel good again, so here's a chocolate pound cake....eat it up.

The Husband loves when I bake. It makes him happy. There are certain varieties of baked goods he does not like as much as others however. Give him an oatmeal raisin cookie and he is in heaven. Give him a brownie and he will frown, but still eat it. They are not his favorite. I learned this year that neither one of us particularly cares for traditional fudge, the chocolate kind with walnuts. This was after I had made a big pan of it. I tried to get ride of it, but it is so rich, people will only eat one piece. Finally, over the weekend, I tell The Husband he has to take it to work. I cut it up in little pieces, wrap in in wax paper and put it in a cookie tin. Off to the office it goes despite The Husband's thoughts that no one will eat it.

Yesterday morning, I make my first phone call to his office only to find out the fudge is already gone. This is at 9:30 AM people, The Husband gets to work around 8:15 AM. A little over an hour and ALL THE FUDGE IS GONE!

Last night, The Husband comes into the house empty cookie tin in hand and tells me to look inside the canister. I already know it is empty, so I open it up and there is a note from The Husband's big, big boss.

"I don't know who made this fudge, but is is amazing. When can we expect another batch?"

I made someone I don't remotely know happy....time to make more fudge.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Parental Milestone

It has officially happened. On Saturday at approximately 11 AM, my child through a temper tantrum in public. I have seen it happen to other parents, I have tried to exhibit empathy as to their plight, and have waited it out...I knew it would happen eventually to us.

We were doing some Christmas shopping on Saturday, hoping to beat the lunch crowd. The Boy had been wanting to go to the mall for about a week now. You may think, you are so lucky, your Boy likes to shop. That is not the case, The Boy only wants to play with the Thomas the Train set in Von Maur. So, The Husband and I tell The Boy, if he listens well and behaves, he can play with the train. Well, we had been into Macy's for an office gift and had just entered Old Navy when what to his wondering eyes should appear....yes, folks, a gigantic basket of footballs at the front of the CLOTHING store.

The scene went something like this:

The Boy: Momma, can I play with one of those?
Momma: No, we don't play with things inside stores.
The Boy: But, I want to. Daddy, can I have one of those?
Daddy: No.

The Boy goes to get one anyway.

Momma: I said you cannot play with those. You need to listen or you are not going to be able to see the Thomas the Train set.

Chaos ensues, The Boy throws himself on the floor and actually kicks the floor and starts crying. We couldn't determine if he was upset about the football or the Thomas the Train threat.

The Husband then says it is time to go home then and The Boy just started shouting NO, NO, NO at the top of his lungs.

The whole scene lasted maybe 10 seconds. We picked The Boy up off the floor. Took him out to the mall walkway and had a discussion about his behavior. When all was said and done, The Boy looks at me and The Husband and says... I apologize.

He didn't act up the rest of the day. The Boy is usually very good about listening and I hope this will be the only time he does this. But, I can't help but feel like this experience has brought us to a whole new level of parenting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fa La La La La La La!

Ahhh, Christmas. It is the most wonderful time of the year. Until this year, I have considered Thanksgiving to be my favorite holiday. I love the thought and concept of celebrating and sharing thanks and reasons to be thankful. Now, I am not sure I can choose between Christmas and Thanksgiving. I guess that is why many people refer to the Holidays as their favorite time of year. This year has changed my view on the Christmas season and it is now at the top of my list.

My favorite part of Christmas has always been the overall meaning behind it. Sure, I like the gifts and more than that I love giving gifts, but I have always found the most signifcance in the fact that God gave us his most important gift, Jesus, at Christmas. What ressonates with me is that anyone, no matter your station in life, can receive this gift and the reward is eternal. What a great thought. To this day, I still get chills of joy and amazement when my father reads the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve. I have always loved it and this a tradition we have started with our son.

We have been teaching The Boy the true reason behind Christmas much more this year. We are talking more about the story of Jesus' birth and why he was born. It is phenomenal that even at the tender age of 2 that he gets it, mostly. While adults can understand the harder concepts of sin and salvation better than a child, The Boy still knows that Jesus loves him, that Jesus is God's Son and that Jesus lives in our hearts.

On top of the reason behind Christmas, The Boy is just much more into every aspect this year. He understands what month we are in, he loves the decorations and he isn't as afraid of Santa Claus as much as he was last year. We put up our Christmas decorations this past weekend and The Boy was so excited he could hardly stand it. The Husband would say the same was true for me as I made him get the tree out on Friday night after dinner...there was no way I was waiting until Saturday morning. With shared enthusiasm, The Boy and I decorated and played and sang carols. He kept asking if he could turn the lights off...we were showered with the repetitive question of "is it time to turn of the lights yet?" He got excited to see the ornaments with his name on them and he eventually stood in awe of our little tree when the lights were finally turned off and the tree was turned on.

How can you not get excited when your child says, "I am so happy, it is Christmas time now. Let's sing jingle bells." Tis the season, enjoy it for all it means and for all the joy it brings you!

Christmas 2009

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