Our take on Santa

We tell our children that Santa Claus is a Christmas tradition. We tell them people like to pretend he’s magical and that he’s a fun game people play. Just like candy canes and holly, Christmas carols and Christmas cookies, Santa Claus to us, is just another symbol of Christmas. We do not think it’s a good idea to try to get them to “believe”. 

We feel that would be lying to our children. Calling Santa to tell him your child’s being naughty? That seems like lying and kind of mean manipulation. Just discipline your child for disobeying and move on. The “Elf on the Shelf” seems like more of the same–lying to your babies.

We want our children to trust us, to believe us in all things and getting them to think a make-believe person is real would drastically deter from that end.

And of course, we want our chiddlers to remember that Christmas is a celebration of the coming of the Christ child. Even though it was originally a Pagan holiday, even though Jesus wasn’t really born in December, we now use this day to honor His coming. The light of God in human form. An undertaking, a promise, a gift I’ll never really be able to comprehend. A grace I don’t deserve. A forgiveness I could never be grateful enough for.

To honor God sending His Son to sacrifice for our sin? So I could be face to face with the Perfect Holy One who is our Heavenly Father? I don’t know why He allowed us to be worthy, but am so thankful He did. That’s what we celebrate.

 But celebrate Santa? Not so much.
We think it’s cute, but as a main part of Christmas,
we feel like this. 

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Birthday Party Prep

Pennant Banner completed: check
Fruit cut up: check
Veggies cut up: check
Bad Guy masks made: check
Obstacle course designed and set up: check
Buns sliced: check
Kitchen floors done: check
New desk assembled: check
New bathroom stocked and functional: check
Washer and dryer moved: check
New bathroom decorated: check
Handkerchiefs located: check
Capes made: check
Signage made: check
Cupcake picks made: check
Eleventeen balloons blown up: check
Cityscape made: check
Night scene made: check
Facepaint located: check
Paint, brushes and ice cube trays located: check
Chocolate sauce made: check

Tomorrow’s list is shorter. I thank God for family and friends who did the lion’s share of this! I didn’t do a whole lot of it because I’ve been having high blood pressures and have had to rest a lot.

It’s annoying when my mom, husband, dad, mother-in-law and anyone else who deems it necessary tells me, “Go sit down!” or “Are you resting?” I understand the concern and I’m not taking it lightly. It is just very very difficult to let people do things that I feel are my responsibilities or even things I just want to do.

Even so, I am very thankful for the people willing to do whatever needs done to help our family thrive and for the kids’ Super Party to be a Super Success.

And truthfully, I am so tired I could fall asleep right now.

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Happy Birthday, handsome husband (and USA)

Yesterday we started the day with homemade elephant ears. 
 Aviana made a banana split cheesecake that Brielle and I decorated to take over to my mom’s.
 We enjoyed playing “Telestrations”, one of our standby games. 
It is SO fun that the girls are old enough to play with us!
Cadrian, Aunt Barb, Aviana, Brielle, Gigi, Me, Opa

 We got in some water play in the sheep tank–even though it was ALMOST too hot hot to be outside.

 Love that boy! He’s *very* close to going in the potty full time!
Today was Kevin’s birthday.
Kevin’s big birthday present–I had aerial pictures of the farm from the 50s through the 90s framed in one  frame for his new office.
 The evening ended with…
 A little rocket fun!
 Classic Cadrian…exuberant, vibrant eyes, bug bites on the forehead, chocolate cheek, stained, holey and VERY favorite tee shirt, grin that will make your heart skip a beat.

 The onlookers…Amelia, Betsy, Tyler, Cadrian, Aviana, Brielle, me and Denton

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He is risen!

 Easter Blessings!

May this image – from a 1928 children’s Bible – remind us that even as we wake up with plans for each day, we will encounter miracles if we look for Jesus first.

 May God bless you and your family
today and always!

I got this in my inbox from Barbara Curtis, one of my favorite encouragers. I just had to share it with you! If you haven’t yet checked out her blog, Mommy Life, you’ll be glad when you do.

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Random bits

The girls spent Christmas morning writing their thank you notes so they would be ready to pass out after they opened their gifts.

Denton turned 16 months on Christmas Eve. We’re still breastfeeding and he’s never been sick. Coincidence?

I’m a huge fan of peppermint coffee creamer, even if it does have soybean oil in it.

Cadrian has a new favorite Iowa State outfit that I’m afraid is going to be worn every other day. (and that’s just because I make him wash it, otherwise he would never take it off).

I started something called The Tens List for Bible reading in April. Yesterday I just finished reading the entire Bible for the first time!  I’ve started a book called Crazy Love.

Our kitty Goldenmane is 14ish weeks and likes to spend time in laps and inside the Christmas tree. She also has a purr you can hear in Colorado.  Her favorite place to sleep is in the scarf drawer.

Aviana can do some magic tricks with her new magic set. It’s pure joy to watch her blossom.

I cleaned out the guest room. It’s never looked so good (if you ignore the ripped wallpaper, green shag carpet, dated furniture and the torn and sullied duvet cover.) 

Brielle is super sweet even when her face isn’t covered in tea ring frosting.

Cadrian’s favorite games to play are “Bad Guy Fight” and “Roughhouse”. Aviana loves the paper and pencil version (probably because we don’t have the branded game) of “Battleship”. Brielle enjoys look and finds, like Where’s Waldo? or 1001 Wizard Things to Spot.

I read the first Hunger Games in less than a day. I’m a little afraid to start the next one because of the amount of time I’d have to ignore my family.  But I can’t not start it!

I organized the storage and got rid of a bunch of stuff. That felt pretty good. I’d forgotten one should actually be able to walk into a room.

Aviana can’t wait until our ‘sewing for 18″ dolls’ books come in at the library.  She can’t wait to make Laura Hope Grace Lacy some clothes. (I hope it’s EASY!)

We still haven’t had any snow. Cold without snow just isn’t fair.

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Countdown to Christmas

I saw a fabulous idea for an Advent calendar on Pinterest, so I made it.

You make little cards from cardstock and fold them over ribbon stapled to the back of a picture frame. I just so happened to have a frame that was newly glass-less, so I was all set.

You clothespin the cards to the ribbon so you can’t see what’s inside.  Aviana and I decoupaged clothespins with scrapbooking paper, but it turned out that the regular sized clothespins were way too heavy for the ribbon.

I used some mini clothespins that happened to have a summer theme, but ah well. On the inside of the cards you write an activity for the day.

The blog I read this on ((The original post is here)) suggested using post-its, so you don’t have to re-make the cards every year, and it gives you flexibility to change up the activity if something comes up at the last minute. Is she brilliant or what?!

A few of our activities were ice skating…

and making popcorn strings…

do our Advent candles…

make Christmas cookies…

and go see Santa.

Even though Aviana made all the cards for me, I’ve since then found some K&Company paper that had beautiful vintage Christmas numbers. I did feel a little guilty about covering up all her painstakingly placed stickers, but I do love the calendar all the more with its new Victorian feel and matching numbers.

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Are you kidding me?!

How much do you spend on Christmas?

It’s out of control.
I googled “stocking stuffers” and was hard pressed to find a single item on the lists for less than $10. If people really go by these guides you see in magazines and on line this time of year, and you put just a few things in the stocking plus some really inexpensive items like the ritual toothpaste and toothbrush (c’mon, I KNOW I’m not the only who has gotten a new toothbrush for Christmas every year of her life), that’s $50 just on the stocking. That’s JUST the STOCKING!
Then what do you put under the tree? Googling “real simple gift guide” turned up some ideas. Costly ones. A twenty dollar gift? A fifty dollar gift? How many gifts do you put under the tree anyway?
If you’re spending $100 per person on Christmas presents for everyone in your family, that can add up pretty fast. My guess is for the average American $100 per person is on the low end of the Christmas budget.
My guess is your child already has plenty of toys. Plenty of things with which to occupy himself. Plenty of clothes. Plenty of love and affection. Ask yourself why you’re doing it.
Then what about your families of origin? Are you buying your parents presents? Siblings? Their spouses? Nieces? Nephews? Are your kids “buying” for their cousins? Do they really need all that stuff? Do you? Ask them what they think of what you got them last year. Do they still use it?
Do they even remember what it was you spent four trips to the mall and hours agonizing over to give them? Is is worth your time, your money, your emotional investment to shower all these people with gifts?
What about the paper boy? The hairdresser? The mailman (less than $20 by law)? The kids’ teachers? Piano teacher? The garbage man? Seriously?! You’re forking over another $100 just in tips or “little appreciation gifts”? How many “#1 teacher” ornaments can someone put on her tree anyway?
WHY do we do this?! It’s the season of giving. Sure. According to whom? The retailers? The catalogs? The people anxious to make a buck and pump up the economy?
Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of his very life and breath. So that’s why I should give a Buddah Butter Dish to my quirky office mate or a Bear’s Head Staple Remover to my assistant.
Grandchild tee shirt for Opa
The wise men (who, by the way, likely would have numbered many more than three) brought three gifts to toddler Jesus (which would mean they all didn’t give something). Because He was BORN! Because He is the light of the world! Because He is our Savior, not simply because it was a certain date near Winter Soltice. Jesus birth isn’t even celebrated until 300 years after His birth, death, resurrection and ascension. It’s nowhere mentioned in the Bible to therefore give gifts to your fellow man to honor Jesus’ birth, or because the Magi did it.
Sure I’m a bit on the outer fringe with my opinion. But I’m not the only one. (link is to an excellent article outlining why you might want to consider scaling back)
We’ve done some alternative things to show people that we love them without going crazy spending and shopping. One year we gave everyone a gift curtailed to their interests in their honor to Samaritan’s Purse. You could also help people in real need at Compassion. Another year, I bought gifts at second-hand stores or from friends getting rid of some of their items. Second hand gifts have the bonus of less packaging too. Generally we make gifts–like a personalized wine bottle label, a calendar with pictures of the grandchildren, a mantle scarf, ornaments…Use your imagination (or steal liberally from the internet like I do).
Second hand Animal Train for Cadrian
I’m just trying to get you to think about why you do what you. I want to help you see that just because that’s what “everyone else” does or it’s the way you’ve always done it, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way.
You may think it’s Bah. Humbug. But truly it’s Merry Christmas. Even without the excessive show of gifts.
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What an amazing country we live in.

photo credit: Getty images

Lady Liberty celebrates 125 years today. She’s been welcoming the world to our great nation for a really long, long time.

This book made me cry a little.

Most of us will never know what it’s like to leave your home and move somewhere completely unknown. Most of us will never HAVE to learn another language. Most of us will never know what it’s like to not feel completely safe in our homes, or to not have enough food for your family and be able to do nothing about it.
Most of us are descended from those that did. And we’ve gotten complacent. We’ve gotten soft. We’ve gotten lazy.

We are allowing our rights to be impinged upon little by little, bit by bit and are thinking it’s for our own good.

An example would be that we allow the Fourth Amendment to be violated every time we fly.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The TSA guy didn’t have probable cause to take away my lotion or force me to dump my water. We PAY the airlines to destroy the Bill of Rights with our government’s approval by disarming us and forcing us to submit ourselves to useless, Communist-esque searches. Our ancestors came here precisely for the freedoms we’re supposed to be able to enjoy in America.
Today on her birthday, celebrate the freedom that the Statue of Liberty represents.

Every day, think through what those freedoms actually are and stand firm in the rights granted us by our Constitution.

(oh yeah, and learn the Constitution.)

Remember what John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
And watch. Be aware. Pay attention.
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