Saturday, December 29, 2007
As the year comes to a close I find myself getting fed up with some things around here. We live in a smaller place than our last home. It suits us fine for the most part but I have not adjusted well to not having a fully developed basement with organized storage and going from 3 full baths to 1.5. Several of my attempts at organizing have failed and I really need to get some things under control. I've moved most of Kodiak and La Diva's personal hygiene products to the half bath downstairs which is closer to where they live. I tried baskets but they just seemed messy all stacked up around the pedastal sink. I found this yesterday and my problems have been solved!! I'm so excited and the Hero thinks I'm a bit off because something so simple has made my day! Whatever... he is the master of chaos and I'm the opposite. One problem down!
My next big task is to figure out a better way to tackle the toy problem in Iceman and Turtle's room. It seems that no number of bins, labels or pictures are helping me there. I think I need some sort of shelving but it needs to be quite substantial to hold the depth of the bins. I just don't know what to do but I must figure out something. It looks like the Tasmanian Devil lives there on most days. I don't have a problem with them playing but plowing a path through their destruction every night to tuck them in just doesn't sit well with me. I'm thinking that I may invest in some of these. I'm open to any solutions you may have to this dilemma.
I also need to work out a solution for Troy's clothes in our closet. He needs to do a T-shirt purge. Honestly how many fire rescue shirts does one really need? We don't really have a proper dresser as we've always had walk in closets that have worked for us. For some reason this walk in situation is just not doing the trick. I bought this horrible wire frame thing with wire drawers from IKEA which is utterly useless. If you have more than 4 things in each drawer they are too heavy and fall off the tracks. It is a mess of wire bins stacked on top of each other in a wire frame half the time. I curse that thing regularly as does the Hero. That needs to hit the curb and soon! I think I will go back to the faithful wire cube shelf solution. They won't break the bank, are sturdy as all get out, you can stack a whole ton of things on each shelf and when we move again it collapses in a neat little pile until it is reconfigured to meet our needs in the next place. Now to find these shelves in stock in a store!!
I'm also thinking of investing in some space bags for the seasonal clothes situation. I do the rubbermaid thing now but it takes up a ton of space and I could probably cut my bins down in half by using the magic space bags. Anyone use them before?
Tomorrow we are going sledding. I can't remember the last time I did this and I don't think we've ever done it as a family before. The snow of the south just isn't the greatest for sledding, it's drier and gets a crusty top on it. In the north it is fluffy, stickier and wetter. The kids are so excited. Hoping that no one breaks anything and that I don't freeze to death. I'm such a wuss in this northern, damp cold. I feel it right through to my core and end up feeling like I'm 90 with achy joints. I miss my chinooks and balmy winters. The Hero bought me an awesome winter coat that is toasty warm. I have some fleece lined wind pants that I hope will keep me warm enough as I don't own any ski pants. It is forecasted to be -13 Celsius, that's about 8 Farenheit.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
We have never done Santa at the Hutch. It's not that we have a problem with Santa it's just that Kodiak has always been such a serious kid that he never bought into it at all. For him, Christmas = Jesus Birthday and that was enough. So we just didn't start the tradition with the rest of them. We have our own traditions that are equally as fun as my memories of Santa as a child. Up until just last year Isaac called Santa, Buffalo, we are not sure where on earth it came from but to Iceman that guy in the red suit with the white beard was "Buffalo" there was no correcting him on it.
Christmas 2007 Buffalo came to visit for the very first time. Iceman and Turtle were all tucked in their beds for about 20 minutes and then Ice comes flying down the stairs "Mooooommm... we forgot to put cookies out for Santa". I'm sure the look on my face was something else. I said "When did we start doing that?" He says, "NOW!!!" So we get the gingerbread cookie he'd decorated at the VFD party over a week before and put it on a plate, Ice runs to the fridge in the basement to get an "ice cold Coca-Lola" for Santa, I get down a glass, Ice puts out a napkin and then charges back up to bed. I look at the Hero in complete bewilderment. Considering they had just had discussion earlier in the day and comments from the Turtle during the traditional reading of the Hallmark Pop-Up book of "The Night Before Christmas" about Santa not being real. We figure we will play up the fun for them if this is what Iceman wants to do. So I quickly open a yahoo email so Buffalo can send them an email thanking them for the cookie and Coke. Also reminding them to be good boys. I figure Santa surely doesn't write letters with his right hand like my left-handed Santa did to leave with the empty plate of cookies. Santa has to be online in these times. We had one gift for them that wasn't going to be wrapped anyway that we had planned to build and put by the tree. We opted to put it outside their bedroom door with a tag that read "To Iceman and Turtle From: Santa". We laid their stockings alongside it (we don't have a fireplace).
The next morning was like a comedy act. They were both so over the moon about this cool fire station that Santa had left them and all the neat things in the stocking that he'd left. I found this especially hilarious because Iceman had chosen several things for Turtle's stocking while we were shopping and vice versa. They went on and on about how the elves built this fire station. After all the excitement of the stocking and Santa gift died down a little they came barrelling downstairs to find a plate with crumbs (I'd grated some off the cookie that was horribly stale and hid the rest of it deep in the garbage) and crumbs on the table. An empty glass and just a sip left in the can. Ice grabs the wrinkled up napkin in disgust and says "Look what Santa did to the napkin!" Turtle surveys the crumbs on the table and declares "That Santa is a PIG!!" I'm dying trying to contain my laughter. They go to grab Kodiak and La Diva from the dungeon and are blabbering on about Santa to them. They look at me completely confused and I tell them to just roll with it.
We get caught up in all the rest of the gifts. Everyone was spoiled rotten and we had such a fun morning together. As we were getting organized to head out to my parents I asked Iceman to take this box down to recycle. Being a rookie with this "Santa" thing I didn't even think about it being the box that the fire station had came in. He is halfway down the stairs and comes charging up saying "those elves didn't make that fire station, it came in this box!!" The Hero says they can't carry it built and says he can't believe they didn't hear them building it outside their door. Turtle says "I heard that hammering but I was sleepy". Then we remember the email and show them that which saves the day. The guilty looks on their faces when Santa said "there better not be any pouting... this means you Turtle" and "there better not be any sassing... this means you Iceman" were priceless.
I'm still not quite sure if they have convinced themselves that Santa is the real deal all of a sudden or they are just playing an elaborate trick on all of us. It made for an unexpected bunch of laughs.
We had made rice krispie shapes for Jesus' birthday cake this year and the littles and La Diva had a blast decorating the snowmen and bells. We had it after singing Happy Birthday on Christmas Eve. La Diva found the pickle but Turtle was working as part of the team so he helped her open the present which was the DVD of Elf. Kodiak read the Christmas story from Luke while we lit the Christ Candle in our advent wreath. The Hero read the Small One and the Night Before Christmas. The kids begged for just one more story so they chose another from our stack of seasonal books, unfortunately the name escapes me at the moment.
We had a nice dinner up at the 'rents. It was good to have some extended family together. We ate too much as usual but it was a relaxing day. Which was a pleasant surprise. We didn't get home til after midnight.
It's hard to believe it is all over. We spent Boxing Day in our jammies enjoying all the fun new things that the crew got for Christmas. We ventured out briefly today to spend money and GCs that were received as gifts but the icy roads had us heading home quickly. Tomorrow we hope to get the rest of the returns done. La Diva needs to find a replacement for her iCat that won't work. It's the one thing she really wanted and it was such a disappointment that once we got it out of the package, batteries in, etc that it just didn't work. I hope that it won't be as hard to find as a Wii, another thing they want to spend Christmas money on.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Last year we had our first, and likely last, trip out to the Hero's family for Christmas. It was hard to watch the Hero get hurt by his own family but it was harder to see it happen to our children- it was just horrible. Thankfully, there are a few lovely family members out there who genuinely love and care about our children. They made up for the ugliness of Christmas eve and day. So in the midst of crappy memories they also have some very happy ones.
It has been many years since we have spent a Christmas with my family. We have had many Christmas' alone and they are all lovely memories of closeness, reflection on the true meaning of the holiday, no strees and tons of fun!! We so loved being on our own schedule, staying in our jammies til noon, playing with all the fun gifts and enjoying each other. My childhood memories of Christmas are of Martha Stewart going crazy trying to make everything perfect. I remember much tension in the household every year we hosted dinner. I love Martha dearly but she is a perfectionist by nature and it's her way or the highway so to speak. Throw my Hero, who thrives on chaos, into that mix and I walk a tight rope trying to balance the mood of the day. It is so stressful for me. I'm trying to alleviate the stress of the day by preparing several dishes to take. We only live a little over an hour away so we can have our Christmas Eve and morning together. I am so very thankful for that. I hope and pray that the rest of the day is stress free and full of joy. I'm trying to be optimistic about it but history tells me that I need to brace myself for drama and stress.
So tonight I will concentrate on the things I love about Christmas. I love......
- sitting in the dark with only the lights on the tree
- watching the children play with the nativities and tell the story of Christ's birth in their own words
- giving gifts that are well recieved
- the smells of baking, turkey, all that yummy holiday food
- Christmas music
- lighting the advent wreath as a family
- hiding the Christmas pickle and watching the kids hunt for it
- The Hero with all the crew snuggled around him while he reads the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve
- Making the birthday cake for Jesus and singing Happy Birthday!
- that the house looks so festive with all our decorations, it's like we are ready for a celebration every day
- filling our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and helping out with Santa's elves or whatever charity we chose to give to during the holidays.
- blessing strangers or people on the fringe of our life with unexpected surprises
- that in the midst of the hustle and bustle you can change the mood of a crowded line with a smile and a friendly word, that there are still people out there that care enough about those around them that they give up something to insure that others have a Merry Christmas.
- that Jesus was sent to earth so that we would be saved.
I pray that you would all have the most blessed Christmas! Try to remember the things you love and don't let the things that stress you steal away from the joy of the season. I know that is what I will try to do. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.
How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be so many of them all around town.
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1-8.
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
- Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know,they tell Me all the time.
- Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
- Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
- Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth,and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
- Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
- Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
- Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home and going to Church with their families.
- If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary--especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
- Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
- Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.
Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :
I LOVE YOU, JESUS
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Read the Bible story of Mary from Luke 1:26-56. How exciting it must have been for Mary to find out that she would become the mother of Jesus. Families can discuss how scared Mary must have been when the angel first appeared to her. Talk about how important of a job God gave her.
You can do an Angel Craft with your family too.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Today marked the first Sunday of Advent and tradition is, in my experience, that the first candle represents Hope or Expectation (Prophecy). Our scripture reading this evening was read by Kodiak and he took it from the NIV but I thought this version from the Message was great:
"Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight.
God's bright glory has risen for you.
The whole earth is wrapped in darkness,
all people sunk in deep darkness,
But God rises on you,
his sunrise glory breaks over you.
Nations will come to your light,
kings to your sunburst brightness." ~ Isaiah 60:1-3, The Message
La Diva lit the first purple candle. We had a brief discussion about what we are looking towards and why we are adopting the tradition of our own Advent wreath. Brief because I had to very goofy little boys at the table this evening. The Hero closed with a prayer.
Are you hopeful this season? Are you filled with expectancy? The American Heritage Dictionary defines hope as:
- To look forward to with confidence or expectation;
- To expect and desire.
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) ~ Romans 8:22-25 NLT
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The Hero left bright and early this morning with Kodiak, Iceman and Turtle in tow. Today is our community's drive for the Christmas Elves program. They will be going around town collecting donations of food and toys for those in need in our community. La Diva and I will be involved in the packing of hampers at a later date. It only takes a small amount of time to make a huge difference in the life of someone in your community. Get out there and do your part!
It is also the season for reflection and this year we are starting our own tradition of observing the Advent season in our home. I went out and purchased 3 purple candles and 1 rose candle. I already have a white candle. We put them on a decorative plate and later I will get some greenery to stuff amongst the pillars. I'm hoping that our family will be able to take a moment daily, together, to reflect on the reason that we celebrate Christmas. Following the Star is a great resource to help us with devotions. I hope that this will draw us together and be a great new tradition for our family.
What kind of family traditions do you have during the holidays? I'd love to hear about them.
Jesus.... said, "I am the light of the world." ~John 8:12