Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family Traditions

I’ve learned recently that holiday traditions can be a little tricky once you’re all grown up. Which ones from your childhood do you continue , and which ones do you leave behind? It’s important for new families to create their own traditions, but we also want to carry on some of those cherished memories from our own childhood.

These are a few of my family’s Christmas traditions:

Christmas Tree. I’m insistent on this – the tree goes up NO LATER THAN the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Even if it takes a week to decorate, the tree is in our house. Lately, our tradition has been to pick one out at Lowes (LOL) … but I hope to get back to a tree farm soon.

The Elf on the Shelf. We started doing this last year. Stanley comes to visit us just after Thanksgiving. He’s very formal, and we always greet him with a hearty, “Good day, Sir. Nice to see you again. We’re so glad you had a safe trip back.”

St. Nicholas Day. We began doing this last year. St. Nick brings Christmas PJs and a book to everyone’s stocking on December 6th. Next year, this tradition will include reading the story of St. Nick.

Angel Tree. Husband and I have always selected names of children in need from the Angel Tree at church. We shop for these kids, and we do our very best to GO ALL OUT! If it’s at all possible, we purchase every single thing on those kids’ wish list so that, at least in this way, they have a very Merry Christmas. This year we started taking Baby with us to do the shopping.

Nativity Adventures. Our nice nativity set is packed away, and we’ve been using Baby’s little plastic set for the last couple of years. It’s much safer that way! The Baby Jesus stays tucked away in a drawer until Christmas, and the Wise Men are also missing until they begin their journey (around our house, making their way to see Jesus) on Christmas.

Birthday Cake for Baby Jesus. This will be the first year we do this. With Christmas on the heels of Baby’s late November birthday, she is really starting to understand the concept of a birthday. This year, completely based on her idea, we will be making cupcakes and having ice cream for His Birthday party. We will also leave Him presents.

Next year, I’m also planning to have 24 wrapped Christmas books, one for Baby to open every day in the month of December until Christmas … a cute little idea I saw on Pinterest and forgot to pin. I’ll be stocking up on books this year when they *hopefully* go on sale!

What are your family traditions?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Christmas List

I almost hate to write about the things I want for Christmas, because Husband and I actually already gave each other our gifts. Unbeknownst (love that word!) to each other, we both bought Kindle Fires for one another and exchanged them last weekend.

We don’t usually do gifts early, but I had planned to have Stanley (our Elf on the Shelf) deliver ‘books’ to Baby and Husband the first morning I was going to be away this week. I had a cute little plan, and I really didn’t want to change it just because my trip got canceled.

So, on Sunday morning, Stanley arrived back from the North Pole with a gift for both Baby and Husband – Husband got the Kindle Fire and Baby got a fake little pink iPad (side note: this thing cost $14 and I’m almost ready to pay the $600 price tag of a real iPad to get rid of it … most annoying thing ever!). In turn, Husband also gave me my Kindle Fire on Sunday.

I have to say, these things are pretty amazing. It’s taking me a little time to adjust to the android features since I’m so used to my iPhone, but I love it!

That said, who doesn’t have a long list of things you might like to have?! Here’s mine:

-A RED Electric Tea Kettle like this one!

-An iPhone Photo Printer. It’s sad, but true. Almost every photo we take of Baby is on my phone. I do my best to email them to Snapfish and order the prints, but this would be nice to have too!

-Books. The print versions. (Yes, I know I have the Kindle Fire now, but some books are meant to be held.) On my list this year: Les Miserables, The Grapes of Wrath, The Glass Castle, and Of Mice and Men

-These pretty diamond hoop earrings.

-A pair of cowboy boots like these. Though my dad might not think much of me ordering a pair from Amazon. He has his hand made out of things like alligator and ostrich. I don’t think I need to go that fancy.

-Anything Tory Burch. I’ve been eyeing the snakeskin Reva Ballerina flats for years (YEARS!), but I also really like these camel colored croc-skinned ones. Okay, okay, maybe Dad and I don’t have very different taste in shoes after all!

-Other kitchen items. Really, you can’t go wrong with kitchen items for me. Right now, I really want an immersion blender and a new regular blender. I swear I smelled burning plastic coming from mine the other day when we made breakfast smoothies.

These are just a few things that I would love to have. Of course, there are more things I could add. And, I also don’t expect to get half of these things. But it really can be fun to think about the things you’d like to have for yourself.

Especially when, if you’re like me, it feels like you’ve spent the last month shopping for everyone else in the world.

So, what’s on YOUR list this year?

Blogging into the Christmas Spirit

When I initially thought I’d be out of town for work for four days the week before Christmas, I was more than a little bummed.

When that trip was cancelled due to an ear infection that prevented me from flying I thought … this is NOT what I had in mind when I wished I could be at home with my family instead.

And now that I am home, sinus/ear infection in full swing, it’s been a little hard to get into the Christmas Spirit.

Or to get much done, for that matter.

Actually, motivation to do just about anything – Christmas or otherwise – has been hard to come by.

Stanley, our poor Elf on the Shelf, sat in the same place (our kitchen table centerpiece) for the entire weekend.

I looked at him. I thought about moving him. Then I thought: I’ll do it later. Can’t get off the couch just yet.

But I didn’t move him. Not on Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or even before Baby woke up yesterday morning.

It would be fair to say that I’ve been moping around a bit these last few days.

If it hasn’t been on my computer or available via the TV remote, it just wasn’t getting done.

Until … I took a quick look at a few of your blogs.

There are crafts and recipes and stories. There is joy and holiday cheer all around.

So, thanks everyone, for helping me get a little bit of the Christmas Spirit back …

I’m not quite sure I’m up for doing a lot just yet, but I’m definitely making plans!

On the agenda for later this week …

Holiday Cooking: mint truffles, cinnamon/sugar pretzels, chex mix, cookies, reindeer noses, and more!

Holiday Crafts: Cinnamon/Applesauce ornaments and about a half dozen cute hand/foot/finger print ideas

Holiday Decorations: We’re getting the lights up outside … Whether or not it is cold or raining!

Holiday Fun: A party, spending time with friends and family, making those recipes and projects

Blogging: I’ll do my best to blog my way through the holidays, too! You know, me – the extremely non-crafty mom who will now have to make a special trip to the store for supplies for all the things mentioned above.

Tomorrow, by which time I better be feeling better!

For today, we’ll start small. Stanley has a new set of wheels!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sick Day

I can’t believe how many of our sweet, precious babies endure ear infection after ear infection in the first few years of their lives.

These past few days have been miserable for me, and I am an adult who can fully process what’s going on (i.e., feeling like you’re trapped in a tunnel is no fun!).

I feel terrible for Baby when I think back to the first year of her life. I think she had 6-8 ear infections, maybe more, before we ultimately put tubes in her ears.

She was such a trooper too – sometimes we wouldn’t even know she was sick, because she was such a happy girl.

I, on the other hand, have not been such a model patient.

Cranky and extra cranky is more like it.

I spent the weekend trying to rest and recuperate, let the amoxicillin kick in, and pretend like I could hear what everyone around me was saying.

Who knows what I nodded ‘yes’ or ‘no’ too … hopefully I didn’t commit myself to anything too undesirable. Or let Husband squirm his way out of putting Christmas lights up outside.

Baby also decided to pick this weekend to stop napping.

(Somebody, please tell me it’s too soon for that!!! )

Up before 6 am both days, and nothing but fussing in her bed during nap time on Saturday. And on Sunday.

This mama has never been so happy to see Monday arrive. Now I can finally take a much needed sick day.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Grounded

All that anxiety last week, and it turns out that I won’t even be making my business trip this week.

I’ve been grounded. By the doctor.

I thought I was battling allergies all week – how could I possibly be sick? Again?

I had some variation of a cold for literally the entire months of September and October, which finally came to an abrupt end with a steroid shot right before Halloween.

I was feeling fantastic, and I really didn’t think I could possibly get sick again.

At least not so soon.

Baby’s 2nd birthday came and went, and I silently celebrated the end of the “your child will be sick as a dog from 0-2 years while she’s in day care” phase of our lives. I was very quick to welcome the latter half of that saying: “and then she’ll never get sick again.”

Now, not even two weeks later, I’ve got yet another cold-sinus-something-or-other which has prompted the doctor to advise against my flight, which would have been Sunday night.

I got the approval from my bosses yesterday, and canceled my travel arrangements this morning. Just in time, too, because Husband and I had this conversation this afternoon as we ran a quick errand:

Me: Oh wow, my ears are popping. Ouch! That really hurts!

Husband: Well, it’s a good thing you canceled your flight, because that was only an altitude change of about 30 feet. Your ear drums would have definitely burst on a plane.


The diagnosis of an inner ear infection also explains the bouts of dizziness I had been experiencing, which, had I even survived the flight, would have made for an interesting experience – dizzy driving in the greater Los Angeles area.

So, yes, I’m definitely grounded at this point. It will make for a very busy January, with several other scheduled business trips, but that’s okay.

For now, I’ll just wait around for the amoxicillin to kick in. I wonder if a glass of wine would help it out a bit …

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Does she know?

Husband says I’m paranoid. Or, at best, I’m just reading too much into things.

But I think she knows. I don’t know how, exactly, but I think she does.

Sure, oscillating temper tantrums and bouts of being overly clingy are a major part of toddlerhood.

As is finding new words and phrases daily.

“No, mommy, STAY!”

“Sit on bottom, mommy. DON’T MOVE!”

“Mommy, mommy … NO GO BYE-BYEEEEEEEEE!”

Of course, I am sensitive to these words. I know I am leaving for another trip soon.

I know it will be a long trip this time. Four full days and nights.

Just before Christmas.

Two time zones away, with little to no opportunities to Skype or even talk on the phone.

I know I will be gone, but I wonder …

Does she know?

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Linking up with Shell at Things I Can't Say for Pour Your Heart Out (not sure why the button won't work??)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questions

Baby asks a lot of questions these days.

Some of my favorites are …

What Mommy doing?

Where we going?

Even in her sleep, she indignantly asks … Where my (insert any random object) at?!

The question of this past weekend was … what raining doing?

And, recently she asked the question that I know will soon take over our lives …

Mommy, wh … wh … Mommy, WHYYYYYYYY?!?!

I don’t think she fully understands this concept just yet. She was probably just mimicking me, but still – it’s a sure sign of what is to come!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How many Christmas Gifts do you give your kids?

I’ve heard some great ideas about Christmas gifts for kids.

Only give them three gifts, because that is the number of gifts that were brought to the Baby Jesus.

Or, the 4-gift rule: one thing they need, one thing they want, one thing they’ll wear, and … oh something else. I’ll have to check Pinterest to remember!

I’m a little at a loss on how to handle Christmas gifts. I really like these ideas, especially since Christmas comes on the heels of Baby’s birthday and we’re usually swimming in toys by December 1st anyway.

However, at this age, I feel like she constantly needs new things. New clothes as she gets bigger. New cups to replace the sippy cups. New shoes, because her feet (that didn’t grow a single size for an entire year) are now growing a half size a month. New toys for developing new skills.

The thing is, I really don’t want to get in the habit of buying her these things on regular trips to the store throughout the year. I don’t want her thinking that she gets a toy every time we pop into the grocery store for milk.

So, a part of me thinks that birthday and Christmas are the perfect time to just load up on presents to last all year. We could keep some of them in a closet and pull them out as needed.

On the other hand, I don’t want to miss the meaning of Christmas all together and only focus on gifts.

What’s your philosophy? What does your family do?