Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent in our house

Growing up, I had about 5,000 Christmas traditions. You might think I'm exaggerating, but Chuck would assure you I am not. And I am equally attached to each of these traditions... none of them is negotiable. Christmas is such a special time of year that everything can become a tradition, even the most mundane thing. So of course I have put a lot of thought into what I want to become traditions in my house. Some things were no brainers- each girl will have a Hallmark series Christmas ornament, and they will each have their own (small) tree. But others were more difficult. How are we going to teach Jade (and Piper, when she's old enough) the *real* meaning of Christmas? How will we balance Santa and the commercialism that comes with Christmas with Christ's birth and giving?

We are doing Santa with the girls... I have no issue with people that don't, or with people that do. I totally think you can have a Christ-centered Christmas and still believe in Santa. That's what we hope to do in our home... teach the girls that this is a magical time of year because of the birth of Christ and that we celebrate that by giving to others... and receiving graciously.

One of the ways that we are making sure Jade knows this time of year is special is the Advent calendar. I grew up doing Advent in my church (we were Methodist), but haven't gone to a church that celebrated it since then. But I figure that since it's basically just a countdown to Christmas that it's something that we could easily do in our home on a daily basis. Last year, I bought the printable Advent calendar from Naptime Diaries. I read her blog and love all of her prints! Instead of buying a new one every year, I laminated it so that we could re-use it every year and just adjust the activities based on the ages of the girls.

Right now, we have them all hanging up and we flip over a new card every day. Jade knows that we are counting down to Jesus' birthday and really enjoys flipping the card over. We then read a passage from the Bible- I am using this list. Honestly, it's completely over Jade's head and she accordingly doesn't care about it at all. But I don't really care- I think it's important to read the "real" Bible to her sometimes and I know she's getting the Christmas story in other ways. 

After we read our verse, I tell her what our special Advent activity is for the day. Some days, it's a small gift, but most of the time it's some sort of activity. Making cookies and delivering them to the neighbors is one activity. This weekend she was supposed to go on a date with Chuck (which she normally loves) but she said no, so we all went to Barnes and Noble and read books and got some hot chocolate. I'm being pretty flexible, because some days are just crazy and I don't get the activity done, but so far we're doing pretty well and she's enjoying it.

Also, at bedtime every night, we're letting her unwrap a Christmas book and reading that one to her. Most of our Christmas books are about the real Christmas story, so we're starting our day with the Advent verses and ending them with a book about Christmas.

So that's how we're "doing" Advent and Christmas here. I am loving sharing this time of year with her now that's she's old enough to really start to "get" it.

I finally added Piper's picture and stats to her one-year post if you're interested.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Social media

Generally speaking, I'm a big fan of social media. Moving as much as I do, it really comes in handy for keeping in touch with family and friends and I truly love reading blogs and getting a peek into other people's lives.

Despite all the good that comes with facebook and instagram and blogs, there can be definite bad as well. People tend to put their best foot forward so to speak. Most people don't take pictures of the piles of laundry, screaming babies, and soap scum in the shower. Which makes it really easy to think that everyone else has a squeaky clean, perfect life and your life is just awful.

But it's not true. No one's life is perfect, they just choose to only show you the good side. That's not the way I operate. I don't think it's a bad thing to show the good. It's incredibly important to focus on the good moments in your days. To hold on to those moments when things aren't so good. To really recognize all the things you have to be thankful for. I just like to be more balanced myself, to show you the good and the bad. Hopefully this shows people that while I'm not "super mom", I'm also not a horrible mom.

Yesterday? Had more ups and downs than most roller-coasters. And honestly, had more downs than ups. However, it would be really easy to show you just the good:

Piper's all smiles while eating her breakfast.

Advent: day 4

Making cookies for the neighbors.

"It's stirring for us, mama!"

Looks like a pretty good day, right? Right. And I am infinitely glad to have these pictures. But I also have these:
Morning nap boycott.

Afternoon nap boycott (yes, my hair is wet).

The face I was staring at the majority of the day. This was when I had the audacity to walk into the playroom and suggest we play there.

See? So please, realize that no one's life is perfect. And even if they're posting pictures of their happy kid baking cookies, they could be having a horrible day. So just focus on the good, but realize you are not alone in the bad.