Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I have to admit, this December has been one of the most hectic times of my life. It was non-stop from the start, and so I find myself being extra content and happy now that it is coming to a close. This past week has been wonderful around here! Our family enjoyed a blessed Christmas, and Jamie has been home since last Thursday. He has this entire week off, so we have just been chillin' around the house, mostly. I am typically running around town, carting kids to different places or activities, so not having to do any of that for the past week has been great. We've had plenty to do, but not so much that I get stressed out or in too much of a hurry. Aside from Gannon getting an ear infection and taking a trip to the doc yesterday, we've been lounging in our jammies, playing with Christmas toys, and just taking it easy in general. Today we went to Bridge Street with my Mom so the kids could ride the carousel and see the sights. Melody went home with my Mom after that so that Melody could have an art lesson from my Mom. Tomorrow we're taking a day trip to Chattanooga to the aquarium, and Thursday we're going up to Monte Sano for a hike with my parents. It's just been great! I wish it could last, but alas we must return to the hustle and bustle next week.
I hope that all of you have had a blessed holiday as well. May God continue to bless all of you for the coming year! Happy early 2009!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tree x2

Jamie and I were discussing Christmas traditions the other night. We both agreed that as far as traditions go, we both had the same one growing up for tree decorating. Our families put all of our cute, dorky, handmade ornaments on the tree. Jamie and I both "inherited" our respective ornaments when we got married. We have about 2-3 boxes of all of the ornaments we made or collected over the years. One year I did end up throwing away all of the tattered ones, or the ones that neither of us could figure out what it was supposed to be anymore! Now that we have our own children, our tree is beginning to fill up with their cute, homemade ornaments. I noticed this year that our tree is becoming overwhelmingly full of ornaments made from foam craft kits, paper, or some other brand of art. I really like the process of decorating the tree. I have memories tied to nearly every single ornament (except for Jamie's, of course), and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to reminisce over each ornament. My favorites have become the few that I made for Jamie during our first years together. After about year three, I became lazy and stopped making them, but I absolutely love the first one I made (we had only been dating a month). It looks like a snowball.

This year I decided that while it's nice to have a tree full of memories, I have been yearning to have a grown-up tree also. NOT a themed tree--I don't think I could pull that off, and I don't even want to--but one that is simply not full of homemade items made by 5-year-olds. Jamie agreed that it would be neat for the kids to have their own tree next year. I was at several houses this holiday season in which the kids playroom had a small tree with all of the cute, sentimental, homemade ornaments on it, and the grown-up, tastefully decorated tree was on display elsewhere. I thought that was a great idea! I know my children would flip over having their very own tree in the playroom, and they could touch all of the ornaments and move them around all they want. Lo and behold, Hobby Lobby is having a 50% off sale on Christmas trees right now, so I found the perfect 4.5 ft tree! Of course, it will be stored in the attic until next year, but I'm already excited about surprising the kids next year with their very own, pint-sized tree!

How about everyone else? How do you balance decorating the tree with sentimental ornaments vs. breakable, decorative items?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Abbreviations

I must confess, I'm an abbreviator. I picked it up in college when one's expected to take notes at lightening-fast speed, and I continued my abbreviated habits throughout multiple jobs, where using medical abbreviations was an unspoken requirement. I saw a sign the other day along a road on which I commonly travel, and it had the word Christmas abbreviated to 'XMas'. I remember as a kid learning that one should NEVER use this abbreviation, because it is putting an X on Christ. I don't think this is something that my parents taught me, but rather something I just picked up through friends in the faith community or society in general. Frankly, I can't place blame directly on anyone, it's just there. Anyhow, for some reason this concept has always stuck with me and I rarely use the X to abbreviate the word. However, I find myself sometimes wanting to, simply because it takes extra effort to write the entire word! Something about getting the 'r' to loop into the 'i' is tricky for me at times when I'm in a hurry.

To be perfectly honest (*ahem* true and real), I don't see what all the fuss is about. If I really was intentional about putting an X on Christ, I wouldn't be celebrating Christmas to begin with! I think somebody somewhere had too much time on their hands and decided that they had to find something new with which to infuriate the Christian public. It's always something, right? Back in my day, (because I'm Sooo old), it was using an X to take the Christ out of Christmas. Nowadays, all I hear about is the commercialization of Christmas. Either way, it is somebody deciding that we Christians should create a big uproar every season so we can fight for our holiday. Can I just say, WHATEVER. I can celebrate Christmas with an X on it, and I can certainly celebrate it whether or not the stores decide to sell Christmas in July. I keep Christ in my Christmas because I want to, and because I see Christ's birth as a reason to celebrate.

Therefore, this holiday season, I am choosing to put aside my deeply interwoven beliefs about the Christmas abbreviation. If I need to write a quick 'XMas' then I will, and I will not feel guilty about it. TYVM. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Baking, Santa, and Football

My life has been a whirlwind of this and that for the past week and a half. It's normally pretty busy, but it feels as though someone has pushed the NON-STOP button and I'm on a merry-go-round or something. Last week was crazy because I was trying to get everything done that needed to be done before our annual Thanksmas with my in-law's. Both kids came down with an ear infection right before we left, so when I wasn't in the doctor's office or at the pharmacy, I was frantically doing laundry, wrapping presents (hence the 'mas' in Thanksmas), and packing.

Today, due to poor time management on my part, I've been in a baking frenzy. Our United Methodist Women's circle is having our annual Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, and included in that is a huge bake sale. Lots of women bake for it, and the money goes towards great missions. Anyway, I probably could have prepared some of my baked goods yesterday, but I waited until today for all of it! The good news is that Gannon has been learning how to make bark and brownies. He's a big help. My plan was to stay home all day and bake. However, this morning during breakfast, Melody reminded me in a very sweet way that I had mistakenly forgotten to have lunch with her this week. I was supposed to be parent helper in the lunchroom last week, but due to Gannon's illness on that day, I couldn't go. So I promised her I'd have lunch with her this week. As soon as she reminded me, I had that horrible, guilty Mommy feeling. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? It's a terrible feeling, and so I quickly told her that Gannon and I would certainly come to have lunch with her today. As a result, I might just be up baking until midnight, but it is well worth the smile on her face and the feeling of pride she has when she can show off her family to her classmates. :)

Meanwhile, we've been hyping up the concept of sitting in Santa's lap this year to Gannon. He's refused the past couple of years, as is typical for that age, but this year he says he is going to go for it! Okay, I have to admit that part of this is selfish on my part. We really need a good photo op. I have not had any Christmas photos taken of the kids for a Christmas card this year, and I'm starting to feel the time crunch! Due to budgeting reasons, we try to alternate years of having the pictures professionally done versus taken by us. Last year they were taken professionally, so this year it's up to us. I haven't even attempted to get any good shots! I have to say right now that if we can't get a good one in the next week or so, we are just going to go the route of NO photo in the card. *gasp* I know, we will be balking the recent trend, but that's just what might happen, folks.

I've also started a new job in the midst of all of this. So far it is going well. I now have two part-time jobs that equal less than 10 hours per week, so it's not a bad deal.

On another note, I love (NOT) finding out about last minute Christmas parties that involve me having to run to the store and purchase gifts. The coming week for me looks like this:
Saturday--8 am--set up B'fast with Santa/Bake Sale
-1-2 pm--eat lunch and take Melody to my parents' house (she's going with my Dad to watch my Mom's Christmas concert at the VBC)
-3 pm--go to Harvest to watch the Big Game (Roll Tide!!!!) at a friend's house
-after the game--have our annual group Christmas party (our "group" is all of our college friends and our multitude of children--12 kids total!)
-hopefully get home before my Dad drops off Melody from the concert

Sunday--7 am--arrive at church to kick of the big day of Breakfast, Santa and baked goods--stay there until noon or so
-4:30--take kids to church for choir rehearsal

Monday--Gannon to preschool and I get to deliver a crib to a new mother as part of my new job! Monday night, meet with my care receiver in Stephen's Ministry

Tuesday--PTA meeting

Wednesday--work at night until 7, then go to the UMW party

Thursday--gift wrapping party

Friday--Sunday School party

next Saturday--12-3 pm--Melody at a skate party
4-8 pm--band party

Needless to say, most of it is a lot of fun, but wow it can sure drain me just to think about it all! We'll be partied out by next weekend! And Jamie still has to put up Christmas lights. Hmmm...where can we squeeze that one in? And what about time for Peace, Joy and Goodwill toward men????

Anyway, I hope you have a Merry Christmas and can enjoy the holiday season!!