Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cards...

Kudos to Amiee Bragg!!!  A few days ago your Christmas card was the first to arrive.  Your picture was fun and your card had a beautiful Christian message.  Thanks for leading the Christmas card pack in style!

I can't wait for our mantel will go from this...

to this!

I've seen some creative Christmas card holder ideas lately.  I hang curtain clips from this fruit garland that was my Me-Me's.  I love how I can easily look at all of them when we are watching TV. 

Every year these sweet family pics bring me so much JOY.  I keep every single one.  I just put them in a big ziploc with the year sharpied (can that be a verb?) on them and they go in a box with the Christmas stuff.  It is so fun to pull out the bags and see how everyone has changed!

How do you display your Christmas cards?

Christmas Movies...

What Christmas movie stands out from your childhood?  JB's is A Christmas Story.  Mine was Ernest Saves brother and I must have watched it 1,000 times!  We still know EVERY line!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Calendar II...

Brantley just emailed me about a free Live Nativity in Gilbert.  Love it!  Don't you just love it when friends know you so well that they know exactly what you would want to add to your calendar?!  Thanks Brantley!

One thing I meant to mention in my first post is that in addition to the "giving" aspect of December, we are also deliberately going to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

(Stolen from Polar Express)  For example, tonight when we put up our tree we are going to talk about how the tree is a beautiful symbol of Christmas, but the true spirit of Christmas (Jesus) lives in our hearts.

I have also devoted a whole night to putting out the manger scenes...on their own...after everything else is up...the best for last...the stars of our Christmas decorating show! :)

What are some things that you would put on your Family Christmas Calendar...I'd love to hear your ideas!

Christmas Calendar...It's not too late!

My kids are finally old enough this year to really "get" a countdown calendar and get excited about Christmas approaching.

Justin and I discussed it and decided that for us, adding an item each day will work best (I don't want to put that we will look at lights on the 15 if it is raining that day!  OR  What if we've had a long day?...add "drink hot chocolate together" and you've got an event!)...each evening when Justin gets home we will open the calendar and see what we are doing that night as a family (sometime during the day JB and I will have discussed it and I will have added that night's activity to the calendar). 

I made the calendar from items in my craft room, so it was free.  Most of the items that will go on there are things we will be doing anyway, but like I've mentioned before...Kids LOVE anything that has a special name and that you have dolled up to be extra special!

I think it will be fun to keep the calendar from each year and it will make our December "deliberate".  One of our goals is to really emphasize "Choose to Love" each night and include items of "giving" like:

Invite a neighbor over to watch Elf.
Make cookies for your teachers.

Go shopping and buy a gift for someone else.
Help wrap gifts for others.

Again, things we are doing anyway, but by emphasizing, we can really make December extra special!

Also, after we watched the Curious George Christmas episode I made these up for their doors.  Like Curious George, each morning they can circle the day they are on, and mark off the day before to see how many days till Christmas.  It will cut down on the "How many days?!" questions and they can practice their counting!


Well, I made it to Day 16.  It's not that I couldn't think of eight more things that I'm thankful for, I just got busy...or lazy...whichever.  Growing up when we used to do things half-way my dad would say..."I'll give you a 50 on that."  I guess I'll give myself a 66%.  :)  Or if this list counts I'll give mysef a 100! :)

1.  Glasses/Contacts.  I'm severely nearsighted and without you I wouldn't be able to function.  Plus, I would be a creepy old lady before my time asking kids to come closer...holding their chubby faces in my I could look at them.

2.  My Car.  We do a little car dance every time I roll over a "mileage milestone".  Not too long ago I hit 150k.  Woohoo!  Three-fourths of the way to my "goal mileage" and you are still reliable!  I'm also grateful for no car payment...another reason we dance!

3.  My son.  I had an earlier post about being grateful for my daughter.  Can't forget about you!  I am grateful of the mother-son bond that we have.  There is nothing more sweet.  When you were a baby and we rocked and sang "Wagon Wheel" I thought about how that would be a sweet song for us to dance to at your wedding.  Is that weird?  It was that moment when I started praying for your future wife.  I hope we will be great friends.  I am also grateful for the father-son bond you fill for JB.  You mimick EVERY move of his and I know that makes him so proud.  It also makes him VERY aware of the example that he sets for you.

4.  My husband.  Where do I start?!  You are amazing.  You make me laugh till I pee.  This past Father's Day the kids and I put together a picture book about you and them.  Wow, it was incredible to see all of the fun they have with you (and me!  Who was taking the picture? :) ).  They are SO blessed.  Our parenting styles are very similar and we are a United Front...This means the world to me.  You pick at me about all of my crazy "family time", but deep down I know you love it...and sometimes you even thank me for it.  This summer when I was filling in some frames in our room I asked you if it should be just us or the kids...You said "Just us.  We see them all day...I don't want them all over the walls of our bedroom too."  I laughed and laughed over this and I loved this comment because, in a way, it was telling me that I'm still your number one.  Which is great for us...and them!

5.  My job.  I complain about you some.  Sorry about that, but work is WORK!  All in all I am very grateful for you.  I'm glad I have a job and I'm glad it is one that gives me flexibility.

6.  Jay's school.  Public schools get a bad wrap.  I'm thrilled that Jay was able to start at a school that is really trying to make a difference in children.  Each week I'm thrilled about the GOOD you are really trying to instill in my child...while having fun!  I have been so pleased at how the children are setting reading goals so they can really "own" their reading.  The "thankful" worksheets that poured in at Thanksgiving were wonderful and really focused on their blessings!  This week in the newsletter it mentioned that school-wide the children are learning the 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey.  You know me and a self-help book...I love this!  Last week there was a school-wide Macarena where the song was played over the loud speaker as the kids danced in the halls.  How fun is that?  You are awesome!
7.  Betsy's school.  She has been home a good bit with me lately due to you not opening on time.  It has made me realize what a challenge it is to get my work done when she is here.  It is not fair to me or her.  It has given me a whole new appreciation for you.  I'm grateful that she has a safe, loving place to go to in the mornings and Betsy and I hope you open SOON!

8.  Family.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.  I'm grateful for each one of you.  We have a REALLY great time together and I'm SO blessed to have each of you in my life.

Lastly, I'm grateful for "365 Grateful".  This was so fun and really made my November special this year.  In my daily quiet prayer time I'm adding you...Just a quick sentence of what I'm grateful for makes me happy and helps me remember to thank God for my many blessings!