Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, 2010

Thoughts of family and friends, near and far (Christmas card pics on pantry doors):

Rousing game of pre-dinner Twister:

Too many presents under the tree:

Hope yours is just as happy! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'll Pay the $0.44

This Huffington Post article made me oddly sad today.

I accept change - I have been known to embrace new technologies - but does the new stuff have to mean we let ALL the old things go?

I don't want to imagine a world with no bookstores, no paper mail, NO HANDWRITTEN LETTERS.

Recently Harper (with encouragement) sent out thank you notes for her birthday gifts. More than one person who received said notes mentioned to me how her writing had improved from last year - you can't do that by email people!

I am a firm believer in the power of a hand written letter and I refuse to stop sending them. Maybe most of those cards/letters/notes wind up in people's recycling bins, but maybe one or two of them hold words that are important to someone, words that they want to reach into a drawer or pocket or bag to reread, to hold in their hands.

I may have mentioned here that I have been cleaning out boxes of memorabilia from my pre-adult life. Among the cards I found a birthday card that my brother signed in his grade school handwriting. It made me cry.

I can let Michael bang on the computer keys to produce a string of nonsense, but it sure isn't the same thing as the marks he makes with a crayon on paper.

So you can call me a dinosaur and tell me I need to let go of old ways. Or you can accept that I'm going to pay for the stamp. If we're good friends you probably have a piece of handwritten mail somewhere to prove it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Did They Cry? (A Visit with Santa)

The Santa Visit - How did it go?

Well Harper had no trouble, which is not a surprise. She knows that not all mall Santas are real, but she was pretty sure that ours was the "really real" Santa, because of the mailbox where you could leave letters for the North Pole. God love her, she really does want to believe - thank goodness, or she would have seen through the holes in our facade by now!

Also not surprising? Michael was not a big fan:

He did, however, venture a few steps from Santa's lap to say that he wants a matching game for Christmas. A matching game! How much do I love that kid? AND we had already purchased a sort of matching game for him so that was a lucky twist.

In the interest of fairness I feel I should remind you that Harper wasn't Santa's biggest fan when she was two either. This is still one of my favorite photos of all time:

By next year we might be done with the screaming/crying...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Christmas Card Yet

You will have to see if you can click on that picture to enlarge it - then maybe you'll be able to read Harper's hilarious note to her gym teacher. We were working on Christmas cards for her teachers today and this was by far the best one. I only provided minimal spelling assistance as, for once, she was on a roll coming up with her own thoughts to add to the notes.

Just in case you can't make it out it says:
Dear Mrs. D Christmas treats so yummy and sweet just like gym teachers Love Harper

Then she drew a heart with Rudolph and Santa's sleigh and added the words, "you'll go down in History".

Love it!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Tidbits

Things that are mostly checked off my list:

-the Christmas music mixes
-cards mailed (waiting on one address)

Things I have not begun at all:

-holiday notes to teachers
-wrapping anything
-baking anything
-cleaning the house
-figuring out how to keep peace between my children

Oh look, there they are, fighting over the nativity again:

Well, they probably aren't fighting in that picture but surely it was a momentary lapse into good behavior.

Michael goes two days a week to a Jewish Community Center preschool. He can't say Christmas clearly, but Hanukkah rolls right off his tongue! :-)

One of the highlights of the children's day is when one of them gets to put the ornament on the magnetic Christmas countdown tree. Or, on Michael's day, the "ormament." (He also calls it the "diming room" instead of dining room. Hee!)

When they do attempt to play cooperatively with the nativity set, Harper trades pieces like they are baseball cards. Example: "Michael, I'll give you these two shepherds and a donkey if you give me back the angel and Mary." Nothing like bartering with the Holy Family and friends!

Michael is excited about the snow and happily announces all the places it has landed, "Yook! No (snow) on my maybok (mailbox)!" But he won't step in it... could be a long winter.

If we're driving in the dark Michael screams with joy whenever he sees Christmas lights.

Harper likes to warn Michael that Santa won't bring him presents anytime he even looks like he's going to do something he shouldn't - despite my (sometimes) gentle reminders that this is not her job.

How are the holidays progressing at your house?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Did you think I'd forgotten about the Christmas music giveaway?

Since there were more than 20 comments I chose two winners and they are:

Emily from Chaos: Party of Five

and Cortney (who I will have to track down!)

Congratulations ladies! I'll send you an email to find out some of your music preferences!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holding My Tongue

Okay, before I forget, a couple of notes about yesterday's Christmas craft:

1. Contact paper should be with shelf paper - I got some at Walmart, but I think grocery stores, maybe hardware stores, etc. probably have some too. It does come in a roll.

2. Tissue paper I also got at Walmart. I am thinking a craft or education supply store might have precut squares, but I just chopped up some wrapping tissue. I got a "value" pack that had about 50 sheets for under five dollars. I ended up using about an eighth of one sheet of 10 different colors. I'm glad I bought the value pack for the variety of colors but we probably only used the equivalent of two sheets of tissue paper. And knowing how haphazardly my kids would use it, I did not fret over how the tissue was cut. I was going for squares but I really just hacked it up quickly while they finished their lunches.

3. They had pizza for lunch.

And now for today's story...

It seems that most years Harper will find herself drawn to one particular boy in her class and talk about loving and marrying him. Her very first preschool love, when she was 3!, was B. And now B's brother P is in her kindergarten class. (B was a couple of years older than Harper). For a while Harper thought she might want to be in love with P, but apparently P wasn't terribly interested. (Can you imagine how much their teacher must be loving this?)

So we're in the car the other day and Harper says, "I'm not doing that thing with P anymore, now I'm kind of on to E."

"What thing?" I ask.

"Moo-oom," Harper replies, completely exasperated that I can't read her thoughts, "The love thing? Remember?"

Oh, I did remember. And I didn't say much more about it right then.

When I taught (first grade) and the kids would start talking about this stuff I would tell them, "You aren't old enough to date until you're old enough to drive!" So when Harper tells me about her kindergarten love, a big part of me wants to respond by telling her that she's just too young for all of that. But here's the difference - she's talking to me about it. And I can't help feeling like there is a kernel of importance in that, that it is something I want to honor. If I am dismissive of her boy-feelings (or any feelings) now, will she be less likely to talk to me when she's older and there's more at stake? I feel like these little tidbits and nearly-nothing interactions will all add up, even subconsciously, and make a difference when she's older.

Oh, I'm not an idiot. I know she isn't likely to tell me anything when she's a teenager, or even when she's ten, but if I can somehow tip the scales in my favor, I'm going to do it.

Today she got in the car and said, "Mom, E says I'm in a crush with him."

Oh dear.

There is ONE MORE DAY to enter the Christmas music giveaway - what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Easy Christmas Craft

It's December!

We received our first Christmas card in the mail!

It snowed for the first time!

I put my "Kids in the Car" Christmas mix in the van and Harper kept saying, "I love this song!"

I'm officially a fan of today. I even felt patient enough to embark on a little Christmas craft with the kids. I modified an idea I had from something Michael brought home from preschool. This is intended to be a window decoration so if, "Kids' stuff stuck haphazardly on the walls" isn't your decorating style, it might not be for you...

First I cut out some outlines of "shapes" from red and green construction paper. (Note to self: maybe don't freehand w/ the scissors next time.) Then I stuck the empty shapes onto squares of clear contact paper and Harper and Michael filled them in with tissue paper squares.

Observe (enlarge the photos to look at the children's faces and guess what we had for lunch):

Harper's first shape was a Christmas tree, while Michael tackled a loose representation of an ornament.

Here's what a few of them look like, stuck to our front windows. The kids were watching it SNOW!

Here is a closeup of something resembling an angel:

Harper and I ran outside to see them from another vantage point. They didn't look that great in the daylight, probably won't even be noticeable from the street. Later tonight, when Harper and I had to go out for a bit, they actually looked kind of cool with the kitchen light shining through them. You'll have to use your imagination.

The only thing that could even remotely be construed as mess with this project was a few stray tissue paper squares on the kitchen floor. Maybe we'll make them for every holiday/season...