Saturday, December 31, 2011

When Two Dorks Collide

The following conversation happened last night as Jeff and I were climbing into bed. I'm fussing over the covers and Jeff is poking fun at me for being so picky about it. I've recorded this nearly verbatim.

Me, in a mock-serious tone: "I just can't sleep with the blanket all wadded up three feet in the air right under my chin while my feet and legs are completely exposed! I am a blanket socialist. I demand even distribution of the blanket! Every night I have to take the blanket from you and lay it out evenly."

Jeff: "Well, I'm a blanket capitalist and I say that whoever CAN gets to have the blanket. Maybe I'll be the socialist government and keep all the blanket and let you have what I think you deserve!"

Me, in righteous indignation: "That's it - I'm Occupying this bed! ... Capitalist pig."

Well ... maybe you had to be there, but we were in tears from laughter by the end of our little comedy routine. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

I posted last year about how we get each of the children a new ornament every year for our Christmas tree. The idea is that when I let them move out they'll have a box of 32 ornaments to take to their new homes! (Just kidding.) Anyway, I made their ornaments this year, using ceramic stars purchased for $0.69 at a craft store, plus scrapbook paper and clear acrylic sealer. It was fun, easy, and super-cheap since the only things I bought specifically for this project were the stars and the paper. Total: $3.25 for all three ornaments!

I painted their initials using a thin brush and acrylic paint - after the "Mod-Podge" dried, and before applying the sealer.

I used the same piece of paper for Kaity and Selah's ornaments, just cut them out of different areas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Last Sunday night, our college people surprised us with presents! I received a beautiful new slow cooker ...

It's programmable!

I've already used it to cook up some chicken and it works perfectly! The insert is metal with a non-stick surface which cleans up like a dream.

And Jeff received a basket of our favorite coffee, two handsome coffee mugs, and some of his favorite candy!

We are so very thankful for our college people! They are a blessing to us in many ways. Thank you, everyone, for these wonderful gifts!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Playing Outside

Our kids love to play outside. It would be nice to have a better place for them to play, but we work with what we have.
My parents gave Kaity Rollerblades for her birthday and she has really enjoyed them! She gets better and better the more she practices.

Selah sobs and clings to the doorknob when the kids go outside without her. Other than riding her car, her favorite activity is going to see our neighbor's little dogs, Daisy and Bella.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kaity, Joe and Selah

Our three kids are just like everyone else's, I'm sure. They bicker and fuss and get on each other's nerves now and then, but mostly they love one another. Selah always wants to be where the big kids are, which is fine 85% of the time. The other 15% she's getting into the middle of whatever they're doing or climbing all over them and I hear, "Mo-om, can you come get SAY-lah?" (Because that's how they always say it when they're frustrated with her, exaggerating the first syllable!) I know Joe's particularly irritated when I hear her shrieking with laughter and Joe says, "SAY-luh-UH!"

Joe's sweet nature and Selah's snuggliness are a good match.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Gifts

We have done a few things to help our kids focus on a Christmas that emphasizes Christ. While we cannot expect the lost around us to give any attention to a God they do not serve, we can do all that we can to use this opportunity to share the Good News of the Christ who came and is coming again. I'm listing some of the things we have done this year and in the past in hopes you'll be inspired in new ways just as others have inspired us!

** One thing our children enjoy about the Christmas season is all the lights. There is a particular street in our town with beautiful old homes that go all out with pretty greenery and light displays. This year, we packaged homemade cookies up with a card and delivered them door to door to each of these 6 homes. Inside the card Kaity wrote a short note telling them how much our family enjoyed their lights each year and thanking them. We included a couple of scriptures sharing the Light of the world:
"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (ESV)
** The kids do extra chores to earn money to buy gifts to place inside Operation Christmas Child boxes. They love shopping for the items! This year, Kaity participated with the youth group at our church to help pack the boxes and prepare them for shipping. The gospel is included in the appropriate language in each box.

** Our church partners with our county's Department of Family and Children Services to help provide Christmas for foster children. Sunday School classes sponsor one or more children by purchasing gifts from the children's wish lists. Our college/singles class provided for a 17 year old girl this year.

** Gifts to our kids are moderate. In addition to not having much money to spend, our children have plenty as it is. (They're blessed with generous, loving grandparents, too!) We have a tradition of giving them new pajamas, one thing they've really wanted, something they'll share (like a game), plus a few little things we think they'll enjoy to go in their stockings.

** We do whatever it takes to be able to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Missions hold a special place in our hearts and we're happy to give in support of our missionaries. This year our church is collecting cans to recycle as part of our effort to give.

Friday, December 16, 2011

NOT A Christmas Tradition

And now, what's NOT a Christmas tradition:

Jeff and I have never taught our kids about Santa Claus. I mean, they know the traditions and the folk tales and the history, but we've never perpetuated the idea. Our reasoning has always been that we have a loving Heavenly Father who showers us daily with blessings, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, from whom comes "every good and perfect gift" ... Truly, generosity, love and joy are hallmarks of a life lived in submission to the Holy Spirit and we don't want to take away from that by confusing them with a different, make-believe entity who is supposed to embody those traits as well. We understand that others disagree, but this is simply what we've chosen for our family. We have been convicted to focus solely on the coming of the Messiah, the Christ child who came in humility to be born, to live a sinless life, to die on the cross, to be raised again so that we might have eternal life.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 14 (ESV)

A note: Our children are instructed not to discuss the truth about Santa with other kids out of respect for their parents' choice to include him in their Christmas traditions.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Traditions, Part 3

I posted Parts 1 & 2 last year, and this year is more or less a continuation of that. We continued this year with our advent calendar made of stockings:

Daddy, Kaity, Joe, Selah, Mommy

As I did last year, I used mini Christmas tree ornaments that depict the Nativity along with scripture in some of the stockings. Here's a list of the scripture I used with the coordinating figurines:

Luke 2:1-3 - Decree (I had to DIY a tiny scroll for the decree!)
Luke 2:4-5 - Joseph and Mary
Luke 2:6-7 - Jesus and stable
Luke 2:8 - Shepherd and sheep
Luke 2:9-20 - Angels
Matthew 2:1-12 - Star and wise men

I filled in the rest of the stockings with Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. I found inspiration for those at Prayer of Hannah in a blog post written by my friend Leah.