Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Believe in Santa

As a child, my grandparents hosted a big Christmas Eve party at their house. My numerous aunts, uncles and cousins filled the house with noise and excitement. After dinner there would be a knock at the door and who would be there with a big red bag full of gifts? Santa!

My memories of Santa visiting us on Christmas Eve are some of my most precious. Even after, around age 9, I accidentally saw Santa come to the back door to get the gift bag from my grandma, I still pretended to believe in the magic of Santa.

The tradition ended the year that I was 18. My beloved grandfather died that year and we tried to continue with Santa but it was never really the same. At Grandpa's funeral a man we didn't know came up to give his condolences. I looked at my mom and said, "His voice is so familiar. Who is that?"

She didn't know. Then we realized - it was Santa! You see, Grandpa never told anyone who Santa was; not even my grandma knew. It turns out he was a co-worker and friend of Grandpa's who had agreed to be Santa back in 1976 and continued every single year.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2010. Just a week ago I walked into my living room to see my 7 year-old daughter and 4 year-old son looking at the Christmas tree with a friend. This friend is my daughter's age and her family does not celebrate Christmas because they are part of a different religion than ours.

It has never been an issue in the past but I lost my cool when I heard these words come out of her mouth in a loud, argumentative voice:

"Santa's not real! My mom says he's just a guy in a costume and your parents give you the presents."

As you can imagine I had quite a bit of explaining to do and I also had a serious conversation with her mother. All I ask is that others respect our traditions and allow my children to have the same Christmas joy that I grew up with. For now, my kids still believe in Santa and I hope that the magic continues for many years to come.

Mason and Emily visiting jolly Ol' St. Nick on her 3rd birthday in 2006. 
This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday Holiday Blessings

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Push Pin Art

Looking for a way to keep your kids entertained this winter break? I found this fun and easy little art project and it kept Emily and Mason occupied long enough for me to put Ryan down for a nap, take a shower and get dressed. That's a winner in my book!

Push Pin Art

What you'll need:
Push pins
Colored construction paper
Simple drawings with a dark outline (see photos for example)
White paper
Black marker

Dot-trace the outlined drawing onto the white paper. Tape or staple the dotted outline to a sheet of construction paper. Have your child (who is old enough to carefully use a push pin) lay on the carpet or a soft surface. Then they punch tiny holes to make the outline of the art. When done, remove the white paper and display the construction paper on a window to let the light shine through the holes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holding Onto My Joy

I recently came upon an interesting article through a friend on Facebook: You Cannot Steal My Joy by Elizabeth Duffy.

The gist of the article had to do with staying positive while raising your children. It really hit home with me. The author has a friend who never yells at her children. I find this amazing. Never yells. Seriously? Never?

As I read on, there were a few key points that struck a chord with me. Duffy says that her friend tells her children when they are throwing a tantrum that it is fine but she's going to continue what she's working on and she tells the child, "But you're not going to steal my joy. It's mine, and you can't take it."

Wow. How mature and calm. So I was inspired to try a similar tactic with my four-year-old tantrum thrower. I didn't do so well but I'm going to keep trying.

Duffy continues the article with her thoughts on other areas of life that can steal our joy - especially during the holiday season. This article is a good read for anyone with children, in a relationship, or with co-workers or family members who might try to steal their joy at times.
Joy thief in action. Thankfully he gives back much more than he takes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Four-Year-Old's Favorite Joke

Mason loves to tell this joke. Over and over again.

I can't help but laugh every time, not because it's that funny after the 50th time but because of the smile on his face.

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"Banana who?"
"Banana who?"
"Banana who?"
"Banana who?!?!"
"Orange who?"
"Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Here's the comedian cracking himself up. 

This post is participating in Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursday