Actually, it looks like Spring! The snow is completely gone from our yard and the pavement is wet.
But the Holidays are coming, and our family is excited. Brielle's birthday is this weekend. Then in 2 weeks is Thanksgiving, then Paul and I go celebrate our 10-year anniversary in Oahu, Hawaii for a FEW days, then the busy Christmas season begins!
It all becomes madness... starting... now! Time out! I need to make lunch (it's 2pm already? My gosh, where has the morning gone?! We read our Bibles, and we prayed, and we read our story books, and we are crafting cloud formations out of cotton balls so kids could remember the difference between cumulus, stratus, and cirrus clouds... that's where it went)...
Be right back...
Ok 2 hours later I'm back.
Anyhow the point is that we are approaching the Holidays and this year feels new. Last year I vividly remember feeling like a boat hopelessly lost in a hurricane; I went with the flow of whatever everyone else had planned and I was tossed about by every circumstance. From October through New Year's in 2013 I lost my dog, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, had problems with Anakin at school that involved Child Protective Services, wrecked our van, lost my job, and had a friend diagnosed with a brain tumor (and he passed away suddenly in January), and my grandmother passed away. My life felt like a roller coaster I wanted to get off ASAP.
As a result, our holidays were spent in a "whatever" kind of way. I got the kids presents and set up the tree, but nothing was intentional or purposeful. We spent time with great company and friends - they truly help the stress of this load be easier, doesn't it? And my Dad visited us, so we spent time together. But we didn't plan anything - just hung out.
I lost the opportunity to give it meaning - and I love Christmas! I feel like the time I spent with my dad and with the kids, had I been a bit more intentional about it, could've been a lot more meaningful and I wasted some of the time.
This year, I want us to start building traditions. I actually want to take ownership of our Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to plan what we're going to do and how to make it special. I want to cook (I must be coming down with something). Don't get me wrong, I want to see friends and love on everyone. But more importantly I want it to teach my children something!
We also have a lot to celebrate. We've survived staying home with each other for one year. The kids have worked really hard and have accomplished a lot of cool things. I feel like I'm a completely different person with the 29 lbs and counting that I've lost and the running I have done.
And I want to set some goals to start the New Year right.
So as far as our household goes, I've come across a little poem that helps narrow down the Christmas shopping in my home: "Something you want, something you need. Something to wear, and something to read!" Nothing more than that. And I think my kids are ok with this too. We talked about it and I really don't want more stuff for stuff's sake, the frenzy of opening presents that eventually get lost or forgotten. I want them to remember what they got for Christmas and appreciate it. Caleb is not too stoked about something to wear or something to read, but he's ok with it.
We also drew our household's name out of a hat and did a gift exchange, only the gift has to be hand-made. The only shopping for this gift is for supplies or materials. This way they spend some time putting thought and effort into loving on someone else, instead of thinking of themselves.
And before all that, before Thanksgiving, we're filling up 3 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, one for each kid, to fill it with items so that a less fortunate kid can celebrate Christmas.
That's the present department. There will probably be a lot of Christmas related crafts too. And I would love attending a concert - specially since I normally sing in the Singing Christmas Tree at our church, but this year I've worked through rehearsals and won't be able to participate.
We will learn Christmas carols and maybe even get to go to Broken Sparrow and sing there, the way we did the year before that. And draw a nativity scene on the windows spread out across the balcony. And make stuff to ship to the grandma's and grandpa's in Florida and West Virginia.
I'm getting warm fuzzy feelings already!
Brielle is learning a choreography to "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" and "Over the Rainbow" and we'll love to see her dance. And we will probably attempt sledding too (if it snows!).
We will make a "Thankful Jar" and have everyone write blessings and throw them in there, to read in Thanksgiving. We're going to be eating Thanksgiving dinner with the neighbors. But I have all day to spend time with the kiddos!
Speaking of food, I'm so glad I don't diet. I'm not setting myself for holiday binging failure! Portion control is everything. Drinking lots of water, eating a LOT of vegetables and nutrient rich foods, and exercising every day. Guilt free holidays - I have goals set that are not scale related. So I know as long as I'm progressing at the gym I'm not worried about the number on the scale or the slice of pumpkin pie I KNOW I will have. But, in all fairness, it'll only be one. Per Holiday.