Memories of Christmas past (Christmas blog hop)

Today the new Super Smash Bros came out, so my husband and kids are in the living room playing that. I’m in my nice quiet room with my laptop and the baby, and it’s time for a blog!

Last Christmas, my oldest daughter started throwing up on Christmas Eve. The day after Christmas, the rest of them did. It wasn’t a fun holiday, let me tell you. I ran from kid to kid with a bucket. So, this year, I’m pouring the kombucha to them. (Kombucha is a probiotic drink, a kind of fermented tea.) I’ll be darned if we’re going to have another sick Christmas.

Not to mention having a month-old baby who I don’t want to catch germs. He’s already so sweet and cute, and getting fatter by the day. He’s starting to smile at everyone. The kids fight over who gets to hold him.

There’s been lots of Christmas babies over the years. Some were tiny, while others were big enough to want to crawl to the Christmas tree and bite the lights. All of our ornaments are made of either wood or plastic, to ensure they survive from year to year. One Christmas that stands out in my mind was the year we were between couches, for some reason. The living room was huge and empty with no couch and chair, and our Christmas tree took up such a tiny spot all by itself. But the kids LOVED having all that empty space to roll around in and fill with toys. It was almost disappointing to get a couch in January.

Christmas wallpaper by lucky008

God’s been so good to us through the years, too. We don’t deserve the grace he showed us over and over. I always think of that verse about him gently leading the sheep who have young, because that’s been how he’s dealt with me. And I’m so thankful.

Click here for the blog hop hostess, Pom Pom!

Babies and Jesus (Christmas blog hop day 3)

I’m trying to muster up some Christmas cheer today, but all I can think of is Monday. House cleaning. School. Juggling a baby who wants to be part of things but is only a month old.

Speaking of which, I’ve spent a lot of time holding him and thinking about baby Jesus. I’ve seen people argue about how old Jesus was before he knew who he was. Well, watching my little fellow, I think the answer is: birth.

My little guy knows exactly who he is and what he wants. He just can’t express it because his body isn’t developed enough yet. He watches me talk to him and moves his mouth in talking motions, imitating me. He studies his siblings and daddy, learning their faces, and he smiles in recognition. He’s a somber little guy, very serious and detail-oriented. I think we’ll get along just fine.

The point is, Jesus knew who he was. All babies do. They just can’t do much about it. And they really do hate being babies. I think it’s one reason they cry–out of sheer frustration. My little guy watches the other kids play, and he wants to play with them so BADLY. Especially his three and five year old sisters. He watches them with such longing.

Those are my thoughts for today–it’s Monday, and I’m mostly thinking about my dirty house and who will be assigned what chores. Hard to feel very Christmasy on a Monday. 🙂

Christmas blog hop day 2: Cinnamon roll cake

This past year, I discovered the glories of Pinterest.

Pinterest is like having stacks of magazines on any topic imaginable. Any time you want, you can pull them out, flip through them, and admire the gorgeous photography. This is especially true in regards to recipes.

Every so often, I’ll go on a pinning spree and collect all kinds of recipes I’d like to try someday. One of these was called cinnamon roll cake.

Cinnamon roll cake is a coffee cake with caramelized cinnamon sugar swirled through it. It’s delicious, especially if you add sliced apples to the bottom. My mom made it for me right after I had the baby, and it was the best thing I ever ate.

So, yesterday, as the kids were decorating the Christmas tree, I whipped up another one. And, oh man, was it good. I had to beat the kids off it so my husband could have some when he got home.

So if you’re looking for a tasty, easy-to-make treat for the holidays, here’s a good one.

Other blogs in the hop:

My Field of Dreams

Pom Pom’s Ponderings


Granny Marigold:

Karen (Happy One):



Christmas blog hop: The problem of candy canes

I’ve just something crazy. I’ve agreed to write a Christmas blog every day in December. Feel free to join me!
Wow, where did the year go? How is it already December? I was pregnant all year, I guess, and the baby arrived just in time for the holidays. I can’t even cry along to Sixpence None the Richer’s Last Christmas Without You.
(Although I might anyway, because that song always gets me.)
Anyway, today we’ll put up our Christmas tree. It’s just a little plastic four-footer, but it makes the living room so festive and colorful. The kids love it.
Then there’s the problem of candy canes.

Candy cane on a tree via Wikimedia Commons

Every year, I buy a big box of candy canes. We hang them on the tree. Then, over the next week, they vanish one by one. I find ghostly wrappers drifting around on the floor.
“Who ate a candy cane ten minutes before dinner?” I’ll demand.
From the negative replies, nobody ate a candy cane. Nobody at all. But there will be sticky fingerprints on the light switches and door knobs. Maybe we have peppermint-addicted elves. Or gremlins. Knowing our house, probably gremlins.
By the end of the week, all the candy canes will be gone. And usually I would have been planning to make hot chocolate and show the kids how to stir it with a candy cane … which I can’t do because they’ve all vanished to Candy Cane Heaven.
But I haven’t learned my lesson, because I still buy them every year.

Other blogs in the hop:

My Field of Dreams

Pom Pom’s Ponderings

Christmas Story: A Candle in the Forest

It’s almost Christmas, and that means it’s almost time for Candle in the Forest! This is a sweet little story that I like to post each year. It’ll get you into the Christmas spirit in a jiffy.

Christmas by lucky008

Candle in the Forest
by Temple Bailey

The small girl’s mother was saying, “The onions will be silver,
and the carrots will be gold–”
“And the potatoes will be ivory,” said the small girl, and they
laughed together. The small girl’s mother had a big white bowl in her
lap, and she was cutting up vegetables. The onions were the hardest,
because she cried over them.
“But our tears will be pearls,” said the small girl’s mother,
and they laughed at that and dried their eyes, and found the carrots
much easier, and the potatoes the easiest of all.
Then the next-door-neighbor came in and said, “What are you doing?”

Read more

Holiday recap

We had a quiet, simple Christmas this year. No trips, no visitors– just us, presents, and good food.

We hadn’t planned to have a super-quiet Christmas, but all the excitement happened around Thanksgiving this year. Then, what with having a new baby in the house, and me having to rest, we just didn’t do much. The kids also got a lot of toys related to keeping quiet (notice all the games!).

At the beginning of the school year, I had planned to take December off, and it turned out to be a very pleasant month. I’m ready to start school up again, though–it adds such nice structure to our days.

Thankful at Christmas

We don’t talk much about being thankful at Christmastime. I think, though, that we need it more than ever, what with being busy and stressed.

I was feeling sorry for myself today–unable to go anywhere, stuck inside all the time, with a baby who, while she sleeps at night, prefers to stay awake as much of the day as possible. 
But then I thought, “You know, I have so much to be thankful for, it’s not even funny!”

I’m so thankful that this new baby is healthy and growing like crazy. We have enough to eat, my hubby has a steady job, our home life is stable. So many Christmases, we lacked one or more of those things. All I have to do is remember, and the thankfulness overwhelms me.

I’m so thankful for our families, who love us across geographical distance (which sometimes feels like time and space!). I’m thankful for so many good memories of other holidays, with many more to come.

After all, there was a baby involved at the first Christmas, too. Mary stayed cloistered for most of her pregnancy–talk about not getting out much! So I’m in good company.

Christmas and other lunacies

Can you believe we’re already to December 10th? The mind boggles! Wasn’t Thanksgiving last weekend?

… Maybe I should throw out those leftovers.

We put up our Christmas tree this weekend, and it’s made our living room so festive. The kids play with it constantly. It’s just a fake tree, so they’re always rearranging the branches and messing with the ornaments. We have wood and plastic ornaments, so it’s one hundred percent kid-friendly.

One silly kid, one kid fussing about having to have her picture taken.
One silly kid, one kid fussing about having to have her picture taken.

Beyond that, I’m always at a loss as to how to make Christmas special. I’d love to do Advent, but by the time I think about buying supplies, it’s December 10th. This is the first year we’ve had money to buy presents for the kids, and I forgot how fun/overwhelming Christmas shopping is. The hardest thing is keeping the results a secret. I want to give them their presents immediately, you know?

My hubby just got made full time at his job, so we’ve been pretty excited about that. Just waiting for the paperwork to finish up. He hasn’t had a good full-time job since we got married. God’s really been good to us. We’ve lived hand to mouth for so many years, we’re flabbergasted at the idea of actually having money. We can do things like order pizza.

We’ve had a really laid back school year, what with babysitting a four year old five days a week. But they’re all making progress in their reading and writing, and I’m very satisfied. We’ve also enthusiastically studied the solar system and space all year, owing to my son’s excitement. I’ve also read aloud to them every night, which I think has helped a lot. This week the boy I’m babysitting has suddenly improved in his reading skills–he’s struggled all year with the basics, so I had scaled back and was letting him grow a bit. It’s heartening to see a little one make that jump forward.

Are you really getting into this Christmas season? Or are you like me, and feel like a Christmas noob?

Gateway Christmas music

Every year, I find myself easing into Christmas music a little bit at a time. It always starts with very mild stuff that might not be Christmas music at all. It’s like how they hook people on drugs.

First, I start with Eden’s Bridge Irish Christmas album. Particularly this cynical, cutting song about Christmas’s materialism:

From there, I venture into Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is a bit stronger on the Christmas flavor, but still not quite there:

By this time I’m starting to feel the need for something stronger. I might start dropping some Amy Grant. Some years I go straight to some heavy Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Pretty soon, before I know it, I’m high on Christmas.