Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Ponderings

I've used the following tool for the past few years to help me reflect on the past year and look forwad to the new year. It was given to me by a spiritual counselor maybe you will find it useful.

1. For what am I most thankful for in the past year?
2. What was my smartest decision in the past year?
3. Is there any unfinished business?
4. What was my biggest lesson?
5. Describe my finances?
6. Describe my relationships?
7. Describe my health?
8. Who made an impact on me this past year?
9. What do I need to do/say to make this year complete?
10.What do I want to create for my life this year?
11.How will I make a difference in this world in the coming year?
12.What is my support system for the coming year?
13.What do I want to learn?
14.If I had all the supplies/resources what would I do for myself?
15.Write down 30 personal goals.
16.Write down 30 service goals.

I also found the following post, 10 Quetions on Parenting. I am going to go through these questions myself.

Happy New Year! At the moment it doesn't look like it'll be 'happy' celebrations around here. Yesterday we had to cancel our party since I am sick, today, extremely tired, but on the mend...we also have a very cranky 1 year old, due to teething. Alas, we'll make the most of it. Some reflection. Sleep, hopefully. Tasty foods.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Baby was the first to wake. Daddy didn't hesitate to get up with her. He put on the coffee, the anticipation was building. I dressed and met him and baby in the living room. She had found all the balloons which scattered the floor, ready to celebrate a birthday. The coffee smell filled the room. Egg nog lattes were made and savoured. Still we waited for Grace to awake. Her door was wide open, as we played with baby, and started to make the celebratory breakfast meal. Alas, we could hear the quick footsteps of our precious toddler down the hall. "Morning!" "Merry Christmas!" Her face lights up. She looks around and sees the table set for a party and a big feast, she spots all the balloons, and the stockings that are now filled. It was a nice morning. Opening our stockings, hearing our daughters giggle as they opened little toys and trinkets. Next, we lit the advent candles, including a Christ candle. We sat at the table to enjoy daddy's pancakes, whipped cream and berries. A place was set for Jesus, reminding us that we were celebrating him. Such a precious morning, preceded and followed with family dinners, and parties.

One of the most precious gifts this Christmas was a blanket of white snow which covered our surroundings. Our yard looked like a winter wonderland. We managed a snowshoe and some sliding time on Christmas day...and we've been enjoying more since. What a joy to be surrounded by such beauty. Celebrating Him who created all this. Enjoying the creation. Savouring each moment outside (when you live where we do, moments are short when you can truly enjoy winter weather without jack frost nipping at every part of your body!).

Those were the savoured moments. However, for us the Christmas season doesn't come without some 'birth pains'. Our little family is on a journey to change Christmas, which means some own inner battles are going on, as well as with family around us, trying to understand why we just don't do things the way 'everybody else does'. Anxiety over our more 'humble' gift offerings. Trying to put past innuendos and comments that don't make one feel like celebrating with loved ones, and rather, escaping to another place. Oh family, love em, love em, love em...but sometimes they do bring out the worst in us. In me anyways. I've seen some ugly colours rearing in me. Thank God for grace and forgiveness. Purify me, like the layers of beautiful snow, make me clean.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Creative Family

Ok, I am just loving this book. Such great ideas, that are simple to include in your everyday life. We are having so much fun as a family. Here are some of the things we have been more intentional about since reading this book, well most of it, still have a section to go and it is already well worth it.

-Games, simple games, my daughter likes a variation of Marco Polo, or hide an seek. We are going to incorporate game time as after dinner fun.

-Cross stitching, I got an 8" ring, and a blunt plastic needle, and some burlap and tread. It cost me about $15 for everything, and I got duplicates for my nephew and ample thread and burlap. My 3yr old loves it. It's a nice quiet activity. I'm excited to try it myself.

-Family Drawing time...ok we haven't started this yet, but I asked for a journal from santa :) and I hope to introduce this in the new year. But I have already been doing this with my daughter. She has her drawing journal. But I never thought to draw myself. This is probably one of the biggest things I have come away with, I can be creative too! It's good for my daughters to see me excited about creating. I've kinda put that part of myself aside as a grown up. But I am now exploring, even started some crocheting and borrowed my mom's sewing machine.

-Dress up. My daughter likes to dress up, but most of her dress up stuff is princess related. So we've been encouraging her to think of other things she could be. She has a scarf and it became a pirate hat, our ottomon quickly became a boat, and I was the princess she was saving. With a tutu on my head, I sailed away on the ottomon with my 'good' pirate. I plan to keep an eye out for more scarves, and different hats. We brought all the possible dress up clothes into one location for her to use. That was helpful.

I'm not big on schedules, mainly because they don't work for me, I always stray. But my 'plan' for the new year is to incorporate 3 elements into our day:

1. Reading time (besides bed time, we always read before bed), and any activities that come from the themes of these stories.
2. Family Drawing time - probably after lunch, or during baby's morning nap.
3. Active game time, or outdoor fun.
4. Creative time -either dress up, crafts, or baking.

*I find if I have some sort of plan for the day I feel I have accomplished something. Also, we don't get bored as often, wondering what to do next to amuse the kids. Lately I have been doing one 'project' per day. That's been good and it's pretty organic as to what we do. But I am going to take that project a step further and try and focus on the above 4 elements.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Homeschool Excitement!

Yesterday we went to pick up a long anticipated package, Grace's Preschool Program! Most of the books will be gifts from family over Christmas, but we had to give her one. We are very impressed with this first book. So much so that today all 12 stories were read, some of them twice, that's over 420 pages! Great start to our homeschooling endeavors.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent Fun

It's cold outside, I am opting to stay home with the girls. We are having lots of fun baking, creating, and playing. I thought I'd put together some of our fave pics this month.

Our latest activity...a gingerbread house and some men. A little too much sugar was consumed. But we had fun, along with some frustrations, to make it just so. Hoping that making a gingerbread house will become a family tradition. Here's our first attempt.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Today is the 3rd Sunday in Advent, JOY Sunday! Ironically I wasn't feeling much joy today. Ah, but joy is so much different from happiness. Now, after our family time I am refocused on what matters, real joy.

During our advent devotion time my sweet 3 year old told us about an angel that came to Mary and told her she was going to have a baby boy, named Jesus. Music to my soul.

We then read the story about the three wise men and their joy to see the baby Jesus, and about the gifts they gave. We shared about what gives us joy, pretty simple around here, each other, and Jesus. Then we talked about giving Jesus gifts. Grace (3) said her usual answer to my questions about Jesus and gifts, "Santa will give Jesus gifts."
"Yes dear, but what gifts can we bring to Jesus?"
"A Christmas Tree!" She exclaims.
"Well yes, the Christmas Tree is our gift to Jesus since it's an act of worship, all the things on it are reminders of what/who we are thankful for and the many things Jesus has done for us." After more explanation of 'gifts for Jesus' our 3 year old led us to her room to look for a book to give to a little girl or boy who didn't have many toys. She picked out a great book, brand new. Then she led us to the rec room to find a toy to go with it. She found a musical instrument. We were so proud of our little one to was joyfully giving her gifts to Jesus. Hopefully tomorrow she doesn't change her mind.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Christmas

Yesterday Grace and I did a really neat project that was cheap and easy, and is a great alternative to plastic Christmas tree decorations. I remember making these as a child. Ornament dough (recipe here) is simple! We made a few dozen stars. After they cooled I painted them a 'champagne' colour, which is a light gold. Then I gave my 3 year old a tube of gold sparkle glue, she'd squeeze some out on the star and spread it around with a paint brush. We are going to finish them off with some gold ribbon and after we add to our tree, we'll use the extras as gifts or as decorations on gift packages. I also made some trees and candy canes to paint another day. Grace made a snowman too, which we are going to dress.

It's fun being creative! I just received a copy of "Creative Family" and can't wait to expand the creativity in our home. I've only just cracked the book, but have already been motivated and encouraged. Today I did finger painting with my 1 year old. She LOVED it! (See my gratitude blog for a pic). Good thing it's non toxic. She made a beautiful rainbow. Through the creativity of this one year old God was able to speak to me. I had been asking for a rainbow for a few weeks. Waiting patiently. Not that now I know there's promise, I know there's promise, but it's nice to see a sign.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Such a Simple Idea - Christmas Change

The past week we have been doing Christmas orientated projects, like this Christmas tree I printed off the internet. She coloured, and I cut, and then with some glue we decorated a lovely tree. This is the third tree we have created this week. Projects are fun. Now I am inspired to take it to the next level...tomorrow we are going to swing by the great grandparent's place and deliver our creation. It's such a simple idea!!! But I know it's going to be such a treasure for great grandma and great grandpa. Now that the wheels are turning I am thinking of all sorts of 'projects' we could do that would bless others. What teachable moments for my 3 year old. What a way to prepare for the Lord, by blessing others, and thinking outside of ourselves.

Monday, December 7, 2009


We're having fun with advent now that our oldest can participate in the conversation. This week we talked about love. We asked her what she loved. With confidence she replied "I love mommy." Oh what joy it is to be her mommy. To hear those sweet words, knowing your love is returned.

Jesus we love you. You loved us first. You showed us the way.

I have to add this week is JOY, I am going to meditate on this verse as a I prepare for next Sunday.

From Matthew 2

“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” vs 10,11

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This Advent I am meditating on the first few chapters of Luke each day. I tried this a few years ago, but it didn't work out. This year I am hoping for a better outcome. A priest I knew had directed me then, he said that Christmas would have new meaning if you dwelt on the miraculous birth story for 4 weeks. From time to time I'll share my thoughts.

Today the word 'anticipation' stands out. I've been pregnant now twice, and understand the 9 month waiting game. There is much anticipation once you realize you are pregnant, and for some, the anticipation of becoming pregant (including me). You wonder how the delivery will go? What sex the baby will be? Who will the baby look like? How will the baby act? Will he or she be healthy? What will this baby become in this world? Much to anticipate. Much excitement aswell as concern.

Imagine Mary, anticipating giving birth to the Saviour! Wondering what would become of her son. How will people receive him? How will he act? How am I to raise such a child?

I think we spend our lives in anticipation most of the time. For me, at this time, it's an outcome, how will it unravel? What will be the end result? It's exciting at times, and stressful at other times. At times, I want it taken away. I don't want the unknown, will it be good? Bad? Sigh. Today I am humbled. I am reminded that there is always anticipation. Whether for big things or insignificant things. Each step we are to know and remember that Jesus goes with us. May Jesus go with me as I anticipate the celebrations of His birth. As I journey advent and know that God is doing a good thing in me. And know that in all things He journeys with us. What comfort. What joy. What a blessing. Emmanuel - God with us.

Some anticipations this advent: going out to get our tree, decorating, Sunday advent times with family, family time together, Christmas crafts and baking with the girls, the Christmas eve cemetary service (it's a scandinavian tradition), seeing the girls excitment over gifts and fun, fun with friends, snow (hopefully), growing in my understanding of the birth story.