Tag Archives: Family

Mathlete material

With all our free time this week, I wanted to tackle some educational themes so I could get a feel for next fall since we’ve decided to homeschool. I know, gasps!! It’s not like we hadn’t talked about it for years… I believe the first time I brought it up was shortly after I had convinced Matt to go for a homebirth and he was still processing the fact that there would be no hospital staff attending to our needs while our child was still new, so nothing really came of it. We entered Liam in preschool for the year and while we have all loved the experience and he’s grown so much, I just didn’t have peace about sending him on to kinder. Nothing about the school or the teachers or any of those factors, I just realized that we’d be missing out on more of his life and we’d never get that time back. We spent quite a bit of prayer and thought on this and decided homeschool is the best option for our family… right now. And I have to interject that once the decision was made and parental high fives given, I started to sleep through the night again. Ever since, I’ve been so excited about homeschooling I can barely contain myself. :) Bonus: Liam keeps asking when we will only do school at home.

Reading, writing, science and history are easy-peasy lemon squeezy for me. I love these topics and it is so simple for me to slip it in every other moment of our day. But math? Oh man. Liam isn’t as excited about numbers as he is letters so we have to work a little harder on that topic.

Counting is simple enough to work into our daily routine, but we are also working to learn how to add on. Blocks and legos are an excellent way to start up the hands-on learning, but I’m also looking into unifx cubes. My mother had a set when I was growing up and we all loved them.

We started out the week with numbers written out squares of paper and Liam had to place the right number of blocks under it. Initially, Sylvi wanted to join in, but holy wow. Competition was the name of the game in the worst way. We worked through 1-10 and then grouped the blocks together by type within the number.

Up next, we tried this blog post that was filled with ideas for using Legos in learning math. Favorite part? Measuring the creations.

Tomorrow, we plan to use this blog post because I, of course, have addition flash cards. Since I don’t have the unifix cubes, we’ll just use legos.

One of the things we do love to do together is graphing and looking for patterns. Blocks, Legos, matchbox cars… you name it and you’ve got options. AND it’s fun!

For the fall, I’m still up in the air on the math workbooks to use. I really am. For one, I grew up using Saxton math. I love the review aspect of the books afforded in each lesson, but I hate how long that makes the lesson. My mother was never one to deviate from the “plan” so that means if I spent over two hours on math completing alllllllll the problems, then so be it. A friend suggested the Life of Fred books, so those are on my radar now. The only thing I’m really sure of are the Kumon books I’ve used so far and love. And that over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the flexibility of life and make adaptations so that my kids and my family get the opportunity to really flourish because their individual needs are acknowledged and nurtured.

I really should be cleaning…

Ooooooohhhhh, spring is coming. Well, according to the calendar it’s already here. According to my bones, it’s just going to be cold and wet forEVAH. I have to finish up my spring cleaning and prepare for a 3rd birthday party, but I’d really rather be curled up watching a movie.

But the birds are back! YAY! Oh my goodness, I missed them all winter! I was hoping that they would continue to check out my well-stocked feeder, but only the deer and an occasional squirrel popped by. This morning, I cleaned out the feeder and refilled it. And then, 5 birds were thrilled to float over. My heart sang a little.

Spring break is next week, so in preparation for our week with a clear schedule, I went to the library and stocked up. Liam has 4 more letters to go in preK, so I grabbed books for those letters and a few on spring themes. I’m still working to build up our own stock of spring books, but the library is there for a reason! And scholastic book fairs :)

Today, I also ordered this weather station as a bonus Easter basket gift for the family. Liam has always shown a great deal of interest in the how and why of weather, so we find a lot of weather related books in our library basket, but this spring, I think he’s ready to start learning more. We are working on getting the kitchen boards back up and useful again. Sylvi has expressed an interest in having her own chore magnets, so I’m still working out the details and the layout. Thank goodness for those 3M strips. People like me who like to rearrange frequently, we owe our spouse’s sanity to them.

We are going to kick off spring break with Sylvi’s birthday party on Sunday. Oh my. How did she go from being this teeny little thing to the wild and independent girl she is now? The passage of time just amazes me. She requested I paint her nails this morning, so I think we will have to do that to match her princess dress she’s eagerly waiting to wear on Sunday.

As long as we are talking about growing up, Liam put away his own lunch leftovers today without even mentioning it to me. I just stood there watching him as he walked to the cabinet, grabbed a small container and proceeded to pop his wrap in there and then place it in the fridge. I’m still stunned.

So tell me, what does your family do for spring break? I’m not a big traveler, so we’ll be doing fun things around here… and of course, checking the weather.

Lately

Happy Friday. I’ve got a cake in the oven. I’m nervous about it as my last foray into gluten free baking had abysmal results. Nonetheless, Sylvi’s birthday party is in a little over a week and I really need a cake recipe. I figure if I can have a chocolate cake, then I can make my favorite marshmallow frosting. But, of course, something needs to be pink on the cake. Sprinkles?

Liam is still in preschool… it’s letter V week and I am amazed how quickly the year has flown by. His writing skills have improved exponentially. He shows signs of reading readiness and has plenty of enthusiasm. His math skills aren’t top notch. As a STEM girl, it worries me. Stay tuned. We’re going to be working the math skills in our living room over Spring Break.

Sylvi is in full-fledged princess mode. By this I totally mean that she wears her princess costumes all. the. time. We went hiking and she wore it. She has forgone actual shoes for a pair of Snow White princess shoes that are about 3 sizes too big. And by the way, if it isn’t “sparkly” she’s not wearing it.

She asked for a bicycle and a princess dress for her third birthday. Cinderella bicycle acquired. Prior to her gasping in Target, I had no idea such a thing existed. Princess dress in the works. I bought this pattern anthology and am using the 10th pattern with sparkly pink satin. Matt and I had such a laugh last night as I sat in a sea of tulle. 10 layers of it :)

And since I always seem to mention the weather in my posts this year, it’s raining. Which is exciting because I see buds on my lilac bushes!!! And the Weeping Cherry! And the trees! I celebrate the seasons for their individual awesomeness, but I’m finally at the point where I’m ready to celebrate spring. I hung the bird house and windchimes again. Oooh! And I opened the windows again.

The cake is out of the oven. And it’s perfect. Perhaps gluten free won’t be so bad after all…

Waving farewell – to my beloved gluten

Over the years, this blog has seen a lot of food changes. Back in 2007, I’d been married less than a year and needed to learn how to cook the basic foods. So I blogged about it. Then, because I’m a reader and really prefer information to fiction, I read a few books on local eating. And my goodness, it appealed to every single fiber in my body. Because, you know, as a child, I wanted to be a homesteader.

So during this time, I learned how to can and preserve my food. I had garden space all over the yard. I got pregnant and am not going to lie: having food cravings that were further than 100 miles away?  It did not go well. And let me tell you… cantaloupe was ALL I wanted come February 2009. After Liam was born, I settled into a food rut. The rut continued, with a brief trip down the comfort food lane while pregnant with Sylvi. But then, you see, Liam had more and more trouble with textures and what seemed like routine meals became a set series of meals in a rotation so I could pretend our child wasn’t struggling.

In the last two years, we’ve been working with Liam through occupational therapy and although the therapist kept telling me I needed to work more at home, I just couldn’t. Sitting at the table with a little boy who needs to be encouraged to swallow the food in his mouth, it’s exhausting. I gave up and served the shapes of pasta that didn’t take him hours to chew and swallow.

Now imagine my horror when last week my doctor looked me in the eye and said “Less grains, Laura, less grains.” She then said that my health issues were either the result of my thyroid bottoming out or lupus. So. Gluten free it is. And as Dr. House has “proven” time and again, it’s never lupus. Nope.

So now? Now I have to start adapting all my recipes, learning to use gluten-free flours and pastas and most of all, I need to expand my horizons once again. And I need to expand the experiences of my little boy. In the last 10 days, we’ve eaten a very grain-light, gluten-free diet. It’s hard for him. While the other three in our home are enjoying the variety and the almost-three-year-old is stealing all the broccoli out of the serving dish before I can even sit down, my little guy is slowly, but surely being forced into more and more variety.

So what does that mean for this blog? Weeellll… I guess I’ll have some recipes to post again! Ha! But seriously. When you don’t stray from a rotation of 10 meals, there isn’t much to share. I ordered several new cookbooks and am excited to try more gluten-free, paleo type meals. I didn’t realize how much I relied on breads and crackers to fill my belly until I couldn’t any more! And with the extraction of gluten from my diet, the joints that have often swollen and been so painful by the time I went to bed that I could only limp around, have seen a dramatic change. As I’ve done more research into the adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism, I’m learning that I also need to adjust my workouts, so as to not place additional stress on my body. Funny. All these years, I’ve been working so hard and it’s just done more damage!

Tomorrow you’ll get a post about one of my absolute favorite vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo snacks to kick off the week! Now… if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out what side I’m going to serve with the glorious Maple Dijon Chicken that’s roasting away in my kitchen. But don’t worry… the pug is really enjoying all these changes. Really. A lot. :)

Lunch solutions

Lunch is at 1130 here. School at noon. Quiet time at 1230. Three days a week this hour is very busy for me because I’m scrambling to make sure little ones are completely dressed, fed and snack is packed for preschool and are out the door on time. (Which, considering that we live across the street from the school shouldn’t be an epic feat, but for some absurd reason always is.)

Because we all seem to really thrive on routine around here, we try to have the same basic routine every day. (Key word: try.) Lunch, clean up, something educational (Today we graphed Liam’s 46 matchbox cars by color… Mom is a super-nerd, I know) and then the kids are in their room for about an hour while I work or make business calls. I try to keep things pretty simple at lunch so the afternoon, I’m able to be productive instead of cleaning up lunch. Or wishing we had had a good lunch. A couple weeks ago, I started searching Pinterest for good lunch ideas. And you know what? Tortillas are huge. I’ve been working with Liam and his therapist to help him handle new textures and we’ve finally overcome the tortilla crisis!

I’m learning to make our lunches fun and quick. We are having these power wraps (each packing a punch of 6-7 grams protein for each wrap), meatballs dipped in feta dip, pb&j puzzles and every now and then mac and cheese. I also bought some fun picks and suddenly, the kids are scarfing down everything on their plates… including pizza. (Yep. They don’t like pizza. Unfathomable, right?)

Power Wraps

  • Small tortillas
  • hummus
  • thinly sliced turkey
  • shredded colby cheese

Spread the hummus all over the tortilla, sprinkle on the cheese and place the turkey on top. Roll up and slice in half.

I’m leaning pretty heavily on this meal, hoping it stays a favorite for a while! There are summer picnics to pack for! And then, kindergarten in the fall. Oh my. By then, I’m going to be the one needing the extra power!

 

Valentine’s #FAIL

Sometime after Matt and I got married, I decided that if I was ever to be a stay at home mom, I’d need to get my holiday decor together and CELEBRATE!!!  I began building my stash of seasonal kitchen towels and spatulas and even had signs to frame that I found on trendy homemaking blogs.

This morning, I woke up and thought I’d better get cracking on a sweet breakfast of heart shaped pancakes and bacon. Only we had no bacon, sooooo… pancakes it was! I whipped together the batter and could not for the life of me get those darn lumps out. But whatever, surely the squeeze bottle would smoosh those right out. The first two pancakes were questionable in shape, the third awesome. As I delicately traced out the fourth, I felt the bottle jam, so I shook it and resumed squeezing. POP! Batter flew everywhere. The floor, the wall, my pj pants, and all over the stovetop. We had run of the mill pancakes for breakfast thankyouverymuch.

The rest of my day passed without incident, so I figured it was safe to attempt a cutesy supper. I even got inspired enough to take down the rest of the Christmas decor before Matt came home and bake red velvet cupcakes. I should have probably stopped there, but it was just too late. Before I knew it, I was cutting heart shapes in the pizza dough, the provolone cheese and the pepperonis.

At some point in this silliness, I realized that no one was going to ooohhh and aahhh over my hard work so I texted a photo of the pizza to my friend and asked her opinion. She’s not a kitchen person, so she thought it was awesome. I took that as a cue that for sure the rest of my family would celebrate my questionable knife skills.

Two pans of heart shaped goodness when in the oven and I was bound and determined to not throw away the left overs, I tried to trim the crust into elongated hearts, and used up the last of the cheese and pepperoni. Congratulating myself on not wasting anything, I popped it in the oven and sat down to enjoy my family. After supper, dessert and Legos, I swore I smelled something burning, but the pizza was on top of the stove so I moved on with my life.

I was on the couch with Sylvi watching You Tube videos of Rend Collective Experiment when it dawned on me that I had left that final pan of pizza in the oven for over an hour. Feast your eyes.

Next year I might just order pizza.

Fear: realized

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.

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In those days before becoming a parent, I spent my thoughts preparing for every possible scenario. First aid? Check. Heimlich Maneuver?  Check. Extra locks on the windows? Check. Attack from a sicko on the bike trail? READY!!!!

I know how to look for signs of concussion fashion a tourniquet out of pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Disaster preparedness? I’m on it. I was raised by a cynical realistic police officer… and as a result, I don’t mess around. But try as I might, there are things I cannot fully prepare for, a car accident being one of those things.

Please understand that I’m a very cautious person by nature, so driving is not something I take lightly. Checking out safety standards is one of my strongest skills… I am a Type A, after all. So when we got in our car on January 30th, every one was belted in; I was an alert and defensive driver. And then less than five minutes later when I was screaming while our car spun around, I realized one of my worst parenting fears: the car accident.

This fear ranks pretty high on my list because no matter how safe a driver you are, you are never really alone on the roads, so there is always the chance that someone else isn’t as concerned with safety as you are. But here’s the thing about fear: you can conquer it or let it control you. As someone who used to have a panic attack every time I left my home, I’m going to tell you that it’s far more worthwhile to conquer those fears than it is to let them control you.

My car stopped spinning and came to a rest, no one was seriously injured and there were people who came along to help me. (As a side note: This was my father’s last accident to occur while on duty before he retired. Also, the last time I will ever get to drop his name and watch the officers jump into action with fear. It was fun while it lasted, right?) It is no longer practical for me to hide in my home whenever I am afraid. I have to not only leave the house, but drive. And drive with the kids in the car again. So I talked to the kids and I told them I was afraid, but I would face my fears so I could be a better mama for them. This does not mean that I am driving around town like I used to – I am still flinching and feeling a cold chill when I go through intersections, but I’m not going to let this fear control me.

After the accident, I asked Liam if he was afraid and he simply asked to see what happened to our car. Our car was a little two-door coupe – he never saw the other car coming, he didn’t understand what happened… he only wanted his boot, which had been knocked off in the impact, back on his foot. So we stood next the car and he looked at our crumpled door, raised his eyebrows and “humphed”. Then, he simply moved on with his life.

Yesterday, we drove to a playdate and a squirrel jumped out in front of me. I drive a sizeable SUV now, but I still don’t want to squash anything! So I gasped and swerved. And Liam told me not to be afraid. I’m not real big on sharing my fears with people, but he needs to know that I’m not perfect (although, he’s getting a pretty good idea of that from everyday living) and that I struggle with fears like he does. Our experience wasn’t something I’d like to go through again, but there’s a lesson in this for my kids: Mama gets scared, but Mama doesn’t hide… even if she really, really wants to.

So the next time, Liam or Sylvi tell me they are afraid to do something new or are afraid to hop up on the bike again after a tumble, we can talk about the accident and how even though I was afraid, they helped me be brave. And now, I get to help them. I get to help them with fresh empathy and understanding… and for those reasons alone, I’m glad my parenting fear was realized… and survived.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):

  • When Parents’ Fears Escalate — If we didn’t self-doubt, we probably wouldn’t care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama’s family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I’m a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Procactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son’s future?
  • I Don’t Homeschool to Manage My Kids’ Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household – that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent – that most parents share – looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit…Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear…
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren’t anywhere near as scary as she’d thought.
  • Don’t fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me… — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.

No Skeletons Here!

Yesterday afternoon, my living room looked like this: 

Today… I can see the carpet! I probably should have been out shoveling like all of my neighbors, but, um, I didn’t want to. And really, it’s so satisfying for me to look at the closet, with the organized baskets, coats that are actually being used and freshly painted walls. I sorted through all our coats, purged out the ones that are no longer the right size (that was embarrassing… 4 for me!) and took the kids’ snow gear to the basement to be treated for stains and washed. When it comes to kids’ outerwear, I’m finding that if you purchase brand names on sale, you’ll find excellent deals and you can resell them once you’re done with them for a tidy profit.

With this project completed and reminding me how wonderful a time of year it is to start the clean/purge/paint cycle, I’m working on a Spring Cleaning list. And by “spring”, I mean done-before-spring-so-I-can-run-and-play-outside! Lots of little projects, closets to paint, bins to organize, that kind of stuff. I always check out the posts on I Heart Organizing and Clean Mama for tips, inspiration and how-tos.  As I was telling my friend, Nina, this morning, I’d have never thought to paint the inside of a closet until I saw it done on I Heart Organizing! And wow! What an impact!

As the snow continues to fall, I’ll be here, making my lists, and planning for the time when I can go outside. The planning is what keeps me content; knowing there’s an order to my time gives me hope for the sunshine!

Planning for the New Year

When I got up this morning, I realized that that is the last time I’ll be doing my house cleaning for 2013. That thought was shortly followed by the question of what I will accomplish this upcoming year. I reviewed my goals from 2013 and had to laugh at the plans that were made and not met. Sylvi still doesn’t know any other colors beyond pink and purple. Why? Because those are the only colors that matter to her :)

Which then leads me to wonder why I even bother to make all the yearly goals. Life is what it is and things pop up… I have to be able to embrace change even when I don’t want to. So this year… what will I tackle? For myself, the word of the year will be Presence. I seem to live my life always looking forward to the next project; planning my goals out so far in advance that I cannot even absorb what is going on right. this. moment. The goal is to slow down, to clear my to-do list, to not plan every moment of life. And in doing so, I hope to gain a deeper connection in my relationships and just soak up each fleeting minute of my children’s babyhood.

But just because I want to be less harried in my life plans, it certainly does not mean that I have no goals for this year! I have them, just less of them :)

  • Complete the 6 week 6 pack abs dvd from Jillian Michaels (Jan/Feb)
  • Complete the 30 day shred dvd also from Jillian Michaels (Feb/March)
  • Re-train myself to swim freestyle. (Currently, I can handle 400m, I want to be able to do 1650m)
  • Swim a total of 30 miles (in 1 mile continuous increments)
  • Maintain a healthy enthusiasm about my health and fitness levels and a desire to keep working
  • Finish painting the woodwork in the house
  • Reupholster the arm chair in my bedroom
  • Begin tot schoolwork with Sylvi!
  • Continue working with Liam to prepare him for Kindergarten
  • Teach both kids to ride a bike (with training wheels)
  • Continue monthly dates with Matt – also incorporating family dates
  • Organize the basement (This one may wind up being a life-long goal…)
  • Family canoe trip

Liam asked me to explain “new year” to him this morning and while we talked I told him that he would turn 5 and if Mrs. Lilly says he’s ready, go to Kindergarten.  Changes are coming, and with those changes I like to have something that we can embrace so I asked him what he would like to do this year. “Just snuggle with you, Mom.” That’s a goal I’m sure we can not only meet, but definitely be present for!

What about you? Have you set any new goals for 2014?

Tradition!!!!

From where I sit in my living room, I have a beautiful view of my neighborhood.  With Christmas in two days, it’s been so much fun to watch the holiday deliveries, the visitors and the pretty decorations my neighbors are enjoying.  And apparently, I’ll be getting new neighbors after the holidays since the sign next door went down and there are new vehicles coming and going!

Above all the food, family and gifts this holiday traditionally brings, I always look forward to this time of year for the traditions. Growing up, there were things we always did.  Always.

  • We went as a family to get a live Christmas tree from a lot in town and then decorated as a family listening to Christmas music on my parents’ stereo. The Amy Grant record with Tennessee Christmas was played every year.
  • We baked cookies together starting right after Thanksgiving.  This was a mom and kids sort of thing though.
  • Mom made us new pjs every year she was healthy enough to.  We opened them on Christmas Eve and wore them to bed!
  • Christmas morning began with a birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday. Then presents. Then family.

This Fall I read several books by Richard and Linda Eyre, Teaching Your Children Values, being the one that inspired me the most.  As I read about their family stories, I realized that what we value the most about our memories are the traditions that came from them.

Matt and I want to create traditions and memories that our children grow up loving and anticipating.  But I also want to make sure that our traditions focus on giving. In the last few years I’ve bundled the kids up to take goodies to the neighbors. I think it’s a great tradition considering that they are so kind to our kids for Halloween. :)  We also make something for our postal carrier. That man works hard for my family! I don’t like going into stores, so I shop online and he makes many, many trips to our home in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

As a family we’ve tracked down the perfect tree and decorated it, we’ve baked one batch of cookies, gone on several drives to see the Christmas lights, we’ve watched Christmas movies and done our Jesse tree and had a birthday party for Jesus.  We dealt with more than our fair share of germs this December, but they helped us teach the kids how to be compassionate and sensitive to each other.

Yesterday, we had our family Christmas.  This year, our children were excited to give the gifts they chose for each other.  I think I can honestly say that of all the fun items they unwrapped, Liam appreciated the gift Sylvi picked out for him the most. They hugged and thanked each other sincerely.  And Sylvi told Liam she “wuved” her gift.  And my mama heart swelled with joy.  Our Christmas traditions were pared down this year because of illness, but the joy and purity of giving is still in our home.