Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Smell of a Good Competition

He made a scene in Toys'R'Us back when we were scanning the wall of car toys for our son. It was as though the drudgery of shopping suddenly vanished when my husband, who had spotted the very thing he adored as a child, started freaking out. With a raised voice, pointing frantically, he rapidly attempted to describe to me the sheer bliss that this double race track had afforded him. Any ideas we had previously imagined for our boy went flying out the window with all the excitement. One down, three kids to go :)

And this is how I found him on Boxing Day morning...
Deep in pieces and parts (all lined up and organized), my husband tried to prepare Oliver for the joy of what was to come, if he could only get it put together with "these terrible instructions".
I entered the room to check the progress from time to time and once I caught Terry smelling one of the cars. "What on earth are you doing?" I inquired.
"I'm smelling my childhood," he replied with a smile, "because there's just that certain burnt smell of the race."
Okay then. Apparently, boys need Daddies for a reason :)
Since then, they've raced those two cars together and one generation passed a "good competition" onto another, especially the smell.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Gift Of Giving

We returned from our candlelight service and the kids raced to slide into jammies. Tonight, we would open our gifts as tomorrow would be a little rushed with the extended family. The fire crackling, Christmas tree lights twinkling and the final song, Silent Night, still playing through my mind, created just the right setting for our little family time.

One by one, the very full tree skirt that donned those kid-wrapped presents, began to empty as my children excitedly passed around their bedroom-found treasures to one another.
It's those faces that light up when they receive an unexpected offering of love that I'll cherish and I'm so grateful for a camera during these moments.

When those starry-eyed children finally headed off to bed, my husband and I sat and assessed how things played out. Even though our children know it's not all about the gifts and they recognize this is a celebration of Jesus' birthday, we desire that our kids grow to love the receiving less and less and gain giving hearts more and more. Remembering the night, we smiled together as we agreed that these kids do take joy in giving to one another and they're oh so gracious when being given something odd like a hair barrette or a cardboard paper towel tube from a younger sibling. We also found that sacrificial giving was going on too. As our six year-old opened up a much-loved and full Polly Pocket case that belonged to her big sister, that big sister smiled while I gasped. But it wasn't a few minutes later, that big girl opened a gift from us: a large box of second-hand Polly Pockets, passed on from an older friend. Unexpected blessings for her sacrifice, I believe.

So, while we have thoughts of possibly doing what this family does (click on the text), we are aware of how God has blessed us abundantly with children who are grateful and very loving to each other.

May you sense how His good gifts make us better givers also.

Stable Love

Every year I pull out the humble stables and the various sets of nativity figures. And every year I have to add another angel, whose wing was chipped when he flew over the cattle (and crashed into the stable), or a new baby Jesus, because his little foot was broken off with all the kid-love. Poor shepherds and gallant wise men don't fare well in this home. They're battered with use. But that's okay with me.

Our little collection of stables is growing and I pray that as small hands send angels flying and Mary and Joseph kissing, that the greatest story ever told is penetrating hearts. That's why our nativity casualties don't bother me anymore. I want my children to remember how they played with those intricate pieces and re-enacted their Saviour's birth again and again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Do Not Like Them, Sam-I-Am!

Breakfast this morning consisted of just what the doctor ordered (Seuss, that is). I had two very thrilled little individuals who guessed what I was up to.
How many times can you read Green Eggs and Ham? If I were to put a number to it... countless. It has such a... well, I don't know... a beautifully, exasperating quality to it :)
"Can we actually eat it, Mommy?"
I do not like them, Sam-I-am. I do not like green eggs and ham.
I think they enjoyed not liking them more than anything :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Un-Schooling And Phone Trouble

We all crashed after the final performance of our Christmas musical and it hit us like a tons of bricks--the cold flu. Thankfully, a couple of days, besides kid coughs, and we were back on our feet. I spoke with a mom today at a homeschool group and she told me she was an unschooler. That sounded really tempting--like I would like to call myself one of those. I might be just a little proud of myself when we had a really good curriculum day, instead of feeling guilty because we weren't getting through a particular amount of pages. Alas, my eldest daughter will have nothing but the texts and structure and tests and all that good stuff :) This season, however, there has been so much baking and partying and field trips and visiting that we simply haven't forged ahead in great educational endeavours--of the textbook sort, at least. The real life kind, now that's happening at every turn. How is December for you?

Since my fingers seem to be typing a rambling post tonight, I might as well add that the phone rang furiously not long ago. I say furiously because, when you can't find it, it seems to ring like it's desperate, doesn't it? I looked in the usual places, but began to search madly and threw objects left and right in passionate determination to find the thing. All the while, it wailed it's desperate, twangy ring. When it stopped, I stood over the place from which the sound was coming. It was the Christmas tree. The circular, red mat that spread around the bottom was covered in child-wrapped gifts with at least a roll of tape stuck every which way on several of them. I had watched earlier as my children had gathered stuff from their rooms and "secretly" bound them in sparkly paper and tape. They giggled with each other and shook the ones with their own names on them.

I bent down and pushed presents aside seeking my phone, now quite curious about who had called. It was no where to be found but I recognized one box, in particular. It had held Oliver's new snow boots and he had been excited to use the empty box. Now, it was left unwrapped but latched on all sides with tape. I picked it up and shook it. It sounded kind of like a phone might be in there. I actually felt guilty as I peeled back the lid and discovered it really was my phone. I thought back to him racing by me this morning, that box in hand, saying, "Mommy, you're gonna love this one!"
Do you know, I wrapped that thing back up again? Since we have another phone downstairs, we'll be hearing that crazy sound coming from under the tree until Christmas morning. But, I will have a happy boy. 

Meeting At The Castle

She called me from the dentist's office and she had that eager, yet hesitant tone to her voice that I recognized immediately. She bumbled over details of the dental visit but I was waiting for what she really called for because this friend, she knows we have twin hearts of spontaneity. Finally, she exclaimed that she was going to swing by Dundurn Castle and would we like to meet them there? I did a quick mental assessment of where we stood in terms of schoolwork, who was fully dressed--had everyone eaten? That took all of about three seconds and then I blurted, "Yes! Meet there in half an hour?" And so we did.

Another date to remember--meeting at the castle together--for this little homeschool group.
Thanks, Sandee, for your fun and spontaneous spirit :)