Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Birthdays & Christmas 2008

I know, it's the middle of January, but I just realized I'd never written about this year's Christmas & Birthday marathon, so here we go.

In my family the birthday/Christmas whirlwind that is December and January, begins on December 12 which is David's Dad's birthday. Next is my birthday on the 23rd of December, then of course Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, then Kyra's birthday on the 29th of December, then New Year's Eve & Day, then David's birthday on January 3rd, and then finally David's brother's birthday on January 4th. Let me tell you, that's a whole lot of celebrating! We have a joke in our family that we have 5 weeks of birthday cake :-)

However, this year's celebrating was a little different due to a certain snowstorm and a prophetic statement made a full year ago--more on that later. It started with my birthday. David & I were going to go downtown to the Melting Pot for a nice quiet dinner, just the two of us. But with the icy streets, we decided to forgo that plan, and made fondue at home instead! We also got to use our fondue set that we got for a wedding gift, so that was fun. Kyra wasn't too thrilled with the whole idea, as she said the cheese was "too sour & too hot", but she liked the bread :-)

Next up was Christmas. Typically we've spent Christmas Eve at my parents' and Christmas Day at David's folks---we got lucky in that our two families had celebrated like that forever, and both sets of parents live in town. And this arrangement worked fine for the many years we were just us, no kids. But as any parent knows, dragging little children around from place to place, missing naps & regular bedtimes does not make for a very happy time. So after last year, David looked at me the day after Christmas and said, "Ok. You have 365 days to get ready for Christmas AT OUR HOUSE next year."

One thing you need to know about me. When God was handing out the spiritual gift of hospitality, I must have been absent that day. In fact, I read somewhere regarding spiritual gifts that you'll know if something is your spiritual gift if the pleasure of doing it, outweighs the work it takes to do it. For me, having people over is very difficult. So when David said that, I said, "Well, that will never happen. I have 365 days to change his mind."

Well God must have been doing some big work in me over this past year, because we did have Christmas Day dinner at our house. We still had Christmas Eve dinner at my parents' house, because my mom insisted, which was fine, and really nice.

All in all, Christmas day dinner went well. However, I still struggled, because although I did ask people to bring something, I still ended up putting together a pretty elaborate sit-down meal using my good china & wine goblets, of beef tenderloin, risotto & sauteed green beans, none of which could be done up ahead of time. This meant I was stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else got to visit. Yes, this is partly my fault. I could have ordered take out Chinese, or pizza, but some part of me wanted to make it nice for everyone--pride maybe?? Anyway, it was a nice gift for my husband, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Then came Kyra's 3rd birthday. Awhile back she had asked me if I was making a Pooh Bear cake for her birthday this year (see last year's birthday post here). I said, "No, we'll do something else this year. What would you like? How about Veggie Tales?" This little girl lives and breathes these vegetables. So she says, "Bob & Larry?! And Junior, and Laura, and Archibald, and Madame Blueberry!?! That's a LOT of cake". And then she just cracks me up, because she goes on to say, "We're going to have to invite a LOT of people!"

So after searching online for a Bob & Larry cake pan, which I found out they don't make anymore, I found a site where people had posted their own Veggie Tales cakes. Using that as a guide, we did a pretty good job of making our own---It turned out so cute! And this time, like in past years, we ordered pizza for everyone, nice and simple :-)

Someone does not care for the
Birthday song...

Kyra & her good friend M

Finally David & his brother typically don't make a big deal about celebrating their birthdays, as they're only one day apart, so no big parties were planned. This year, David wanted to go fishing for his birthday, and I said I would go with him. Now remember, it was still extremely cold, and most of the local rivers were flooding, but I was willing to go anyway, to spend time with him. We even had a babysitter lined up for Kyra. At the last minute, he decided he didn't want to go fishing, and we ended up touring the wintery Columbia Gorge with Kyra---much more fun, in my opinion :-)

So there you have it--our birthday/Christmas Celebration for 2008 and part of 2009. Enjoy this beautiful sunshine!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Helpful tool

Ever have one of those days where you think, "If I get through this day with everyone still alive, it'll be a miracle!"??

I'm guessing if you're a parent of small children, this can be a daily mantra for you. Whether it's realizing your child has just discovered Sharpie markers make great eyeliner pencils, or your Dry Clean Only bedspread was the recipient of a stubborn child who refuses to use the big-girl potty, we've all been there. That moment where you become a raving lunatic, eyes bulging, face turning bright red, and noises coming out of your mouth that you thought only wild animals could make.

Luckily I've found a great book that has helped me tremendously in navigating this journey with our wonderful little spunky and spirited girl. It's written by two moms, Michelle Nicholasen & Barbara O'Neal, who have been there & done that, and have survived! Everything from throwing food to potty training, it's in there.

What I really appreciate about this book though is that it's written in such a way that if you need a quick reference, the table of contents is designed to jump quickly to a particular topic/conflict, instead of having to wade through a bunch of pages to find what you need.

And yes, like most self-help books, some of the language or phrases they suggest you use while in the middle of a situation sound a little Psychology 101, like you couldn't ever see yourself saying that. However, I find because I have to slow down to "talk like that" because it's not natural, it gives me that extra few seconds to reign my temper in, and catch my breath, if you will.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently in the middle of the toddler/preschool years, and would even go so far as to give it as a baby shower gift, because those days are coming sooner than you think :-)

Have a great weekend, friends and be sure to get out and enjoy this beautiful sunshine! And, Hang in there! :-)