Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
was anywhere to be found.

The people were all busy
with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking,
and shopping in stores.

No one sang "Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa
dressed-up in bright red.

Mama watched Martha Stewart,
Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour upon hour
the presents they'd wrap.
When what from the TV
did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad...which told
of a big sale at Sears.

So away to the mall
they all flew like a flash
Buying things on credit
and others with cash!

And, as they made their way home
from their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh, no... not at all.

Their lives were so busy
with their Christmas time things
No time to remember
Christ Jesus, the King.

There were presents to wrap
and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember
who died for their sake?

To pray to the Savior
they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time
to "Shop 'til they dropped!"

On Wal-mart! On K-mart!
On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!
A quick lunch at Denny's.

From the big stores downtown
to the stores at the mall
They would dash away, dash away,
and visit them all!

And up on the roof,
there arose such a clatter.
As grandpa hung icicle lights
up on his brand new step ladder.

He hung lights that would flash.
He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed to Jesus,
Light of the World.

Christ's they twinkle!
Christ's merry!
Christ's enormous!
All our burdens...He'll carry!

So instead of being busy,
overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in
Christmas and enjoy
some good nights!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Digital Story of the Nativity

This came out a few years ago, but I still think it's so creative!!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent Calendar

I've wanted an Advent calendar for awhile, but never found one I liked and there was no way I was going to pull out my sewing machine!

Sarah and I did a Mini Monet class and made one together.  It turned out cute and while I had to help make a lot of the pieces, she loved picking out the colors and where everything went.  I will post a picture soon.

Each kid came up with three or four different activities to put in the pockets and then we did the rest.  The pockets aren't big enough for three pieces of candy and this is more fun anyway because they don't know what we will be doing until they open the note every morning.

So, last night we had Christmas Waffle night.  The kids loved them!!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Books

Another idea I got from Pinterest!!  You read a Christmas book to your child every night starting on December 1st until the 24th.  Very cool and we have tons of Christmas books, right?!?

Well, we only had 6 or so.  The classics that everyone has in their library.  So, off to the internet and half price books I went to search for meaningful Christmas books.  You know, not those filled with Santa, but what Christmas really is about.  As I said before, we try to minimize the commercialism of Christmas and focus on the real meaning.  This comes from lots of talks and activities surrounding the holiday season.

So, here's our list:

1.  The Legend of the Candy Cane
2.  Mr. Willowby's Tree
3.  A Cat in the Stable
4.  Snowmen at Christmas
5.  Santa's Coming to Wisconsin
6.  Laura's Star
7.  Can You See What I See
8.   Curious George Christmas
9.  12 Days of Christmas in Wisconsin
10.  The Sparkle Box
11.  Gingerbread Baby
12.  Humphrey's 1st Christmas
13. Legend of the Christmas Stocking
14. Room for a Little One
15. Best Christmas Pagent Ever
16. Spirit of Christmas
17. Carpenters Gift
18. Little Fir Tree
19. Christmas Magic
20. God Gave Us Christmas
21. Charlie Brown Christmas
22. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
23. Polar Express
24.  First Christmas

The kids love the idea and are having a great time unwrapping each book and listening as I read it to them.  They decided that after we were done reading the books go back under the tree.

I know we will be doing this again next Christmas and now I have a good set of books to use and hopefully will only have to get a few new ones to add to the collection.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sarah's First Dance Recital

Sarah had her first dance recital on December 9th.  It was very cute and she did well.  I'm going to try and get the video to post, but thought I would share a picture first!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is Santa Real?

Ah, yes, the age old question.  Is Santa real? 

Once your first child is old enough to understand the Santa concept you have to decide as parents how you are going to handle Santa in your house.  For us, the decision was made easy by Caroline.  With her birthday being at the beginning of January, she was almost a year for her first Christmas.  We took her to the mall and walked past Santa, Brian's company had a party where Santa gave gifts to the children.  In all of these cases she started crying and would cling to us.  Plain and simple, she was scared.

We figured that as time went on that first Christmas she would get used to the idea.  Nope.  We even asked if Santa could leave the presents on the front porch, thinking the scary part was someone coming into your house.  Nope.  She wanted nothing to do with the man.

Well, that decision was made easy!  By the next Christmas Julia was born and only being 6 months old she didn't understand the Santa concept either.  So, we just went on like there wasn't anything important about Santa.

People ask how we explained it to our kids and it actually wasn't a big deal.  Caroline was scared and we told her it was a person dressed up like Santa.  That helped a little.  When Christmas Day came the presents were under the tree (if not before the actual day) and no questions were asked where they came from.

Now Caroline and Julia both knew not to tell other friends that Santa wasn't real.  We didn't want them to ruin the magic for other kids.  And we can say they did very well at keeping the secret.  Of course, when you don't believe in Santa out goes the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. 

This year is the first time Sarah is able to understand the Santa concept.  And while we like her daycare, they do things to promote the Santa idea.  We've talked to her and so have the older girls about how Santa isn't real and what the true meaning of Christmas is - Baby Jesus' birthday. 

Both Caroline and Julia know the answers to the questions:
Why do we celebrate Christmas or What is Christmas really about?  Jesus' birthday.
Why do we give gifts at Christmas?  To show our love to others.

Sarah understands that and the Santa parts will become clearer over the next year.  Christmas has become much more commercialized.  This makes it harder to focus on the real meaning, but we try our best by reading books, baking a Jesus birthday cake and spending time talking about it.  No matter if your children believe in Santa or not, we hope the real reason for Christmas is made the focal point of the season.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Piano Guys

A friend posted links to these videos this summer and they are amazing. 

You may have seen them already, but I enjoy watching them again and again!