Category Archives: Christmas

A Christmas Visitor

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the plaster with care,

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of cookies danced in their heads.
And mamma in her nighty, and daddy in his boxer shorts,

Had just settled the disagreement on what to put in the stockings

When out on the porch there arose such a CLATTER at the front door,

Ma and Pa looked at each other, while in their nighty and boxers, with fear in their heads.

Away to the back door Pa flew like a sloth,
Grabbed up the tennis shoes and crept out the door in fear of someone seeing him in his boxers.

The moon on the melting, dirty snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects around.

When, what to Pa’s wondering eyes should appear,
But a red and green tote sitting on the front stoop.

Looking quickly to and fro, up and down the lane,
He knew not in the moment where the mysterious box appeared from.
More rapid than eagles he grabbed it and ran before the neighbors saw his boxers.

He ran into the house and called for Ma.

“Now, where did it come from, who would drop off a box?
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Who gave it all??”

And then, in a twinkling, we pranced and pawed through the green and red tote looking for a clue, oh who of who, had dropped it here.
We pushed and prodded well-wrapped boxes and candy canes still no clue, who oh who, had brought it here.

2016-12-24 21.43.58

And what to our wondering eyes did appear a wonderous and mysterious card and note tucked within the lid of the box…

With sweetness, it said “May God Bless you and your family. Merry CHRISTmas

and Happy New Year.” Yet it held no clue, who oh who, had given this bounty to this family.

It is with hearts full of joy and thankfulness, we say thank you to our mysterious person(s) who with a clank at our door, left joy and fun for us to explore.

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year to you!!

Enjoy What You’re Doing

Ten or so years ago, hubby and I rang a bell at a Salvation Army Kettle.  It is a chilly project, but low stress and high fun.  That experience was before kids.  I decided a couple weeks ago it was time to do it again–as a family of five!!

So, this afternoon we bundled up (glad it wasn’t as cold today as it was earlier this week) and headed out to the Post Office.

We sang, we danced, we said Merry Christmas and thank you!

2016-12-17 14.45.26 2016-12-17 13.15.19 2016-12-17 13.25.17 2016-12-17 13.25.26 2016-12-17 13.25.31 2016-12-17 13.35.04 2016-12-17 13.35.10 2016-12-17 13.39.46 2016-12-17 13.55.06 2016-12-17 14.01.10 2016-12-17 14.25.33 2016-12-17 14.35.02 2016-12-17 14.44.37

We had lots of comments from people saying we looked like we were having fun.  One guy, motioned over to hubby as he danced to Dominick the Donkey, and said, “you gotta enjoy what you are doing!”

And we did.

We were out there 2 hours and 20 minutes.  There were no bell ringers when we got there, so we just started our shift a little early.  People responded well.  Our bucket was completely full when we returned it to the Salvation Army Citadel this afternoon.

Our toes were cold, but our hearts were full from being able to do our part to help.

Along the Way

I was reminded today of the many people it has taken to get me and my family as far as we have come as a family.

I am sitting here thinking back how I never thought I would get married or have children.  And here I am, the half crazed lady in the grocery story trying to find Christmas treats for hubby while corralling three kids as we wrap up our homeschooling for 2015.

I got my wishes and dreams for a family starting with getting married in 2006 and then having Caitlyn in 2006, Sue in 2007, and Patrice in 2010.  My world was perfect and beautiful and crashing down around me.  Patrice’s birth brought postpartum depression, psychosis, and anxiety–later to become bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

I will never forget the frantic feelings after Patrice’s birth, the need to be busy, the need to escape.  I remember one friend telling my hubby, let me know when I need to keep Charity busy.  She did just that one night 5 years ago today with cookie decorating for the older girls and I.

Now, I am listening to my three girls work together to decorate a gingerbread house all on their own.  2015-12-18 12.20.14 2015-12-18 12.13.17 2015-12-18 12.13.32 2015-12-18 12.19.45 2015-12-18 12.19.58

 

Unfortunately the days aren’t perfect, but they are beautifully imperfect.

Thank you to all who have helped us get this far.  Thank you to those who have listened to my moaning, crying, and blubbering both on-line and off.  Thank you for being a safe place when I, and my family, needed it.  You are all so precious.

Merry Christmas from our house 😉 to yours.

Shiny Things

Yesterday Caitlyn got one of her big wishes!!!!

2015-12-03 12.51.58 2015-12-03 12.52.46 2015-12-03 12.53.44 2015-12-03 12.56.04 2015-12-03 13.01.02

Gift Giving

It feels weird this year not doing ShoeBoxes through Samaritans Purse with the girls this year.  But they are excited to be doing them at Awana Bible Club, so they take in their items and I sit here thinking how strange this all is.

We have always headed to the dollar store with our list of suggested items and get what we need to fill our boxes.  And before you worry that I am giving them junk I wouldn’t give my kids–we do plenty of shopping for our own family at the dollar store.

There are other ways to give through Samaritan’s Purse, including their gift catalog.  You can help others while shopping for the person who has everything.  You can buy a cow, or a share or a cow, to help a village.  You can choose refugee relief, sewing machines, any one of 42 items in their catalog.

And if Samaritan’s Purse is not your first choice of an organization, there are many others, World Vision, Heifers International, so many places where you can give in honor of someone while blessing someone else.

Won’t you consider these options this year?

Splash of Green

Disclosure:  Giggles and Grimaces did not receive any compensation for this post and am not responsible for prize fulfillment.

My children are currently trying to measure the snow.  This is amazing to me.  It has been years since we have had snow stay this early.  Ski resorts are opening early.  Everything this white.

It helps feel more in the holiday spirit.  I am ready for the warmth of family and good food on Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas.

How would you like to add a beautiful wreath, head over to Queen of Savings to enter her giveaway for a 20 inch wreath.

Forest Fresh 20" Classic Wreath from ChristmasForest.com Giveaway

Hosted by: Queen of Savings, Tammie’s Reviews Giveaways & More, Green Grandma, Golden State Mom & Here we go again, ready?

Sponsor: ChristmasForest.com

Careful—grandpa may want to steal the ribbon to make a swanky Christmas vest! Our Classic Christmas wreath adds a distinctive touch of holiday elegance to the traditional red and green theme with its ornately embossed red bow and berries. Alive with the evergreen scent of the Cascade forests, the Classic wreath will brighten any place you call home for the holidays.

Prize: 20″ Christmas Classic Wreath

Dates: 11/19-12/3

Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

 

What About Jesus

Hubby read my Sunday blog post, Generation to Generation.  I hold my breath waiting for his opinion when I know he is reading.  He is a great deal more conservative than I about what gets shared with others and what doesn’t.  Believe it or not, I don’t quite let it all hang out, and dirty laundry stays safely tucked away, but I still have a lot more to say than he would prefer.

Beyond all that?  His opinion is the one that really matters to me.  Yes, I write for myself.  Yes, I write for others.  But when he likes something I write?  That’s when it really matters to me.

And when he read Generation?  He found a typo (that has been fixed) and said, “what about Jesus in Christmas?  Doesn’t that matter?”

Yes hubby, there is Jesus in Christmas.

Honestly, when I wrote about decorating and Christmas, I was not intending to diss all of Christmas, just the glitter and glamour.  I could live without a tree up in my house, I could definitely live without two months of Christmas movies on my favorite TV channel and two to three months of Christmas songs on the radio are a bit much.

Most of Christmas, I love.  I love the opportunities to give that it brings out.  I love Operation Christmas Child.  I love taking the girls to the dollar store and filling boxes just as full as we can to send to kids around the world.  I have November 17 marked on our calendar so we get our boxes done and ready to be shipped to kids who most likely will have no other Christmas.

I’m already watching our church bulletin for updates on Angel Tree.  I will be picking three angels off the tree.  Each has a gift listed on it for a particular child.  Buying a gift for a child on behalf of their incarcerated mother or father is one way our family can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I’m not altogether altruistic.  I also love shopping for my girls.  I used a gift certificate yesterday to start the process.  And I am watching Facebook and Twitter for deal alerts.  It is amazing what different deals people find.  On-line deals tend to save me a bundle.

Beyond the gifts, I love the added freedom Christmas brings us to talk about Jesus.  His name is found on Radio Stations where He is never mentioned otherwise.  Churches have special concerts and programs that people are willing to come to when church is not always on their radar.  I love the candlelight services at church, time to pause where we normally rush through.  I love reading and talking about the Christmas story.

I love having my family to share the holiday with.  I love the extra devotions we do nightly as we put the ornaments on the Jesse Tree.  I am totally enamored with the fun crafts the girls and I can do, the special school studies we can draw upon.

Really, I don’t think it was a dislike of Christmas that was handed down in my family, I think it was just of the decorating and the programming changes that drag on and on.  I love the warm and cozy of Christmas, just not in front of a tree.

2013-10-22 17.56.23 2013-11-30 01.44.36 2013-11-30 01.44.08 2013-12-03 12.03.59

Generation to Generation

2013-12-26 11.13.46

Ho, ho, ho and Merry Christmas weren’t really heard in my house.  Not that we didn’t celebrate the, we did, but it didn’t bring out the best in my nuclear family.

My dad wore Christmas, truly, he worked in the Christmas tree fields seasonally.  And each year, said trees have to be painted green.  Yup, there’s the big secret, the trees are naturally pink, so they paint them green.  Or, they grow green but need to be treated with pesticides which are put in a green “paint” solution.  Yes, yes, yes, the second explanation is a little more logical, but the pink thing?  Way more fun to tell the other little kids in your class when you’re a kid.  Those big eyes when you tell them Christmas trees are really pink–priceless!!

But his Christmas cheer didn’t go past skin deep.  He hated not having money to buy lots of presents.  He really hated tracking back through the lights to find the burnt out bulb.  And he didn’t do any decorating past that.

From that point on, it was me and my mom.  We put up ornaments and cute little decorations around the house.  It was nothing elaborate, but it worked for us.

Then the days of the stupid needles falling off, trying all different solutions to make them stay on longer, the counter weights needed on the tree to keep it from falling over and still hearing the “crash” at least once per season.

My mom would Christmas shop at sales, yard sales, bargain hunting from December 26th on each year.  So we had gifts, but money was always an issue.  Always.  And it made my folks grumpy.  With themselves, with each other, and with the season that taxed an already tight budget.

The days of glitz and lights brought little cheer to our house.  Come Christmas morning I never felt cheated in presents to open, but I knew the season was not a favorite around our house.

The disappointment, the fights, the arguments kept it from being an exciting time for us.

Over the years, my folks went their own separate ways.  My mom found someone who loves decorating for holidays and she continues her skill at shopping year round.  They have their tree up early each year, lights spread around and garland up  and down.

I don’t.  No early here.  None.  I prefer the later the better.  I hate having the furniture moved around to accommodate the tree.  I hate having to tell the girls not to touch or to be careful.  I don’t enjoy the process of getting the tree out of the box, the branches spread out, ornaments unpacked.  The one and only part I enjoy is sitting in the living room with just the tree lights on.  But a week of that is enough.

I have seen more than one post today on Facebook talking about when people put up their tree, with many saying today.  And then there is me–“as late as possible” or “skip it due to lack of interest.”  Too bad that last one is unacceptable.  And the other is out of fashion.

Because me, I’d rather be over here ignoring the bling of the season.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Fun

As part of Patrice’s speech therapy, she is actually enrolled in school at age 2, even though the therapist comes to our home.  This odd arrangement has it’s benefits.  We find out about all the activities at our neighboring school.

Our speech therapist has been raving about one for weeks, Cookies with Reindeer.  They have real reindeer, fresh baked cookies, and story time with Mrs. Claus.

I had been saying I wanted to go, but thanks to a dinner fiasco it did not look like we would make it in time…but I think daddy saw how much I needed to get out of the house and out of my head.  So we bundled up and piled in the car.

I’m so glad we did.

Christmas Adventure

As I mentioned, we had planned to go cut down a tree and have real adventure getting a real tree rather than using one of our artificial trees. 

We had an adventure alright but it consisted of cleaning up a baby in the parking lot of a store after she got sick all over herself.  Sigh…

But we did find a beautiful tree at a flower market. 

Patrice took a nap while we decorated but she enjoyed cleaning beforehand