Choosing to Celebrate

December 7th.

This date is memorable for many people for various reasons. Several days ago our kindergartner noticed that it’s a special day because she saw words printed on the calendar. She asked what is special about 7 this month.

Ahh, that may not be a tough question for most. Of course, the answer for many is “it’s Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” -at least that’s what the calendar says. One of my high school friends was born today, and has since passed away -so for her family, including her kiddos it’s probably a bittersweet day. But, for me it’s the anniversary of the day my mom died in 1986.

Having such a tough thing happen during the “holiday season” had lasting effects. When it happened I had no idea that for years, actually decades, I’d struggle to enjoy the Christmas celebrations that flow starting after Thanksgiving. Wherever I was in the world others were decorating, gifting, singing, celebrating and I was often just trying to hold it together, to be present without tears. It just wasn’t a celebration time.

But, thankfully one year I took time to deal with all that (I wrote about it here if you’re curious) and some amazing healing happened. I’m SO glad I did that hard work before I had a kiddo of my own. She’s growing up enjoying the beauty of the season, and that is so cool to watch.

We’re off to a slow start this year. A quickly planned trip to Indy followed by WordCamp US in Nashville got us back in town late on the 4th, so we have some more decorating to do. But, we’re taking our time, thought it’s tempting to knock it out alone while Morgan’s at work and Joanna’s at school, doing it together as a family is what makes it special. I love opening the box of ornaments and remembering together where they came from, or when we made them. We got to open 5 days of our Lego Friends Advent Calendar at once. That would have been cool, except our eager 6 year old had opened it and switched around the bags of Lego, which meant the pictures didn’t match the pieces on 4 of the first 5 days. So, I spent some time yesterday watching a video someone had posted of opening the whole thing and getting it straightened out. Yay for youtube!

This summer our LST mission trip took us to Natal Brazil. We had a great experience there, but I still get teary thinking about one night. We had dinner with some of the church members and Joanna really connected with one of the ladies. Marisa loved on Joanna, she giggled with her, gave her gifts, hugged her, planned shopping trips, and played together,  they just really connected. As we left the restaurant to get in the car I walked behind the 2 of them and started bawling as I saw them holding hands and joyfully almost skipping along. They were having a blast. And, while I was so glad Joanna was experiencing that I was grieving that she doesn’t get that experience with my mom, that she isn’t here to be grandma, and that means my kiddo is missing out on some potentially really cool moments. So, yes, I am thankful that she does have special moments with great people, and she does have some chances to see Nana out in California, or when they visit, it’s just tough at times that she’s short one grandparent.

So, instead of dwelling on what are missing out on, I choose to celebrate! I ask Morgan to bring the tree down from the attic and the boxes of decorations in from the garage. We get out the Christmas coasters and special glasses. We move things off the mantle to set up a Nativity set (I love that this has become Joanna’s favorite part). We put the ornaments on our front yard tree that were placed by a mystery friend years ago. We’ll make some treats and share them with friends. I crochet ornaments to share, and help Joanna make some to share. We are using this special season to find ways to spread around a little joy, and I’m so glad for it.

I have some dear friends and family members who have lost loved ones this year and are facing their first holiday season without a parent or other family member. And, for them I’m hoping that in spite of the inevitable sadness that will come from that hole in the celebrations that they will be able to find some joy too and will be able to remember the special times with their loved ones.

We all know that tomorrow isn’t promised, and so I hope that today, and each day we’ll choose to do good and love one another well, as that can make such a huge difference.

As I mentioned, we’re a bit behind this year, but here’s a start to our home decorations:

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Enjoying a playground

We spent the night in The Shrine Hotel at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. We’ve stayed here several times before when traveling between Oklahoma and Indiana.

Our early riser was ready to go at 6, but waited somewhat patiently till 8 to go play after breakfast. She and I played while Morgan finished walking up and showering.

It’s a really neat playground. She loved starting the day with some play time.

It’s not a fancy hotel, but the price is good, people are friendly, and there’s a big, neat playground.

Also, from November 17 – December 31 this year they have the Way of Lights. It’s a really cool Christmas light display that includes showing the story of Jesus’ birth. Being able to drive through it was a highlight of the trip. It makes staying here totally worth it.

Morgan and I had been here before and were surprised to find the lights. It was cool to surprise Joanna with them this year. She enjoyed them as much as we hoped she would.

Amazing scent?

We just stopped at Rib Crib to pick up some dinner. Morgan ran in to pick up our order. As we were leaving the parking lot Joanna asked “what is that amazing scent?”

Meat, dear girl, that scent is meat.

The bag contained pulled pork, sausage, and brisket. I will admit I agree, it does smell quite good.

This was one of those “we must be doing something right” moments.

Finishing on Friday

These items are all “done”, but they’re not finished.

See all those strings? They all need woven into the work. That’s my least favorite part.

I’ve steadily been crocheting but not weaving in and ended up with this pile of things that are all almost finished.

Tonight I’m watching the World Series and working on finishing these things.

One is a gift to be given out tomorrow, I think I’ll work on that first 🙂

And, it’s far from finished, but we’ve made progress on our online store. You can check it out at https://squareup.com/store/made-by-miss-j

Helping clean!

Nana and Papa are on the way here!!

So, J is helping get the house ready for them to visit. She’s loving getting to clean her bathroom.

“This should be my job Mama” she just told me.

That works for me.

The sad star

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Stamp given at cafeteria because “I have no money”

Our kindergarten wanted to eat school lunch today. So, I checked online to be sure there was still money on her lunch account. Lunch is $2.85 and she had $3.55 on her account. So, I figured all was well she didn’t need any money today for lunchtime.

She came home with the above star stamp. She says she got it in the cafeteria because “I don’t have any money.” She still received the tray lunch she wanted, but had this stamp as a conversation piece all day.

Other students asked her about it and wanted to know what it was for. She said it made her sad to tell them it was because she didn’t have any money.

There has to be a better way.

So, I wasn’t there to see what happened or what was communicated. But, I am here to see my 6 year old crying about this whole scenario. And, that makes me kinda mad. I checked ahead of time to be sure she had enough to cover her lunch. So, I don’t understand why this happened. I haven’t received any prior notification telling me that she’d be given a stamp based on any sort of balance.

And, to make it all worse, she didn’t even eat the lunch. The menu said “Burger” it was a actually a cheeseburger so the bread she doesn’t like was stuck to the melted cheese, which was stuck to the burger and she didn’t like it. So, we’re here at home with her asking for snack after snack since she didn’t eat the lunch that resulted in the sad star stamp 😦

Auto Lessons Today

We learned a few things about our cars today.

1. The trunk staying open overnight drains the battery in the Saturn.

2. The Prius battery isn’t designed to jump start another car.

3. AAA membership is still a good idea. (Brandon the technician arrived less than 30 minutes after I called). And, Brandon had super-long jumper cables that plugged into the front of his truck and reached all the way to the Saturn’s battery.

Supply List

Our kiddo wants to make a space ship.

She created this supply list for me, complete with illustrations so that I can get her materials ready.

Marker box, big box, tape, scissors, pillows, long yarn.

It makes me wish she was still home all day so we’d have time to make it.

Of all the parts…

I’m not quite sure what to think about the fact that Joanna’s current favorite part of her new Lego puppy day care is the pooper scooper and poop.

Previous sets have come with a white piece that is bubbles and a yellow one that she calls berries, and then this one that is brown 🙂

It’s pretty cool to see her create things and then take them apart to make something else. Lego has proven to be a great family gift!