Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bests of the Holiday

The Christmas holidays have come and gone. Around here we're winding down and getting ready for the New Year, new semester for me, and back to work for DH. The tree is down and decorations are nearly all put away. For us, usually this doesn't happen until well into January - however, I heard on the radio awhile back someone talking about how they take everything down by December 31st so as to start the new year with a clean slate. It made sense.

Highlights of this holiday have been:
  • Brendan participating in the Christmas Play at my mom's Church. He was a horse. It was very cute.
  • Hosting our first Christmas dinner for extended family. It was a success and surprisingly low stress.
  • Seeing Brendan so excited realizing that Santa had came and brought him the "big boy scooter" he had requested (the only thing he asked Santa for). 
  • Flying a new kite - thanks to Nana and Papa - on a rather warm Christmas morning
  • Getting together with old friends. We were lucky to have multiple visits from one of my very best childhood friend's who came home from Edmonton for the holidays. One of these visits involved a foam sword fight..between her and I. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. I was also able to get out for dinner with 3 friends from high school and despite not seeing each other in years it was just like old times. 
  • Taking B skating for the first time. I was so proud of him. Skating is hard and he was such a good sport. We only caught the last 30 minutes of a family skate session but by the end he was balancing well standing in one spot and getting better at getting up from the ice on his own.
Tonight is shaping up to be another low key New Years Eve and that's A-okay with me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Giving back for the holidays with young children

As I mentioned awhile back. We want to start instilling the idea of Christmas as a time of giving to those who are less fortunate with our boys. Now that classes are out and exams and final papers have been written, I have a little bit more time to dedicate to finalizing more ambitious Christmas gifts and to deciding and executing our plan for giving this year.

Having young children, certain ways of giving seem less practical for us, mainly those that involve volunteering time. Some opportunities are inappropriate for small children – like working in a soup kitchen. Consequently, we have been trying to find ways that will have meaning for us, are appropriate given our finances and family dynamic, and most importantly, that B will understand (i.e. visible actions such as gift giving as opposed to monetary donations or monetary contributions that involve tangible gifts like food hampers). We’re also trying to pick opportunities that offer a teaching opportunity such as to explain poverty, homelessness, or illness. Food and toy donations are simple enough – he understands that we are giving to people who don’t have food or toys.

Some ideas for giving back at Christmas time for those with very young kids:
  • Donate non-perishable food or personal hygiene items to a local food drive. **We try to avoid giving sugar-laden, highly processed, or junk foods. Also, if you’re cleaning out your cupboards pay attention to best before dates and when in doubt toss it out. Alternately, if you have more money to spend, you could buy a food hamper.
  • Donate warm winter clothing – many places will take both used and new items and are looking especially for children’s items.
  • Donate toys to a local toy drive. Although many toy drives request new toys, there are also some places that will accept decent quality used toys. **We are asking B to select a few toys he no longer plays with/has duplicates of to donate since he is fortunate enough to be receiving new toys this Christmas.
  • Give a less fortunate family the gift of “Christmas” – gifts, food, decor
  • Make Christmas crafts and cards with your children and drop them off to a local nursing home for seniors who do not receive visitors over the holidays. The same can be done with flower arrangements (or poinsettias received as gifts if you’re concerned about small children or pets).
  • Donate to the local animal shelter - kids love animals.
  • Purchase products where the proceeds go to important causes ex. a local initiative is selling very cute calendars with the proceeds going toward the construction of a new, affordable facility in the Region.
  • Donate gifts to Sick Kids. DH spent some time there as a child for eye surgeries. They have a really neat site for giving get well gifts like crafts/baking supplies, books, etc. 
Any other ideas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Babies

One very excited boy and one not so sure baby.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hello December!

Yesterday was the first snowfall in these parts. I assured a rather anxious B he would be able to go tobogganing soon. The hot chocolate has already been flowing here and a pot of soup (ends of veggies thrown together in attempts to clean out the fridge before grocery day) is simmering away on the stove for dinner tonight. The snow serves as a reminder that I need to get moving on finishing my Christmas shopping.

I've been enjoying our newly painted house. Having the walls look fresh makes the other not so fresh things stick out - I totally need to find some new throw pillows. We used Benjamin Moore's Collingwood for most of our house and totally love it. Our living room (pictured) is done in Grey Mist the BM match for Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage.

Newest development? N's first tooth came through and this kid loves "real" food way more than baby mush.