Monday, December 1, 2008

ever closer

We had a great thanksgiving holiday.
g worked a little more than i'd liked, but that's fine. we are thankful to have a job in this economy. and we spent lots of time with family, which is FAB*ulous!

i finished reading unplug the christmas machine: a complete guide to putting love and joy back into the season.
(not that we were love-less or joy-less in the years past, but hey~ it doesn't hurt to improve.)

this book has really helped me think about christmas, and want to make it happy for everyone involved.

it also gave me good ideas. like- stop wasting time/money doing- or creating things/memories you think your kids will love when all they want is...'

according to the book, what kids really want for christmas is:

1. A relaxed and loving time with the family.
2. Realistic expectations about gifts.
3. An evenly paced holiday season.
4. Reliable family traditions.

(the wording does make me laugh. maybe because i picture them coming out of a 2-year old's mouth, and it makes the child sound ever so eloquent. i'm sure adam is really worried about #2 this year.)
anyway, i am realizing i need to brush up on the reliable part of the traditions and make sure we do them each year.

we always do certain things, but i need to find out what traditions my kids look forward to.
the question is:
'what makes it Christmas?'
'it's not Christmas if we don't _______.'

hopefully tonight i get a good list from my kids. last time we had a sit-down with the kids, alex couldn't stop poking adam in the ear, b was rolling her eyes @ alex, and adam bounced a decorative 'ball' on the table and was surprised when it shattered.
i'm crossing my fingers.
if you have any traditions you want to share, please do! i'd love ideas.

ps- if you are giving burned cd's, or dvd's this year, i have the thing for you. check this baby out. the work is done for you. there is a cover for the jewel case (that's the paper shown above), and a separate cover for the actual cd too. (just print that on sticker paper) i gave small gifts in these round cd tins last year and used this kit. printed it out on avery sticker paper, and voila. love it!

the kids named:
cousin's gift exchange and party
pj's from santa on christmas eve
decorating a gingerbread house
seeing the lights
and then alex said:
'hmmm... ummm... i have an idea but i don't know if you and dad would allow it.
we would paint the car like christmas but not any of the windows.
we had a good laugh over that one.
i don't think g would love it if we decked the car out like christmas!'


connie s.miles said...

Beautiful border and paper!! Love love it!!

Also can't believe that you read "Unplug the Christmas Machine"!! I read that years and years ago when the kids were growing up and LOVED it! Never could get everyone on board but I tried. I even wanted to make it an assigned reading but everyone was too busy buying Christmas to stop and read it!!

Love the CD/DVD idea and Rhonna's tags. I tried to go to the "tin" site but it didn't connect.

We loved having you all here for a week. The house is lonely and so are we. I go around the house saying, "ah-ant Addie, Ackie, Ba-ee".

connie s.miles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
connie s.miles said...

Sorry Ames - that deleted post was from me - my comment printed twice so I deleted the duplicate.

Meredith said...

I like the layout. It is so cheery. And as, always, really cute!

Looks like I have another book to add to my To Be Read list!! Haha. Maybe I will make Mom read it first, since she doesn't have the huge pile of books lying around that I do...

Anyways, a couple of the traditions that we do at Christmas time are:
1. Christmas Eve-we open 1 gift each. And somehow it always ends up being new pajamas... Hmmm.
2. After opening presents Christmas morning, we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. It seems to be the only food that is fast and that everyone will agree on eating!

The last few years, since Preston and Amy got married, they have their own PJs ritual, but like to come over in their new PJs and watch us open ours. It is quite fun, actually.

Also, Preston has this ugly UGLY salmon-pink-ish sweater that he got on his mission that he wears only on Christmas at our house. It bugs Amy and she tries to hide it from him, but he always finds and puts it on over his PJs. It is very funny to watch. But, I guess they struck a deal a few years back that if he wore it only on Christmas at our house, then he could keep it and she wouldn't secretly throw it away or DI it. Hahaha.

Although they will be a little different from now on, since we have little Chloe around, I thought you would like a little glimpse into our Christmases past.

Jan said...

Wow the look of your new the recent posts. I've been a blogging loser lately and haven't kept up, but it was fun to check out yours! You are sooooo beautiful....I absolutely love your trendy family pictures. You guys are all gorgeous....and I always knew you had style, but you put the rest of us to shame. I feel so bad I forgot your birthday in NOV. I had such big plans to do a rockin blog about you on your day and completely forgot and then felt so stupid I forgot that I didn't even comment to wish you a happy day. sorry and hope #32 is treating you well. Are we really that old??? Loved your Christmas blog. I am feeling that way too...wanting to bring the focus on family and traditions and Christ and less on the presents that they can't stop talking about. Today in Walmart, Sam looked at a toy aisle and said, "I want ALL of that stuff...okay?" One tradition that I started just last year, but is my fave is wrapping 23 Christmas books and putting them in a basket. Some are silly rudolph and some are spiritual. Each night the kids get to unwrap a book and we read it before bedtime. On the 24th we wrap the bible up and read the Christmas story. It has been a fun one for us. Hope your holidays are as fabulous as you are!

J/K Mask Family said...

Amy your blog looks fab! So festive and fun. I would love to borrow the book you read. Send it my way.
I am all over Rhonna's awesome Damask wrapping stuff I love it. I need to figure out how to use Cheries stamps and put paper in them.
I love it!
PJ's on Christmas Eve, soup family!
We just started this year where every morning everyone gets a chocolate and they give their chocolate to someone else and say something nice about that person. We do this till they are gone.
The kids love to do secert elf's all month
English Toffee till I can't stand the stuff.
12 days of service. We really try to focus the 12 days before Christmas on doing nice things for others and for each other.
Christmas parties
Gingerbread cookies(who knows when we will have time this year)
Grannies cookie party
Please share what your kiddies voted was their favorite traditions!
Love ya Amy

Clay's gal said...

It has been Christmas time at our house since the day after Halloween! Crazy I know! But it helps the season to last longer and we don't feel as rushed! Then we are able to get all of our Christmas traditions in and everyone is happy!

A few traditions:
*We make and decorate a gingerbread house! (Costco makes a great one if you want to just decorate one)
*Hot cocoa and Christmas light hunting!
*Letter from Santa to the boys! Delivered straight from the North Pole! (rap the letters in foil and stick them in your freezer before giving them to your kids. "Still cold from the North Pole!)
*Christmas jammies opened on Christmas Eve!
*Jingle Bells Outside when the kids have finally climbed into bed!

amy said...

how fun! i'm loving these!! thanks for sharing your traditions. i'm getting great ideas.

The Hale Fam said...

I loved the post and it has me reevaluating some of our holiday traditions. But by far, my favorite part was you describing your last family meeting:

"alex couldn't stop poking adam in the ear, b was rolling her eyes @ alex, and adam bounced a decorative 'ball' on the table and was surprised when it shattered."

... only because I can relate all to well. :-) Thanks for the laugh!

Rhonna said...

amy, your blog rocks!!!
love it.
love that photo!
love the design *wink*

and...LOVE hearing all about your traditions.

i posted 1 of ours on my blog!

MASawyer said...

I just have to tell you how much I enjoy Alex in our primary class and how much Meagan loves having you for a teacher.

Christmas. Right n the nose.

I loved reading the fun things your kids have said. I will always remember Alex when we taught a lesson on "The Good Samaritan". The lesson said to invite the children to act out the story. All the kids were choosing parts and no one was choosing to be the injured guy. Alex raised his hand and with a sweet little grin said "Can I be the guy that gets all jacked up?" Oh, he is a treasure!

Mary Ann

Lindsay Ann said...

your page is adorable! I wanted to ask you if you know how I can shrink my family picture on my blog. What do I need to do? thanks!

RPH said...

I want to pick that book up. Thanks for the recommendation. And your new picture in your topper and the layout is ADORABLE! I love it!

linda said...

Hey Amy,
Love your blog layout, so cute. He can I get your address. I am sending out Christmas cards and I don't have your current one.
Thanks a bunch!

debbie said...

Hey Amy!
Glad you read the book! obviously, it was a great read! A total surprise for me was by doing the thing i loved the most (reading the scrips each night to a candle advent) has actually brought my kids to saying "can we read the scriptures?" we keep hearing it every night and its great! of course, it does help to play don't eat pete right after! heehee! have a great "unplugged" christmas! see you next month, and happy house hunting!