Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007 - The Debriefing

Merry Christmas! Here's the good, the bad and the ugly of our Christmas 2007. Also my plans to improve next year. No particular order.

GOOD! - Gingerbread House kit from Costco. Inexpensive. Everything is included. Box lid forms the base for the house so it's easy to assemble. Grom, Surferman and I had a great time decorating it. Grom and Surferman had fun snatching candy off the house thinking Mom didn't know what was going on. And the candy doesn't tempt me (much).

Next year - no changes.

BAD! - No Christmas Card. I blame my computer switch around Thanksgiving, but truth be told I don't think I've ever had a Christmas card go out on time. One year I sent 3 years worth of letters at once. I manage to get the letters done, but not sent.

Next year - Order Christmas card by October 15th. Mail at Thanksgiving.

GREAT! - Grom and I made and decorated sugar cookies.
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies and Sugar Cookie Icing were foolproof and delicious. These were the best sugar cookies I've ever made. Mixing the dough was fun. Rolling was challenging as Grom wanted to help more than I wanted him to. I rolled and baked the dough on parchment paper. The parchment paper made it easier and faster. When the cookies came out of the oven I slid the paper off the cookie sheet and onto the counter to cool. We made stars, hearts, Jesus stars, Christmas trees and BIG hearts. Icing and decorating the cookies was a lot of fun and went better than I expected. After my frustration with rolling the cookies, I decided I needed more control over the decorating if I was going to keep my hair. We did the cookies by type and kept the decorations simple. All of the Christmas trees were green with multicolored dot sprinkles. All of the stars were white with multicolored sugar sprinkles. Etc. The big hearts we glazed white and after they were dried I used a food marker to write "Happy Birthday Jesus" on them.

Next year - Roll and cut one sheet of cookies with Grom right before naptime (I realize I'm dreaming that a 4 1/2 year old will still be napping, but a girl can dream right?). Do the rest of the cookies while he's occupied.

BAD! - Advent Calendar from Trader Joe's. The calendar wasn't bad. I was just out of my mind when we started it. I had the brilliant idea to start the calendar with the highest number and move down (as a sort of countdown). But if you forget (and how Grom forgot to get me to give him chocolate is beyond me), you have to try to figure out how many doors you have to open to catch up and it's all backwards. If you're confused reading this, I'm sure you'll understand the confusion. The best part of being forgetful with the advent calendar is that we had a couple of days where Grom was able to share candy around the house. The joy we experienced with him sharing made it all good.

Next year - I plan to do a Jesse Tree and use that to countdown the days until Jesus' Birthday. My friend Stacey is going to organize an ornament exchange, so we should have beautiful, wonderful ornaments to display. I'm going to look for a little tree when I shop Target tomorrow morning.

OK! - We went to Christmas Eve service at my parent's church. It was a very nice service, but it wasn't our church and I missed my "family".

Next year - I hope to be able to attend service at our church.

GREAT! - For family Christmas gifts, Surferman and I agreed on 3 gifts each. One to wear. One to consume. One for fun. We budgeted and did very well at using only money we had set aside. Surferman turned all the change in his mug into a Starbucks card for me. Lattes are on me for quite a while.

Next year - No changes except to shop more throughout the year.

GOOD! - Our family tradition for stockings is that we each buy 2 items for everyones stocking. Grom and Gigi buy one item. Our stocking are great fun. We had some last minute racing around.

Next year - Collect stocking stuffers throughout the year. When I'm out somewhere and see something that would be great for brother-in-law I'm going to buy it.

BAD! - We never made it out to look at Christmas lights.

Next year - Set a date early and make a night of it.

GREAT! - I made some more cloth gift bags. I bought the fabric on sale last year. I didn't wrap a single present in paper! All reusable.

Next year - I have quite a stash. I think I can get away without making anymore next year.

BAD! - No caroling. No visiting neighbors.

Next year - Make cookies earlier and take them to our neighbors with invitations to Christmas Eve Service. Not sure what to do about the caroling, but maybe friends with kids would like to go early one evening. Caroling with church was a little late for us.

GREAT! - Grom and I rang a bell for the Salvation Army with a friend and her boy (Grom's buddy). We did it right after Thanksgiving. It helped jump start my Christmas spirit and also set us out helping others rather than focusing on yourself. Plus, after whenever we saw someone ringing bells and collecting money for the Salvation Army afterward, Grom and I had a memory to share and another opportunity to talk about helping others. I don't think I've given so much change ever to the Salvation Army. In our community, the Salvation Army is the first stop for people in need.

Next year - I want to encourage my friends with kids to take some time and ring a bell. I'm also going to encourage the volunteer who schedules ringers to consider one hour shifts for moms and kids.

GREAT! - I didn't know how Santa was going to play out in our house. I knew I didn't want Grom thinking Santa was a real person who was going to bring him presents, but I also didn't want to kill Santa either. We let him be a fun thing that is a part of celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Grom had a couple of funny conversations with Mimi (my paternal grandmother). She asked him if he had made his Christmas list for Santa yet and he asked why - like why would Santa bring him anything. And then today, she asked him if Santa had been here and he said, "No, but he's coming to town".

Grom and I have had some great conversations about Jesus during this season. His questions make me think, make me appreciate all that Jesus did for me, make me appreciate my God who would humble himself and come to the world as a helpless baby just for me (and you too!).

Next year - I want to read more stories with Grom about Christmas and look into some of the ways Christians celebrate Christmas in other parts of the world.

I'm sure there could be more...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Mostly Normal Morning or Why I Should be Crazy.

Let me tell you about today.

6:45 a.m. - Surferman tells me to get out of bed.  He's on his way out the door to usher at church.  He knows I need to get moving to get what I need to do done.  I roll to his now cool side of the bed.  I want to be at church by 8 a.m.

7:05 a.m. - I look at the clock and think I really should get out of bed.  I want to be at church by 8 a.m.

7:10 a.m. - I look at the clock and think I really, really should get out of bed.  I want to be at church by 8 a.m.

7:12 a.m. - Bathroom stop.  Kitchen stop.  Ugh!  Surferman didn't have time to make coffee before he left.

7:13 a.m. - Opened Grom's bedroom door to find him sitting on his bed.  He looks at me seriously and says he's not ready for talking.  Then he turns away from me, fold his hands and begins to pray for his "baby" monkey  and then for himself.  He prayed that he would have patience today, that things would go smoothly and we would be blessed by a good day.  Mop my melted heart up off the floor.  I want to be out of the house by 8 a.m.

7:15 a.m. - Grom goes to the bathroom.  I dig through a laundry basket for clean pants for him and gather up his clothes.  After much pushing of the belly button "button" and several "battery" changes - he is finally dressed.  I only get cross 23 times and threaten a spanking once.

7:20 a.m. - Sippy cup of warm milk (Grom is particular and coddled) prepared.  Vitamins placed on the floor so Grom the dog can eat his "treats".  He goes down to my parents apartment to watch some Little Einsteins before church. 

7:23 a.m. - More bathroom time.  Still no coffee.

7:28 a.m. - Get me dressed.  I didn't have to dig through any baskets of clothes.  VICTORY!

7:31 a.m. - Wake up Gigi.  Help her get her support hose on.  Find a Christmas outfit for her to wear to church with my parents.  

7:35 a.m. - Remember I have things to prep for Sunday School.  I stopped teaching Sunday School and now I remember why - the Sunday morning making a big "Jesus Star" to attach to a pool noodle for the kids to follow around the room.  No one has had breakfast yet, but I got the star made and found the necessary baby oil for the craft project.  Aluminum foil is my friend.  I want to be at church by 8 a.m.

7:45 a.m. - Gather stuff up that needs to go to church.  Purse - check.  Big Jesus Star - check.  Laptop computer (I work at church and if I don't take it, I'll need it) - check.  Baby oil - check.  Sweater - check.

7:55 a.m. - Get to my parents room just before Little Einsteins is ending.  Grom gets 2 minute warning.  I want to leave the house by 8 a.m.

7:56 a.m. - Put together a tray for Gigi's breakfast.  At least someone around here is eating breakfast.

7:58 a.m. - Grom walks into the house.  Fight (I won) with him about using the potty before we leave.  Find him a jacket and Momo.  Belt Grom (into his car seat) and bring purse, baby oil, computer bag and Big Jesus Star out to car.  I want to leave the house by 8 a.m.

8:00 a.m. - Pat knees and prepare to blast off as I pull out of the driveway.

8:01 a.m. - Realize that I don't have Grom's bag with change of clothes in case of an accident.  Realize I never had a cup of coffee.  Realize Grom and I didn't get breakfast.

8:02 a.m. - Tell Grom he can't have an accident today.  He tells me we'd better turn around and go get his bag.

8:10 a.m. - Pull into Albertson's.  Bagels for everyone and a VENTI 1/2 caff, upside down, extra Hot Carmel Machiato for me.

Good thing that church doesn't start until 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I was reading from 1 Kings 19 this morning. 
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty." 1 Kings 19:10
Elijah got me thinking about zeal.  It's really a cool word.   There aren't a lot of Z words and zeal has to be one of the best.  
zeal - eagerness (marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest)
and ardent(fiery, hot, shining, glowing) interest in the pursuit of something (Jesus!)
Lord, I want to be zealous.  I want to live passionately for You and the things You call me to.  I want to eagerly await Your return.   I want to be able to say that I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yellow Lines

Grom and I took my sister to the train today. It was Grom's first trip to the train station. I can't imagine why I haven't thought about taking the boy who chugs through my house making train noises to see a real train.  You can bet we'll be back.

The timing of my sister's train was perfect.  The southbound train arrived and left and then her northbound train arrived.  Grom was able to get on the train for a couple of minutes to see the inside.  I can't recall a time when he was more joyful.  He was ecstatic.  A big smile was permanently installed on his face.

We had some time to wait for the train.  Quickly he figured out how the train station worked - that there were tracks that the trains would be riding on.  He intuitively knew that he was supposed to stay behind the yellow line.  No train in sight and he would get very upset if we got anywhere near the line.

It made me think about the yellow lines God paints in my life.  Yellow the color of warning and caution.  His Word is full of warnings to heed.

So often though I find myself inching closer to the line instead of standing way back. 

Father, give me a fresh desire to know Your heart, to know Your Word, to heed Your warnings.  I want to be holy and wholy Yours.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Organized Blogging

GeMoOrgNo ended only 11 days ago.

I miss it.

I had so much fun and was so encouraged posting organized and organizing posts during November for GeMoOrgNo that I've decided to blog about organizing on the 11th of each month. Why the 11th? November is the 11th month of the year.

How organized is that?

I came up with this idea just now. I want to show you how I've organized something in Grom's room and he just went to sleep.

Watch for my GeMoOrgNo post for December tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Done #40 - Read 10 Fiction Novels

Austenland by Shannon Hale
A fun, quick read.  Can't wait for the movie.  Anne Hathaway would be good for the lead.

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling

Back to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
I was excited to hear about a new Father Tim book.  Father Tim travels home to Mississippi and his past.  I missed the gang in Mitford, but look forward to getting to know the folks of Holly Springs.  

State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Wow!  This book was published in 2004 and a bit prophetic for 2007.  It's about thwarting ecoterrorists and their promotion of the idea of global warming or abrupt climate change with questionable science.  It was eye opening and revealing.  I appreciate the research Michael Crichton did for this book and his thoughts and notes in the back of the book are as good as the book.

Gingerbread Fun!

We were invited to a Gingerbread House Building Party this weekend. It was great fun. Grom did great even though he was the only person there under 4 feet tall.

The hostess had a table full of every kind of candy you can imagine, boxes and boxes of graham crackers, and the biggest bowl of frosting I've ever seen.

Surferman and Grom built a house together. It weighed at least 5 pounds when they were done. I snuck off to another room to hang out with the girls. I made a gingerbread nativity. It was great fun.

I'm still trying to figure out how this MacBook works. For now it seems posting pictures is harder.

Change is good. It will get better. Change is good. It will get better.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Done - #90 Plan and execute the best 4WD Club Christmas Party ever!

Tonight was our annual 4WD Club Christmas Party.

Surferman is a jeeper.  He and my dad co-own a green jeep.  I don't know much about it.  It's ugly and it always needs to have something done to it or something fixed.

They belong to a local club of people who like to take their cars off road.  I don't really get it, but it's something that Surferman likes to do and I try want to be supportive.

I volunteered last year to be the Social Chair for the club.  I only had to plan and execute the Christmas Party.  We held the party at the place where we have our meetings.  The restaurant did an excellent job with the food.  All I had to do was decorate and take care of desserts.  I bought the desserts and kept the decorations simple.

I did such a good job, I get to do it again next year.

Notes to self...
no scented candles on the table - who knew so many people have a problem with fragrance?
bring trash bags
chocolate desserts were most popular

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What to do with a bad mood...

I feel ugly.


To console those who mourn in Zion, 
To give them beauty for ashes, 
The oil of joy for mourning, 
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; 
That they may be called trees of righteousness, 
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3


For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:30


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


A continual dripping on a very rainy day 
and a contentious woman are alike
Proverbs 27:15


Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Really ugly.


My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Father, refill me with your Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. 
Against such there is no law. 
Galatians 5:22-23

Thank you, Lord.