Posts tagged christmas

Christmas Season Traditions

Every family it seems has their own set of holiday traditions. Some have been handed down for years, and some will be started this year. When your family expands from two adults, to the addition of a child it seems the best time to find new things that will be your family’s traditions for years to come. Even though this is our fourth Christmas as a family with children, we are still finding what our traditions will be. We have some that we do already, but each year as the kids are better able to participate, and express opinions things change.

life 007

Bitty K1


Things we do that I consider to be traditions;

I word it that way, because it is possible that you already do some of these things, but do not consider them traditions.


Decorate the house – This is not a requirement in order to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season, but for us it is. We do more than just put up a tree, and I do not enjoy it alone. The kids love it. They love all the extra lights, garland, stars, and trinkets everywhere. In past years, as in every year since I was 18, I had to put up at least one Christmas decoration on Thanksgiving. Now that there is an early December birthday in our immediate family I decided to wait until after K2’s birthday to decorate. When he is old enough to know how he feels about it, maybe we will change it back, but for now immediately after his birthday we decorate.

When the time comes that we decorate the tree, we MUST listen to Christmas music. The whole time.


The ladies go to the Nutcracker Ballet – I just posted about this years trip to the ballet so I won’t go into huge detail. We go, we enjoy, we get a new ornament. Done


We get a new children’s Christmas book each year – I didn’t realize until this year that there are TON’s of Christmas book tradition suggestions popping up everywhere. Our tradition was created by me, from my brain. Not Pinterest, not a friend, not facebook. I started it K1’s first Christmas. We do just what I said, get a new book each year, to read, over and over and over again the whole month of December. Starting on December first, regardless of the December birthday.

I realized this year that in the future this may become a problem. Right now at 3 and 2 my kids love whatever book I give them, but as they grow and mature that may not remain the same. There most likely will come a day when they want to pick out their own Christmas Book, and I am already inclined to let them. I am okay sitting back and just watching how this works out in the future. I did run the idea by daddy of letting them each get a new book each year that we would hold for them for when they have kids or move out. Daddy is convinced they won’t want them. Either way we will see.


I hang a Christmas Pickle – My children were still a little young for this to really make sense to them last year, but this year should be better. K1 will find it, K2 will have no idea what is going on for one more year. For those of you who are scratching their heads right now, it is a tradition that is from Germany. The Christmas pickle ornament is hung on the tree on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning who ever finds it first get’s a special gift. This year I am thinking that gift will be a pack of stickers. I just think this is a very easy fun thing to do, so why not?


We go see lights – I know lots and lots of family’s do this, and you should. It’s free! Besides we hang lights for others to enjoy too, that is kind of the point. Just don’t be creepy about it or anything. Last year we did most of our Christmas light viewing bike riding. We packed up the kids in the bike trailer and headed out. If you live in an area where this is an option, do it! You can see so much better from a bicycle than you can from a car. We even went to a neighborhood parked our car and walked to see the lights. Also nice and I recommend it. It make a small neighborhood seem much larger taking up more time. Also the kids and stand and stare at their favorite display even longer without the added pressure of the car behind you.

Just so you know how serious we are about lights, S proposed to me while we were viewing lights bike riding.

It's been too long 006

Everyone get’s new pajamas they open on Christmas Eve – This tradition came from S’s family. I guess we do it a little differently, but it was his family’s tradition. Mommy and daddy get each other a new pair of pajamas, and the kids get a new pair of pajamas for each other. This could get really entertaining in the future.


We do lot’s of other things throughout December, but I wouldn’t call them tradition. It isn’t make or break for me if they get done or not. I like it that way. I would hate to have so many traditions that one busy year they will overwhelm me and therefore be a hindrance.


You’ll notice that decorating sugar cookies is not on this list. No way. They are a disaster and I am an adult, never mind kids. I hate making sugar cookies, all that rolling and rolling and more rolling. We will bake and eat cookies all season long, just not crazy decorated ones.


You will also notice gingerbread house making does not make the list. Yes we did one the last two years, but it’s not critical. I also love not making this a tradition because if someone else is crazy enough to do this with the kids, I will let them.


What are some of your family’s holiday traditions? Or which is your favorite holiday tradition?

The Nutcracker 2013



Every family has their own set of holiday traditions, and I plan to fill you in on some of ours a little later this week. One thing that we started last year was going to the Nutcracker Ballet.


K1, a friend and myself, have gone together the last two years. And plan to continue this ladies tradition for years to come.


Last year K1 was 2.5 and I felt that she was old enough to sit through the performance. I knew she would love it, because she has always been drawn to dancing. Sitting still and staying is another story. I planned ahead and snuck in snacks. While she had her own seat we passed her back and forth between us. She made it through the whole ballet. During the intermission I did everything I could to get her to run, run, run in those short 15 minutes. Just to burn as much energy as possible. I also found myself walking the aisles until the minute the dancing started, just so she had to sit for the shortest amount of time possible.


I knew all of those things would not be necessary this year. It’s crazy how much our kids change in just one year. I love how accommodating The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet seems to be. Last year another mom suggested this particular ballet because they didn’t mind her kids dancing in the aisles. When we arrived last year, that is basically what the attendants told me without my asking. They just saw my tiny one and knew. I appreciated the reassurance, especially when you see everyone dressed all fancy.


I don’t exactly know why I thought this year would be completely easy breezy, but I was wrong. It was still a challenge, just a different challenge.


Naturally all photography is with my camera phone, because photography during the ballet is not allowed.


This year my 3.5 year old did well, but ……. isn’t there always a but with kids? She convinced herself that the Nutcracker himself was scary before the lights even went down to start the show. She wanted to leave when all we were doing was sitting in our seats. I toughed through her shrieks because I knew she was going to love it, just like last year. It’s a good thing mommy’s know better than their little counterparts, because as soon as little girls in pretty dresses started prancing across the stage she was sucked in.


No that was not the end of our struggle. I didn’t expect that she would want a constant commentary, or that she would have one to share.


“Mommy, what’s that girls name? There are 5 mice up there! Mommy there are 10 little girls, I want to count them, what’s that guys name?” And so on, throughout the entire ballet.


Then the sugar. Oops! I told her she could have a snack at the break, and mostly let her pick whatever she wanted. Fruit snacks, and grape juice, oh my. She didn’t drink all the juice, but did eat all the sugar fruit snacks. That made her just a little bit more crazy in the second half. I should also add that we went to a 7 PM showing and the time of day could also have effected her some. The good news is that the second half moves the fastest and is the loudest.


Either way it was till a good time. My friend and I talk about the day we might get to go to the grown up ballet, but after yesterday I realize that is still quite a few years away.


I also decided yesterday that I need a nutcracker box. Like just a box decorated to somehow resemble the Nutcracker ballet. I want to save the tickets and programs from each year. Yes at some point it might just become trash, but it would be sweet to save them for K1. I also want to put her nutcracker ornaments in there. I figure there are enough characters in the Nutcracker that a new ornament each year could be possible for a very very long time. Then one day it will be one cute box that she will take with her …… not anytime soon of course, filled with memories.


The civic youth ballet is a non profit, so aside from ticket sales, snack and gift purchases they rely on donations to support their program. I knew that this year and that is why I planned to buy snacks there, when I could have brought them with me. That is also the reason I decided to let K1 pick out an ornament there. We won’t get on there every year, but for now, to support their program we will.


Naturally she HAD to have the pink ballerina. She had a choice between two poses and settled on the one in the picture. All in all we had a great time and I love this tradition.


Anyone know any great guy things to do for the holidays? (Boys need traditions too)

Another Week in Photos

After working at 4 this morning I came home and went back to bed. Real exciting stuff over here.


We have an exciting day planned for the kids so I will be brief.


Wanna follow along? I’m GT4936 on instagram.


IMG_20131011_115716Another day at Balboa park. We are getting our money’s worth from our science center membership. The Navy was apparently doing PT. They were singing the whole time, and this little guy was stunned. All I could really make out what “Go Navy go!”

IMG_20131011_140922Grid locked at the Starbucks drive thru. Sometimes I treat myself after the gym, but it’s a juggling act. I don’t want either of the kids to fall asleep before we get home. I was lunch to happen first, oh and both kids to sleep at the same time. Lines like these do not work in my favor.

IMG_20131011_144519K1 is 3.5 years old, and has loved on this dog since she could scoot herself over to her. This day, she learned that there was a way to call Scarlet over and she would listen. End result, not napping. She was so happy that Scarlet listened I couldn’t even break it up. It was so sweet.

IMG_20131012_143053Christmas gift crafting

IMG_20131013_205634And more Christmas crafting

IMG_20131014_154655Questioning what to do on this Christmas craft. I want the pennants to say L-O-V-E …. just need to figure out the best way (I didn’t attach them yet).


It looks like all I did all week is craft but I assure you I did not. I did a bunch of crafting two days and none since I hit a wall.

IMG_20131017_113455I had another migraine Wednesday evening. I have hereditary migraines, and a few very obvious triggers. Thursday I decided to quit coffee for a while. I still took myself to Starbucks, I just got Green tea instead. It used to be my thing, back before kids, and coffee.


Don’t worry I won’t quit coffee forever, I need to at the start for a few weeks. Then later I can have it occasionally. Caffeine is a migraine trigger, so I should have it everyday. I’m kind of setting myself up if I do.


October is Bully-prevention awareness month, and yesterday was Spirit day. I shared a letter I wrote to K1 yesterday. You can read it here. While your there enter in my Giveaway.


What were you up to this week?

life rearranged






Twas The Night Before Christmas

Everyone knows that famous poem, turned book. Lot’s of family’s read it to their children every year.


Are they listening to exactly what they are saying? What unintentional message could they be sending their children?


I was raised in a non smoking home. My children are raised in a non smoking home. I have nothing against other people smoking. Except of course when they are filling my kids room with cigarette smoke, then I get cranky. I have friends who smoke, but they naturally don’t do it around my kids. Other than when K1 first came home from NICU I never felt I had to ask anyone to change their shirt or go somewhere else. They just did it of their own accord.


So on the daily I don’t think about it. I don’t worry about strangers walking by, because playgrounds and public buildings are all non smoking, so it never comes up.  My astute three year old daughter has never even seemed to notice.


When I was contacted about a version of Twas the Night Before Christmas, that was non smoking, “edited by Santa for the 21st century,” I was a bit surprised. Surprised because initially I couldn’t remember their being any smoking in the story. My curiosity piqued I checked it out online and promptly agreed to review the book. I mostly agreed, because I was curious how the story was changed. Was it worthy of our Christmas book rotation?


In short this book  is very worthy of our Christmas book list. The images are bright, and colorful, with an appropriate number of words per page. I think this Santa, and artwork are very cute. They kind of make or break the story. The book is described as staying true to Clememt C. Moore’s portrayal of Christmas Eve and it does. I was concerned that the changes to the story would affect the flow or feeling, but that is not at all the case.


Basically, in the version Santa kicked the habit,  so he’s not sucking on a pipe with a wreath of smoke around his head. Which is great.


I said I’m not against smoking, and I’m not, but everyone knows it’s not exactly great for you. So I don’t need to normalize it by having my kids childhood idols doing it either. Honestly if this never came around, I might would have gotten an old faithful version for our home and never thought twice about it. I am glad this is available.


What Amazon has to say about this book;

Gold Medal Winner 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Best Holiday Book. 1st place winner for the Global International Best Christian Children’s Book. This colorful and bright edition was created for young readers in mind. Attracting global media attention, The BBC, The View, The Colbert Report, New York Post, Huffington Post and many others for what the Kirkus Review calls a legitimate editing of the reference to the pipe and wreath of smoke for the first time in the history of this the most famous poem in the English language. This is the edition that is credited with having Santa stop smoking after 189 years and for taking a small bite out of history. The public health sector, parents, educators and grandparents have applauded and welcomed the addition of this child friendly edition. Printed on FSC certified paper from Wisconsin USA with vegetable ink dyes in hardcover, English, Spanish and French.


If you have decided you need to add this book to your collection, feel free to “dash away” here, Twas The Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century or keep your eyes peeled for it at your local book store.


For more info check out the web, Facebook, or Twitter.


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