Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Peace, love, and joy!

We are enjoying the holiday this year together. It's the first time ever that I have not spent the holidays with my parents, and I do miss them terribly! But we are having a wonderful time with just our little family :)

Last night Santa came to visit...

The boys went to the mall to see him (no pictures) and Wesley asked for a "James" (a train from Thomas and Friends that was recalled over a year ago, so we had to take it away from him), and a Baby for Diesel.

We made cookies last night, with the boys doing most of the work, and they were thrilled to see that Santa enjoyed his cookies and milk, and that Rudolph was happy to get a carrot as well!

Then they inspected their stockings where Santa left a couple furry finger puppets, Wall-E cups, chocolate santas, and of course an orange in the toe! I crocheted Wesley's stocking this year, and will do one for Diesel next year. I just ran out of time! Oops!

Grandmama & Grandaddy sent three wooden construction vehicles, Eve from Wall-E (goes with the Wall-E we bought a while ago, they communicate with each other and the boys are beyond thrilled!), and a "not" wood train that is made from foam (Diesel has been having a blast with this!).

Nana & Papa sent them the Wall-E Movie and a couple sets of reading software with their favorite movies. They also sent cash for us to spend on them, and we decided we would take them on a train ride to Chicago in the Spring. They are going to love that!

From Mom & Dad they got some wonderful handmade items such as wooden rolling elephant & zebra, a wooden tangram set, shirts embroiderd with robots, and a robot wallet... They also had a couple store bought items such as a Mini-Tribot, the Wonderpets Fly Boat, and Leap Pad (bought used!). They are absolutely thrilled with their loot, and keep thanking us and letting us know how much they love us.

My wonderful husband saved links I'd sent him and did some handmade shopping for me.. I got some beautiful crochet stitch markers, and a gorgeous purple patchy purse.

I was able to get my husband a polo shirt w/ some lamborghini embroidery on it, and I handstitched him a little felt penguin ornament. Each year I get him a penguin of some kind, and we have several ornaments, it's tradition!

We are so thankful to be together this holiday season, that we are happy, healthy, loved, and secure. Happy Holidays to everyone - may they be merry and bright!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice

"And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everwhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling,
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise awakens in the sleeping land;
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace,
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year,
Welcome Yule! "

~Susan Cooper

The first day of winter is when we put our winter and holiday decorations. The boys were excited to get the tree up, as it means Santa will be here soon. We put up the tree and the boys had a blast decorating it. They did a surprisingly good job too! As high as they could reach, the purple and silver bobbles and crocheted snowflakes were hung evenly around the branches. They picked out little wooden ornaments that I remember decorating our tree with when I was a child, and I think those are their favorites. James and I hung the more fragile and special ornaments higher on the tree, and I'm working on some more snowflakes, since we don't have nearly enough in my opinion.

Then I cut up a couple of felted wool sweaters and the boys strung them on some twine - which we then tied off in a circle to make a wreath. They are just the perfect touch and we love the new addition to our winter decorations!

We needed a place for all the holiday cards we've recieved, so the boys and I braved the frigid cold and blasting winds to gather a few sticks. I arranged them in our vase for the table's winter centerpiece, and hung our cards from them with ribbon. A nice touch and it brings a smile to my face when I see it.

Only a couple more days until Christmas! From our family to yours - we wish you peace, love, and joy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Giving

The holidays always remind us that there are many many people in this world who are cold, hungry, and lonely. Whether it is a temporary hardship, or life circumstances, our hearts go out to others more during the holidays. A dear family we know has been having a hard year, and when I learned more details, I knew there was no way I could stand by and not try to help them. I started planning things I would make and shopping with my coupons and co-ops for things they might be able to use. Then I spoke with my parents about the cause. They spoke with my brothers, and our side of the family decided we would not exchange gifts this year, but would do some act of charity instead. This warmed my heart! The spirit of giving was alive, even in one of the toughest years our economy has seen in a long time. The amount of selfless giving I have seen this year has touched me deeply, and also reminded me that there are people who are hungry or in need all year long...there are people starving to death as I have a pantry full of food and the ability to run to any restaurant or grocery store for any craving I may have...there are children who would give anything for a simple cup of rice, something we throw away. I know I can't save the world from war or hunger. But it is certainly a cause that is on my mind quite often, and I've vowed to do what I can when I can. Every little bit does help.

I watched an episode on Letterman a few months back that just left me ...speechless.

"It would cost three billion dollars a year for the world to say no kid goes to school hungry."

Christmas Bonuses for Wall Street CEOs = $36 Billion

Watch the video to get all the details of what they can do:

Another worthy cause is Heifer International. This is a wonderful organization that works not only to feed the hungry - but to give them a way out of poverty. An example is that they provide sheep to a community and teach them to spin the wool - which gives these people a way to bring in an income to become self-sufficient. Really amazing organization.

My own mission was much smaller, but I know it touched hearts and eased a little bit of a burden. We were able to provide gifts to a family, some clothes, and paid a good amount on their power bill. I also sent off several of my chalkmats to other children who needed gifts for the holidays.

Whatever I can do, that is within my means, I will do.