one of the secrets of parenthood, we've found, is to borrow good ideas from families you absolutely love being around. as ryan & i were thinking about ellie's first christmas & how we want to do giving in our family, we merged two ideas we loved:
the first, which has made the blog rounds, is a simple way of categorizing the four gifts each child receives: something you're wishing for, something you need, something to wear & something to read. by keeping that consistent, we'll be able to keep both quantity of gifts & sense of "fairness" a known thing in our house. these categories work for all ages (i'll share my four later this week!). it was so, so, so fun to pick ellie's first four Christmas gifts!
secondly, under our christmas tree, three of the gifts will be from santa, and one will be from us. we're doing this so we can do some biblical teaching with "santa" -- we'll use the three gifts from santa as a moment to talk to our kids about the wise men and revisit the real meaning of Christmas.
a bit on e's first christmas gifts (thank goodness she doesn't read blogs yet, so i can share these with you early!). 1. all ellie wants to do these days is walk around & she often drags a toy along with her. we think she will go bananas over this alligator she can pull around. 2. e & i have read olivia, and love the whole story, but didn't yet have our own copy. i know this will be a well worn book in our house. 3. i've been eyeing these moccasins since before ellie was born. as she's on the move & needs shoes more than ever, we splurged (thank goodness they had a black friday sale!!). 4. & my winter baby needs some lotion.
how did you do gifts in your family growing up or what are your traditions with your kids now? the nice thing about a one-year-old is we can still make tweaks before next year -- so we're all ears! i'd really love to hear about your traditions.
from our house to yours, merry christmas!!!! this card captures one of the single happiest moments of my life: being reunited with ryan, seeing ellie clutch his finger & feeling oh so grateful our little of family of three was together again. i'm so excited to share more about this homecoming day in the coming weeks!
the three of us wish we could show up on your door step with this card, some homemade cookies & terrible caroling (our singing isn't much to write home about...)! xo
for my twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth birthdays, i shared some things that bring me joy & that i'm grateful for. while that's a worthy exercise every year, i think this year, we've more than covered that here on t&f. having a baby and experiencing a deployment brings those things into sharp focus.
so, as i was thinking what i might do for a post this (my 29th!!!) birthday, i was laughing with ryan about a couple of the things i've learned (mostly the hard way) in my twenty nine years. the thing is, you're hardly wise at twenty nine (i have an amazing grandfather who is 94, go see him if you're looking for wisdom!). but you're also not 14 any more (i did think i had it all figured out at that age) -- you've managed to get through middle school (no easy task), high school (oh geez), college (that was the life...), first jobs, most of your twenties, in some cases (including mine) newlywed days & almost your first year of parenthood.
meaning i've been to the school of hard knocks more than once. i've also come to appreciate some of the things i learned by watching others -- people who i admire, trust, want to be more like. so, i've spent the past few months jotting down things for this list on the back of napkins, a receipt, my iphone, & begging ryan to help me remember them. so here goes, a list of 29 i thinks i'm grateful i've learned. i hope at least one is helpful to you! some are serious, some are small, some are (hopefully) funny, others come from some of the toughest moments in my life. all mean more to me than i can possibly put into words, and as i blow out 29 candles this weekend, i'll be thinking of these.
1. be very, very selective in who you choose to go through life with -- especially your spouse. there will be no more important decision you make.
2. have a videographer at your wedding: we didn't fit this in our budget & it's the one thing i've never gotten over. i want so much for our kids and grandkids to be able to really see that day (i would do ANYTHING to be able to see my grandparents & parents wedding). we have some ok footage, but the lighting in the church and audio were really hard for a handheld camera. cut back in other areas of your budget if you need to, but hire a great videographer.
3. get your new house professionally cleaned before you move in - especially if it was just renovated. it "looked" clean to me and once we had moved all our things in, i spent months trying to get all the construction dust up. rookie home owner mistake!
4. have nice dish soap. you end up spending a lot of time at your kitchen sink, the task becomes a lot brighter when you have good dish soap (and it's usually only a bit more expensive). i LOVE this kind.
as december begins to fly by, if you're like me, you're hoping for just a little more room to savor things. a few more minutes to sit by the christmas tree, with flickering candlelight, & just breathe. the time to actually boil water for a big mug of tea, instead of throwing it in the microwave because you're in a rush. you're longing to make just one of the gazillion recipes you've pinned, torn from a magazine, dog eared in a cookbook. you're wishing you could carve out a long evening to handmake a christmas gift for someone who has really brought joy to your life this year, as a small way of acknowledging their love. you're wishing the days didn't run into one another, so you could finally find the time to order the prints of all those photos on your iphone, and bind them together in some way so you can look back on them many years from now.
so, here's what i'd suggest, weary friends -- who are looking at final exams, year end goals for work, nine thousand things on your to do list, a screaming baby, overwhelming travel plans -- let's try to do just one. let's not overwhelm ourselves or set goals we can't possibly achieve. we may not be able to do one thing a day, or even a week, but let's commit to ourselves that between now and december 31st, we're going to do one thing to savor this season a bit. pick it intentionally -- what are you craving most right now? -- quiet time to make something? an evening with dear friends? to crack open a book? finally print all those instagram photos you've taken this year? a long walk outdoors? & give yourself the time and space to do just that. above are four simple things i pinned (click on images for links) this year that really resonate with my heart right now. they strike me as small things that would help me savor this joyous time of year a bit more. i'm going to find the time to do just one.
what's on your list? & can we all meet back here in the new year to share what we did to savor this season?
in the meantime, i'll keep the posts coming & hope they add a bit of respite to your day. xo