Friday, December 17, 2010

First snow of the season...

We had our first snowfall yesterday. We enjoyed somewhere between 1.5 adn 2 inches. I say first because I am so hopeful that we will have more snowfalls this winter. Andrew absolutely loves being out in the snow. Saying he was thrilled to see the snow falling yesterday doesn't even come close to describing his reaction. What's better is I think he might actually think I planned it/ created it for him! (Although, that might backfire when I can't reproduce another snowstorm. Hmmm...)

I am really glad that Jay enjoyed being out in the snow yesterday too. Playing outside last year was a total disaster with Jay. He was too small to walk well in his snowbibs, jacket and snowboots, etc. He wouldn't keep his gloves on and it only took one faceplant in the snow for him to be completely in tears and wanting to go inside. And when I had just spent 30 minutes getting him ready to go out, I was a bit annoyed to be going back inside with him to disrobe. So, I was thrilled that he wanted to go out and play after he saw how much fun Andrew was having in the snow.

Andrew picked up where he left off doing his favorite snow activities: eating snow, demanding we build a snowman, and wiping snow off of the car. Andrew & Jay have also come to enjoy a game where Mommy makes a snowball and hands it to them and then they throw it at Mommy. Jay calls this game "ball". And he very sweetly asked today when we were getting dressed to go out..."play ball with you?" How can I resist? Andrew figured out how to make his own snowballs today and he had great fun throwing them at me.

What a nice surprise this snow was for us.

Happy winter!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

If you’ll pardon the cliché…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! I have not been feeling the Christmas spirit or whatever you want to call it at all this year. I have felt no great desire to decorate or bake or listen to Christmas music. And yet, with a 4 year old who is growing very excited about Christmas, well, I have had no choice but to fake it! (I cannot believe I just revealed that secret!)

We’ve put out our decorations around the house and we have put lights up outside. Mark and the boys picked out and bought our Christmas tree on Sunday. It is a beautiful tree. They did a fabulous job! On Monday, I put the lights on the tree and Andrew put the ornaments on the tree. (Jay had no interest in putting his or any ornaments on the tree.) It is the most adorable clumping of ornaments I have ever seen. All of his and Jay’s ornaments are hanging on the lowest branches. There is a specific cluster that faces the fireplace. Andrew remarked that he put those specific ornaments there so that Santa will see them as soon as he comes down our chimney! How cute is that?

Yesterday, we baked some cookies. We made Spritz (which were always my favorite growing up) and chocolate chip cookies. Now, I’d be lying if I said the boys were a huge help. But, they were very cute in their excitement about making cookies for Santa. Well, Andrew is looking forward to leaving some out for Santa. Jay just wants to eat them now! Forget what’s-his-face.

We made cinnamon ornaments last week. And we have been listening to Christmas music, namely John Denver and the Muppets and the albums my brother Mike made in 2000 and 2001.

All of this combined has made our house look, smell and feel Christmas-y. Yet, I still don’t feel it. It all seems kind of like a giant to-do list of things I must do to make sure this Christmas is special for Andrew & Jay. And I guess that’s what it means to be Mommy. Your job is to make Christmas special for your children. And if I can only do that half as well as my Mom did, well then I’ll be glad.

As I do each of these tasks on my Christmas to-do list: I can’t help but reminisce about the Christmases of my childhood. My mother always made our house look so nice. She would pick out special craft ornaments for us to do each year and it is fun to look back at those now remembering sitting at the kitchen table with my brothers designing them. I have hung eucalyptus on my front door because my mother always had a eucalyptus wreath on our front door. Every time I open my storm door and smell it, I am reminded of my mother. Baking cookies, reminded me of the cookie tins that were always filled with our favorite cookies. I realize now that my mother must have made several trips to the grocery store for more eggs, sugar and butter to make sure when we got home from school that there would be cookies in the tins. I don’t know when she made them…I just know they were always there. Thanks, Mom! Thanks for these warm memories. I hope Andrew & Jay will be able to think back on their childhood Christmases with similar affection.

I will say there is one thing that I have really been enjoying this Christmas season. And that is Andrew’s ability to patiently open one door each day on the Advent calendar. My parents gave us a beautiful Advent calendar that they picked up on their recent trip to Germany. Andrew has been very good about only opening the specific door for today and no others. He is eager each morning and asks Mark or me “what number is today?” I’ve been impressed with his ability to find the numbers on his own and open the doors himself. He seems to thoroughly enjoy finding out what picture is waiting behind the door. I cannot believe the self-control he has shown with this. It makes me happy. Like everything else, Jay is oblivious to the calendar. He likes to look at the picture if Andrew shows it to him…but, I don’t think the calendar is even registering on his radar screen.

Along with his enjoyment of the advent calendar, I’ve enjoyed watching how Andrew can appreciate the special prayers we say each night at dinnertime when I light the candles in our advent wreath. Andrew closes his eyes and folds his hands in front of his face. It makes me feel very warm and content inside. He and Jay have been offering grace before our meals for a couple months now. Usually, they say “Thank you for this family. Amen.” Sometimes, they will add a thank you for an activity or toy. But, the other night, Andrew said “Thank you for my family and thank you for God. Amen.” Now, I realize these are just words to him…but, I found I was bowled over by it. After all isn’t that the message of Advent and Christmas? I love it.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture

Given my latest posts, you might not find it hard to believe that I've been having a nature vs. nurture argument playing in my head. Are the behaviors my sons are presenting a result of their innate nature or are they a result of the environment I create for them in our home each day?

Hmmm....well, here is an exchange I just had with Jay.

Scene: Me in the kitchen, Jay entering

Me: Hey, you!

Jay: I'm not you, I'm me!

As they say "from the mouths of babes"...