Friday, March 26, 2010

Preparing for Easter

Easter is almost upon us and Dh and I are really pondering how we want to celebrate. I feel as if, with Pk being 2.5, it's time to establish some routines about what Easter in our family is going to be. Obviously, there are pre-existing family traditions that will continue (e.g., church on Thursday, Friday and twice on Sunday including the sunrise service followed by breakfast at the church, roasted leg of lamb with brussel sprouts, asparagus and mint sauce, egg decorating and a visit with Gran and Momis).

On the other hand, there are other things that we are considering. First of all, I have found some wonderful crafts for those who are Christian and want to keep the focus on Christ as opposed to bunnies and spring -
resurrection cookies, He has risen rolls, Hill of Calvary garden, Calvary crosses, and for Palm Sunday, we are thinking of making these decorated palms. I bought us a set of resurrection eggs that we are going to share on Easter. We are also pondering doing a modified Seder. There is a great outline of how to do one in this book, which I LOVE:

I have found a sample menu with some wonderful sounding recipes at a blog I really enjoy, The Homespun Heart.

We've also found some good reading material that, by some miracle, I found at HomeSense so each book was $3.99!

I have stumbled across some wonderful blogs with great ideas for aiding to build faith in children such as Mustardseeds, Ramblings of a Crazy Woman, and The Homespun Heart. I found some interesting craft ideas here, as well, although the free section doesn't have all that much, the best stuff appears to be in the members area. I also found some good printables here.

Now, here comes the dilemma. Dh and I hadn't really talked much about what we are going to do regarding the Easter Bunny. I know that some Christian parents are opposed to Santa and the Easter Bunny as they shift the focus away from the faith importance of these celebrations. In terms of Christmas, we don't find that as hard. In our minds, Santa and Baby Jesus can both play a part in our celebration, as long as we are responsible about how we manage things. We had pondered doing a St. Nicholas celebration on Dec. 6th (I think that is the date it is supposed to be) that is the "Santa" part of the holiday and then Christmas remains only a celebration of Christ's birth. I will be honest, we just ran out of time and hadn't really made up our minds this year.

For some reason, the whole "Easter Bunny" thing is a lot harder. Our inclination is probably to just leave the Easter Bunny out. Our Easter celebration is so full anyway, we really don't need anything else. We debated just giving Pk an Easter gift and leaving it at that. My parents had a great tradition of giving us something living as a symbol of the resurrection each year (e.g., a plant, a fish, one year we even got hamsters, which we thought was amazing) although there was always a bit of chocolate. We never did an egg hunt and the Easter Bunny never hid the chocolate (although I suspect that had more to do with a dog who loved chocolate and had a death wish and my parents not needing to celebrate Easter with a huge vet bill). On the other hand, how would we explain that the Easter Bunny comes for other children but not for Pk? Again, the logical thing would be to just "out" the bunny but in doing that, we put ourselves at risk of her spilling the beans to everyone else and while we don't really want to have the bunny ourselves, that doesn't mean that we want to ruin it for others. I don't know what we will do. I don't have many readers here (and Kittenpie, I know this one doesn't really apply to you) but if anyone has advice, I would love to know what you do. We need ideas.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss

We live in a small town. I didn't grow up here and since I am a big city girl, I tend to find the quirks of a small town really charming. Yes, so everyone knows your business - it's not like we are up to anything to be ashamed of. It's nice to feel a sense of belonging.

Today, though, I am not loving the whole "everyone knows everything". Dh came home from work with a piece of information about a family that is really, really upsetting. We don't know these people other than to say hello and we don't even know each others' names. We shouldn't know and it is something devastating to these people. I can't get them out of my mind but a. I shouldn't know and b. it's not the type of thing you speak to people about. It's kind of ironic because I had been reading something about gossip a few days ago and the damage it can do and that one of the worst aspects of it is that there is no way to "unknow" or "unlearn" something. It was a very timely lesson. In this case, all I can do for this family is pray, which I am doing and which I am asking you to do if you are the praying type. Count your blessings tonight and realize that devastation can come from the most unlikely of corners. Hug your children and your spouse and be thankful that you aren't facing the struggles of some others.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gratitude 82

I am grateful that I work in a job that has such good benefits, including sick days. Pk was up for 3 hours in the night and then followed that up by throwing up three or four times between 4 and 5:30. Obviously, she couldn't go to daycare and I wasn't in much better shape than she was (pregnancy has really sapped my stamina this time). I feel like I have been off too much lately between prenatal doctor's appointments and chicken pox and it means so much to 1. work for a principal who understands that life gets complicated and 2. to get the number of sick days that I do each year. I can't express how grateful I feel about being in a job that allows me to do what needs doing for my family.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me

This is fun. I got the idea from the LPM blog and we were invited to post 10 quirky things about ourselves that friends may not know. Here are mine:

1. I can't stand bones in ANYTHING. I love chicken but basically can't eat it if it has bones in it.
2. I have to be able to get my feet out from under the blanket at night.
3. I can't go out without a bit of makeup, ever. I don't wear much but I have to wear it.
4. I LOATHE making lunch. I take the same thing almost every day because I can't ever think of anything else.
5. I adore Tim Horton's Iced Capps (hence why I gave them up for Lent and am dying for Easter for non-faith related reasons).
6. I can't stand the smell of Lysol, ever, ever, ever, ever.
7. My hot food has to be hot - I can't stand eating anything lukewarm.
8. I have a weird fear of dandelions and orange lilies (don't ask me why).
9. I don't like my food touching (my family has teased me about that for years).
10. I can't stand an unmade bed.

I guess I am slightly neurotic - well, if you know me, that isn't news to you! So, what are your ten?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gratitude 81

Every Saturday, when I was growing up, on Saturday afternoon, my mother took us to the library. We loved it. We tended towards getting books that were old favourites but my mother was also a collector and there were certain authors that we LOVED and she introduced me to the world of interlibrary loans (which were an exciting thing in the days before online book ordering, etc). I remember one author in particular that we both loved was Noel Streatfield who wrote about children in the arts in Britain during the war years and mom got all of her books for me from somewhere or another. After the library, we got to get a treat at the store (a big deal in those days for us), usually a bag of chips. We would go home with our snacks and cuddle up and read. It was wonderful.

I have wanted Pk to love the library the way that I did and she certainly does. We try and go once a week (usually on Thursdays). I think she loves the mural on the wall and the Thomas train she plays with, as well as the movies and books (while I would like to say that the books are her top draw, I have to be honest and say that she makes a bee-line for the Thomas and Veggietales DVDs). She has favourite authors and is very opinionated about books (the librarian kills herself laughing as I offer book after book and repeatedly am told, "No thank you, mummy"). At the moment, the obsessions are Max and Ruby (Max's Dragon Shirt and Bunny Cakes must come home with us a couple of times a month), Franklin (the soccer one and the one about his baby sister, Harriet), Clifford the Big Red Dog and Eric Hill's Spot books. I love it when I get a classic by Pk and she actually enjoys it (Corduroy was a bit hit last week). Pk loves going and so do I. I feel so lucky that in a town this size, we have a fairly good little library branch with friendly staff, an online computer system (so I can get books from other branches) and fun children's programming.

We went this afternoon and have just gotten home. Pk has just fallen asleep on the couch with her books and I plan to take advantage to start my book. Happy reading!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lessons Learned from Chicken Pox

As with everything in motherhood, the chicken pox taught me some valuable lessons. I thought I would share:

10. Chicken pox are ALWAYS itchier at night.

9. Nothing can't be made somewhat better with popsicles and ice cream.

8. Other mothers ALWAYS have an opinion (in this case, half wanted to bring their children over to catch them and the other half treated me like a child abuser because I preferred Pk to get the pox rather than a needle that may or may not be effective long term).

7. There is nothing nice about scabs on the scalp.

6. Benedryl, our secret weapon as a sleep aid for adults can make children WIRED (I should have taken greater heed to the warning on the bottle of the children's stuff that it makes some children "excitable" - that was our two-hours-of-sleep night).

5. Despite our worries about taking time off work right before March Break, it always works out.

4. Mommy-guilt never gets better (was this an unfair thing to Pk that was my fault because I didn't get her the shot?)

3. That being up giving someone at bath at 4 a.m. can, in fact, be a beautiful thing and a gesture of love.

2. That even the most independent toddler/pre-schooler who likes to pretend that she is independent still loves nothing more than a mommy cuddle.

1. That the gifts of motherhood and the most precious moments come when I least expect them. I could never have imagined the joy of this journey. Thank you, God!

Gratitude 80

I am so grateful for good friends. We had a nice day of hanging out yesterday and in this beautiful weather. If only there was more time...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gratitude 79 and 79a

I love my home. It isn't my dream house and there are many things I would change but the longer we live here, the more it is filled with memories and small things that bring me a lot of pleasure. We are in the process of moving Pk to her "big girl room", which we are fixing up so that her old room can be the nursery for the baby in June. We went to Ikea today and had so much fun (and the best part of shopping at Ikea is that we left without breaking the bank but had some nice little things to make the room more comfy and fun). This was a great day and I love doing things for home.

79a is thanks for Kittenpie - I am feeling huge this pregnancy (although, once people express shock that I am due in June, they quickly add that "it's all baby") and I feel like a whale. It amazes me what people will say. Today I ran into someone who commented that I am "very pregnant". Kittenpie's stories about people thinking she was having twins has made me feel a bit less sting. Thanks again for soothing my oh-so-fragile ego :-).

The Marriage Bed...

I just read this post from Missy - it seems awfully appropriate given that it is almost 4 a.m. and I am down here on the computer, battling lack of sleep from horrendous pregnancy heartburn while my husband and child are comfortably asleep in our bed upstairs. What I would give for a California King and some crisp, cool sheets (and a body that was somewhat open to the concept of a deep sleep).
Hope you find this as funny as I do.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gratitude 78

How can one not feel grateful with the gorgeous warm weather we are having? The icing on the cake is that today at 3:30, I begin my March Break - a week of seeing friends, short visits, time at home and most of all, uninterrupted time as a family. And, to top it all off, chicken pox are done (or fading, anyway), so we can truly enjoy. Nothing like a collection of sleepless nights to help you to count your blessings!