Counting down to Christmas

Since December 1 the kids have been receiving nightly visits from Billy the Elf. It has been a blast! Billy is not an elf on the shelf. In fact, the kids never see him. Elves are far too busy making toys to hang out on our shelf, at least in my opinion! Billy brings us an activity, craft, or treat every day that we can enjoy together. We’ve made gingerbread trees, snowman faces on paper plates, foam gingerbread men, pipe cleaner candy canes, ornaments for the tree… Well you get the point! The elf also changes our ‘days til Christmas’ board so the new number is showing every morning.
I have LOVED doing this with the kids. I love how Nick is recognizing the numbers, how Zoey’s fine motor skills have improved putting the perler beads on the pipe cleaners, how Alex is starting to get an understanding for the concept of time… But most of all, I love hanging out and doing Christmas activities with the kids. I’m looking forward to Christmas Eve, when Billy leaves them pjs and dvds so we can have a pj party and green and red pancakes for supper.
Christmas is magical.
From our home to yours, I hope the magic of the season finds you and brings you the joy its bringing us ❤
Love hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

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Christmas Traditions

Its December!! And with that comes Christmas! I love Christmas. The togetherness, family, lights, traditions. This year is a little different for us then most years since we are living close to my family which means we won’t be spending the holidays alone, like we usually do. Which is going to be absolutely fantastic!
Last year I introduced the concept of Billy the Elf to my kids. Billy isn’t an elf on the shelf. Elves are too busy making toys to hang out at our house all day everyday. Billy is an elf who pops over every night while the kids sleep to leave them a Christmas activity for us to do together.
Of course that means that I spend November cruising Pinterest for a bunch of Christmas crafts and activities and then go through our craft supplies to make sure we have what we need. Our elf leaves everything we need to do a craft or activity in our ‘elf bag’ which is just a crocheted bag that I made and he changes the number on our countdown to Christmas board. Sometimes, when he has time, he leaves a letter for the kids.
I love making memories and having traditions for the kids to grow up with! I can’t wait to enjoy the holiday season with them! Our elf bag is just one of our many traditions. What are some of yours?

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

Finding the Elusive Gift

When it comes to Christmas gifts for the kids, Hubs and I set limits. I don’t want to go overboard. Between us, their grandparents and uncles, the kids get more then enough for Christmas gifts. 

Each child typically gets a few gifts from us and 1 from Santa. So I do my best to make the gifts we get them count. I pay attention to what attracts them in the toy store. I pay attention to what they notice on TV. And I pay attention to what they ask for. 

Alex has been asking for Chuggington trains. Well. Chuggington is IMPOSSIBLE to find around where I live. I was having no luck finding anything for a decent price on EBay and Amazon has been out of stock on the two Alex wants the most since September. I had pretty much given up and I was looking for an alternative for him. 

Then I was on Kijiji today. I found someone selling 8 Chuggington trains and a track for $20. SCORE! The catch? It’s in a town a little more then an hour away from where I live. Oh the things we do for our kids. So next week Hubs and I are going to take the kids on a road trip and go pick up this toy (I really don’t care that it’s used, and I don’t see Alex caring either) I can’t wait to see his face light up on Christmas morning. 

Hubs gift was elusive too. But I can’t tell you about that because occasionally he comes and reads my blog and I would hate to ruin the surprise for him. I know he has no idea what I got him, and I know he is super curious. But, sorry Hubs, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer to find out! 

Oh yea, and those letters that we were going to write to Santa yesterday? Apparently my kids are against that, they had no interest what so ever. So I gave up. Maybe next year!

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn

Memories

For some reason the Christmas season always leads me to reflect on the last year. Even with the hustle and bustle of getting things ready for Alex’s birthday, and Christmas I can’t help but take time to look back.

I can’t help but look back on the Christmas traditions I grew up with, and, as the kids get older get some of those same traditions (or slightly modified traditions) in place.
One of those traditions is getting to open a present on Christmas Eve. Who doesn’t like to get to open just one present before Christmas morning! I loved this as a child, I think it builds excitement for the ‘big day’ Hubs and I agreed that Christmas Eve the kids would get to open one gift. It’s going to be the same every year, a pair of pj’s, a DVD, and hot chocolate. It gives us something fun to do together as a family. I am looking forward to it.
Another is the advent calender. My parents always got us the ones with the little piece of chocolate in each of the little windows. I loved it and planned on doing the same with my kids. But, in the age of Pinterest, there are so many ideas out there! I know a lot of people that are doing the 24 days of books, and while I like the idea, my kids already have thirty bazillion books and we read all the time together. Instead, I decided to do 23 (Dec 1 is Alex’s birthday party so we are going to start on the 2nd) days of family activities. From baking cookies, to Christmas stickers, to visiting Santa, to putting up our tree. There is something fun for us to do every day up to Christmas.
Family is so important. And I don’t want the kids to become trapped in the ‘what did you get for Christmas’ cycle and think it’s all about what you get.

On another note. I am totally obsessing with the fact my baby is going to be 3 in a little over a month. How did that even happen?!? Zoey is going to be 6 months old tomorrow. Nick is going to be 2 in four months.

Honestly, it feels like I just found out I was pregnant with Alex. And now here I am, almost 3 years into this parenting thing and still going strong! My kids are happy, smart, loved, loving, and healthy. (granted, Nick and Zoey have colds right now)

I am looking forward to the next month or so. I can’t wait to jump into Christmas with the kids and see the wonderment and excitement in their faces when they see the tree, the lights, the movies and shows, the crafts, Santa, and the presents under the tree.

Being a parent gives a whole new perspective to the simplest things 🙂

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

There Is No Place Like Home For The Holidays

I am really home sick today. I don’t really know why. It might have something to do with my Facebook feed being filled with friends who are going to see their parents. I miss my Mom and Dad. And I know the kids do too. Which makes it that much harder. 

I find it adorable when the kids want to go visit their Nana and Papa. I share the stories of them trying to pack a bag and put their shoes on, of them telling me they are sailing the ‘potion’ to visit Nana and Papa, or trying to rescue them from pictures. I do it with a smile, loving how close my kids are to my family even though we are so far away. 

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But honestly, it makes me want to sit down and cry. 

Maybe I am feeling a melancholy because of the serious lack of sleep I have been experiencing. I don’t know. I do know that right now I am wishing with all my heart I could take my kids home to my parents for Christmas next month. But, it’s not feasible. Christmas is still going to be great, being here with Hubs, the kids, and a group of great friends. But, there is nothing like being around extended family, sharing in the love and spirit of Christmas. 

I have been working on crocheting a blanket for my Mom for Christmas. I will share it here when I am all done. (Mom doesn’t follow my blog, I chose not to share it with many people in my real life.. it enables me to be more open and honest when I am writing) 

Once I am done Mom’s blanket I am going to get started on crocheting the kids new advent calendar. I decided to do something different with them this year and I am going to have an activity/craft for each day from Dec 2 until Christmas eve. I am throwing my all into Christmas this year to make it as awesome for the kids and us as I can to fill that void that family normally fills. 

I am truly counting myself blessed and lucky right now to have friends like K and T (Both of whom follow this blog) So to them, I want to say: Thank you both. Thank you and your families for always being there for me. The two of you have been the constants there for me through everything I have been going through. Supporting, encouraging, helping, listening, laughing. I don’t know if I could do this without you guys. I am truly blessed to have the two of you to always depend on through everything. Thank you guys for being the family my kids are missing out on! 

Love, Hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

Our Halloween 2013

We have been getting ready for Halloween all month! It has been a busy month full of crafts! This post is going to be mostly pictures as our Halloween was more or less uneventful. 

We spent the day watching Halloween episodes of the kids favorite shows, talking about Trick or Treating and then going to the mall to Trick or Treat. Which the kids loved. What’s not to love about walking around the mall and having random people drop candy into your bucket? 

Our word of the day was spooky. Which Alex cannot pronounce to save his life. (It comes out sounding like ‘smokey’ ‘smoked meat’ or ‘stick me’ when he tries) Nick mastered saying ‘trick or tree though! 

I also handed out candy. To all three of the kids who came to my door. (The joy of living at the end of a road, across from a school with no one living in the houses around you I guess) 

Anyway… onto the pictures! 

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First off we made monsters. The initial point was to make 1 face on them… but the kids were more creative then that. Above is Nick’s. Below is Alex’s.

 

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From there, the kids painted their pumpkins. That was a mess and most of the pumpkin was just brown from mixing the colors, but they had a great time, and that’s what matters to me!

 

 

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Once the Pumpkins were painted, the kids used these plastic things to make faces. (kind of like Mr. Potato Head) The pieces were a little tough to get in but with some help they made some pretty… awesome…. faces! (the top one is Nicks, the bottom one is Alex’s) 

 

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The next craft we did was make spooky pictures using black construction paper and white crayons. The boys thought it was pretty neat that we finally found a use for those white crayons that always seem broken! 

 

 

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We also made some scary ghosts to scare Daddy with. (Daddy acted appropriately scared!)

 

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Next we made some Jack o Lanterns. The boys painted the wooden pumpkins orange then with some help we cut out faces and glued them down and finished up the decorating with stickers and hung them up on the wall. 

 

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Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a Halloween post without a picture of the kids in their costumes, so here it is!

 

 

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And a close up of Zoey so you can see her costume a little better. We had a great October! Now we are going to slowly do some pirate crafts to decorate for Alex’s birthday and then get started on some Christmas ones! The kids are loving doing crafts and I am loving that they love it! 

Love, hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

Wait… what’s the date?

Anyone else notice that October is almost over? Anyone else caught totally off guard by this? Or is just me? It could be me. 

The last couple of weeks, I have been feeling like myself again. The new birth control pills combined with the multivitamin, combined with being more active combined with a very in depth conversation with hubs have all created a more normal feeling Lynn. It’s a great feeling. I have been more productive, more hands on with the boys, a better wife. You know. Just better. Then I noticed Christmas is coming. And Bitter Lynn started showing herself again. 

It’s not that I don’t like Christmas. Quite the opposite. I absolutely love and adore Christmas. I love Christmas shopping (I already have all my lists made, and a good chunk of the shopping done, and the stuff I am making homemade is almost done too!) I love wrapping presents, I love donating whatever I can, I love the stories (ALL holiday stories.) I love decorating, I love being with family, I love the lights, the food, the ambiance of it all. I seriously LOVE Christmas. 

It’s the family part that I am struggling with. This year is going to be the second year in a row that we can’t go to Winnipeg to celebrate Christmas with my family. (It’s a $3000 trip, and we just don’t have the money after already having made two trips out this year) And for me this is really really hard for a lot of reasons. 

First off, it’s my family. My parents, brothers, aunt, uncles, grandparents, cousins etc that I won’t get to see and celebrate with. I am very close to my family and me living out here has been hard. I hate not being able to spend the holidays with them. 

Now. Staying in New Brunswick shouldn’t be that bad. Hubs family is all here. But, if you remember, they tend to pick favorites among my kids. (You can read about that here if you missed it) And I hate it. Alex’s birthday is 4 days after Christmas. He is going to be three guys! THREE!!!… Anyways. His birthday is 4 days after Christmas and last year he got some of his birthday gifts with his Christmas gifts. This pisses me right off. His birthday and Christmas are TWO DIFFERENT HOLIDAYS. But that isn’t really my point. If the people who didn’t acknowledge Nick’s first birthday are going to acknowledge Alex’s third birthday I am going to lose my mind. It’s not that I don’t want Alex to be celebrated, but I want ALL my kids to be celebrated by their family. It’s not about the birthday gifts. It’s about acknowledging your grandchild. (Or niece/nephew) Have I mentioned that none of Hubs brothers have met Zoey? Yea. Why do I want to spend the holidays with these people? Unfortunately, I have no choice but to put on a smile and pretend it’s all rainbows and butterflies. I got my way with not seeing his family at Thanksgiving and I am not even going to attempt to dissuade Hubs from seeing his family at Christmastime. It’s not like we actually see them Christmas Eve or Christmas Day anyways. They are far too busy those days for us.

I am trying not to let those feelings overpower the excitement I normally have about Christmas. After all, Alex is old enough now to REALLY GET IT and Nick is getting there. And it’s Zoey’s first Christmas! Our home is going to be full of warmth and love! And Christmas crafts!! We just did some pretty awesome Halloween ones that I am going to post tomorrow or the next day!

If you have any ideas for Preschool/Toddler friendly Christmas crafts I would LOVE to hear them! (I can’t believe I am calling Alex a preschooler!)

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn