Monday, December 31, 2007

More Christmas in Canada

Isaac and his Mimi walking together on the Lake.

Handsome boy.

Aaarggghhh. Pirate Ewan. Here is our pirate joke: What do pirates eat for breakfast? Aaarrrrgggghhnge juice! hahahahaha!
Graham and his 2nd cousin Graeme. When we were thinking about what to name Graham we liked the name and Jon had such great memories with his cousin Graeme (same pronunciation) that we decided to go for it and name him Graham.

Ewan and his cousin Leah checking out a dead fish on Lake Ontario.

Isaac throwing rocks into the lake.

The three cousins inspecting the water.

Isaac running to catch up in the woods.

Christmas in Canada

Me and my baby!

We traveled up to Canada again to spend time with family. Jon's parents are with us and we all traveled in the mini-van together. It was a tight fit to say the least but all 7 of us fit with the luggage. A miracle! The ride home was long because Graham had to stop and eat several times but we made it home in good spirits. I thought I'd post some pictures of our trip.

Graham looking rather handsome.

On a walk at Niagra on the Lake.

Isaac, Jon, and Graham on the beach at Lake Ontario.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Santa Debate

Apparently this year is the year for parental debates....First circumcision, naming Graham, and now Santa. Now that the boys are a little older and Christmas season is here I have become more aware of what they are learning about Christmas and Santa.

The more secular and consumer driven our world becomes, the more Santa there is and the less "Jesus is the reason for the season" there is. With all the emphasis of companies turning Christmas into "Holiday Celebrations" it makes Santa stick out like a sore thumb.

I started to notice that the boys were suddenly talking about Santa and asking us whether or not he was going to come to our house and bring presents. You see, we don't actively talk about Santa at our house so the fact that they were getting super excited about Santa bringing them presents made me a little concerned. You think I'd have been a little more prepared to answer their questions but I still wasn't sure WHAT I wanted to tell them about Santa. Jon and had talked about it a little bit but I guess in my mind I didn't feel settled about what we had decided. I didn't feel like we had decided anything.

My main concern is that I don't want my children to believe in Santa so much and then when they find out he doesn't really ride around in a sleigh and deliver presents that they feel betrayed and then think that Jesus isn't real. It somehow seems a little sinister that we purport this lie. I also don't want to take away from what Christmas is really all about--Jesus, our Savior who was born. We tell the boys who St. Nicholas was and what he was about and WHY he delivered gifts to children. I want to tell them that Santa is pretend and doesn't really come to houses on Christmas eve. If they still choose to believe that Santa is real it is on them, not me. The only problem with that is that you don't want them to go around telling other kids that he isn't real. Although, I think that most kids will think they are crazy for not "believing" in Santa and will continue to believe it anyway. Only those that already doubt will be convinced.

The thing that bugs me most about Santa is that it is all about whether or not you are good or bad and that it (for some parents) becomes a way to manipulate their children to behave. Who wants to live in fear that they won't get presents on Christmas if they are bad? We wouldn't do that with our kids but it bothers me that it is sort of the ultimate expression of pluralism. As long you are good enough you'll get the good stuff.

Jon thinks I am being a little over cautious (as some of you probably do too).
He thinks that we should not encourage Santa but also not discourage it either. So when the kids ask if Santa is going to come we should say, "do you think he will?". We aren't going to put any gifts under the tree and say they are from Santa. He thinks that if we blatantly come out and tell the kids Santa isn't real it takes some of the fun and mystery out of life. I see his point but I still feel uncomfortable with the idea of blantantly lying to my children. So far our strategy is to talk a lot about why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. We talk a lot about the Christmas story and have even gotten some children's books on Christmas.

Part of me wishes that we were some of the more countercultural Christians who don't exchange presents at all at Christmas or don't spend any money on the presents they do exchange. It would put more of the emphasis on what Christmas is all about but it would be a challenge to the kids. It feels like it is a little too late now to do anything that radical.

I have had lots of conversations with friends about the Santa debate and some share my concerns and some don't. Jon's point is that we both grew up with Santa and we turned out okay. We both believe in Jesus (although I didn't become a believer until I was in college). Maybe I am being a little paranoid about it all but I still feel worried about it.

What do you do about "the Santa debate" in your house? What do you tell your children?

****Instead of making a separate post I thought I would add it here. If you are visually sensitive while watching movies (i.e. freaky looking people) I don't recommend seeing I Am Legend with Will Smith. We went to see it not knowing that there were scary people in it and I couldn't get the images out of my head for days. ****

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ewan the Shepherd

Today Ewan's class did a participating pageant at his preschool. That means that they didn't rehearse it before performing it. They were all familiar with the Christmas story and each child got to decide if they wanted to dress up as an angel, wiseman, sheep, or shepherd. Ewan wanted to be a shepherd and he did such a great job. The leader asked the kids questions as she went through the story and Ewan answered several of them correctly. He especially knew all the questions pertaining to the shepherds. We were so proud. Of course I had a brilliant plan to record it onto our video camera, upload it to youtube and post it here so you could watch it but when I charged the camera last night I forgot to check that the plug was actually plugged into the wall. Oops. Of course the video camera ran out of batteries during the best part. So I just have still pictures.

Ewan was very proud of himself too and most of all had a fabulous time! Here are some pictures:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

As a Mom, I Swore I Would Never Let My Kids....

I attended a brunch at our church a few weeks ago and the speaker told a funny story that inspired this post.

You know how before you become a parent you silently observe other people with their kids and
say to yourself that you will either 1) NEVER let your kids do XYZ or 2) see something you like other parents doing and try to remember that so you will do it with your own children?

I know from my own personal experience that I do more of the former rather than the latter. One thing I always said to myself was that I would teach my kids not to ever pick their noses in public. Well, let me tell ya, that is something that is nearly impossible to accomplish--especially in a cold climate where runny noses are rampant. What is it that is so satisfying about picking crusty or slimy boogers from your nose?

I never wanted my kids to be meeting someone for the first time while picking their noses. "This is my son, Ewan (picking his nose proudly)" who then extends his hand for an introductory first meeting hand shake. This happened the other day and I told my friend, um, you may not want to shake his hand.

Truth be told, in my big bag of goodies, um, diaper bag, and in every room in the house I have tissues but by the time little fingers get to their noses it is too late for me to dig them out and the nose picking has already happened.

So, I have decided that the best thing I can teach them is to at least wipe their boogers on tissue if they haven't reached for one in the first place. Or perhaps I should teach them the fine art of booger flicking? I know, ewwwwwww!

Isaac prefers to stay in his car seat until all the boogers are out of his nose. This is a note to self....pack some tissues in the back seat of the car that are in reachable distance of booger picking fingers!

Other things I swore I would never do as a mom....
1) Yell at them in public (or private for that matter)
2) Run around with chocolate or other food spread on their faces
3) Pick their ear wax with my fingers
4) Use my own spit to wipe something off their faces
5) Run around with a poopie diaper

Unfortunately people, I have to tell you that I have done ALL of these things. Sigh.

What things have you swore you would never do or let your kids do?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Graham 3 Months

I couldn't decide between the two because they are both so cute! Isn't my baby absolutely gorgeous?!

He is laughing, squealing, chewing on his hands, and cooing up a whole lotta conversation! He is by far the easiest baby we have had and so full of joy. I'm thankful, so, so thankful that God gave us this precious baby to love on. He has even been napping and putting himself to sleep without fussing for more than a few minutes! How awesome is that??!!

We are definitely over the hardest part of babydom and everyone is enjoying life a little more these days. Now that Graham is napping in our bed instead of my arms all the time I am freed up to play with Ewan and Isaac more which they love too. I was missing some good play time with them so I am glad for this new season.

Graham's hair continues to be the first thing people comment on when they see him. It is still crazy and long. If I had a dollar for every time someone comments on his hair I would have some nice pocket change to spend!

Big Brother Cuddles

The blankie bandit strikes again! Ewan LOVES satin on blankets and here he has found a way to snuggle with Graham and get some satin-lovin' time with Graham's blankie. I thought it was pretty cute. Ewan tucked both of them under the blankie and then he played patty cake and talked to his little brother. Awwww.....

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

It snowed! A big blanket of snow covered the ground and everything else last week. Here are a few pictures.

We are doing well with the cold too! Maybe it is simply the mentality of living in a colder place but I haven't felt as miserable as I thought I would. It has gotten down into the teens a few times and it hasn't felt that bad. I am a master at finding blankets, robes, or sweat shirts to keep me warm in the house--which hovers around 58 to 61 degrees. We have fully embraced it so far. I think I will get sick of the cold, don't get me wrong but for now I am truly thankful that I haven't felt totally homesick for sunny skies!

Jon is shoveling the snow. You have to shovel your sidewalk within 24 hours of the snow fall here. A little winter exercise.

Isaac wanted to come inside the second he got outside. This kid has never been much of an outside kid but we make him go outside anyway. He doesn't like getting snow on his hands or shoes. He doesn't know what he is missing. I am hoping that once we get a chance to go sledding he will change his mind!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I had to upload this because I was working on another post at The Mom Crowd. Just ignore this post but if you want to read the other one then check out