Friday, December 10, 2010

Thirteen, Really?

My first born turned 13 yesterday so I am now officially the mother of a teenager. How did that happen? Where did those 13 years go? How fast will the next few years go? Three more years until he's driving, five more years until he's in college, and on and on.

But to be honest, I'm not even thinking about those things right now. What I am thinking about and what's really distressing is that he is now officially the tallest member of our household (and by far has the biggest feet) - at 13!!

I think we have a few years before the princess overtakes us.

I'm really not short for a woman. I swear! Guess I'll have to break out the heels from now on.

Do you know how weird it is to have parent/child 'discussions' with someone who's taller than you are? Well, I find it weird (but maybe that's just me). Fortunately, he's a good kid so we don't have to have those discussions often.

Wonder if he would notice a cinder block on his head while sleeping - but I guess that would only work if he slept standing up. Any suggestions on how to stunt his growth? Just kidding! The better question would be how to fund his eating habits.

Happy birthday to our long-limbed, knobby-kneed teenager. We love you Brandon!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Taking of the Annual Christmas Photo

I always have the best intentions and grandest ideas when it comes to the yearly Christmas photo. But December always seems to sneak up on me and I'm left scrambling in order to get a photo taken in time to be printed and inserted into Christmas cards so they get mailed before New Year. And of course, this year was no different.

I tried to pick a time when everyone would already be decked out in somewhat decent, Christmas-y attire. This way there would be less complaining about having to get 'dressed up' (relatively speaking) for nothing. It was also important to pick a time when the princess was in a good mood. So I chose after nap time today right before we headed out the door to see our church's annual Christmas program. In theory it was perfect timing. Let's see how it went.

Me: "Stand over there and let me take your picture."
Mia: "I want to see the baby."
Me: "In a minute, now stand there. Well, okay, you can kneel like your brothers."
Oh look - what's on Brandon's knee?
Oh not, what's that thing in the corner? Brandon, where are your shoes? Let's try this one more time.
OK guys, she's trying to escape. Hold on to her.
You didn't hold on to her.
Don't you want to have your picture taken any more?
Are we not done yet?

And the winner is:
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Favorite Christmas Tradition - The Jesse Tree

Christmas traditions are a big deal at our house. Each of us has our favorites - from breakfast with Santa at the local fire department to getting our tree from the same tree farm every year to watching a Charlie Brown Christmas for about the billionth time.

But one tradition that is very important to all of us is the Jesse Tree. A friend of mine introduced me to this about four years ago and it quickly became a family favorite. It's kind of like an Advent calendar but covers Creation to Jesus' birth rather than just highlighting the Nativity story.

We begin on Dec. 1 and hang one ornament a day through Christmas Day. Each ornament represents a symbol from the Old and New Testament and traces the heritage of Jesus from Creation through His birth. We also read a devotion that explains the significance of what that day's ornament represents.

I could only show the first two days on the tree because that's as far as we've gotten.
This is the devotional book we use - you can get it on Amazon.

Part of what makes this so special is that all of the ornaments are handmade. We got 25 women to pick a day/symbol and then they made 25 pf the same ornament. Then we met back up several weeks later (obviously you want to start this well before Dec. 1 if you plan on doing it that year) and had an ornament swap. Each of us brought all 25 of the same ornaments but left with 25 different ornaments - one for each day. If you're not crafty, don't panic. Some ornaments ended up being very ornate - but some are very simple or even store-bought. But that's OK - because what's so cool about this is seeing how everyone interprets their symbol.

A snapshot of all 25 ornaments from one of my three sets
I've done this three times now - so I have three different sets. I plan to give a set to each of my kids when they leave home so that they can carry on this tradition with their families.