There is much that can be said when it comes to Christmas giving. I love the idea of honoring Christ’s birth with really beautiful handmade “birthday” gifts. I also really hate how crazy this time of year can get, if I choose to let it. We do most of our buying on-line and at our favorite thrift store, Value World! I always go out super early on Black Friday for my 50% off coupon for being one of the first 50 folks in line. It’s totally worth the work. I always find something magical, and it’s like the heavens open and God says, “Blessed are you, crazy mother, here is a small token of love for all the wonderfulness you are trying to conjure!” It feels like a hug straight from Jesus himself!
If I had my druthers, I would buy tons of beautiful-made-in-USA-all-natural-never-been-dyed-or-touched-plastic-fanciness, but lets be real, that just ain’t happening! So, I do what I can, and forget the rest! God is so good, and he always provides. Just like David says in Psalm 23 “There is nothing I lack!”
Now for the things you SHOULD NOT do. A couple years ago, my husband and I were a bit strapped for cash, and we were trying to make the holidays more exciting, an in doing so, I’m afraid to say, we lost touch with reality. So, just in case you think like we do, here are somethings you shouldn’t try at your house this Christmas.
1. Never, in any circumstances hide or move the Christmas gifts from where your children think the gifts should be. It sure isn’t very funny. We found this out the hard way. We left all the gifts (organized by child) in our school room, where we had been wrapping- figuring (at 2 am) that they would have more fun opening gifts here because it’s more spacious than our living room. Well….then we took it a step farther and decided to tell them that the baby Jesus was their only gift this year, yes, we did that! Seemed like a good idea at the time. We even wrapped up the manger. Boo. The kids cried.
2. This one here is a classic mistake: PETS! Do not buy young children pets…..EVER…..if you enjoy sanity, or unless you happen to breed especially gentle docile kids. We got them each their own gerbil/hamster. It was a disaster. I was, for the next six weeks the gerbil police. Trying to keep kids from squeezing the poor dears to death, trying to keep them fed, and clean, and in their cages was a job…to say the least. By the second week two of them had been tortured or loved (not sure which) by my then 2 yr old, son. OMG the tears and sadness from his older sisters! Then we had the mites that come in gerbil feed, literally biting the *@!& out of us while we slept, to then finally having only one gerbil left, and my husband devised a plan to “let it run loose in the yard” thereby freeing up any more obligation to the horrid creature, and our neighbor caught the darn thing and tried to return him to us. My sweet and loving husband feigned catching it, and let it go. It was sad to see, but necessary. If only our kindly neighbor hadn’t been so nimble to catch it again and manage to get quite a large bite on her hand….opps. Note to self: no more pets.
3. Then there are the super smart kids who have detective powers beyond what is usually possible. We wrapped up a bunch of dress-ups that had been given to us from a good friend whose kids were getting older. My insanely gifted children SMELLED it. There we were opening up packages, and they’re like,” This smells like the ____ family!” Ummmm….yes, we went shopping over there because they have great dress-ups….who would have guessed that would have happened? It felt silly and cheap, and I don’t recommend it. So, if you are re-gifting, and it’s clothing, go ahead and wash it. Please. For Pete’s sake.
4. ok. Here’s a funny one. Don’t buy your kids stuff that you wish they would play with, but you know in your heart of hearts they really don’t like. So, that would eliminate the waldorf doll for your daughter who doesn’t like babies. Too bad.
5. If your kid is a sports fan, just give it up and buy the real stuff, if it looks like ADDIAS but it’s not, that kinda sucks. So splurge and buy the real deal, or just don’t go there! Seriously.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Be sure to leave a comment about things you have learned. Clearly, I am slow on the uptake, I need all the help I can get!
Gotta get ROKU!!!
EWTN is something I’ve been wanting for a long time. My husband and I could never justify cable or dish TV when it came to the budget. Soooo, we found this great device called a ROKU. It hooks up to your TV and it can stream things such as hulu, amazon, netflix and EWTN.
We just finished watching Life on the Rock and Mother Angelica Live. What a blessing!!! No contracts and a Mother Angelica fix WHENEVER I want.
Our daughter was born on June 29, 2012. We named her after Saint (then she was Blessed) Kateri Tekakwitha. We bought the Roku 2 days ago. Blessed Kateri was cannonized today as Saint Kateri and the mass in Rome was able to be viewed here at our home. How beautiful and great is Our Lord.
God is good.
There are so many things we can do, as mamas, wives, and teachers, and then there is “good enough.” I already know you KNOW this, but, years from now it won’t matter if you had a sparkly clean floor! But the children will remember you looking up at their faces and smiling. Read your most needy child of the moment a story you enjoyed as kid! Do you remember Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs? I remember imagining macaroni and cheese coming down from the sky, and savoring the sensational thought for long enough that I could almost smell cheddar cheese….
There are so many ways we can be hard on ourselves, it’s not clean enough, it’s not organized enough, it’s not pretty enough. Even if all those things may be true, try to rationalize a bit of it away by thinking about your daughters wedding. How will she remember you? Will she think about how sensitive you were when she was upset? Will she feel supported by you through her tough days, or will she only recall being pushed aside for more “important” tasks? These little people that God gave to us are precious gifts, and we are to treasure them and treat them like the gold they are. Pure gold.
I’m not saying here that it’s an easy thing to do. Just like sometimes I have to use middle names to get my child’s attention, sometimes they have to call me by my first name instead of “mom,” or I won’t realize they are speaking to me. Ignoring the children is easy, we do it all the time without meaning to, I’m not really talking about that. If we didn’t have the ability to zone out a bit us stay at homers would soon get dizzy and quit or freak out. Yes, that is different. What I’m really talking about is that I understand that you want your home clean and orderly, I k now how busy you are, I get it. Don’t make excuses to me- I’m okay with the way things are, they are good enough. Awaken yourself to the richness of your right now, and savor it. I have beautiful thriving smart children who impress me everyday in someway, and teach me way more than they learn from me, I’m quite sure. I am saying that peace is here. I am fine with it being what it is.
I take the opportunity to try and organize one small part of my home everyday, and I look forward to at some point either adding on to the house we live in or moving somewhere bigger, because I know part of what we have is a lack of space, even though, as I love to remind the children, you will always have to put your shoes and clothes away. There will always be doing your “best part.” If you mess it up, clean it up, if you open it, shut it, and so on. But space does matter, and I understand that I have a clutter problem, some of which is theirs, some of which only I can take credit for. Hoarders unite: I’m just waiting for the day when 80 naked children come here, and I will be the one to clothe them! I wish I could say it is because I grew up in the post depression era, and I simply find a use for all of the stuff, and that why I keep it….but it’s a lie. I’m a collector and an artist who loves to see everything. If I can’t see it, I forget it’s even there. Most normal people are visually over-stimulated by the amount of eclectic/ colorfulness I squeeze into my home decor, but I’m okay with it! I like it like this. Good enough. There are many life lessons we learn as moms, and boy am I thankful for each one. I am ever so thankful that I have gotten to be with my children and in turn, gotten to know them and learn from them. Thanks to these lovely kids I can now understand shyness, how difficult it can be for a shy person to hold a conversation. Or what life would be like if I didn’t think about myself. Think about that.I know it seems obvious, but if I had time to think about me more, believe me I WOULD! But since I am so preoccupied caring for my young family I have grown leaps and bounds towards my goal: God first, others next, myself last. It will take a longer time, to fully understand that and accomplish that, I bet. But I like where I am right now, being able to see that there is still room for improvement… despite the many quirks my children have to deal with me being their mama, I sure hope the stuff they see when they look back at all this scrambling, sacrifice, and sweetness is good enough. I am aware that there will be things they hold against me, there will be reasons for them to feel disadvantaged, displaced, or sad. I hope that nothing will ever happen that will make any of these thoughts prevail as their primary response to their growing up. I pray that when they are adults they can tell their own children how special and blessed this time was. I hope they are able to see that our priorities were keeping them loved, warm and fed, and educated as best as we could, most of all about Jesus, so that they have the ability to pray and feel safe when we are gone.
God, you have given me so much. Please help me be a good model for my children. Help me to be good enough.
No matter where I go, no matter what I’m doing…I’m camping! I go camping when I check out a few books at the library, I camp all the way to the park, I camp over to my girlfriends house, and camp a bit here and there to mass, museums, and groceries….Let’s just put it out there friends, if me and mine are getting out- then we are camping! We have to bring the same equipment, and supplies! We may as well stay for a while! When I open the back of my van, a double stroller almost kills me, tumbling out amongst bags of all sorts, bags of books, bags of food, extra clothes, diapers, wipes, first aid kit, homeopathic remedies, an old keyboard?!, and shoes, that is correct, shoes. They breed at night….I swear!
Do you always feel like you are camping, too?
What is it that you don’t leave home without?
I am certainly no theologian, so I am really asking you. Whenever I ask you a question, you can feel free to give me your honset opinion, I will take your thoughts with a grain of salt. What exactly will heaven be like? Why should we all try so hard to be holy? Why should we work our whole life to attain something we really don’t understand? I know some of the saints saw heaven and hell during different visions. Teresa of Avila and Maria Faustina both were able to see the afterlife for what it is, but something tells me you have to see it with your own eyes to really get it.
If heaven is a wonderful and special place, but it is away from our loved ones, how special could that really be? The smell of my sleepy baby cuddling my neck, the jazzy hugs I get from my big girls, my sons laughter when I flip him upside down, the peace that fills my entire brain, like a warm slice of fresh bread when my honey is finally home from work for the night. Can there be a better place?
Hard to imagine. Would it be fair to resort back to Christ’s words in Matthew 13, and just say the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Pearl of Great Price? It must be hard for most of us mamas to imagine anything that we would be willing to sell all of our personal belongings for, maybe we feel that way sometimes about sleep, but truly, all our earthly possesions at this point are so numerous, it would take years to gather it all up again.
Oh Lord, make me holy, make me like you. Help me to understand your greatness, and give me a heart like your heart. Make me long to be with you in heaven. Give me understanding.