Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for sending your Son.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009


This past Tuesday there was a "holiday" celebration at work. Holiday? Give me a break, it was for C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S! I know because Santa was there and, as far as I know, Santa isn't part of any other holiday. We (Sean was there too) were strongly encouraged to sit on Santa's lap for a picture. "Come on, the kids will love it" we were told. When I explained that Santa isn't part of Christmas at our house, the encouragement came to an end and all was well and good.

Until we walked by Santa...

He looked at me (not Sean, just me) and patted his knee (that should have been my first clue that something wasn't quite right).

Smiling, I told him, "We don't do Santa."

"Are ya Jewish?" was his crass response.

"No," I sweetly told him, " We choose to focus on Christ at Christmas."

Defensively he said, "Well, I go to church sometimes. Our Lady on the Lake. I'll be there Christmas eve. You should come."

"Our what?" I asked for clarification.

Then, speaking slowly in a wonderfully condescending tone he enunciated, "Our...Lady...on...the...Lake. Are you Catholic?"

"No," I said, "we're not Catholic."

Horrified, he said, "You're not Lutheran are you?"

"No. Not Lutheran either."

Not having any other guesses for what "religion" we actually are, he let it go. I wished him Merry Christmas and went on my way so grateful that Santa wasn't coming to our house on Christmas eve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Story of a Boy and His Candy Cane

Sunday mornings have changed significantly for Jack this year. Instead of spending two plus hours in the nursery, he now delights in an hour of Sunday School, twenty minutes of worship time with his parents and another half hour of Children's Church. Needless to say, the worship time with mom and dad is NOT his favorite part of the morning (we're working on that) and he's always anxious to get to Children's Church. Before we let him go, however, we require him to stay for the children's sermon. All the children go to the front of the sanctuary to listen to the pastor give a short lesson related to the topic that week. This past Sunday, our pastor told the kids he had a gift for them but they would need to reach into his heart to get it. In an attempt to clarify his meaning (perhaps there were twenty little horrified faces staring back at him) he reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out..."A CANDY CANE," someone yelled. Then another little boy (I won't name any names, but said boy may or may not have previously appeared on this blog) piped up with, "I already have a candy cane so I don't need one." And yet another boy (this one truly anonymous) chimed in with, "I'll take two."

If I happened to be the parent of the little boy who "already had one," I might be inclined to trick myself into thinking the contentedness of one candy cane for the boy was a result of a wonderful upbringing (thus far) on the part of the parents. However, given that I may or may not be the parent of that boy, I might also know that this incident was actually a result of the boy just beginning to understand the traditions of Christmas and not realizing that multiple candy canes are often made available to children. In fact, I may or may not know that the same boy often wants to give his toys away so that he can have new and slightly different versions of the same toys. Still, if I was the parent of the boy, I would probably have felt proud of the generous spirit he demonstrated and might have shown him a little too much affection because of it. The boy may or may not have been embarrassed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is that kind of like a Liger?

I can't believe I just used a Napoleon Dynamite reference because I thought that movie was the dumbest thing on Earth, but hopefully as you read the story below you'll see how it fits...hopefully.

In lieu of an Advent calendar this year, we are going through an Advent book with Jack. The book is kind of like the I Spy books and each day's devotion has us hunting for a related item in a busy picture. After we find the specified item, we spend some time looking at all the other things in the picture as well. Last night's picture included a stack of alphabet blocks displaying the letters F, U and N. Jack rattled off the names of the letters like a pro, even correcting himself when he slipped up on the F. Then we moved on to the sounds that each of the letters make and tried to put them together to read the word.

So I asked, "What sound does F make?"

"Fffff," Jack replied.

"What sound does U make?" I continued.

Jack replied with, "Aaahhh."

"Uh," I corrected.

"Uh," Jack confirmed.

We continued the quiz with a "What sound does N make?" question and an "nnnnnnnn" response.

"Good," I said, "let's put those sounds together: fffffffff-uh-nnnnnnn."

Jack mimicked with, "fffffff....uh....nnnnnnn."

And then together, "ffffffff-uh-nnnnnnn."

"Dolphin?," Jack asked.

"No, ffffffff-uh-nnnnnnn," was my reply.

With full confidence this time, Jack replied, "Dolphin."

"No, listen to the sounds: fffffffff-uh-nnnnnnnn," I corrected.

With exasperation in his voice, Jack replied "Dolphin!"

With a little exasperation of my own I told him, "Jack, the first sound is ffffffff, not duh."

After a brief moment of contemplation, Jack, not quite so sure this time, replied, "Folphin?"

After Sean and I composed* ourselves, Jack and I went round a couple more times until he finally discovered that the word was "fun."

After I had finished tucking Jack into bed, Sean wondered what kind of animal a "folphin" might be (and now, hopefully, you see why the Napoleon Dynamite reference is fitting).

*I fully understand that all parents think their own children's antics are hilarious and I am no exception, so when I say this it is with full knowledge that I have laughed at many many things that may or may not have been funny that Jack has said or done over the last four years: I think this was the hardest I've laughed at something he's said.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The First of Many

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the first of many of our children's Christmas programs. Jack was the only lucky one that got to participate, but two years from now both boys will be up there and Elise will follow the year after that.

Some kids really got into the performance. Jack? Not so much.
There was one song he didn't sing at all!

Wes was going to be sure he didn't miss any of Jack's
performance (yep - those are binoculars he's holding up).

After attending only one of these programs, I now understand that children's Christmas programs are really only for the parents and grandparents. Of course I thought it was fantastic, but I'm not so naive to believe that a non-related party would have enjoyed much more than the few moments of comic relief. You know, those inevitable mishaps that end up being the highlight of the show. Things like:

One of the main characters telling the audience that the whole evening could be summed up in one verse: John 3:16 and 17 (um...I thought he said one?)

Or when that same character tells us that "God so loved the world that He gave His only forgotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Or perhaps Joseph's (you know someone has to be dressed like Joseph) headress comes down so low over his eyes that he has to tilt his head way back to peak out from below.

Things like that...

Perhaps my favoite element of the evening, however, was the book of letters that was sent home with all the parents that the students had written to the "characters" in the Christmas story. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Dear Mary,
Were you happy when you had Jesus? Are you happy now? I am happy now.

Dear Jesus,
Was it cold when you were born? I'm glad you came. I am happy your name is Jesus.

Dear Angel,
Do you like to fly?

Dear Jesus,
I hope you are having a fun time in heaven. Was it cool in the manger?

Dear Jesus,
Is it itchy sleeping in hay?

Dear Jesus,
Were you born on Christmas? Where do you live? Are you a human? Do you have teeth? Is there gravity where you live?
P.S. I live on Earth.

Dear Joseph,
Was it scary with a pregnant wife?

Dear Wise Men,
Do you have an X-Box 360?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Lesson in the Classics

Before you read the rest of this post, if you don't know who Caillou is, familiarize yourself with him here.

On Thursday, the following conversation took place:

Jack: Mommy, can we watch the Caillou movie with that Snoopy dog?
Mommy: What movie?
Jack: Caillou
Mommy: Who?
Mommy: Have we watched it before?
Jack: Yes. With Nanna and Papa and you and me and Daddy.
Mommy: Was it the other night? On the computer?
Jack: Yes
Mommy: Jack, that wasn't Caillou. That was Charlie Brown.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh, Those Contractions

Sean was looking at apps for his soon-to-be new phone and the following conversation took place:

Sean: Huh. Contraction timer.
Me: What?
Sean: Contraction timer. You know, to time contractions.
Me: blank stare as I try to process the purpose of this

With as many times in the last three years that we've timed contractions, you'd think I'd catch on quickly here. Sadly, this was not the case. As I continued to think about the usefulness of this application I wondered if the purpose was to determine the amount of time saved by saying "can't" instead of can not or "don't" instead of "do not." You know, contractions.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jack-A-Roo, Happy Birthday to You

Where or where have the last four years gone? I remember vividly the day we found out Jack would be joining our family. I made Sean double check the pregnancy test to ensure my hopeful heart wasn't playing tricks on my eyes. Once confirmed, the day went on as normal. What else could we do?

And I remember the long-anticipated day that Jack entered the world four years ago.

In that time Jack has grown from a happy, inquisitive baby into a smart, tender-hearted, silly little boy who loves to read books, play construction, build fire stations with legos and show us how independent he is.

He's a wonderful big brother to his little brother and sister, providing a great example for them to look up to.

He's creative and funny. He's immensely patient and ever forgiving as we stumble through this adventure called parenting.

He is an incredible blessing and we're ever so happy, grateful and humbled that God entrusted him to us. Happy birthday, Jack. We love you very much.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The magna doodle is a popular (read "often fought over") toy in our house. A few days ago Wesley was drawing on it and toddled into the kitchen saying, "bee, bee." I commended his bee and asked if it was the letter "bee" or the bug. He looked at me intently for 10 seconds (a lifetime to a 2-year-old) and said, "bee." So...which was it? I don't know, but he was proud of his "bee" and that's all the really matters.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stopping by? Put on your sun goggles...

(and by sun goggles I mean those tiny plastic eye covers you're required to wear in a tanning bed so you don't burn your eyes out) because you're going to need to protect your retinas if you drive by at night.

To aleviate any confusion, this is NOT our house. That might actually be bearable...embarrassing, but bearable. No, the picture below is of the seizure-inducing house across the street from us that we see each and every time we dare look out our front window or door. We noticed the owners last weekend putting Christmas lights on their newly planted maple (the same one 12 - no I'm not exaggerating - other houses got one day in October; gotta love new construction) and thought it would look great since they spent so much time on it. Now we know why it took so long. They wrapped every single teeny tiny branch in those electric blue lights. You know, the ones that are impossible to focus on. Unfortunatley (or maybe it's not so unfortunate) the picture doesn't do it justice. If you're really curious you can drive by (make sure you stop to say "hello" since you're in the neighborhood and all), but don't say I didn't warn you.