Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fall Catch Up

Fall was so beautiful this year. It was amazingly dry and sunny.

 Amelia turned one on NOv 14th. That was the fastest year ever! She had an African animal cake. 
Katie turned 5 on Nov 9th. She has been planning this Hello Kitty cake since the day after her birthday last year. no joke. She begged for me to let her decorate it herself so I let her have at it with minimal help from me. Did a pretty good job huh?

I will post more about each of their birthdays another time. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Time

Katie and Grace had well-child checks on Friday. They each got shots, and were so brave. I was a very proud mama. I told them about how one time when I got shots when i was a little girl, my mom took me home after and made cookies with me to help me feel better. Of course my kiddos thought we should do that too, and I said we could. Unfortunately, we ran out of time on Friday, and then again on Saturday, but finally, on Sunday we got around to it. 

Every Christmas growing up, my mom would make lots of Christmas goodies, including these wreaths. We make them using Rice Krispies and M&Ms now, in place of the corn flakes and little red hots combo we used when I was little. 

It's so fun to bring back traditions from my own childhood and share them with my kiddos. I once read an article about resilience in children and factors that contributed to children's ability to cope with adversity. The number one factor contributing to resiliency was how much family history each child knew. Surprising, huh? The study found that children who knew their roots, you know, things about their parents' childhoods, things about grandpa and grandma, family traditions, and heirlooms, were more likely to cope well than children who had no idea about their family backgrounds. Even children that came from single parent homes or homes that were poverty stricken were more resilient if they had a good understanding of family roots. The researchers found that children develop a sort of anchor, a sense that they are a part of something bigger than just themselves, when they know about who and what makes up their family. And that anchor keeps them grounded when hard times come.

Anyway, I've been trying more to share memories with my kids, and tell them about things that they have in common with me and my parents, and my grandparents. I need to be better about writing them down. That's for sure.

In fact, while I am at it, I should record one more Christmas cookie memory. I don't ever remember taking gifts or cookies around to neighbors or church friends, when I was a little girl. But at some point, I think when I was 13 or 14, my mom asked if we would like to make cookies for different families we knew at church and in the neighborhood. Mom, of course did most of the work, baking up all sorts of treats and cookies. But I remember helping my sisters scoop them onto plates and covering them with plastic wrap, and loading them into the car. We went around caroling, and delivering our goodies while we looked at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. 

I remember thinking that it felt so good to give for once instead of receiving. We had been on the receiving end of things for several years, since my parents had divorced and life had turned upside down. That night really helped me feel like we had something to offer, that we had something to give. We wouldn't always be the ones needing a hand, but we were able to give back a little of the kindness that had been shown to us. And I think that was my favorite Christmas from those growing up years. The Christmas I was able to GIVE.

Albany rarely gets snow, and if we do it's an inch and doesn't last more than an hour or so. So we had to document this very rare snow storm. Katie and Grace ate a sickening amount of snow. I didn't help it by using a jello packet to make "snow cones." Very fun day.

THe snow stayed almost a full week and I was so grateful for it. I love snow, and it made everything feel more Christmassy.

we had to dig our winter things out of the attic where I had stored them all since we never need them.

 isn't he so handsome?