I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Traditions - NEW & NEXT


- This year, I gathered all the Christmas books in the house, and wrapped them.  They were put in a basket by the Christmas tree, and each night before bed, Alex opened a "present."  A couple were new, and a couple he didn't realize he already owned.  He loved the surprise of not knowing what was inside - and loved getting 14 extra presents!  It's so hard for kids to wait all month to open gifts - this was wonderful!  We're definitely doing this again next year!

- This was also the first year the Feitners (really it was just Alex and me) made a gingerbread house!  So much fun - so much mess - so much sugar!  I'm planning to make a second one the weekend after Christmas when my in-laws are in town.  Don't want the left-over candy to go to complete waste, and there's no way we'll eat all of it (our family's not that big on sugar).

- It was also Alex's first year to write a letter to Santa!  Hopefully next year he'll be able to do the actual writing - though I'm sure that'll make it take twice as long.  I thought it was hilarious that he asked Santa to put his brother on the Naughty List!

- This was the first year that Alex bought some gifts for people.  Aaron took him to the Dollar Tree, and he picked out a gift for his brother, me, and a friend.  Aaron said that Alex was telling the cashier (and everyone in line that would listen) who each gift was for - how adorable!  He was SOOOOO excited!  After they finished shopping, I went back in the store with him and he bought a gift for Aaron.  He was allowed to pick anything he wanted - which of course meant that each person gets a toy that HE wanted. (smile)  Tonight I helped him wrap all the gifts (except for mine - Aaron helped with that one).  They're not the neatest wrapping ever, but HE did it, not me!

- This year we began tree #2 - with kid ornaments.  It was the $19.95 fake tree we bought at Target when we were first married.  It's what we used for the first several years of our marriage, before we could afford to buy a real one.  The tree still looks kinda sad and empty - we don't have many kid ornaments yet.  But it's been begun - finally a tree that the kids are allowed to TOUCH!  My hope is to eventually have FOUR trees in the house - the red/gold one in the front window - the kid tree - one with all edible ornaments (strung popcorn, dried fruit, cookie ornaments, etc.) - and another one that's pure white (in the basement).

- The paint guy at Home Depot told us about a book/doll "Elf on the Shelf."  So, we went straight to Barnes & Noble and picked it up.  Alex LOVES it!!!!!!!!!  The concept is that there's an elf doll (who Alex creatively named "Elfie") that sits up on a shelf in the house.  He watches all day, and at night flies to Santa to tell him if the child(ren) has been naughty or nice.  Then, when the child wakes up in the morning the elf is sitting somewhere else, and he gets to search for him.  The first night was a tough sell to Alex who was convinced the doll wasn't a real elf.  But the following morning, when he found the empty box (with the tape still on it), and Elfie sitting on the bookcase - he was SOLD!  (I'm the one who made sure the tape looked like it hadn't been touched - thank you, very much!)

We haven't had "the talk" yet, but here's what I'm hoping to incorporate next year into our Christmas traditions....

- An advent wreath & candles - like they do at church each Sunday.  I've always thought it was cool - having a reading about a different group of people represented at the nativity, and being reminded aspects of the Christmas season like joy and hope.  I think it'd be a great way to remind the boys the real meaning of the season - and they're boys - they're gonna like playing with matches! (grin)

- I want to have a BIG advent calendar with goodies inside for the boys like this photo.  But I haven't found one I want to spend the money to buy yet - so hopefully I'll find something I like in January when they go on sale!

- A pine cone for the critters - dipped in peanut butter and birdseed.  I think it's cool to give a gift to animals.  Maybe we could incorporate it with the "shepherds" week of the advent wreath?  Donno.  I've wanted to do this for the past two years, and it keeps getting squeezed out.  But I'm determined to incorporate it next year!

As you can see, how we celebrate Christmas is always evolving.  I love traditions - I love memories - and I love spending time with my family.  That's half of what Christmas is about right there!


adalong said...

What great ideas you have, Julia! I'm amazed at all you get done!

Berenice said...

Julia, these are all fantastic ideas! I've been looking for a large advent calendar as well and we will certainly be getting the Elf on a Shelf book!