Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 10: Facts About Me

On the tenth day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

Oh great! I get to talk about myself. Okay...

Fact #1: I hate talking about myself. Well, not really, but my life is pretty boring. Stay-at-home-mom of a special needs 2yr old girl and a gifted 5yr old boy. Not much to say about that. I don't do anything super Pinterest-worthy. I'm just a mom.

Fact #2: I hate selfies! Yep. I don't usually take them. Not by myself or with my kids! There's only a handful of them out there. And this includes just people taking photos of me in general too.

Fact #3: I was a preemie and am now a mom to a preemie! AND we were both born at 28 weeks and were within an ounce of each other!

Fact #4: I love that I can make hot chocolate in the Kuireg now!

Fact #5: I have ALL my Christmas shopping and wrapping DONE! (Save the ONE for Little Man that I want to make sure is READY for him....) I start shopping WAY early, like sometimes in the summer, as I see stuff the kids will like go on sale. A little trick my mom has taught me. The problem with it though is remember all that I got them when it's time for actually shopping!

Fact #6: I enjoy reading, though I don't get enough time to do it.

Fact #7: I enjoy watching TV shows on Netflix. I don't stream. I still use the DVDs. In fact, I OWN the whole series of "Fringe" and it's still unopened because I haven't had time to binge on it. ;(

Fact #8: I live with my mom. Most of the time this is great, except for the weekends the kids aren't home and I just want to binge watch "The X-Files" and she makes me do stuff! Probably better I get stuff like laundry done anyway.

Fact #9: I enjoy writing stories, I just don't do enough of it most of the time. I have attempted NaNoWriMo for like 12 times or something (I don't even know now how many years I have done it) and I have only managed to write 50k in words in the month of November ONCE. That was back over a decade ago. :(

Fact #10: I am working on becoming a better blogger. The 12 Days of Blogmas is helping me.

Favorites from Yesterdays Link-Up:

Up tomorrow: Day 11: Holiday Photos

Monday, December 21, 2015

Day 9: Holiday Songs

On the ninth day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

My favorite Holiday Songs!!!! Yay!!!! I LOVE holiday music! In no particular order, here are my favorites....(YouTube heavy post!)

9. But I don't want to hear ANY holiday music until "The Day After Thanksgiving" by Brandon Heath (new favorite Christmas song!)

8. And of course we've got to have the "Christmas Song" by Alvin and Chipmunks (the original one)

7. Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Mannheim Steamroller's "Carol of the Bells"

6. And then of course there's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon.

5. Here's a twist on a classic non-Christmas song. It's about the night Jesus was born. "Hallelujah Christmas" by Cloverton (this took FOREVER to find on YouTube...blasted copyrights!)

4. And here is another one about the night Jesus was born: "O Holy Night," this version by Josh Groban

3. But I have to ask, "Mary Did You Know" by Pentatonix

2. And we have to go with "Away in a Manger" by Casting Crowns

1. And of course, then we have to "Go Tell It on the Mountain" by NeedtoBreathe.

Bonus Christmas song that I LOVE and I have as an ornament on my tree:

So those are my favorite Christmas songs. What are yours?

Favorites from Day 8's Link Up:

Up Next: Day 10: Facts About Me

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 8: Holiday Food & Drink

On the eighth day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

This is one of those posts that's difficult for me. I'm not much into holiday food or things like that. But there are a couple things I'd like to say on this topic.

1. My absolute FAVORITE thing to drink at this time of the year (or any time really) is sparkling cider. Yes, some moms go for the wine. Not me! I LOVE sparkling cider. I think I've gone through 3 or 4 bottles already this month!

2. For all of Princess's therapists and her preschool teacher and Little Man's teachers, we made these little mini bread loaves. They are those muffin mixes, but done in bread pans. And I even found half sized loaf pans for the teachers! We're going to do 3 more for Pastor and the Sunday school teachers, but we're going to do regular sized loaves since BOTH kids will be giving them to them. The great thing about these is that the KIDS essentially made them themselves. Little Man was old enough to do it with very little help. Princess still needed some help stirring, but she poured everything into the bowl. I poured the mix into the pans because I wasn't sure how much to put into these little mini loaf pans. But everyone loved them! I tied bows on them. Both kids made these little Christmas trees with dot makers for tags. It worked out GREAT!

So that's about it on this one. I PROMISE I am getting caught up on reading everyone's posts this weekend!

Favorites from Yesterday's Link-Up
Yes, I need to do this!

Up on Monday: Day 9: Holiday Songs

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 7: Winter Activities

On the seventh day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

Okay, this one is a little bit more difficult for me. Why? Well, winter kinda is strange here. Some years we have snow:

Yes, this really is our front yard!
and other years we haven't.

Now, my town does do an outdoor ice rink from mid-November to the first part of January. We haven't gone yet because Princess is still little. (Not to mention, she can barely walk when it's cold. Not sure if ice skating would be a good thing or a bad thing for her.) So it's something that we may do later on.

But otherwise, we curl up and watch holiday DVDs in front of the fire because it gets cold here even if it doesn't snow! Not sure what else we will do during the winter. But I'm sure there will be games and just being together.

What about you? What are your favorite winter activities? I'm always looking for new ones!

My favorites from yesterday's link up:
Sorry, AGAIN. I'm behind. Things are a little crazy right now. I'll catch up and update this weekend!

Up tomorrow: Day 8: Holiday Food & Drink

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 6: Holiday Movies

On the sixth day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

So today's post is about Holiday Movies. First I'm going to talk about the Holiday Movie I don't like, but everyone seems to love:

Yes, "A Christmas Story." I can't stand it! I don't know why. Maybe it's because the story is set in a time that I wasn't alive for. But the whole thing just drives me nuts. Yes, I have seen it. I think there was some guy I was dating at some time who LOVED it and forced me to watch it. I wasn't impressed. I also hate how it's on almost EVERY DAY until Christmas. Okay, maybe not, but it sure seems that way to me!

Okay, now onto my Favorite Holiday Movies. You can probably guess one of them right now...

Yep, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." We watched it the other night on it's 50th anniversary! Awesome Christmas "movie." (Oh, during Linus's monologue where he recites Luke 2:8-14, when he says "Fear not" he drops his blanket! Here watch!)

And last year at church, when we HAD kids, they did this whole story one Sunday. And my son got to be a shepherd when our "Linus" recited the scripture. It was great!

Okay, my other favorite you can probably guess too if you read yesterday's post:

Yep, another one that will be celebrating it's 50th anniversary NEXT year! And before you ask, yes, I have seen the Ron Howard directed version staring Jim Carrey. I love that one too! I love the backstory they give The Grinch and yet they still manage to keep the original story that only ran 30 minutes in animated form.

Those are my two favorites that run on network television. As for my favorite full length feature film, it's this one:

I have the book and the movie now. I used to do this with my third graders when I was  teaching every year right before break where we would read the book, do activities surrounding it and then watch the movie! I love it that you can have the kids in their pajamas, have hot chocolate and they feel like they are part of the movie! I think even when Little Man was at the playschool, they did this where the day before break they brought in a box decorated as a train and watched the movie in their PJs. For some reason, when the reindeer come out and then Santa does, I get all teary. I don't know why. Such a GREAT story!

I know there are lots of newer movies out there. I would LOVE to hear about them. What are your favorites?

Favorites from Day 5's Link Up:
Yesterday was a crazy day for me! I'll catch up on this!

Up tomorrow: Day 7: Winter Activities.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 5: Golden Memories

On the fifth day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

There's one Christmas that sticks in my mind. It obviously took a lot of work for my mom. It was the year "The Grinch Stole Christmas." I was 5 years old. My mom made me watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" like every day. I remember when I woke up Christmas morning, everything wasn't there! There wasn't any presents. I think the tree was still there but it was bare, not sure. But I remember accusing my cousin, who had slept on the couch, of either not protecting our Christmas or of stealing it, I can't remember which. Then the phone rang. It was my grandfather. He said that he had seen someone coming down his street with our stuff so he stopped him. All our stuff was safe and at his house.

Apparently, my grandfather had been diagnosed with lung cancer and they thought this might be the last Christmas we had with him. So they wanted to get everyone together in one place. I don't know who came up with the idea of The Grinch stealing Christmas (probably my mom), but it was a good one to get us all together. I still remember, thirty years later!

Up tomorrow: Day 6: Holiday Movies

Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 4: Holiday Quotes

On the fourth day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

Well, I'm not big on quotes usually. But there are a couple this season that have been running around on Facebook that have kind of struck me.

The first one is from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The photo isn't correct for the quote from the show, but it works.

And the second one is actually from the Bible, but Linus says it in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Again, the photo isn't correct for where it happens in the show, but it works.

So those are two of my favorite Holiday quotes. What are yours?

Favorites from Day 3's Link Up

Up tomorrow: Day 5: Golden Memories

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 3: Signs of the Season

On the third day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

Probably the first signs of the season that we get is the fact that my mom wants to decorate the house. We usually do this the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We haven't done our tree yet, as we will be doing that tomorrow. Partly because it takes so long to put up, but also because we want the kids to be involved. But here are some photos of the house decked out for the holidays:

The trees in the kids' rooms. We'll do the big tree tomorrow.
The kids' stockings and the reindeer in the entry way.
Another sign of the season now that the kids are in school are Christmas programs! And wow, how did I end up so lucky as to have BOTH kids have their programs ON THE SAME NIGHT even though they go to DIFFERENT SCHOOLS! Yeah, it was a big confusing thing when I figured this out! But thankfully it went okay. Little Man sang and signed two songs with his class and the first graders. They did "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (a kindergarten tradition, I think because I did that song when I was in kindergarten) and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Yes, they learned them in American Sign Language, because it's one of the "specials" his school does!

The kids ready for their performances.
As for Princess, her thing was longer and I "helped." Their singing only lasted for a few songs, which we have practiced and practiced! But then it was a bunch of fun for the whole family! Princess did about what I expected. She stood up and did the songs in the beginning, which had lots of spinning and action, but the songs she didn't really like, she sat down for. She didn't wear her little reindeer antlers and Santa hat mainly because they wouldn't stay on her head, but she was fine with it. Afterwards, we went over and had some cupcakes and then Little Man showed up with his dad so we were able to go over and get a photo of them with Santa. Then I went over and helped the kids wrap presents after they "shopped" in Santa's Workshop. I had to help my mom get Princess in the car so I could finish helping the rest of the kids wrap. I got home shortly after the kids were in bed.

Favorites from yesterday's link up:
The Berger Bungalow's Random Acts of Kindness
Drops of Learning's Birthday Giving
Trish's Sweet Son

Up Next on Monday: Day 4: Holiday Quotes

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Day 2: Random Act of Kindness

On the second day of Blogmas The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave me to me...

Our family usually STARTS our season off by helping serve Thanksgiving Dinner at our church. Our church is only the host facility. It's actually put on by the Salvation Army. But dinner is FREE to ANYONE. This year, the kids got involved and made about 200 crosses. We did stickers, paint, markers, crayons, glitter. All different kinds of things! Then, they laid them out on all the place settings and even put new ones out as tables were cleared.

Other things we have done is donate to Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, and Operation Christmas Child. If you're not familiar with either of these programs, they are really very simple.

Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys and then right around Christmas, they distribute them to children who may not get a lot for Christmas. They aim to give every child 2 toys and a book. I only know this because we have been part of the program for the past two years on the receiving end. For more information here is their website.

The Angel Tree is another gift giving opportunity for the less fortunate. There are usually several versions of it throughout an area. I know our community college does one and our church is hosting one put on by another charitable organization in our local area. But the idea is simple: pick a card off the tree with a child on it. Their age, sizes and a specific wish is on the card. Then fulfill that card and return it to the place where you picked your card from. When we do it, we try to do at least one outfit and a few toys.

Operation Christmas Child is put on by Samaritan's Purse. Basically, you take a shoe box and fill it with little things for a child overseas. They can be healthcare items like toothbrushes, combs, etc. As well as small toys, crayons, books, and other things like that. Drop your box off at a collection point before the last day with the small amount for shipping (usually under $10) and that's it! It's then sent overseas to a child who may have never received anything before. For more information here is their website.

So those are some of the random acts of kindness we have performed in the past.

Favorites from yesterday's link up:
Random Crafty Girl's Peanut Butter Cookies
xoxo Rebecca's German Christmas
The Pen and the Needle's Christmas Traditions
Drops of Learning's Cutting Down a Christmas Tree
Trish's Hanukkah AND Christmas Traditions
A Mommentary Life's Christmas Tree

Up tomorrow: Day 3: Signs of the Season

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 1: Holiday Tradition

On the first day of Blogmas, The Petite Mrs and The Coastie Couple gave to me...

This is something that is very important in our household as we have Princess, who is almost 3, and Little Man, who is almost 6. By having holiday traditions that we do every year, we are shaping how they view the holidays. They are learning that there are some things that are important.

Now, some of the things we do, help explain the meaning of Christmas. Every year for the past two years we have had the opportunity to light the Advent Candle at church. For those of you unfamiliar with Advent, Advent is the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas where Christians prepare themselves for remembering the birth of Jesus. There is a wreath with 5 candles (some only have 4). Everything on the wreath has meaning. One candle is lit every Sunday during Advent, save for the center white candle, which is lit at Christmas Eve Service.

Everything about the wreath has meaning. The 3 purple (or blue) candles represent Hope, Love, and Peace. The pink candle represent Joy. These are all things Jesus brings us. The white candle is the Jesus candle and this why it is lit at Christmas Eve service. The greenery is from evergreen trees to represent the everlasting life that we get through Jesus. The circle is for God's never-ending love. The red holly berries symbolize Christ's blood that was shed for our sins.

These two traditions have only recently started as we have begun attending our new church. But they are something we are very glad to be apart of to keep Christ in Christmas in our household.

We have a couple of other traditions that you are probably more familiar with and probably do yourself: Elf on the Shelf and an Advent Calendar.

Our elf, Jingle, came to stay with us two years ago. He USUALLY comes on December 1, but this year, he came early! I will try to do a weekly round up post here on the blog. But if you want to see his antics, follow me on Instagram.

And as for the Advent Calendar, here's the deal on that. I wanted something that DIDN'T have candy, chocolate, Legos or anything else when you opened the door. I wanted one that I didn't have to buy new every year. We had a Scooby-Doo one before the Big Crazy Mess (divorce). But I wanted something that also explained the meaning of Christmas at the same time. Fortunately I found this one on clearance a couple years ago at a Christian bookstore. It was PERFECT! Not only was it my FAVORITE Christmas TV special ("A Charlie Brown Christmas"), but it actually told the story of Christmas by the end. Every year now, Jingle the Elf brings our Advent calendar on December 1.

So those are our Holiday Traditions. What are yours?

Up tomorrow: Day 2: Random Act of Kindness.

To learn more about our beliefs, here are a few helpful links!
Advent and Christmas (Go her to find out what it means by "The Twelve Days of Christmas!")

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jingle The Elf Returns!

So our Scout Elf, Jingle, returned the day after Thanksgiving. He usually doesn't arrive till December 1, so this was a surprise! So here is a round up of his antics for the past week.

He arrived by special mail from Santa! The kids actually walked by it A LOT. He didn't get opened until about 9am!

The next day he moved from the shelf to the table. The kids weren't that great so he brought them a reminder to get back on track.

On December 1, Jingle brought our Advent Calendar.

I still haven't figured out how the snowman with no arms was able to play Connect Four with Jingle....

Little Man has been having some problems with accidents, even though he is almost 6. I'm not sure if this is something to do with his dad having a new girlfriend or the fact that Princess still isn't potty trained. But either way, Jingle didn't move because of it. :(

If you want to see our adventures with Jingle the Elf as they happen, follow me on Instagram.

This is where I got our Santa Labels and Stamps.

And the Good Deed Cards and Joke Cards. (The blank card was with the Good Deed set.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Coming Soon: 12 Days of Blogmas

Coming soon to this blog: The 12 Days of Blogmas! This is put on by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs.. Essentially they are blog prompts for 12 days. They'll be hosting a link-up every day. I'll be sharing my favorite posts over on my Facebook Page and will likely share my favorites here on the blog as well.

Here's the list of Days and Prompts:

Day 1: Holiday Tradition
(December 9, 2015)

Day 2: Random Acts of Kindness
(December 10, 2015)

Day 3: Signs of the Season
(December 11, 2015)

Day 4: Holiday Quotes
(December 14, 2015)

Day 5: Golden Memories
(December 15, 2015)

Day 6: Holiday Movies
(December 16, 2015)

Day 7: Winter Activities
(December 17, 2015)

Day 8: Holiday Food & Drink
(December 18, 2015)

Day 9: Holiday Songs
(December 21, 2015)

Day 10: Facts About Me
(December 22, 2015)

Day 11: Holiday Photos
(December 23, 2015)

Day 12: Holiday Wishes
(December 24, 2015)

As you can see, you get weekends off. If you want to join in, Pam at The Coastie Couple explained it best in this post. Yes, there is a Facebook group, a mailing list, a calendar, and pre-made graphics!

There will likely be old photos in here as well as some new ones! Can't wait to share all of this with you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

GUEST POST: For Those of You Who Don't See Anything Wrong...by MeMe

This is another Guest Post from MeMe. We are brushing Princess. That may make no sense to some, but for some reason, this little white brush is helping immensely with Princess's issues. Granted, we still have our bad days, but that's okay. This happened on Sunday, October 25.

There are many who have said to us that they don’t see anything ‘wrong’ with Princess.  That she doesn’t seem to have sensory issues at all.  For those that say that, either you aren’t paying attention, or you don’t know what you are looking at, or maybe you just don’t spend enough time with her.  In any event, I am going to describe today’s events, so you can understand.

Today was a pretty typical Sunday.  I got to sleep in, while Becca got up with the dogs.  The kids got up and watched about 30 minutes or so of cartoons – Paw Patrol.  It was then breakfast time and then getting dressed.  Little Man gave us the usual hard time, he’d rather play than get dressed, and Becca brushed Princess and got her dressed.  And then off to Church, which includes a trip through the coffee kiosk and a drive around town, just to get everyone settled and ready, mentally, for church. 

Once at church, I found our seat, while Little Man colored at the back tables, set up for the kids to do such things.  Princess opted to sit with her mother and I, quietly playing with her toys, writing on the program, etc. She was quiet and content.  Once the organ started, she had to sit between us, but again quiet and content.

Children’s time came and the children ran up to the alter, Princess and Little Man included.  Miss Patty talked with them about our event after church, which was a Nifty Nineties Party for those in our congregation who are 90 or older.  Miss Patty had them sit in the front row of pews to watch the slide show of all those who are 90 and over at our church; Princess had to come back and sit with us.  The children were then dismissed to Sunday school and church proceeded.

After church, as I was leaving the Narthex, I could hear the band playing in Charter Hall.  I went into the Education building to collect the kids and Becca and asked if they wanted to go the party.  Yes, was the answer, so we walked over to Charter Hall.  Once inside the building, we made it about 3 steps in when Princess stopped.  It looked like she was mesmerized by the band, but upon watching her, this is what I saw.

Princess went from standing next to her to leaning into her mother.  I asked Becca is she thought it was too much for Princess, at which point she knelt down and talked to Princess, explaining to her about the band, and the music, etc.  Slowly Princess melted into the floor.  Yes, melted into the floor, so that now she was lying in a fetal position on the floor next to her mother.  Becca stood up and said that Princess wanted to stay.  I said ‘okay’ and started over to see our 90’s members.  I turned around about half way across the room, to see Becca and Little Man chasing after Princess, who had left. She just walked out. I caught up with them in time to hear Princess tell her mother ‘carry me, I can’t walk’.  When  I looked at Princess in her mother’s arms, she had tears in her eyes and was on the verge of crying.  We walked to the car – explaining to the other members how it was just ‘too loud’ for Princess.  Thankfully our church family adores Princess and are very in-tune with her needs.  Most could see she was in tears and told her that hoped it got better, or agreed with her, that it was ‘too loud’.

Once home, Princess continued with the ‘carry me, I can’t walk’ to melting into the floor into a fetal position and even saying ‘I can’t get up – help me’.  I suggested her mother go get her changed and brush her.  She did and out walked a totally different little girl.  She quietly played on the couch with her jewelry and toys.  There was no more fetal position, no more tears, no more being paralyzed by a body that didn’t know what to do with the overstimulation of her senses. Brushing had settled her senses and got her back to normal.

I don’t understand how brushing works, nor why.  I just know that it does.  Will Princess have to be brushed forever? NO!  Typically the regime of every 2-6 hours of brushing only lasts 3-4 months and then the child can go to an ‘as needed’ basis.  In the meantime, we are pretty consistent of every 4 hour brushing.  It keeps Princess centered and allows her body to catch up to her senses.  It’s something we will continue and something that she loves. 

For more information on the Brushing Therapy :
Therapeutic Brushing Techniques
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