Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas memories

I have a lot of beautiful Christmas memories (and I'm excited to make more today). A few of my favorites are...

Christmas Eve night... the excitement of being halfway through our celebrations. The best night of sleep ever!

Christmas morning... walking downstairs and seeing the presents under the tree magically tripl from late Christmas Eve night to the morning. Stocking full. My parents always amazed me, even when I was older, because they must have been working late into the morning to make it happen! And if Brian or I had an extra big gift, it was often toward the front and we would get extra excited if we knew what it was.

Throughout December, Brian and I would sit in the back seat of the car when we were younger and have Christmas light sighting competitions. I really love remembering that now. Makes me smile. Every house with lights would be a point. I think if one person counted a house, the other couldn't, but I don't remember exactly. I think he always beat me, but that's okay. I think that was normal. ;-)

I wonder what the Christmas memories were for the shepherds, Mary, Joseph... everyone involved with the first Christmas story of Jesus being born. I wonder if the shepherds and wise men thought, "I wonder what happened to that 'newborn king.'" I wonder if they thought they had dreamed the whole thing or that they misheard because Jesus was a king because he essentially wasn't heard from for 12 and then 18 more years. I mean, people knew about him, but I think he just became a "regular" baby in "regular" life over those years of growing up.

I think remembering the first Christmas had to have been something that each one of them should have--and probably did--regularly... remembering the "magic" of the moment, the thrill of the angels singing, the moment Mary heard she was going to be with child, the moment Jesus was born, his first cry... all those things that made that night extra special can easily be forgotten in the humdrum moments of living, but those are the things that set Jesus apart and made Him so special to us and the world.

The same should be true for us: remember the God-given special moments. The moments in His presence. The moments our lives are changed. The Christmas morning we celebrate year after year... everything that has created us to be who we are today...no matter how normal our lives can get with the day-to-day sleeping, eating, playing, working, God has been at work in our lives. I remember that today and smile.




Friday, December 21, 2012

what works for you doesn't always work for me!

Yesterday I was heading out on an errand after lunch. I grabbed Brayden, put his coat on, and ran out to the truck, which was already running. Halfway there, I noticed that one of Brayden's feet was bare (he had pulled off one sock during nap time). Horror and shame washed over me... "I'm a terrible mother!" I ran back inside and found one of his socks and headed back outside.

One important detail... I live in a state with cold winters. Yesterday was a winter day. Think: below freezing.  ... now do you know why I was chiding myself after Brayden's bare foot was traumatized by the cold weather? Okay, I know that's an exaggeration because I caught the mistake of no sock right away, but still. Cold weather + bare baby feet = not good.

Then I realized that my friends who live in warm weather states would never be traumatized by such a situation because they have different weather. If their kid went out barefoot, it would be normal!

It was a quick reminder that all of us are facing different circumstances and what is expected of some people is not expected of others simply because they aren't facing the same situations.

In other news... the sock I put on didn't match the one he had on the other foot, which confused one lady in the store we went to. She stopped us and said, "Oh no! He lost a shoe!" I didn't have the heart to tell her I wasn't that concerned about it. Here's why....





Monday, December 17, 2012

what comes next?

It's interesting to see how everyone is responding to what happened recently in Connecticut. I've been watching the news articles, blog posts, and Facebook status updates. So much can be said. So many angles to the story. So many potential solutions and so many reasons why such-and-such a solution will or won't work. We all have an opinion on what happened and how to resolve the situation. You will prefer your viewpoint, but that doesn't mean mine is wrong or to be ignored.  We all have different experiences to pull from that create who we are today.

I'm trying to absorb all the sides to the story of gun control, massacres, mental illness, violence, and this idea that America wants God in schools during crises, but not during everyday life.... I encourage you to listen to the stories that are coming from this too. They might paint a bigger picture than the media will. For example, an Oregon mall shooting happened three days prior to what happened in Connecticut. It didn't get as much attention, potentially because a conceal and carry citizen showed his gun to the shooter and that curbed the violence from going beyond the three killed (which included the gunman).

One way you can implement change at home is to remember to take care of each other. If you see someone hurting or not fitting in, take time to smile at them and reach out to them. A kind word can go a lot farther than you ever imagine. You have no idea if your connecting with someone who is hurting will save them from taking a wrong turn in life.

We can all also pray. Pray for God to comfort families. Pray for grace to surround everyone indirectly or directly involved. Pray over those children and staff and the flashbacks they will face. So many prayers to be given for everyone involved in this shooting.

Also, pray for our lawmakers so that they know how to address this and protect our nation, if possible, in a legal way. We all have opinions on how they should do that, but realize that yours isn't necessarily the opinion that you should pray for them to have. Pray that the right laws get unearthed and the right paths get made so we can protect our nation as best as possible from the legal standpoint.

Ultimately, God is our only hope. If you don't yet know Him, I encourage you to consider attending church on Sunday. You may just find that true hope only comes from Him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

meeting the reindeer

It's official. Brayden loves animals. Anything large and furry that moves on its own makes Brayden laugh, giggle, and slightly hyperventilate in a cute, Brayden sort of way. (He talks using sounds and they get long and loud and somewhat high when he's excited. Love it!)

He sees dogs a lot since we have a dog and Erik's parents and Erik's sister and bro-in-law have a dog. His favorite is Tucker, of course, but "Killerman" is probably close behind because he is a 12-pound shih tzu and definitely Brayden-sized! "Kitty"--Erik's parents' dog--is the largest he has seen so far and the one he can actually pet for any length of time because she is so old she doesn't move that much! My favorite is when Brayden is in the high chair and Kitty is begging for dinner from someone at the dinner table right next to Brayden. Kitty is so preoccupied begging that she ignores Brayden's petting and laughing! 

Last night, Brayden met a cat and showed that any furry animal is wonderful to him. He started his excited hyperventilating and chased that cat as fast as his crawling and scooting could go. 

Tonight was a wonderful Christmas memory having to do with animals because Brayden got to meet...


...one of Santa's reindeer!

I thought he'd like to pet the reindeer, and I was right. Well, he would have petted him if his hands had made it out of the end of his down coat. :-) (He's still growing into it!) As soon as he saw the reindeer, he started his happy noises and smiled. I loved watching it! He wasn't too sure about Santa, but he loved the reindeer.

Of course we took some pics...



Love! This was at a party Grandma and Grandpa were going to, so Brayden had to take pictures with them. 





I'm loving Christmas this year more than ever. Looking at it through the eyes of a child. :-) 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas with Brayden

I wish I could fully encapsulate watching Brayden grow up everyday into a succinct set of words that would describe everything about parenting. I don't think I can! It's amazing to watch him learn and literally grow overnight in so many ways. His curiosity and appetite is huge right now. I love watching him learn about everything in life.  

I feel like a true parent now because I got my first art project and Christmas gift from Brayden when he came out of the church nursery the other day: 




So special!

Erik and I are seeing Christmas in a whole new light this year watching it through Brayden's eyes and trying to give him all the beautiful Christmas experiences we can -- and pictures, since he won't remember the experiences!

For example, I was very excited when I realized that we could get a picture of Brayden on Santa's lap this year. What fun! We had a special night set aside to go... but with the way circumstances went, we couldn't get there as early as we had planned. In fact, we got there 5-10 minutes before Santa "closed" for the night. Ahhhh! I thought about giving up and doing it a different day or forgetting about the picture, but I couldn't do it. At that point, though, it was a little later in the evening and Brayden had fallen asleep on the way over to see Santa. I was so intent and excited about seeing Santa that I rushed him out of his car seat, barely gave him a chance to wake up, and rushed in to see Santa.

Now Brayden can be a pretty sensitive kiddo anyway, so for him to be rushed onto the lap of a man in a red suit with a red beard didn't sit with him well.

You probably know where this is going...



:-) 

:-( 

Okay I love this picture dearly because in the back of my head I kinda wondered if I'd get a crying picture. I feel bad, though, that I put Brayden through the sadness, especially knowing if I had given him a little more time to warm up to Santa, we might have coaxed out a smile.

Santa was kind enough to take one where he was a little more calm... and Brayden had a buffer between him and the man in the red suit. 




Well, we're still chalking up the Christmas memories. I'm excited to see him with presents and see if he'll tear the wrapping paper, play with the boxes, enjoy the toys... whatever he will do, it will be fabulously fun to watch it happen. :-) 

He's one month away from one year old. It's been a wonderful year. Love him so much!