Tuesday, December 10, 2013

with a thankful heart

We love our extended families, but since living some distance from them for many years now, we have enjoyed beginning our own family traditions and celebrations. (And staying in our pajamas all day and not driving anywhere too.)

The Thankful Tree was back this year!
In the past, we have tried to have everyone say something different that we are thankful for each night in November.  That didn't quite happen this year; with 5 of us participating we would have needed like 150 leaves!  We did put things up many nights though, and there were some new ones this year- breath and brains from Toby, firetrucks and every other vehicle you can name from Jake, band-aids and art supplies from Charlotte, to name a few.

Random photo of Amelie sleeping.
I didn't want her to feel left out.

One more sleeping Amelie photo. This is how she sleeps now. We put her in a sleep sack and she moves one hand to her mouth and the other to the back of her head where she rubs her hair. I love it!  I can tell now when she is getting sleepy while nursing as that one hand reaches for the back of her head.

Anyway, moving on.
We waited for a week after Thanksgiving to go to a local tree farm and pick out a tree.  Once we got there, it occurred to Rob that they might only take cash.  We asked, and such was the case.  We tried to explain to the kids that we needed to go to an ATM, but they did not want to leave without a tree.  We examined our wallets and found we had just enough cash for a tree in the 5 foot tall range.  The children rejoiced, and we picked out the littlest tree we have ever had.  I don't think a tree needs to be large to be special though, and with the lights and ornaments on, this tree is just as lovely as any other we have ever had.

And as a bonus, it is small enough that once I put the lights on it, the kids could enjoy doing the rest of the decorating duties while Rob, Amelie, and I watched and took a few pictures.

Jake was very happy to be fully participating this year.

We also hung our stockings (I got Amelie's finished, but they could all use an ironing,) and began our advent calendar.  I wanted to continue with the idea of giving thanks daily with the kids and move from just thoughts into actions, so this year each day of our advent calendar has a "giving activity" to be performed that day.  A few examples so far:
Select a few non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank.
Play with a friend at recess who is alone.
Select a toy to donate to a child in need.
Pack your own lunch for school so Mommy can have a break. (They LOVED this one.)
Pick up a piece of trash you see outside at home or school and throw it away. (Remember to wash your hands afterward.)
Do something nice for your brother or sister without being asked.
I am excited to see the kids enjoying this advent calendar.  I truly believe serving others makes us feel happier and I hope that they are learning that fact a little bit more this month. We have so very many blessings! It is a joy to recognize them and share them with others.

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