Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

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2014 Christmas Countdown Day 4,5,6 And the headless wise man…

Yep, I suck at blogging this year when it comes to the Christmas Countdown this year.

Day 4 – Making Christmas Cards for family and friends. She got to color all the cards and then we put wallet sized pictures of her and Santa inside and will mail them to our family and friends. Mostly, my family who is out of town and we don’t see them as much as we do Kim’s side of the family.

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Day 5 – Write a letter to Santa.

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I think she really enjoyed the letter writing to Santa. This year, she’s really getting interactive and that’s why the activities that I picked for this year’s countdown was more interactive and meaningful. If you notice, she asked Santa for … TWO bikes. I also love that she made her squiggles on the lines, like she was really writing a letter.

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Day 6 – Christmas Movie Night with Moms. We watched a movie on Netflix called Little Brother, Big Trouble. About a little reindeer who has to come to terms with his family being different than he wanted. His dad was Prancer and he lived with his mom. His mom was getting married again and the new step reindeer dad had a son. He was not happy about a new ‘dad figure’ or a ‘little brother’. It was kind of touching and nice to see a family with divorced and remarried parents. I don’t remember seeing much of that, reflecting my own family dynamic growing up.

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So far the countdown has been quite the success – and its awesome because she’s sooo interactive. She’s so excited about Christmas and since its my favorite holiday, I’m excited share it with her.

Of course, with this holiday, comes the beginning of the questions that haven’t been asked yet, but I am mentally preparing myself. She loves all the decorations, all the fun stuff around the house, and thus far, she hasn’t really caught on that Christmas, to some people, is not just about baking cookies and getting presents from a jolly fat man who flies the world. To some people its something more. Something we don’t necessarily believe in – her mama and I.

I’ve been bracing myself for the questions. For the why and who and what for that kids always have – and maybe this isn’t the year that will happen. Maybe this year, it will be simply having fun and celebrating with her moms.

She loves all the decorations, especially the talking Santa.

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But, she also loves the Nativity that Grammy has out right now. Complete with Mary, Joseph, the wise men and baby jesus. She likes to play with the little figurines, so much so that the heads have been popped off of the porcelain people.

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She knows that the baby in the manger is baby jesus and she isn’t supposed to hide him. She knows that the two people next to baby jesus are his parents, Mary and Joseph. That’s the extent of what she knows. She likes to hold the baby jesus – even though she hid him that one time. She likes to hold them. So far, she hasn’t asked why Grammy has a Nativity or what its for. She just knows its fun decorations for Christmas time.

I know, the time will come – when she wants to know the story behind that Nativity. And its a story I know well – I can recite it in my sleep. But, Kim and I have not really discussed how we will approach the subject when it comes up.

I mean do we proactively tell her the story that other people believe or do we wait until she asks. Is she really too young to have that discussion? We have lots of different faiths in the family right now. Our own family – her moms – are atheist. We don’t really believe in the ‘spirit of Christmas’ in the same way that Grammy and Papa do. Of course, we also have a set of cousins that are Jewish converts, they are celebrating Hanukkah this year and won’t be having Santa visit their house.

With all the different beliefs in our blended family – what is the appropriate way to approach the subject? Or, maybe I’m just making it too complicated.

I’m so on guard about how we will discuss it. I’ve just recently, in the last few years, myself been more in tune with my non-believing side and what that comes with. I have grown up as a Christian – listening to the story of Jesus’ birth every Christmas Eve, listening to the Christmas carols and thinking of the Christ who saved us, and attending or participating in the Christmas pageants at church.

So, like all things that come with the religious upbringing that has been put in my head from a very young age, it still creeps up. It also makes it difficult to decide how we should approach the subject with our own daughter. The daughter we want to make her own choices, ask her own questions, think her own beliefs.

But, she’s two. She’s interested in tutus and fairies (that’s what she calls the angels around the house) and Santa. So why complicate it with another story, about another imaginary man in the sky?

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I suppose I will enjoy the innocence. The oblivion to the religious undertones that surround her during this holiday. The history and the stories – the beliefs and non-beliefs of her family and friends. She just thinks its a pretty holiday – one filled with magic and presents, and soon with our countdown it will be one of giving as well as receiving, so in the end, that’s all that matters.

But, I struggle with the anxiety of what to say, when the questions come. Because they will come. She’s a smart cookie. She has questions. She’s full of curiosities. It is going to be inevitable. My anxiety disorder is starting to dampen my on Christmas spirit, with the whys and what ifs and the questions that are soon to be coming. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have to enjoy the non-questions this year, and simply wait until they come.

Until that time, we will spend time with our daughter and celebrate the magic and joy of Christmas.

The Holidays Are Here

Where the hell did 2014 go? I also can’t believe it’s taken me so long to update this blog! I’m one of those people who get sad when people have their babies and then get “too busy” to blog… and here I am, I inherited a toddler suddenly and I am “to busy” to blog!

Believe me, if I could stick this two year old back in the bottle I would. She came with a demon inside her. Literally. I don’t know what happened, but she has such a mouth and an attitude that would infuriate just about anyone. We also just got the first “I hate you.” and “Mommy I don’t love you.”

On a brighter note, we had a nice Thanksgiving, hanging out with family. Where she stole my camera and took her own pictures of everyone. She’s really become such a little photographer.

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And she helped her Grammy make lots and lots of sweets. And of course she got to taste test them.

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Last Saturday we had a little date day, and she got to get her haircut and blowdryed at Shear Madness for Kids. I will highly recommend them always! They are just awesome for kids. She got to pick out the car she sat in while the girl cut her hair. She also watched Frozen the whole time. Afterwards, she got a new bow for her hair.

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Have I mentioned that my aversion to large bows and headbands has been overridden? This kid loves all things bows and headbands. SIGH. She wore the new headband when we went on our cupcake picnic. When we go on a date and get her haircut, she usually gets to pick between a cupcake(Smallcakes) or frozen yogurt(Yogurtini). This time she picked cupcakes. The place was packed, so we had to eat outside. Luckily for us, the weather didn’t get bitterly cold until after that weekend!

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Sunday we went to the local mall and saw Santa. It’s been something interesting every year. The first Christmas, she screamed and screamed. Last year, she just sat near him but she clutched her doll the whole time. This year, she almost cut the whole line to tackle the big jolly Santa. I had to stop her before she could get to him and we could wait our turn.

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And then, in true Punky fashion, once it was our turn, she got up there and didn’t want to sit on his lap. She almost didn’t sit at all. Which is why Santa had his hands in his lap, he didn’t want to scare her.

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But, she did tell him she wanted a Mickey bike…. where the hell she got that …. I have no idea. Not to mention that we aren’t really sure when she will get to ride that, since Christmas around here usually turns into Snowmageddon and we won’t be doing bike riding for quite some time.

After we visited Santa, we took a ride on the carousal. That’s another thing that she has always been afraid of. I have tried to get her to ride the horses in the past, or the riding toys in the grocery store and she would just scream and scramble to get off the thing. This time, she  climbed right up there and had a blast.

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And on Monday, we started our Christmas Countdown. We started this little Christmas tradition last year. I made a similar envelope and card system for her. Since we are still living with my mother-in-law, we don’t have anywhere to hang it like last year, but its still been pretty fun. You can find my Christmas Countdown cards here. You can download them if you would like, or come up with your own! I’d love to see what other people are doing with their kids this holiday.

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Day 1 – She got a message from Santa. (I used this site and its free). I didn’t take as many pictures of Day One as I would have liked. But, I have video of the whole thing.

Day 2 – We got to help out up the Christmas Tree and decorations with Grammy, Papa, and her cousins.

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Day 3 – We made a salt dough hand print and compared it to last year’s hand print.

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So far the end of the year has been pretty good. Last year I tried to post our countdown every day, so I will do my best to do that again this year. I swear, this kid is a handful, my Etsy Shop has been blowing up since the legalization of gay marriage everywhere and so many new two mom families have been emerging. I’m also working late shift at work, so I am constantly tired when I get home!

Well, I’m off to catch up on all the blogs I’ve been missing out on! Hope everyone’s holiday season has started out as special as you want it to!

Day One: Message From Santa

Day One of the Christmas Countdown began as soon as Mama woke up. We got a message from Santa  and I couldn’t wait to play it for her. Like I mentioned before, Punky isn’t really very happy about Santa, in fact, she shies away from any mention of him.

Anyway, I let her pull the envelope off the ribbon and she opened it up. This envelope had M&M’s in it and an activity card.

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We watched the message from Santa on Mommy’s laptop and at first she was not really interested, she looked at me like, “You know I don’t like this hairy man!” But the more he talked to her, using her name and making the experience more personal, she was hooked. Waving hello and poking his face on the screen. I think the elves had some hand in making her more interested in him. She waved goodbye and marched off to eat her afternoon snack of M&Ms.

A couple hours after she got her message from Santa, she came back for more envelopes and I had to tell her that she could have another one tomorrow. Likely when Mommy gets home from work at 5! Needless to say, I think the Christmas Countdown was a hit!

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Teaching Through Examples During the Christmas Season

Punky and I were asked a young man outside of Walmart to donate to needy children. I asked if he was affiliated with the Salvation Army. He said yes. I told him “No thank you. We would rather not donate to anyone affiliated with an organization who chose who was needy and who wasn’t. I advised him we would stick with non-discriminatory charities.” I don’t think he was pleased with my answer, as I caught him whispering about me as I put Punky in the cart.

Frankly. I don’t care.

After the last few years, I have read nothing but terrible things about how they treat human beings of gay  and lesbian orientation. I am not okay with supporting them. I don’t begrudge those who do support them and on the surface, they are very caring and they seem to be doing good. But, I will stand up for my family and I will teach my daughter that it’s not okay to say you are a Christian and then pick and choose who you will be helping during the holidays. 

Walmart has an “Angel Tree” and I haven’t heard of anything negative about their tree – so we donate a toy to a needy child in that way. I feel sorry for the children who are being ‘helped’ by the Salvation Army, because they are likely also being brainwashed to think the way this organization does about people.

I won’t allow my daughter to be raised that way. I will not allow her to think that it’s an okay to treat human beings, regardless of their beliefs, wealth, orientation, social status or other labels. People are people. We are all made from the same stuff. We are all created in the same way.

Whether you believe in God or not, which of course, I don’t, in the end of the day, being a Christian is to be like Jesus. Jesus was kind and giving to all those people around him. The needy, the sick, the sinners. This organization claims to be Christian, they claim to be affiliated with the religious church and stand behind the testaments of the ‘Lord”. At the end of the day, they don’t. They don’t come close to showing people what Jesus was really about. They don’t live in the image of their maker or teach the principles that Jesus preached.

They follow, but they do not live by example.

Anyway, enough of my rant. Punky and I went into Walmart and I am beginning to really notice that Punky is really not okay with Santa Claus. The elderly gentleman at the door offered her a Santa sticker, she loves stickers, she flatly told him no. She shook her head when I told her that she could have a sticker on her hand, and again said No.

It’s probably because when she was 9 months old, I plopped her down on Santa’s lap and snapped some pictures. She was pissed.

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So, she probably has some form of baby PTSD when it comes to Santa Claus. We have a book to introduce her to Santa now that she is older and enough to maybe appreciate the spirit and the magic of Christmas. When we say “That’s Santa!” and make a happy time of it, she promptly shuts the book and says “No”.

So, imagine my surprise when the guy on the intercom at Walmart said that Santa was in the garden center and you could stop by and see him. Get a picture with him even. So, of course, I said, “You wanna go see Santa?”

“No.”

“You wanna just go look at him?”

“No.”

“Well, let’s go just watch the other kids and if you want to sit with him you can.” I said. I wheeled the cart to the garden center.

The Santa was sitting on a bench, so she wouldn’t have had to sit on him lap, but when I pulled her out of the cart – she stood right next to me. She watched several kids sit up there with him and he said hi to her and blew her kisses. She wasn’t having it.

In the end, she did say “Bye Bye” and waves to him as we headed home.

I guess that’s a start!

So, since Punky is a little older and is getting to understand things more. I have decided to make an Advent Calendar for Christmas. What that really means, is we will be counting down to Christmas with Punky. I will be making one and we will get to do things with Punky as a family. Like going to Christmas in the Park to see the lights and baking cookies and decorating them together, like I did with my grandma when I was younger.

I’m pretty excited and I will likely post some picture of the advent calendar and the activities that we do with Punky this year. I’m pretty excited. I went to Walmart to get the stuff to make the Advent calendar envelopes and get started making the awesomeness.

We went to a new park that just opened up in the neighborhood and played a little bit. It’s been a while since Punky and I have been out together and I wanted to get her out of the house and spend some time with her. So after Walmart, we headed to the park. She had a blast.

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Also, not sure if anyone else has seen this on Pinterest, but I got this idea from there, and it seems to be working. When I get Punky out of the car, if I need to gather things from the car still or out of the trunk, I ask her to put hand on the “Space Place”. Which is really just the gas door on the car. But, she’s so interested in putting her hands on the car that she isn’t running off into the road or parking lot.

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