Friday, December 9, 2016

7QTs - St. Nicholas, Slippers and Stockings

Linking up with Kelly for the usuals Friday run down...


---1---

Never leave liturgical wear within the grasp of a non-walking toddler:


A has a blast trying on Papa's hat - please don't ask me what the church term is for it. Papa is pretty, ehem, possessive of his hat and really doesn't like it when it is played with but I had to take a few pics before I rescued it

---2---

In some non-cute news...  I was walking down the unlit hallway last week to turn on the lights for people and I hear this crunch... Kind of like a Cheerio getting stepped on but I knew it couldn't be a Cheerio because I was too far from the kitchen so I popped on the hall light and was disgusted to find this:





Let's discuss how thankful I was that I was wearing slippers at the time

---3---

I probably could do a whole post about A's eating



But I won't bore you with it however the kid loves to cram as much food as possible in his mouth very very frequently 

---4---

I did that mid-Advent update earlier this week and left you hanging at St. Nicholas Day... This is how it shook out


The massive pile of stuff was swept away into the dormer (in my one single laundry basket - I have got to remedy that this weekend!) St. Nicholas takes down everyone's icon and leaves it with the goodies he brings. I get Mary because E and I kinda share...

There are gold coins scattered for the finding too

I was super tired the night before so I didn't get the chapel set until the morning and I was sure E or R was going to catch me but they held off and we gathered downstairs so everyone could check things out together


I love this picture of the chapel lit with candles. So quiet and peaceful and calm

Race to the top

St. Nicholas brought the kids their Christmas outfit, their favorite sugary cereal I don't buy, a few books and a coloring book. 

Even A could sense the excitement

I'd been meaning to get him raisins for a while since he loves raisin bran and he loves to eat bananas (those foods have counter acting effects) but St. Nicholas came through on the raisins and the kid was in dried-grape-heaven

M was excited about her Pinkalicious book

R did some serious gold coin collecting

Then we came down to cinnamon rolls

Which was well received by all

Everyone had seconds

Cutie!


Yep they were that good!

---5---

When dessert has been taken away, and free time before nap is no longer, how do you punish a child who won't stop screaming in the car?


Make them walk home, of course. R is my one who doesn't respond to my normal parenting tactics so I came up with walking home (in our neighborhood as I slowly ride in front of her). Practically, it cuts down on the noise level but also I think sometimes she just needs a breathe of fresh air. When we pulled into the driveway (after the neighbor gave me a strange look) she was a totally different kid - like all the drama and tears from the car were gone with the wind that she ran through on her quarter mile carefree run home. 

---6---

This time of year really gets me annoyed that I have a growing number of Christmas stockings that need my attention.


It seems like I've been working on this for FOREVER but really I haven't. 


This will be M's final product once the stitching and back stitching is done... I've still got a ton of work to do but I'm ready to be done with this because I've been hanging on to A's stocking since I saw it because I think it is a great boy stocking plus I want to do a 12 Days of Christmas stocking for me because I love the 12 days of Christmas!


---7---

I probably should have mentioned that St. Nicholas left me some pumpkin muffin mix since he knows how much I LOVE it but I really think my St. Nicholas gift was getting our Christmas card pics taken. Here's why. 

We loaded up and headed to Liturgy (for St. Nicholas) 45 minutes sooner than needed in order to change clothes and do all that picture stuff before anyone was at church. Last Sunday I noticed the super pretty poinsettias and knowing they aren't a dime a dozen - I floated the Christmas card idea to Lee because the kids had gotten their outfits that morning. 

It was a tough call because A. it was around dinner time B. we were about to go to church for 1.5 hours C. it was about the time A is usually melting down at home and ready for bedtime D. it was around dinner time


Anyhow, I'm so glad that we did do them. We got the picture knocked out without any tears and I didn't spend an arm and a leg on flowers. You'll have to tune in on December 25 for the card reveal. However, there is one Kibbe child missing from this year's card but rest assured come June we'll be seeing a lot of #5. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2016 Advent Update

Seeing as today is mid-Advent-ish it would seem appropriate to remember how the first half of Advent has been playing out in our house. I LOVE Advent and the Advent-culture we've created and the kids have come to expect (I'd love to create a Lenten-culture as well but I haven't put my finger on the balance between church services... anyhow, another time, another discussion).

We try to focus our 40 days of Advent as a time of preparing for Christ's birth. I just went to confession over the weekend and the priest said something to the effect of we must completely humble ourselves, just as Mary did, in order to fully receive Jesus. How do you do that? How do you teach young children to be humble and realize they have a pretty fantastic life compared to a lot of kids? How do you teach them Christmas isn't all about what's under the tree, it's about who's in the manger?

I don't have the answers to those questions but here's our stab at it...

During Advent we try and do three things each week:

1. Jesse Tree ornaments and daily bible reading - so fulfilling for kids and adults and it is nice to have a tree to decorate that's not our Christmas tree because ours won't come in the house until 12/23-ish and be decorated until 12/24 or 12/26 (gasp!) but it remains until 2/2 or until it's a major fire hazard

2. Singing O Come Emmanuel - so much theology and since we won't sing Christmas songs until 12/25 even though a few sneak in because of school performances : )

3. Service Project (of sorts) - Some are easier and more obviously service-y than others - anyone with brilliant young child service project ideas send them my way!

Here's the highlights of week one's service - Operation Christmas Child:


This has become a staple project in our house. 


Picking out the fun gift is definitely the hardest part for everyone (and it has to fit in the shoebox!)


I can tell E kind of gets in more because she's told R and M, okay this is going to be someone's only Christmas present and she makes a point to fill it with stuff she would like. (and if I didn't have a budget she'd find a way to pack some more stuff in there) But it also lends to conversation about people whose parents cannot afford Christmas presents and what that means and how those kids rely on other to make Christmas a special day with a gift


Though it can get a little misconstrued in the minds of a 6 yr old and a 4 yr old because I caught them chatting about having to put their clothes away and...

R - Think about the kids who don't have underwear
E - No, no, think about the kids who don't have coats.... We should be grateful


Anyhow... we had to cut the Barbies out of their packages because those boxes were too small. The jump rope from last year fit way better and we couldn't find the $2 calculators at Target which was a bummer


Putting the final touches on the boxes the night before...


R's box


E's box 


M was sleeping and was super mad about having to wake up but we HAD to get these boxes in as it was the last day and the collection closed at 4 pm and man did we JUST skate in there in time! 


As in they logged out boxes in and put the final count on the big brown boxes and loaded them on the trucks...


It would have been WAAAAAAAY easier to take these to the drop off by myself or even let R and M take them to preschool BUT what's the fun in that :  )

Week Two - buying food for the food pantry at church


I didn't do a great job documenting this project because it happened right after Thanksgiving and I told Lee we hadn't done our service for the week and we were heading to the grocery store anyway. Sooooo... we scored 44 items for about $40 which was a win. Pasta, pasta sauce, muffin mixes etc etc and the girls insisted on getting boxes of their favorite cereal (Captain Crunch Oops All Berries - GAG!) except M didn't realize it wasn't for her.

Week Three - Sorting through toys for St. Nicholas


This is probably the most challenging activity for the girls. We ask them to sort through their toys and their animals and give some to St. Nicholas so he can take them and give them to other kids (I drop them off at local church thrift store). I maintain veto powers especially over sentimental dolls and I do ask that there be a consensus on group items but it is still hard at least for E and R. M would have given away half her room but I vetoed some. E struggled hard with giving away a blanket this year - she had 2 plus a sleeping bag and I told her I really wanted her to part with one. It was hard. I was proud of her. It is hard to detach ourselves from possessions BUT if you can learn it early the easier it will be. 



After we looked the pile over and gave some animals one last squeeze we sung a song for St. Nicholas and the girls turned on the candles for St. Nicholas


And that's where I'll end since St. Nicholas stopped by the house with some of our favorite things... so more on that later : ) 

Friday, December 2, 2016

7QTs - S'mores, Trees, Lefties

Things... things... things




---1---

This:


I can't help but smile : ) 

---2---

This was from million days ago but too fun not to share...


S'mores!

There was a healthy fear of the fire pit



I think this might have been M's first S'more and it was a hit!

R was definitely a fan


E was asking for more


I think we'll have to have a repeat performance soon

---3---

The weather the past few weeks has been really crazy... As in really really cold or balmy and in the 60s and 70s. Not complain about the warmth and I hate to actually admit it but I think I might be ready for a bit of cool weather to stay. I am hoping for not another Christmas in the 70s - that was weird

Who doesn't love a sweater vest?

I put away a bunch of A's short sleeve shirts which I had to pull right back out of the closet this week so good thing I'm not totally on top of the putting clothes in bins game. 

---4---

R was having some Yy writing trouble so E stepped (thank goodness for older sisters who are also lefties) in and finally declared... Nope she cannot write a y. 


I think I have my work cut out for me next year when a page of handwriting comes home. I am quite sure my patience will be pushed to new levels (which is not a bad thing by any means!) when doing nightly homework with R. R doesn't have a lot of patience with herself so there might be lots of talking through my teeth since it is quite impossible to have a raised voice when your teeth are clinched. 

---5---

Count the kids?

(there are 3)

Have I mentioned I love our neighbors and our neighborhood? Yes. I have. Basically we have some really fantastic neighbors and our kids have built in playmates and moms can take 15 minutes and chat. This fall has been a whirlwind for everyone so we took advantage of a warmer afternoon and one of the boys taught E how to climb a tree. Where else would she have learned that? Now she just has to figure out how to get down on her own...

---6---

This little guy... Isn't so little anymore...


I love him (and the girls) but he has a special knack for driving us absolutely bonkers because unless he is outside in the afternoons he is underfoot in tears. Why? I have no idea. He doesn't love being held when he is crying. I can play cars or trucks or blocks and he gets bored in a minute. I think he's just ornery because he's not getting his way but what do I know?

---7---


Now, there are many other things going on.

1. Advent. - We are halfway through week 3 and our Jesse Tree is going strong and we are trying to stay on track. Read the story of Joseph and his brothers - it gets me every year. This week's activity is collecting things for St. Nicholas to take with him which could prove quite a challenge for the girls but I think I might have to bring out some of the things I've weeded out and have in the back of my closet. 

2. St. Nicholas Day - Next Tuesday. I have mostly everything we need. I need to lay stuff out and really look at it. I know I need gold coins and I think I might get E and R a pack of pipe cleaners because they are obsessed with pipe cleaner crafts. I think we might have cinnamon rolls that morning for breakfast so I need to put those on our list. I cannot decide when St. Nicholas will actually come. It's fun and exciting to have him come during the night and then wake up with the chapel candles lit but since its a school day, that will be tough and I don't want to rush. So either we'll be late to school or he'll come during rest/before E comes home from school. I'm leaning toward the being late to school option. 

3. Christmas - We get the kids one thing each. E and R's presents are really good. M was a tough study because she said she didn't want anything then finally came up with a new baby stroller (which I passed that idea to my MIL). So I think she's going to get a scooter from us unless I can come up with OR hear of something else she really wants. I mean what can you really want when you are 3? A is getting a carseat because... well... he needs it because he's still in the bucket. I'm still hoping I can get a Britax for under $200 but I'm thinking that's not going to happen.