Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Brace Yourselves....

Christmas is coming.  I realize it's pretty far off, but since Thanksgiving has passed we're in the depths of preparations for the big X. (Just as a note X-Mas isn't secular because the Greek for Christ starts with an X). In one short trip to Target (which I love after two shopping experiences because they have amazing kid friendly carts) we've squared aware all three boys as well as most of what we wanted for the girls. Last night I wrapped almost everything we've purchased so far so we wouldn't have any spoiled surprises. If I could share any hard-earned tips for Christmas shopping, it would be these:

1. Make a list and check online to confirm what you want. Stick to that list.
2. Unpackage before you wrap. I appreciate how easy it is to just wrap a box, but Christmas morning you'll look back and appreciate your foresight. Most of these toys are packaged more carefully and securely than the royal jewels. No one wants 5 impatient kids begging for everything to be opened.
3. Wrap as soon as you can.  Like I said above, if they're wrapped there's less chance of surprises being ruined.
4. (Courtesy of my excellent father in law) Store the wrapped gifts in a garbage bag. That keeps them all in one place and keeps savvy eyes from guessing their gifts!
5. This is just personal taste, but don't give Santa the credit for toys. Santa gives one group gift: art supplies. It reinforces the giving and sharing side of our favourite holiday Saint while touching on the artistic side added in popular culture.
6. Shop early and then you can beat the rush. We waited until mid December and ended up weaving through huge crowds at several stores to try and find an out of stock toy. Holiday sales are great,  but we discovered we were dropping as much money on gas and fast food to make the rushed and often fruitless experience work.
7. Make a budget and stick to it. I don't mean make room on your credit card either. Set your budget before you set your list. That will make your holiday less stressful. On years when money has been tight we've made most of their gifts instead. The kids were happy and so was our bank account.

Do you have any Christmas tips?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Acts of Love

Am I the only one who finds cooking for others therapeutic? I cooked up a big batch of butternut squash soup for my Mom today. It was ready at lunch so I gave my 4 favourite taste testers a bowl (and saved some for my lovely husband because,  well, I love him and he loves soup). It was a big hit. Baby girl gobbled every bite down without a complaint.  A nice lift for me considering how fussy she can be. Adding shredded cheese makes everything amazing I guess. I was able to bring a few days worth of the soup for my Mom when we visited today so Dad could go to some appointments.

We stayed with her for 4 hours today. Mostly she slept, but the kids and I hung out in her bedroom and watched random Netflix while she faded in and out. She has hospital bed in their bedroom, plus a nice love seat for visitors and their big king sized bed facing her hospital bed. Even though she was too tired to chat like old times, she watched joyfully as the big kids bounced on the big bed across from her and baby boy played in his exersaucer. Once she fell asleep we just stayed with her. The kids didn't want to leave her room. I caught their eyes watching her rest, and they were happy.  They have been asking to visit her, just to be around her. As we got ready to leave they all got their cuddles. I cooked, they cuddled.

Dad sent me home with the ingredients for beef barley soup my Mom never got around to making. I can't do much,  but I can do this for them. Cancer can work its quiet evil, but the kids will give their love and I'll give my time and love, a little thank you for 30 years of motherhood. This time in the form of food and company.  It's funny this feeling of wanting to do something.  We all get it. We can't control the situation or take away the pain, so we do what we can. We do small tasks to take a little pressure off for others. We move our pebbles, praying for the strength to move mountains. We hope our little acts will be seen for what they are, love and gratitude.