Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

My freshman year of college my mom sent me a 12 Days of Christmas package.  It was so fun to open a gift each day.  They were all little things that could help each day: a pair of gloves, a roll of quarter for the laundry, a new pack of pencils for finals.  Anyway, I found out about this fun 12 Days Swap between readers of the Symmetry in Motion blog.  Check it out!  I'm way excited to get paired up with someone and have 12 days coming where I didn't plan the gifts!

Santa Claus is Coming, and I'm going to keep it that way!

Ah, the age old question, "Is Santa real?"  You may be getting this question sooner than you want, especially with all the different parental methods and cultures your children run into today.  For instance, I had a student once who was a Jehovah's Witness.  I think that's fine, they can choose whatever religion they prefer.  However, the boy came to school and told EVERYONE that there was no such thing as Santa.  Of course, he was a cool kid so I had lots of tears and questions from other kids.  I had kids who weren't ready to hear "the truth," and parents who didn't want their kids to hear this from anyone else.  On a similar note, I remember when my little sister, Jennie, came home from 2nd grade in tears.  It seemed that one of Jennie's best friends had informed her all about "the truth."  Jennie asked where the little girl heard it, and the girl promptly told her that "her Daddy said so."  Well, normally Jennie believed our dad above everyone else - but this girl's dad was also our Bishop.  Poor Jennie!  She was only 7!  I figured it out when I was 5 and made sure that Jennie believed long afterwards.  In fact, she didn't know until she was 14 and even that was an accident!  Now, I can't promise that your kids are going to make it to their teens, my sister is a bit on the naive side (sorry, Jen, but you are :).  However, here are a few answers and tactics to help keep your kids believing for a few extra years.
  • First of all, Santa has a different wrapping paper than anyone else.  Make sure that your child doesn't see you buy it, wrap with it, or use it for ANY reason.  I know how tempting it is to use that little scrap for something your mailing to your brother, but don't do it if there is any chance your little one will see it: they're more observant than you think they are.
  • Santa always had a different handwriting on the tags than my parents did.  One year they forgot and I asked why Santa had the same handwriting as Dad.  The answer: "Because there are so many children in the world that sometimes Santa has the Daddys help."
  • If your kids find Santa presents in your house early (I was a little snoop, this happened to me, too).  The answer: "Santa has so many kids to visit in one night that he dropped off the presents with us early."  Of course, emphasize that they're magical presents and if your kids aren't good, or if they find them again, the presents will disappear before Christmas morning.
  • We always wanted to get out of bed to see if Santa had come.  Not necessarily to catch him, but we were just too excited for that long night to end!  Santa solved this problem by placing a piece of candy on our nightstands.  That way when we woke up and wanted to know if Santa had come, we didn't have to get out of bed!
  • When Jennie asked if Santa was real or if the Bishop was lying, we were stumped.  How do you tell your little one not to believe your religious leader in this one thing only?  The answer: "Santa only comes to houses where kids believe in him.  So, even though the Bishop's house doesn't believe, we do; Santa will be here."  This also works for kids who hear "the truth" at school.
  • Finally, a really fun tradition.  There is a German custom of having a blown glass pickle ornament.  Santa hides the pickle and leaves an extra present marked "pickle."  The first one to find the pickle gets the extra present.  It's harder to find than you may think! In our house, the pickle present is always something we can use as a family.  No matter who opens it, it belongs to everyone - that way there is no fighting over who gets the extra present.  In years past it has been video games, movies, cell phones, board games, etc.  It's always one of my favorites because it's a family thing.  And even though Jennie is 24, she still gets a little miffed if she doesn't find the pickle: it's really fun to watch!
Have fun and let me know if you have any other questions about "the truth."  I'm actually pretty good at answering them, if I do say so myself!

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is getting ridiculous!

Okay, I want to be safe when I travel the same as the next person.  I appreciate the people who work hard everyday to make sure that my family is safe in our homes, on the road, at our businesses and schools, etc.  HOWEVER, I do think that the whole TSA pat down of a 4 year old is a bit excessive.  Now, from one point of view, I understand that if you exclude children under twelve from security measures, then terrorists will use their children under twelve for bomb smuggling, or at least that's the argument I've heard.  From another point of view: this past weekend at SLC international airport, a small boy was patted down several times.  The father finally got frustrated with TSA and pulled the kid's shirt off, but TSA was still unsure and needed further handling of the boy to assure themselves that there was nothing under the boy's clothing.  SERIOUSLY!  This is awful!  How many background checks have been done on TSA agents?  Have they undergone rigorous training and sex offender backgrounds?  Would they be willing to show me these credentials if I asked them?  At what point is this too much security and not enough privacy?
I agree that something needs to be done.  However, this scares me.  I've supported the "random" flagging in airports, even when my family members are always "randomly" flagged (we happen to have a middle eastern grandfather and, therefore, last name).  I've supported the taking off of shoes, belts, hairbands, etc.  Even though this makes it miserable to travel - especially when you have little ones.  I've supported needing a driver's license and even bringing a copy of my daughter's birth certificate to prove she's mine.  However, if someone wants to pat down my child, then decide that they weren't sure of what they "felt" and need to try again, they can think again.  I better see credentials, background checks, and a warrant demanding the search.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Christmas Cards!

I've been trying to decide what to do for Christmas cards this year.  As many of you know, I LOVE sending and receiving Christmas cards.  I especially love seeing all the pictures and finding out how various family members' years have turned out.  Recently, I went through all of Jared's old scrapbooks and his mom saved their Christmas letters from a few of the years.  It was so fun to read about what happened in those years, and see the cute pictures of my husband and his siblings growing up!  Now that I have the cutest monkey in the world, I'm looking forward to sending out pictures of her to everyone I know!  I've looked at various places (Costco, Target, Walmart, Macey's) and I was pretty much unimpressed by the holiday options.  However, I decided to look online at Shutterfly to see what they had available.  As some of you may remember, that is where I ordered Kaity's awesome birth announcements.  I loved their selection!  They had some religious, some fun, some funky, some bright, some sweet - basically anything you could want, they've got it!  You should go check it out: Christmas cards; Picture cards; or even if you want to get a jump start and send out Thanksgiving cards this year!  Pictured above are our two finalists for this year: which do you like best?  Guess which one we picked and see if you're right next month!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

4 years

One monkey, three apartments, three jobs, two graduations, graduate school, some minor frustrations, so much fun, and I'm still the luckiest woman alive.