Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Wish


Every now and then I rock Eloise (my youngest) in my chair until she falls asleep on my chest. I rarely do it because I don't want them to require it, but sometimes I still cherish that opportunity to hold them at bedtime while they're still babies. Tonight was one of those nights. As I sang quietly to her, I started to feel the weight of motherhood on my heart. I've been trying so hard to keep my house clean, bake yummy meals for us and other families, and create fun and festive crafts and activities for my children so that the holidays are warm and memorable. I love doing it all, but I'm also realizing the toll it takes on all of us when I get out of balance and start to do too much.

Christmas crafting brings more messes! Making dinner for a sick friend means more time in the kitchen on my swollen feet which turns into a grumpy mom! Sitting by the tree and reading Christmas stories to my kids means that I didn't finish cleaning up the huge accident that took place in the bathroom that evening... (I'll spare you the details, but let me just tell you that it was disgusting and not a smart thing to let it dry.)

As a mother, I'm constantly choosing between a thousand things that I could and should do. I've tried really hard this week to balance all the STUFF (cleaning, baking, crafting, wrapping, errands) with the BEST STUFF (reading Christmas books, coloring together, doing service, giving eye contact and one-on-one attention). But if I do the BEST STUFF all day long and let go of the STUFF, then we get out of balance. If I spend too much time getting the STUFF done, then I neglect the BEST STUFF and we get out of balance. This is why I found myself in tears tonight while I held Eloise.

I hope my children know that I love them. 
I hope they remember a happy look on my face and not a stressed out, exhausted ornery one. 

I hope I have the self-discipline to go to bed when I know I need to 
and to stop eating peanut M&M's all day because they're there. 

I hope to make the right sacrifices at the right time and find balance--at least most of the time.

And I hope to feel the spirit of Christ in my home on Christmas. 

I wish the same for all of you! 
Speaking of fun "stuff," here's some last minute Christmas crafts you can do with your kiddos 
as you get ready for the big day.

Q Tip Snowflakes
Original idea found at Frugal Fun For Boys
(We craft naked at the Phipps' house)
paper plate
Q Tips
Elmer's glue

This was a great activity to set up for my four year old to do on her own. Perhaps if you do this activity over wax paper, you could pull the snowflake off of the plate after it dries and make it into an ornament. We just kept ours on the plate.
If you look up "Q Tip Snowflake" on Google images, you'll get several ideas of different snowflakes to create with your little one. Very fun!
Kindness Jar
This was an idea I had when I was trying to come up with a new Christmas advent calendar for this year. I decided to still use it, but as a "kindness jar" instead of a countdown to Christmas. We decorated a glass mason jar with snowflakes and the words "Phipps are kind" (part of our family motto). Then we cut out several snowflakes, kept them folded up, and placed them in the jar.

Every time one of us does something kind for someone else, we get to pull out a snowflake, unfold it and tape it onto our front window.

I used this tutorial for making the snowflakes. I let my daughter pick her favorite ones and then drew the pattern onto the paper for her to cut out on her own. I helped with the rest. 
This idea is still a work in progress and since we started it so late in the month I think I'll keep it going throughout the winter. I'll post an update in January or so, but I thought it might help us fight the winter blues...

Speaking of WINTER BLUES, check out my article that was published in Latter-Day Woman about ways to stay sane and happy with your little ones this winter!

Christmas Tree Hand Print Craft

This is a classic but it's actually the first time I've tried it. I did this craft with my two year old and it actually went better than I thought. She loves to paint her entire hand and then I helped her make the prints on the paper. She decorated the rest.
Again, we craft naked.



Merry Christmas to all, and to all a GOOD NIGHT.
(10:56pm. I'm overdue for some sleep.)

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  1. Ok, love the post, all of it but most of all I LOVE that top pic with all three girls in their Christmas dresses in the chair. AMAZING! How did you get them all to smile and look cute at the same time? Never happens chez nous. Anyhow, love ya.

    Thanks for all the good ideas!