Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions, it is a time-honored tradition. I have never been much into making resolutions. Let's be often do those things work out?? How many times have you written out New Years Resolutions and had them pan out?? I doubt I have had one come through.

I have been reflecting on 2010 a lot and where I want to be in 2011 and thinking on the concept of resolutions. Should I set some goals for myself and what should they be??

More time spent with God?
More time spent in the word?
More exercising?
Less sweets?
I will lose ____ pounds?
I will read at least 5 classic novels?
I will spend more time with my family?
I will spend less time watching tv?
I will spend less time on my computer?
*gasp* I will spend less time on facebook?

All of these and more are good goals to have...and probably top most people's resolutions list. I have been trying to get to the heart of what I need to see happen in 2011...

Here are some things I would like to see happen in 2011:

New laminate floors in my living room.
New living room furniture.
Painted stairwell.
Better decorating in my home (new window treatments, wall decor, etc).
Bigger tv for Matt
New guitar for Matt
New blu-ray player for Matt
Guitar lessons for Sierra
Piano lessons for Daniel

Superficial, selfish, and true. These are things I look forward to in 2011.

Now, the thing is, most of that top list is also true for me, too. I DO want to spend more time with God and the Word. I DO want to exercise more, lose 10 pounds, eat less sweets. I wouldn't mind reading a few classic novels and spending less time on the tv, computer and facebook. I am not sure I could spend more time with my family...

Sadly, these seem less attainable than the more superficial goals. The first two on my superficial list should be taken care of within a month or's already planned out. The rest is's all fairly easy.

Time is a sacrifice. A sacrifice that is easier said than done. Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to read the bible in quiet.....wait, LOSE 30 minutes of SLEEP....PRECIOUS SLEEP?? EXERCISE??? Wait, taking a whole 30-60 minutes a couple times a week to improve my health?? Spend time on a CLASSIC novel, when I could watch a netflix dvd??? Wait, want me to cut down on tv time??? What in the WORLD!!!

Crazy stuff...these resolutions. I can't make heads or tails of them.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

I have heard so many people talk about how tough 2010 was for them, and, unfortunately, it is hard to not relate. 2010 had it's ups and downs for us, too. I am definitely ready for a new beginning and have a lot of things I would like to change. But first, here is a brief recap of OUR 2010.

We are a family who LOVES movies. We go to a lot of them (when we can). This year, we had some pretty EXCITING movies that came out in theaters that were our favorites.

By FAR, the ones we MOST anticipated were:
Despicable Me was EASILY the best movie we saw this year!! It was funny and just fantastic.

Daniel turned 5 at the beginning of 2010. 5! It hardly seems fair....

With turning 5 came the inevitable....he had the absolute audacity to begin Kindergarten in August. He was more than ready for this new phase of life. He has been excelling in school, as we knew he would. Kindergarten is so much different than it was even a few years ago when Sierra was in Kindergarten. It is amazing what he can do!! He has the best teacher I have ever met...and I have met a lot. She is absolutely AMAZING and I am grateful that he has had such a positive start to school.

He got stung by a bee in September and he had a slight allergic reaction to it. This was a roller coaster ride for us as we became terrified of what this would mean for us. We had to get epi pens to give to the school and to keep for ourselves in case he went into anaphilactic shock. In the end, the allergist has come to believe that he does not have a serious allergy to bees. We are equipped if it becomes serious, but we are not living in fear.

Really, Daniel's 2010 has been a good one. He has hardly gotten sick at all...he lost his first tooth....he started school....and he is a boy without a care in the world.

Sierra's year has been a bit more....well....challenging. The first 4 months or so for her saw her having strep twice (once while we were on vacation) and a sinus infection once. Over the summer, she ended up having her tonsils removed.

Sierra has no fear when it comes to needles or surgery and was very excited about having the surgery.....until it was over. I think it is safe to say that she will not be so enthusiastic about surgery again. It was a ROUGH week and a half or so. However, she has not gotten sick since (minus some intense growing pains and painful molars....which is sadly how she was ending her year).

She also had the audacity to get a year older. She turned 11 in May and was all to happy to get older.

She ended her 5th Grade year with a bang...she had the best teachers ever (outside of Daniel's K teacher, of course). Her summer was filled with time spent with her BFF, her surgery, Splashtown, and Preteen Camp (after which she came home glowing after having such a great experience conversing with God).

Besides having her tonsils removed, her biggest change this year was school. She begged with me to allow her to be homeschooled. She had many good reasons why she should be and Matt and I decided we would try this...a risk when your child is in 6th grade. So far, I see nothing but benefits in this decision and she is loving being homeschooled.

2010 for me has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. The highs have been many...and I do not know if I can list them all. My kids and their growth has been a fun thing for me this year. I joke about how I do not like them growing up...but in reality, it is fun. I cried when Daniel started Kindergarten and my heart jumps when I watch him walking into the school. Our situation is different than most. Neither of my kids were ever in daycare or preschool or Mother's Day Out. Where I went, they went. Where they went, I went. It is quite surreal to all the sudden one day lose that time together.

Don't get me wrong, heart also swelled with PRIDE as I watched him go into that school...into his classroom....such confidence he had. He never had a doubt in his mind that this is where he belonged and each morning he is excited to get up and go to school.

Sierra is quickly getting closer to teenager and it fills me with GREAT pride to see who she is becoming. I see other girls her age and how they treat their mothers and Sierra is simply not that girl. She would come home from school telling me how the kids thought it strange that she would actually talk to her own mother (perish the thought). Sierra and I are very close and the older she gets, the better our relationship gets. This is a good thing seeing how now she is home with me all the time. lol

I had the great privelege to go see Wicked with her this summer...the single best show I had ever seen. Sierra and I were awestuck and I found myself kicking myself for supposing it to be a bad show simply because it had a witch in the poster. I am counting the days till I can see it again (the number is infinite since I am not sure WHEN that will be).

We have had some financial issues this year that has been difficult at times, but God is always faithful and we have never done without. I am a whiner, though, and so I am sure I did not make it easy on the family. I hope to make things better in this area in 2011.

Matt's year was the biggest roller coaster ride. He was taken off of one client (one he had been in for years) and put with a different client (a move he cautioned against) and than moved back to his original client. It was a yo-yo affect that caused a bit of stress for him. Soon after he was settled again in his old client team, there was a big announcement at his had been bought out by another company. THIS scared me as you always here about layoffs in these situations. Matt was assured that those in his position were safe because this new company did not have anyone that could do these jobs. They have held true to this...there are no plans to layoff Matt and this is good.

Other than the job rollercoaster, this year has been pretty standard for Matt. He is easy...he floats along on the waves without much of a care.

There are many more things I could talk about. Some negatives I could list, but I won't. This year is almost year is another one (kinda sounds like Dr. Seuss saying). We have hopes for bigger better thing for our clan. We have hopes and dreams. But, all in all, I can't say 2010 was bad...not even close to bad. It had it's moments, as every year has....but many of those moments were GREAT!!!!

So, from our house to yours, Happy End of 2010 and Happy Beginnings to 2011!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus...?

We decided early in our careers as parents that we would not be partaking in the tradition of Santa. This was an easy thing for Matt...he never grew up with Santa. I, however, did grow up with Santa and looked forward to doing this with my own children. I argued with Matt for a long a year or more...all the while taking my sweet baby Sierra to sit on the big guy's lap to get her picture taken. Matt would grudgingly follow behind. He would grumble under his breath his objections to this ritual and I would get frustrated at him taking the magical air out of my balloon.

But then, the unthinkable happened. I came to understand and AGREE (this doesn't happen with my husband. He had good points for not wanting to do the Santa thing:

1) he never grew up with it (or any other fantastical creation like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy). Ok...this was his weakest argument.

2) He believed in keeping the focus of the holiday where it should a miracle birth of a savior. He did not like how kids focused so much on a fictional hero where there is a real hero that gave the greatest gift EVER to us. It rubbed him the wrong way.

3) He does not believe in lying to his kids...and yes, he believed this to be a lie. He wants his kids to trust in him and me doubts. He felt very strongly about this...even to the point of saying if I were to pursue the Santa thing and one of his kids were to come to him and ask him if Santa were real, he would have no choice but to be honest with them. This point made me a bit first. I came to see the wisdom in this, though.

4) He works hard.....really hard. He HATES the thought of some fictional character taking credit for what he worked hard to give to his kids. He wants his kids to know that we lovingly picked out their gifts...there is HEART and SOUL behind each gift and a REAL LIVE person to hug and THANK.

His arguments became harder and harder to argue. I soon saw the wisdom in it and agreed we would go his way.....and I have NEVER regretted it. Sierra, honestly, never had ANY interest at ALL in Santa. It was quite strange...people would ask what Santa would bring her for Christmas and she would look at them like they were psycho. lol Daniel, on the other hand, has had more of an issue grasping the concept. In years biggie. This year, it is all about Santa. He has written a couple letters to Santa (one he put in a bottle on the lawn) and once saw Santa at a restaurant and before we knew it was on his lap. We laugh and explain...if he wants something he needs to let us know.

Now, we are not crumudgeons about it. They watch all the Santa movies...just as Mickey Mouse is a cute cartoon figure and Iron Man is an exciting action hero...Santa is just a fun thing to watch. We love Rudolph and Frosty and Prep and Landing. They are fun.

Probably our biggest obstacles are other parents. It is funny how we have taught our kids to be respectful to other families who choose to do the Santa thing...absolutely do NOT tell other kids that Santa is not real. But, when other parents find out that our kids do not believe, WHOA. I often feel like we are abusing our children by this choice. We are squashing their imaginative spirit...course these adults are never around my children and do not see how deep and wide their imagination caverns spread. I have never met a kid with a bigger imagination than my son...and Sierra, now 11 1/2 going on 16, might not have the imagination she ONCE had....her imagination was CRAZY even a year or so ago.

It often feels like so many people need to justify their choice to do though I am judging them for their choice. It simply is not true. It is a personal choice we made and we hold no ill will to those who went the other way. Santa is a fun tradition. I have many memories of laying awake in bed listening for reindeer or boots. I never heard them, but I always awoke to some treasure (my favorite, a baby doll with a dress and a matching stroller). I remember the feeling of anticipation. I also remember finding out the truth (admittedly a cruel admission) and feeling crushed. BUT, that in no way made my decision. I listened to my husband and followed my heart.

Funny thing about Sierra being older, is I can get her perspective on this. She has told me how much she appreciates the fact that we did not do Santa. She says that she knows just how deep our honesty is (not that I am claiming perfection 100% of the time...but it is our goal to be as honest as possible). She says she knows that each present is a present that we, her parents, picked out for her. I do not even have my kids write lists. I listen to them. I hear them say things like "I wish I could have...." or "I want ... so bad". I catalog these items and than try my hardest to provide these to them. I do not need them to list things out...

But, for the parents who have the Santa tradition, please know that I do not judge you for your choices. I do not see anything wrong with letting your kids believe. IT was just not for us. We love Christmas very much and spend many man hours making it special for our kids and each other. We simply cut out one small part of it. I have no regrets in following Matt's lead on this. Sierra is a good example of why this works...for us. If my kids are well-rounded and happy, than everyone else can take a big breath and move on.