I am behind on blogging! Harris' birthday came and went and the pictures are trapped on my camera. Somewhere in the melee of the massive reorganization this house is going through, I lost the charger to my camera and it's dead as a doornail so I can't connect it to the computer to get the pics. Overstock.com is coming to my rescue soon.
My mom was here for a weekend while Tom was out of town and I used that time to take every single item out of my pantry and put it back in it's own spot. It's awesome.
There wasn't much that had to be thrown out but I have double the space as before, just by taking things out of boxes and grouping things together. I went to the Dollar Tree and got probably 40 plastic bins and just went to town. The rest of the house may be chaos but the pantry is FABULOUS. I can find things so much easier and can clearly see what's in there. It's such a simple change but it makes a big difference. I did the same thing with our medicine cabinet. It has already come in handy because I nearly sliced my thumb off cutting a bagel and was thankful to know just exactly where the band aids were. And also, I decided not to eat the bagel. If it's so hard that I had to use that much force to cut through it, maybe it's not suitable for consumption.
Harris has been talking for a few days about how he made a gingerbread man at school and wants to make one at home. I was not super excited about that project because it's such a big mess and I thought I'd have to make the dough from scratch, etc. Finally, Harris mentioned he made the gingerbread man with Play-Doh. Fabulous! We can do that all day. So we'll be a gingerbread factory next week. We made cookies (from scratch!) and decorated them yesterday and ad the BEST morning. We didn't leave the house, just stayed in our pj's and decorated cookies, listening to Christmas music. Walker didn't want to decorate any cookies but I think he still liked the low-key day.
By early evening though, they were going stir crazy but we still couldn't really leave because it was raining. I threw glow sticks in the bathtub, turned off the lights, and they played for about 45 minutes. Happily. I'd heard of this idea several times but didn't think it would be that big of a hit. When your kids are bored, it's a lifessaver. I need more glow sticks.
Tom's aunt shared an article about tantrums that was so timely. I had two rough (and PUBLIC) experiences with Walker recently that just weren't pretty. And I'm also starting to sweat how on earth I'm going to run this show when a baby is around. But I'll worry about that later. For now, the article just went through the "cycle" of a tantrum and, most importantly, talked about the fastest way to get through it. The advice was to ignore the screaming/rage part. That's what my pediatrician said as well and it really does seem to work. The problem comes in when you happen to be in public and are getting some nasty looks for ignoring your tantrum-ing child. There is no possibility of talking Walker off the ledge and it just seems to prolong the anger, which the research supported. It's just nice to have some scientific back-up that this seems to be the best way to handle this stage. And I keep telling myself, "It is ONLY a season. It will pass." And it seems that the more verbal he's getting the less angry he's becoming. Hopefully he's talking up a storm by baby #3's arrival!!
I've been reading a book, "Grooming the Next Generation for Success" and it talks a lot about "setting your child up for success" by telling them how you expect them to act in any situation. So I've been telling Walker for days what I want him to do when we pick Harris up from school (hold my hand while we walk). He always agrees until right before we pull in the parking lot, then changes his mind. Today I went over it AGAIN before we got out of the car and he did it!! He nicely held my hand the ENTIRE time. Walking into the school, in Harris' classroom, where we had to wait for quite awhile, and all the way back to the car. Normally, I either have to carry him (while he whines loudly) or literally drag him by the arm because he is so insistent that he doesn't want to hold my hand. Yay!!! It's so encouraging to see progress!! I praised him as if he'd just won the Nobel Peace Prize and he was really proud of himself. I know that sounds like a ridiculously minor thing, but it had gotten to the point that I really dreaded picking Harris up because it was such a battle and there didn't seem to be a good solution. And it was embarassing. So it took probably a week's worth of talking and talking about it but it made a big difference.
I've realized I have got to be more caught up on current events than I am so I've been making an sincere effort every day to check out cnn.com or some other news source. Anyway, the iReport section had a question about how non-believers celebrate Christmas. I have been curious about this myself so I checked out some of the responses. This one summed up some of what I've been thinking about this year. The response is titled, " Not really a religious holiday anymore." And I think that's what it has become to the masses, certainly what it was to me a few years ago. Some of the responses focused on the giving, and time with family, which is great. But that doesn't have anything at all to do with Christmas. I know our family does want to celebrate Christmas for what it actually is, not what appears to be the mainstream view, and that's going to take making decisions that aren't mainstream. This isn't a huge issue for us right now but it becomes more of one every year as our kids grow. I don't really have any conclusions as to how to handle it but it's on my mind. I've been all over the place with different ideas but I think it comes down to how we live the other 11 months of the year how our kids will feel about Christmas. If Jesus is important the rest of the time, his birthday will be exciting. If he's not, then why should they care? Harris absolutely blessed me with this yesterday. He made a "manger" and put Baby Jesus in it.
I love that his little heart was thinking of this while he was playing. And yesterday was also a good reminder that mornings at home are needed every so often. We'll have to balance it with some sort of outside activity, even if it's a walk in the rain, because they were nuts after about 4, but the first several hours were absolutely perfect. Walker brought me books to read, Harris did creative little things that let me see what's going on in his head and it was relaxing for all of us. And I got some laundry done, which was a bonus. And I since there's not a pic of Walker, here's one just so he's not left out.
I might have already posted this but even if I did, it's worth looking at again. I could just kiss and kiss that little face.
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve
1 Peter 5:2