Friday, December 30, 2011

Not Christmas

I should be blogging about Christmas. After all, we have had three. One Crocker Christmas in Jersey, one Chambers Christmas in Pubelo and one Ross Christmas in Denver. They were all awesome. We were blessed beyond reason. My children had a blast and have loved all their new gifts. And, really, that is all I have to say about Christmas.

This year I felt rather grinchy. Matt was no better, which is unusual, since he LOVES Christmas. We put up a tree and some decorations, but I didn't make the massive amounts of cookies and treats that I usually do because I didn't really have anyone I wanted to give them to. And there was the root of it.

I love Christmas because I love the excuse to spend extra time with friends and family. I love the parties. I love the having people over for dinner and making treats for those I care about. I love being part of a church family who strives to shower those in the community with love. But this year, we didn't really have that. Yes, we have friends in Jersey. My kids were part of plenty of Christmas festivities, parties and celebrations. But the soul of Christmas just wasn't there. The really close friends who have known my children from birth, the aunts and uncles, grandparents of several generations and the cousins we all absent.

At this point some might be ready to mount the soap box about the "real" reason for Christmas. I have strong memories about that in my childhood. Christmas was a season of guilt. Every time I got excited about the presents and the parties, the pretty dresses and decor, I was reminded that none of that mattered, it was all about Jesus. This was traditional sledge hammer Christianity, never miss the opportunity to wallop someone with "truth" and "God" while smacking all the happy out of them. On a side note, I think this is why I have always loved Thanksgiving, all the family and treats and none of the guilt for not feeling and thinking the "right" things. After all, only the pious actually understand Christmas. Those little children who feel nothing but joy are just missing the point, being worldly. Sigh. We will have to pray for them.

And here I am faced with yet another parenting delema. We have chosen to forgo, AWANA clubs aside, the traditional Christian rhetoric with our children. Our goal is not to raise well churched kids or Evangelicals who sign on the republican party line. But while tossing out this bathwater, it seems so easy to send the baby flying. I don't ever want my kids to think they are Christians because of our Sunday activities. I don't want them sorting out the world into the "us and them" and thinking that we are the ones who have it all together. I want to take the sledge hammer away and replace it with the humility of love and gospel of truth. I want the good, hard conversations to happen naturally from doing life with my kids, not as a set apart "family bible time" or anything contrived, but something that flows from who we are.

As Christmas came around, we didn't have the whole church thing to fall back on. I would love to be able to say that teaching my children truth is the Sunday school programs job. But I don't buy it. How do we raise up children who respond to truth out of senscerity of heart, not out of guilt or habit of behavior? I want my children to celebrate Jesus' birthday like they do everyone elses who they love. I want them to be happy about the cake, the presents, the festivities. I want them to believe in Santa, because if there was one dude out there who really nailed the idea of love and celebrating a birthday of a king, he was the one! I want Christmas to be joyful without being an excuse to sneak in extra bible lessons just to keep my kids pious. And I don't know how to do it.

This year I wasn't at my best. Sure, we played with our nativity, read the Christmas story and had (coffee) birthday cake for Jesus. My girls know why we celebrate. But they also know about why the Jews celebrate. So maybe this is a blog post about Christmas after all. But it is also about living authentically, parenting, failure, and grace. Grace, which I am constantly seeking with wisdom, prayers that my children will turn out ok in spite of me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Every so often I get a wild hair and decide to grow out my hair. It is never a good idea. I don't look good with long hair. This is part due to general laziness on my part. And, it really just doesn't look good on me. So I chopped it off. Top is the before pic, bottom is the after.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

High Rollin'

Since Matt worked remotely for old company (read: in his jammies in the basement) We missed a lot of the whole "corporate" life thing. Part of that is good. Matt got way more done out of the office without all the meetings and politics. Part of it was sad, we missed all the celebrations, which at old company were few and far between. Apparently, they like to party at new company.

Matt had told me weeks ago that there was a Christmas party that we had reservations for. He mentioned he thought it might be a big deal. I started planning some cute slacks and tops I had on hand. Three days before the party, he sheepishly informed me that it was a black tie event. Awesome. Nothing like being several month pregnant and having to look good in a dress. I told him I was wearing strategically placed bows.

I ended up finding a cute dress that fit both over the bump and bust, without either spilling out. Matt had his 3 piece pin stripe suit cleaned and pressed. We call up the baby sitter and headed out for a night on the town. And what a night it was.

Open bars, table after table of amazing food like prime rib, a whole roast pig, and oysters. And that was just the cocktail hour. We were then moved into the ball room for dancing and dinner of salmon or steak, salad, more drinks and palate clenseres. And just when you think you couldn't eat another bite, another room full of tables of desserts. Ice cream, cotton candy, chocolate fountains, dessert shots, oh my.

The night was a lot of fun. It isn't often we get all dolled up and hang with grown ups all evening. Alright, it is often FOR ME! It was fun that our friends were sitting at the same table as us and that everyone was dancing. If you have never seen a room full of Korean execs dancing to pop music you haven't lived.

My friend Amy and I, so nice that they were at our table!
Our buddy Brian, often found on Sunday evenings on our couch watching football and eating snacks with Matt. Who knew he cleaned up so well?
Matt and I. He looked so handsome in his suit. I might make him take me out to fancy places more often just to see him looking so dapper.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas in the City

You can't live this close to New York City and NOT go in to see all the Christmas hulabaloo. This weekend, we packed up the girls and braved the madness. And was it MADNESS!! First stop was the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. To give you an idea of the insanity, they actually CLOSE DOWN STREETS. Annabelle and Addilyn were in the stroller for the ride, Eliana was holding my hand. I picked her up so she could see.
The tree was beautiful, as were the lights and decorations around the city. Next stop was the American Girl store. Three big stories of over priced dolls and about 500 people. Elie and Addilyn loved it. Annabelle put up with it as long as we kept feeding her snacks.
Then off to the worlds biggest Toys R Us in Times square. Also three stories, with a massive Ferris wheel in the lobby. Of all the things we saw, I am pretty sure my girls were most impressed with the T-Rex in toys are us that moved and "roared". With small children spent, we headed back to our car. We parked in an underground lot and were charged $50 for special event parking. Still not sure what event was the special on. Christmas? Oh well, nothing say "Merry Christmas from New York" like getting ripped off.

I am glad we ventured into the city. Despite the cold, the crowd, the cost, it is nice to check off the list of cool things we did while living on the east coast.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas in the Village

We live in a very quaint little Village, complete with main street, library, post office and town hall. They are big on celebrations here. For Halloween they closed down the street and had all the shops open booths. For Independence day they do a huge parade. And for Christmas, a tree lighting. Main street is a short walk from our house, so we went to check out the festivities, complete with the high school choir and band and Santa's arrival in...get this...a FIRE TRUCK!

We invited some friends to come along for the fun. The girls thought it was a kick and us grown-up's enjoyed the walk on a cool December evening. Mrs. Clause was there passing out candy canes along with an elf (in Nikes) There are some benefits to living the small town life.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A our house

- We have 2 light triggered puzzles, one that is farm animals and one that is musical instruments. At any given time, they randomly start playing the violin or meowing like a cat. Disturbing when you turn out the lights in the evening only to hear paino music and a moo.

- I am much to aware of the rest of the family's bowel habits. Why is it that I seem to be the only one who remembers to flush?

-We go through cups at an alarming rate. I am pretty sure there must be a very thirsty elf hiding somewhere drinking copious amounts. My dishwasher is full every night with cups and Matt and I are the only ones tall enough to reach the cup cabinet.

-I washed a least 2 dozen pairs of little girls underwear this week. I do laundry, all laundry, every week. Which of my children is doubling up on the panties? By my count I should only be washing 14 pair a week.

-I find legos in the dryer, ponies in the bathtub and puzzle pieces between the sheets. Yet I can't find two matching socks. How can this be? I am not throwing away socks, so they must be here somewhere. When ever I find/wash sock, I put them in the drawer. The same Elf who is using my cups is stealing my socks.