Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snowflakes, Army Crawling, and Carolers

Over thirty years ago, my mom cut out five snowflakes from paper, attached them to ribbons, and tacked them above my crib for my first Christmas. Six years later, she did the same for my brother David. Each year that we lived with my mom and dad, we slept under our snowflakes at Christmastime. I remember many Christmastime nights, looking at the shadows of my snowflakes on the ceiling, shadows cast by the little lighted tree I had on my nightstand.

When Katie was born, I knew I wanted to continue this tradition started by my mother. I still remember sitting in the family room of our previous house and cutting them out for her.

This is a picture taken in December of 2007, right after we put up Katie's snowflakes. She was only a little over a month old, my sweet baby.

This week, the time came to make Eric's snowflakes. Because I have grown into even more of a worrier, I didn't hang them over his crib (I am afraid one of the tacks will come out, the ribbon will fall down, and that he will get tangled in it at night---silly, I know, but parents have to be silly because it is our job to be). My mom therefore had the good idea to hang them over his changing table, where he can see them all the time when he gets changed.

Katie and I worked on snowflake making over the span of a few days in the playroom. I let her use safety scissors to cut scraps of paper while I worked. Eric played nearby, practicing his army crawl. Today, I finally had them all assembled with the ribbons and had a moment to hang them up:

 Eric looks at his snowflakes.

The tradition lives on...I wonder if my children will one day make snowflakes for their children?

Eric  is starting to be on-the-move. I can see now that the challenges of having two children age three and age four months are going to involve my needing to grow two more heads and about three more pair of arms. I thought safety-proofing the house for one mobile child was a big task...now we have so many more little toys and figures and small things to think about being on the floor where Eric might have access to them if we are not constantly mindful. I am very excited that he is curious---he is showing intentionality about wanting to get places and has the cutest little "I am going to get that thing" face that he makes---and persistent in his efforts. I am just hoping we fall easily into the new patterns and rhythms his mobility will require of us.

I believe, however, that we will. At each stage of being a mother, when routines or patterns have had to change (such as moving into a two-story house from a single story, or going from one child to having a toddler and a newborn), things have always worked out. New patterns of movement or new routines have always been established. Our whole afternoon and evening routine has changed now that Eric is here---and you know what? It is nicer. No, I never (and I do mean never) watch anything on TV when it actually airs anymore (I don't usually stay up that late now and most the hour between 7:30 and 8:30 is spent getting the kiddos to sleep), but that's what our DVR is for. I just have to be far more choosy about what entertainment I will allow to occupy precious time. I am often up to see the sunrise. Katie and I sometimes get five books together at night and sometimes just one...but there is even more singing in our house now than there was, and there was quite a bit before. I used to cuddle her and read to her in the cozy chair downstairs, and now we do that in her own bed (and I never thought I'd find something as good as our cozy chair time and yet I have). Each stage and each adaptation is beautiful and happy in its own right. I have learned to take each phase as it comes and make the most of whatever is required of me or us. Coziness and contentment are states of mind and heart. We will find a way to adapt to Eric's new mobility---we have to.

Eric was practicing his army crawl in Katie's room this morning while Katie cheered him on!

Finally, we had an art project today. I am trying to fit in one extra special, totally Christmassy event or project each day until Christmas Eve. It could be a project, baking, a wintry activity, etc. I am probably crazy to make this a goal, but I want this December to be memorable and magical for my daughter and full of the sounds, scents, and feel of Christmas for Eric. Christmas in the heart keeps a person childlike. I knew someone for most of my life who had Christmas in his heart more than most anybody else I ever met. I want to give that spirit to my children.

We made a trio of Christmas carolers today:

Katie with our project....

Another great and easy idea from Disney's Family Fun magazine, these carolers are extremely affordable: in fact, they were free because we had everything on hand. We cut a paper towel roll into three sections, painted each section together, and printed off the sheet music for Joy to the World from an image online. We used construction paper for the faces and mittens. Pairs of socks that no longer fit made the hats.

I usually take more pictures of our art process, but it was a little difficult to fit that in, especially since I had Toastmasters this morning, too. Oh well. But we did snap a couple of our finished product, which are set on the table by the Christmas tree. A fun craft to make the day full of Christmas happiness!