Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas at our house

Ok so I thought I would share some our Christmas traditions. You may not care and in that case you can just close this browser right now but it might give you some good ideas :-)

Cooking- We LOVE Christmas goodies! The best part is making them, some of my great memories of my biological mom are of making Christmas cookies and candy. I still use some of her recipes and I really want to pass this on so I spend AT LEAST one full day baking and cooking with my kids.

Stockings- I made our stockings. I bought a pattern one year and I sewed us all some stockings. Each of us has a different fabric with out initial on it. Each year I add a patch to the kids' stocking. This year The boys got turtle patches because keeping the turtles was part of their Christmas gift. Since they have a long life span I thought it might be nice to remember the year that they got them. Faith's stocking will have a part of one of her cute one-piece outfits. Each child's stocking got started with some sort of cloth thing from a baby outfit. Cole's is the butt flap from his first Christmas PJs and it says his name on it. Davin's is a giraffe from a cute pair of pants he has when he was tiny. Faith's says "sweet" in sort of a candy motif.

Ornaments- I liked the idea of getting a new ornament every year. I had a couple of obstacles though because ornaments can get expensive when you're trying to pick something personal and unique each year and second they don't really have a ton of personal options when they're this young. So far we have made 99% of our yearly ornaments by hand. One year we did cinnamon dough ornaments and the boys cut out their initials. the next year it was salt dough and the boys' ornaments were in the shape of stockings with their name and the year painted on. This year we made sleds out of Popsicle sticks. They're pretty cute :-)

Gifts- Our kids get three gifts. We stole the idea and the phrase that goes with it which is: "if it's good enough for Jesus then it's good enough for them". We give our kids 1 gift which is shared which this year was the turtles, 1 gift for themselves, and their stocking counts as the third and has small treats in it.
For the rest of the family we do our best to give at least 1 homemade thing. Some years its all we can do but I believe that it teaches the kids that gifts are only things and they should come from your heart.
Santa Claus- Oh the conversations and debates I've had on this guy. Our approach is that he's fun to pretend with but he is ultimately as real as any other fictional character that we love. They know the story of St. Nick who loved God and took care of people and that's where Santa comes from. They know that people think that he brings presents still but they also know that Christmas isn't about a pretend guy that we all happen to love.

Family time management- Oye Vey

Our overall theme- What is Christmas? It's Jesus' birthday!!!! We make Jesus a birthday cake and celebrate it like we would a family birthday. We really have tried to impress on the kids that Christmas isn't about "things" and commercial traditions. We want them to celebrate this holiday for what it is. We do know that Jesus' birthday isn't actually on December 25th but we know that he knows our hearts and I know that if someone didn't know my birthday I would still like it if they picked a day and celebrated my birthday even though it isn't my birthday. So we go along and enjoy this festive season with the best heart that we can have. Isn't that what it's all about?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

school and other nonsense

It's been a while since I blogged so I thought I'd log in and keep my feet wet.

I could have blogged our christmas craft but did I?
We made little sled ornaments for the kids and some close friends and family. They turned out really cute. I might still add those in but that would require getting all my craft supplies out and making one for the example and taking pictures along the way.

I have a good potential blog with all my christmas recipies I'm going to be making as gifts for friends and neighbors. We will se if I follow through with that one.

In other news: school is out until mid-january!!! I'm bit nervous about the timeline though because I am schedualed for a partial hysterectomy on the 13th and school starts on the 18th for me. I'm hoping I'll be ok and able to tough it out through classes in that first week or two.
It sure seems like I have had something major come up every semester that I've been in school. Seriously; my parents got a divorce, my dad moved in and out, I got my first flair up with a chronic pain disorder, I got pregnant, I had a baby, my Drewser died, and now I'm starting off the new semester with a surgery. That covers my last 2 years in college. I'm praying that the next 2 years will be far less eventful.

I might blog in the next couple of days about our christmas traditions. I have seen a few other bloggers doing it and it seems like a good topic. I'm not sure I want to follow the herd though...

I have about a zillion things to get done now that school is on break (hallelujah!!) I need to catch up laundry- as usual, baking, wrapping, did I mention laundry?, I need to sort through the kids stuff in preparation for christmas, I need to sit back and enjoy some of this time, laundry, make meals in advance for my surgery, read the book for my book club, and even more laundry!

Welcome to my random chaotic world and for that matter welcome to my random insightful ramblings at 12am :-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What it's like....

I have been close to and working for individuals affected by special needs since the day I laid eyes on one of my close friends back in the 2nd grade. It has been my undying passion and it is my calling to educate the community, embrace this wonderful population, and empower them to be the best they can be without the need to "fix it".
I have gotten to know and love many families over the years, I'm still in touch with a few of them and I will value and admire every single one of those sweet families forever. I have been in many different spots in this field; I've been the therapist, the care provider, the teacher, and the paraprofessional. having been a care provider I have had the opportunity to be close to the family supporting the student with exceptional needs and I've seen their point of view and i've been that advocate along side them. But there is one thing I have never done or even realized I was missing... until now.

Many of you know that our baby girl, Faith has struggled to meet her milestones. This is new ground for new because as a professional I never had seen where it all started. I had never felt what it feels like as a mother to watch your baby march to their own drum and to face all the anti-fix it speeches I have given through the years. I wanted to write this because not to many people share these feelings or are aware of how it feels and it is truely a valuable tool for all you people in my field. Faith doesn't have a diagnosis and she still has a very good chance of growing out of her delays but the reality is that right here, right now my baby has delays and she is not where her peers are in her physical developmental milestones. I don't know what her future holds but I do know that no matter what, I have this experiance to draw from. Even if we were to wake up tomorrow and she suddenly started rolling over and eating baby food and putting weight on her arms and legs I will still have these feelings right now to put in my proverbial tool box.

So what are these feelings you ask? I feel encouraged everytime Faith does something new. I feel warm and gushy, everytime she looks at me when I feed her because in many ways she is still like a newborn baby. I feel torn sometimes and heart broken sometimes. I feel like a hypocrite sometimes because as strongly as I feel that people don't need to be cured or fixed; I have this instinct inside of me that drives me to do everything I can for my baby. I can't seem to convince this instinct sometimes that it's ok for her to keep her own beat. I feel frustrated sometimes even though she is all smiles. I see babies her age who do all these things and some of them are very advanced and I admit that I envy that sometimes. I feel heart broken sometimes. I feel sad and mad sometimes. I feel determined all the time. My one goal for all of my children is that they grow up to be God loving people who feel fulfilled... whatever that might mean to them. My biggest fear I guess for them is that they will be hurt or not heard or taken advantage of. Did you know that 66% of disabled adults feel like they don't have a voice and are not happy? That's only the ones who have the ability to communicate to participate in that poll. That is a scary thing to think of as a mom of a kid with an uncertain future. I know deep down and have been reassured many times that no matter what happens she will be ok. "ok" may not be what anyone imagines but she'll be ok none the less and I hear it and I know it but it doesn't invalidate moments like these.
Like I said, at the very least I know that I can use this as a professional in this field. I can give support as a mom who has "been there", I can show compassion and advocate with a new passion. I don't know what to do with all this as a mom but that in itself is an amazing thing to draw from later. I am SO SO thankful to have the support and encouragement that we get on a regular basis from friends and family. I am so thankful for where I've been in my skill set that gives me a place to escape to when I'm at the end of my rope as a mom. I'm so thankful for my husband who doesn't see what I see when I see things missing from Faith's skill set. He sees his beautiful daughter who is wonderful just the way she is. He sees a little girl who seems like she gets to stay tiny longer than he remembers the others doing.
In two days Faith will be 6 months old. I have been told not to compare her to her brothers or anyone else and I know why. At this age they were sitting up and they rolled around everywhere and they even got up on all fours and rocked back and forth. It can be discouraging and make you lose sight of celebrating Faith own unique milestones when you compare her. I struggle with that sometimes... I struggle to appreciate her just the way she is sometimes. I struggle to celebrate what she does and to not dwell on what she can't do yet. I know that every parent who has been in my shoes has struggled here and there with these same things.
It's kind of funny; even though I'm being honest about how it feels to be a parent (new to this game as I am) of a child who is exceptional, if some well intentioned person ever tried to tell me that she is anything but perfect I would rip them to shreds and give them a new education about how it's ok to be different and that she's beautiful and perfect just the way she is. I might struggle with how combine my own instincts with my beliefs but I know that she truely is perfect the way that she is even if she isn't like everyone else.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is "Hard Candy Christmas" a Christmas song?

Take a look at the lyrics:

Hey, maybe I'll dye my hair
Maybe I'll move somewhere
Maybe I'll get a car
Maybe I'll drive so far
They'll all lose track
Me, I'll bounce right back
Maybe I'll sleep real late
Maybe I'll lose some weight
Maybe I'll clear my junk
Maybe I'll just get drunk on apple wine
Me, I'll be just
Fine and Dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down
I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow get me way down
Hey, maybe I'll learn to sew
Maybe I'll just lie low
Maybe I'll hit the bars
Maybe I'll count the stars until dawn
Me, I will go on
Maybe I'll settle down
Maybe I'll just leave town
Maybe I'll have some fun
Maybe I'll meet someone
And make him mine
Me, I'll be just
Fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down
I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down
I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down
'Cause I'll be fine
(I'll be fine)
Oh, I'll be fine

If it didn't have the actual word "Christmas" in it you wouldn't think of it as a Christmas song!
Some local DJs asked this question on facebook today and I was genuinely surprised to see how many people felt like it was a Christmas song. Seriously people?!?! The song was written specifically for a musical about whores and it is sung when they all pack up and have to disband the whore house. It's actually one of my favorite songs, when I feel down and I need a little pick-me-up I love to listen to this song because it expresses my feelings and adds in a little bit of a positive spin AND it's Dolly Parton, when does she not make me feel better?

But here's the thing- Dolly has SO many great Christmas songs!!! Why in the world does everyone insist on playing this song which is not even a Christmas song? Is this the ONLY way I'm going to hear Dolly on the radio? Do I either have to suck it up and just enjoy hearing my favorite singer or not hear her at all? These are my choices?!?! Seriously?!?! C'mon!!!

Ok that's my strong opinion for the day. This is not a christmas song! It's a song with the word Christmas in it because it feels hopeless to not have anything but hard candy for Christmas and they wanted to convey that feeling. It's not a Christmas song!!! Yes, I know that Dolly Parton has included it on Christmas albums and even put it in another movie that she did for Christmas but I also know that she's a pretty smart business woman and it doesn't matter what she thinks if she doesn't give an opinion on the matter and gives people what they seem to want then she will sell albums. And she did sell albums; many many albums.
Obviously other people like this song for Christmas but I am giving you FACTS!
It's not a Christmas song!!!