Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions:

Since its Christmas Eve I can’t help but think about past Christmas Eve traditions. What traditions do your families have?

My family- each Christmas season we’d read the book “the Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson. I think that out of all my favorite Christmas Traditions this is my most favorite. I love this book.

Also to me Christmas is more Christmas Eve, than Christmas Day itself. Christmas Eve was the day I anticipated. When I have not been home for Christmas it is the day I feel the most homesick on. We would visit all our grandparents, sing carols, go caroling, read the Christmas story (from Mathew and Luke), play Christmas Scattergories (I took the idea of Scattergories, and then perform for grandparents and family, we’d finish reading “the Best Christmas Pageant Ever”, we’d talk about our spiritual goals for the next year, and open one gift. But it wasn’t just the things we did. It was the time we spend as a family and with all of our extended family, it was the singing together, and the anticipation of the next day. I love Christmas Eve.

My Husband’s family-since they were a military family, they rarely lived near family. So the large family gatherings on Christmas Eve were not apart of my husband’s childhood. Instead they would eat dinner, maybe watch a movie, and then open a gift or two before going to bed. Then Christmas morning they have quiche for breakfast.

So this year we’re doing what would be ideal to me backwards. We’re spending Christmas Eve down here with Cory’s parents and then driving up to Phoenix to spend Christmas afternoon/evening with my family. Ideally we’d do it the other way around, but we need to be up in Phoenix the rest of the weekend. At one point, my in laws asked if we’d want to cancel doing anything on Christmas Eve because Cory’s brother won’t be in town until almost midnight, and just do everything Christmas morning. I said that was unexceptable and that I had to do something Christmas Eve. So I’ve prepared my Christmas Scattergories, and I hope we can have some tradition tonight, if for no other reason than to make me less homesick.

For anyone interested in Christmas Scattergories, it works the same as normal Scattergories, except its Christmas themed. Have fun, and please share your traditions with me.

Christmas Scattergories

List 1

1. Words associated with Nativity

2. Ways to count down to the 25th

3. Christmas Movie

4. Something Green

5. Tradition for church, work, school

6. Modern Christmas Song

7. Words associated with Santa

8. Myth about Christmas

9. Gift for Mothers

10. Something you make

Christmas Scattergories

List 2

1. Something to put on a tree

2. Name for Christ

3. Article of Winter clothing

4. Symbol for Christmas

5. Word associated with a Christmas Carol

6. Desserts

7. Christmas Character

8. Gift from Grandparents

9. Phrase from the Bible

10. Toy

Christmas Scattergories

List 3

1. Holiday food

2. Decoration

3. Something Red

4. White Elephant gift

5. Traditional Christmas Song

6. Way to tell Santa what you want

7. Something used by Mary and Joseph

8. Holiday Tradition

9. Something found in a Stocking

10. Gifts you return

How We decorated for Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. I have wanted to do a blog about our tree and my tree skirt, but I hadn’t got around to it. Then I realized tomorrow is Christmas and I still haven’t done it.
So I love our tree. I feel we were blessed to get it. We got it on black Friday at Home Depot. We had not gone to Home Depot with the intention of getting the tree as our first priority. But since we were going to be there, I wanted to look at the tree and see if I thought it was expectable. After all if I am going to spend the money on a fake tree I want it to be a good looking fake tree. When we got to Home Depot they weren’t quite open yet. We waited about 10 minutes for them to open. Everyone waiting outside was orderly and polite to everyone else. Once inside the trees were near the entrance, and they were going like hotcakes. I had my husband grab one, while I looked at the display trees to decide if it was good enough. It looked good enough so we took it. Although it hardly fit into our car, it’s quite a feat that we figured out how to get it home. It’s a 7.5’ tree, pre-lighted. We also picked up a black Friday special at Joann with an assortment of 70 ornaments. Cory calls them filler ornaments, they do fill the tree considering that we have about 10 ornaments on the entire tree that aren’t filler ornaments. It looks beautiful. One set of ornaments we found and were really happy to find were glass balls with Nativity themed paintings on them. There is the manger scene, the town of Bethlehem, and one of the wise men traveling towards the star.
I had looked for a tree rug when were up in Phoenix and everywhere else, but I couldn’t find one I liked. They were all too korny looking, plain ugly, too expensive, or too plushy. We have a cat. She loves to sit on plushy materials. I have a couple blankets folded, sitting around the house just for her to sit on. She has a preference for those spots with the plushy feel. So if I got a plushy skirt for the tree, it would become our cat’s favorite spot to sit. Since I couldn’t have that I had to find one that would be less tempting then her plushy blankets. So I decided to make one. After all I sew and it is just a circle. So I bought some Christmas tablecloth material and baby blanket binding. How I did it: I cut the material in a square. The material was 60 wide, I purchased 2 ¼ yard, but I think I only needed 1 ¾ yards. Make it a square and then fold it into the centered triangle like you would to make a snowflake. Then make it round at each end. I backed it with some red polar fleece that I had in storage (again made it into a square and then rounded the end). I then used the green baby blanket binding to finish it off. I used gold thread and scalloped the edge to make it fancier. Although the cat has sat on, it has defiantly not been her favorite spot, instead it is just a place to hide for a minute before attacking our legs. I am really happy with how it turned out.
Last of all I wanted to talk about our Nativity sets. The oldest I bought when I was a student. I wanted a Nativity set, but decided that if I was going to invest the money in one I was going to purchase one that children couldn’t destroy. I found this plush dolls set, good for children. The second oldest I purchased my first Christmas out of college. It was cute and cheep. It’s not very big, each piece is about 2 inches tall. The last set is new this year. We were out shopping on black Friday and found it. It was affordable for us and I like how big they are. Each piece is about 6 or so inches tall. It is just a beautiful set. They are resin so hopefully they will not be super breakable. Especially since this will be our only Christmas with no children.
Merry Christmas to all. We love each of you, and we love this season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feeling the Baby

Each time I go to the doctor the nurse/assistant asks me “have you felt the baby move yet?” I try to explain to her what I have felt that I think could be the baby. She’ll then respond that most women describe it as a “flutter” and asks if I have felt that. I then respond that ‘no’ I have felt nothing that I would describe as a “flutter” so therefore I have not definitively felt my baby. I am 21 weeks today. I am in the range for feeling my baby. But what is a “flutter” anyway? What I have felt is not what I would call a “flutter”. To me I associate the word “flutter” with butterflies, because butterflies “flutter”. To me, butterflies, already have a distinct feeling that I associate with my stomach turning over on itself and being tied up in knots, mostly due to anxiety. What I have felt is nothing like that.

I asked my mom and sister what they would describe it as, the best description has been “consistent gas”. I don’t think I would describe it was gas either. I could see how what I have felt could be described as gas, but it still feels different than gas.

So how do I describe what I am feeling? Well about week 18 I started feeling pressure or a tightness in one spot or area of my lower stomach. For example there would be a spot, not quite an inch in size that would all of the sudden feel tighter. If I poked that spot, it was tight and not squishy as the surrounding area, then after a minute or so it would go away. I was thinking that was my baby. Then about 19 ½ weeks I started to feel what I would call an air bubble, that moves from one area of my lower tummy to another. Then over the past few days I’ve started feeling a more abrupt movement from the middle to then bump in a spot, I might choose to describe this as similar to a muscle spasm but not exactly the same feeling. None of these feelings would I use the word “flutter” but none can I remember feeling prior to be pregnant. I keep thinking that one day I will feel something and think ‘oh that’s what a “flutter” feels like.’ So this all begs the question, am I just being oversensitive to anything I feel in that area? They aren’t all the time, nor do I go days without feeling anything. I can say since it started I have felt something every day. Does the fact that I can’t call it a “flutter” diminish what I have been feeling? Since I can’t call it a “flutter”, have I then not felt my baby yet? Is what I am feeling only my body making adjustments? Or maybe my normal functions? Or do I want to feel the baby so much that I am imagining that every twitch or muscle spasm is a baby? So again: what is a “flutter”?

Update on Nativity Singing Time

Overall it went well. After doing it will Jr primary, we learned some ways of doing it with less chaos. During Jr primary. I would teach the verse, and then the primary counselor would go out among the children and pick a child to play the role. Even though the costumes were really simple, a robe a hat, it still took some time to dress each child. Since the counselor was trying to pick to pick children they were too busy in trying to get her attention that they were not paying attention to singing and learning the songs. I made paper size visuals with the words and pictures to teach each verse.
To correct these problems during SR primary we first went through all the verses with the children. While I was going through the verses, the counselor went quietly around picking a child one by one and helping them put on the costume. Then after I had taught all the verses and all the costumes had been given out, I called up the children who were in each verse to come up and help be the visuals for each verse. Part of it was to also teach those children where they were going to stand. While doing the other verses, the children from the previous verse sat on the side in the chairs for the talks. After rehearsing each verse separately, we then had all the children get into their spots at once. We then sang through all 5 verse a few times.
Another problem we found with JR primary was that once a child came to the front they no long would sing. By going over all the verses first (multiple times) before any children came up, I think it really helped.
After we were all done I mentioned to the primary president that I think the JR primary would really benefit from flipping their times. I think that I end up using JR primary as the ginny-pigs. I learn and then make adjustments for SR primary. When if they were flipped I could learn from SR primary when the children are better behaved and then take what I learned to JR primary and give them the more structure. I also thing that JR primary would function better if they had Sharing time first and then Singing time. I think that they are better for me overall because it is more involved. And that they get some of their wiggles out moving rooms. So that by the time we do Sharing time they are full of wiggles again. Therefore they would be better behaved if we flipped the sharing time and singing time slots for JR primary. But these are just my observations, and I have only been in primary since Aug., so what do I know.
Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Christmas Card

My mother-in-law is really into the digital scrapbook thing. She also loves making cards. So I asked her to help me and this is what we came up with. Its our Christmas card to everyone. I send an email one to everyone I have a current email address for. If you did not receive one then please send me your current email address to, and I will email you your own copy, or just read it here its your choice.
Love and Best Wishes to All,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Christmas Singing Time

Christmas Presents

Since this coming Sunday we are doing the Nativity Song. I made the choice to do this last Sunday as a collection of a bunch of Primary and traditional Hymn Christmas songs. I didn’t want to do the Christmas Tree Idea I originally had- Make a tree and you have ornaments to put on the tree, or take off the tree, and each ornament has a Christmas song on it. So instead of that idea I decided to try making it more of a game. I thought about the Christmas songs I had taught them and also the ones I figured they would know, and tried to think of something that could be a clue to that song. All of the “clues” I decided on were either parts of one of my nativity sets, an ornament from my tree, or a paper picture. For example: For the song ‘Once within a Lowly Stable’ I used the stable of my nativity set, and I used the Joseph from the set for ‘When Joseph Went to Bethlehem’. I also put the name on the song, on each “clue”. I figured the concept would be hard for JR Primary, but easy enough for the SR primary. And sure enough that was exactly the case. Trying to have JR Primary guess the song from the “clue”, while SR primary started to get a little competitive on who could guess it first. For any songs that I picked to sing, that they did not know yet, I quickly taught it to them.

Far Far Away- a picture I downloaded off the internet of Judea region

Silent Night- picture of stars and moon

Stars Were Gleaming- a star ornament

When Joseph Went to Bethlehem- Joseph from a nativity set

Away in a Manger- baby Jesus from a nativity set

The Shepherd’s Carol- a shepherd with a sheep from a nativity set

Christmas Bells- a picture of a bell (I was going to use a bell ornament but I don’t seem to own one)

Joy to the World- picture of planet Earth

Once Within a Lowly Stable- a stable from a nativity set

Mary’s Lullaby- Mary from a nativity set

Hark the Herald Angels Sing or Angels We Have Heard on High- Angel from a nativity set

This week we are going to learn and act out ‘The Nativity Song’ p52 in the CSB. We are doing it was a combined Sharing Time and Singing time. We have the costumes from past years of doing the Christmas play, and any piece we can’t find we are going are just going to find simple piece to fix it- ie a sheet for an angel, a paper Cow on a stick, a towel for a headdress. Since we are still learning the verses (and there are 5 of them) we are making cues for the children to help with each verse.

How are we planning to do it? Each verse at a time. While we learn each verse we’ll have the children who are representing that part stand in front while we learn that verse. Then they will sit down while and the next verse will come up. Then once we’ve learned all the verses we will have everyone up there and sing all the verses. To get started the counselor who is in charge of Sharing time will start it out with the recommended scriptures, then we’ll start working on the song. Since the first three verses don’t have a lot of actors. So to get children involved we are going to start the first verse with a black sheet held by two children, for the backdrop. 2nd vrs we have the angel, and a star- the star we made out of construction paper and put it on a stick. 3rd vrs we are making a stable out of two beams with brown fabric stretched between them, and the cow on a stick for a child to hold and the same with the oxen. That way there are ways to involve them for all the verses. So we’ll see how it goes.