Goin’ on a Bear Hunt

Day 6 of the 25 Days of Christmas

Okay… so we didn’t go on a bear hunt – just a sorta-kinda deer hunt. Actually, there was no hunting involved. We just took a quick walk through the woods but surprisingly we did see 4 deer. We also learned that a toddler and a 7 year old do not make great hunters too much noise, giggling, singing, stomping, etc. However, we did enjoy a nice, quiet walk through the 50F temps in December, so we can’t complain! Since we had a skip a family night on Day 4, we were able to make it up today. An hour or so walking trails and woods using our handy “noculars” as little miss calls them….

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And also, hanging out with the elf, Sully, watching a few new movies everyone received for good behavior 🙂 I’ll be honest though, no one was a fan of My Little Pony – except Harper.

Giving isn’t something that we limit to Christmas each year. We are constantly trying to provide opportunities to help illustrate the important to the children. Often times I forget that they don’t really understand. Just yesterday, we were doing our weekly shopping. The Salvation Army Bell Ringers were out and about as usual. The kids heard the bells as we were leaving and asked for some money. Not only did they want money for the red buckets, but also for the Children’s Miracle Network Change Bin – the one with the little coin obstacles inside. As with everything else, donating has to be a competition – Lane always has to make sure his coin hits the bottom of the bin first! Anyway, they put their change in both donation bins. The bell ringer gave them each a little piece of candy – which very much pleased them. Lane then asks Harper, “What did you wish for?” She said, “A pony!” I was confused. I asked them both why they were wishing. Lane said “Because when you give someone money, you make a wish.” He learned this from all those pennies we encouraged him to toss in local fountains. I didn’t realize that he was associating those things together. As we continued to walk to the car, I tried to (re)explain the reason for the buckets and the CMN bins and other donations we participate in. Finally, I think he understood. They are still so young that it is hard for them to fathom someone not having a warm bed, hot meal or even Christmas gifts. And being two very spoiled children, they have the hardest time with the gifts….

That’s why I wanted to help out the Toys for Tots program in our area. Toys for Tots is a program that is put on by the US Marine Corp Reserves to help collect and distribute Christmas gifts for needy children. Today, we got to see a local Marine collecting gifts. There are SO many programs like this in our area, all of which are serving the same great purpose of helping others in need. I really enjoyed seeing that Marine in uniform with boxes of gifts.

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My children get way too much… I’m talk stupid amounts of toys that we end up donating in a couple months (some of which are never played with). This year, I hope it to be different. I can’t and won’t limit what other people give my children (within reason). Their grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc., like to buy them gifts. I understand the sentiment – I LOVE giving gifts to others and never expect anything in return. This year, our funds are tighter – through many thanks to my unending health struggle. However, our hearts are bigger and are heads are smarter. We appreciate the little things more…. we try not to focus as much on material items – rather we try to focus on memories and time together. I’ll be honest – I’m one of those year long Christmas gift purchasers. I look for deals all year long and hoard presents away for Christmas. You’ll usually find me completely done shopping before Thanksgiving. This year, I knew would be tough so I searched even harder for deals during the year. Then I asked myself why?

Why go through so much trouble for a few little gifts that may go untouched? Why stress myself out and make myself tired so they have to worry about me? I had no good reason. So this year, I decided to go small. Just a couple of small gifts that they either really wanted or that they needed. For example, my son loves Skylanders games – and I happened to find one that he didn’t have on clearance a few months ago. Harper has told EVERYONE that she wants “a talking Elsa doll with a microphone and a blue dress” so she can sing “Let It Go”… and every time you ask her, she says all of that in her singing Elsa voice. She’s literally going to end up with 10 Elsa dolls. I ended up getting her something else (on clearance). Santa isn’t going crazy either – well maybe a little. He’s bringing a new puppy for our little farm 🙂 Total surprise and unplanned but we lucked out with him (more pictures to come when he arrives!). Santa is bringing some new PJs, new Pitt State shirts and some coloring books – no bikes, no tents, no huge doll houses. People ask me why I want the kids to miss out on Christmas… they aren’t. They will get so much stuff – plus we are living in an RV (we’ll have to rotate toys!). Christmas isn’t about gifts.

Christmas is about celebrating Jesus, enjoying family, celebrating life and being thankful for each blessing. At Mass this weekend, Father talked about the meaning of Christmas and material things. His stories often stick with me because they seem so odd when he talks about them (He’s from Burma). What I gathered from the sermon was that we shouldn’t focus on the material things. His example was a pig and a pearl. He explained that a pig would never need a pearl. It was a material item that wasn’t useful to the pig. Instead, the pig would need food or water or something else. We don’t need toys or fancy gifts. We need food, water, things to survive but more importantly we need faith. If there’s one thing I hope my kids remember from me, it’s the importance of love and faith. It might take me several years…. but I’ve learned in the last year, that you can only your days one at a time. Live in the present, learn from the past and hope for the future.

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