Old Stories and new traditions

Day 21 & 22 of theΒ 25 Day of Christmas

Christmas is SO close! SOOOOO CLOSE! My children are dying with anticipation… and so am I. πŸ™‚

The last couple of days have been fun! We’ve had a lot of family time combined with our giving time. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more rushed we are to try and find a good way to give. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in doing good things or trying to make a difference that we make it stressful… we forget the meaning. The last two days helped us get back on track with it. We didn’t do anything crazy… we just had fun.

Yesterday was Lane’s first “real” day of Christmas break. That means that by the end of the day, the kids were tired of each other and I was tired of listening to them argue over silly things.. like toilet paper rolls, socks, spoons, etc. SILLY! In a last ditch effort to keep them distracted, we decided to make our own candy/cookie jars. Not only was it craft time for them, but we also did it together. Basically, we took a glass jar, some tissue paper and Modge Podge – then we glued tissue paper strips onto the jar. We let it dry overnight and then decorated with stickers. Harper’s was of course, Frozen and Lane wanted his to resemble the Avengers. They love them and it was easy to make so I’m happy! We also made homemade ornaments out of little wood cutouts. I found some small circular wood pieces at a craft store and thought they’d work great – they did! I made my husband drill little holes for the ribbon. Then we each picked a color of paint and placed a thumbprint on each ornament. We’ll give these out to family on Christmas Day. It was a busy couple of days and we also put together our little gifts for our neighbors. Each little bag included some of our favorite candies plus some homemade peanut brittle – believe it or not, I think this was the first time making it! It was much easier than I expected and was a huge hit at our house! We’ll deliver these little gift bags tomorrow since my husband is off work. Today we also made our own little minions! Crayola has some “Molding Magic” that is similar to playdough but without the wheat. I found these little “make-a-minion” play packs and we made our own together. Of course, the manly men of the house wanted to make it a contest…. but Lane and I won πŸ™‚ It was SO fun!

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As for today’s giving, it was very special. Today, the kids and I visited the nursing home in our town. We didn’t “give” any material items, just our time and our smiles. I’m lucky enough to be involved with some great people through our church. A couple of years ago, I started teaching PSR (Parish School of Religion) to Catholic children on Wednesday nights. I’ve been teaching second grade – which is First Communion age. It has been such a great learning experience and very rewarding. Honestly, I think I learn more than the kids do! There are other great teachers from our church that volunteer as well. One always organizes these trips to the nursing home. I was nervous to bring my own children as my son is very quiet and shy, while my daughter is very outspoken and doesn’t know how to filter her thoughts yet πŸ™‚ I was very pleasantly surprised with not only my own children, but the other kids as well. We try to go twice a year and this year was no different. We’ve already been around Thanksgiving but decided to go back to see the residents closer to Christmas. Since the kids are on Christmas break, we didn’t have a huge turnout BUT the kids and the residents had a good time. That’s all that matters!

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My son actually spoke to a few of the residents. He cut out paper snowflakes for them to keep for Christmas. I was so proud of him as he hardly speaks to us, let alone complete strangers. My daughter joyfully played with a few residents. She sang, danced and hummed her favorite Christmas songs to them… she never has a problem being the center of attention. We did a few crafts, handed out gifts and read books. It was a good time! The best part was getting to talk to a woman who had a bit of memory trouble. The kids were passing out gifts to the residents in the rooms so I decided to talk with her a bit. After hearing her same story and answering the same questions probably 15 times, it was time to go. Honestly, I didn’t mind repeating myself. I didn’t mind listening to her story. It reminded me of a story I had heard many times before.

You see, my grandfather had Alzheimer’s. My grandfather was a key figure in my life and we spent a lot of time together. After my grandmother passed away when I was in high school, we moved into his large home so my mom could help take care of him. That’s one thing I love about my mom, she’s always there when she’s needed. Anyway, at that time in my life, I didn’t want to hear his stories on repeat. I didn’t want to explain to him who I was. I didn’t want to repeat myself over and over again. I didn’t want to watch baseball again. I’ll never forget how annoyed I would get at him for slowing me up when I was trying to go see my friends or my boyfriend (now husband!). I’ll also never forget that sting when I went back to his home after his funeral, wishing I could hear that war story or about his baseball days one last time.Β  I didn’t know it at the time, but he was teaching me a valuable lesson. Watching him lose his memory and become so very confused was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. However, it also made me so much more appreciative of the lessons and history that elderly loved ones can provide. And today at the nursing home, that sweet lady reminded me of that. She reminded me to be patient and caring. She reminded me to appreciate family and loved ones. And she reminded me to not rush things away. Enjoy things while they happen and then enjoy the memories. And share the memories… you never know how it may impact someone.

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On a lighter note, Sully’s been taking notes from his friend, Buddy the elf. Today we found him hanging out with the maple syrup in the fridge! Yesterday, he decided to take a bath in our marshmallows…. silly little elf! πŸ˜‰

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