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Welcome to our blog!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Favorite Gifts this Year

Thought I would post a list of our favorite gifts this year if anyone out there is looking for gift ideas for kids. Liam and Patrick are almost 4 years old.

silk cape (nova naturals)
face crayons (nova naturals)
doll sling (nova naturals)
doll (nova naturals)
soccer uniforms (sporting goods store)
remote control truck
stickers w/ their name and photo from shutterfly
play dough tools and play dough (nova naturals)
books--they absolutely LOVE the froggy books by Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz
fisher price fp3 player and various music CD's and books on tape (magic cabin pirate and knight stories)
connectagons (magic cabin)
moose and bear pajamas from grandma melanie and grandpa bob

snuggled w/ mom



A few recent pictures of Claire. Looks like she is auditioning for the sound of music! I have really been enjoying all of baby carriers this time around. I used them a bunch with the boys but I couldn't really keep them in them for any length of time because I had 2 to hold! So Claire is snuggled in most of the day. My favorites right now are the wraps. I think these are perfect for a baby through at least 6 months or so. I love my friend's product the sleepy wrap because the fabric is wonderful--short and so stretchy and strong. I am starting to use the Ergo a bit more, but probably will continue to use the wrap almost exclusively for a while more. Sleepy Wraps make an awesome gift for a new mom--www.sleepywrap.com! Thanks, Elizabeth and Robert!
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Christmas Photos




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Well, i thought I had more photos than this, but I guess I took mostly video. i will try to find a way to post a video but that may take me several months!

We had a wonderful Christmas at the McConnell House! It was very nice and low key. I feel like this year we had the perfect amount of presents and all of them were a big hit! Last year I was so excited for the boys first Christmas that they could really comprehend that I went way overboard with gifts. It didn't seem like a lot, but it sure was as we opened gifts into the evening and I even put some away to give them at a later time that year. They wanted to play with every gift immediately after they opened it last year and they even lost interest in opening any more after just a few presents!

I thought these photos were so funny. For the last 2 days Liam and Patrick have been wearing their new soccer uniforms including cleats and shin guards, capes, their baby dolls in a sling, and their new mp3 players. Plus we have been playing with face crayons as well. I wasn't sure how much they would play with the dolls, but I think they were a fantastic gift because they can emulate what I do with Claire. So far their dolls do almost everything that Claire does including napping in the sling and nursing.

This year I felt conflicted about what to do in terms of Santa. Last year I was sure that I didn't want to introduce this myth to them. They ended up seeing the Polar Express--what a wonderful movie!-- which they really enjoyed this year as well so they just assumed there was a santa. Anyhow, I have been reading a bunch of Waldorf books and after reading them have felt that we were not encouraging the boys' imagination very much. Matt and I are both so literal with them. I began to notice that whenever I told them a magical story that Liam would just light up. So we have been reading a lot about elves, trolls, and fairies lately! I decided that we would continue to encourage the Santa myth at this point. Here is one article I have read about santa and how to approach it with children: www.naturalchild.com/jan_hunt/santa.html. My issue with doing the santa myth in the family is that I do not like lying to my children and wonder how they will feel when they find out that I have done so. But I wonder if doing santa is lying? i guess this differs from telling them stories about fairies in that we are saying that santa actually interacts with us and all of these other magical creatures do not. but what is reality exactly? how do i know there are not elves and fairies? my dad is getting very worried at this point.

We did enjoy the season though and have been celebrating and preparing since Thanksiving which was a very nice way to do it. Usually, I am so last minute, but taking it slowly was very nice. I know the boys enjoyed it as well.

As I said, I have been reading a lot of Waldorf stuff and have really been wanting to focus on creating tradition in our family. I want to enjoy the season plus help create special memories for my children. I have been thinking a lot about this and some of the nuances here with leading an unschooling life and following traditions. I think one difference is that I am wanting my kids to be an integral part of the process including whether or not they want to participate and let them choose how to participate. This year they were very enthusiastic about most everything. I am trying, though, to re-examine my beliefs around how things "should" be during the holidays. For instance, one thing I struggled with was that the boys were not super excited about giving gifts. We did have a fun day of making ornaments, but then they were not as interested in actually following through with giving them to people. In fact, Liam wanted to keep all of them so we could put them on our tree! Ultimately, we did end up giving some as gifts, but I got into a spot where I wanted to force them to do this and felt they "should" want to do this! I let that go, though! Matt had a tough time because he wanted them to wait for Christmas to open all of their presents. I really thought about this and decided it was their choice. The gifts that arrived were for them so I did not want to dictate when they should open them. Why would I force them to wait until Christmas? We would all be miserable! If they didn't have gifts to open on Christmas Day and they were upset about that, they could make a different choice next year or not.

And now we await New Year's Day and the boys' 4th birthdays! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!