Thursday, December 22, 2011

To Santa or Not to Santa?

I have been seeing a lot of these posts around the blog world lately and for obvious is Christmas time. Nonetheless, this is something that has been on our minds and a recent post by a friend of mine on her blog sparked me to write my own post.

We are choosing not to "do" Santa in our home. We "did" Santa for the first two years of Sophie's life, not that she will really remember that, but once Neal and I started to root ourselves deeper in our faith we began to realize that maybe this was not the route we wanted to take with her and any other children we may have. Since then we haven't really had to field many questions about Santa Claus, until recently. Sophie is a very smart girl, constantly asking questions and almost always remembering the answers. She pays attention, very close attention in Sunday school and preschool where she learns Bible verses, sings songs about God and attends chapel with her class. All in all the girl is surrounded by the word of God and can tell you about several people and their stories in the Bible. This is definitely not something I was able to do as a child. Sometimes I am convinced that she might know more about the Bible than me! Anyhow, the question came up in October sometime (she had been rehearsing Christmas songs in school since September for her Christmas program so the topic was fresh in her mind) "Mommy, what does Santa have to do with baby Jesus?" I was silent for a minute thinking carefully about my response, but I could tell that the wheels were already turning in her head about the truth and reality of the fat man in the red suit who magically brings presents. I proceeded with my answer, "Well nothing really, he is more like a symbol reminding us to show kindness and love to one another just like Jesus shows all of us". That answer was enough for her at the time and she remembered it when we had our more recent conversation where I went into more detail about how Santa Claus is a character based on the real Saint Nicholas, who she knows about from the VeggieTales movie, but I refreshed her memory with the story anyway. We talked more about Jesus for a while, giving to others in need and she proceeded to tell me how Jesus is real and not a character, but Santa is a character like Dora or Mickey Mouse. I ended the conversation by telling her that Santa Claus gives us gifts and it reminds us of the gift that Jesus gave us which was.......and she finished my sentence by smiling and saying, "HIM!!!!" Siiiiiigh my mommy heart jumped for joy, she gets it and she is joyful about it!

Now, we are most certainly not banning Santa. I would be quite the hypocrite if I did, telling my children that he is a make believe character who needs to be banished and forgotten and then hauling my whole family off to Disney World (which we do, often), a theme park built around a fictional little mouse! We simply want our children to focus on the real reason of the Christmas season, the birth of Jesus Christ. Focus on the true joy that comes from giving and not simply get excited about the prospect of receiving presents. To give not only material gifts to those we love and those in need, but gifts of the heart.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Stockings

It's a funny thing to do a blog post on, but I love our family's Christmas stockings. They are each special in their own way. They are not your average run of the mill store bought stockings, ours are all hand knit, with love by family. Neal's stocking was made by his great grandmother on his mother's side and mine and the kids' were all made by my grandmother, Sophie.

The story of how the stockings came to be.....

Neal and I have had our stockings for as long as we can remember. When I was pregnant with Sophie in 2006, I knew that I did not want her to have a store bought stocking, but rather the made-with-love kind her Daddy and I had. At the time my grandmother was feverishly knitting baby blankets for the 3 babies that were about to enter our family (myself and my two cousins were each welcoming little ones that year!) so I thought why not ask if she could whip up a stocking too?! Much to my disappointment my grandmother no longer had the pattern for the stocking that she made for all her children, her children's spouses, and her grandchildren. She did, however tell me that she still had my grandfather's stocking up in the attic that she could simply stitch Sophie's name on. I was overjoyed not only to have a knit stocking for my new baby girl, but what made it all the more special was that it was my grandfather's who passed away when I was just 2 years old.

When Jonah came along in 2009 I knew I was going to need another stocking to keep the tradition going. Knowing that my grandmother could no longer knit one due to the lack of a pattern, my mom offered up her stocking to her new grandson. My mom lovingly stitched Jonah's name onto her stocking making it his.

Fast forward 2 years almost to the day and sweet Maisie Dorothea enters our family. We most certainly could not have mismatched stockings at this point, so my mother already had a plan in place, my father's stocking would become Maisie's.

So while the children's stockings were not made specifically for them, the theme of how they acquired them remains the

Christmas Program

Every Monday at school Sophie has music class. Every Monday since September, Sophie and her classmates have been learning and singing Christmas songs all in preparation for the big day on Tuesday, December 14th at 9am when they would all very proudly share with friends and family the fruits of their labor. And man did all that practicing pay off because they all did a fabulous job! I was so proud of my little girl up there singing and doing the hand motions like everyone was there to see just her! It is so silly to say that watching my first baby up there with her class singing away, my eyes welled up with pride. I am not sure if it was all pride or a little bit of sadness mixed in my hormonal pot thinking about how she is growing up and that this time next year she will be in kindergarten, kindergarten people! My mom and dad were able to come and share in Sophie's joy and I took video while Maisie was strapped to the front of me in the Moby, and wow let me tell you how interesting that was. It was quite a feat having a 12ish pound baby strapped to the front of me who's body temp combined with mine could have melted the polar ice caps and trying to hold a very heavy camera steady. Well, I was not very successful in the steady part, but Neal got the idea and Sophie was happy I had the footage to share with him! We were all so proud of Sophie, especially Jonah, who upon seeing her up in front of everyone, proceeded to wave and shout to her, "Hi Sis-Sis, Hi" over and over again! So sweet! He had the whole audience chuckling.

Cedar Lake Tree Farm 2011

It is our family tradition that every year we head out to good ole' Iron Station, NC to Cedar Lake Tree Farm to pick out our freshly cut tree. My parents and I have been going to this tree farm since we moved to NC, and then once Neal and I married we continued to do the same. It is a family run farm that is truly an awesome experience. Cedar Lake has cows, bulls, turkeys, chickens, donkeys, Santa Claus, and of course Christmas trees. Outside of all the livestock fun probably the most alluring thing is a gigantic mountain of hay bales for the kids to climb all over and perform death defying jumps know the kind that give the on looking mommies a death defying heart attack!

What trip to get a Christmas tree is complete without candy canes? After eating 2 & dropping 1 he proceeded to tell me how "kicky" (sticky) he was!

His "cheese" face.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We got our first official "this is not gas" smile from Maisie on November 19th and like the pictures you see here, it was a thing of beauty. Her smiles have increased in frequency since then and now we get to see that gummy grin several times a day, she is now even attempting to make some noise!

To see my children smile or accomplish anything for the first time melts my heart. To watch joy spread over this new little person's face for the first time ever was amazing and brings my heart such joy to be the person who witnesses it, there will never be another "first smile" and I got to be the one she shared it with.....thank you sweet girl for yet another moment of joy in my life.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Magical Bobo

Every kid comes up with some sort of crazy name for their pacifier. "Pappy" and "Boppy" are just two of the unique names our friend's children have come up with for their pacifiers. Jonah calls his a "Bobo", how he came up with Bobo is beyond us because we have always said Paci, which doesn't really sound like Bobo to me, but hey to each his own. Anyhow the name Bobo has stuck and now we refer to Maisie's pacifiers as Bobos too.

So now to the point.....I love these pacifiers....ahem....I mean Bobos. We used them with Jonah and they were awesome. I thought I would try another paci with Maisie, those Gumdrop pacis with the straight nipple, yeah no dice she was not having it. I tried them because they were readily available in stores and well priced. The Natursutten ones that I love so much are a bit pricier and you have to order online, Babies R Us stopped carrying them for whatever reason. Both the Gumdrop and the Natursutten are a one piece design, which I love so no water gets trapped with all the frequent washings therefore no bacteria grows either. So when Maisie was not digging the Gumdrop pacis and gagging every time we tried to give them to her, I caved, shelled out the cash and got 4 of them. Well, I should have done that from the beginning, because she took to them immediately and is able to keep them in her mouth a lot better, which Neal had a feeling she would. I think part of it has to do with the shape, the Natursutten nipple is the orthodontic shape and the Gumdrops nipples are straight and I think the other factor is material the Gumdrops are a silicone paci, which none of our kids have liked and the Natursutten is a pure natural rubber, so no chemicals involved huge plus! The other added benefit and maybe why Maisie took to this paci is that since Natursutten's design simulates breastfeeding in that the pacifier touches the baby's nose and chin in a manner similar to the breast when nursing.

So this huge long post about a pacifier all to say, I love them and so does my baby! They soothe her and keep her happy.

Moving On Up...... the next size diapers that is. At 1 month old Maisie weighs 11 lbs 7 oz, that is 1 lb 7 oz outside the weight range for the newborn prefold diapers she has been sporting since birth, so no wonder why they are a little tight and I was having such difficulty securing them!!! As you can tell from the pictures (which were taken about 2 weeks ago on 11/19/11) the diapers fit, albeit, a little snug, but I got them on her and we had no leaks, actually we very, very rarely get leaks with cloth diapers and if we do it is usually user error. Money savings aside the "no leaks" is another big lure to cloth diapers, we have yet to have a major "blow out" with either child in cloth diapers. The newborn diapers might have fit her for a bit longer if I did not have to put a preemie prefold underneath as a doubler to increase absorbency. Luckily, with a bigger size prefold, like the ones she is now, she does not need a doubler because the diaper is bigger therefore more absorbency.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Being the good big brother he is, Jonah wanted to share his favorite song & musical abilities with little sis, Maisie.

Monday, November 21, 2011


My sweet, sweet love.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

She Is Five

Last week my first little girl celebrated her 5th birthday. Wow, I have a 5 year old, wow I have 3 kids, but that is a whole other blog post! Anyhow, since things have been a little, well, busy around here we decided to keep both of the kid's birthdays low key and celebrate with just us. We started the day off for her with the infamous huge balloon and presents of course. It was a pretty low key day, she went on a nature hike with her Daddy where she climbed over fallen trees, jumped off logs, swung from vines and in general had an all out fabulous time. Neal said they probably walked for over a mile in the woods at the end of our cul-de-sac and she was sad they had to come home. She took along her camera so she could snap some photos of all the nature she saw and Daddy even entrusted her with his camera which she actually got some really good shots with. She is definitely following in Daddy's footsteps there with her love for photography. All her birthday dreams came true when after lunch we revealed to her the Silvermist (one of the fairy's from Tinkerbell) cake that she had been talking about for days. All in all even though there was no huge party this year with all her friends, we did our best to make her feel special and make the day all about her. We will make up for it next year when we will certainly have our work cut out for us when we celebrate 3 birthdays all within 3 weeks......stay tuned for that one!

Painting her toes the day before her birthday, a gift from Gigi and Papa Slimick, she was so proud of herself that she painted her toes all on her own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Few Firsts

Maisie's first cloth diaper that I put on, the midwife assistant put the first one on after she was born.....isn't it so tiny? It is a preemie size prefold! So itty bitty! To give you an idea of how tiny, these diapers measure 11x11. She has since moved on to these AND a newborn prefold together because she is such a heavy wetter! I will try and snap a picture of that, the newborn prefolds aren't much bigger, I think they are 11x13, but a bit thicker. This is my first time cloth diapering a newborn, I did not start with Jonah until he was about 3 or 4 months old, so it was a bit of a challenge getting the hang of putting cloth on such a tiny human!

First time meeting Papa & Gigi Slimick

First Bath

First time outside in the Moby

Our midwife came back on November 10th for the second postpartum visit, everything is fabulous, Maisie looks great and since her birth has gained a whole 1 pound and 1 ounce! As of November 10th her weight was up to 9lbs 5ozs. I am certain she probably weighs more than that now since she eats like a champ!