Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Wish You...

Source: jotslifestyle.nl via Me on Pinterest

My family wishes yours the sweetest, most peaceful, and merriest Christmas in the world.

Previous Christmas posts here and here.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekend Links - December 22, 2012

The last Saturday before Christmas - is your shopping done? Ours is.
We just finished up our oldest daughter's birthday pizza party - just family and family friends. Now Philip and the three oldest girls are playing a game, the youngest girl is napping, and I have time to sit down and share the ridiculous amount of linkage I have saved.

On to the links!

Did you see my recent news? Here are some pregnancy / baby related links I've saved for several weeks but was waiting to share:
  • Pregnancy at an Older Age from The Finer Things in Life. OK, bear me out here: I'm 31 which is not considered "advanced maternal age", even by my midwives or OB, but I can definitely tell a difference between having my first (when I was 20 years old) and having this baby.
  • Making a Special Place for Baby without a Nursery from Raising Arrows. Please pray that we sell our house and get settled in a new place before this baby comes, otherwise he'll be lucky to get a corner of his own. That said, I do appreciate the advice in that post because, with the exception of our firstborn, none of our children have ever had their own room.
  • One thing about being pregnant & also parenting four daughters: I have no energy. Like, zero. As in: I fall asleep sitting up and reading. Or watching a mystery show with my husband. Or when I'm sitting with the girls in the afternoon. No. Energy. So this post caught my eye: 25 Surprising All Natural Energy Boosters.
  • I definitely want to remember some of these: 6 Home Remedies for Natural Baby Care.
  • Surviving Pregnancy When Life Gets Busy by Nish at Simple Mom. (My only question: when is life not busy?!)
Christmas Related:
For Thinking / Spiritual Growth:
For Fun or Just Because:
  • 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know. How do you score?
  • Once Upon a [Blog] Comment by Jamie from See Jamie Blog. I know people read this blog - I see the numbers of visitors. Sometimes people I know will mention it. And yet comments are rare. Blogging is supposed to be a conversation. I wish I were better at leaving comments on the blogs I read (I'm going to be working on that!) and also at responding to comments left here. Do you ever check to see if I responded to your comment? Blogger isn't the best platform for this but it's what I have to work with right now.
  • Don't Be Afraid by Marquette at the Pinstrosity Blog. Great advice in that post!
  • When I was younger the Lucille Ball / Henry Fonda version of Yours, Mine & Ours was one of my favorite movies. All those kids! That house! All that food! Well, the actual patriarch of the family, Frank Beardsley, recently died at the age of 97.
Pins of the Week:
Love this nursery:

This looks yummy:

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas present for me, this Grammar Police t-shirt would do in a pinch:

Wishing you all a very peaceful weekend and a joyous Christmas holiday - May your children not overdo it on the sugary treats, may your gifts wrap themselves, and may you have no reason to enter the Target or Wal-Mart parking lots between now and January 7th.

This post is linked to Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife. Share your own links or see what other folks are reading this week.

Friday, December 21, 2012

For Unto Us...

A baby is coming.

No, I'm not talking about Jesus. Praise God, he already came around 2,000 years ago. And next time he comes, it won't be as a baby.

No, I mean a different baby.

This baby:
Yes, friends, we are expecting a new little one in May 2013. (Some of you may recall that my family has 3 birthdays in May, and Philip's two younger cousins have May birthdays as well. My sister and brother-in-law also have a May anniversary. May is a fun month and it's about to be even more fun!)

This journey has not been without pain.

I hope you don't think this is too much information but this little one was conceived right around when our baby Isaiah was due. (You can also see my post Things I Know At 20 Weeks for more about our miscarriage and how he got his name.)

I can't think about that one too long - if we'd had Isaiah we wouldn't have this baby and that's just the way it is.

In case you're wondering: it still hurts. It hurts not to count him. When people ask how many kids we have, it's just easier to say "Four girls"  or "Four girls and a baby on the way." But I feel like I'm lying. (And, even though I do it myself, it hurts when other people who know about him don't count him either.)

What helps: people who remember with me. People like my Mom who has a special piece of "Grandma jewelry" with a charm for each of her grandkids, including Isaiah. People who still, to this day, tell me they pray for me. People who tell me their own stories.

And then there's the fact that the first few weeks of this pregnancy had some negative signs. I went to my midwives right away but there was nothing to be done at that point but take it easy, pray, and see what happened. Add to that the fact that my midwife didn't find a heartbeat early on and you have a recipe for a prayerful but nervous me.

I still don't know what that was all about. But now we know that Baby #6 is growing, thriving, and moving around like crazy. (Let me tell you how glad I was to feel those first kicks!)

We're 20 weeks along and we've had our official ultrasound. Do you know what the most beautiful sight during an ultrasound is? It's that little heart beating away.

Some people have asked us if we were "trying for a boy." Answer: no. Would we be disappointed with Baby Girl #5? Absolutely not. A baby to actually hold and love on, whatever the gender: yes, definitely.

But you can imagine our reaction when the ultrasound technician showed us and announced,

"It's a boy!"

Oh, my.

Based on the ultrasound I think we can guess why God gave us four girls first: it's going to take all of us to corral this little guy. The ultrasound technician was laughing over his antics. "Wow, he's fast," was one of her comments, among others. And she gave us a lot more pictures than they usually do because, "Your little guy was just so cute and funny." I'm guessing you have to be an ultrasound technician to really think that, but I was happy to agree.

He's also about 3 oz bigger than average at this point in pregnancy. Not enough to change my due date but enough to speculate he might be a bit larger than my other babies.

So, there you have our Big News. Please pray for us in the next 20 weeks or so. Thank you for sharing our lives with us and being there to encourage me throughout 2012. It's silly but I think this blog really helped when I needed it, especially your encouraging comments and those of you who have regularly prayed for us. 
(Waving good-bye for now!)

If you're wondering what the girls reactions are: Miss Lili has no idea what we're talking about and will probably not know what hit her come May. Tigger & Polly are excited about a baby in general and had no preference as to Brother or Sister. Sweet Pea is the one who told us she wanted a Baby Brother and knew she would probably get one. Have to say I'm kind of relieved she didn't get the other thing she wished for: "I thought two babies would be fun so I wished there would be two babies in there," she told us after the ultrasound. "But one baby brother is fine, too."

I should say so.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Polly

Dearest Polly,

Eleven? Eleven?! How did that happen?

Don't tell me: I know. The earth travels around the sun and we all get another year older, including you. Even though I keep threatening you that really, seriously, stop growing.

Polly, your dad and I are so proud of you and the young lady you are becoming. You are smart, witty, and generous. You took the lead in encouraging your sisters to give back this Christmas by buying gifts for a child that otherwise wouldn't have presents. You try to make sure no one is left out if there's a fun activity.

You are loyal and devoted to your friends of all ages. Your Sunday School teachers never want you to promote because they hate losing you from their classes.

You love God and serving Him. You sing for Him and watch your sisters during choir practice for Him and you're always looking for other ways to use your talents for Him. You take responsibility for reading your Bible and for memorizing Scripture. You love to discuss deep things.

You have a sharp memory and you are Dad's favorite game tester (as long as your emotions don't get the better of you).

Because, yes, Polly, you're heading into uncharted territory. Today 11, next year 12, and then the teen years you're already planning and dreaming about. You're growing up and things are getting a little more emotional, a little harder in some ways.

But I'm not worried. I know you're going to sail through with the grace and humor you've already demonstrated up to this point. It'll be an adventure, sure, but I'm glad we get to go through it with you. We'll keep working on those patience and long-suffering virtues - among others. (Maybe it's just coincidence that your mom is still working on those too?)
I know I say it every year, but that's because it's always true: you'll always be my baby.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend Links...On Monday

A links post on Monday? What is this blog coming to? (I'm apparently OK with ending sentences in prepositions now, as well. I must be coming down with something.)

Well, it's like this: I was out of town Saturday visiting the newest nephew. And then, back home Saturday night, I was far too worn out to contemplate getting up a blog post.

I almost skipped my links post entirely, but I wanted to share some links that have been helpful to me in light of Friday's senseless, violent, sinful tragedy. I can't just ignore it. Dear friends, I hope you know my heart: when I also share my fun links, my pins, the blog posts that made me think, I'm not trying to ignore the reality of evil or whitewash the news. The world in which we live is sin cursed. It is not a safe place. And yet we are called to spread the good news of the gospel, a truth that includes the reality that our Savior took on human flesh and became Immanuel, God with us. We are called to hate sin: the sin we see around us, yes, but especially the sin in our own hearts. We've been reminded, I hope, that Death is still our enemy and Christ is still our Victory.

Here are some posts that have resonated with me in the last few days:
  • Another post that references the above song: Goodwill to Men by Erick Erickson.
  • The folks at The Gospel Coalition have had several stellar posts in the last few days. Here's one by Kathleen Nielson that I needed today: Where Shall We Put This Grief? 
  • Definitely agreed with this one: Newtown: Time to Operate on a Need to Know Basis by David Murray. The 24 hour news cycle is not helping you to deal with this tragedy. It is not helping you process your grief. It is not helping you spend more time with your loved ones. Be informed, yes. Be obsessed with watching the news, no. 
 Moving on to some other thing that have made me think recently:
  • Kevin DeYoung asks and answers: What is Hypocrisy? Here's a hint: you're not necessarily a hypocrite if you're not a perfect Christian. 
 For the Holidays (Christmas Eve is next Monday. EEK!):
  • A Mother's Heart. Reflective post about the birth story (and so much more) that Mary experienced. 
  • What is an Ebenezer and Do I Need to Raise One? Come, Thou Fount is one of my favorite hymns. It should be one of yours too. (OK, it doesn't have to be but it could be.) And therefore, you need to know what an Ebenezer is. (And yes, this post mentions Ebenezer Scrooge, too.) 
 Some recent pins:
Fun Ideas:
So Cute:
More Ornament Ideas:

Wishing you lots of love, grace, and peaceful times this week, friends!
Linking with Saturday Linky Love by Vanderbilt Wife

Monday, December 10, 2012

Random Monday

My first and by far my most important bit of Random Monday news: Philip and I have a new nephew! Yes, Lili's cousin Jo-Jo now has a baby brother. We are, as one of my girls used to say, "So es-sited!" about this. We're also completely bummed that we can't get down South to see him until Thursday evening at the earliest. Real life and adult responsibilities really get in the way sometimes, you know?

2nd Most Important Random Monday news: Polly and I went to the eye doctor this morning. (That's not exciting, you say?) My eyes and my contact prescription haven't changed in 3 years. (Woo-hoo, go me! But I sense you're still not excited...) So I signed over a massive amount of cash to keep me in contacts for the next year (or, let's be honest, longer) but we also had our suspicions confirmed that (drum roll please, exciting news to follow): Miss Polly will now bear a closer resemblance to Margo from Despicable Me! (Following picture to remind you of Polly's Margo costume from a year ago)
Yes, Polly could no longer fight the bad genetics ("I love your family," our eye doctor told me this morning. I'm sure there's more than one reason.) and will now be a full time glasses wearing girl, once the glasses come in (7-10 days).

I will, of course, share a picture once we have one.

Further randomness: we now have a Christmas tree. It is huge. It is so huge, in fact, the only place it really fits is in our kitchen. So we will have a Christmas tree in our kitchen this year. (Bonus: easier to sweep up pine needles from kitchen floor than from carpet.)

Tonight is Tree Decorating night. I have been informed that some time this afternoon or evening I must make Gingerbread Men because, "We always have gingerbread and egg-nog when we decorate the tree." I am not convinced that we always do so, but my children are The Tradition Police.

We have actually been fulfilling the girls' Christmas to-do wish list quite efficiently these last few days. We have several more movies to watch but we started our Christmas movie nights with a movie they hadn't seen before:

Our children did enjoy the movie but they had some pretty funny reactions to it while it was on. (Polly: "So that Potter guy is pretty much the meanest, nastiest guy ever, right?" Tigger: "Why do people think this is a happy movie?!")

I hadn't seen it in a few years and this viewing reminded me why. First: watching this movie is a different experience as an adult as compared to a child. Children still have their lives and dreams in front of them. Second: The bad guy is bad just because he's rich. He never has a change of heart (a la Ebeneezer Scrooge). The good guy is the guy who wants to lend people money with no strings attached. (Sub-prime mortgage fiasco, anyone?) Third: the theology is weird, but I guess that's a rant for another day. Fourth: Mary Hatch's dark life without George? "She's about to close up the library!" Horrors. A librarian!

All that aside, I do love George and Mary Bailey. I think George's real crisis comes earlier in the film, when he's at Mary Hatch's house and acting like a total jerk. Then he has his "I want to do what I want to do!" speech / tantrum and yet, manages to realize in the next three seconds that Mary is the best thing that has ever happened to him and he knows he doesn't deserve it.

I can so relate to that person who wants to stamp his foot and declare, "I want to do what I want to do!" and yet, somehow, makes the adult (hard) choices, at least part of the time. (The other part I'm probably still stamping my foot and sulking a bit.)

I guess that's why the movie is painful to watch. (Philip thinks every five years ought to do it.)

My dad sent me a link to this only today: The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls. Well, it must be a good movie if we can spend so much time thinking about it and analyzing it, right? (But my favorite Christmas movie is now, and shall always be, White Christmas, and no, Philip, listening to the soundtrack will not count as watching it.)

I hope you're having a fantastic Monday!
This post is linked to Random Monday at Not Inadequate.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekend Links - December 8, 2012

For Thinking:
For Fun:
For the Holidays:
  • Top Picks for Jane Austen Inspired Gifts. The gift guide for the Jane-ite in your life (ahem).
  • Christmas Gift Ideas Under $25 for the Ladies. I love the idea of those fleece lined leggings.
  • 5 Habits for Holiday Happiness. You know the advice is going to be good when the first thing is "Contemplate the Incarnation". God with Us! Doesn't everything seem petty compared to that truth?
  • I Cancelled Christmas. Everyone involved in church ministry ought to read this one. I know it encouraged me this week.
  • You probably want to see the First Commercially Available Christmas Card commissioned the same year that Dickens' A Christmas Carol was published, perhaps not coincidentally.
  • Great suggestions in this post: Family Gift Ideas for Large Families. I never think of our family as large (unless there's a line for our one bathroom) except for when we walk in to some place where no one knows us. And then we get comments like, "What a nice, big family." Or, "Are all those kids yours?" Which reminds me of a funny story: We were visiting some really good friends of ours (they have 3 kids, by the way). Their six year old son was going to pray for the food but he prayed himself into a pickle when he could only remember two of our girls' names. So then he said, "Thank you God for {Polly} and all those kids." Philip and I managed not to laugh but I'm not sure how.  Anyway, all that to say, I know we're a large family now, by our culture's standards. But I'd hate for gift giving to be a burden to anyone.
  • One of my favorite but lesser known Christmas Songs: Of The Father's Love Begotten. (Use this as a palate cleanser after one too many "Rudolphs" or "Frosty".
One last suggestion for Christmas music: I listened to this album on Spotify this week and quite enjoyed it. This is an Amazon affiliate link but if you use Spotify you could listen to it for free:

It's a nice change of pace from what the Christmas Radio stations are playing.

Pins of the Week:
This Buckeye Bark seems a lot easier than making Buckeyes:

These look amazing too:

So far our December has been on the warm side but I'm saving these tips for when I need them:

This post is linked to Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife. Come share your links or see what other people are sharing!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. How many times have you moved and do you have any tips?
Just a few - when I was four (I'm guessing I wasn't a lot of help with this one), when I was 18 (got married and therefore had very few possessions of my own to move), when I was 19 (moved out of state but from one apartment to another, still not many possesssions), once when I was 20 (bought our house). I have no advice on this subject, alas.

Anyone else have advice on how to sell a too small house in this {muttering darkly} economy?

2. Do you have a budget for the holidays, or just keep sliding the credit card and have a heart attack in Jan?
Budget - complete with Excel spreadsheet.  We keep a certain amount of money set aside in savings all year long for this, after all, Christmas comes EVERY year on December 25. It does not qualify as an emergency.

Then towards the end of November we look at our spreadsheet, add the new babies who have come along, and refine a bit. We are as flexible as we can be (no weeping and wailing if we go over a dollar or two) and as strict as we can be (no, "But she would really love an iPod")

3. What is the one medical thing you avoid like the plague?
The dentist. I am very good about going to the OB/GYN. I see my regular doctor on a fairly regular basis to keep my problematic lungs functional. I see the Eye Doctor every year, so she'll let me buy more contacts. I never go to the dentist. I can't remember the last time I did and I am not exaggerating. We're planning to go next year, after we get the three older girls done (we take one child every three months, rotating, and with Polly going every other time since she has such extreme dental issues). I dread it like nothing else. Maybe I should try one of those new sedation dentists?

4. What your least favorite Christmas song?
Oh, honey, do I have a list for you: Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs.

I'm also kind of a Christmas song stickler: some versions of certain songs are The Best And Shall Never Be Improved and so other people should stop covering them. Some examples:
  • The Christmas Song. You only need the Nat 'King' Cole version of this. It's definitive. You are not Nat 'King' Cole, therefore, you ought not to cover it. Write your own song.
  • Blue Christmas. Only Elvis has the right balance of happy / sad in this song. Everyone else makes me think this song is why suicides supposedly go up at Christmas time.
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This song belongs to Judy Garland and I have the movie to prove it (Meet Me in St. Louis). Some newer versions are OK, but they're not dynamite.
I'll have to think about and make a more definitive list another time. Any song you love that you hate to see "covered" by some caterwauling singer of today?

5. This Christmas are you spending more, less or about the same? Why?
About the same but slightly more because God has blessed our family with several new members.

In further news, you will be glad to hear that the snowman mugs are now out and in use, the wreath is on the front door and the girls are encouraged by these signs. Still no tree yet, but soon is looking sooner than it did earlier in the week.

How about you? Budget or fly by the seat of your credit card? Least favorite Christmas song? Encouraging words about going to the dentist (surely not)? Do tell!
And, because it wouldn't do to forget: Happy Birthday to my sister Lulu! I hope it's a fabulous day and you enjoy your massage. Take it as easy as you know how.
This post is linked to Five Question Friday at My Little Life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Books of 2012 - November

It's hard to believe 2012 is almost over. I managed to polish off some of the massive "to-be read" stack in November...but then I filled it up again.

The books I finished in November are:
1.Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II. Non-fiction by Keith Lowe. This is an informative, gripping book. It is truly tragic how the "end" of the war didn't end the killing. Genocide went on, and in some cases, went on for a long time after the conflict was supposedly over.

2.Orthodoxy. Non-fiction by G. K. Chesterton. I can't believe I haven't read this before. Honestly deserves the "classic" label. I'm finding that I enjoy Chesterton's non-fiction more than I did his Father Brown mysteries, for whatever reason.

3.Indelible. Fiction by Kristen Heitzman. I tend to be very picky about what "Christian Fiction" I read. I enjoy Heitzmann because she deals with real life and her characters are not cardboard cutout Christians. This book is a thriller and uses Paradise Lost to interesting effect.Some of the characters could have used a bit more of development but all-in-all it was a good read.

4. Calm My Anxious Heart. Non-fiction by Linda Dillow. I started this devotional a while back. I was slowly working through it and then I set it aside. Well, I think that's what God wanted me to do because I ended up reading it and really focusing on it after the election. Which turned out to be a good, timely thing for me. I recommend this book highly and I'd like to do it as a Bible study with some friends in the future.

5.Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. Non-fiction by Ben Macintyre. I enjoy Macintyre's chatty style. This true story is fascinating and would be unbelievable were it not so well documented. Recommended for history and WW2 buffs.

6.The Hole in our Holiness. Non-fiction by Kevin DeYoung. DeYoung's most important book since Just Do Something. I highly recommend this for all Christians. Kevin DeYoung also dealt recently with some reviews of his book in his blog post Striving After Godliness Should Not be Controversial and you may want to check that out as well. I really need to dedicate an entire blog post to this book. So much of it resonated with me and I found myself filling page after page in my commonplace book with things I need to remember.

7. One for the Books. Non-fiction by Joe Queenan. I doubt Queenan and I have similar worldviews except for this: so many books, so little time. I do enjoy reading a book about books and reading. This one is witty, although, as I said, I doubt Queenan and I agree on much else.

8.Killer Dolphin. Fiction by Ngaio Marsh. Enjoyable mystery set in an historic theater.

9.Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids.Non-fiction by Dr. Kara Powell & Dr. Chap Clark. Decent effort but not what I was looking for or expecting. Emphasis on social gospel in later chapters left a sour taste in my mouth. Guess I'll keep looking.

10. Clutch of Constables. Fiction by Ngaio Marsh. Mystery starring Detective Alleyn's wife, a painter. Interesting framing device in this one, with Detective Alleyn sharing the story with other policemen.

Totals for November:
Fiction: 3
Non-fiction: 7

What have you been reading lately?
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Random Monday

Happy Monday! Today was December Budget Day (which is completely different from Christmas Budget Day, by the way) and Karen Goes to the Grocery Day, and also Try to Get the House Back in Shape After Sunday Day (which is a common occurrence but makes absolutely no sense to me as we spend so little time in our home on Sundays. How does it get so messy?!), so, you know, Normal Monday, in other words.

December is in full swing now. Our calendar is quickly filling. I am, surprisingly, OK with this. We have it under control. Except for that whole Christmas Shopping / Christmas Decorating thing. My children have informed me that it's been AGES since Thanksgiving and we do not have a single Christmas decoration out. Not one Snowman mug. Not one ornament. And anyway, how long is Dad going to make them wait before we get a tree?

Soon, we say. Just so you know: "soon" has completely different meanings for kids and adults. Adult = somewhere in the near future as in days or weeks. Kid = somewhere in the next 7 seconds.

If you need some more Christmas music to listen to my friend Julie suggested this album by Andrew Peterson which you can listen to for - here's the best part - free. Everyone can use some "Free" in December, right?

Philip and I already have our first gift: a new camera. Thanks to some Christmas money from his grandpa, we have our first non-point and shoot camera.

I am afraid of this camera, naturally, being afraid of most new and (to us) expensive things, but that's not stopping me from using it. I took this picture, for instance, which is already my favorite picture of Miss Lili ever in the history of Lili (my apologies to those of you who have already been forced to admire this picture on Facebook):
That is one of her looks that has never been captured by a camera before and I am quite proud of it.
Lili also looked like this in several pictures. I can only think that she's forgotten what it's like for Mom and Dad to take pictures because - and I found this out when I was trying to make Christmas cards and gifts - we took almost NO pictures this year. What can I say? It's been a rough year.

We also took pictures of the other girls which I think turned out well despite being taken in our currently not-so photogenic yard but I'll have to share those another time.

And, just because this is Random Monday after all, and I am an Anglophile and Royal Watcher and, now that I think about it, lover of all things Baby related: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby.

That's definitely enough randomness for one Monday. How's your Monday treating you?
This post is linked to Random Monday at Not Inadequate.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekend Links - December 1, 2012

Oh, my - I have so many links today. Skipping just one week = link overload. I'll share as many as I can. (Which is probably more than you can stand anyway. My apologies.)

Meanwhile, hello, it's December! For us this means not only the usual holiday season but also multiple family birthdays. Let the fun commence! (Confidential to our sweet nephew Jo-Jo: Happy Birthday, little man - can't believe you're two already!)

For The Holidays:
  • In Which I Break Up With Martha Stewart. I had a free subscription to Martha Stewart Living for the last year or two. I used to read the entries on "Martha's Calendar" to Philip and we would both laugh. Really, that's all you can do. (H/T Vanderbilt Wife)
  • Simple Solutions for the Most Complicated Time of the Year. I don't know about you, but I really needed that post. All problems are not going to be solved just because "it's the most wonderful time of the year". The very first point about setting boundaries is worth the price of admission. (Just kidding, it doesn't cost anything to read that post. Except maybe you'll be less stressed by things you can't control this holiday season.)
  • If you need some shopping suggestions for a teenage girl, here's a helpful post: Affordable Gifts for Teen Girls (a guest post by the blog author's daughter)
  • Santa Who? The Santa Claus thing does not offend me. We don't "do" it with our girls, but we do read stories and watch the old classic movies. It's like Mickey Mouse or something: fun to pretend. (We do try to keep them from ruining it for other kids, of course.) And another post from the Femina blog: The Here and the Now.
  • Which reminds me that I must share Jessie's post: A Self-Righteous Christmas? We have family that doesn't do Christmas at all. We have family who go the whole nine yards: Santa, Elf on the Shelf, Reindeer and everything. We're somewhere in the middle of that. So I love Jessie's last few sentences (but please, go read the whole thing!):
With everything, I want my decisions to be influenced only by God’s desires for me and my family. I am only held responsible for my children – not yours. So this Christmas … make your decisions. But may they be driven by a desire to please God and not played out in a self-righteous fashion. I promise I’ll do my part to do the same. I hope talking about how we “do Christmas” around here will never make you feel guilty, accused, or angry.
For Thinking:
  • I stumbled onto this blog (Borrowed Light) a few weeks ago and I've enjoyed his thought provoking posts since then.This one caught my eye because, well, Mike Leake and the Reds: Why I'm Thankful for Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Mike Leake..
  • Here's another from the other Mike Leake: From Woe to Go.
  • As Children's Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity. Children need time to be kids, to make messes, to figure things out on their own and to even be - gasp - bored from time to time. Which is one reason why we chose homeschooling but that's another post for another time.
  • Speaking of homeschooling, Heidi of Mt. Hope Chronicles made a list of what she considers Core Skill Curricula. I use some of the things she recommends and had never heard of others. (I have mentioned that I love lists like this from fellow homeschoolers, haven't I?)
  • Some Schools Now Track Students Like Prisoners. This one made me angry. And then it made me sad. Only "a handful" of families thought this was a problem? What is wrong with us?!
  • The Headmistress talked about the dangers (and the futility) of Comparisons. Laziness is one thing (and that's a spiritual problem) but other than that, we've all been given somewhat different circumstances, families, and challenges.
  • You may have already seen this one shared but I'll share it again: All Kids Have Special Needs by Jamie. Fabulous post!
  • I don't watch the show but I couldn't help but see the news about Angus Jones repudiating the CBS comedy in which he co-stars. I thought this interview was interesting: How "Two and a Half Men" Star Became a "Paid Hypocrite."
 For Fun or  "A-ha!" moments:
Pins of the Week:
For whatever reason, I've been pinning a lot of recipes lately. Like this:

And this:

And - trying not to drool here - this:

This made me laugh:

Probably because we had a rough afternoon Monday. All the girls, from oldest to youngest, were having a rough re-entry into real life after a week off for Thanksgiving. Philip came home from his tutoring jobs and asked me how things went.

"Well, I ordered five parenting books from the library while you were gone," was my answer. Yes, it was that bad.I can't imagine where they get all that stubbornness from...

I know, I know. That was a crazy long links post. If you only saw all the links I had to save for next time!
This post is linked to Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife.