Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

As Madeline's Mommy I proudly accept the title of "Maker of Memories". I understand the responsibility of raising my kid(s) and realize that everything I do - or don't do - in their day to day life will make a lasting impression. The fun part of that job is making holiday traditions that she'll look forward to. My favorite holiday has always been Christmas, and I hope that through my holiday cheer and family traditions it will be Madeline's as well.

Some of the traditions I'm starting with our little family are:

Family Photos.

Cookies. I love to bake cookies. I love to gift cookies. I LOVE to eat cookies.

Jeff's favorite: White Chocolate Peppermint.
My favorite: Snickerdoodles

One day Maddy will have a fave and I'll be sure to bake those every year. When I was working outside the home, and lived near a ton of friends, I liked to bake 5-10 different types of cookies and then gift them. When we make more friends here, and when Maddy is a bit older so she can help, I hope to make that many again. This year we only made 3 types, but I'm hoping next year we'll have the need to make more. I also want to get brave and make other Christmas treats like marshmallows, white chocolate popcorn, nutty buddies, etc. One day we'll have a Bake-Day and it will be GLORIOUS!!!

Pajamas. I want to get Madeline (and other kid(s) we have) a new pair of pajamas to be opened Christmas eve. I think part of the fun (for me) is searching for the perfect pair of pajamas, and the other part of the fun is the opening a present Christmas Eve night. Sure, one day she'll know it's going to be pajamas, but I hope it'll still be fun. Then, in our pajamas we'll snuggle up and watch a Christmas movie.

Movies. I eventually want to have a movie-a-night for the week leading up to Christmas. At this point there are 4 must-watch movies in our family.

Last night we watched Elf. I love Elf! Obviously, with her being 16 months old, it didn't hold Madeline's attention for long, but she really liked all the bright colors and the singing done by Zooey Deshenel.

Tonight we'll be watching The Family Stone. If you haven't seen The Family Stone, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's got quite a few big stars in it, which is usually a recipe for disaster, but I think it's one of the best movies ever. It's funny and touching and you can relate to the family. A little bit dysfunctional, a little bit quirky, but they love each other and hold each other up when times are tough.

Tomorrow we'll watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It should come as no surprise that this is Jeff's favorite movie, but I think it's funny as well. It's not exactly a kids movie, and it may have to be watched after Maddy goes to bed for a few years, but it's still one we look forward to.

On Christmas Eve we'll watch A Christmas Story. It's so cheesy, it's quoted more times that any movie should, but I'll still smile and laugh as Ralphy comes down the stairs in the pink bunny costume, and when he gets his mouth washed out with soap, and when his dad mispronounces FRAGILE, and when they go to the Chinese restaurant for their Christmas dinner. It's an oldie, but a goodie for sure.

As the years go on I'm sure we'll add more traditions, and I look forward to it. I look forward to the year when we get out the box of ornaments and Madeline jumps up and down so excited, when she proudly decorates her own sugar cookies, and when she performs in a Christmas musical. I hope she grows to love Christmas like we do.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lets RAK November - Week 3 and 4

Things got a little busy around here with Thanksgiving, so I didn't get around to posting Week 3's RAKs on time. SO, here are both weeks 3 and 4. I have to apologize for the lack of photos, MOST of the time I just forgot to grab my camera when I left the house, and then there were a couple times when I remembered to bring it with, but the battery was dead. Because of the lack of pics this post may bore you.

RAK 15: The week before Thanksgiving I donated some Thanksgiving meal types of food to the local food bank.

RAK 16: I went to Target's $1 spot and picked up a few Sesame Street books and donated them to the Salvation Army donation center. The lady seemed surprised that I was bringing children's books. She said they usually only get adult books donated to them.

RAK 17: I printed up 10 business-card sized cards that said: "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." ~Kathryn Stockett, The Help and put them on random cars in the high school parking lot down the street from my apartment.

RAK 18: I wrote 3 Thank You cards to loved ones and mailed them out. "Thank you for being there for me when I need you." "Thank you for loving Madeline so much." "Thank you for being so thoughtful and generous." The people I sent them to seemed to really appreciate the cards - and 2 of the 3 noted how unexpected it was to get something so simple and heartfelt in the USPS mail. It's a shame that people don't write/send letters anymore, dontcha think?

RAK 19: I got some coloring books and crayons at Hobby Lobby and dropped them off at the hospital's pediatric unit.

RAK 20: On a nice sunny day, Madeline and I (she strapped in the Ergo baby carrier on my chest) opened the door for 10 people before going into Target to do our normal Target shopping. A few people didn't even acknowledge the cute baby, but most were very gracious. One older lady asked me why I was holding the door for her. I responded, "why not?" :) She just put her hand on my arm and gave me a big smile.

RAK 21: I went to my favorite coffee shop and paid for the car across from me's drink. Across from you? I can hear the confusion from here. My favorite coffee shop is ONLY a drive through, there's no cafe. There are two drive-up windows, one on either side of the little building and you can see the car across the way through the building while you're waiting for your drink to me made. A car pulled up across the way shortly after me, and when the barista told me my total and asked for my car I simply asked her to charge my card for the other customer's latte also. (When I worked at Starbucks a few years ago this was a pretty popular RAK that always made people's mornings on the way in to work. I loved to see how happy it made people to get free coffee!)

RAK 22: I hadn't planned this one, but shortly after I got my ^^peppermint hot chocolate^^ I was sitting in road construction traffic and s-l-o-w-l-y crept up to the STOP/SLOW sign holder. She looked like she was FREEZING. I hadn't taken a sip of my HoCho yet, so I rolled down my window and asked if she wanted it. I was still within sight of the coffee shop, and it was obvious that the lid was still perfectly clean so she gladly accepted it. :)

RAK 23: I made "Breastfeeding Kits" and dropped them off at the maternity ward of the hospital. Each kit had 2 breast pads, 1 tube of lanolin, a pack of oatmeal and a bottle of water. I only made 5 kits, but hopefully they got passed out to women who wanted to breastfeed. It would be nice to get a breastfeeding kit that WASN'T provided by a formula manufacturer.

RAK 24: When the school supplies were on clearance at Target (are you starting to understand my love/obsession with that store??) I stocked up on about 10 boxes of crayons. I dropped them off to an elementary school. I think it's insane that teachers are supposed to supply their classrooms with the supplies it needs.

RAK 25: I wrote 3 thank you notes for the USPS mail carriers. I put one in my apartment mailbank's outgoing box. I put one in a blue sidewalk mail box outside the hospital. I put the last one in the "stamped letters" slot inside the post office. I know mail carriers get a lot of flack, but geeze louise I wouldn't want to do their jobs!! When I worked in an office setting I'd usually try to be chatty with the mail carriers and some of the stories I've heard are unbelievable!

RAK 26: I left 2 quarters on top of 4 different machines at a laundromat by the University.

RAK 27: Instead of donating old towels/blankets to Goodwill, I instead donated them to an animal rescue that was set up at Petsmart one Saturday. I figured they could use the blankets to line the crates so that the dogs didn't have to sit on the cold metal or concrete.

RAK 28: Donated some carnations and daisies to a local assisted living home. The worker at the front desk said she'd put one on each person's bedside table.

RAK 29: On a busy errand-running day I complimented 5 strangers. "Wow, your hair looks really pretty!" "Your daughter is adorable!!" etc.

RAK 30: Left "Have a great day!" notes on cars at the mall parking lot.

That was it for my "Lets RAK November" 30 Day Challenge. I really enjoyed the challenge and was really happy the other morning when I saw my neighbor getting all the snow off another neighbor's car for her. He is the owner of one of the white cars that I scraped all the snow off his car in the very first RAK that I did. :) I love to see the RAKs being paid forward! :) I look forward to doing this challenge again in years to come and I really look forward to my kid(s) helping me. <3