Thursday, December 30, 2010

Something NEW in 2011

2011 seems to be promising of many new things!  New year, new babies (not for ME, crazies!  Did I have you wondering??).  New year, new picturesNew year, new goals (I have a few).  New year, new friendsNew year, new recipes (one of my faves!).  New year, new heart (literally, for a friend's baby).  New year, new tricks (as I'm watching my boy scoot across the living room floor).  New year, new clothes (yay, Christmas gift cards!). 

A big one for me in 2011 is new year, new blog "Greenhill, Party of 4" at will be no longer after 2010 passes.   We'll still be a circus-like party of four, but as our focus shifts and goals and dreams for the new year develop, my blog is going to change along with everything else- including its location!!  We'll start out with a few giveaways in the month of January, so you won't want to miss out.  Be sure to check here next week for the details so you'll know where to find the goods!

2011=new blog for me.   

What's new for YOU in 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Great Santa Debate

"Are y'all going to do Santa?"  It's an awfully popular question when you have small children.  And it's been an ongoing conversation for the past 2 months or so.  But what does that mean, anyway?  "Do Santa."

Are you wondering if we're going to visit Santa at the mall?  Are you wondering if presents marked "From Santa" will be under our tree?  Perhaps you're curious to see if we'll put out cookies and milk for the jolly man or if we'll leave carrots out in the yard for his dreadful creatures reindeer.  (Do you know about my intense fear and hate of deer?  Stupid animals.)  Maybe you're asking if we'll utter his name in our house.  Some people don't, you know. Will we ban all songs about Santa in our house? 

A little bit of background for you:  I don't ever remember growing up with Santa.  Santa wasn't a big deal at my house.  Sure, we left cookies and milk for Santa.  We even had a handful of Santa decorations around the house.  We decorated Santa-shaped cookies with sugar sprinkles, red hots, and those microscopic candy balls that break your teeth.  We waved "Hello" to Santa as we passed him in the mall.  But we didn't go sit on his lap, we didn't write letters to him, and we didn't talk about him a whole lot.  We were never told that there WAS or WASN'T a Santa.  And I never ever felt like I was missing out on any part of my childhood. 

Fast forward to the present:  We have our own children.  So, what are we going to do?  We have lots of traditions in the Greenhill house.  You can check out some of them here and here.  However, Santa will not be one of our traditions.  To answer the questions above... No, we are not going to visit him at the mall.  I don't want to pay to have a picture of my two children shrieking in Santa's lap, and it's just not an important tradition to me.  There will be no presents "From Santa" under our tree.  Cookies and milk?  Perhaps.  I do like cookies an awful lot.  Carrots?  Nah.  Will we speak the man's name?  Sure!  St. Nicholas was a great guy with a great heart.  He's a great example to use as we teach our kids about giving.  We might ban certain Santa songs, but not for the reasons you'd think. 

So, why no Santa?  I could tell you it's because we don't want to lie to our kids.  It sounds terribly harsh, and it IS a reason, but it's not my main reason.  I mentioned a few weeks ago how I hate one particular phrase that has become a cliche in the "Christian world."  Goofy cliche, but true.  Santa is not the reason for the season.  My children are not the reason for the season.  Consumerism is not the reason for the season.  A friend shared a thought with me recently, and it has really stuck with me.  "Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  So, why in the world do we get a bunch of presents?"  Christmas is not a time to celebrate my kids.  It's not a time to celebrate my husband.  Is it a time to be so thankful for them that my heart wants to burst?  You bet.  But, I don't want Kate and Drew to grow up thinking that Christmas is all about them.  And I certainly don't want them thinking that they ought to be good so a fictitious fat man with a beard will bring them presents!  I don't want them missing out for even one second on the enormity of the gift of Jesus.

"But, how/what are you going to tell them?"  Beats me!  Really.  I don't know.  They can't talk yet, so they can't ask.  Ha!  ;)  We have a little bit of time to come up with a thoughtful and sensitive answer.  In the meantime, we are praying that our home will be a place of peace as "the weary world rejoices" because Christ our King is born!

What kind of Santa traditions do/did you have in your family?  If your family didn't "do Santa," feel free to share the reasons for that!  *Please remember to be kind and sensitive, as some thoughts (including mine!) may differ from yours.* 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas with 2 under 2

Our Christmas decorating looks rather different this year, now that we have one walking and another trying with all of his might to figure out crawling.  Last year, Kate began crawling the week after Christmas (the day after cutting BOTH bottom teeth), so we didn't have to worry about our decorations.  She loved the tree and could have spent hours in this very position:

I cannot even believe that was just a year ago!!  This year, Drew does much of the same (imagine that!).  He's much more of a roller than Kate was, so he still gets around.  He's content just to sit and look at the tree, though.  NEXT YEAR will bring even more changes as far as decorating and traditions go.  We'll have a 1 1/2 year old and a 2 1/2 year old (I do like how simple this math is when it concerns my children!!) and that brings a new set of dynamics!
People often ask me what life is like with two so close together (362 days, remember).  A little like having twins, yet not quite.  Here is a glimpse into the Christmas season at the Greenhill home with two under two. 

Christmas cards:  Getting 3 of us to look at the camera for a decent family picture?  Yup, we did it.  Remember the Christmas card post a few weeks ago?  You can see last year's picture here.  How about 4 of us looking in the same direction and smiling?  Probably not.  My plan was to split up the pictures and include 3 on our card this year.  One of Kate, one of Drew, and one of Jon and me.  Amazingly, my mom and sister managed to capture a pretty good one of the entire Greenhill party of four this past weekend and it's a keeper!!

Christmas cookies:  I LOVE baking for Christmas.  My sister and I have started a fun tradition of taking a "Baking Day" before Christmas and we spend the entire day baking/prepping Christmas goodies.  Last year, it was on a Saturday and Jon was able to keep Kate occupied during her awake hours.  This year, it was on a Monday (therefore, no blog post yesterday!).  Let's just say that with two under two, Gretchen and I didn't have many moments alone for peaceful baking! 

Decorations:  Most of my favorite decorations are candles.  Or breakable things.  You know, toddler/baby appropriate items.  *sigh*  I pulled out many of them from the Christmas bins, stared longingly at them, and returned them to the bins.  We don't have much shelf/counter space in our home, so we don't have many places to put our decorations out of harm's way.  However, our house is not void of breakable Christmas decorations.  Call me crazy, but here's my plan.  Kate needs to learn that not everything is fair game.  We still have candles in the windows, ornaments on the entire tree, a tablecloth with a glass nativity on the dining room table, and a mini Christmas tree all within reach of little hands.  Reality: The world is not baby proof.  And Kate is learning what she can and can't touch/play with.  It's important for her to learn that our home will have some of Mom and Dad's things within her grasp and they are not toys.  And believe it or not, this has worked REALLY well!  She knows that she can look at the candles in the windows, but not touch.  She can peek up on the dining room table, but doesn't yank on the tablecloth.  She can touch some of the ornaments on the bottom part of the tree, but she knows not to pull them off.  (In case she does, they aren't breakable!)   

Tree watering:  I don't do it anymore.  HA!  Guess who does?? 

Yup!  I just gave her a container with ice cubes, and she got to work!  Those bad boys will melt in the stand, and our beautiful Fraser fir is watered until it's thirsty again!  Sorry about the bad lighting- you can only get but so many angles when you're under. the. tree.  :)

Those are a few ways our Christmas looks a little bit different this year.  We're also coming to some conclusions regarding "The Great Santa Debate."  Check back next week for more on that!

Did you/do you do anything differently in the Christmas season with young ones in the house?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas traditions and Facebook

Nope, this blog is not about Christmas traditions using Facebook.  Those topics are totally unrelated, but I wasn't coming up with anything creative for a title today.

Facebook news:  For a very long time, I've had Facebook importing my blog posts.  This is where most of you comment on whatever I've written.  After this post, I'm disabling that feature.  SO... If you enjoy reading about our little family or you're entertained by my weirdness or you just like looking at pictures of my sweet babies (I do too, don't worry), go ahead and bookmark this blog!! will provide all of those goodies for you and you can (and should!) comment over there.  AND, an exciting blog change is going to take place in the New Year, so stay tuned for that!  We're working really hard to get it off the ground (ie: my husband is doing a TON of work for me)!

Christmas traditions: I'm a tradition girl.  I love traditions and I love eagerly anticipating them.  In fact, my mom used to remind me that doing something once didn't make it a tradition.  Prime example: She bought us some special treats for a plane ride one time and we looooooved them.  One time, people.  Next plane ride?  "We ALWAYS have those on the plane, Mom!!!!!!!!!"  Anyway, traditions hold a special place in my heart, and Christmas brings out many of them.  I guarantee you'd quit reading this post if I listed them all, so here are just a few.

  •  Nativities: I love having a visual of Jesus' birth.  So much so, that I have just a "few" Nativity sets around our house.  One may or not be the Veggie Tales nativity.  And Kate may or may not have realized that the star (Laura's face with Junior's voice) will screech "O Little Town of Bethlehem" as many times as she might wish to press it.  Growing up, my sister and I loved to play with the nativity and even act out the story of Jesus' birth.
  • Advent calendars: You can find a million different Advent calendars out there.  Many of them have candy in them.  NOT exactly the point of Advent... but hey!  Some of the best Advent calendars include Scripture or activities that help remind us of the purpose of the days leading up to Christmas. 
  • Christmas lights: Don't think much of an explanation is needed for this one.  There are a ton of beautiful tacky fun lights around Richmond and we love to check them out!  If you're in the Raleigh-Durham area, you should scoot on by my sister-in-law's house.  It's quite a sight!! 
  • Pajamas: We always open one package on Christmas Eve: new pajamas to wear to bed!  And Jon got to join in on the fun when we started dating!  Even still, at 28 and 29, we look forward to our new jammies!  I'm especially looking forward to MINE this year, because for the first time since 2007, they will not be maternity pjs.  HA!  ;)
We have some other important traditions in our families related to giving and living lives of gratitude, but that's for another time.

What are some of YOUR favorite family Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Our lives...