26 Acts Challenge

Last Sunday, I was sitting in line at Starbucks singing to Eartha Kitt's ridiculous "Santa Baby" and looking forward to my coffee cake and caramel brulee latte. When I got to the window, the guy said "The woman in front of you paid for your order, so you're good to go!"  I was stunned. I know it was a little gesture, but I wasn't expecting it. In my confusion, I said thanks and drove away. I should have paid for the person behind me, I just wasn't thinking!

I did end up paying it forward to a friend within an hour or two of the Starbucks Miracle, but I still don't feel satisfied with it.

Because of the nature of my workplace (elementary school), we were understandably not permitted to discuss the tragedies of Newtown Connecticut. Having family there and being in the exact setting of the actual shootings, I probably feel a little more connected to it than most people. Hit me hard.

Anyway, have you seen this? Scroll down to check out all the good ideas. I am inspired! There was no way I could get them done before Christmas, so I am just going to make it a goal this winter to get them done. And hopefully those 26 will lead to 676 (26x26...math for the day) kind gestures.

Thanks to Mel for showing lots of different ways to get this down without spending lots of money. What about you? Will you try it?

The Great Christmas Post

I'll let the pictures do the talking. What a wonderful day we had!
Christmas Eve at Grandma's house
Stockings have always been my favorite part of Christmas! I love finding those perfect little things that my family will use and shows that I know them (except now Matt has 16 tubes of chapstick because Santa overcalculated his usage).

The tree is dwarfed by the gifts! They aren't all for us...that's for the whole family! Well, let's be honest...they're mostly for Larkyn.

Good morning! Check out your new kitchen, baby! PS- we LOVE our Hannah Andersson PJs!  And the kitchen is the Kidkraft Espresso. It took 2 hours to put together but was very straightforward and hard to mess up. We hope it lasts for several years!

I had to laugh. But I was impressed that he actually wrapped!  I had absolutely no idea what was inside.

Seriously?!  Daddy done good.

Santa and his helper had a little snafu, so the dogs didn't have anything in their stockings. We put toys that they thought disappeared in their stocking as well as a jar of peanut butter and a Kong!  They were happy as could be!
Always have to have a special Christmas breakfast. This year, it was Paula Deen's Gorilla bread. Next time, we will omit the cream cheese. Otherwise, delish!

While we are waiting for round 2 of the gifts, she kept herself busy with the phone. Another mama note...you might scoff at the toddler Uggs. I'll have you know that this child requests her "boops" daily, they go on easily, and keep her warm. When your little one starts to resist socks and shoes, these are a lifesaver!

The Pottery Barn cupcakes were a huge hit. She says "Mmmm!" every time she sees them and will offer them to her guests.

"Give PawPaw a kiss!"  His favorite little girl.

Her favorite gift? The new shoes (Keen Coronado). She wanted them on ASAP and then ran back and forth in them.

Her other favorite:  CHICA!!  If you don't know Chica the chicken, congratulations to you for not spending your day watching Sprout. She is adorable though.

Feeding her baby from Nana (it is creepily life-like but perfect for a 20 month old)

Do you know what time it is? Time to end the best Christmas I can remember in a long time!  And to show you the watch I was lucky to receive. I've always been a Fossil girl, and the Georgia watches are my new fave!  Ready for one in every color:)

So there you go. Just a small glimpse of our day. There are 200 more pictures, but I will spare you. What was your favorite gift you gave or received?  What did your toddlers like?

Merry Christmas!

Birthday Thursday: 20 Months

Yesterday was her first time to "play" in the snow. I use "play" loosely, as she sat and looked around or wanted to walk only in the neighbor's yard. I'd say she's a little indifferent to the snow at this point.

Favorite activities: Playing with your new Christmas stuff, using a broom to "help" me sweep, pretend play

New words:  Bowl (necessary for everything I give you), Buhlease (please), "me" (knee), "Ba-paw" (my dad), "nono" (rhino), bubbles!

Ways you make us laugh:  It's pretty funny when you kick on command. Also, whenever you hear a train, the world stops as you listen, and you respond with a "wooo woo!"

Ways you get into trouble:  With the cold weather, you are getting stir crazy. This has been translating into random screams or banging things around to shake things up a bit. Ah yes, and coloring on the walls. Thank goodness they invented washable crayons, which did not exist in 1984 when I had the same idea.

Sweet things you do:  You hold up your stuffed animals to our mouths and say "Mmmm..." to give them a kiss. You will give family kisses when they leave or when you go to bed. You walk over to the dogs and pet them, saying "Awwww".

We are back!

And man, do I have a lot of catching up to do. So expect a few posts today, while Snicklefritz is napping and I am all cranked up from my peppermint mocha.

It's time for a December wrap up. Which depresses me. My poor mother can confirm that I was known for crying after my birthday and after Christmas because all the fun was over. January pretty much sucks, except for Julie's birthday and...yeah that's it.

This December was especially great because of my toddler. It is true, Christmas is fun again when you have kids around. Christmas is always fun for me...I don't get the stress that comes with it. It is a choice: you can choose to be stressed out over buying, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, or you can say: "this is supposed to be fun and dammit if I am going to use boxed cheesy potatoes and be OK with it" :)  With that, I now present by favorite moments of December...

10. These 2 fails that went a little something like this:
  • City of Dublin tree lighting (oh, sounds fun, right?)- speed home, feed baby, dress baby in 6 layers, try to stuff her into carseat that doesn't accommodate 6 layers. Get stuck in rush our traffic on 2 lane road. No parking whatsoever. Off-road with the stroller through the city and arrive at said tree lighting to hear "3-2-1...Happy Holidays! Santa will meet everyone back at the library!" (where we parked). Arrive back at library, where we should have stayed, to see a line 12312836 people long. Decide to go home, pass Santa in a firetruck on our way out.
  • Columbus Zoo Lights: Decide to go out on a 60 degree Saturday night. HA. Everyone else in the greater Columbus area had the same idea. Divert to over-priced Alum Creek lights and wait in 2 total hours of traffic getting there and back. Screaming child. December has to get better...

9. Going to see Santa at the high school Santa Breakfast. I am totally sold on never going back to the mall Santa. This is my advice to you: find a Santa breakfast to support a school, church, or Rec Center and GO. Admission was $5 and we got breakfast, social time with Julie and other Dublin teachers.

8. Making Christmas snack mix and bringing it to my coworkers. It was so easy and brought a smile to their faces.

7.  Mama's day out shopping. I took a personal day, dropped Larkyn off with Miss C., and got 90% of the Christmas shopping done at my favorite mall. I could take as long as I wanted to compare every tea set in Pottery Barn Kids or every go back and forth on 5 pairs of pajamas at the Loft. It was Heaven.

6. Watching 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family with Matt. Though there was way too much Tim Allen and not enough Chevy Chase, we had fun relaxing with a fire and a movie almost every night!

5. Wrapping presents with my fantastic $9 coordinating set from Target. The (actually very cute) set came with matching bows, ribbons, 4 rolls of paper and gift tags. All in ONE BOX. I hate the mess of all those oddly shaped things, so this was my dream come true.

4.  Listening to the Christmas radio station on the way to and from work. Larkyn has always been a good car rider, but she especially loves Christmas music it seems.

3. New words from Larkyn: When she sees Santa, she says "Ho, ho, ho!" and she will say "Hey!" if you sing Jingle Bells.

2. Christmas Eve in German Village with Matt's family. Love it when the kids can play together!

1.  The BIG DAY. It is my favorite day of the year. Watching Larkyn play with her new kitchen, her baby, her train set, seeing Matt's face when he opened his surprise shoes, and even the excitement that the animals show is priceless. Having the grandparents over for delicious food and more presents is always fun, and nothing beats opening a few presents myself;o)

This doesn't make sense.

I teach kindergarten.

I taught kindergarten today. With 2 sets of 22 children happily making gingerbread houses with their parents. All of them were blessed to be safe and return to their parents' arms at the end of the day.

I don't understand what happened today in Connecticut. Why someone wanted to and was ABLE to harm those innocent children. I'm watching the 20/20 special now and can feel a big pit in my chest opening up.

It could have been my classroom. And what would I do? I have no idea. I have no idea how I would protect the children who I consider my own for 8 hours of the day. And I kind of feel like I have to figure that out now. I was shaken up by other school shootings, but assumed that I was safe in a kindergarten room. Now my mind is racing, trying to figure out how I'd lock my door, where I'd put my students, how I would help them survive. I have a daughter, a husband. I don't want to be fearful of going to work every day.

Because we were sheltered from all of the news today, I knew only a few details until I got home. But as soon as I turned on the TV and saw the location, I realized that there was not six degrees of separation from these people experiencing the trauma. There was ONE. Newtown, CT. I just sent a Christmas card there today. To my dear cousin and faithful follower on this blog. She is a teacher in Newtown. I was so relieved to call my mom to find out that she is OK, but surely she is experiencing pain right now. This has to be a hard night.

I am thinking of you.

And my heart is absolutely breaking for the parents who have lost their babies. I hope that time and the world's kind thoughts can heal.

What I take from this is that something MUST change. Our system of keeping the public safe is broken and this is unacceptable.

FYI, I'm still deciding on what to do about running out of space for photos on blogger. The holidays have been busy around here and I will do a December recap, I think.

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