Merry Christmas!

“… It Came without ribbons! It came without tags!

It came without packages, boxes, or bags!

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

– From “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss


I have puzzled my puzzler sore about this too. You see at our house this morning there were ribbons and tags, boxes and bows… but as I watched my kids opening gifts with glee, I was saying a silent prayer that the specialness of today would not be lost on them. That the season we are closing would open their hearts the rest of the year through for what God has to offer them. Gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love. Gifts of grace, mercy, and kindness. I prayed that they would soak those things up, near to their hearts, abundantly and fully so that there is plenty to share the whole year through.

I want them to know that Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

We spend our Christmas season, building to this day as a reminder of all that God has done for us and all that is to come. We celebrate the peace in our own hearts and pray that every person we know would share that peace.

So, as you go about your day today, I hope you have a moment, if only briefly, to soak it all up in your heart too. Everything that you remember from this Christmas season past. A friendly face. A kind word. A glimmering light in the cold. A roaring fire to warm you. Sweet music to strengthen your soul… and a tiny baby who is Lord of all.

Because the first Christmas… well, it came without ribbons and bows too… and it turned out just perfectly…

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:11-14 (KJV)

Merry Christmas!!



Holiday Countdown

Let the countdown begin!

24, 23, 22, 21….

And so it began only a few weeks ago. Up goes the advent calendar, and so begins the annual march from 1 to 24… the intensity building by the day (which may be due to the copious advent calendar chocolate being consumed, but who’s keeping score…). Since becoming a mother, I have revelled at seeing Christmas through my children’s eyes. The wonder of the Christmas tree, twinkling in our family room, the lure of gifts under the tree, the smell of festive treats coming from the kitchen. It all takes on a sparkling glow when seen through the eyes of children. AND THE COUNTDOWN… oh the countdown!

“How many more sleeps now, mom?”

“Can we mail our Christmas lists now, mom?”

And new to my household this year (my oldest is in grade 2 and the youngest in kindergarten):

“When does our school break start, mom?”

For whatever reason, the joy and anticipation of being “out” of school for the holidays had not yet consumed my kids until this year. Maybe it is that both of them are in school now, rather than just one. Or that as they are getting older, they more fully appreciate the weeks at home that they are gifted with over the holidays. Whatever it is, this year has been full of anticipation of the “Christmas Break!”

And here’s the thing… I have enjoyed watching my kids count down the days. I have enjoyed watching them say good-bye to their classmates “until next year!!” I have enjoyed celebrating Christmas at the many parties, concerts, and special days that school brings to the season…

But more than all that…

Shhhhhh… don’t tell my kids…

I am practically GIDDY that the break is here too! All those years in kid-dome, wishing for the Christmas break to start, almost leaping out of my skin with excitement for the Christmas that was almost upon me… if only I knew what was to come. Because truly, no child, EVER, has felt the sheer joy, excitement, relief, and contentment that comes to a MOTHER at the prospect of a break from the everyday!! Oh, they think this holiday countdown is all about them… but little do they know, I have been doing a little happy dance of my own as they counted down the days!

And here we are, on the Eve of the first day off… Ahhhhhh. My little sugar plums are snuggled tight in their beds, and I…

Well, I am NOT making lunches for tomorrow. And really, who could ask for a better gift than that?!

Merry Christmas!

A Night at the Museum

We are going on year 4 of Dinomania in our household. It all started when CT was 4… and then again when JJ turned 4 (neither interest level seems to be waning). Don’t get me wrong. This science-loving, research-loving, biology-loving mom is tickled pink that her lovelies are taking an interest in the natural world… but 4 years of reading dino encyclopedias is getting a bit much, if you know what I mean…

However, I’m a sucker for all things educational, and dinomania counts… sooooo…

What does a dino-loving, hiking-bound, fun-seeking family in Southern Alberta do when they need yet another dino fix? They drive to the Mecca of museums for dinosaur lovers in our part of the world, which by some magical twist of dino-fate is only 1.5 hours from our humble abode. Of course, I speak of the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta (A.K.A, dino-heaven to our little paleontologist prodigies).

As you might imagine, our last few years have been riddled with countless excursions to this destination. So, when the request came this summer to, again, visit the museum, I had to find a way to shake it up a little. We have done all the activities. We have done all the hikes. We have done all the interpretive programs… what could possibly be left?!

A SLEEP OVER!!! I’m not kidding. For a very reasonable price, we found ourselves camping out under the dino bones after filling our bellies with a yummy dino-snack, and resting our minds after 2 hours of never-before enjoyed behind the scenes dino-experiences. The kids? Ecstatic! The parents? In the good books for the time being!


After a (surprisingly!) good sleep under the bones, we awoke to a hot breakfast, dino movie, and a full day in the museum!

On this mom’s scale of fun-famly-excursions, at a reasonable price, and in the vicinity of home, this one rates 10/10. If you have dino-fans at home, I highly recommend you check it out!






Yelling Doesn’t Teach the Dog Mommy!

Do you ever have those moments when you just wonder if having a voice around your children is even worth it? You talk, they listen, no, pretend to listen, no, feign remote interest, honestly, they totally block you out! I do. I have such good intentions with my kids, and mostly, I think they do hear PARTS of what I say. However, I am never totally certain that they are getting my drift. We talk about kindness, we talk about being grateful, we talk about peacekeeping, leading, encouraging… we talk about how to be a family in the fullest sense of that word. And yet sometimes I wonder…

But then there are times when the lens of childlike innocence brings it all in to focus, and I can believe for just a moment that some nugget of truth might actually be forever ingrained in their pre-adolescent brains…

Like the other day…

Naptime for Sam and one of his kids.
Sam the wonder dog at nap time

We have a dog. His name is Sam. Sam the terrier wonder dog. Sam is a wonder dog for a lot of reasons, some of which I might highlight another day. But, for today, suffice it to say that Sam is our family mascot. We all love and adore him… except when Sam is naughty. You see sometimes, when Sam is feeling particularly left out of our family fun… which is really anytime he doesn’t come in the car with us, Sam leaves us a particularly stinky gift on the mat at the front door. It’s rude. I dislike cleaning it. It is unbecoming of an 11-year-old, well-trained, highly intelligent terrier to do such a disgraceful thing. That’s how I see it. That is not how Sam sees it. He sees it as our penance for daring to omit him from what is obviously his birthright – to be with his family at all times.

Soooo, it has happened a time or two that upon finding this disgraceful mess in my home, I may have lost my temper at our wonder dog. Loud words may have been said. A very angry mommy may have reared up her not-so-pretty face. It was one of those times the other week when I realized that my kids do, in fact, hear what I say.

“SAM! YOU ARE A BAD DOG. WHAT A MESS! OUTSIDE WITH YOU!!!” That’s what I said. Loudly. Then I shuttled him not-so-gently out the door. Then, I was schooled in appropriate language and voice by my 5-year old boy (Sam’s napping buddy in the photo above). Tears streaming from his eyes, voice quivering but loud and certain, my lovely little JJ said, “Mommy, yelling at the dog doesn’t teach the dog! Yelling just makes him feel bad and no one can do good when they feel bad!” Well said my little man, very well said.

It was quite a few years ago that I took a vow of yellibacy (thank you Dr. Laura Markham… google her if you are interested). It appears that my kids noticed. It also appears that it has not trickled down to every part of my life.

So, Sam… you’re in luck. Apparently, according to JJ, you too, are worthy of a yell-free mama… so you’ll just have to wait in your kennel when we go out, so that I don’t have anything to yell about when I get home!!!