Grateful at Christmas Time

Since my trip to Bulgaria, Christmas time has always gotten me a little teary-eyed thinking of those less fortunate than me.  I have had a lot of experience dealing with children who had nothing.  My time working at the mother's drug rehabilitation center introduced me to children who, at times, had no one in their life to give them a hug but the staff.  Their mothers were undergoing intense counseling sessions in order to prove to the court system that they should regain custody of their children after losing them for drug/alcohol abuse.  It was often a sad situation and my heart broke every day for the kids.  Of course, my volunteer work in Bulgaria showed me a world I had never seen before.  Most of the children I saw weren't actually orphans, but children whose parents couldn't care for them, so they were abandoned.  I was so happy that even though these kids didn't have much, they still loved Christmas and getting into the spirit of the holiday.

I've been reading lots of stories on blogs about the kindness people show at Christmas and read one in particular about a woman receiving a Target gift card from a stranger allowing her to buy toilet paper and a ball for her son for Christmas.  When I read this story I cried like a baby.  I could blame it on hormones, but I really think it is because the children I have been in contact with over the years--and now Audrey--have given me a new perspective of Christmas and what it is all about.  There are so many people who struggle to provide their families with things as simple as toilet paper and here I sit in my house with tons of presents under the tree for my 6-month-old who won't care much about Christmas this year and won't remember a bit of it. 

I don't want to turn Christmas into a big guilt-trip, but I like to use my experiences as reminders to myself that there is more to the holidays than gifts, and to remember how incredibly lucky I am to have the life I do.  I am so excited for Audrey to experience her first Christmas.  It's so fun for us as parents to see her experience new things.  I know she'll love the toys she's getting from her grandparents (and us, but we only got her one "toy", haha).  We'll take lots of pictures and give her extra snuggles on Tony's day off.  I'm so excited!

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday celebrations with family and friends!  Be safe! :)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, 
and a Happy New Year 
to all of my lovely friends and family!


Ready to Rock

Today we got a package from my grandma with Christmas gifts for all of us.  My grandma has always been the one to get "the hot toy of the season" and has no problem spending whatever she has to to get it for her grand kids (and now great-grand kids).  She asked me what Audrey liked as far as toys go and I told her the usual stuff, books, stuffed animals, and I also mentioned that Audrey loves music. 

Here's what Audrey got for Christmas:
A "Let's Rock Elmo" complete with the add-on interactive instruments pictured.  We have all of the working parts to start our own family Sesame Street-themed band.

Tony and I snuck and played with Elmo while Audrey was napping to see what he was all about.  Audrey is going to love him!  I think I'll love him for a while...until Audrey learns how to turn him on.  Elmo isn't a very lyrical singer.  He gets kind of shouty and I could see him wearing on me after a long day, ha ha.  I'm really excited for Audrey to see him on Christmas.  She always perks up when she hears this toy go off in the store.  (It's displayed in Target and kids constantly turn it on).

Don't be surprised if you see our music video on MTV in the near future. ;)


Mini Grinch?

Audrey loves our Christmas tree.  It's been great for me because I can put her blanket by the floor and she'll contently sit and look at the lights and ornaments while I do dishes or tidy up.  Tonight I put her by the tree to look and went to do some dishes.  All was going well and I suddenly heard a crash.  I ran over to investigate the situation but couldn't see anything broken.  The tree was fine!  I then looked over the railing and saw this:

Audrey scooted her little self over to the tree, snatched an ornament, and chucked it over the railing sending it crashing down to the entry way (I assume).  I had her on her tummy and she must have figured out how to move!!  I guess we better start baby proofing??


Feeling Lazy

I was never one to keep my house spotless.  There has always been clutter here and there. However, since Audrey came around my house is kind of a disaster zone.  I get everything all picked up and then it seems like 3 hours later there are dirty clothes all over the floor, bibs in the kitchen, dishes in the sink, spit up on the carpet and couch, sweet potatoes on the walls, and it goes on and on.  It's really hard for me to keep up with things how I'd like.  I stay at home with Audrey so it seems like there would be plenty of time for me to tidy up, but I realized today that even though I don't have a job, I'm a very busy lady. 

Audrey is SO much fun now.  You can see her learn things and absorb everything we say to her.  She's getting more mobile and has more control over her motor skills and it's prime time for teaching her new things.  When Audrey is awake I try my hardest to create learning situations.  I take her around the house and tell her what things are, or we go to the store and look at fun things.  (I'm sure I've gotten some funny looks as I talk to Audrey while we browse the canned vegetable aisle!) We work on rolling, crawling, and standing up.  I keep busy with Audrey during her waking hours and when she goes down for a nap, I need some grown up, momma time.  During this time where I could probably get lots of cleaning done, I plop on the couch and just sit quietly by myself and play on my computer or watch TV.  It used to make me feel lazy but I have to always tell myself that I need breaks, too.  The house being messy is nowhere near as important as helping Audrey learn and grow, and that will always be a priority for me.

So, I WILL sit here and watch Ellen while I look at crafts on Pinterest I know I'll never make; and I'll feel darn good about the things I've done with Audrey today.

I hope all of you can take some lazy moments to recharge your batteries!