Thursday, December 11, 2014

December ADVENTures: Days 9-11

We've been busy with our Advent box and Kindness Lamb activities the past few days. The boys love opening the door on the Advent box to see what the activity is for that day. They were starting to get up really early in their excitement. I had to put a stop to that. New rule: You can't open the door to the box before 7:00 am.

December 9: Gingerbread House

The boys LOVED this. I got the kit at Target and I didn't really have high expectations. Usually our gingerbread houses collapse and look like a disaster. This one actually came together pretty good.

Benjamin was a bit hopped up on sugar...his facial expression is a reflection of that. I love the look on Caleb's face. Priceless.

Benjamin has Caleb in a headlock hug.

Not a bad lookin' gingerbread house. Clearly Benjamin was still hopped up on sugar when I took this photo.

December 10: Make Hot Cocoa 

We made homemade hot cocoa. Homemade is so much tastier than the "just add hot water" kind. No comparison. The boys loved the taste...but not the temperature. Turns out Benjamin prefers Room Temperature Cocoa and Caleb likes Refrigerated Cocoa. 

December 11: Make Ice Cream Snowmen

I don't know why I keep giving this kid sugar, it makes him crazy. 

Fluffy Sweet Sugar, our Kindness Lamb had some activities for us to do as well.

We have sponsored a child from India through Compassion for about 10 years now. We took some time to paint him a picture and write a letter. 

After we made our own hot cocoa to drink, we made some "Hot Cocoa Mix" in a jar. You just layer the ingredients and they make great Christmas gifts. We will definitely be making a few more of these. 

The Kindness Lamb even treated the boys to an act of kindness. They got a stocking surprise when I picked them up from their Thursday co-op/MDO program. The stockings were full of marbles and a few pieces of candy. For some reason the boys have been begging for marbles. I don't know why. Today they got some marbles.

I think they were happy.


Monday, December 08, 2014

December ADVENTures: Days 6-8

December 6th: Holiday Parade

We took the boys to the parade on Saturday. The weather was so pretty that day, it was perfect. I apologize in advance for the fact that you can't actually see the boy's faces in these pictures. We were at a parade...so all I got was the back of their heads.

Look at those curls on that boy! His hair is so cute right now, I can't take it. I've wanted to grow his hair out in the past, but we've always kept it short. Benjamin decided he wanted to grow it out so we are. I love it. He gets so many compliments on his curls....he loves the attention.


The boys loved watching the parade. They especially loved all the candy they came home with.

Wheelchair perk: Being the only kid at the parade that gets a personal invitation to sit in the firetruck. It was super nice of the firefighters to take the time to do that for Caleb. He loved it. I could do an entire blog post on wheelchair perks and how I feel about it (mixed feelings I guess). 

December 7th: Elf Yourself Video:

Some days we (mommy) needs and easy activity. So, we made a few Elf Yourself videos. The boys thought they were hysterical. 

December 8th: Fingerprint Crafts

I saw these Christmas craft ideas using fingerprints and I thought they were so cute. I had some extra tiles so we used those for our crafts. You can use these tiles as coasters or decorations.

Working hard on his wreath.

It ain't a craft if it ain't messy.

Caleb's fingerprint light strand. Benjamin fingerprint Christmas wreath. 

Fluffy Sweet Sugar (our Kindness Lamb) has had some things for us to do as well.

We baked a pumpkin pie for Daddy. Yes I know Thanksgiving is over so the time for pumpkin pie is past. But really, does the time for pumpkin pie ever pass? I don't think so. Plus I wasn't feeling well over Thanksgiving so I didn't get a chance to make a pie.

Mixing it up. I love how the mobile stander gives Caleb the ability to help in the kitchen.

One day we just put this little bag of goodies in the mailbox for the mail carrier to find. He took it because it was gone when I went to check the mail!

Friday, December 05, 2014

December ADVENTures: Day 4 and 5

On Thursdays the boys go to a homeschool co-op/Mother's Day Out  program. There is a pond with ducks close by so our activity yesterday involved feeding the ducks. 

December 4th: Feed the ducks




December 5th: No school today! Eat white chocolate popcorn and watch "Muppets Most Wanted"

The beauty of homeschool...you can just decide to not do school and watch a movie instead. 

Popcorn with melted white chocolate and sprinkles.

Caleb loved the popcorn...Benjamin didn't. But, they both loved the movie.

Fluffy Sweet Sugar (our kindness lamb) had a couple of kindness activities for us to do as well. One of our dear friends just had a big surgery this week so we sent a card to his hospital room. 

Today FSS (that's short for Fluffy Sweet Sugar) asked the boys to write some things they love about a certain person.

I got the cute little jars at Michael's for only $1. I think we will likely do this kindness activity several times for different people. I think it's a really cute idea.

Caleb writing his notes.

We put all the notes in the jar and I added this tag that I made. We will give these out at Christmas. 

I have to tell you that it hasn't been easy getting my kids to do these little things for other people. I'm really trying to get them to see past themselves for just a minute and it is proving to be quite difficult. They sure are self-absorbed little people aren't they? They've grumbled and complained a little but I don't care. We are doing this by golly! It won't kill them to be nice and show some kindness to other people. Sigh.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Kicking off December, over-achiever style!

A few years ago I bought an Advent box. We don't do Santa with the boys so I wanted something that we could do that would create excitement, expectation, and make memories. The Advent box has been perfect. I come up with activities for us to do each day from December 1st through the 25th. Each morning when the boys wake up, they open the door for that day to see what the activity will be. These activities can be really simple like watching a favorite Christmas show or it could be a special craft, or going to an event outside the home. Sometimes if I'm feeling lazy, I just stick a piece of candy in the box for that day. Sometimes momma needs a break. Amen.

Anyway, the boys love it so we keep doing it. We've had 3 activities so far.

December 1st: Put up Christmas decorations

Benjamin was so excited about this. That boy could not wait to put up the tree. I put red lights in our fireplace to look like a fire. This was a huge hit with Caleb. He swears it makes him hot when he sits by it! 

December 2nd: Go to the bakery for a cupcake!


The boy knows how to eat a cupcake.

Caleb eats his cupcake all fancy with his pinkie sticking out. 


December 3rd: Shaving Cream Art!

We have done this activity in the past and the boys always love it. I think they just like playing in shaving cream. Basically you put some shaving cream in a bowl, add a few drops of food coloring (we did red and green for Christmas colors). 

Use a toothpick to swirl the colors. Then take a piece of paper and push it lightly into the shaving cream.

Wipe the shaving cream off and here is what you get. After it dries you can do whatever you want with it. I laminated ours and used a set of Christmas cookie cutters to trace out different shapes (candy cane, tree, snowman, etc). I think we might stick them to the windows as sun catchers or maybe use them as ornaments. 

Because I'm an over-achiever. Or maybe I'm crazy. I'm probably a crazy over-achiever. Anyway, I decided to add one more thing to my plate. Like I said, I'm crazy. 

Last year I stumbled upon the Kindness Elves idea. I thought it was such a cute way to encourage random acts of kindness in your kids. I found out about it after the Christmas holiday was over so I just made a mental note to consider something like that for the next year. We've also done Light' Em Up activities in the past (another random act of kindness idea). I like both of these approaches to showing kindness and generosity. I'm a rebel so I decided to do my own thing which is really a combination of both of these great ideas. 

Introducing....the Kindness Lamb!


Why a lamb? Good question. Benjamin loves small stuffed animals (he calls them "lovies") so I knew I wanted something cute and small. I went with a lamb because I wanted to try and tie the acts of kindness with the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place, Jesus. Jesus is referred to as the "lamb of God" in the bible so I went with a lamb. The little Kindness Lamb was all wrapped up and waiting outside the front door this morning. 

The Kindness Lamb came with a note:

Dear Caleb and Benjamin, 

Hi, I am the Kindness Lamb. I am here to remind you to give lots and lots of KINDNESS this month. Christmas can be such a busy time of year. It is so easy to think that the holiday is all about getting presents. It's easy to think about all the fun toys and gifts you will receive. I want you to show kindness this month. I want you to know that the best gift of all isn't a toy, it's the gift of Jesus. Christmas is supposed to be a time where we remember that Jesus was born for us. He was a gift to us. A super special gift. 

Did you know that Jesus is often called the LAMB of God in the bible? 

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

I hope to teach you a little more about Jesus as the Lamb this month. It has a very special meaning.

Over the next few weeks I'll have little ideas for you to do that will show kindness to someone else. I hope that you will take me on all of your adventures and make me a part of your holiday. I'm so happy to be here with you boys. 

I don't have a name yet. Would you give me a name please?


The boys (especially Benjamin ) were so excited to see the lamb and read the note. Naming our kindness lamb proved to be quite a task. Benjamin liked names like "Fluffy", "Comfy", "Snuggly", "Softy"....you get the idea. Caleb wasn't a fan of any of those names. In the end we decided on Fluffy Sweet Sugar. Okay.

Benjamin insisted that Fluffy Sweet Sugar needed a "barn" to sleep in so I made this. The entire time I'm questioning my sanity and wondering why in the world I added the Kindness Lamb to my plate. We shall see.

I'll probably use some of the ideas from the random acts of kindness sites I listed above. I really haven't thought this whole thing through yet. That's probably not a good sign. Oh well.



Family photo shoot

The last time we got family photos done was the beginning of 2012, almost 3 years ago. We were long overdue for some new photos. We found a great local photographer, Hannah Image, and we got some much needed family photos done last week. Here are a handful of photos. 










There are 43 fantastic photos and I can't post them all here. I couldn't be happier with the results. If you want to see more you can view the entire album here

I've also added a few photos to the sidebar on the right side. Did you notice the blog got a tiny makeover?

Basketball Tournament

I'm a little late on posting this...such is life. Caleb's wheelchair basketball team had their first tournament in November. It was a local, one day tournament. We really weren't sure if Caleb would play or not. Anxiety has a tendency to steal the joy out of things that he loves. He loves wheelchair basketball. We knew we wouldn't force him to play because we don't want to turn the sport he loves into something stressful. So, we made a deal with Caleb. We agreed that we would go to the tournament early so he could watch the other teams play, and then decide if he wanted to play with his team. Our hope being that Caleb would want to play once he got there.

His wonderful coach chatting with him and trying to ease his nerves. 

Our plan worked and Caleb wanted to play. Whew.

Caleb's team lost most of their older players this year; they moved up to JV. Caleb's team is a very young team now. This means that we don't really score a lot of points but our young players get a lot more time on the court and they actually get their hands on the ball more.

I think having a younger team with kids closer to his age has increased his confidence on the court. He played great defense and wasn't nearly as timid as I've seen him in the past. He played great the first game.

So close.

Hear me. That boy will make his first basket soon. 

After the first game we had a break for lunch before our next game. Caleb's anxiety came back a bit for the afternoon game. For some reason leaving the gym for lunch and coming back triggered anxiety. He still played in the second game but you could tell that he wasn't enjoying it as much. The anxiety was impacting him. 

I will say that things have improved somewhat since my anxiety post a few weeks ago. Getting that Zoloft out of his system helped greatly. He has been going to counseling and I think that is helping as well. It's a process.


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