Santa Baby

Well . . . so, I think we're giving Santa the boot. Yikes. Talk about a party pooper.

About a week ago, a friend of mine Marshall, posted this on his blog and it got me thinking.

"Warning parents: if your six-year-old reads this blog, please have them skip
this entry because we will be discussing the "S" word here (Santa).

"So, do you all have Santa at your house?" This has been the million dollar question of late, due to the season. And despite a nagging feeling that I am depriving my kids of a rite of childhood, Diane and I have chosen to tell our children that Santa Claus (as perpetuated by the media and culture) is not real, that he will not be coming down our non-existent chimney, and that he will not be bringing them toys this Christmas (we don't talk about it quite that bluntly). We do tell them about Saint Nicholas and the things he did for the poor because of his love for Jesus.

The reason for our choice is that we are really trying to be intentional about making Christ the focus of our Christmas preparation and celebration, and Santa sort of gums up the works because he becomes the star of the show on Christmas morning. It's hard enough to stem the cultural tide of consuming and making Christmas so dependent upon presents; adding an expectation that even more gifts will be coming from Santa just seems counterproductive.

And yet I can't help but feel like the Grinch when I tell friends that, no, we don't have gifts from Santa for our kids. It's not that I catch any overt grief, but all of my reasons sound so self-righteous, especially when I say them to fellow Christians. "We really want to be intentional about Christ being the focus of Christmas." (Oh, so my Christian friends who do the whole Santa thing aren't focused on Jesus at Christmas?) "We really want to fight against consumerism." (Oh, so my Christian friends who do the whole Santa thing are just wasteful spendthrifts?) And the subtle implication of our Western culture is that if you don't get your kids amazing gifts, you might not love them as much as other parents love their kids.

Yes, there is something beautiful about childlike faith, about cookies and milk being left for Santa to nibble. There is something very sweet about the openness to wonder and miracles that goes right along with the Santa idea. But I want my children's faith to focus on the wonder of Emmanuel, God with us. On the miracle that the Lord loves them so much that He would come near, as a baby, a child just like them, in order that they might know God in the deepest parts of their heart and soul. I know that there is only so deep that this faith and understanding can go at a young age (heck, at any age). But what better time of year, a time of lights and giving and joy, to sow seeds of faith in Christ and to really embrace the adage that Jesus is the reason for the season. Perhaps there is a convincing argument that Santa doesn't hinder that at all, and that he even enhances it by opening our hearts to simple faith. I can hear that, but I can't get past the thought that faith in something that isn't true is perhaps faith that is misplaced. Growing comfortable in our decision make take some time.

I think the secret is safe with our kids – I told the girls that some of their friends will still believe in Santa and that they should not tell them otherwise, and Psalter with
all seriousness said, "I will never, ever tell them."

And then the same day of this post, we went to a Christmas concert by Andrew Peterson and he talked about his longing to present a concert where Santa wasn't invited. We listened to his music and stories and felt refreshed and reminded.

And then we went to another Christmas concert a few days later with Christmas songs, but also sprinkled in the likes of Blue Christmas and Baby It's Cold Outside. It was just another reminder of how Christmas can so easily get dumbed down to a holiday that is about family and cold weather (at its best) and about getting presents (at its worst) but never about Jesus.

So, I guess all these events kind of came together for us. We've felt like there are so many distractions from Thanksgiving to Christmas, why do we need to introduce another? And there are so many opportunities to talk about Christ, do I really want to invest that time with my kids talking about Santa instead?

Now, we still have a lot of hurdles to get over (what do they do in school when the teacher talks about Santa? and do we not do stockings? and do we really not get to read all those great Christmas books? and is there any more effective way we could make our friends and family feel like we are better than them?) but I think we're sticking to our guns.


Little Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis will be here in February. Last weekend we had the joy of helping throw a baby shower for her parents. Do they look excited or what?!

Here's all of the hosts with the cute mama-to-be. Our hubbies helped host too, but really, baby showers are for the ladies.
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nice hat

nice hat

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Sick Feet

One of Grayson's favorite books has a line of opposites that say "well feet, sick feet". The character is happily juggling in the well feet picture, and is laying in bed with a thermometer in the sick feet picture. Our house has been full of sick feet for the last 8 days. First Grayson got the head cold and was miserable for a week. Then I picked it up and have been in bed for the last four days at every chance. Awful! But as long as Justin stays well, I think we've turned a corner. Catching up on a few things that happened before sick feet set in.

Trip to Lowes in the freezing cold to pick out our tree. I knew with a curious toddler that there was only one corner in the living room where it might not get pulled over at every step, but tall and skinny were requirements for the space. Grayson was not impressed on this outing.

First taste of Mamaw's famous sugar cookie recipe. More impressed here.

When I felt good but Grayson was still sick, Grammashu came to visit so Justin and I could get to Raleigh for a shower (pictures in another post). Whenever Grayson walks into the room and the tree is lit, she points at it, eyebrows go up, eyes get big, and she babbles as she toddles towards it. Thankfully she's done really well with not pulling off every ornament and "just looking". It helps that it's surrounded by furniture.

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Lighted Christmas Balls!!!!!!!

We were down at Grace Church yesterday, stringing up the lighted that the Glenwood kids made and we made the news last night (video below!

For more, go to the blog at www.lightedchristmasballs.blogspot.com


Grandparent Fun...

On Thanksgiving night we headed to Raleigh and spent the night with Grammashu and Dampa George. Then it was off to great-Mamaw's for lunch on Friday. Justin and I then got the special treat of being baby-free for an afternoon and night as we came back to Greensboro and Grayson stayed another night in Raleigh. We did stop off for a matinee movie and a little shopping, but then we came home and cleaned out our attic. We sure know how to have a good time. Grammashu sadly picked up a bad cold, so the baby-free weekend was cut a little short, but Grayson sure had fun.

Then on Sunday we had a short visit from Pop-Pop (dad's new grandpa name which Grayson promptly was able to say), and then it was off to the Sunset Hills Lighted Christmas Ball Party. I didn't take any pictures there. I'm completely fired.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Lunch with MayMay and Peeps...

Smelling the pansies after eating turkey (which she loved)...

and getting just a little too close.
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Crazy Baby

She has a pink leopard print sleepsack because it was on sale and half the price of the regular ones. Even better, she puts it on her head and drags it around the house like its her woobi. At least this weekend we figured out that if you ask her to take it back to her room, she knows right where to go.

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Because I married a funny man...

about once a year we are invited to a Young Life camp so he and some other funny friends can entertain some high school kids. I say "we" when he's really the one invited and Grayson and I just get to tag along for the fun. He's funny. Seriously funny. This is about the fourth or fifth run of this "program" where the guys are McDonalds workers who want to be on America's Got Talent. They sing funny songs. Real songs with funny, McDonald-ish lyrics. Like for the chorus of "Hero", they sing "I can take your order baby, would you like some fries with that, I can su-per-size that for you, only for thirty-nine more cents" in their best Enrique voice. Did I mention it was funny? Someone asked me this weekend, "does he sing at home?" I think they expected me to say no, but because he's funny like that, I got to say yes.

Here we are in November of last year at camp...Grayson was only 2 months old.

And this year...

We got some great Christmas card photos too...I'll post the out takes of those later.
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Kristin, Hannah, me, Amy, and Krista went to high school together and were roommates for most of college. And I've even known Hannah since elementary school. This weekend, we were only missing Krista. We're a bit spread across the state now, but it's so fun to catch up in person when we get the chance. Babies in tow and babies on the way.

Aunt Kiki being silly with Grayson.

Grayson loving all of the extra attention. Note: since we've been home, she's been wondering where her audience is.

The view of a snowy Windy Gap from the front porch of our cabin.


Maymay and Peeps happened to be babysitting for Jackson and Avery this weekend, so they came over at lunch on Saturday for a visit. Sorry about the pink bib shot Jackson, your bib had gone missing and Grayson only rocks pink. At least I turned it around so the flowery side was hidden.

Peeps and Grayson playing on the couch.

I cannot describe how hard it is to get a good shot of a 2-year-old and 1-year-old together. My first attempts were to have them standing holding hands. Then we decided to immobilize them. This was the best I came up with.

Avery was going in for the hug on Grayson in her stroller and Grayson thought it was best to lean on in for the love.
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More Windy Gap Fun

Grayson loves, I mean loves, John (aka Ja-Ja for John-John). I think he seems to like her too.

Here she is going in for a smooch on his head.

This is a sweet indoor playroom in the new staff housing at camp. We were excited it now had toys since the outdoor playground was covered in snow. Grayson squealed every time we entered the room. The extra fast slide was a fan favorite. Along with the bean bag chairs.

Becca (aka "Beh-ba, with the "beh" louder than the "ba") and baby Eli, who was digging his sling all weekend.
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baby it's cold outside

at gap kids trying on hats. seriously, who buys this for their kid. no offense.


It's official: we have a toddler.

Evidence below:

And p.s. "yes" we are those parents that make their kids walk across the room to get a ball and then throw it just as they get to it so we can see them walk some more. And we're not sorry for it either.

And p.p.s. I just saw that after you finish watching the video above, that Youtube suggests watching Annie Lenox's Walking on Broken Glass video. We, however, do not suggest it.

farmer's market

play it again


Feed my Sheep

For the last couple of weeks I've been serving to, cooking for, and eating with some homeless and hungry friends in Greensboro. These seven or so days have been a blessing to me like you wouldn't believe.

p.s. - I fulfilled a lifelong dream this morning: learn how to crack eggs with one hand like they do on the cooking shows. Score!



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