A Very Giving Advent

 

hands

“Hand”made

Are you tired of the “gimmies” or the “can-I-gets”? I sure am. Especially when they’re so prevalent at this time of year with every asking, “What did you ask Santa for?” Teaching gratitude and empathy aren’t easy lessons. We’ve found a way to lighten the burden, bring joy, and provide a life changing experience. What nice little gift!

DW is brilliant. Have I ever mentioned that?

Well, she’s shining bright again with this fantastic idea. Granted, it wasn’t technically ‘her idea’ but she has adapted to our family to make her idea. Then she brought the idea to life. Well, technically, Woody and Elfis, our house elves, brought it to life.

We aren’t doing the Advent calendar this year. No tiny piece of chocolate every day. We’re not skipping it because it’s “unhealthy”. Who doesn’t enjoy starting the day with a yummy piece of chocolate after breakfast? It’s a tasty way to count down the days until the Jolly Ol’ Elf himself comes.

One little girl of 3 years of age was told that when the chocolates in her advent calendar were gone it would be Christmas. Later in the day they couldn’t find her. They knew she was in the house, yet she was nowhere to be found. Not with her toys. Not in her room. Not in the bathroom. She was in the closet and had eaten all her chocolates. She proudly announces, “It’s Christmas now!”

This year our elves have delivered a special gift, a package of tasks to be completed. There is one act to be done each day. Every single one of them is a random act of kindness.

So far the boys have:

  • Donated food to the food bank
  • Shared hugs and smiles
  • Paid for an order at Tim Horton’s
  • Made a new friend (sat and talked with an older gentleman at Tim’s)

Today’s task was to buy coloring books and crayons and donate them to a doctor’s office. While I would LOVE for the boys to be the ones purchasing these items (usually from the dollar store) they currently don’t have enough in their wallets. Crash can’t even afford to pay attention. Bang, on the other hand, has plenty, but it’s not exactly fair to make Mr. Penny Pincher pay for all the donated stuff. However, the food bank items they did pay for themselves. They each had been given $5 gift cards by the grocery store (thanks a million Superstore!) They spent it on food for the food bank.

I’ll leave a link to the files if you’d like to do your own Random Acts of Kindness. It’ll be my gift to you. I mean, DW’s gift to me that I’m regifting to you. Spread across 5 pages, there are 25 acts in all. The last page contains a few blanks so you can add your own. Just click the image to download it and print it!

The first rule of Christmas is “It is far better to give than it is to receive“.

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Click to download
Random Act of Kindness 1
Random Act of Kindness 2
Random Act of Kindness 3
Random Act of Kindness 4
Random Act of Kindness 5

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On Cookies and Chance Encounters

Nanny gave the boys some Halloween cookies last weekend. They weren’t your normal cookie though; they were undecorated and came with all the tricks to decorate them yourself. 

I divided the cookies. I divided the icing and sprinkles and candy spheres. Then I let them work  play. And play they did. Bang’s spheres were rolling away and Crash laughed when I told Bang to grab his balls.

I wanted to step in and help. 
I wanted to step in and tell Bang that not all of the icing goes right in the middle.
I wanted to step in get him to spread the icing. 
I wanted to step in and make him decorate the cookies in a recognizable way.

These weren’t my cookies. They weren’t mine to decorate. They contained the mess to the cookie sheets so I kept my sound hole shut. They weren’t yelling at each other. They weren’t fighting over stupid, mundane things. They weren’t annoying each other just for the sake of pissing each other off. They weren’t driving their parents absolutely mental.

They were complimenting each other’s decorations. They were speaking kindly to one another. They were asking politely for what they needed from each other. Afterward they even shared their cookies with each other and with their lucky mom and dad. Bang gave away 2 of his own cookies. OF HIS OWN ACCORD! 

These cookies are magic. I need to buy more of these magic cookies. They tasted pretty good, too. Good enough to eat.

On another note…

DW saw a few postings on FB that there was a whale sighting just five minutes down the road from us (the whale was in the strait, not on the road). We grabbed the kids, grabbed the camera, and took off. There were some porposes playing nearby. Many dozens of them. They were a joy to watch, but they were farther off shore and tough to see clearly. However, it was a chance sighting on several other accounts. We have seen whales in this area before, but they were pilot whales, also called blackfish. This time it was a humpback whale. We were thrilled to see his white fin. You can imagine our surprise then when we saw him breach. He would rocket straight up out of the water, flop over and splash a splash equal to that of Bang in the tub. In DW’s nearly 40 years of living here, she’s never see the likes of a whale breaching in this area. It was amazing to watch as he breached 3-4 more times. DW snapped a few shots, but with the humpback being far away, they turned out blurry. However, a gentleman nearby got some great shots.

©Rob Smith

Incredible…

I’m Bored

God help my kids if I ever hear those two words uttered this summer. Inevitably, they’re said on the 2nd day of summer vacation.

We have a good crew of kids in our little development now. Some are a bit older than Crash and some are bit younger than Bang. We’ve got the ages covered. This means there are plenty of others their age to play with.

But more than than just having others to play with is the amount there is to do now.

  • Trampoline
  • Soccer
  • Road hockey
  • Basketball
  • Frisbee/disk golf
  • Swing set
  • Sandbox
  • Bikes
  • Scooters
  • Rollerblades
  • Baseball

And that’s just the stuff they can play in the driveway and backyard. We have a beautiful (read huge) park to play on. It has just received an upgrade. Flex court was just laid on Sunday. The basketball court looks amazing! There’s talk of making it a multi-purpose  court by painting lines for ball hockey as well as basketball. Plus there’s a huge splash pad at the park, too.

This is by no means my summer bucket list. That post will be coming later when summer is closer than a month and half.

So help me if I hear either one of my kids says “I’m bored” at any give time, do you know what they’ll be doing? I’ve already told them this. I’ve given them their warning.

They’ll be doing chores.

  • Mowing
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Loading/unloading the dishwasher
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Cleaning their room
  • Picking up their toys
  • Cleaning Timbit’s cage (the hamster)
  • Putting laundry away
  • Whatever other busy work I can come up with

I’m just putting this out there now. For us, the first day of summer vacation isn’t until June 30th. But nice weather is upon us so I’m just preparing myself and the kids.

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The Children and The Rain

While California is experiencing it’s fourth year of a severe drought, we here in Maritime Canada are not. It only rained twice last week – once for three days and once for four. The veggies and flowers and grass are loving it. However, this isn’t about that.

This is about letting children be children. It’s about letting your inner child out to play every now and then. It’s about playing in the rain.

There’s not much that is as childish as playing in the rain. We’ve all been caught in the rain, of course. Needing to get to/from the car in a torrential downpour or you just happen to be outside when the heavens open up. But intentionally going outside while it is raining is sure to induce giddy laughter.

Twice in the past week we have done just that. We splashed in the kiddie pool. We jumped on the trampoline. We set up the slip and slide on the hill. We splashed in puddles. We even had the neighbor’s kids join us.

I’m thankful I am young (ish) and healthy (and childish) enough to run, jump and play with two rambunctious boys. The trampoline is assembled in the spring and taken down for winter. In between it sees use every day. It’s not as slippery in the rain as it appears to be. The slip and slide is self watered when it rains. It makes for some fun photos, too. As does puddle jumping. Just take a look!

IMG_2942 IMG_2953 bang in puddle IMG_2941

Bang splashes

So, in conclusion, rain doesn’t just make the veggies and flowers and the grass grow. It doesn’t just wash away the dirt and grime of the world. It washes away inhibitions, it helps the child (inner and outer) grow strong and healthy. Have you played with yours lately?