The True Spirit of Santa Claus

Fourth grade is a crucial year. I would know because I taught it for 6 years. Every year in December I would create a math test to assess their knowledge of the concept we had just spent weeks learning. However, there was always one question, the last one, that I was most curious about on this December math test.

20) Is Santa Claus real?
O Yes
O No

The ones who answered “Yes” simply thought it was a gimmie. An easy question because it was Christmas time. They thought it was as question I put on there so I would have an even 20 questions instead of 19.

The ones who answered “No”, I knew it was time for a chat. So at lunch time, I would line up the students who answered “Yes” without them knowing why I lined them up specifically. I would send them off and I would talk to the rest. It would go something like this…

Raise your hand if you’re not sure if Santa is real or not. Hands around the room would go up and furtive looks would be passed to one another. Do you know I think Santa is real? In fact, I know he is. Think about what Santa does. He delivers presents to people around the world. How do those people feel waking up to gifts under their tree? Pretty amazing, right? Santa spreads joy and happiness. That right there is what the whole Christmas season is about, bringing joy to others. This is a time of year for family, friends, fun, and feeling festive. So really Santa is a person who represents all that. Kind of like the flag represents our country or a cross represents Christianity, Santa represents Christmas spirit. As long as you, as long as others continue to spread joy and happiness, Santa is very real. 

But let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas. This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Heads would nod, faces would smile, and each of them understood what I meant. Then they’d go on their merry way to lunch and the subject would never be mentioned again.

I bring this up because just yesterday, Crash (who is in 4th grade now) was talking about a picture he colored of cookies and milk for Santa. It’s currently on the fridge and he says to me, “I want to tape it to the table we leave Santa’s cookies and milk on. But I think its you and mom who eat the cookies, drink the milk and buy the presents.”

I paniced. I tried to stay calm on the outside but my insides were screaming and crying on the floor like a full blown toddler tantrum in the candy aisle. My only response was, “I wouldn’t do that. They’re not my treats.” Nothing else was said.

I also bring this up because of a Facebook post that’s been making its rounds. It’s an amazing story of how a mom handled her son’s disbelief in Santa. If you haven’t read it yet, please go here. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you come back.

See? Pretty awesome, right? Essentially, it’s what I told my 4th graders, Santa is the spirit of giving and all things happy. However, she took it a few steps further by allowing him to BE Santa.

I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come this soon. I didn’t think it would be today.

fabfridayteam

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Make It A Great Day

Sometimes posts land in your lap. They come to you as if you were sitting in a taxi on Highway in Sao Paulo with guy who just jumped out because he was about to pee his pants. 

Sometimes they quietly tap you on the shoulder and quietly whisper, “Don’t get bitter, get better“. 

That sparked a memory. 

Once upon a time I taught 4th grade. The school I taught in televised their daily announcements every morning. Thanks to our vice principal, they always ended with,

Make it a great day. Or not. The choice is yours.

In our lives, the run of the mill, ordinary day, this holds true. Imagine if every little thing that went wrong in our day, ruined us for the rest of it. 

Crash often gets upset or angry over the littlest things and I ask him, “Did getting angry solve the problem? No? Then there was no need for it.” Granted, there are times when getting angry is necessary, when it will solve your problem. But the other 99% of the time, calm patience wins over. 

Is it a problem or is it a challenge? Problems create stress. They ruffle our feathers. They cause us to lose our patience. We twist more, we push more, we hammer harder. 

If we find our Zen we find that sometimes a whisper is louder than a shout. Sometimes gentleness is stronger. Sometimes the anger just isn’t worth it. If you make your problems into challenges to be solved, you can rise above them. You can solve them with ease and understand that it’s not the way you planned it, but it still works. The world won’t end because things didn’t go exactly as you envisioned they would.

Rise to the challenge. Make the change you need to make to solve your problem and move on. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. Flight just got canceled? They don’t give two nickles how angry you are about it, they’re not going to uncancel it. Kids just dumped cheerios all over the backseat? Anger won’t clean up the mess. Employ the patience when it’s Kool-Aid or cheesie dust. 

If you read yesterday’s nonsense post, you know I had pretty much nothing to write about it so I wrote nonsense. I could be bitter about it. Why did I post nonsense when I could have posted nothing and just written today? Because sometime our practice, our training requires us to be subpar. We learn more from our failures than our success. Successes are much sweeter, though. Reflect on the failures to make your best better. 

Problems beget problems. However, challenges create champions. Be a champion. Or not. The choice is yours.

Sunday Share Happiness

I’m too lazy to look up what number share this one is. So I’m calling it Happiness instead.

My about page was pinged yesterday. That’s when I learned that I’d been nominated for The Happiness Tag by a fellow creative blogger friend Laura from The Riddle From the Middle.  Laura paid me a lovely compliment when she said that my posts make her smile.  What a wonderful thing to say to another writer.  Thank you so much for your kind words.

*Thanks for the words, Laura! 

She couldn’t have tagged me for a Happiness post on a better day. Yesterday was a happy day to beat all happy days. Well not ALL of them, of course. But still…

Here are the rules.

List:

  • Five things that make you happy.
  • Five songs that make you happy.
  • Five bloggers that make you happy and notify them of the nomination.

The five things that make me happy are all from yesterday.

  1. Our littlest Bang had his graduation ceremony yesterday. He’s officially done with kindergarten. His teachers are begging us to have a little a little girl now so they can have another one in their class. I guess they adored Bang. Unfortunately for them there won’t be another from us.
  2. They nicknamed each one of their 20 students during the ceremony. They name our Bang “The Bucket filler”. In case you aren’t familiar with the book by Carol McCloud “Have You Filled A Bucket Today”, it’s about showing acts of kindness. So to know Bang is their bucket filler makes a mom and dad proud.
  3. After the ceremony we went out to a celebratory lunch with DW’s dad and step-mom (who is way more than a step-mom and is more like a 2nd mom). During lunch the owner of the restaurant realised it was Bang’s graduation day and told him he could pick any dessert he wanted and it would be on her. His eyes were as big as the plate his lunch was served on. She also extended this offer to another family (and good friend of Bang’s) who came to eat at the same establishment.
  4. Upon hearing that his grandson would be getting free dessert for graduating, Guppie (DW’s dad) borrowed Bang’s “graduation cap” and told the waitress that he just graduated, too. Anything for free dessert!
  5. Bang I washed the truck. He’s got as much water on us as he did the truck. I see why his teacher’s called him the bucket filler – he filled my soapy bucket right to the tippy top** While he and I washed and vacuumed the truck, DW helped the neighbor plant flowers in her garden. It was a wonderful day!

**not what bucket filling really means

Bang graduate

Bang the Graduate

Guppie the Graduate

Guppie the Graduate

Now for five songs that make me happy…

  1. Flo Rida – My House Bang has taken to changing lyrics to fit whatever is in his little head. This one being my favorite lyric change. He’s FOREVER playing with the garden hose. Sprays himself. Sprays everything within range. I’m FOREVER telling him to turn the hose off. The lyrics have become, “Welcome to my house, baby turn the hose off”. Give it a listen and change the lyrics. You’ll laugh, too.
  2. Strumbella – Spirits Here’s another lyric change for you. Outside playing yesterday and bumblebee flew into Bang’s hair. Naturally, he told me that he had a bee in his hair. Then he smiles his mischievous smile and sings, “I’ve got guns in my head and they won’t go, I’ve got bees in my head and they won’t go”.
  3. Elle King – America’s Sweetheart – This is a newer favorite. It’s a fun song with a wicked good beat for running.
  4. Jethro Tull- Aqualung  – This song is older than me, but I remember my parents having this album and I loved it. Reminds me of the rock and roll of my parent’s day (late 60’s and early 70’s). Queen. Led Zeppelin. Elton John. Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  5. Enrique Englais – Hero – This was our “First Dance” song, DW!

 

Five blogger that make me happy…

  1. That’s What Anxious Mom Said
  2. Grubbs-n-Critters
  3. A Momma’s View
  4. Ah-Dad
  5. Sounds Like Life to Me

I didn’t tag Eli of Coach Daddy because he was tagged by Laura. Otherwise I would have tagged him 🙂 I read that he’s accepted this Happiness tag and will post his own at some point!

What makes you happy?

W is for… #atozchallenge

W
See. I told you there would be a quiz today. It’s 1 question. Pass or fail. If you want to look up the answer, you can find it here.

Last year W was for Water. Guess what? It is this year, too. Last year was simply about bath time. If that can be considered simple. This year is about all the other water my kids get into. If I’ve learned nothing as a parent (some days are questionable) I’ve learned that were there is water, there my kids will be playing in it. Even if they’re not supposed to be. If we’re walking through a parking lot and they happen to spot a puddle, long before they even get close it they get warned, “Stay out of the puddle.” Often they like to push their luck and try to walk through it, “But I’m not splashing!” Water is so much like a magnet…

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of this story.

Crash water 1

Crash as a 2 year old and saggy soggy shorts

bucket on head

A bucket of water on Crash’s head

Bang water 2

Too hot for summer, too cool for shoes

 

bang splash

Nothing like a good bum cracker!

crash surf

Who needs an ocean?

 

Bang water 1

Hover time!

Crash water 2

Just like Superman without a cape…

crash slip n slide

Slip n Slide like a rock star!

bang slip n slide

I’ll let you caption this…

bang in the mud

The dirtier the better

IMG_4881

Yes. He’s shovelling water.

waterfall

It’s like a shower AND a bath! (minus the warm water)

beach

Instant happiness. Just add water.

It’s not just my kids, right?

O is for… #atozchallenge

O

Please stop reading this.

Off. Like the insect repellent. But not. Though, where we go, Off might be required. Because where we go is off the hook! (slang for awesome, if you’re not up to date on 8 year old slang)

When life gets crazy, as it often does when you’re stuck in the house with the same people for days on end, it’s time to get out,  unplug, unwind, and go off the grid.

It’s drug free. It’s all natural. Organic.
There’s no wi-fi. It’s not scent free, either.

It’s outside.

When the boys have nothing better to do than bug, irk, annoy, irritate and sit on each other, out they go. Out there, the possibilities are endless.

  • Climb trees
  • Splash in the creek (they found $20 splashing back there once)
  • Dig in the dirt
  • Hunt lions
  • Explore the rainforest
  • Slay dragons

Outside is where the sports happen, too. A game of catch. A 2 player baseball game. Soccer. Frisbee golf. If it’s summertime there will be trampolining. This is just the backyard.

If we’re ambitious, you’ll find us on our bikes. Lucky Bang gets to ride in the “chariot” (the bike trailer). Unfortunately, Crash outgrew his last bike, so he now needs a new one. Before he outgrew it we’d normally ride about four miles. He amazingly did 8 one day.

Attitudes change when we’re outside. Like a 9th inning, game winning homerun, happiness reigns. Smiles rule. Excitment overflows. It might be the fresh air. That highly oxygenated outside air is so much richer than that stale, motionless indoor brand. Maybe it’s the sunshine. A common side effect of elevated vitamin D levels causes euphoria, silliness, laughter and cartwheels.

There’s another reason people outside are significantly happier than the indoor species. Dirt. It’s not just dirty, it’s healthy. Don’t be afraid of the word bacteria. Like humans, there are good ones and bad ones. The good ones help a neighbor or digest food. The bad ones don’t use a turn signal or cause diarrhea.

Recent research shows that Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in soil, has been found to trigger the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. ~HealingLandscapes.org

Like I said, stop reading this. Go outside, get dirty, breathe in that fresh air, soak in the vitamin D and get happy!

We’ll meetcha in the yard!

nature

J is for…

JJourney. If you’ve read my post the last couple days, you know we’ve been on a journey of sorts. It wasn’t one of a thousand miles. Not even a thousand kilometers. Just 393 from start to finish and covered the span of three days.

I was thinking of our journey on the two hour drive home and was originally planning to summarize our journey to the hotel, two night stay and journey home. Then I realized, this wasn’t just one journey.
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