Joining the Five Minute Friday crew once again over at Heading Home. I love the simplicity of this writing “assignment” each week! And I love the supportive group of writers who participate! So, here’s to Five Minute Friday!
The prompt this week is: “Sharing”
Sharing has a lot of different meanings. There is the traditional notion of giving to others some of what you have, but there is also the idea of “show and tell” or sharing of information. I think both are important. We have a tendency to think of sharing as either based in generosity (giving with no expectation of receiving back) or in reciprocal benefits (expecting of receiving something equal or better in return). But, in reality, we often share things not out of an expectation of receiving something back from the other person but because of the feeling we get when we give. I believe that, too, is a gift. But, instead of being a gift from the person to whom we are giving something, it is a gift given us at birth. It is a gift from our Creator that has made gift-giving innate in us. Some may ignore it or even resist it, but it is there. We take joy from very early ages in giving to others and seeing their gratitude or their joy. And as long as we are not discouraged by others who use our gifts against us or uses us for our gifts, we will continue to be givers who take joy in that giving. You can see it all around us in the incredible gifts that humans give each other. I see it, each and every day, in my daughter. Someone gave us a gift without even knowing us. A gift of a heart. And I hope that they can take some comfort in knowing that they gave a gift. It is who we were made to be – givers of gifts who take joy and comfort in that giving. So thankful. And looking for ways to give.
July is my miracle month. Five years ago on July 7, my daughter received a new heart after only 30 some days on the organ waiting list (which is a very, very short time for a baby). She recovered from the transplant quickly and was able to come to live with us at the Ronald McDonald House on July 25, one day after my birthday (best birthday present ever and can’t really be topped). So, July is a bit of a special month for us.
I can’t believe it has been five years, but in many ways it seems like a lifetime. We have a heart clinic visit later this month and I think I will take a cake to the appointment for all the heart transplant team (or some cupcakes since there is a Sprinkles right across the street from the hospital). I may look up something we can do relatively easily to take to patience in the CVICU as well. It is sometimes hard for me to get these things together, but I really want to be able to do it this year.
It looks like Five Minute Friday may be on a little Winter vacation, but I like the idea of writing for five minutes, so I’m going to go ahead and do it. Since there is no topic to use, I’m going to have a Free For All. If you decide to do a Five Minute Friday today, please feel free to link up in the comments and I will try get over and comment!
Christmas is over but the remnants of it are all. over. my. house! And my daughter is in rare form this morning, bouncing from one activity to another and another and another and then stating “There is nothing to do. Nothing to do.” It is a little entertaining but also a little disturbing. I’m hoping if I can get things cleaned up and organized, she will calm down a bit and be able to focus on doing something for more than a few minutes at a time.
I am also a bit overwhelmed with everything and we don’t even get that much stuff/gifts really. I can only imagine what it would be like if we had a bigger family and more gifts to deal with! We do have a second Christmas to do at my in-laws on the 11th of January, but by then, hopefully she will have calmed down and adjusted to all the new stuff. Then she will have adjust to all the new-new stuff. Then she has a birthday in February and will have new-new-new stuff to adjust to. It is a bit overwhelming!
So, that’s been my day after the day after Christmas so far…what about you?
The past two years we have been at my in-laws for Christmas. My MIL, who I love dearly, goes a bit overboard on the presents for my daughter. Although, I must admit that the ball pit pictured above was from my husband’s cousin and she did love it, but we left it at Gigi and Papa’s due to room in our car and I don’t think she has been in it since. That, my friends, is indicative of a typical Christmas present pattern. She always gets something that she absolutely wants and loves (e.g. an ambulance with a full cast of driver, accident victim, gurney, etc.), but she also gets a bunch of stuff that she is excited about when she gets it and then hardly glances at after-the-fact. In fact, last year, we had so much stuff to take home that we left the ball pit there, we told Gigi to “take back and save” one of her presents (an actual guitar, which I don’t think she was ready for mentally or physically – she got a fun little pre-school dog guitar that she loves) and we still were filled to the gills. Then, she has a birthday in February, so in less than two months, she gets another on-slot of presents. It is just crazy. And we live in a relatively small place and it isn’t like me and my husband are hoarders, but we aren’t exactly living minimalists either. So, we have a lot of STUFF.
So, as I mentioned yesterday, I have adopted the Four Gift approach this year. I don’t know where the idea came from originally. I read about it on a blog post last year and thought it was perfect. Four gifts for each person on your list – something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Simple, covers the bases and doesn’t end up producing a million toys that one child could never possibly find the time to play with during the year, even without the prospect of accumulating yet more at a later date. My daughter will also get a few things from Santa Claus – her big gift will come from Santa – Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtleLego set. It is a little above her age and the prospect of 480 parts really disturbs me, but she has been asking for that and not much else for the past month, so I feel like it is THE gift for her this year. My sister got her a bunch of little things that are TMNT as well. I would also like to get her a little bike with training wheels. Right now she has a Big Wheel type ride with a handle for pushing and she has definitely advanced beyond that. She also has a second-hand scooter that someone DIY fixed with a bolt that was too long as an axle and it threatens to take out her ankle every time she uses it, so I may get her a scooter instead. I thought with the bike that maybe my husband and I could get bikes in the new year and make that our family thing since we have a bike trail about 1/4 mile away from our house, but I think that may be a little optimistic on my part. We’ll see. So, tomorrow I will be shopping for six or seven gifts for her – four from us in the categories I named and two or three from Santa, most of which will be small and cheap.
I decided a while ago that her reaction to dollar store items is often as or more excited as when we spend $30 on an item. So, why be searching for something that costs a lot instead of searching for something that will make her happy. If the TMNT Legos were something I could get secondhand, I would. They are expensive. I realize she will lose a lot of the pieces during the course of using them (it is inevitable). I also realize that she may get them and decide she doesn’t really like them much (always a chance of that). I am ready for all scenarios. But, beyond that, she doesn’t need a ton of money spent on her. She loves the little things. She gets a lot of stuff all the time, so it isn’t like she is in need of much or hurting for items. I am undecided on what I will get her in each category. I am thinking of doing the same for some of my family members. It makes it simple and doable and it has a theme, which I love.
So, that is what I will be doing tomorrow. We have the sitter coming at 11:30 a.m. and we’ll head out, hoping most people are working and there won’t be impossible crowds to deal with. I’m hoping I can get all the shopping done tomorrow, but we shall see. I have also RAOKed a family that someone posted on our local freecycle list about – struggling financially, not having a Christmas, so I’m going to make all four of their kids stockings. No big items there, but the dollar store will provide a lot for $15 or so on each kid and it makes me feel good to be giving someone something who needs it. I got my husband a subscription to Beer Connoisseur magazine, so that takes care of his something to read. I kind of hate shopping this last minute, but it will get done, so I’m not going to stress about it.
What about you? Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you have all your shopping done? Do you limit gifts to your kids? Do you spend a ton on Christmas? I would love to hear about other’s Christmas gift giving plans!
I am officially done teaching for the Fall 2013 semester. I still am finishing up my grading, but I am feeling good about being able to get that done before Christmas next week. Today I have a Christmas cookie exchange, for which I am taking the easy way out and making green and red crinkle cookies from a box cake mix (I am not a baker extraordinaire, but the color seems festive and my chocolate crinkle cookies last year turned out good, so I feel safe doing these). For a little more flavor, I am adding crushed candy canes to the red crinkle cookies. I hope people aren’t offended by the simplicity of them.
In addition, since I’ve been busy teaching and finishing up my semester, I have not had a chance to Christmas shop at all. So, we’re going to get a sitter and do some tomorrow or Monday I think (maybe Monday would be better for less crowds). We don’t go overboard on presents, but I am going to do Four Gifts for my daughter and I need to buy for my family members since we’re going to my mom’s and/or sister’s for actual Christmas. We are delaying celebrating with my in-laws until after the new year, which gives me some time for those.
We are planning many trips out and about to see the Christmas lights as this is one of my daughter’s favorite things now. We listen to Christmas music and drive around ooohing and ahhhing for a while and she absolutely loves it.
Overall, I am very happy where this season seems to be for us! Now, to hold on to that momentum and make 2014 an equally happy and healthy year!
Christmas in my family has never been terribly complicated – we buy what we can when we can and everyone gets some stuff. Sometimes the stuff is what people want, sometimes it isn’t, but no one really complains or seems to care much. But, my MIL (who I love dearly) has this obsession with everything being “even” in gift-giving. So, even though one person asks for something and would be perfectly happy with that thing, she insists that she has to spend exactly the same money on everyone. And as the family grows it becomes even more complicated. So, in the interest of keeping all of us from spending crazy amounts of money (especially my MIL), we have tried to do drawing names with a limit, family gifts with a limit, etc. But, my SIL (who I also love dearly – just want to make it clear that these are good people driven mad by the holidays in my opinion) is very adamant about only getting things on her list and having a list from everyone else (I’m horrible with gift lists for myself – I can never think of anything when put on the spot. I’ve started keeping an Amazon Wish List, but half the time when I look at it, it is all things for Bean. Oh well…). So, this year, we have seriously spent over an hour figuring out how we were going to do gifts. It kind of takes the fun out of it when people seem either totally disinterested or outright hostile to it (my BIL and FIL), but we’ve done it. I actually got my FIL, which I will probably give to my hubby since he loves to get his Dad gifts. My SIL also has her birthday on Christmas Eve so we have that too. Anyways – I am not a Scrooge, but the cat’s opinion fit mine at the end of the conversation about present buying earlier today. But, now it is done, so I’m trying to lose my scrooge feeling.
Tomorrow begins December and I’m hoping to be better about doing Elf on the Shelf this year for my daughter. Last year I was okay, but I probably only moved him a couple of times a week. I am also going to try a “Giving Tree” advent calendar. Tomorrow I will copy this idea for an advent calendar focused on giving and without candy, which my daughter doesn’t really like anyways (I ate all the chocolates in last years).