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Santa Tradition Survey

We all know St. Nick has to use his Santa magic to accommodate many different homes and traditions. I posted a request on Facebook for folks to chime in with their family Santa traditions.

The questions? When Santa visits, does he deliver wrapped or unwrapped gifts? How does Santa’s loot compare to presents given to kiddies by Mom & Dad? What goes in the stockings?

I loved reading the responses:

  • In our house, unwrapped from Santa… Santa gifts are the bigger ones (bikes, trains etc…)
  • Unwrapped from Santa…wrapped from mommy/daddy
  • Santa doesn’t wrap.
    As the kids age, Mom & Dad’s gifts supersede Santa’s, thereby giving credit where credit is due.
  • Santa gifts came wrapped in our own special paper. All my gifts in one kind and my brothers in another, my mom said she started this when we still couldn’t read so we could distinguish whose was who!
  • I never remember presents from my mom and dad, Santa brought it all!
    Santa doesn’t have time to wrap - busy visiting houses all over the world and all. Santa loot - fun stuff. Mom and Dad loot - stuff you need anyway
  • We don’t wrap the presents. And I try to only get the gifts we hear them ask Santa for…more from mommy and daddy!
  • Santa doesn’t wrap. He doesn’t bring the "best gifts" . He just brings 2 or 3 things plus stocking stuff. Mom and Dad deserve the credit for getting them the most wanted gift. Abbie asked for something very expensive and said Santa could bring it, I had to tell her Santa was on a budget this year.
  • Santa didn’t wrap at our house. With 7 yrs. between my Brother and me, he was a BIG kid before he quit playing the game for me. Then for several years Mother would ask me if I wanted gifts from Santa, or just wrap them all under the tree. There was never a penalty for recognizing the truth–just a gradual easing into understanding that Santa was another expression of Parent’s love.

So, what’s your Santa Claus (or Papa Noel, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle) tradition? Click on the link below that says "No Comments" (or 1 comment, etc) to share your tradition.

Holidays & Parenting Chris 15 Dec 2009 1 Comment

Holiday Spy arrives at MoseleyWorld

How many times have you wondered just HOW Santa not only "sees you when you’re sleeping…"  and "knows when you’re awake," but also knows whether you’ve been good or bad? Question no more.

Santa’s Elf on the Shelf has arrived at MoseleyWorld. When we returned from our Thanksgiving trek to Kansas, a tiny little elf was hanging upside down from a dangling balloon in our foyer.

"Uh, mom, what’s that?" Saxon inquired. Carey showed Saxon a book that had magically appeared as well. The Elf on the Shelf book explains one of Santa’s elves arrives around the holidays, usually at Thanksgiving. his sole responsibility is to watch little kids’ behavior and report it to Santa each night by using "Santa magic" to fly to the North Pole.

The book said the first thing to be done is to name the elf. Saxon is great at coming up with pretend names, so we knew this would be a piece o’ cake for her. We liked her second suggestion, Wolfie , lots better than her first, Cha Cha. So Wolfie it is. Oh, there’s one rule: you cannot touch Wolfie, or he will lose his Santa magic.

The next morning, after returning from the NP, Wolfie was being a bit naughty. He took all the silverware out of the drawer and lined it up on the floor and then perched himself on the counter.

Stay tuned for tales (and photos) of Wolfie’s adventures!

Holidays & Parenting Chris 11 Dec 2009 No Comments

Going to see God

I walked in the house the other day and Saxon met me at the door wearing her back pack. When I asked where she was going, she quickly replied, I’m going to see God. Do you want to come? I’m going to see God.

I said I certainly wanted to see God, but wondered if we could wait until after dinner. Saxon continued to politely ask me if I was ready to go see God. By this time, Carey is a bit freaked out, thinking Saxon has received a divine message letting her know her number was up.

When I asked Saxon if she knew where God was, she replied, up in the sky with Jesus. I told Saxon she was right - that God was in heaven. Without missing a beat, Saxon said, Oh great! We can see Ranger too (our dearly departed dog)!

We’re glad to have found a church home and even more glad that Saxon loves learning about God. The children’s department at Watermark Community Church (mainly a huge group of volunteers) is amazing.

Economically speaking, 2009 has been a tough year for many. I’ve experienced first-hand the struggles of running a business in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and have often felt pretty helpless to control the incoming (or lack thereof) revenues. But sometimes all it takes is someone who can put it all in perspective.

If I think things are tough, what if I had been born without arms and legs, like Aussie Nick Vujicic? Uh…yeah. Holy cow. How much more difficult would day to day life be? On Sunday, December 6 , Nick Vujicic of Life without Limbs , is going to be the guest speaker at Watermark Community Church at 9am, 11am and 5:30pm. Nick will speak about how God has given him the strength to surmount what others would call impossible. We’ll be there at 11. Come meet us. Be inspired. Put it all in perspective.

Parenting & Thoughts Chris 24 Nov 2009 2 Comments

Texas 2×2 Reading List for Children

The Texas Library Association created the Texas 2×2 Reading List to encourage reading to and by children age 2 to grade 2. The lists for each year since 2000 are provided. Many of our favorite books have come from the 2×2 Reading Lists. The 2009 Reading List includes links to parent & children reading time activities. Here are some books from the 2×2 List with links to purchase at Amazon.

What are your kids favorites?

Visitor For Bear A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Ages 4-8. One of our favorites! Beautifully illustrated! A love-hate relationship between Bear and Mouse turns a clever children’s picture book into a tale of learning to be friendly and making new friends.

The Littlest Llama Jane Browning Buxton. Ages 3 and up. Little llama wants to play but his family is too busy, so he wanders off to find a playmate and finds adventure and a wonderful surprise when he returns home

Quinito, Day and Night/Quinito, dia y noche by Ina Cumpiano, Illustrated by Jose Ramirez. Ages 4-8. Little Quinito and his family take the reader through a day filled with opposites, including short/tall, quiet/loud, and rainy/sunny.

On the Farm Ages 2-6. Beautiful woodcut illustrations and simple humorous verses about farm animals will delight children.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Mem Fox, Fox, Mem. Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Rhyming text compares babies born in different countries and in different circumstances, but they all share the commonality of ten little fingers and ten little toes

How to Heal a Broken Wing Written & illustrated by Bob Graham. Ages 3 and up. Told in small panels, this sweet, gentle story is for all ages with a reminder to take time to care and help in a busy world.


10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh. Ages 3-6. Using cutaway pages and one lift-the-flap, Walsh has created an informative and wonderful book for showing young children how they can help conserve and take care of our earth.

Chicken Said, “Cluck!” (My First I Can Read) Judyann Ackerman Grant, Illustrated by Sue Truesdell. Ages 4-8. Pearl and Earl set out to grow pumpkins with the help of a pesky chicken in this story for emergent readers.

Sort it Out! by Barbara Mariconda, Illustrated by Sherry Rogers. Ages 4-8. This little pack rat presents one of the basic science methods by sorting the things he has collected. The pictures have all kinds of surprises in them, including another packrat who turns out to be the sister.

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic. Ages 4-8. Max the Duck wants to create the “perfect” soup. When he steps out the backdoor to find a missing ingredient, his friends Brody and Dakota fear the worst when they see a feather floating in the boiling soup.

Baseball Hour by Carol Nevius, Illustrated by Bill Thomson. Ages 4-8. Outstanding photo realist-like illustrations combined with clever poetic verse, supercharges young readers with a thrilling game of little league baseball

Jack Wants a Snack Pat Schories. Ages 2- 6. Children will love exploring the illustrations and following this wordless story of puppy dog Jack as he attempts to obtain a snack of popcorn during an outdoor tea party.

No Babysitters Allowed Amber Stewart. Ages 4-6. When his parents go out for the evening, Hopscotch works out his separation anxiety with the help of Mrs. Honeybunch and some good books.

What Can You Do With a Rebozo? Carmen Tafolla. Ages 3-6. Colorful illustrations reflect a simple, joyful family setting and present the many creative ways to use the rebozo, a traditional Mexican woven shawl.

Grumpy Cat Britta Teckentrup. Ages 2-4. A street cat, increasingly grumpy due to loneliness, changes his attitude when a small, abandoned kitten decides to be his friend.


The Doghouse Jan Thomas. Ages 3-5. Cow, Pig, Duck, and Mouse are afraid to retrieve their ball when it goes into the dog’s house, but when they do go in they are pleasantly surprised.

Books & Parenting Chris 30 Sep 2009 No Comments

Samantha Update

Friday morning’s ear tube surgery for Samantha was as quick as expected. Well, quick once the doctor finally arrived. They required Samantha to be present + accounted for at 6:00 am and the surgery was scheduled for 7:30. No food, no water. Carey said Samantha was not a happy camper.

Saxon and I went to the surgical center to find Samantha doing the strange, coming-off-anesthesia crying we were told to expect. The ENT doc said the surgery went well. By mid-afternoon, Samantha was full of energy and this weekend she seemed more active and more giggly than usual (even laughing when her mom put drops in her ears). Let’s hope this works on a fairly long-term basis.

Thank you everyone for your comments, emails & prayers.

Oh, one more note. Samantha, who turned one last month, has recently been showing more signs of moves toward becoming her own little person. Carey and I marvel at how different two little girls, raised in the same home, can be. One example is how incredibly sensitive Samantha has always been. She has been more likely to squawk if something scared her or if she bumped her head than her sister, Saxon.

If Samantha had a secret service code name, I can guess it might be “destructo.” Books, paper, packages, plants, you name it. None are safe around Samantha. One of Samantha’s favorite targets has been the foam edge protector that surrounds the coffee table. I guess it should not be a surprise since every other toddler, except for Saxon, has been attracted to the padding like moths to a flame, quickly attempting to pry it off, rip it and, what? eat it? who knows.

Yesterday, when Samantha grabbed the edge protector and started pulling, Carey offered a firm, “Samantha, No.” Samantha looked a her mother with shock [as if to say, “i cannot believe you just said that to me. gasp.], marched off crying and buried her face in the seat of a lounge chair. Two more times, the exact scene repeated itself.  Tough to keep a straight face.

Parenting & Samantha Chris 21 Sep 2009 1 Comment

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