Giving Thanks

I love listening to Rae pray. Whether it’s before meals, at bedtime, or as we’re driving in the car, we love to pray together. A common phrase she starts off her prayers with is “Thank you THANK you, God, for…” and depending on the situation, it might be “healing my boo-boo,” or “all my friends comin’ over,” or “this food’s sooooo good.” I feel so honored to be her mother when I hear her talk to God. And I feel so happy that she’s already learning the importance of giving thanks.
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. Regardless of your religion, ethnicity, or political views, if you are an American, you can appreciate our country’s history and take time to give thanks. Don’t we take so much for granted? With all of the light-hearted jokes I make about motherhood and it’s laughable inconviences, I truly am thankful for my life. I praise God daily for my loving husband and my sweet girls. I’m thankful for my family’s health. I’m thankful for my cozy little home and my working minivan. I’m thankful that I’m able to stay home with my children and teach them and love them and hold them and rock them. I’m thankful that I live in a country with freedom of speech and religion and equality. I’m thankful that I’m a daughter of the King and that I have the assurance and hope of spending eternity with Him.
We should take time daily to remind our children of the good things in their lives. And as Thanksgiving approaches, why not think about doing something together to make your blessings apparent. Make a tree and decorate it with “thankful leaves” or write your blessings on smooth stones and place them in a basket as “thankfulness milestones.” Let’s all take time to say, “Thank you THANK you God for this life–this beautiful, precious life.”

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Happy Birthday!

a mom blog on tradition

Birthdays growing up were filled with anticipation and excitement, and it’s my desire to achieve the same enthusiasm in my own children. Of course I want them to feel loved, special, and appreciated throughout the year, but it’s nice to have one day that’s focused on demonstrating how happy we are that they were born into our family!
Although presents can certainly be a part of the birthday fun, I’m hesitant to create holidays where the presents override all other aspects. So I’m trying to figure out fun traditions to maintain that will be exciting, but not necessarily costly.
I think it’s fun to have them wake up to something out of the ordinary. For Rae this year it was balloons and streamers in her room and the downstairs decorated with the same. My mom used to have us come downstairs and be welcomed to our breakfast chair with a helium balloon bouquet tied to a bag of our favorite candy. Another idea might be to leave a “trail” of presents as their walking down to the breakfast table.
Another fun idea I’ve heard is to decorate a special plate that is only brought out for birthdays for the birthday boy/girl to eat all their meals on. Or designate a special hat or cape that only the birthday person gets to wear.
Meals can also be a fun part of birthdays…whether it’s inviting family over for dinner or going out to a place of the birthday boy/girl’s choice, letting him/her choose the meals for the day, or baking a special cake.
Parties can of course be an important part of birthdays, but It’s my goal to not have a HUGE party every year for each child. I think it can get a little overwhelming…and expensive, especially when you have multiple children! So I’m going to sort of “pick” years (for example, 1, 2, 4, 7, etc.) that the kids will get a big party with lots of family and friends. Then on the “off” years, we’ll either just have extended family over for cake and ice cream or do something special as a family.
Please share with us! What were some of your special birthday memories?