Monthly Archives: December 2010

from the mouths of babes…

A Bennetch family Krismas Eve story

1:00pm Emma gets the stomach flu, is promptly Gravol’d.

3:00pm Emma feels better enough to go visit kitties we are catsitting over the holidays.

5:00pm Emma is feeling sick again, back home we go.  Watches ‘A Very Monkey Christmas’, starring “George the monkey” (aka Curious George)

6:30pm Emma falls asleep on chair, is taken up to bed.  I forget to close kitchen door. (cue foreboding music)

7:00pm Emma’s mama and daddy start to put together her big Krismas gift: a dollhouse!  We started early because Jerry has to work a night shift tonight.

8:05pm A sleepy Emma walks downstairs and into the living room and dollhouse construction mess — hence ruining surprise

8:05 (and .15seconds) pm Mama whisks Emma away, only to have her ask when will her dollhouse be ready to play with?

D’OH.

Oh well, it’s probably better she gives her parents the props for the kick-ass gift, rather than Santa. Right?

(I’m sure I’ll find this story funnier next year)

2010′s feel-good holiday flick

An instructional video for ensuring a happy home during this zombie-infested holiday season:

What she said:

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

How did I spend my Saturday morning?

Not watching cartoons or sports, but watching the Senate edge even closer to ending a discriminatory policy.

Final vote on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is expected at 3pm EST today.  I’ll be watching.

December Secular Parenting meeting

Oh the dilemmas of being a nonbeliever in December! What do you do if you are a faithless family in the middle of a month full of religious holidays? This last Tuesday the Saskatoon Secular Family Network got together to celebrate the whole month of December, and learn all about the different ways human beings commemorate the darkest month of the year.

When I was planning the activities for this month’s meeting, a part of me struggled in determining the balance between educating the kids about the religious rituals/meanings found in the various holidays versus inadvertently condoning the religious ideology implicit in the activity.  For example, I asked myself: if I set out a bunch of nativity sets for the kids to play with, am I reinforcing the idea that there really was a virgin birth?

I think I may have been overthinking things a bit — especially considering most of our kids were more interested in spinning the dreidel than debating the pros and cons of the Torah.  But I’m glad that I have these inner struggles when it comes to raising my little freethinker.  I want to raise my little girl with an awareness of how human beings have used faith and dogma in an attempt to answer life’s hard questions — but I also want her to have the critical thinking skills to recognize where these faith systems have failed in their answers and have hurt others.  Teaching her about religion isn’t the same as indoctrinating her into a belief system.

But, back to our holiday party!  For activities, I set up different centers for the kids to check out and learn about the three main holidays of December: Kwanzaa, Chanukah, and Christmas.

For Kwanzaa, we read the book It’s Kwanzaa Time! and colored pictures that showed the Kinara (the candle holder used in the Kwanzaa celebrations). Here are a few links I found that may help your parenting group, if you’d like to talk about Kwanzaa this month:

To learn more about Chanukah, we played with dreidels.  The median age of the kids for our party were fairly young (preschoolers), so we didn’t get into an in-depth discussion about the history of the game.  Mostly the kids just spun the tops for fun — but if you have older kids in your group, I could see this game getting quite animated!   I also found the history behind the game quite fascinating Chanukah links:

To commemorate Christmas, our group had a “cookie potluck”, where each family brought their favorite Christmas treat to share with others. We also did a Christmas ornament craft, and there were plenty of nativity sets for them to play with.

Christmas links:

This year our December celebration didn’t cover the Winter Solstice, but it’s on the radar for next year.  In case you’d like to forgo learning about the religious rituals of December, here are some links for the Winter Solstice (December 21):

And just for fun, here are some other special days you can commemorate this month, if you aren’t a fan of the above:

  • Festivus, a holiday for the rest of us! (December 23)
  • Newton’s Birthday — Crispness (December 25)
  • and Dale wrote about Krismas here (December 25)

Happy however you celebrate this month!

My new favorite Xmas book

I found this book at a used book sale for a dollar! It’s The Nativity, Illustrated by Julie Vivas (here’s the Google Books preview).

Here are a few pages from the book, to show why I love it so — I think it’s the whimsy of the artist.  Click on ‘em to see them bigger.

The angel breaking the news to Mary — over a cup of coffee, no doubt:

And my very favorite picture of the book — Mary telling Joseph, and her growing tummy:

That book is now on our shelf, next to a Kwaanza and Hanukkah book!