Tag: holidailies

Handprint Christmas Tree

I don’t know about you, but my kids are kind of going bananas today. They have the Christmas Eve crazies, the out of school/routine freakies, and the “everyone is coming to visit!” sillies.

We’re dreaming up other things for them to do today — I will resort to plopping them in the jogging stroller if necessary, or simply locking them outside with a snack and water bottle. Just kidding. I won’t lock the door.

BUT. If you have a blank canvas or other suitable medium, do this thing that’s all over Pinterest: the family Christmas tree!
Seth and his handprints

(Btw, I’ve started grabbing packs of these canvases when I’m in Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and they’re on sale or just cheap. Great rainy day activities!)

I’ve seen a lot of the handprint Christmas tree projects on Pinterest, but I decided I wanted it to be a whole family project instead of just the kids. I also decided that we would have a “downswept” tree instead of an “upswept” tree.

Our concept was simple: largest hands on the bottom, smallest hands up top. So Will’s handprints (two pairs) make the bottom tier, my handprints (two pairs) make the next tier, Seth’s the next, Nora’s the next. Now, Nora’s hands are so tiny that we had to do 6 – 8 pairs to get full coverage. I think it was six for the tier above Seth’s, then one more pair for the top point of the tree. Then Jude’s teeny baby hands (okay, fine … one year old hands! ack!) are the star on top.

Nora making handprints

 

After all the green dries, you can go back and add thumb/finger prints in various colors to be ornaments. I’m going to have all of our visiting family add their finger and thumb prints once everyone is here.

A friend asked me if I had any “lessons learned” (can you tell we do lots of project management?!”), so here you go:

  • If you look at Jude’s pictures we stripped him down almost naked! You may actually want to do it with just a diaper on and have a bath ready for the baby to get into … we needed an immediate wash or Jude was going to lick all the paint off his hands! (He made a good effort, as you can see.)
  • Instead of dipping a hand in the paint, we used those foam brushes to do a coating (not too thick, not too thin) on the hand. Go a little bit up the side of the fingers, too.
  • Babies like to curl their hands up around the paint, so Mom ran her finger over his knuckles to get Jude to open his hand, then we quickly laid his hand on the canvas.
  • Quickly press down on the fingers with a slight side-to-side roll to make a full impression.
  • We used acrylic paint. It washes off of hands really well, not so much off clothing. Be sure to immediately wipe and rinse any paint smears on clothes.
  • Take a fine-point permanent marker and write the name of the person next to one of their handprints. That way you’ll really remember whose hand is whose, 20 years from now.

Jude making the star

For the finishing touches to the canvas, we found a 3/4 inch festive ribbon and ran it around the canvas, securing with hot glue. I found out that the glue would bead up and peel off if I did too much at a time, so it was short stretches and quick presses of the ribbon to get it secured. I also began and ended my ribbon at the top since that’s the area least likely to be seen where I have it hanging.

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Merry Christmas!

 

Breaking and moving on

Yesterday morning I was scheduled to run 4 miles.

I did not want out of bed.

I did not want to make an effort to get dressed in running clothes or lace up my pretty purple shoes.

I did not want to go out of the door.

I found every excuse possible: tired, hadn’t eaten, hadn’t had enough water, etc.I took care of every excuse — grudgingly.

I whined my way out the door and started running. Really, there was nothing to complain about. The temperature was great. Four miles has become a distance I’m pretty comfortable with … long enough to get into my good running space, not so long that I’m just putting one foot in front of the other to get home.

In short: the problem was my head.

The problem has been my head, my mental space, my grey matter, whatever you’d like to call it … for the last several weeks. Not just with running, but everywhere. I’m crabby, cranky, grumpy, and have a super short attention span. My threshold for annoyance is low.

I know some of my friends are thinking, “Yeah … we know, but this is you, right?”

Well, not really. This hasn’t always been me, and while we’ve certainly had our fair share of stresses in the last few years, they’ve been mostly positive ones. But even positive stress has an impact, and positive changes can create tension. My problem hasn’t been the changes so much as the not acknowledging and addressing my tension.

I’d started running as a way to help with that — a stress reliever, a natural source of endorphins, a way to pound out the frustrations and sadness and anger and build-up. A time for being alone and not touched by another human being.In open cube work environments, a job that requires LOTS of human interaction, and a house full of wonderful people, I simply need some time alone.

I’m an introvert at heart, and I need that alone time to recharge. Since not even the bathroom counts as alone space anymore, running has been great. I also get to listen to my music (a Spotify playlist that I set on random) at my volume, with no interruptions. (While, of course, keeping aware of my surroundings and low enough that I can hear traffic and other safety awareness cues.)

It’s not coincidental that as my running times declined over the last month, my mood did too.

All this swirling in the background, I went out for my run yesterday morning. It was good, not too great, but good enough.

Then I reached mile 3, and my random playlist gave me Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait.”

I hate being the soppy, overly emotional person who finds intense meaning in song lyrics, but yesterday morning I was the soppy, overly emotional person finding intense meaning in song lyrics.

I love that music is subjective and words that mean nothing to you or are overplayed to others can bring an epiphany or catharsis to someone else.

I’ve talked before about my struggles in being patient and waiting on God’s timing. Yesterday morning, for whatever reason, this song just broke my soul by putting exactly into words how my relationship with God feels right now. How my life feels right now. It’s not that I’m waiting on someTHING super specific, it’s just that I need to slow the heck down and let life happen. I need to not be anxious with an anxiety of my own making. I need to break open to other people and be open and healed.

So as I ran to a tempo that was perfect for me, these words poured into my ears, this music style that pulls on so many instinctive pieces of me, I just cried. And cried. And cried.

Not because I felt awful or hurt, but because I finally felt better.

And that’s why I run.

Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait from Cooperative Music Germany on Vimeo.

Grinch List

Last week was “Grinch Week” in Holidailies world. I didn’t think I’d have a lot to say for each separate day, plus I’m trying to grow my niceness factor and quit being so crabby.

(I don’t think it’s working yet.)

Instead, I give you … MY GRINCH LIST.

  • Holiday pet peeves. Everyone’s got at least one. What’s yours?
    Elf on the Shelf, which conveniently answers another question this week. I hate the smug little stalker. I want my kids to behave because they’re well-behaved children, not because some creepy elf is hanging around and scaring them. Looks like a ventriloquist dummy dressed up for the holidays.
  • What beloved holiday movie / TV show /play just leaves you cold?
    It’s a Wonderful Life. One year, back in the day before only one network had the license or whatever to air it, it was on EVERY DAY. We were made to watch at least part of it every time it was on. I don’t care how good or classic it is, I can’t stand it.
    Also The Christmas Story. I don’t get it.
  • Kids these days! 

    (alternative title – “Back in *my* day…)
    With their iPresents and undead dolls with the weird make-up … we had plastic women with unrealistic measurements promoting insane body image issues and WE LIKED IT.

  • Tell us about that traditional holiday food you just can’t stand.
    Pumpkin pie … I will just say that the texture leaves a lot to be desired, and the taste doesn’t make up for it.
  • What currently popular meme / trend do you just not get?
    Chevrons. Washed-out professional photography. The “ermagherd” thing. Weird animals caps-locking their angst at me.
  • What holiday tradition do you wish would please just go away?
    “12 Days of” everything. Really? It’s not creative, original, or accurate. New Christmas marketing gimmick, please.

Get off my lawn, you rotten kids!

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