The Great Santa Debate: What do you tell your kids?

Christmas Eve is nearly upon us and my kids are filled with glee (and busy cleaning their rooms to make space for their new toys) and excitement about "Santa" coming to visit tonight.

I know I've mentioned before that my kids are still young. They are 6, 7, and 8. But they don't "believe" in Santa. Never have. My husband and I had "the talk" about Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, etc., when I was pregnant with our oldest. He was pretty adamant that we didn't lie to the kids. We went back and forth on this for a while. I felt that Santa, etc., was part of American mythology and I wanted to pass on that tradition to our kids. But then I remembered quite vividly the instance when I knew Santa wasn't real and I can remember those feelings of "wow, he's not real" and how sad I felt. Remembering those feelings, I decided that my husband was right and I agreed that we'd not do the whole "Santa thing."  I have never ever said to my kids, "SANTA IS NOT REAL."  Rather, I've said, "some people believe in Santa, and some people don't, and you get to believe whatever you want.”  This gives them the control to make up their own minds and it also gives them a tool to handle tricky discussions with friends who are adamant that Santa is real.

Rather than Christmas being about Santa, we embraced the festivity, our elf Elvis, family, friends, great food, cookies, presents and cold weather (well, as cold as it gets in Florida) and the FEELING of a new year approaching and that anything is possible if you BELIEVE that it's possible. And of course, the most important part of Christmas for us, goodwill towards man and we embrace that by donating to Toys for Tots, food banks, coat/blanket drives; giving to those that are less fortunate than us. That's what Christmas is all about and that's what Santa would want.

What do you tell your kids about Santa?? Do you remember how you felt when you learned Santa wasn't real?




All I want for Christmas

Is a DOG!

I have wanted a dog to join our family for years. Many years. We did adopt a beautiful Vizsla from our local animal shelter in 2005. We named him Chance and he was lovely. At this time I was a stay-at-home-mom with a newborn, and an 18 month old. We adopted him around Halloween time, but by Christmas many of his bad habits had begun to emerge. Chance was a CHEWER. A major chewer. He destroyed our patio furniture, the installation around the feed and return of our AC unit, and try as I may I could not retrain him. And then I discovered I was pregnant again. Uh oh! 3 babies under 3 and a chewer dog? Nope. Not happening. I was able to re-home him and we've been dog free since then.


Chance with Ella (he loved her!! and Haley (standing) Christmas 2005.

Fast forward to December 2012. Our kids are now 6, 7, and 8. I am again a stay-at-home-mom, and I'm also a runner. I can think of no better running partner (besides my kids) than a dog. I am having visions of running in the morning with my dog. I am having visions of my kids squealing with delight as they play chase, fetch, dress-up and other games that kids like to play with dogs.

Don't get me wrong, I know dogs are work. I grew up always having a dog. Big dogs; Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Labs. I know that they poop and that I'll have to clean that poop up from the backyard so that kids and husband don't step in it. I know dogs need medical care to keep them healthy. I know all about what it means to be a dog owner. And I still want a dog.

I've narrowed it down to these 5 choices:

1. Labradoodle

2. Goldendoodle

3. Standard Poodle

4. Labrador Retriever

5. Giant Schnauzer

For our family, I think a Labradoodle is the best choice. Haley and I both have pet allergies and while all of these 5 species are considered hypoallergenic species, the labradoodle is very intelligent, easily trainable, they don't get too big and they love kids!!

They come in many different color variations and I'd prefer a lighter colored one, like blond or apricot. But honestly I don't care. I just want a dog. The one in the photo below is apricot in color. She looks so sweet :)

That's what I want for Christmas. A dog. I know we are ready to add a new addition to our family. Will I get my wish on Christmas morning? Probably not. I might have to wait for all those parents who went out and bought their kids a Labradoodle puppy for Christmas only to realize that they weren't ready for a dog, and then I'll swoop in and take it off their hands.

Do you have a dog? What breed? Do you run with your dog? What kinds of fun things do you do with your dog?






5 Steps to Being Nice-Come to Jesus Friday

Tap in to the LIGHT side of the Force. This side is aligned with honesty, compassion, mercy, self-sacrifice, and other positive emotions. We should all strive to spend as much time here as we can.

The Dark side is where too many people live. This side is full of anger, fear, aggression. It can quickly consume you. It will forever dominate your destiny, consume you. The dark side is quicker, easier, more seductive.

1. Admit you’re not perfect, but be positive. I’ll be the first to say it: I’m far from perfect. I’m a jerk sometimes. I’m inconsiderate and selfish sometimes. And I don’t usually realize it until later. If you think you’re not a jerk, at least admit that you are inconsiderate at times. Try to recall those times. Think of how you could have acted differently. This is the first step, and it’s an important one.

2. Place yourself in the shoes of others, but be humble This is the key to consideration — to consider the feelings and needs and wants of others, to see things from their perspective. Try to think of what others are going through, what you’d want if you were in their situation. This isn’t always easy, but it gets easier with practice. And even if you’re not correct in your assumptions about what another person wants or feels or is going through … the important thing is that you’re making the effort.

3. Act with compassion and kindness. If someone else is suffering, even a little, try to ease their suffering in some way. Treat others with kindness, respect, love. Do it in little ways — a smile, a kind word, a thank you, a hug, doing something to ease their burden, going out of your way to be courteous, holding open a door, letting another person in front of you in traffic. Little tiny acts will make a huge difference.

4. Practice, practice, practice. Old habits die hard, especially ones like this where we rarely think about it. Keep it in the forefront of your consciousness by making every interaction with another person a chance to practice being considerate. Every time you talk to someone, email someone, tweet someone, or see someone on the street … make this an opportunity to practice consideration. Practice, and practice some more. That’s the only way you get good at anything.

5. Do 5 little things. As a way to practice, make it a goal to do 5 little things each day that are kind and considerate. It doesn’t matter what those things are — cooking something for a family member, pick up your husband's socks, sending a nice thank-you email to your aunts, lending a hand to a neighbor, or hold the door for someone. You can also be nice to the community and the world by volunteering. I’m sure you could think of a thousand little things. Do this every day, and you’ll soon be a pro.