Welcome to my Kindermusik space...

A place to refresh your love of music, your wonder in children, and your peace in parenting well.

Tuesday, December 21

And they brought forth gifts...

One of the BEST things about Christmas is shopping.  I know that is shocking to some of you, but to me it's completely true!  I love going to the mall and various stores in the weeks before Christmas.  I love it so much I've been there practically everyday in the last week.

It always surprises me a little when people ask, "are you done your shopping yet?", and it's only the middle of December.  I'm NEVER done until Christmas Eve.  There is always one more stocking stuffer, one more decorative item that I'm imagining I'm needing.  And I'm at peace with that.  It's not that I think Christmas is a big commercial endeavour, it's just that the more I think about it, the more that comes to mind that I think people will like.

I do have the double blessing of having a husband who also loves to shop.  There have been Christmases where I've been busy with baking, or something to that effect, and sent Greg out to pick up something - and he becomes a man with a mission.  In fact, that is true during the year, too.  If I ever discover I need something - a new kitchen gadget, a fan, a light of some sort, my husband is all over finding one at an awesome price.  You're a little bit jealous of that aren't you?  (big smile and wink)

So tonight we went out shopping for some of our last gifts - we had three to buy.  And that's check, check, and check.  Three for three.

Now for the waiting.  I hate the waiting.  When I buy something for someone I want to give it to them right away.  My daughter is going to be THRILLED!  My sons already basically know what they are getting.  My husband - well, I think I may need to look again for him.  As we were shopping tonight he wandered by the gift I got him and said innocently enough that he thought it looked "too girly" for his taste.    What to do?  It would look really good on him...well, there are still two shopping days left.  Three if I have Christmas Eve morning, too.  I know...I'm a little crazy.

But beyond the malls and the gift buying, I want to say a big thank you for the gift received.  More than the gift cards, the boxes of tea, the ornaments and other tokens of love- what truly speaks to my heart is the kind words you have offered of inspiration received or fond memories we've made together.  To have touched your heart in some way is a gift beyond measure.  So, thank you all.  Thank you for coming to Kindermusik, thank you for sharing your stories.  Thank you for giving me a small piece of your heart as I have given you mine.

Merry Christmas, dear friends!

Sunday, December 12

Christmas gifts you can't buy

 A few posts ago, I was mentioning my propensity for wanting things to go according to "my plan".  Well, yesterday was headed in just that direction.  I was going to have my Saturday Christmas parties with Kindermusik, then head home and do a bunch of Christmas shopping with my daughter in the afternoon, who had a day off from dance classes.  But when I came home, I discovered that my husband and daughter had gone to the mall for their own date.  Guess I forgot to fill everyone else in on my direction for the day.

So there I was with a whole afternoon - and not a plan in sight.  My first thought was to spend the time doing some clean-up...but that thought quickly went away (smile).  Who wants to spend newly found free time doing housework?  While I was eating some left-overs for lunch, I remembered my 19 year old son with his nose in the books, preparing for finals in a week.  Hmmmm....I remembered being in university and needing some study breaks.....so I went downstairs and asked him if he wanted to walk the dog with me.    And so began a wonderful afternoon with my first-born.

We put on our boots/shoes and scarves (OK, I put on a scarf, he didn't), jackets and gloves and walked in the snow.  We talked about university, we talked about daily stuff and ordinary life.  As we were nearing the house, I said that it had been ages since we had played "Scrabble" together - and he was up for it.  So I made some hot drinks and we spent a while playing our game.  No one else in the family plays "Scrabble" with me, but Evan likes to.  Funny thing is, we don't even keep score.  We just like seeing what words we can make.

After that we finished decorating the Christmas tree downstairs that had been sitting half decorated since last weekend.  The upstairs one had been done, but the boxes were still everywhere downstairs, and the tree looked sadly neglected.  So we hung the last few decorations and talked about the ornament collections.

Saturday, the 11th will go down as one of my favourite days of Christmas this year.  A day I had thought I would spend looking in the mall for gifts for others turned out to be one of the best gifts of all for me.

Saturday, December 4

Christmas is coming...

I have a snowman with changeable numbered blocks sitting on my fireplace mantle telling me that there are 20 days left until Christmas...just this afternoon I changed the numbers on it from 24 days.  Seems I'm not keeping up with how quickly the season is moving along.

My husband and I had the opportunity to go out to a completely worthy Christmas event tonight, and yet we passed.  With so much to do I didn't want to feel rushed in one of my favourite events of the season - decorating the Christmas tree.  Part of me dreads it, quite honestly.  The work is daunting.  All the boxes and tissue paper.  All the taking down of regular pictures and decor, and finding spaces for them in the vacated Christmas boxes.  That part I could live without.

But the part where I get to take out my tree ornaments is such a happy, reminiscing time.  I know there are lots of you who relate to that.  You know the stunning trees in the malls and public places have their charm, but they hold nothing on MY tree (actually I need two trees now with all the ornaments I've collected and my kids have collected over the years).  My tree holds the story of my blessings in life.

I always put the favourite ones up first - giving them the places of most notice.  And it takes me a long time to get them all up, mostly because of the sentiment behind them.  My precious moments Nativity always goes in the front towards the top.

Then my Mary Englebreit collection of ornaments...my feel happy, brightly coloured inspirational ones.

 There are the student gift ornaments that I have started attaching labels to so I remember each precious student as I set them out.  Ornaments from friends.  Ornaments from grandparents now gone.

And ornaments that remind me of Christmas 2006 when my Dad passed away so suddenly 6 days before Christmas.   Seems hardly possible that this will be my 5th Christmas without him.   As I look through my collection of ornaments, my heart is filled with gratitude for the people in my life.  Friends that share my joy and pain.  Family that have made my life full of hope and love.

I wouldn't miss an evening like this for anything.  Even as I sit writing this amidst the boxes and chaos and anticipate tomorrow's clean-up... I'm knowing that the looking back moment of tonight is a necessary, soul-filling tradition I wouldn't want to miss.

I guess the downstairs tree is going to have to wait until tomorrow, though.  My Handel's Messiah CD is done (another tree decorating tradition for me) and it's late.  Time to blow out the candles and just rest.

Friday, December 3

Come, play WITH me

Parents + children + opportunity = optimal learning together

It warms my heart to see children and their parents involved in musical exploration together.  In "Our Time" classes, children eagerly watch to see what others are doing and engage in imitative play.  That's why I often mention that children will more readily engage in the the activity when they see that their parents are also participating.  They are collecting ideas from which to draw on for their future imaginative play.  

When you are young, everything is a "Watch me" moment.  Parents taking time to play with their children in activities that they find enjoyable are moments that are tucked away in a child's heart as meaningful and affirming.  Confidence is built as children learn and are affirmed in their new skills, and pride in a task accomplished adds to a sense of well-being

And, of course, it is just plain FUN to make music together with others!