The enjoyment and pain of writing Christmas cards

I’m very late with writing my Christmas cards this year. When all the kids were at home it was easy, we would all sit around the kitchen table, taking turns signing the cards. I would write notes in each one, and hubby was given the pleasure of licking the envelopes closed, whereas I just slapped on the stamps.

Family photo used for our 2013 Christmas card
The family photograph we used for our Christmas card last year, was taken when our eldest graduated from College in June of 2013.

Then the kids went away to school, but I was smart and started the cards at Thanksgiving, knowing all would be together. This year though, with everything going on, I was late with ordering our cards. So now I sit at the table writing them all out. It is not difficult, and I really do enjoy hand-writing customized notes in each, but my hands are failing me. Recently my one pain medication was changed due to the chronic insomnia it caused, so now we are still working out the correct dosage of the new med. I didn’t realize how much the other medication masked the chronic pain I suffer from. After writing a mere five Christmas cards my hands and arms from the elbow down were in so much pain I had to stop writing. I actually couldn’t write another word without tears.

Breakthrough medication was taken so I could enjoy a cup of coffee and not drop the cup and break another one. It appears I may have to dig some more out of the high up cupboards, oops. Regardless of the pain, I will continue to write the cards, but like the rest of my life, I will take more breaks. Apparently five cards is my limit, unless of course I really medicate myself, but then, I tend to write incoherently, which is not a good thing.

Do you still write out Christmas cards? 



My memories of Valentine’s day are not positive ones, are yours?

My memories of Valentine’s day as a child are not positive ones. My mother always made sure that we had a card for everyone in our class and with four kids this was no easy task for her. She did this for a number of reasons, mainly though it was because of what had happened to my younger brother one year. In his class of around 25 to 30 children, he received one Valentine’s Day card. It not only broke my brother’s heart, but it broke my mother’s too.

My brother was born with a cleft palette so he looked different, looking different forty-five odd years ago was not a good thing and he was teased a lot. His cleft palette also added a lisp when he spoke thus requiring speech therapy (our other younger sibling copied the way our brother spoke, so he too ended up having speech therapy). The cleft palette needed numerous operations over the years, then he lost his hearing in one of his ears (due to an infection during one of his hospital stays) requiring more surgeries. So receiving one card at school in front of children who didn’t want to be your friend was at the time, the end of the world.

When my kids started elementary school I explained to them my reasons for always writing out cards to every single child in their class, friend or not. I would ask them how they would feel if they received only one card, because there were and sadly still teachers who allow this to happen. Of course you may ask how can they stop it? Well you could ban the practice of giving out Valentine’s Day cards, but I’m sure that would not go over well with some. Then there are parents who maybe can’t afford to buy cards for everyone and worse yet, there are parents who will say my child doesn’t like so and so, so I will not make him/her write a card out for that person. Whatever the reason is, we as adults should not allow it to happen.

When one of my children did not like someone in their class we would always talk about why? If they said that child was mean, we would try to figure out the reasons. Sometimes, I explained that a child may be a bully because they are unhappy at home, or their parents were bullies and they learned that behaviour from them. Now I am no saint nor are my children, who is for that matter, but I have always tried to let my children see the other side of the coin.

So when Valentine’s Day arrives this year, as adults let us try to make it a positive experience for every child in the classroom.

Crafts made with love

The eldest daughter is very much like her father, exceptionally creative. When she was young, she was always creating this and that, saving the oddest things. In grade one, she had this strange habit of taking things out of the garbage, her teacher informed me. She would save these little treasures, knowing sooner or later she would have a use for them, and eventually she did. This frustrated her teacher to no end. Today she no longer takes things out of the garbage, only because she doesn’t toss that many things out.

Soon she was creating 3-D birthday cards. The first one she made was a house; the roof lifted off to display the living room with family members sitting around wishing me a happy birthday. Then a football field with movable players for her sister, and a soccer field made of cardboard and paper, designed like the hockey table with movable players all trying to kick the ball into the net. Of course you cannot forgot the massive 3-d shark for her father (currently stored at the top of our closet). Then when I turned 50, she covered the stairwell, kitchen, and the fridge with flamingos and gnomes (her brother assisted with the hanging of the objects).

A year ago she started a nail blog Simply Stylish Nails. Who knew that a girl who spent her childhood playing in the dirt, then keeper in soccer, would enjoy all the girly things you can do with nails. She certainly didn’t get this from her mother, I am more of a tomboy. She recently graduated from college in Architecture Construction, again, not necessarily a trade popular with young women.

Like her mother though, she enjoys crafts and got the idea to make her mom some new coasters. So after gathering pictures of the birds in our yard, she set to work. Before printing off the pictures, she edited each to make the background grey scale accentuating the colours of the birds, next was decoupaging the pictures to tiles, finishing them off with a waterproof sealer and felt on the bottom of each so they don’t scratch my tables. What do you think, a good job?

Bird Themed Coasters