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Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.

We're All a Little Mad Here

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Thanksgiving is behind us and another Christmas season is upon us. I love, love, love this time of year. I’m all about the cheesy movies, get-togethers with friends, and yummy food and treats galore. Our tree is up and decorated, the stockings are hung, and lights are strung up all across our house.

My youngest is all about the decorating. She wants something fabulous and bright. If you’ve ever seen Christmas Vacation, Clark’s house is her standard to go by. I do not decorate like Clark on the outside, but I do love the attitude he has of making everything just perfect for his family. I can also appreciate how things don’t always turn out “just right,” and how that can feel a bit disappointing.

My middle girl is a little more traditional. She prefers a more classic and clean look, I think. We have a lot in common, she and I. I love the details that go into making our home lovely for the holiday season, and I want our home to be welcoming, as well. Hospitality seems to be a bit of a lost art for the crazy busy lives we (the collective we) all seem to be leading. I’m working on slowing down, but it’s a process, for sure. It’s hard to slow down, though, when it is senior year and the classes, dual credits, and college applications are consuming a good part of your head-space... or both of our head-spaces... or mostly her head-space and my prayer time space...but, I digress.

My oldest boy, well, he likes everything to stay the same. He has to put up his ornaments, in his time, in his place on the tree. He needs the cookies, the special ones that Nina bakes, the it-just-isn’t-Christmas-without-those-mom cookies. Tommy craves the safe, same, traditional things of Christmas. My heart. I get it.

 

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We are all so different, yet so linked by our family bonds. It makes me think about all of our collective differences going into the holiday season and how what defines us from our past, influences how we celebrate seasons of life. For a long time, Christmas was a bit hard on my marriage because it was hard for my husband to feel happy during the holidays. His childhood Christmas memories weren’t happy memories. My parents, though, did a right fine job of making it all very special. So, there was a bit of conflict in those early years of marriage, mainly, I believe, due to a failure to communicate well. My husband and I just had different expectations. It’s better now, and we are older, and more mature, and better able to articulate our expectations. And compromising... there is that, too. Sometimes, love looks exactly like compromising. And sometimes being able to compromise is where the making of your own traditions begin.

All traditions and celebrations aside, the best reflections of the holiday season are those of gratitude and giving. This year has been filled with tragedies, and natural disasters, and negative news stories. I hate it that the news has become so focused on reporting what is wrong... at least it seems that way to me. There are so many good stories and good people doing good things. I know the news station didn’t show up at our church to see the hundreds of shoeboxes being packed up to be delivered to impoverished children around the world. I didn’t see the news reporting on the fantastic work of volunteers rebuilding houses, and restoring power to places affected by the hurricanes this season first on local broadcasts- instead, it was all about how everything is wrong and it’s all our fault that power systems have failed (natural disasters are not man-made), but there are tons of stories, though, about everyday people doing everyday good deeds, all the time.

 

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Giving. Gratitude.

I do believe that the gratitude attitude is important to stay sane in the business of life. Every night, maybe, you can start practicing with your family to say one thing you are thankful for- just one. I guarantee there is at least one thing to be grateful for. Grace, also, is a nice idea to keep in your back pocket during this time of year. Not everyone has a favorable view of the holiday season. It’s ok. Not one of us is exactly like the other. God made us all perfect in His eyes, each of us purposed for something. Being respectful and kind is always the right thing to do. Giving when I can, and being thankful always helps me keep a steady heart during the holidays.

So, Keep calm, be nice, celebrate gratitude attitudes, and parent on!

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Pouches' Community Corner

Postpartum Support Virginia

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For new and expectant mothers in the Fredericksburg area, Postpartum Support Virginia stands as the help and support for women and their families who are experiencing postpartum depression. Founded in 2009 by Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia offers one-on-one support, free peer-led groups, a robust site of information including screening and diagnosis overviews, fact sheets, and training sessions.

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