Tag Archives: tradition

Grandparent’s Day re-lived

November 2012

Although Grandparent’s Day was officially listed on U.S. calendars in the month of September, Brazosport Christian School (BCS) has traditionally prepared a special celebration in their honor during the month of October.  Last year, I didn’t really pay much attention to the activities.  However, things have changed since Jared became a BCS student.  I knew his teacher was busy preparing fun activities and decorations in honor of the grandparents of each of her 18 students.

So, I decided that I needed to attend the event.  After all, Jared does not have the good fortune of having his grandparents close by.  One set of grandparents live in northern Oregon.  We have not been able to visit with them since Luke was six months old (and this was before Grace was born).  The other set of grandparents just recently left Guatemala and moved to the central Florida area.  Although they are much closer to us than they once were, the trip was not within their means, either.

grandparent tree

That left me to be the “eye” of Jared’s grandparents as I recorded the special moments of that day. After dropping Jared off at the usual time, I had enough time to go home and feed Grace her breakfast while Luke worked on his pre-school workbooks.  Then we returned to school to attend a special chapel session / breakfast for the grandparents. Each class got an opportunity to sing songs or perform skits to impress their special guests.  Luke and Grace sat in a stroller at the edge of the crowd and watched the activities with much enthusiasm while their mommy moved around the gym to record the scenes.

For the final song, grades K-3 through 6th came up on the stage together to sing the BCS theme song of the year, Chris Tomlin’s “Our God is Greater.” As the students filed out of the gym, grandparents were invited to visit the classrooms of their grandchildren.  The visits were broken down into two segments so that grandparents could visit multiple classrooms if needed.  Stephen took Luke and Grace out to the school playground so that I could go to Jared’s classroom and record the activities taking place there.

Although Jared was one of the few students who didn’t have grandparents present, he seemed quite happy to perform his parts in front of the camera.  Both sets of grandparents had mailed in special card to be delivered to Jared on this day.  Jared was quite proud of his cards.  He had made thank you cards for his grandparents, as well.

Jared_cards

They didn’t receive the cards and video until after Thanksgiving, as it took me that long to get the video recordings organized.  So, they will be able to enjoy the events of Grandparent’s Day for the rest of the calendar year.

Advertisements

Deck the Halls

Every new job situation had provided us with the opportunities to learn how the staff celebrates the holiday season at the end of the year.  Although some things are universal, there are many things that make each place unique.

As Stephen becomes more integrated into the culture of Brazosport Christian School, he also learns what they do to make Christmas special around the school.  One tradition they have is a special door decorating contest.  Each teacher and staff will decorate their classroom (or office) door and a special panel of judges gets to decide which door is the best decorated door.  On the day of the Christmas chapel, the winner is announced.  Stephen didn’t decorate his door, but his secretary made sure he didn’t miss out by decorating it for him.

Notice the little running shoe in the bow.

Jared and Luke pose proudly outside of "Daddy's office."

Another tradition is to have a special Christmas chapel on the Wednesday before Christmas break.  Stephen got a chance to speak a few words at the end of the chapel.  So, he decided to read one of the Christmas stories that he had been reading to the kids from the Christmas devotional.  Stephen tells me that the school purposefully avoids mention of the secular figures and symbols of Christmas (Santa Claus, Frosty, etc.) so that they can focus on the story of Jesus coming to earth as a baby to become the Savior of all man-kind.

The message given by the teacher was on the gifts of the Maggi and explaining the spiritual significance of each.

Gift-giving is a big part of the BCS traditions.  Each staff member who wished to be involved could become a “secret angel” and give gifts to each other anonymously until they reveal themselves to each other a few days before Christmas break.  Stephen decided to be involved and I was quickly drafted to find some Christmas gifts around $1 each and then one nice gift to give the person on the final revelation day.

The staff "fireplace" where they hung their stockings for their secret angels to deposit gifts.

Stephen received gifts from his “secret angel” but he also got many gifts from staff, students and parents.  Gift cards appear to be a very popular item this time of year.  Perhaps this is not a new observation to many of my readers, but it is something I had not discovered before in the few years that I had celebrated Christmas within the U.S. borders.

We now have gift cards of various values for Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-a, and other local shopping locations.

My favorite tradition so far is the two week vacation that comes to those who work within the system of education.  Now Stephen doesn’t have to work until the Monday after Christmas and we can enjoy some time together as a family.

Christmas with the MK Meier Kids

It was late summer when I picked up two bulletin boards from Wal-Mart to be hung over the beds of each of my sons.  These were to become the boys “brag boards.”  Basically, I wanted a way to showcase my kids’ creative work that they did in Sunday school and at home.  As the holidays approached, I got the idea to update the bulletin boards to reflect each celebration.

We started with Halloween and then moved on to Thanksgiving and now we are in the midst of celebrating Christmas.  I printed out a December calendar for Jared and Luke with December 25th highlighted.  Each morning, the boys paste a sticker onto the day’s date.  As they slowly fill the calendar, they can see how we are getting closer and closer to Christmas.

Besides decorating their bedroom, we also purchased a Christmas tree and placed it in our living room.  Of course, the first task was to create boundaries to ensure the survival of our five foot Douglas fir and its delicate ornaments. I told the boys that if they touched the tree, they would get a slap on the hand and then have to sit in time out for a minute.  After a few days of “timing-out” four or five times, they finally got the point.  What they really enjoy is sharing the responsibility of turning on the Christmas tree in the evenings.  Each night, they take turns doing this. It is the only time they are allowed to approach the Christmas tree before Christmas day. We are very proud at how the boys have complied with the rules, and (so far) we’ve only had one circular globe of Christmas joy shatter on the ground.

At this point, we have decided not to push our luck by leaving wrapped Christmas gifts under the tree in advance of opening them.  We keep our gifts tucked in various hidden corners and crannies of our house and slowly wrap a few when we have some spare time in the evening hours.  They will all be placed under the tree on Christmas Eve after the boys are in bed.

Besides these things, we have made special Christmas bookmarks, and assembled our own gingerbread house made from a kit we picked up at the store. At their nightly story time, we’ve also added a special Christmas story devotional and sometimes sing a Christmas song.

Jared and Luke begin to build the gingerbread house

Here is the finished creation.

The boys love to sing Christmas carols.  But that is something I will be writing about in a separate blog.

The opportunities are endless during these early years of their lives, because their young minds and hearts are open to whatever tradition we want to begin with them.  It’s exciting to think of all the creative things that we can do that will one day become treasured memories for each of our children.

Halloween Alternatives

My childhood is devoid of Halloween. I never had a Halloween costume and never went trick or treating.  It really wasn’t that hard to avoid.  I was growing up in South America as the daughter of missionary parents trying to spread the love of Jesus to everyone they knew.  Celebrating a host of ghost, goblins and other evil-spirited creatures did not work well with the message of God’s love for humanity.  None of my friends participated in Halloween and the community that my parents worked with didn’t celebrate it, either.

I don’t ever think I felt deprived of the holiday.  After all, we got to dress up for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Every year at Thanksgiving time, I would switch back and forth between being a Pilgrim or an Indian (sorry, I didn’t call them Native Americans back then.  We had not yet reached the political correctness we have now). For Christmas, we were always involved in some kind of Christmas play and most of the time I was given the role of Mary.  We also got so much candy for Christmas, I could hardly say I missed the treats of late October.

However, here I am in Lake Jackson, Texas, where I see lawns as decorated for Halloween as they are for Christmas.  Huge blown up pumpkins, ghosts and scarecrows invite trick or treaters to knock on their doors. I wasn’t sure how I felt about having my children participate.  I never felt the need to be a part of Halloween and we didn’t really have that tradition living in Quito, Ecaudor for the past three years.

The event that changed my mind was an announcement letter from Jared’s Awana group.  They were planning on having a special “Hallelujah” night and costume contest.  The catch was that all participants had to dress up as a Bible character and then be able to explain what was important about that character.  Being that I’m not a very artistic person and hardly excel at needlepoint, I knew I would have to find an already made costume that would fit Jared. Thankfully, an on-line Christian bookstore had just what I needed and Jared got fascinated with the modern-day version of a Samson costume.  While I was at it, I went ahead and got a Bob the Tomato costume for Luke, so he wouldn’t feel left out. And then I couldn’t resist buying a cute little bunny outfit for Grace.

So, yes, we did give in somewhat to the Halloween craze here.  The kids wore their costumes to Awana, library story time, a couple church Harvest festivals, Sears portrait studio, and finally at Chuckie Cheese’s where each kid got 10 free tokens for wearing their costume on Halloween. We even got home in time to hand out candy to one family still driving their kids around the neighborhood past 8pm on Halloween.

This was my Halloween alternative.  Find as many different events in the week before Halloween so that the kids get to wear their costume as much as possible.  By the time Halloween gets here, they are so tired of their costumes, they are glad not to wear them anymore. Well, I’m not sure if that worked so much for my kids, but it sure worked for me.

Halloween Pics:

Grace dressed up for library story time

Luke makes a mask at the library.

Jared at the libary in costume and the mask he made.