Monday, December 6, 2010

Those Who Love Nicholas the Saintly

First Son had fun playing St. Nicholas in our homeschool choir concert yesterday while the little ones sang Nicholas the Saintly.* After a long day of mass, singing and feasting with Grammy, we came home to hang our stockings!

Here on the Range we hang stockings for St. Nicholas to fill on the eve of his feast day. (Some families use shoes.) We tell the children St. Nicholas will fill them, but I have a feeling First Son guessed it was us this year. He's not saying anything, though.

We chose one slightly larger gift each for the girls and First Son in addition to some smaller items.(In case anyone is wondering, St. Nicholas does not wrap his gifts. The kids also receive stockings from Grammy and PawPaw on Christmas day that have lots of "essentials" like socks, toothbrushes,** toothpaste, Kids Flossers, and a some fun gifts, too.) Here are this year's gifts:
  1. Chopsticks - St. Nicholas left some of these a year or two ago but we didn't have enough for everyone, especially after First Son accidentally broke one set, so St. Nicholas brought four more. Now we'll have extras for guests.
  2. Basic Beat Pair of 8" Combination Rhythm Sticks - St. Nicholas knows how much fun they've been having with rhythm sticks in choir. Second Son received some of these as well.
  3. Dollar coins - two for Second Daughter, four for First Daughter and seven for First Son (whose birthday is in less than a week, oh my).
  4. Homemade bookmarks and a matching game.
  5. For First Son: Ribsy. (I haven't read this book, at least not in years, so we'll be reading it together. Kansas Dad picked it for us. We have listened to Henry Huggins and Henry and Ribsy in the van. First Son enjoyed them immensely. He sometimes even laughed out loud. There are quite a few instances of kids being not nice to one another, but nothing too awful and we've talked about how that behavior isn't acceptable. Also, in one of these, though I can't remember which one, Henry says he knows his father is the one who leaves money under his pillow when he loses a tooth, just in case you don't want that kind of knowledge shared in your household.)
  6. For the girls: doll diapers. These are so adorable!
  7. Gold coin chocolate candy, of course! I was lucky to find it this year. I think I tossed it into our cart sometime before Thanksgiving when wandering the Christmas aisles of a superstore. (Is anyone else disturbed that "superstore" is a real word?)
    For breakfast, we feasted on waffles! Kansas Dad and I even had homemade strawberry syrup.
      Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas LegendI bought a new book to read for the feast day. It's the first of our Advent books to be one we own (yes, I wrapped library books; the kids don't mind a bit), and it was a surprise when the kids opened it. I had intended to take it to adoration to share with the other families there, but Second Daughter was sick and needy today and I didn't feel capable of handling her and Second Son at adoration, so we just read it at home together. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Steigemeyer is delightful! Ms. Steigemeyer expands on the legend of the dowry gifts in a wonderful way that exemplifies how we can learn through prayer and petition how to do his work on earth. St. Nicholas's deeds, and ours, are directly linked to our love for Jesus and our thankfulness for his blessed birth. Don't worry that it may be "too Catholic" as it's written by a pastor's wife. The illustrations are also lovely - full of light and life. This is most certainly one of my new favorite books!

      We also watched what I think is our first video of Advent. Through no real effort on my part, we seem to have gotten out of the habit of watching every day, or even every week. Today, though, was a feast day. And Second Daughter was sick, so we had a relaxing day with a few lessons, lots of Legos and a video: Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving, of course! (If you're interested in VeggieTales, I wrote brief reviews of our favorites last year.)

      Now that we're past St. Nicholas's feast day, it's time to prepare for First Son's birthday. I never realized how complicated life could be when I married a man who was born in December and then had a baby in December who was baptized before the end of the month. It's a lot of celebrating!

      * For those who do not know the song (as I did not before we learned it for choir), you can see the lyrics (slightly different than what we learned) and listen to the tune at the website for the Saint Nicholas Center.

      ** I find it necessary to have a solid stash of kids' toothbrushes. I can't believe how often they drop them into the garbage or the toilet or decide to scrub the sink or bathtub with them. Seriously? You won't pick up a few toys off the living room floor without groans and moans, but you'll scrub the sink? With your toothbrush?


      1. Oh Henry Huggins!! I remember loving the Ramona books (and wishing I had a tweenager to take to see Ramona and Beezus this past summer). What fun!

        Great post, sounds like you had a wonderful day of celebrations.

      2. What did you think of the St. Nicholas VeggieTales. I read some reviews that said it was a bit commercial. I DVRd the CCC special on St. Nicholas from EWTN. Probably still a bit above Gemma, but all those Saint stories are great.

        Sorry for the flurry of comments.

      3. Monica, I think the Veggie St. Nicholas movie is fun and silly, but not a particularly good portrayal of the saint. I made a note to think about buying the CCC movie for next year. I've heard very good things about some of their videos, though I haven't seen any of them myself.

        I also loved the Ramona books. I think First Son may be more interested in them now that he's "seen" Ramona in the Henry books. I'm hoping we can listen to Henry and Beezus on our drive. We have much better luck listening to longer chapter books on audio CD than reading them aloud (him or me). So far he's enjoying Ribsy, though. He has read half a chapter each day.

      4. By the way, if you're interested in Veggie Christmas movies, we love The Toy that Saved Christmas. The Star of Christmas is pretty good, but it's "sequel" The Easter Carol is much better. (Hope's Song is one of Kansas Dad's absolute favorite Veggie songs.)

      5. I absolutely LOVE "The Toy that Saved Christmas" and always showed it when I taught. My parents have a copy. Thx.

        I also have a few titles from my MIL.

      6. Joel and I both laughed out loud about the toothbrush comments at the end. Speaking of which, I think I need to pick up some more...

      7. I'm still racking my brain for the title of the other one I mentioned, as is MIL. Apparently it was one she'd gotten from the library because she doesn't own it but remembers it as well.

      8. Thanks for the book titles, Monica. My kids loved reading The Crippled Lamb last year.

        Hilary, do you think they'd scrub the sink if I gave them a rag to really wash it? I should try that, though in my experience they don't really get it clean.


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