Thursday, December 1, 2011

Embracing the Season & Gift Ideas

So “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love, every song you hear seems to say”….

HOLY CRAP BATMAN….It’s a season of rages, insecurities, loss, and anxiety…..


NO that’s not the song the  Carpenters originally wrote, but they should have.
With all of the shopping and baking, we so desperately want to enjoy it, finding that peace this season used to mean to us, before the Drama of Trauma .
It’s O.K. that we miss Pre-Crazy lives, those traditions , and how the holidays worked then. Facebook does this nifty/annoying thing where it posts pictures of albums in the past…this one came up yesterday, and so many people “liked it” and commented on it…and I responded with “Though that was only three years ago, it feels like a lifetime ago.” …..and it does.

This year we hiked the mountains with eight children, and found our tree. It was fun, I had to do soooo very much more planning to pull it off. I had to be prepared for triggers and whining and people being mad that others were walking faster, or being closer to Mom, or what color the sky, and snow and their boots were, whatever. I had to have “special jobs” for everyone. I had to have pockets full of treats to remind them to “be sweet”…but we did it, and it.was.awesome.


I believe. I believe the holidays can be awesome. They also are VERY hard, and we need to take the long way. There are things I have to give up along the road,yet, those things I have had to sacrifice for my children and family, have been replaced by really important things..that I wouldn’t change.

*Parties are Out/ Reading a New Christmas Book and Creating something together is IN.
*Putting out Breakable Family Heirlooms OUT/ Handmaking Ornaments and Decorations is IN.
* Traveling to Family members houses OUT/ Snuggling in and making it our own, IN
* Shopping together as a Family OUT/Randomly Shoveling peoples driveways all sneaky like,IN
*Visting Santa at the Mall, OUT, Drawing names and doing secret elves for each other, IN.

There is very little I feel we have lost.
There is so much of the heart of the season we have regained by making our worlds smaller and concentrating on what is Important.

Next come the gifts.
There is nothing left from the gifts/toys that my children received last year. NOTHING…everything was broken, destroyed, buried in the backyard, or thrown away.
I have now taken inventory and realize what does last in my home, what my children do value, and semi take care of…what not only will they LOVE, but what will help them HEAL.

So here goes my idea list for Christmas 2011:

Bean Bags, $17, from Walmart. They come in a variety of different colors…infact I ordered 10 sight to store and shipping was free. My kids are like the mighty morphine power rangers…they each have their own assigned color, for plates, bowls, toothbrushes…. AND NOW BEANBAGS…
This is what Santa will be bringing them, with a book of choice, and a matching snuggly blanky.
Sensory wise, these are a no brainer…Bean Bags simulate being in the Womb, they are soothing.

 If I hadn’t made these for my kids birthdays, I would be including them in their Christmas wish list, so I thought I would share, Weighted Pillow Pets.
My kids LOVE theirs….like LOVE, and sleep with them every night. Dude stems when he can’t sleep. Every night before he goes to bed after kisses and tuck-ins, he asks “You put Numb-Nums on me?”…(Numb-Nums is the name of his dinosaur Pillow-Pet)
We have found even in the middle of the night when I can hear him rocking back and forth, simply laying him back down, tucking him in, and laying “Numb-numbs” on him, he goes right back to sleep.

Here is how you make these not-so-little guys.
Buy a Pillow pet, or a stuffed animal that can lay flat across a lap, or on a sleeping chest.
I am cheap and bought most of mine at T.J. Maxx, or Ross for $7.99-$12.99
Here they are:

 Next I find a seam, on the side or Bottom and I seam rip it open about six inches long.

 Then I take STRONG Gallon Baggies and fill them with rice,noodles or beans…I get the rice or beans at the $1 store, or somewhere cheap since they won’t be being consumed.  I fill two bags to the same weight, each containing half the weight for the intended pet.
Depending on the child, recommended appropriate weights are: Suggested weight is 10% of their body weight plus 1 pound.
Example Dude weighs 25 pounds. So we made Numb-numbs 3.4 pounds.

After filling I get all of the air out before sealing them…then I double bag them.
Slowly pushing the Bags one by one into the body of the stuffed animal guiding them into place. Then with double thread sewing the seam back up…really, really well.
Now you can’t toss theses in the Washing Machine. So if they get Dirty, or let’s be honest peed on (MY KIDS HAVE HAD THESE FOR MONTHS AND NEVE HAVE)
I Soak or Spot clean them with a Vinegar Baking Soda, warm water, Lavender oil solution and leave them on a Warm Air vent to dry.
                                                            Love at First hug.....

Another idea: Mini Trampolines, again Wally World or Sears have GREAT inexpensive options in there fitness departments, generally running around $25.00. We own three, and they are used everyday in the winter.
I use them to get energy, angry bugs, and anxiety out. …LOVE THEM.

Make them Hula Hoops…really. My friend “Lisa the Amazing”…wrote this incredible post about why Hula-Hoops are so healing…and just like in the Chipmunks song …your children would truly benefit form this simple, FUN toy! Here is a link in how to make them.

Some other items on my shopping list are:
Blocks, Blocks and more BLOCKS….my children LOVE blocks and I have them out all of the time, Legos, Stacking blocks…the worlds they create while building dexterity and fine motor skills is vital for their brains.
Here and here are the ones we are looking at.

Also Melissa and Doug have AWESOME things for children’s brains:
These are all items I have bought for my kids this year for Christmas, or items we already have and have lasted, because my kids LOVE them.

Melissa and Doug are NOT paying me for my blatant brand representation…though; I would so be cool if they would. ;) This single puzzle is one of my kids ALL time favorite thing to play with ....we have bought two now, just because they play with it so much.

Anywho. I guess what I am saying in all of this, is…Instead of fighting this season. One that I sappily LOVE with all of my heart. I am morphing into learning to love it in new different very special ways. I am slowing down, enjoying the moments and not letting the hustle, the commercialism be part of our Season.Though there will be mini, or massive blow outs…there also will be priceless, healing moments of simple joy and love.  Letting be what is, embracing the real,just being us, being in the moment, letting my beautiful children be exactly who they my Christmas card picture? We are what we are..and what we are is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL!
 "It's that time of year when the World Falls in LOVE."

Cause the Carpenters said so.


I believe. I believe. I believe.


  1. Once again, my friend, you are brilliant. I'm totally making the pillow pets. Except, I learned when I made my weighted blankets, it's WELL WORTH IT to use the weighted stuffing (little plastic pellets) from the craft store. Walmart is the cheapest Ive found it.

  2. love your Christmas gift ideas... my kids are getting new bath towels :)

  3. Linds..Thx for all the great gift ideas and I'm glad to hear that our house isn't the only one that EVERY single toy is destroyed since last Christmas. Believe me we are sooo shopping differently this year. Its amazing how much things have changed since last Christmas good and bad. love the are a brave/crazy girl ;) xoxo

  4. I got Zhenya an air soft gun for his birthday, and was wondering how those little plastic pellets would work.

    I think I will make Nastya a weighted blanket - cuddle-blanket size - for Christmas. Good idea!

    Sounds like your children do OK with "cozy" "family" things...... Unfortunately, anything that seems like that is a trigger for Nastya. So is anything at all religious.....she's taken against God. I can certainly understand that one, but it does put a crimp on trying to focus on the "real reason for the season".


  5. Loved this post - and your ideas for INS and OUTS were great! I've been wanting to enjoy the holidays more but always feel so frazzled so I'm definitely going to follow suit! You are an amazing woman and your kids are lucky to have a mom like you. Thanks for fighting the good fight!

  6. Loved this post!!Thanks for sharing!

  7. Loved this post and LOVE the picture!

  8. re the weights...cherry pits can be washed, and are awesome in "rice" bags that will need to be washed (what doesn't??) I ordered mine online. They're a little expensive compared to bulk store noodles, but they last and washing is a great feature! (And they smell nice when they're heated in the microwave, which would make the weight critters REALLY nice!)

  9. Melty beads (pearler beads) are a necessity around here. The sorting, organizing, patterns, all of it is very soothing to both my Rad-lings.

    Even cleaning them up off the floor can be calming for them after a rage where the beads were used as an airborn stress reducer (and a gallon of melty beads takes a LONG time to clean up one by one....)