Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Birthday Week

This very well may be the first time that I have had nothing to do in at least two months.   Granted, there are things I could be doing... but after spending 2 hours trying to clean the kitchen, making lunch and dirtying the kitchen again, and trying to clean it up all over again... I'm ready to sit down and think about something else for a while.

I realized when I sat down that there really is nothing that I need to be doing right now.   Avery is napping and Zoe is playing quietly.

The past two months have been so busy.  Fun, but busy!  In fact, the past 7 months have been busy.  Spring and Summer are our far less busy seasons! :)

Once our Anniversary gets here in September I pretty much know that I am going to be super busy until mid-March.  Fall activities, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday/December Posting on the Shaina's Deals website, Christmas, Mine and Gage's birthdays,  Avery's birthday (and this year, a 3 week trip to CA in February), and then we end the busy season with Zoe's birthday in March.  We get a good break between April and August.

I don't mind this type of busy though.  I love it.  These are the days that I will miss the most when I'm old!

There are times where it can get pretty stressful but for the most part I am loving every moment.  Even when things are hard.  My favorite pastime is coming up with fun things to do with and for my family.  I want to make these years memorable and I want my girls to learn as much as they can about giving and gratitude.

I love to provide my girls with a special week each year to do the things that they would like to do. This week is Zoe's "Birthday Week".  We've picked out small gifts and activities for her to enjoy throughout the week. We decorated our dining room (this year her theme she chose was of course, My Little Pony) and it will remain decorated until her birthday party on the 15th. She picked the menu for the whole week and I plan to take her out for a couple surprise treats as well!

We don't usually buy toys for the kids unless it is Christmas or their Birthdays so I'm always excited for these times that I can treat them to some extra goodies!

Taking time out to celebrate their birthdays for a whole week is awesome for several reasons:

1. They appreciate each gift far more than they would if they were given them all at the same time (like Christmas.)
2. If there is anything I've learned from the past 9 years it is that life is short.  It's so, so short.  Every day should be celebrated.  Birthdays are the celebration of another year that God has blessed you with.  Birthdays should be celebrated to the extreme, especially when you're a kid and birthdays are all such a "big deal" ;-)
3. It's a wonderful way for me to let them know that I pay attention to their needs and also to their desires. Even when it doesn't seem like it, I am paying close attention to them when they say, "I love this meal" or "This is my favorite candy" or "I don't really like this scratchy dress" or "This headband hurts my head."  One of my favorite things to hear from Zoe is, "How did you know I would like this??"  I know, because I listen and I watch you closely, just as Christ does.
4. It's also a great way to help them build character. There are so many opportunities to teach character qualities during this week!  I care deeply about the condition of each of my daughters' hearts.  Each day of the week is a new day to easily teach gratitude/thankfulness.
5. When the Birthday Week is someone else's in the family, it makes it easy for me to teach the importance of giving and serving others.

It's Not Because They Deserve It

I don't spend the whole week celebrating their birthday because I think they deserve to have a good time on their birthday.  I firmly believe that none of us deserve anything. We are sinners, we do so many shameful things every day yet God gives us grace and he continues to love us.  It's the same with my kids.  They are not perfect children, they sin every day, they disobey me, and they even hurt my feelings at times, but... I love them and I want to teach them. I want to disciple them. I love them more than words can even express.  If I love these kids this much I can't even begin to fathom the love that God has for me! He shows me so much grace each and every day and that is exactly what I want to do for my girls.

He has blessed us, and so we bless our kids.  When I say "bless" I am not talking about the material items that they will no doubt acquire around their birthday.  It's not about the "stuff". Yes, they will get some "stuff", but it's not about the gifts that they get or even the experiences they have during their birthday, it's about teaching attentiveness, showing grace, and encouraging gratitude.  The gifts and joyous experiences are just the icing on the cake ;-) That pun wasn't actually intended, but I'll leave it there because it's awesome.

If you know me at all you probably know how much I love to give gifts! I thrive on the challenge of trying to come up with a gift or an activity or something (anything) that will make a person smile.  I pray that my daughters will have the same love of giving in all circumstances (not only at Christmas or on someone's birthday).  Whether they are giving a gift to a friend, tithing, or giving to the homeless or just someone in need, I want them to do it all without hesitation and with excitement, and all for the glory of God.

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