Tales from the Land of Canaan

Adventures of the C-Squatch

Walking in a Winter Wonderland?!?

by Erica - January 20th, 2013

If you are reading this from anywhere other than the Southeast, you’ll probably make fun of these pictures…but C had a blast in the first winter weather that he can remember (the only other snow he’s seen was the White Christmas of 2010, when he was only 9 months old!)  In fact, he had more fun than I could ever have imagined a kid could have in a brand new sled on something that most folks wouldn’t even consider real snow!  

Here’s a few pics from our “snow” last week.  The snow stuck around for no more than an hour or so, and then it was a soggy mess, but we definitely enjoyed it to the fullest while it was here.  (Although I’m secretly hoping we’ll get at least one more chance to take that sled out again!) 


Oh yeah, and for a more detailed write-up of our morning adventure, you can click here to read it on Cragmama.

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A Whirlwind of Christmas Celebrations

by Erica - January 1st, 2013

Our family was excited to enjoy not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Rounds of Christmas this year!  Tiring, yes!  But fun for sure, and definitely Canaan’s favorite Christmas so far.

Round 1:  Bebe and PaPa Joe came up the Saturday before Christmas to kick off the celebration.  We got right down to the business of gifting when they got there, played the afternoon away, and rounded out our evening with a dangerously yummy meal at a local Italian restaurant called Portofino’s. 

 

Checking out his gift from Uncle Brent, Aunt Megan, and Eli!

Round 2:  We are trying to establish a tradition of celebrating Christmas morning as just the three of us, so we had no company on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  We went to a lovely service at our church, and were surprised to find that all three of us had cameo appearances in the video detailing our latest giving project at Greenway Park Elementary School.  (If ya wanna see it, click here.)  Canaan was so excited about Christmas morning that we heard him singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” from his room until almost 10:00, and by 8 the next morning he was jumping up and down with excitement as we pulled the last “link” off of our Christmas Counting Chain.  We had a special French Toast Casserole for breakfast and then opened our gifts to each other.  (Probably the LAST time we’ll be able to do things in THAT order.  :) ).  We figured that Canaan would get more than enough loot from all of his other Christmas rounds, so we didn’t do anything really extravagant, but we did get him a small basketball goal to keep in the corner of his room.  We spent all afternoon shooting baskets with the rubber ball that came with the goal…and EVERY other ball we happen to have in the house!

Mommy and Canaan enjoying Daddy's thrift store find!

What's in Daddy's box?!?

Round 3:  Gaga and Paw Paw came up late Thursday night so that they could be there for yet another Christmas morning on Friday.  The power wheel dune buggy that they had for Canaan definitely stole the show, but my heart melted when he casually told Gaga that afternoon (unprompted) – “Thank you to my truck, Gaga.  I like it.”  In fact, there were many times that he remembered to say thank you this week.  Granted sometimes it was to the wrong person (he usually chooses whoever is playing with the object in question with him at the moment), but I’m proud of him for being so thoughtful.  To see Canaan’s car in action, click here

Round 4:  The last round of Christmas was definitely the biggest, ending our holiday season with a big she-bang.  Gaga’s side of the family all converged on our house on Saturday for some lunch, gifting, and of course, family photos!  Canaan was the life of the party, and was an expert present-passer-outer, although a few times he had to double-check with Mommy on who was who.  (Funny thing about relatives, is so many of them look alike!) 

A Christmas miracle - no one's eyes are closed!

The next day we wanted to get out of the house for a bit, so we took a family day trip to Rumbling Bald, a bouldering area that overlooks beautiful Lake Lure.  The temps weren’t that high, but the sun was out in full force, and we had a lovely day tromping through the woods and climbing rocks.  Steve has some vacation days that he needs to burn, so he’ll be off all of this week as well.  We will all be really spoiled by the time he has to go back next Monday!  Happy New Year everyone!

Family day at Rumbling Bald

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Christmas Goodies and Good Times

by Erica - December 22nd, 2012

After a week of sickness, snuggles, and round the clock episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine, everyone in our household was happy to be healthy this week! Our week has been filled with rain, so what better way to pass the time than by filling our tummies with Christmas goodies. We had a long list of friends and neighbors that made our “Nice List,”and 5 dozen cookies later, our countertops were lined with a neat row of holidays goody bags! Canaan was in charge of the decorations as well as licking the beaters (Mommy got the bowl…), and he took his job very seriously. Here’s a video of Canaan hard at work. (Click here if it doesn’t show up below.)

The Head Decorator at Work from Erica on Vimeo.

Canaan’s cheerful giving heart was a joy to watch – it even inspired me to write a blog post on Cragmama about giving (click here to read that post.)

A classful of carolers!

 

It’s a good thing that Canaan was feeling better this week, because he got to participate in his very first Christmas Program at school.  Canaan’s teacher had informed me that he was quite the singer, singing his heart out loud and enthusiastically at every practice.  So I sat on the second row, video camera in hand, ready to document the performance for the working Daddy.  The 4 year old class paraded in one by one, dressed as different characters from the Nativity Story, and then the younger classes came out and took their places on the stage, each with their own set of jingle bells.  Canaan was on the front row, and was mesmerized by the audience, as well as the “angels” and “wise men” joining him on the stage.  I’m not sure he opened his mouth once during the 3 song set, and he only managed to jingle his bell a time or two.  But when the program was over and it was time for celebratory refreshments, Canaan was so proud of himself, you would have thought he just won American Idol.  The rest of the day all he could talk about was how he “sang loud for Mommy!”

Canaan and hsi best friend Hazel

We’re excited to be staying at home this year for the holidays, and thankfully Steve has vacation time that needs to be burned by the end of the year.  We’re looking forward to spending time together as a family of three as well as with extended family.  For those of you that we will get a chance to catch up with in person, we are looking forward to it.  For those of you we won’t see, we will be thinking of you!  Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

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Spreading Christmas Cheer

by Erica - December 14th, 2012

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud, for all to hear.”  - Elf

Canaan certainly seems to share these sentiments.  These days he’s literally singing all day long!  ”Jingle Bells” and “Hark the Herald Angles Sing” are the favorites, although “Silent Night,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (aka “The Deer Song”) are often shuffled into the mix as well.  In fact, the only thing Canaan likes more than singing his favorite songs is WATCHING himself sing his favorite songs on Mommy’s iPhone.  (Though oddly enough, he stops singing without fail whenever the camera is around). That’s why, despite my best attempts thus far, the following videos might seem a little random, because they are taken at rather odd moments when Canaan isn’t aware of the  camera…Jingle Bells was recorded while C was in the middle of getting dressed, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing was recorded in the cloak of night while we were roasting marshmallows in our fire pit.   Not spectacular videography, but it’s the best I could do…at least no one can argue that the singing is canned and not authentic!  Click on the links to get to the videos – Jingle Bells and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Another fun way we’ve found to spread Christmas cheer around our house is by making ornaments for the tree right outside our door.  Although we unexpectedly did buy a few (who knew the Christmas section at Michael’s would be 50% off in early December?!?), we spent all of last week crafting ornaments out of everything from pine cones to bird seed to Cheerios!  If you’re interested, click here to read the ornament re-cap over on Cragmama.

Now that he’s a big boy, we don’t get to cross off “firsts” quite as often as we used to.  But we did manage to knock off a big one last week when we took Canaan ice-skating for the first time!  (And probably the first time in a decade for Mommy and Daddy!)  Our evening turned quite adventurous when we realized that the outdoor venue was filled with synthetic (read: EXTRA slippery) ice.  For a sum-up of out icy adventure, click here.

 

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Come to Bethlehem and See…

by Erica - December 4th, 2012

No one could accuse Canaan of being a Scrooge, because his Christmas Spirit is most certainly contagious!  Last weekend we set up our Christmas decorations AND got a chance to do the “Walk Through Bethlehem” at Matthews United Methodist Church.  It was a wonderful way to get the season started off right, and the evening especially was a special night for all of us! 

Canaan’s favorite Christmas decorations would probably be a toss-up between our two big Nut-Crackers (or “those Crackers,” as Canaan so eloquently puts it), and his own personal Christmas tree.  (His tree is actually a relic from those far away years ago before we had kids – we’d throw up our 2 foot tall Charlie Brown tree and call it a day…my how times have changed.)  Last year we set up his tree on the countertop in his bathroom, and this year I thought it would be a swell idea to remove the little night lamp on Canaan’s dresser, and put it up there instead.  Unfortunately Canaan did not share my sentiments and adamantly protested my apparently horrible idea.  The little tree was somewhat nomadic the rest of the day, with me putting it in one place, and Canaan moving it to a new spot, and so on and so forth.  Bythe end of the weekend we had all settled on a compromise, and the little tree is now happily resting below the mantle, right beside the big tree…

The “Walk Through Bethlehem” program was FANTASTIC.  Without a doubt, I can say I think our family has just established a new tradition that will be in effect for years to come!  It really made the story of Christmas come to life for each of us, and it was delightful to see how excited C was to see in real life what was “just like my book!”  He’s really making the connection of what it’s all about this year, and it’s so much fun to watch!

The Bethlehem Marketplace

The “Walk” started out outside, and though there was a long line, it moved pretty quickly.  Plus there were Roman soldiers shouting about taxes and wise men wandering through the crowds inquiring about the Christ-child to occupy our attention.  When we entered “Bethlehem,” we were each given a handful of coins, which all went directly into Canaan’s pockets (an interesting metaphor…).  There were butchers, bakers, (and yes, candle-stick makers), as well as a real camel – all outside in a very thoughtfully designed authentic-looking setting.  But the real magic happened when we walked inside the church – and were transported to the center of Bethlehem circa 4 BC.  There were craftsmen and vendors everywhere, each “selling” something in exchange for the shekels we were given upon entrance.  Canaan bought a clay pot, a candle, a piece of fine silk, and some beads.  We went into the Temple area and played with dreidels, and peeked into a Jewish homestead.  We then proceeded into the outdoor courtyard area, where we were greeted by the sound of angels announcing the birth of Christ in song.  There was Mary, Joseph, and a (real) baby Jesus, as well as shepherds AND sheep!  Canaan fell in love with the angels and we stayed for many, many songs.  His eyes lit up brighter than a Christmas tree when he heard “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, which in a matter of 24 hours has turned into his favorite song of all time, although he has a loose interpretation of the words (join the “triangles in the sky…”) 

...Him whose birth the angels sing!

The whole thing was very well done, and I can’t imagine all the set up and volunteer power they needed to make it all happen!  But we loved every minute of it, and Canaan has not stopped talking about it yet!  I daresay that if we all had as much Christmas spirit as that little guy, the world would be a much brighter place!

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