Featured Posts Holidays

A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

We just saw you in person last week. The boys also wrote their annual letter to you, asking — as always — for just one thing. I think they had more fun drawing a picture of you and a self-portrait on this particular template. I also love that they came up with their own things that they did well this year. BigBrother said he has made a lot of Star Wars origami, and that he makes a lot of books (but he never finishes). LittleBrother said he was good at listening, reading, and math. They’re both telling the truth.

I know, as do you, that they’ll get the one gift they asked for this Christmas.

BB's Letter

But that’s not why I’m writing.

My heart is heavy this year. I know that lots of good people are doing lots of good things to make sure kids have a great Christmas this year — kids who otherwise wouldn’t. That’s what’s bothering me of course, the otherwise wouldn’t part of it.

We’re doing our part — donating to our local Secret Santa program, making donations to a number of local organizations that care for other people. I feel that teaching these two boys about the importance of giving, of taking care of other people, ranks as one of the top things I can pass on to them.


But all of these things are just things.

I know that there are people struggling, emotionally, this season… in all seasons. I want, more than anything, to let those who are feeling on edge, desperate, depressed, alone, fearful, anxious, and generally hopeless that people care for them, about their well-being, about their future. I don’t quite know how to do that myself, other than being present and available.

I know a lot of people trust in your magic, in the hope you bring this time of year.

LB's Letter

I was hoping maybe you could spread a little of that hope, that magic, that love, that something to those who need it most this year. I’ve been someone who needed the light of hope and magic during this time of year; I know how bleak the holidays can feel in light of loss and self-loathing. I don’t want that for other people, this year or any year.

So maybe when you’re out giving gifts, taking care of people with stuff, maybe you could pass on the light of love and hope and joy, too. Okay?


Featured Posts Gift Guides

5 Gift Ideas for Kiddos, Ages 6-8

I’ve shared gift ideas for runners and firefighters. Now, our kids! If your kids don’t like these, blame my kids for liking these things. Not me!

Our boys both had birthdays in November. As such, we’ve had a chance to try out some fun new toys right in time to share some ideas with you. I’ve included our favorites, some of which were a little bit surprising to me as I didn’t expect them to end up on our list of favorites.

1. Nerf guns. If you don’t like play guns, I’m sorry. But you’re missing out. Because boy howdy, we’ve been having a blast. I was a No Play Guns type of mom before I had kids. I also confiscated some Nerf guns the boys were given too early to be age appropriate. However, they got some small ones at a birthday party earlier this year, and the boys learned the rules. Mainly: Downstairs or outside, and don’t shoot each other in the face. So when my sister-in-law asked if she could get the boys some Nerf guns for their birthday, I said, “Sure!” The boys ended up with the Strongarm Elite, currently on sale (12.2) for $9.74, and the Elite Firestrike Blaster, currently on sale (12.2) for $6.50. The latter of the two has a laser so you can better shoot your brother in the butt. Or your wife as she walks away. YOU KNOW. We’ve been having a blast with these, minus that one time that our friend shot me in the earlobe. To be fair, we were in the playroom.

Nerf Guns

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys. The boys in green are back, which is a thrill for the adults in this household. First off, the Shellraiser gives me the lolz in the first place, but it’s also a great toy for the boys to play with their TMNT characters. Another win happened to be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtle Lair Attack by LEGO. My favorite part about this set — in addition to the number of characters it came from to build up their TMNT minifugres — is that the two boys together (ages eight and six) put it together with absolutely no help from any adult. For that reason only, it’s my absolute favorite LEGO set ever.

3. Books! Our boys get books for every gift giving occasion ever, because me. These are their birthday and Christmas picks, with a brief review of each purchase.

  • The Origami Yoda Files Boxed Set: Look at BigBrother’s facial expression to understand how awesome he found this set. Big win.
  • Bad Kitty Boxed Set: LittleBrother loves these easy to read, funny chapter books. He was thrilled to get his own boxed set of books
  • My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: I’m assuming BigBrother will love this one. Because Zombies! And goldfish!
  • Fly Guy and the Frankenfly: Fly Guy started out as a HUGE hit with BigBrother and LittleBrother has fallen in love with the series as well. This one should be a hit.

4. Games! And not even video games! Apples to Apples Junior has been so much fun to play after dinner since BigBrother got it for his birthday. Not only do we all get a case of the belly giggles, but it’s helping boost both boys’ vocabularies. I love it, they love it, win win.

5. Nintendo 2DS. My kids weren’t allowed to get a 3DS, because of my concern about the way that 3D can have a negative effect on developing eyes. Read also: I’m mean. As such, when I saw that Nintendo came out with a new personal gaming console that allows them to play the 3D games with the 3D ability completely removed from the system, I nearly turned a cartwheel. To be fair, the boys don’t have these yet, but I know they’re going to love them. This is the one thing they’re asking Santa for this year. (We only ask Santa for one gift.) I predict these to be continuously harder to get the closer we get to the holiday, so grab ’em when you see ’em.

Note: Boys and girls alike can/would/do like all of these items. I’m a 32-year-old female and love me some Nerf guns, TMNT, Star Wars themed things, and video games.