The McKees (and Abby Cadabby) want to wish you a merry Christmas! We did one of these last year, but when I saw the new dances I just couldn't help myself. Enjoy

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
My sister tagged me for this photo game, and it's easy enough so I thought I'd play along. I'm to go to where I keep pics on my computer (iPhoto), choose the 4th folder and post the 4th pic without editing or cropping.

So here it is! This is Azlan during the summer, so he must be about 8 months old. He's in our living room just playing with toys and being cute. I think he was just learning to stand, so I've got him wedged between the couch and the ottoman. The funny thing is that we've totally rearranged our house, don't even have a couch downstairs anymore, and don't own that couch at all.

Now I'm supposed to tag 4 people, so I'm going to tag Debra, Starr, Lydia, and Matt. Do you think Matt will play?
The following took place in our kitchen this morning . . .

Azlan: Mommy, I have some candy?
Mommy: No, we're going to eat breakfast. No candy before breakfast.
Azlan: Daddy, I have some candy?
Daddy: What did mommy just say?
A: (pause, then with hesitation) I need more candy . . .
D: Are you sure that's what she said?
A: Um, yes . . .
D: Do you know that I was standing right here and heard what she said?
A: Um, yes . . .
D: Are you lying to Daddy right now?
A: Um . . .
D: Daddy is answering you the same way Mommy did. You may not have candy until after breakfast.
This weekend Patriot participated in his first Christmas musical, and made his first onstage appearance (without Mom or Dad). He did great! He loved performing -- you could tell. We had one hiccup that gave me a parenting dilemma, though. Let me tell you about it.

They had three performances this weekend. One was Saturday night for some inner-city kids and any grandparents, etc who couldn't come on Sunday. The gang all came to see him at this show and he was wonderful. The other two were for our two services Sunday morning. The early service was good, he performed as practiced. The second service was a different story.

On the last song of the last performance, Patriot decided to pull his shirt up to his armpits and dance around. I was horrified. I have never seen him do this before. Ever. Why did he pick the church stage in front of a packed house to show off his abs? I have no idea. Then he started tugging at the waist of his pants. I was dumbstruck -- frozen in time and space. I was in the audience on the other side of the room and could never get to him in time to stop what might happen. This was the first time I've ever seen him misbehaving but was totally unable to do anything about it. The crowd thought it was hilarious. I didn't find it as funny.

(Side note: Matt had to come out and close the show by thanking all the volunteers, so he was backstage during all of this. He had no idea it was his son causing the commotion. If only he could have seen and stopped it.)

The show remained G-rated, but that didn't stop the jokes. I sat shellshocked in the auditorium as people filed past. "Didn't know Patriot was an exhibitionist," laughed someone who doesn't have kids yet. "Really enjoyed the strip tease," joked someone whose kids are grown and must have forgotten what this moment was like.

Before I went to pick Patriot up, I took a moment in the empty auditorium to collect my thoughts and pray about how to handle this situation. Some of you are probably thinking I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Maybe, but please remember that Matt and I have been in children's ministry for a long time. We've seen lots of misbehavior, from kids and their parents. We've seen parents in this situation compliment their kid for "expressing himself." We've seen parents get mad at the church for allowing their child to act this way (still don't understand that one). We've seen parents pull their children out of preformances, never to participate in a childrens musical again. I knew none of those options seemed appropriate for us.

But what was?

Funny thing is that I never expected to be in this situation myself. In all the times I'd critiqued other parents, I'd never once thought about what I'd do. I didn't think my kid would ever behave that way. This is pretty unlike me. I tend to spend my moments sitting in waiting rooms or at stoplights thinking about "what would I do if . . ." Kind of a sick hobby, I guess. But I'd never run through this scenerio.

Here's what I did.

The first thing I did was hug Patriot and tell him what a good job he did singing on stage and remembering all the motions. I told him I loved seeing him smile really big on stage. "But then you made a mistake, Patriot. You lifted your shirt onstage, and that wasn't the right thing to do. We sing to show God how much we love him, and being silly onstage is not respectful towards God. Mr. Tim and the other kids worked hard to make this a nice show. We need to go tell Mr. Tim you're sorry for being silly and ask him if he'll let you be in the show again next year, so you can try to do better."

Patriot didn't like the idea of apologizing to Mr. Tim, but discipline isn't supposed to be fun, right? We made our way through the crowd with all their jokes and found Mr. Tim. It wasn't Patriot's best apology, but we got through it. Mr. Tim didn't even realize Patriot was the kid everyone was talking about, but once he stopped laughing he accepted Patriot's apology.

Next we went to apologize to Daddy. We got through that one, too, but not without some drama. I could see in his eyes that Patriot was starting to like all the attention he was getting over this misdeed, so we made a hasty exit from the building.

I will never speak of this incident again. I think at this moment we have the perfect balance of "what I did was wrong" without entering the "my wrong behavior got me a lot of attention" zone. I'm afraid any more attention might push him into the danger zone for more misbehavior next time. If you're local, please don't mention it to him.

Parents, have you ever had to deal with this type of behavior? How did you do it?
Church workers, what have you seen parents do that seemed appropriate?

Below is video of Patriot being good onstage yesterday. He's the second boy from the left in the front row. You can see the light in his eye while he performs. We really might have a rockstar on our hands. (Sorry the video quality is so bad. I hope it doesn't make your eyes bleed looking at it.) Rumor is that footage of "the incident" is on Facebook already, but I'm not telling you where.

I was in the grocery today and remembered I had a coupon for Celestial Seasonings tea. Last Christmas I really enjoyed their peppermint tea, so I decided to buy another box today. I brought it home and unloaded all my groceries. As I put the box of tea away, I noticed another box of tea on my cabinet shelf. I started digging around and discovered this:

I had all this tea sitting on the shelves of my cabinet and pantry. Here's the ironic thing: I'm really not a tea drinker. I like the idea of drinking tea. I admire those women who can sit and enjoy an afternoon cup of tea. I really want to be a woman who tucks the kids in bed, then curls up with a cup of tea and a good book. I want to be her, but I'm not. And I keep buying tea hoping I'll eventually become that calm, relaxed woman who is so together that she has nothing better to do than sit with a warm cup of tea.

Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are his (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God created us to be who we are. Do we sometimes stray from the good works He created us to walk in? Sure. But He accepts me exactly as I am -- and I should do the same.

So, right now, I'm going to go brew a cup of peppermint tea and try to forget the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded.
We introduced the boys to Charlie Brown this Thanksgiving. We'd been given the "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" DVD, so we took it to Nana's house for the kids to watch while the grown ups watched football in the other room. They made it about halfway through the first episode before they totally lost interest. I was afraid Charlie Brown might be a little slow compared to the Imagination Movers and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that are our current favorites.

We went to Wendy's for a quick dinner on Monday night and their kids meal toys were Charlie Brown. So we've been able to reintroduce the boys to Snoopy and the gang through the Wendy's stickers and toys. I think they're starting to warm up to the classic fav.

Then I saw this on my old friend, Jeff Prosser's, blog. The boys loved it, of course. Azlan was dancing and beatboxing along with the music. So we might get them into Charlie Brown after all. Enjoy this little clip.