Thursday, December 07, 2006

Want vs. Need

I haven't posted any pictures for a long time. Here's one of the munchkins just before they ran out the door Trick or Treating.

I'm still digging through the stash and deciding what to do with it all. It's amazing how much we acummulate and then promptly forget about. As I opened one storage box of yarn, I could not even remember where some of the yarn came from. I'm sure that when I bought it I was sure that I couldn't live without it and envisioned myself casting on as soon as I got home. Not so. Some of the balls/skeins were lucky to have even received the attention of a swatch.

It all comes down to our perception of what we need and what we really just want.

Steve and I decided this year, that our kids were becoming too materialistic and seemed to appear as though they were "entitled" to tons of toys, gifts, presents. It's easy to want to give your children so much more than they need and then we wonder when they turned into Veruca Salt (remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). We came to the decision to limit their gifts this Christmas to three. They will receive their Santa gift (generally, the gift that is too large or awkward to wrap) and gifts from friends and family, plus their stockings, but we will only be purchasing them three gifts. One will be a gift of love (this could mean a toy that is something they really wanted or for the younger ones, something cuddly), a gift of learning (a toy to learn with, maybe educational, computer or dexterity related), and a gift of fun. There may end up a few extra gifts here or there, and we usually do one family gift (this year we were thinking of either a vacation somewhere the week after christmas or new snow shoes for all the family - we're still not decided). It's not that we couldn't afford to get them more, actually it's quite the opposite - because we COULD buy them more we feel we shouldn't. They initially were not overly fond of this idea, but we reminded them of the story of the Christ child and that three was enough for Him.

We felt this would help them not feel so overwhelmed on Christmas; would help them feel the spirit of the holiday a little more; would help us not be so frustrated at toys strewn throughout the house; but most importantly, they would learn to be content with less. Once we had presented the plan, the kids took to revising their christmas lists with no encouragement. The lists went from 3-4+pages to 5-6 items, with one marked as the most desired gift. We also have had them find 3 toys that are in good condition to donate.

Because we want them to learn to plan for things and save their money for things they desire rather than buy what they can't afford, we have a family meeting scheduled for January 1 where the kids are to present a larger priced item that they are interested in acquiring. They will then work out a plan to earn the money for it and the jobs/chores they will complete to earn the cash to pay for it. The gift of controlling desires/wants, and managing budget will be one of the most valuable gifts we can give them this year.

Now, if I could just find someone to help teach me that I don't NEED to have that extra skein of yarn to go with the 200+ others lurking around the house. It seems so much easier to teach them a skill that I don't possess. Maybe they'll also be receiving the gift of Hypocrisy this year.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Can't see the Forest for the Trees

Okay, I'm not dead, but had just fallen off the edge of the knitting blogland for a while. I've been incredibly busy, but haven't we all. Here's a quick update of what's being going on in the D household over the past 6 weeks.

  • I had my Lasik Surgery! I can see. It was so easy and painless. I would strongly recommend this to anyone considering it. It was well worth it.
  • Baby E caught a bad strain of Strep C (yes, usually it's found in animals - last time I checked I have no animals in my house, just children - maybe that's the same thing). He had a fever of 106F and they couldn't get an IV started on him - 9 tries. Poor kid! It also took 3 tries to get a catheter going and that caused more pain and discomfort for him over the next week than any high fever of ear and throat infection could of. This happened 3 days after having the lasik surgery, so I looked particularly strange, stood in the emergency room at 3am with sunglasses on, so that the bright lights in the ER wouldn't bother my eyes. He's doing great now, although he does have a fear of the doctor's office since those traumatic few days.
  • Many PTO activities have taken place that I have organized - installation of climbing wall, book fair, Fall Festival, Blood Drive, purchasing DVD players for all the classrooms, bake sales. Along witht he ridiculous amount of drama that some mothers want to cause. Word for the wise: Avoid positions within the PTO like the plague. My kids love seeing around the school though and having me so involved, so that makes it worth it.
  • Purchased a new site for dh's new clinic and started construction. Still trying to decide on what colors are best for dental offices. dh did look a little put off, when I suggested that it didn't matter what color the walls were, nobody actually liked going to the dentist office.
  • I've been doing a big clean out of all the cupboards in this house - we have stuff stashed everywhere. I always get a big case of spring cleaning right before the holidays, as I know that more stuff will be entering the house.
  • I'm preparing for some afterschool classes I'm teaching at the Elementary School, one of which starts today. I'm teaching teamwork and problem solving using the climbing wall with the 3rd-5th graders.
  • Reading - I have been reading alot. I read Jean Plaidy's Victoria Victorious and highly recommend it. I then purchased the A&E/BBC mini series Victoria and Albert to watch - loved it. I read the Alchemist - I'm still trying to decide if I liked it or not. A bunch of fun quick reads - Richard Paul Evans Finding Noel, The Sunflower. Not the best literary works, but the reading equivalent of knitting a scarf or dishcloth for a fast fix.
  • Knitting - has been rather limited, but has started to pick up again. I did whip out a bunch of dishcloths (I know, not the most interesting, but necessary, and it was nice to have a FO after an hour). The weather finally started to turn on us and I have been knitting some socks - which I'm thoroughly enjoying. The sock draw was looking pretty empty, and I've fallen in love with Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn (thanks to Marji - from a summer project colorswap) and have purchased some more skeins in different colorways. I've decided to try out some different sock patterns to experiment with.
I have noticed a recurring theme on many blogs that knitters are feeling a little overwhelmed with the stash they have and many yarns that they don't think they'll ever use. I have been feeling a strong need to basically start fresh and have been strongly considering eliminating all my stash and basically starting anew. I haven't knit like I normally do lately because I feel bogged down by this excessive stash. So watch for a huge cleanout in the next few days. I am considering combining it into 3 lots and getting rid of it.

Any thoughts? I feel like I can't see the forest for the trees. I can't get into a project for all the balls of yarn falling all over the place. We'll see!!!

To some of my favorite bloggers out there - missing you and hoping you're having a lovely holiday season.