Nativity Set Antics

I have a Fontanini nativity set kinda like this one with a whole lot of figurines to go with it. It was a wedding gift to me and Jay from the ladies at my church, and I was able to select exactly which Nativity set I wanted — they just went out and bought as much of it as they could from the money people contributed. Christmas was a month after our wedding, so I *loved* that gift, used it right away, and have enjoyed it every year since.

One reason I chose Fontanini over something out of ceramic or porcelain is that I knew we’d have kids. And I wanted kids to be able to play with it — and the Fontanini figurines, though pricey, are made of resin and don’t break when dropped or thrown. The most fragile aspect of it is the moss that’s glued to the roof of the stable I have.

The girls have had a wonderful time playing with it this year, and have mostly been good about keeping all of the figures in the dining room so they don’t get lost. The baby Jesus is in a drawer in the living room, and Helen and Alice will get him out and put him in the manger tomorrow morning before any presents get unwrapped. Helen remembered this from last year, and as soon as I unpacked Jesus she took him off to his drawer. The wise men are already here, but next year I’ll make sure they’re at least in a different room so that they can travel a little bit every day for the 12 days after Christmas.

Yesterday when I came downstairs, the figurines were arranged by height, except for Joseph, Mary, and the empty manger, which remained in the stable. Everything else — 2 camels, 2 oxen, a donkey, a goat, five sheep, shepherds, villagers, drummer boy, etc. were all arranged by height.

The day before yesterday they were arranged by species.

I imagine tomorrow they’ll be sorted by the color of their outfits or something.

Cracks me up.

What I find the coolest, though, is that the holy family is untouched by the sorting each time — they remain in the stable.

Kids are funny.


I cry easily. Always have.

The blog challenge for this week was to talk about a time you’ve cried, and why. For me, the challenge was just singling one out. Or remembering the most recent.

This week I’ve cried three times — once at Vestry on Monday, when I found out that the father of a dear friend from my childhood is in the very end stages of pancreatic cancer. They don’t expect him to make it to his birthday at the end of January. He has outlived every prognosis so far; we’ll see if he crushes this one as well.

The next time I cried was when my friend Mary called the other day to tell me that her mother has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and it was found the same way Donna’s was found — Anna Jo turned yellow. They don’t know if it’s Stage 3 or Stage 4 because they couldn’t get a good biopsy the other day. I know that pancreatic cancer is a death sentence — it may be a slow one or a quick one, but it will take you. It’s a very cruel disease. Mary’s mom is a sweet, sweet woman, and she treats Mary like an absolute princess, even thought Mary has been an adult for ten years longer than I have. The coming months will be very hard on Mary, I know. The thought of that just tears me up inside.

And this morning I cried because Helen’s pre-K teacher, who we have LOVED for pulling Helen out of her shell, is not coming back in January. Instead, she’s going to China to adopt a much-wanted baby girl. So this morning, we took her a little pink dress that Helen had worn as a toddler — the dress has ladybugs all over it. Helen and Alice and I went in and told Ms. Tifani that we had a present for her, and because we knew that ladybugs were so important in Chinese culture, we wanted her to have this little dress. It’s the wrong season for it (it’s sleeveless), but that doesn’t really matter — it looks good with a turtleneck under it, too. And then, because I’m a sap, the tears started to come. I also gave Ms. Tifani a picture of Helen wearing the dress, and in the picture Helen is in one of her typical postures with her hand to her mouth in a shy pose. Priceless. And a little quilted jacket and pants that I made. Tifani was so gracious and sweet, giving me and Helen hugs to thank us, my little sentimental heart just couldn’t take it. I’m so excited for her, about to embark on this wild ride called motherhood…. She has no idea the impact that her little baby girl is going to have on her life — forever changing it.

My girls drive me up the wall some days, but I wouldn’t go back to the days before them for all the money in the world. Sometimes I’d like to *visit* those days, sure, but I’d never want to stay there.

Having a baby changes everything, indeed.

God speed, Dr. U…
God speed, Anna Jo…
God speed, Tifani and Luna…