Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Christmas

I have been completely absent from the blog this month.  Yikes! 
While away, we have been busy like always making memories. 
December is always a busy month trying to go to Christmas parties, prepare for 
traveling, and of course shopping for gifts.  My goal for this year was to 
change that.  Slow things down.  
I also wanted to put an emphasis on giving back. 
I have spent everyday of December doing something for others. 
It has been as simple as paying it forward at Starbucks, to donating items to 
Goodwill, to writing letters to women who just found out they have breast cancer. 
{blog post on this to follow}
Most of these "acts of kindness" have taken a rather small portion of my time, such as smiling at random strangers throughout the day, but it has given me such an appreciation for the holidays this year. 

Here we are less than a week away from Christmas and 24 hours away from traveling to Ohio for the holidays and I can honestly say I am pretty calm.  Is everything done? No.  
Will it get done?  Yes. 
My to do list is manageable and I even have enough time to sit down and write this post AND 
get a workout in this morning. 

The best part about my "acts of kindness" this month is getting the kids involved.  
Last week, we helped out the Salvation Army by being bell ringers at 
our local grocery store.  I think my kids smiles had people putting a little extra in the bucket!  
Now just when you are thinking "Man, this girl has it going on!".... let me tell you 
how the bell ringing went.  
Yes, we were all smiles and ringing bell but it was cold and about 1/2 way through our 2 hour time slot, Bubba was sitting on the ground taking a break and tells me he has to go to the bathroom.  
Three seconds later he is throwing up all over the lobby of the grocery store.  
Yep.  Puke on him, puke on me, puke on the carpet, puke in a trail all the way 
to the waste basket ten feet away beside the sliding doors.  
What a site!! 

I felt like such a bad mommy. 
Luckily, daddy was on his way and was able to come and 
save the day and take Bubba home to rest.  
The staff at the grocery store was kind in helping me clean up and the girls 
kept ringing their bells amongst all the chaos!  
Making memories!!!  LOL 
{I was hearing ringing in my sleep}
This flu bug that has been going around our house is only a 24 hour thing so 
Bubba was back to his old self the next day..... only to give it to 4 more of us.  
This past weekend we celebrated Our Christmas with just the 6 of us.  
We have done this the past 4 years and take time to do family things over the weekend and 
then exchange gifts.  This year all the gifts the kids got from Mom and Dad were handmade by us.  
When I say "us" I mean me.  Nate isn't really the making type. 
The kids also got a chance to make some gifts for each other.  
We also can't get through a holiday season without making Christmas cookies. 
On Saturday we pulled out the cookbooks and found a few recipes to create.  
I love how much the kids love helping.  They all had a part in something. 
Everyone was taste testers! 
We did take a break from the cookies to have a dance party. 
Gigi was supposed to be helping me reach the cornstarch in the top cabinet when she got the urge to dance.  Love my crazy music loving kids!  

We attempted to make our own gingerbread houses too! 
Being really adventurous, I made two packages of gingerbread and  tried desperately to make large rectangle pieces out of the dough to create houses.  It worked.  They weren't perfect and 
certainly didn't look as pretty as the right of the box kind, but the kids didn't know any different. 

This week Bubba also brought a cookbook home from school. 
I love my kids!  He went to the library at school and picked out a cookbook so we could make some recipes at home.  Seriously they are my children, no denying that!! 
He had a blast making firecrackers.  A drink that includes grape juice, 7 up and ice cream.  
Happily I think we will have more cookbooks coming home from school. 

Sunday is when we finally got to open up gifts.  
You see all the gifts under our tree.... 90% of them were handmade. Only Nate and I's gifts to each other were actually bought at a store.  
After church, we started the fire in the fireplace and exchanged gifts.  
Seeing the smiles on their faces from such little gifts like a Hershey chocolate bar or handmade pajamas makes my heart swell.  It really isn't how much you spend, truely!!! 

There were lots of hugs!!! 
Even this girl smiled from ear to ear. 

After opening gifts, we declared it pajama day and everyone got comfortable in the pajamas made for each one.   I even made myself a pair.
That night we went out and looked at Christmas lights around town.  
We visited a few houses that have their lights programmed to music and the kids had 
a ball dancing around the car watching the lights. 
{first time using a timer on my phone... there are lots of bloopers!}

I love this family tradition of Our Christmas.  
As much as we love being with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandmas and Grandpa for Christmas, it is 
fun to have a little time with the 6 of us.  
I hope for many Christmases like this to come.  

Now on to more packing.... 

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