Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Leading Up To Christmas

We've had such a wonderful December! I've been wanting to capture some of the festive activities that have been going on, and now that all the hustle and bustle of the Holiday has settled I'll try to write a bunch here -- in one epic post. Bare with me.

First, the kids loved their weekend away with Grandma and Grandpa. I don't think they missed us one little bit. Ben and I spent the day doing some light shopping, since most our Christmas purchases were already done. We loved the time we had with just Coraline and kept laughing about how easy it is to have just one kid. Go back to 2010 or early 2011 and try to tell us that, ha!

The following week was pretty busy. We either had company over or went out every night that week. It felt a little frantic, but also helped me feel really alive. I love our usual routine of simply having dinner together, playing for a bit, and then putting the kids to bed; but it was fun to be out and about catching the Christmas spirit.

Wednesday night we took the kids to Target to pick out gifts for each other (and a friend's birthday). Only, I'd already bought the gifts they were to give each other (because I know how to get them on sale!). It was pretty easy to figure out what they'd buy each other, or persuade them to pick out what I'd already gotten. It was sweet to try and convince them not to tell each other, only to have Nell announce her gift to Reid before we even made it out of the toy area.

Thursday we headed across town to see the city Light Festival. The displays were brilliant and gorgeous, the weather was perfect, and the line to Santa was nonexistent. Overall the evening was perfect. We tried to snap a shot of all the kids together, but it's just too difficult at their respective ages. Coraline did not like Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas. Reid was acting a little bashful and that made Nell hesitant. But then Ben told her if she didn't go sit on Santa's lap he wouldn't bring her any presents (talk about not making a threat you don't intend to keep -- sheesh!). You can tell from the below photo, that that particular threat really worked. She cheered right up and had no difficultly listing all the Sofia items she's been pining after.

We ran into a Church friend out by Santa's Reindeer. I'm always amazed that in a city so big I am constantly bumping into people I know. Honest truth, I maybe know 500 people. Maybe. That's not even a full percentage of the population -- and yet I'm always seeing familiar faces. It's nice.

We've been unwrapping a Christmas book each night, like last year. That has become a much loved family tradition. I've drafted a post with a review of this year's books, and may get around to sharing it someday.

We began making our Christmas treats Sunday morning (that's a lie, we made a bunch Friday afternoon but we quickly ate all of them and had to make more on Sunday). Reid and Nell were eager to help. We ended up making delicious sandwich cookies, Chex Mix, and some rolo turtle treats (pictured below). The kids and I delivered several Tuesday morning before Reid headed to school. They were such little troopers as I visited a bit with some friends. But my favorite delivery is when they came along with me and sang "We wish you a Merry Christmas" to their Primary song leader. It was Nell's idea to give her something special, and I sure am glad we did.

We made it back home with barely enough time to get Reid ready for school. But after our morning gift giving he was pretty set on taking his teacher and bus driver gifts to school this day. In the frantic rush to get them ready (cards made and special instructions given to Reid) I jumped into my anxiously upset mode -- which is a version of my mothering that I strongly dislike. Thankfully his bus was running late and we were both able to calm down, gaze into each other's eyes, and share a loving hug before he headed to school. In that gaze I saw so much joy and tenderness in him. The happiness he felt was palpable. The anticipation of giving away those sweet cards and yummy treats had him radiating. I hope that carried over to the recipients, even the substitute bus driver who graciously accepted his first gift. I had to chuckle as I watched him give away our well thought out gift to a stranger! I'm hoping she passed it on to his permanent driver -- that's what I would have done. Either way, she did the right thing by accepting it. It would have been a horrible mistake to pop his bubble. It was a great reminder to me, that receiving with joy is just as important as giving. I'm hopeful our treat giveaway is teaching Reid the reverse of that statement. 

As I mentioned earlier, we delivered more treats on Christmas Eve. Total, we spent about three hours in the car. It was a bit much to ask of small children, but they did great. I just wanted to help some Church friends whom we haven't seen in a while feel loved and cared for. 

But before that, we attended an open house at the Kindt's home (another Church friend, I'm beginning to realize how much our life seems to revolve around Church friends). They served us a delicious brunch and we were able to meet all their children and grandchildren. They are such wonderful examples to both Ben and I. We aspire to be so much like them -- serving our friends the morning before Christmas. They could have easily spent all their time with their family, many of which traveled half the country to be with them. Reid loved playing with their grandkids, who are mostly his age. He and a couple other little boys lost themselves in the backyard. 

I think I've finally come around to Christmas Eve. Phew. And I didn't even mention our date night (Star Wars) or the two birthday's we celebrated last weekend (Coraline's and a friends' (from Church) four-year-old son). And of course, there was Reid's school program. Lots and lots of celebrating in the days leading up to Christmas.

But, now that I've got to the big grand finale, I think I'll end this post and save the big bang for another write up. I hope your (whoever you are and whenever you're reading this) Christmas Season has been as wonderful as ours. 


Pa said...

I copy a quote from your posting...
I didn't even mention our date night (Star Wars) or the two birthday's we celebrated last weekend (Coraline's and a friends' (from Church) four-year-old son).
Shame on you. Don't forget Coraline's birthday!!!! I always felt my birthday got lost in the middle of Christmas -- I don't think I was cheated in anyway, but I did feel that it got "lost" and less attention than the other children might have had -- I don't know that because I wasn't around when they celebrated birthdays...
JK kinda...

Liz Szilagyi said...

Well, if you noticed -- there was a link on the text of "Coraline's Birthday" that would have taken you to the post about her birthday. So ...

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