Christmas Stay-cation! (Part 1)

It all started with the arrival of Elfy and putting up our Christmas decorations. This is only our second Christmas in this house so it’s still fun figuring out where the decorations go…and picking up a new item or two to add to the stuff we pull out every year.

Elfy is our Christmas Elf. I had been hesitant to bring an elf into the fold because we try not to initiate Santa discussions for the most part and do what we can to keep the focus on Jesus and the real reason for the season. However, we opted to get an elf and do our own version. I found a really cute and posable Elf at Kirklands for like $5 and decided to go for it. Elfy (named by my incredibly literal children) came with a note explaining that his job was to make sure we had as much family fun as possible this season, as we prepared for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. He was watching out for us to be extra kind, generous, and loving…while having fun with all the traditional Christmas excitement- marshmallow snowmen, hot cocoa, reading books by the fire, buying and wrapping gifts for others, having Christmas music dance parties, etc. Having Elfy at the house was priceless! Every morning was like a taste of Christmas magic as the kids would race each other to get up and find him each morning…and then rush in to tell me…at 5 am! I couldn’t help but smile, but had to force myself to get up and go look.

We visited Hayden’s parents mid-December and had a great visit. Before heading to Jackson, we stayed in town to see the dress rehearsal of the Singing Christmas Tree. It was amazing. Haley had the opportunity to see part of the try-outs and even got to sing for the director. He told her that one day, “You’ll own the stage.” She has clung to that and reminds us often. Seeing the show lit her up and I can’t wait till she plays the lead one day! She talks regularly about trying out when she is in third grade…and how it’s only 2 years away. I tell her, “then it’s only two more years til you see me sitting in the front row crying tears of pride and joy!”

A fun game we played on the way to Jackson was the “thankful game”. I got a similar idea from a Family Fun magazine a while back. I pretended to throw each kid a present. They had to open it and I’d announce what it was- some good, some not so good. “It’s a stinky sock!” The kids had to say “Thank you” and make a comment about how they could use it or why they were glad they had gotten it. It was a ton of fun and great practice for getting gifts they may or may not love. We had a talk about how it’s important to be grateful and show appreciation for the time someone took to pick out a special present for us.

We had so much fun openning gifts right after our arrival. Mammaw is kind not to make the kids wait! (Although I don’t know who was more excited- the kids to get their gifts or Mammaw to watch them open their treats!) Haley’s favorite gift was a sewing machine and Trey loved his lego sets! Avery loves it all and just likes to be in the middle of everything. After opening presents and playing with all the fun gifts Friday night, we went with Seth, Caleb, Laura and Ryan to the Children’s Museum on Saturday. It was really fun and the kids loved exploring it all. The highlight was Haley winning the dance competition! She was moving and grooving to the music and won a backpack full of goodies as her prize. She was also treated to a shoe shopping spree by Mammaw and Pappaw after lunch so she was feeling quite special. That night we went to Laura and Ryan’s for pizza and a movie- ELF! Can it be Christmas without that movie? Not at our house! We all laughed and the boys took to opportunity to have extra play time. Another activity that kept the kids and Pappaw Gary busy was trying to catch a bird. Their hard work and determination paid off…as you can see!

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The actual week of Christmas was crazy but awesome. My parents came to pick up the kids Sunday night to go get the kids Christmas presents at Build-A-Bear. I had invisioned this big night out and the kids going crazy wanting everything there. They came home- a snowman, a bunny, and a kitty. The snowman was the only one with clothes. My dad laughed and said he offered Avery every outfit that place had but said she didn’t want any of them. They did have a fun time and enjoyed being out with Grandma and Grampy. What did Hayden and I do with our few hours of freedom? Go to the mechanic and grocery store, of course! So romantic, I know. However, we didn’t stop laughing the whole time and took advantage of the Starbucks at Kroger. Our Kroger got fancy this year. The laughter of that night set the tone for the rest of vacation.

Monday morning was a hunting day for Hayden. He’s been going with a few different guys this duck season and they have had so much fun and have even seen some ducks this year! Last year was a very dry year- hardly any ducks flying. This year they have only come home empty handed once. Hayden’s gotten to enjoy more time with a couple guys from church and our teenage neighbor, Dylan.

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