We did a lot of fun family activities to celebrate the Advent Season- making a concerted effort to keep family time and JESUS at the center of our focus. One of our family memories from this year that I am sure will turn into a tradition is the Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt. Hayden pretended to put the kids to bed- got everyone dressed in jammies and started to tuck them in. I had secretly place “golden tickets” on their pillows with instructions written on the back to board the Mommy Mobile for a fun ride! I had loaded the car with sparkly garland, hot cocoa and cookies. We set out with a check list in hand to find different things in peoples yards- snoopy, an airplane, 3 angels in one yard, a display with music, Santa on a roof, etc. The only one we couldn’t find was the Grinch. It was quite devastating not to see him but we vowed to keep looking on other days as we drove around. We decided we’d seen so many other decorations that we could skip one! The kids talked about it for days afterwards. (another nod to Pinterest!)
Wednesday was Christmas Eve and we got ready for our traditional visit to Chuck E. Cheese. Poor Hayden was not feeling well. He took a few buddies hunting but came home feeling worse. After a quick nap for him, we were off. We had a blast tearing up CEC for a while. The highlights:
– the best picture I’ve been able to get with all three kids was of course, the one with Chuck!
-Haley put two tokens into a machine that didn’t work and got upset that she lost two tokens…Trey instantly reached into his cup and gave her four. He is our most generous and peace-making kid. He makes me swell with pride.
-Hayden was an absolute trooper doing a great job to mask how sick he was…as soon as we got home he threw up in the yard- couldn’t even make it inside. I love him.
I usually have grand ideas of all that I’d like to accomplish for certain things. Many things I have to let go of as reality hits and one thing I almost didn’t get to do, I made time for on Christmas Eve. I really wanted to make Trey some Penguin PJ pants…and a matching set for his favorite bear, Beary. (again, literal children) But, since Hayden was sick in bed and the kids took naps, I snapped into action. I got both sets done and it was worth it! Trey LOVED his pants that were made especially for him and was surprised to see Beary looked just like him!
So, the rest of Christmas Eve was pretty calm…naps, easy dinner, play time, Hayden in bed…until SANTA CALLED!! Haley got to talk to him first, then Trey, then Avery. As soon as Haley had passed the phone to Trey, she said, “I’m going right upstairs to brush teeth and get in bed!” It was 6:30pm. I didn’t want to slow her down! Trey and Avery got to talk and Avery did not want to get off the phone. She kept saying, “Um, Santa?” Hayden’s Dad makes it a point to call each year and the kids go crazy about it. Luckily, we had already read the Christmas story, opened our Christmas pajama gifts, and made the cookies for Santa! The kids wrote letters and their own cookie placement on the table for Santa. Haley thought he’d like hot cocoa better than milk, so that’s what he got. (I couldn’t help but laugh thinking of the scene from Fred Claus, how Santa must eat ALL of the cookies laid out so as not to hurt the kids feelings. The kids had 10 cookies laid out- 5 for Santa, 5 for Mrs. Claus…and a couple extra tiny ones for Elfy.)
Speaking of Elfy, this was the worst part of Christmas Eve. The night before Elfy had posted 25 pictures of himself around the house so the kids would have something to remember him by. He also left a Christmas Eve present- a disco ball so we can have fun all year! Luckily he left me a special note explaining that on his last night, each kid has a chance to hug him and say good-bye. It was torture at our house watching the kids. Haley was in tears, Trey was sad but excited to play with him in his hands for a bit, and Avery couldn’t believe no one was yelling at her for holding him! She couldn’t stop hugging and kissing him. (All month the kids did an excellent job of keeping her from touching him!)
Christmas morning came early and we were all up at five. Santa had come!! The kids loved opening their presents and were pleased with all that they got. We pared down some this year and I was hoping they wouldn’t notice too much and they did not. I plan to do even less next year! Hayden gets the kids his own gifts each year and he did amazing this year…as usual.
Haley– the pink bow and arrow set from Hayden.
Trey– a Fur Real dog, he named him Buster, and a hot wheels race track
Avery– a case of baby wipes and three boxes of band-aids; also from Hayden. You have never seen so many baby wipes thrown around a room! She was in heaven. She constantly asks for baby wipes, we usually have to limit her.
Even though it was cold, Hayden lit us a fire down by the lake after dinner and we bundled up to go sing Christmas Carols. Next year we might have to invite the neighbors- it was so much fun…hopefully another tradition in the making. We sang everything from Silent Night to “…Batman smells.” (one of Avery’s favorite.) Hayden and I still have our favorite from a Christmas Program that Haley sang when she was three- “How on Earth can God’s Baby Sleep?” That one was sang a couple times!
In typing this and in planning the month’s activities, it seemed like we were doing a lot with the advent calendar, Elfy, etc. BUT, I heard of a truly great idea to start as a Christmas tradition. The Sparkle Box. It’s a box with a lid, paper and pen inside. Anytime someone catches any of us doing something for Jesus or that would make Jesus happy, we write it on a paper and put it in the Sparkle Box. Christmas morning breakfast took a little longer than planned so we read the papers at the breakfast table.
For the next several days we pretty much stayed home and PLAYED! Hayden and I found a new TV series to watch, we have cleaned up the aftermath of opening gifts, and played with everything the kids have gotten and then some. It has been awesome. Everyone has been happy and laughing and we wouldn’t do Christmas any other way. (Haley is the only one who escaped the stomach bug though.)
As the end of the year approaches…and is now upon us…I’m getting all sentimental about not having captured enough about the year and hoping I will remember how the kids are right now. Time is going so fast and I want to remember it all. Bad news- I have a terrible memory! So, I write detailed journal entries whenever I can. Hopefully, this wasn’t all too much info for you, but it’s really for me. 🙂
We are now at Millington. Hayden took Trey duck hunting this evening and is taking Haley in the morning. I’m a sucker for dressing for a theme- so we are all wearing our SIMONS t-shirts that Hayden’s Dad had made up for all of us. We love them!!
As for Elfy, we miss him a lot but we was so kind to send us a picture book recording his adventures with us this Holiday Season. It was a surprise that came in the mail and answered Haley’s question about whether or not he’d be back next year…YES! We will miss him til then.