This year my solution to creating deep meaningful memories, instilling the true meaning of Christmas in the hearts of my children and spreading peace and goodwill to all mankind came in the form of the 12 days of service. I don't adopt families, serve in a soup kitchens, payoff someone's layaway at Kmart or donate to every angel tree I come across, but a simple 12 days of random acts of kindness...now that I can do. Some days didn't go as picturesque as I had envisioned, but I think the kids had moments where the true meaning of Christmas shone in their eyes brighter than Rudolph's nose. And those are the moments that made it all worth it. The world has been feeling like such a dismal place lately. I find myself turning off the news and watching re-runs of the King of Queens so that I can end the night on a happy note. It's my job to make the kids feel safe, to let them know that everything is ok, but sometimes I wish I had someone that could do the same for me. So amidst the heart ache and grieving America is experiencing, I was so grateful that each day we could do something to help spread a little cheer, even if it was just in the form of sugar cookies and McDonald's hot chocolate. (phone pics: love the convenience, not the quality)
We planned a visit to an assisted living center for Activity Days. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it went better than I could have imagined. The residents were so sweet and appreciative and the girls loved them, especially the 100 year old diabetic that kept sneaking more cookies. The home was located on a farm and they all went googoo over the 2 day old baby goat. Jayden was at scouts, so he made a card for us to deliver.
A friend let me know about a lady who was collecting blankets and hats for kids that are victims of hurricane Sandy. I put on a Christmas movie then we settled down to fighting and crying over who gets to cut, who has to tie, who's pulling the blanket too far...so maybe this didn't go down like I had planned and driving 45 minutes in the pouring rain with a crying baby trying to find where to deliver it to was not what I had imagined. Buuuuut, I'm sure they'll appreciate the blanket and hats we made and maybe one day my kids will look back with
Homemade treats and cards for the garbage man and mailman. Man, I wish I could be tan year round. Man, I wish I could be tan, like ever.
Bought hot chocolate for the customer behind us in the McDonald's drive-thru line. The kids got so excited spying on her to see her reaction. And then we couldn't go to McDonald's without getting ice-cream.
Hot chocolate and donuts for the daycare workers at the gym. I love these girls, especially Ryder's girlfriend, Gina. She takes such good care of him and I love that he comes out with lipstick marks on his forehead.
Made cookies and delivered them to the firestation and got a private tour in the process. Pretty cool perk.
I heard about this "hearts to Newtown" organization where they're collecting hearts from children all over to cover the walls of the school, library, city hall and hospital in Newtown. It's nice to know that we can help, even if it is something small.
I gave my friend a break and a chance to get some Christmas stuff done while we had her kids over to decorate a gingerbread house and enjoy the first day of Christmas break with friends.
We set up a hot chocolate stand to earn money for those in need. The kids got so excited when somebody would stop and would get so frustrated when people would drive right on by. It was an emotional roller coaster. It was hard to miss Maddox who was dancing and screaming "hot chocolate for sale" to every "customer" that drove by. We only lasted about an hour, but they made $18, thanks to a couple of generous customers who paid $5 for a .50 cup of hot cocoa. We took our jar of quarters to Wal-mart, only to discover that they had already taken the angel tree down. I made a couple of phone calls to people who had adopted families to see if they were still collecting donations, and they weren't. We had this hard earned money and no place to donate it. We brainstormed a few different ideas and finally they decided to donate it to the Humanitarian Aid fund through the church. They were excited to think about the good that their contribution could make.
Day 12: Tomorrow they're earning money and buying gifts for their siblings, because love and service starts in the home. Kylie and Jayden have been so sweet today, it seems like they always get along better during the breaks than when they're in school. I love seeing them like that and hopefully they've been able to learn something from this experience, I know I have.