It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
I'll admit, I really struggled getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I'm blaming it partly on the fact that the kids had school right up until the day before Christmas eve so our nights snuggled under twinkle lights watching Christmas movies were replaced with homework and early bedtimes. Despite that, I just wasn't feeling those warm fuzzies that usually fill me up to my forehead this time of year. I had all the Christmas events marked on my calendar, the Chandler Light Parade, the Tempe Boat Parade, wrapping presents for orphans, neighbor Christmas parties, ward Christmas party, temple lights, visits with Santa, etc, etc, but every time an event would come around I was too tired and didn't have the energy to fight the crowds. I was in a rut and went to bed each night feeling frustrated that I was always losing my temper with the kids and feeling guilty that I was depriving my kids of a magical Christmas. Then one evening I was towel drying Maddox's hair after his shower and he looked up at me with a huge smile on his face and told me, "I feel all tingly inside because of Christmas and because I love you, it's like a happiness bomb exploded inside me!". It was just what I needed to hear, a reminder that the magic of Christmas doesn't come from a calendar full of activities or trudging through crowds long past bed time to look at lights, no Christmas is magic simply because it is Christmas.
The Christmas season officially gets kicked off Thanksgiving weekend when we put up the tree, lights and decorations. I love the glow that fills the house every evening.
I know I've mentioned it before, but I love that we've entered the stage where we can go out to eat as a family without kids climbing under tables or throwing food. We listened to Christmas music on our way to Dickie's BBQ then strolled up and down the toy aisles of Target while the kid's Christmas lists grew a mile a minute.
Kylie and I took a sick day. A sick of everything day. This time of year can get very overwhelming, and it was just what we both needed. I set a date a few weeks earlier that I would let her skip school so we could go Christmas shopping together, but as the day approached I looked at my to do list and hesitated...pick up supplies for class ornaments, get a white elephant gift, pick out toys for the angel tree, pick up a book on hold at the library, get a birthday present, make returns and pick up layaway gifts, pick up cookies for a school project, order and pick up groceries....but I threw my to-do list out the window and instead had such a fun day hanging out with my girl and meeting up with Jason for lunch at the food court. She's getting to the point where all she wants for Christmas is clothes and would rather pick them out herself, so it was nice to get most of her Christmas shopping done in one day as well. I have some funny videos with her, but realized these are the only pictures I have.
We did the traditional gingerbread men cookies and graham cracker hous.es. Sadly the two little guys are the only ones that get really excited about these traditions. I mean, they all want to eat them, but the little guys are the only ones that take the decorating part seriously. My sister had our name for Christmas this year and was so cute to send all sorts of Christmas sugar cookie supplies, it was such a fun gift to open. We decorated those with cousins one night and it was a lot of fun
Kylie had a little dance performance at a Christmas carnival. I had great expectations to bring the boys to participate in the games and play in the snow they brought in. Sadly it was one of those days that it just never happened, but Kylie had a great time hanging out with her friends (and Frosty, that she is totally creeped out by).
My cute grandma sent us this coloring advent calendar that the boys have loved doing every morning, along with eating a piece of chocolate from the advent calendar our home teachers gave us. And I always love that Jayden sings the 12 days of Christmas song every morning as he counts down to Christmas.
Putting these ornaments together for Maddox's class party ended up being a lot more work than I thought, but they turned out cute. Kylie had a half day so she was able to come help out with their parties as well. Maddox gave me a smile when he saw me in his class, but as soon as he saw Kylie his smile grew twice as big.
And then I had to hot glue 25 graham cracker houses together for Ryder's party. This room mom stuff is time consuming, but I really do love being a regular in their classrooms. It was especially fun having Kylie come since Mrs Moore was her kindergarten teacher, as cliche as it is, it seems like just yesterday she was the one decorating a candy house. Kylie also got to meet Sophia, Ryder's first love. She was very matter of fact that Ryder was her boyfriend when Kylie asked her. Too funny.
Every year I say I'm going to simplify neighbor treats, but every year I end up going over board. This year I made batches of homemade salsa and chips for some, ranch cheese spread and crackers for others and then a variety of fudge, toffee, peanut brittle and dipped oreos for even more. It was a busy few days, but glad we could share some love with our great neighbors and friends. We also had fun delivering them on the golf cart with Christmas music blasting from the blue tooth speaker. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear, unless you're tone deaf like us. And then that brings us to Christmas eve, which of course deserves a post of its own.