Saturday, December 10, 2011


The Christmas season is by far my most favorite time of the year. As a child, my family did the same thing every year, the tradition. Christmas Eve stands out in my memories. Each year we would make the short trek to my grandparent's house. On the way, we would stop by one of my mother's childhood friends and visit. Then it was on to my grandparent's home for the annual Christmas Eve party. As I type, I can specifically remember where food items were placed each year, the aroma that filled their home and I can hear the laughter and Christmas cheer that was felt throughout the evening as family members and friends gathered. Then, as luck would have it, the festivities would die down, folks would meander their way to their cars and the evening would come to a close. Our family would assume our positions in our car and drive home all the while listening to the Santa sightings on the radio. Warm. Close. Memorable. Once home, we would get ready for bed and the annual slumber party to be had in my older sister's room. I think this particular party began when my younger brother voiced his thoughts on Santa and threatened to sleep behind our couch in the living room to see for himself. Tradition. Christmas morning would arrive, my grandparents would be driving up our driveway as we were all awakening from our Christmas Eve slumber. We would wake my parents and wait for them at the top of the stairs. My dad was the first one to make his way downstairs.....first he would bang on the wall, you know, to scare Santa away; then, he would peek in the living room door and say, "Well, it looks like you all have been good this year!" or something to that affect. We would walk in, oooh and ahhhh over the gifts, open more gifts and the making of breakfast would begin. Always.
Because of the family traditions that were established in my childhood, I strive to build traditions for my children, our family. Of course, the number one tradition would be the tree farm. Definitely a must in our because of the tree, the children because of the goodies.
And Matthew. He arrives on December the first each year with bells on. This year in particular, he has been quite naughty. He has strung toilet paper about the house, he has pretended to be a wise man in the manger scene and he has been found mimicking the caroler decor in our home - naughty indeed.
St Nicklaus Day. Love this tradition though our children truly have no idea what it really means other than it is done in Germany and children leave their shoes out for treats. What else is there to know, right?!

And the perfect Christmas picture. I did the children a favor this year and had a professional conquer this one for us! Alas there are many more traditions.....the decorating of the gingerbread houses, the cookie decorating party, the Lights of the South, Christmas at the Zoo, skating (We all went yesterday - MK was quite good!), the Hook party, the Tisdale party, the filling of the shoeboxes, the advent calendar, Christmas Eve service and friends over for dinner, reindeer food making, going to see A Christmas Carol, pictures with Santa (C says this is his last year but I am holding on for at least one more!).....the fun is all there yet we are striving to make this season more than just fun. As our children grow, we want them to know the season of Christ's birth. We want it to be a tradition that our children remember our Savior during this season. We want Him to be first and the fun to be second. One of my favorite times this year has been the advent calendar. Instead of getting the anticipated candy each day, every other day they have received a good deed card. They have written letters to loved ones, hurting friends, thank you notes, they have delivered goodies to neighbors, bought gifts for children who do not have a home.....these "deeds" have been the "fun" in our home this year that will stand out in the years to come. And I hope it will be our newest tradition!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The mind/imagination of a four year old never ceases to amaze me!
MK: "Mom, I can't decide what to be, a mom or a mom fairy. Or maybe even a tooth fairy, I just don't know."
Me: "Well, you mean you may want to be a tooth fairy when you grow up?"
MK: "Yes, but I don't really know how I could get my kids to go everywhere and then get back to change into my wings and stuff. I just don't know."
Me: "Hmmm." At this point, I was at a loss for words.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Tree Farm

Every year, our family enjoys a day out together choosing just the perfect tree for our home to celebrate the Christmas season.
Following a hayride into tree neverland, we all hop off and begin our hunt for the tree. It is always so interesting to me to see each child choose a tree and their reasoning behind it. We have everything from the "Clark Griswold" size chooser - aka the bigger the better, to the economical chooser to the "lets just get this one so we can go get snacks!" chooser.....
Maddox just decided that her siblings could choose the tree while she made her list for Santa.
Alas, the tree was chosen and chopped down. On to the Christmas Cafe for some yummy eats and treats.
I think all six of us would agree that our favorite part this year was playing hide and seek in the Christmas trees. We ran around for what seemed like hours hiding from one another and dashing from tree to tree.
I love this pic.....P is saying "I found YOU!" and MK is looking like "Where?Where is she?"
Sweet Maddox.....again, just so glad to have her HOME! As this season progresses, I find myself reflecting on where we were in the process last year to bring her home. We were so close to having her yet it was agonizing to wait for each approval knowing she was across the world without us.
Every year, the boys have received a Lionel train holiday car from my father. Last year they received the ever-so-important engine and track. Dutifully, we set it up around our tree and they all enjoyed the train fun. However, we realized during the fun that our "real" tree was causing a real mess on the track - the needles were dropping and it was hard for the train to get around the track. Soooo, we were off to Target early the day after Christmas to purchase a not-so-real tree for the train to reside under during the subsequent holidays. The funny part....this year, we forgot we had purchased the tree so it was a real surprise to us when we were pulling out all of the decor and we found this big box with a big tree.....and the even funnier part was putting the tree together with the boys! I grew up with an artificial tree so I knew how this part worked - match the colors, etc. The boys were just bewildered by it all.
The final not-so-real product. P was feeling horrible in this pic, not yet quite over the looming bug that was in our home during Thanksgiving. Amidst feeling horrible, he was determined to get the tree up and the train running before retiring to bed.