Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas 2013

Let's begin 366 days prior to Christmas.

Christmas Eve 2012 was bad and rough and all my fault. In order to escape that this year I wanted to make sure we focused on keeping Christmas simple and focused on things OTHER than ourselves. To get things kicked off right I made a countdown - an advent of sorts, to keep us busy each day and ALSO to get the kids thinking more than "gimme gimme gimme!" We started the first week with Service Week, where we made gift bags for people who serve US in our lives, filled with some fruit, some treats, and a hand-written card. We delivered them to our mailman, trash men, Patrick's teacher, his doctor, the fire fighters, and someone else who serves us but I can't even remember who right now. The fire fighters were really cool - they let the family come into the fire station and the kids got to sit in the fire truck and talk into the radio. Needless to say, it was their favorite Service Gift Bag delivery! The second week of the countdown was Experiencing Christmas - the generic and fun stuff of Christmas! Have a hot chocolate tea party (in Caroline's tea set), make salt-dough Christmas ornaments, watch the Muppet's Christmas Carol as a family, cut out snowflakes, bake cookies... like I said, the fun stuff! The third week was supposed to be focusing on The Reason for Christmas, but by the third week I had run out of steam and kept forgetting to fill the envelopes with activities! Patrick would retrieve an envelope before I was properly awake, so in my groggy state I would proclaim, "of COURSE it's empty, we still haven't finished... cutting out snowflakes!" Happily he accepted that answer at LEAST 5 times. Once I told him it was because dad was in a bad mood and the activity had involved dad, so now it was no longer do-able. THANKS, Mr. Grinch-dad (and whoops, forgetful and finger-pointing mom!).

By Christmas Eve, though, we'd done lots of very fun and thoughtful and giving things, so I was very excited at the way things were shaking out this year! I even had presents wrapped and set out (and up, away from Ethan) AND a special gift for Christmas Eve. A TYPICAL gift, but special to the kids because it came wrapped in shiny paper. About 2 weeks prior Kari alerted me that Wal-Mart had some smoking' deals on pajama sets so I got new PJs for each of the kids - they were $2 apiece! - plus a set for myself. They were so thrilled that they to to wear their PJs on our drive around to look at lights on Christmas Eve, I thought it was a "win," even if it was pretty generic.
Cutest dude ever.
Spiderman, meet Cutest Dude Ever.
Skylanders, meet Spiderman and Cutest Dude.

Throw Hello Kitty into the mix, and you've got a party!
Our after-Christmas gift was haircuts for these boys! Looking pretty shaggy here.

Christmas morning. My one picture, all super-fuzzy - wah-wah. Notice the light coming in the windows - we did not encourage anyone to get up early, and they obliged by sleeping until 7:30.

I meant to replace our stockings but didn't get around to it, and then couldn't remember WHY I meant to replace out stockings until Santa had a very difficult time stuffing oranges into them. It was such a tight squeeze the kids about got orange juice instead! Here's Eli wrestling his out. Good thing he loves wrestling.

Patrick originally asked for a Colossal Squid toy - he really likes the documentary on them and has watched it a number of times - so I bought this highly-rated posable squid MONTHS ago. Then he changed his mind and wanted a remote control dinosaur (which doesn't exist), and I also had on hand an electronic dragon, so he got both. I was very pleased that upon opening the squid he remembered he had asked for it, and he was SO EXCITED that Santa had remembered, too! That jolly old fellow doesn't miss a beat, does he?

All those toys were Santa's fault, I'll have you know. I wanted us to use our talents as gifts for each other this year, take the focus off toys and money and really GIVE, so I made each of the kids a personalized "corny" -  a small pillow filled with corn that they can heat up in the microwave. Sounds random, but I have a corny of my own and they would constantly fight over it when really I wanted it for myself! Now we are all satisfied. Caroline's is Hello Kitty (like her new pajamas, which she isn't wearing in these pictures - she prefers footed pjs. But hey, they were $2), Eli's is blue with construction machines on it, Patrick's is black with neat red flames all over it, and Ethan got the shaft and didn't get one. Caro and Eli made good use of their cornies by providing comfortable beds for horny toads and crocodiles.

While Joe and I stuck mostly to our homemade gifts, this was an exception: a dinosaur game! You have to sneak eggs out from under a leaf and hope the big dinosaur doesn't attack! Good times.
We ended up getting MANY awesome games, it was a challenge trying to try them all out in one day! We've decided we need to declare every Friday night an official Game Night so we can enjoy all these games, and each others company, for year to come. And THAT is a good Christmas gift!

All the kids received awesome play-doh accessories (which is great, we are HUGE play-doh fans around here), and Patrick immediately got to work making Mr. Bill.
"Ohhhhh Nooooooo! He's gonna be mean to me!"

1 comment:

Elsha said...

Does Patrick really know who Mr. Bill is?