DW & I always joke that our theme song is “If we can make it through December.” 2014 was no exception. In fact, a week before Christmas I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and I actually prayed that God would give me some supernatural energy to make it to Christmas and get everything done that needed doing. I’d been whining to DW that just one year I’d like to know what it felt like to have everything done and just be waiting on Christmas. He suggested that maybe we have too many traditions. (we have quite a few- but honestly I don’t know how we could cut any of them). I want to make as many memories as I can with our kids- they’re only little for a short time, but I also don’t want to rush-rush-rush trying to squeeze everything in that nothing is even fun – or more importantly that we loose sight of what’s MOST important and what CHRISTmas is really about.
DW also suggested I say “No” more. He made a great point and while I DO need to make sure other commitments don’t come before my own little family, I want to teach my children the importance of serving and putting others first.
It’s a fine line and such a balancing act and as I reflect on the month I’m not quite sure how I’d rate myself this year. But it is what it is – December’s come and gone – and while it was exhausting, we have many great memories to tuck away…
A few highlights:
- Speaking of Christmas trees… we put a little 3 foot live one out at Cooper’s this year. We went by one afternoon to water it, and someone had left a little decorated tree in his dump truck. It said, “Merry Christmas, Cooper – with love from the children of Williston.” It was precious to me and whoever left it, will never know how much it meant.
- The Jingle Bell Jog. It was so cute and so much fun. It was our first year participating, but we’re definitely adding it to our traditions. (What was that about cutting some things out?) :) They have several age groups, so both the girls go to participate.
The Chick-fil-A cow was there, and he ran with AB & her friend, Emma. It was adorable. When they’d slow down and walk, he would, too. He stayed right with them.
She made the cow come over and meet all of us, and he wasn’t so sure about Tucker’s cow-print silky. Oops. :)
He was a best-dressed Elf this year, and has quite the wardrobe. He’s got the couple “official” Elf on the Shelf outfits, but he also has a few ornaments that are the perfect size for him… (Michael’s had these sweater ornaments, and I just made a little cut in the back to fit it over his head).
Our Elf always likes to borrow clothes from our Ken dolls, too…
AND, the best thing I found were the sets for wine bottles… I found the camo set after Thanksgiving on fall clearance at Kohls, and Nie-Nie found a few Christmas ones throughout the month to add to our collection.
The Target dollar bin made it easy to come up with a few days worth of Elf-antics this year. Our Elf brought a few prizes for the girls on different days. Chapstick, nail polish and even bandaids (which turned out to be a not-so-great idea when Maybree stuck a few in baby brother’s hair)
- Santa Baby
- Church Christmas Play
This was Maybree’s first year, and she was so excited. She was a little nervous during their first “act” and held her sister’s hand the whole time. But when they came back out as angels, somehow they got separated, and she was just fine standing all by herself. She cried when it was over and we had to take her costume off. :)
- Everyone had Christmas trees in their rooms, including DW in his office at work. I used black and yellow to make a ribbon “road,” printed the company logo and stuck it on wooden ornaments and used tiny Tonka trucks as ornaments, too. I love how it turned out. Tucker’s was similar, but he also had cows hanging on his tree. Somehow I managed to not get a picture of his.
- We saw the man himself, Santa. I saw an ad for “The Santa Experience” with a Gainesville photographer, and decided to give it a try this year. (These are pictures of pictures, so they’re a little blurry). When we got to the studio for our appointment, the photographer took a few minutes to take some pictures of the kids by themselves, then she had them close their eyes and count to 10. When they opened them, Santa was standing there! He knew their names and that they’d both just had birthdays. It was adorable. He really blew their minds when he asked them where their baby brother, Tucker was. (We were behind him in the corner). Maybree was a little timid at first, but she warmed right up when Santa read them a story. She told him Jingle Bells was her favorite song, so then he sang it with them. It was precious. We had 20 minutes with Santa and the whole thing was just adorable. The pictures turned out so great and we ended up ordering a story board collage. I already know it’s going to be one of my all time favorite Christmas decorations….
- Along with our annual treasures the kids paint at Do Art! This year’s Do Art projects were a nativity set (the girls each painted a few of the pieces and I painted one, and we did another plate. It’s Tucker’s foot print, Maybree’s hand print and Annabelle’s fingerprints around the rim.
DW’s Mom rented a house up near Mayport for our Christmas gathering this year. It was a beautiful house right on the water. We all got there Friday evening and stayed through Sunday afternoon. Saturday morning we rode the ferry over to Mayport to buy some fresh shrimp. AB couldn’t believe she could get out of her seatbelt! She rode with Aunt Amber, Taylor & Warren…It was the first ferry for all the kids. Saturday was our “Christmas” with a big lunch and visiting with family. It was an especially sweet Christmas because we had THREE new babies this year! Parker, Tucker, & Tilly! We had a fun afternoon of playing outside, opening gifts and catching up. The kids loved seeing the big barges go by, and I think everyone thought it was neat when the Carnival cruise ship sailed by Saturday evening!
It was a fun weekend to kick off Christmas week!
- On Christmas Eve, I did a fruit cascade for a wedding. Nie-Nie was a huge help, and even Erin got in on the action when she stopped by to check on us. I wasn’t very pleased with the melon on top, but it’s hard to find a good size melon in December…so I just added some greenery and a big bow to try to balance it. When in doubt, always add a bow. That’s one of my life rules. ;)
- That evening, we had our church’s candle light service, but I decided to stay home with Maybree & Tucker. DW and AB went and then the crew came back to our house for steaks. This is always a meal we eat on the dishes that were DW’s grandparents’.
Christmas morning/Day was another great one.
- The day after Christmas, we took a little trip to Uncle Beau’s. Stephanie, Henry (& most importantly, Hank) were in Georgia for Christmas, so we had to see them while they were home. Saturday, we introduced the cousins who were born just 4 days apart.
It was a quick weekend and we headed home on Monday.
December 2014 was a wrap!