Sunday, December 28, 2014

Leading up to a magical Christmas

Ahhhh - Christmas is over.  It was a great Christmas.  We've been busy since then too, so I just got my camera out and looked over a few pictures.  I've sorted through the 24th for now, and I'll try to do another post tomorrow night if I'm not too tired from our cold turkey potty training tomorrow.

So, we left off on the 20th.  The 21st was a Sunday and I dressed the kids all Christmassy for church because - well, that's just cute, right?  I'm not really a "cute" kind of person, but something about Christmas makes me all traditional.  Or something.

Day 201 - Paxton wouldn't pose for me.

That evening we continued a 30-year (or more?) tradition with my family of going to see special Christmas lights and displays.  There is a place nearby that sets up these cool displays - some are characters from shows and movies and some are traditional Christmas scenes like the manger or carol singers - and you get to drive around and look at all of them.  But for as long as I can remember, every year we would go, park the car, and walk through the displays.  It takes an hour or so, but the kids absolutely love it.  It's one of Xander's favorite things about the season.  And this year we got there a bit early, so there was a little daylight left for the first 15 minutes or so, which allowed me to get a couple pictures.

I just thought she looked so cute in her tiny jeans and boots

Cousin Riley and Xander were not happy about standing still and posing

Piper was very happy to meet Elmo, however

This is a cool box with swirling snow and Snoopy and Woodstock ice skating round and round

Paxton was in awe - and a little timid - at first

The new display this year?  Frozen, of course

Paxton really liked Kristoff

Afterward, we all went to Zaxby's.  This is the kid table, which appropriately included my mom.

The 22nd was a Monday and Xander got to do something else he was really really looking forward to:  decorate a gingerbread house.

He did all the designing by himself.  He had it all figured out.

Day 202 - The final product.  I loved it!

Unfortunately, Paxton loved it too.  (All 3 of them actually did this.  Xander was only interested in decorating it.  He was cool with destroying it a mere hours later.)

The 23rd was Lucas's first day of Christmas vacation, so we laid low at home during the day, then had some friends over for dinner at night.  I took one picture (to text to a friend of mine), of Piper when she took a 3-second break from running wild to come up to me and grin.

Day 203 - Crazy girl

Then Christmas Eve.  In the morning I let the kids each open one gift - the twins got to open the one Xander picked out for them, and Xander opened one that "the twins" got for him.  They all loved their gifts - Xander got an action figure (Aquaman), Paxton got a foam sword, and Piper got a kitten that she is still carrying around - but I can't show the pictures because Xander was in just underwear.

But I will show you my project, because I was proud of it.  I took the kids' old play kitchen that has been in the outdoor playhouse for a couple years, cleaned it up, threw away the food and curtain, and sewed a new curtain and got some new food.  It looked like a brand new toy.

I did that while my dear husband took all 3 kids to his mother's house and gave me a little time to get stuff done, by the way.  It was the best Christmas gift ever.

When they got back we ate lunch and the twins napped while me and Xander made snowflakes.

Then they got up, we all got dressed (Xander already was, obviously) and went to our old church for a Christmas Eve service.  The twins did okay, but were getting a bit loud, so we played in the nursery for the second half.

After that we went to my grandmother's house for food and hanging out with family, another long-standing tradition and one of my favorites.  But I didn't take pictures because I was having too much fun.

I ended the night by stuffing stockings and setting out gifts and trying to get Xander to fall asleep.  When I went to bed at 11:15 he was still awake because he was so excited.

Day 204 - Ready for the morning

We don't do the whole Santa thing here, for many reasons, a lot of which were based on the way Xander's logical brain works.  We have gotten a lot of negative feedback about this decision, from incredulous looks to exclamations of "Are you crazy?!" to family members pouting about it.  (We've also had really good friends who totally support it, even if their kids think [or future kids will think] Santa came to their house.)  And although we prayed about it together and were 100% at peace about it, I'll admit it stings when people would say things like, "You're taking the magic and fun out of Christmas."  Because I want my kids to just be kids and have magic and fun. 

But this Christmas totally confirmed that decision for me.  A few weeks before Christmas I asked him what he was most excited about, and Xander said, "Three things.  One - seeing the lights with Kate and Riley and Mimi and Big Papa.  Two - decorating a gingerbread house.  And three - watching Piper and Paxton open the gifts I got them."  Whoa.  I mean - he's not a perfect kid or anything.  He pouts and whines and shows off and fights with his siblings.  But dude - he's getting it, you know?  We talked intentionally about Jesus more this year than we have in years past and I just felt it was more restful and just - nice.  And when he couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve?  That's magic and fun right there.

So anyway - I'm not dogging Santa at all.  Santa came to my house when I was little and I loved it and I still think it's very fun.  If our firstborn child had not been the curious questioning logical kid that he is, Santa may even still come to our house.  But I think God used that logical mind to get ours thinking in a different direction, and I'm so glad He did. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  Pictures from our Christmas Day and beyond coming soon.

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