Snow, snow, and more snow.
The snow has been lots of fun to play in, if you enjoy freezing your extremities off, that is. The problem, however, lies in the fact that it takes about an hour to find everyone’s snow stuff, see if it’s dry from the last time they went outside, and get them into it. We’ve had cousins staying with us, and at one point had 10 kids to outfit into snow gear. And once we get them all outside (and lock the door–no, not really), they are only out there about 20 minutes before they are inside complaining of how cold they are. Then they leave all those wet, snowy clothes all over the place to “dry” out, and they demand hot chocolate.
And I’d like it stop snowing sometime, so I can go out and find my after Christmas bargains, thank you very much.
The Neighborhood Party.
We have some neighbors who host a party every year. There’s tons of food, and you get to talk to your neighbors without any kids pestering you. I haven’t been able to go for the past couple of years, but Ryan will go to this one by himself. This year, however, they did it late enough that I could attend, and it was super fun. And even better than a party? Leaving my brother and sister-in-law in charge of the masses at home. They had 10 kids to send to bed, but hopefully it wasn’t too bad. They let them watch movies and play games until bed time. The highlight of the party, of course, is the white elephant game. I thought my gift was cool but kind of weird, but apparently, it was just weird. Not the worst gift, though. I think the pre-flyed fly paper was the worst. Or the viagra. Thankfully we didn’t come home with that one.
The annual Christmas Nativity Puppet show.
The kids enjoy the Nativity puppet show each year. We read the story from Luke and they act out all the parts with puppets. It’s easier than coming up with costumes (or bathrobes, rather) for them to act it out, and they love it.
The kids got Webkinz and flying slingshot Monkeys in their stockings. Who wouldn’t love a flying monkey? I think these might be good gifts for the neighborhood white elephant party next year.
Rock Band Surprise.
I was thrilled to give the kids an X-Box and Rock band. It’s doubly nice when I didn’t have to pay for it. Had I known I was going to be winning an X-Box, I might have bought less presents for them. But they were very surprised and pleased, since I would normally never buy such a thing. We finally got it set up today and are rocking out. And just so you know, Tina, I suck. But then, we all suck, so I’m in good company. I’m sure after the kids spend hours playing it and I still have only played it 5 times, they will totally smoke me, but right now we’re on a pretty even playing level. Except for Cole, who’s played guitar hero a lot more than me, and Megan, who actually plays the drums in the band at school. But since there are 5 kids and only three instruments, John is having a total melt down right now.
Chaos. And Mess.
I don’t know about your house, but our house is pretty much a mess after all the present opening. I wouldn’t say the mess is a highlight, really, just an unavoidable part of the eqasion.
Faster, Stronger, Better than it was before.
Ryan got me a new computer for my Christmas/Birthday present. The old one was the “free” computer he got back when he was fired from Intel many many years ago. It was old, slow, and frequently refused to do what I asked it to do. Now it has like eleventy times the memory and ram and all that computer language. So far, it’s working out nicely. Can you tell just by reading the blog how much faster it uploaded? Good job, new computer! And he secretly transferred all my old crap onto the new computer without me knowing what he was doing. He’s pretty sneaky that way. Ryan and I also both got new phones. Yes, you heard right. Ryan now has entered the 21st century and has a cell phone. Or, as he calls it, a leash. So I can call him. And you can call him, too, if you want! Everyone can call him! Hooray for phones. And yes, that does leave one extra phone for the kids to share. We haven’t worked out the details of that, but they haven’t seemed to care, yet.
Giving a Great Gift
We decided to give my sister and her family a gift that they really really needed this year. A van. Our van. They have three kids and can barely squish into their truck, plus my sister was left without a car most of the time when her husband went to work. We had been talking about it for a while and trying to figure out if we can survive with just the suburban and the little truck, and decided it was time to take the leap. We gave them the present a month early, and they have been enjoying it since. It really makes us happy to give something that is really going to be appreciated and used. And we hope it lasts for a long long time and they get many years and miles of use out of it.
We went up to my parent’s house on Christmas day and had the fun and folly of being with the whole family. Except for my sister’s family. Now that she’s got 10 kids we may never see her again. But even without her, we had something like 22 people there, and it was fun. It was actually the quietest Christmas celebration we’ve had in quite some time. Most of the kids stayed downstairs or watched a movie, and we’d call them up one family at a time to get their gifts from Grandma and Grandpa. The picture above is my brother actually blowing out his birthday candle that is there in the birthday pie. Yes, his birthday is on Christmas. A fact that I try to remember when I’m feeling picked on by the unfortunate timing of my birthday.
Food, Goodies, Sweets, Temptations.
I think I’ve eaten my weight in cookies, candies, chex mix and goodies. Seriously, people, don’t bring any more yummy food to our house ever again. Or at least until my birthday.
Singing Silent Night
Ryan and I sang Silent Night for our talent portion of his family party, and it was fun to sing with him. He actually played the guitar (my guitar that I don’t play), and I sang, and it was nice to sing to a guitar. I think this year I really DO need to learn to play the guitar. We also sang Silent Night with our family on Christmas eve before the kids went to bed, and then in the morning before we opened presents, John said, “I want to sing the PEACE song”. So, we sang the peace song together and it was nice. It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs, and if he wants to sing it anytime, I’m game.
Since I hadn’t yet watched Rejoice and be Merry with the King’s Singers (last year’s concert), I made the kids watch it on Christmas eve with me. You would have thought I was torturing them with hot pokers or something, to hear them complain. I mean, come on, people! Who doesn’t love the Twelve days of Christmas? You can see the video from that song here. I think I might just watch it every day just to make them crazy. Right after Rock band.
I know I was late in getting my Christmas card and letters out this year, and I may have inadvertently forgotten some, and didn’t have addresses for others. I felt very disorganized in my card sending. But I do enjoy getting those letters from friends. For some, this is the only communication we receive all year, so it’s especially fun to see pictures of their families and read what they’ve been up to. And even if I have to hear all about their perfect kids, I still enjoy the cards. (I know that their kids can’t be perfect ALL the time, right?) My sister and brother-in-law actually send out the funniest letter, and I really look forward to reading about their mishaps and adventures.
That warm Christmas feeling.
I love everything about Christmas. And I love the feelings of love and peace that we have each December as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I almost didn’t want Christmas to come because I don’t want Christmas to be over. But, yes, it’s come, and now it’s over. It’s up to us to keep those feelings in our hearts even when we don’t have people telling us Merry Christmas, and we aren’t hearing beautiful Christmas music on the radio. It’s up to each of us to keep Christ in our hearts.