We're almost halfway through January, and I'm still getting caught up on December! That is exactly where our lives are right now. We're still cleaning up Christmas. I'm sorting again, every year getting packed away more efficiently, which I love. I will never have Christmas sorted room by room. I used to hope I would, then realized I don't decorate exactly the same every year, so it is pretty impossible.
Amelia turned three on December 20, which has been incredibly bittersweet for me. She may well be our last baby, and even though I'm at a place in life where I'm *almost* ready to be done with having babies, I'm still sad over the idea of no more toddlers of my own! I adore my little granddaughter, but she isn't *mine*. I love where our life is this very moment, and wish I could put life on pause. We have kids from 3 to 22, the two oldest have wonderful "significant others", and there is a very, VERY sweet grandbaby. *sigh* Getting on with Mia's birthday (she is now sitting on my lap singing "Happy Birthday"!). She currently loves rainbows and the only birthday cake at Costco was this rainbow cake. Perfect! We kept things extremely low-key, as we were already staying only barely caught up for Christmas! We got her some new Lincoln Logs and a doctor's kit. We had grandma and grandpa over for cake and coffee. At three, she's still a bit confused by having her birthday so close to Christmas.
I had been reading Thrifty Decor Chick's blog, when I saw this post. I specifically saw this snowman and knew we could make our own. David was in bed behind me, saw the same snowman and thought the same thing. I found this guy, too. We had leftover plywood in the garage, so he cut the shape out, then I painted him and gave him eyes and holly. I am very happy to have a treat/project/activity/little pieces -free advent calendar! He is easy to put up, easy to use. This year Owen moved his carrot nose first thing every morning.
Every year we load up our van and drive around looking at lights. I only took a few pictures. The first house was set to music, which is fun to look at, but I'm so glad they aren't my neighbors! The lit up tractor was across the street from them. I just LOVED it, not sure why, but I did! We drove through town, up to the Column, which is strung up like a tree every year (you ever want a dizzying workout, that ginormous spiral staircase will do it! I'm always petrified to have small children up there. I haven't been up it in...hmm...a Very Long Time). The middle house is ours. We have never had lights on our actual house, only the fence. We started small, as poor hubby is no more fond of heights than I am, and he had to rebuild the porch this past summer, which required a lot of Being Up High. I laughed pretty hard the first time I went out at night and saw our lights. You see, David has a Thing for Mandalorians (Star Wars - like this, for example). Our house looked like a Mando Helmet! The next house is my brother in law's. They went really big this year, even using a cherry picker to get those lights up! That blow up dinosaur was huge!!
Last year we "officially" declared a family tradition of Watching A Christmas Story and having Chinese Food for Christmas Eve dinner. I really love it, as it gives us something to rely on that is pretty effortless while making last minute preparations and wrapping the last of the gifts. I thought for sure I'd be in bed early this year, but no. Alan was wonderful and stayed up so late helping with the gift wrapping. Even though we don't give each child a ton of gifts, when you have many children and they only add to the family, you still end up with a ton of gifts to wrap! I'm hoping to eventually add to the traditions and have new pj's for all, but this year only the younger ones got in on new pj's. Emma has been desperately desirous of footie pajamas. Because she's going to be ten next month, and the wish for something sweetly childish won't last much longer, I splurged and ordered her some from Land's End. I presented them to her Christmas Eve, along with a pair of Pink Christmas pj's I'd found for Amelia at Goodwill. Owen wore some Sock Monkey Christmas pj's that we've had for a few years. I'd bought two pairs at Goodwill a few years ago for Emma and Owen, but she'd grown out of hers and he grew into them. Mia will fit into his old ones next year. They had a lot of fun posing and being silly. Emma's footies are red and white polka dots, but not actually Christmas ones, so she can wear them pretty much year round, weather permitting. I didn't take too many pictures on Christmas, though it was a really nice day - probably because it was such a nice Christmas. I made a ham and a turkey, and they both turned out very yummy. I don't personally care to have turkey on Christmas, a month after Thanksgiving, but I have a couple ham-haters. Also, since we have been eating Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's, we don't end up with leftovers, so this way we do. Scott and Cecilia both liked the scarves I made them, and Scott is generally wearing his anytime I run into him at the store (btw, it's kind of a weird thing to run into your grown child at the store. You chit chat, then you're like, "Umm, bye." It feels like they should still hop into your vehicle and ride home with you, lol). We actually didn't make our Christmas cookies until a couple days after Christmas. We just hadn't had the time. We did make a ton of cake balls to send into work with David. I'd unintentionally started the tradition many years ago,but had been unable to make them the last few years. I have to package them separately according to shifts, and if someone has the day off when they come in, too bad! I almost made an extra batch for those who had missed out, but caught myself before setting another precedent! Rachel and Martae came back a few days after Christmas for another visit - that's the last pic in the collage. My oldest girl snoozing with her own girl and my youngest girl. Amelia is beyond in love with her little niece! Well, I think I've pretty well covered our Christmas. To sum things up, I felt like I was rushing the whole month to get things done, we did miss Christmas Eve service at church, but had wonderful family time with my growing family. I adore Winter, I wish we had snowy winters, but I like the cold rainy season we have, too. I love the early nights and am always a bit sad to see the days begin stretching out. I miss blogging regularly, and having time to get around other blogs; meeting more bloggers. David will be changing shifts in February - either swing shift if he gets a promotion he's put in for (he interviewed for it today, prayers, please!), or day shift if he doesn't get it. Either way, I *should* have time to blog more. Swing shift in summer isn't helpful, too much outside to get done, but swing shift in winter is fairly conducive to blogging, as well as making things to blog about. I did finish the project I mentioned before, and plan on posting about it tonight or tomorrow.