Christmas decorating

I confess that in the past I’ve been a bit of a scrooge when it comes to decorating at Christmas.  I’m a pretty minimalist when it comes to decorating anyway so the past couple years I haven’t done much.  Well, last year at our MOPS meeting, we had a speaker who totally showed me an opportunity I was missing, we were missing as a family.  She shared how every year the day after Thanksgiving, her whole family stays in their pajamas, blairs Christmas music and decorates together.  Her teenage boys still want to do this and forego their day to sleep in to participate.  So, I was inspired, and that day (in 2009) put in my calendar (a year ahead of time) for this year’s day after Thanksgiving and we decorated together, it was really fun.

The kids started out with their tradition of decorating the tree with coats, hats, mittens & scarves . . .

we put lights around the windows this year and around my lovely bookcase (oh, I don’t think I’ve blogged about that yet!)

I also (inspired by speaker Tiffany) put away all our Christmas books last so I could display them at Christmas and they don’t get lost with our other 500 books!

Next year we’ll add stories at the end and some hot chocolate.


We had a great Thanksgiving Day with Kelly’s family.

I’m guessing we had more desserts per person than any Thanksgiving celebration out there!  Aunt Faye brought dessert and brought cookies, cream puffs (these are homemade not from Costco!), mint layer cake, and her famous cardomom bread.  Sandy brought more cookies and pie!

After dinner we played a scavanger hunt game, the kids were just going to play and somehow it worked out that Marian was with Jess, Ez with Shelby, & Tobin with Evan (oldest with oldest, middle with middle, youngest with youngest), so when the adults decided to play we put they in their appropriate birth order group.

Our group (the oldest) set out and spotted a few of the items quickly, it started to snow/drizzle pretty quickly and there wasn’t anyone outside except these nice men, since we needed someone playing football, we asked them if they happened to have a football, “sure, right in the garage”, they were happy to help and threw the ball around a bit so we could check “people outside playing football”-we figured NO other team would get that one (I took the picture bc I knew no one would believe us).  It drizzled a bit more but we were pretty determined at this point.  It was then that we realized, as the oldest and clearly most competitive that we were probably the only ones still outside at this point.  We actually found everything on the list-even a dog barking to be let in (thanks to Kim).  We headed back pretty proud of ourselves and a bit wet.  We, as predicted were the last ones in and no one else had found everything.  The “under achieving” youngest group gave up quickly and didn’t show much concern:)  The “life’s not fair” middle group tried to find loop holes in our win:)  And the “overly competitive and we won’t quit until we succeed” oldest group won the prize (which was nothing but bragging rights).  We all had a chuckle over how typical we all were.

here’s our winning list

Being able to hang out with Jess, Shelby & Aunt Kim was extra special, the kids really miss the girls at college!

and we had a Wii tennis tourney

It came down to Ez (he’s really good-I can’t beat him) and Evan, Evan just barely pulled it out after multiple tie-break points

Our favorite village

Kelly can get free tickets from work for our favorite village now and a friend wanted some pictures from there so we made it a family fun day.  Kelly took the kids off for awhile while I shot (with the camera of course) Riley & Brady and then we all walked around together.  It was a fun day!

We stopped in an old fashioned store, Riley called it the Mercantile which made Karen & I laugh (she likes Little House too)

We all got rides on the cars

And, Kelly & I decided this would be a perfect job for his dad!

Ezra helped loosen Brady up a bit so I could get him away from Karen and get some happy pictures:)

and, no trip would be complete without a ride on the carousel

Operation Christmas Child

A while back (sorry, still catching up and I can’t seem to post out of order or skip anything!) our MOPS group did Operation Christmas Child boxes (check out ).  I’ve been wanting to do this with the kids for the past 4 years and life happens and we just don’t do it.  This year would be different, I’m discovering that if I listen to God’s gentle nudging and do things right away (because He does ask & remind me), I can avoid the loud nagging voice of me disappointed in what I didn’t do or missed the opportunity to do.

So, each of them did their own box of a child across the world their own age.  It was a great opportunity to teach them about the “giving” instead of the “getting” of Christmas.  When we shopped, we only bought presents for the Christmas child boxes, explaining how this box would be the only Christmas present they would get and may be the only present they have ever gotten.  I really want them to understand how blessed we are and how God expects us to share what we have with the many people in this world who have far less.

 We combined ours with the MOPS group and delivered 15 boxes to the drop off location.

Zzzzzzz . . .

Tobin doesn’t really nap anymore, hasn’t regularly napped in about 1 1/2 years.  Last year during the school year, him & Ez were supposed to nap on Wednesdays because we got home later from AWANA (they did frequently).  Over the summer, no naps at all.  So, when the school year & AWANA started back up, I was about to tell Tobin that he didn’t have to nap but would have to have quiet “book” time in his bed, when he interupted me and said “I only want to take naps on AWANA days”, from years of leadership & negotiation experience, I quickly seized the opportunity:)  The funny thing is, when we think he’ll nap, he doesn’t and when we think he won’t he does-go figure! 

So, after that big set-up, here’s more.  He didn’t nap on AWANA day but the next day he came out of his room from regular quiet time (which isn’t at all quiet for him only for me) with his little Bible wanting me to read it.  I know it seems sweet but he’s only manipulating me to get out of quiet time and I was on the phone with Mary who I never get to talk to anymore.  I told him I’d be happy to read a Bible story after his quiet time, he sadly went back.  A while later Kelly came home and wanted to know where Tobin was, wow he hasn’t come out again and it’s been really quiet.

Found him like this . . .

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