Well, we went to my folks place for Thanksgiving and had a great time. It was early this year (or at least, it felt that way) and we didn't do our Christmas tree "stuff" until the following weekend. We went on a Friday, to a new Christmas tree farm (this is our first Christmas in Michigan), to avoid big crowds. Well, we certainly avoided the big crowds, but we also missed out on a lot of the "fun" aspects as well. This particular tree farm only has the "fun stuff" on the weekends. You know, the horse-drawn wagon rides to the tree fields, the hot cider/cocoa and cookies, the roaring fire, etc.
Yet this place is about 50 min. away - so we weren't about to drive home and come back the next day. Plus, the kids were already so set on getting the tree THAT day. So Dean and I made the best of it. If we acted happy, they were happy. It really is all about our attitudes. And so what?! Now we know. Next year, we'll be sure to plan accordingly.
So we picked out a tree (from the car ~ it was COLD out there). We jumped out, did NOT take the baby, and cut it down lickety-split. Once we got home, it went up just as fast. We have NEVER had a tree go into the stand *straight* so easily. Wow! Not one arguement, not one annoyed moment between Dean and I. Amazing (I know, it shouldn't be so amazing).
We also discovered that all our lights had been left in Colorado. We had zero Christmas lights. We didn't want to purchase new lights until AFTER Christmas (to get the really good deals) so we borrowed some from the church's collection. We used white lights (a first) and it worked really wel in this very small space. Nice and clean. I only used about 1/3 of our ornaments - it just looks less cluttered. I'm sure in a larger space, with a larger tree, our usual colored lights and million ornaments would have looked great - but it is nice to have this change, this difference, this year.
Also, I have just given up this year about having a nice-looking tree. While it is okay, it is kinda sad too. The bottom third of the tree looks a bit - well, disheveled (sp?). We are in this small space and we ALL walk into the tree on a daily basis. All of us have knocked off ornaments. And garland. And even light strands. The whole tree almost got knocked over on numerous accounts. It's no one's fault - it's just crowded a bit. I even found the baby's leg wrapped around a strand of lights today. *sigh* Hey, these things happen!
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Let's see: I have most of the presents wrapped and sitting in bags in our closet (piled to the ceiling, literally). We have sent a few gifts off to other's, talked about giving opportunities with our kiddos (Isaac somehow now thinks whoever we give a gift to - well, that their dad is in jail - thank you Angel Tree program). We have been working our way through our Advent devotionals. They are supposed to happen every evening. It doesn't always work out that way. Tonight, we discussed and put on the tree FOUR ornaments (supposed to be ONE per evening) - hey, at least we are making an effort.
We sing lots of carols, we discuss the reason WHY this season is so important to us, to everyone. We have discussed heaven, death, birth, dying, sins, prophets, virginity, judgement, the image of God, etc. With a 6, 4, 2, and almost 1 year old. Interesting, to say the least. Isaac had gone through the "but I don't *want* to die" phase this year. Selah has remembered TONS of stuff from last year's discussions. And Tali just wants to help. Elijah probably just wants to know why his family has brought a tree into the house, for goodness sake!!
We pulled out most of the decorations, and the many nativity sets we have. I realized that we may want to invest in some new ones this year, during the AFTER Christmas sales. Most of our's are child-friendly and missing a few characters. And I'm okay with that. The kids learn about Jesus' birth, who was involved, how each person was involved, etc. It's worth it.
AND THE COOKIES
Yup, we made sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles. Ahhhh, the joy, the mess, the fun, the sugar high. Being the neurotic that I am, I was less than enthusiastic about making a huge mess. Yet it went pretty well. We had a snow day around here this past weekend - church was completely cancelled and we were homebound. So we made a mess - all day long! The cookies got too much icing and WAY too many sprinkles and my kiddos had a blast!
All in all, it's going fairly well this year. I am not overwhelmed with Christmas - instead I am trying to keep things in persective and enjoy myself and my kids. We have a few more events coming up in the next week or so before Christmas, then I'm off with the baby to my folks place again. But that is another post......
All my love~