December 2012

Right after Thanksgiving we went to our favorite tree lot to pick up a tree.  Our tree was so beautiful I picked it out before we had pulled into the lot!  The tree was huge, full, dark green and smelled heavenly.  It ate up the living room, but we were okay with that.  🙂

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Then it started to do this:

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This was the daily clean-up.  By mid-December you could snap the branches right off.  Obviously not safe.  Thankfully, the staff at Shelton’s offered to replace the tree at no cost if we simply brought the old tree back.  Our new tree was a little more Charlie Brown-like, but it was also perfect.  (And, being totally honest it fit much better in our living room than the first one did.)

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We went to the DTSB tree lighting in early December…

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And visited DTSB Santa later in the month.

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We decorated a gingerbread house.

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We made salt-dough ornaments.

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We played in the snow… however little there may have been! The kids made their first snowman of the season.

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We made music…

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And cookies.  Lots of cookies.  (Thomas woke up and went to sleep asking for cookies.)

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After reading a book about Hanukkah we ate jelly doughnuts.  (Neither Joey nor Grace had ever tried one…. ?!?)

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Had a fantastic time celebrating “Spirit Week” at school.

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We really took the time this year to talk about Jesus.  The kids have always known that Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth, but we really emphasized it this year and I think they got it.  They thoroughly enjoyed lighting our Advent wreath, singing songs, attending Advent Camp at church and completing their “gifts for the King.”  Seeing their intentional kindness towards others was certainly the highlight of my Advent/Christmas season.

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We traveled to celebrate with Jon’s side of the family.  As with Thanksgiving, it was a busy house, but Joey, Grace, and Thomas really enjoyed spending time with their cousins.

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We celebrated Christmas Eve with my side of the family.  I will always miss my mom when we get together.  I see so much of what I loved in her in my sisters that, even thought she’s not here, I feel her love.  We decided to do an adult Secret Santa this year and it was so much fun!  I am already looking forward to next year.  (The masks were borrowed from my nephews.  I love how our dad is just hanging out in the background.)

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Santa came!

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We always leave a cookie or two for Santa as well as some fudge for him to take home to Mrs. Claus.  One of my favorite memories as a child is my mom reading the note that Santa left for us.  Santa has left the kids a note each year since 2008… it’s become a new favorite of mine to write the note.

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We added the final ornament to our Christmas Countdown.

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We spent Christmas Day in PJs playing with our new things.  The whole kitchen was covered in creatures!  They really enjoyed everything this year and I loved watching them play with their own things, but also share in playing with each others gifts as well.

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We spent NYE with our friends next door.  The food was awesome, we had a lot of laughs and ended the night decorating Chinese paper lanterns.  (We tried to launch them, but the wind was too strong… another night!)

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The kids were nothing short of incredible and made it until 10:30 before heading to bed.  (I think Joey would have made it if we let him.)  Jon and I finished out 2012 watching Casablanca and the ball drop.  We drank our pink champagne (love you, mom!) while we talked about 2012 and our hopes for 2013.  It’s without a doubt one of my favorite date nights of the year.  I’ve spent nearly as many years celebrating the new year with him as without and that just makes my heart happy.

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2012 has been both challenging and awesome but at the end of each day, there is no question that we’re blessed.  Happy New Year!

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