Christmas is always a fun, messy, exciting time of year, isn't it? This year, Christmas seemed to sneak up on me faster than any other year. I am not quite sure why that was. But thankfully, I have trained helpers who bake and craft and wrap and take a big load off of their Mama.
As always, the girls count down the days. I am pretty sure this chalkboard was the best $1 investment that I've ever made. Each day the girls would update it and I would hear them excitedly report to the others that there were only 20 days... 17 days... 10. It kept me moving when I just wanted to cuddle on the couch and read Little House aloud. :)
On Christmas morning one of the girls asked if Pa might read from the Bible before even opening stockings. You don't have to ask him twice! But you do have to grab him his reading glasses. Yep, over 40 something now and we both have a pair. But his are cute and remind me that we are not 17 anymore. How blessed I am to have been his girl for so many years. :)
This punkin' was such a help over Christmas, but today I announced that she has been banned from baking things I want to eat! She makes so many amazing treats, and who eats them all? Me! No, it's not "baby" weight. It's my "teenager bakes" weight. She seriously needs to start hiding the treats from me!
One thing that I wished I had taken a photo of, but didn't was our Christmas Camp Out Countdown. We had been so busy, we decided to have a camp out in the family room so we could all be together even though we had work to do. We set up the mattresses, the TV and VCR (VCR? Tom always asks-- yes, I still call it a VCR, but it's a DVD player) and watched movies together while we wrapped, tested fudge and made last minute treats. We had a big cuddly, camping mess for two days and nights and it was very fun. But I was really glad that no one decided to come for a surprise visit because seriously, it looked like a shanty town.
Girls love dress up. It doesn't matter how old they get. Now the girls enjoy collecting furs and other fun accessories that are practically free at thrift stores (and actually are free when grandma decides she doesn't want hers anymore). Lydia's big surprise at Christmas was her first mink stole. This particular one is basically one mink whose mouth clips on to the tail of another mink and is worn like a scarf. The girls had loved it at the thrift store, and I zipped back to buy it as a surprise in November. It's kind of yucky if you stop and think about it, so... don't think about it. Just agree with us. It's really, really neat. ;)
I knew the girls would want to build a gingerbread house again this year. It's just one of those things you have to do, right? This year I thought we should just hot glue the whole thing together. Wouldn't that be the easiest? No waiting for icing to dry or walls falling over. Fortunately for these two, their big sisters hopped right in to help. So my hot glue gun remained at bay. Maybe next year...
Speaking of hot glue. I really should take photos of the homemade gifts I made this year for the girls. An A-Frame tent for Hailey and a nail polish shelf for Michaela. I'll try to get to that. I love to make gifts for the girls when I can.
The picture (above) of the girls helping with the gingerbread house cracks me up. Look at Hailey. It looks like her primary job was more of a supervisory/ marshmallow tasting position. Can you see her cheeks? Oh boy!
One of the crazy crafts we did during our Christmas Camp Out Countdown was making these crackers. They are wrapped cardboard tubes, with hand selected candy inside and wrapped on the outside with clear cellophane. We also made some cute personalized cups for the kids (thank you, Pinterest) and a layered Christmas jell-o dish that tasted wonderful because the recipe was from Pioneer Woman, but took two trips to the grocery store and like thirty hours to complete! Thirty hours may be a slight exaggeration, but seriously... it's a slight one. ;)
Everyone was such a help, that in the end (as usual) I was left thinking, "Wow, how in the world did we pull that off?" It's the kids. Really. Hooray for kids! They are the best. Oh, and Tom helped too. He wrapped gifts on Christmas Eve. Only, even though he never stepped into a store or made a to do list, every gift he wrapped he signed only from him! He is so funny.
As always, our cute extended family came out and blessed us with their fun-- which they always seem to remember to bring with them. So thankful for them. For their health and ours and really too many blessing to count.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.