Christmas card 2023…

This year’s Christmas card was a celebration of our 20 years – one family picture for every year we’ve been married.

Life is an accumulation of many seasons. For 20 years, we have been in the season of building and raising an active family. How it started…

How it’s going…

The next 20 years will be a season of launching our children into adulthood. We’re learning to celebrate all the seasons.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas in your season of life.

Bass Pro Santa 2023…

It doesn’t feel like Christmas until we make our annual visit to the Bass Pro Shop to see Santa. And this year, more than ever, I’m grateful my older kids, especially Hallie, are still willing participants!

We started this tradition right after we moved to Arizona and we’ve never missed a year. We’ve come a long way – we didn’t have a single crying kid this year. 🙂

We love the appointment system at Bass Pro, but for some reason this year even with our appointment time, the wait was still lengthy. Hunter and Bennett made their way around the store while Hallie, Briggs and Cannon wrote letters to Santa while we waited.

I would have to agree with all of their letters – Cannon and Briggs have been very good boys and Hallie’s unsure where she wants to be next year so she’s soaking everything in. Their requests have been signed, sealed and delivered to Santa.

We finished our Bass Pro visit with a friendly game of hide and seek in which Bennett and Hunter were deemed the victors with the ultimate hiding spot – a Christmas miracle indeed.

Gingerbread man…

We attended the annual neighborhood gingerbread house making this afternoon and every year I sing the praises of the mom that willingly hosts this annual event! She kindly hot glues all the houses together so the kids just show up and decorate. Really they eat two pieces of candy and then attach one to their house, eat another two candies, add one to the house.

It was weird to only have two elementary kids decorating this year. Cannon took his time and was meticulous about his candy placement. Briggs was decorating at a table with all his friends and they were all destroying their little houses so I was surprised when Briggs’ house made it through the destruction that tore through their table.

Pretty sure Briggs had more frosting on his shirt and body than he had on his house – but he was happy as can be!

Christmas happenings…

There’s so much that goes on during the Christmas season, it’s hard to document all the happenings…

We had our neighborhood nativity (our family has participated many times over the years) but this year we got to enjoy it from the audience. It was next level with the introduction of a zonkey (that is not a typo – look it up) and a full size camel. Most nativities showcase a camel, but the zonkey at the birth of Jesus is questionable – but fun nonetheless.

Briggs and Cannon had a Santa’s Workshop at the their school one night. Steve was out of town and all the older kids had stuff going on so it worked out perfectly for me to be there with them.

We’ve made just a few visits to the “Christmas House” in our neighborhood. Any free evening we have, the kids are convincing us we need to go on a walk. They’ve added additional snow machines and bubble machines and there’s always a song or two where they end up looking like this.

Hunter took no time to get into the holiday spirit. The day after Thanksgiving he arranged to go to Goodwill with his friends. I had no idea the purpose of the trip, but he came home with a Christmas tree for his room. He’s decorated the tree, lined the room with lights, put a swag across his bed and has little Christmas trees on his dresser and nightstand. Of course the minute he was done, the other boys were wanting a full size tree for their room!

Our nephew was the lead in his high school musical Frozen so Steve took those without any commitments that night which happened to the two youngest. Our nephew was amazing and so impressive in his leading role.

Hallie and her friends are always down for a photo opportunity.

One Santa a season is never enough! These kids are willing to take a candy cane from anyone in a red suit. We still have our favorite Santa – Bass Pro Shop – left on our to-do list, slated for when the kids get out of school.

With one week left before Christmas we’re quickly crossing off our Christmas traditions…just a few more to go.

Dear Santa…

Evidently he wants a squirrel feeder kit (Thanks Mark Rober for his current interest in squirrels). I told he may need to put a stamp on the envelope – he assured me you only need to draw a picture of a candy cane for a stamp and Santa will get it. I sure hope he’s right or else Santa is never going to know about the squirrel feeder kit.

Thankful…Briggs’ edition…

Before Thanksgiving we attended Briggs’ classroom “family traditions” learning event. His school is pushing regular learning events where parents come in to the classroom to see presentations. They’re usually pretty quick – think 2nd graders – and sometimes I wonder if they’re even worth attending.

But then I walk in and see my kid beaming and I’m reminded why I show up. He wants us there – even if it’s for less than 5 minutes and then he begs us to take him out of school early.

(It made me think of a video I saw earlier this week of kids spotting their parents at events and how they light up. Take a look if you want to smile.)

Briggs is thankful for the following hobbies: Soccer, football, basketball, tennis, baseball, and… art.

The people he’s thankful for: Family, grandparents, teachers, friends and best friends.

Food he’s thankful for: Cotton candy, pears and grapes.