Christmas gift…

Every year, there are a couple gifts that I’m really excited to give – this sign happened to be one of them this year. In Steve’s family, we rotate which sibling we give to and this year we gave to his youngest sister. She is a mother to five boys and this is their family motto. I had the idea to turn that motto into a large wooden sign with each letter cut from wood. (similar to some signs I’ve previously made shown below).

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of these and now my wheels are turning again for all the holiday signs I want to make!

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The ornament…

Cannon came home right before Christmas break with a special decorated white paper bag. I recognized the bag. I get one every year from my elementary aged kids and it’s usually some type of ornament. I usually convince the kids to let me wait to open it until Christmas – but Cannon was relentless, he wanted me to open it right now. I pushed him off a couple times but he kept following me around with this bag. I realized there was no way he was going to wait until Christmas, so we sat down together and I opened it.

I found his cute little hand print painted on a glass ornament. Its a classic, I think I have one for every kid. He immediately wanted to put it on the tree, and he quickly left the room. A few minutes later, I could hear him discussing how to hang it. I yelled from the other room, “Cannon, you’re going to need to find a hook to hang it.” A few minutes later, I could still hear him in the other room and he hadn’t found a hook. I told him to hold tight and I would grab a string to hang it from. Minutes later, I walked into the living room ready to hang his ornament and I saw him kneeling on the ground.

What I didn’t see right away were the tears streaming down his face, but I saw him holding a small broom, sweeping up something. As I got down on his level to see what he was doing I saw his broken ornament. He looked at me with tear filled eyes and I could see his broken heart. The gift he was so excited to give and to hang on the tree was broken – he was broken. Sobbing. He couldn’t wait for me to find a hook or to grab some string. He hung his delicate ornament on a few needles from our fake tree. It held for approximately two seconds before tumbling off the tree and smashed against the wood floors.

My mom heart broke. Perhaps if it had been broken two weeks down the road, it would have been an easier loss. But he had just been so excited to give his gift.

Shortly after, I had to go pick up Hallie and after picking her up I had the thought to run to a store and pick up another glass ornament. I ran into Wal-mart and started walking up and down the isles of the holiday section. It was completely picked over. The ornament section was empty. At this point, we were just a week before Christmas and everything seemed to be cleaned out. I kept walking the isles. Not just the ornament isles. Every. Single. Holiday. Isle. And wouldn’t you know it, on some random, empty isle, there was a discarded box of 8 clear glass ornaments. Christmas miracle.

You should’ve seen his face when I walked in the door and showed him the ornaments. Crisis averted. We painted his hand (we actually had enough ornaments that all the kids made one) and drew little snowmen. This is the Christmas magic I wrote about recently. He may soon forget that he broke his ornament – but his look of disappointment is forever etched in my mind – enough so that I made an impromptu trip to the store to show him how important his gift was to me.

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December catchup…

We decided to take the kids with us to the store to shop for another family for Christmas. We had sizes and we were on a mission! But shopping with 5 kids is no walk in the park – although Steve was doing his best to find zen in the moment.

We pulled out my very favorite Christmas puzzle – Christmas sweater cookies. Hunter is about the only one that will sit there and figure it out with me. We left it on the table for several days and we’d steal a moment her or there to work on it. The worst part is finishing the puzzle only to realize sometime in the last few days a small piece has gone missing!

Christmas cards trickled in and I couldn’t help but laugh at Steve’s oldest brother’s card – it pretty much sums up the year for most every one I know.

Matching Christmas pajamas – not a tradition I grew up with but something I look forward to every year. Some years they’re completely matching, other years they’re coordinating. The older they get, the harder it is to find something that will fit and please everyone.

Hunter giving us his untraditional nativity gift.

I didn’t think our annual trip to the Bass Pro Shop was going to happen but we jumped through the hoops and made it work. These two are pro Santa and they were both anxious and excited for the big day. 🙂

The other kids are shockingly supportive and they make the experience even better for the younger ones.

Briggs had his Christmas program and he was just about the cutest reindeer I’ve ever scene.

Sending out Christmas cards has always been a chore but it’s made easier when I have capable kids to do the work for me.

We spent a lot of December training for a big hike Steve and the older kids are doing soon. Hikes, running bleachers, hikes and more bleachers. They are ready!

December likes to show off when it comes to sunsets. The sky is always a beautiful blend of colors. One day Bennett came in frantically looking for Hallie. I couldn’t find her so I asked what he needed. “Mom, the sunset is amazing – Hallie would love it!” I ran out with him and sure enough, there was a cotton candy sky. I love that he notices the beauty in light.

I found this on Hallie’s phone – the background of her screen and I couldn’t love it anymore. Even decked with a red frame for Christmas.

Although Hallie broke her finger this month which kept her from playing sports – the boys played on. I am a soccer mom and as such my weekends involve attending soccer games and I can’t complaint – I enjoy it.

And that’s a wrap…mostly! 🙂

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A story of disappointment…

These shoes tell a story. They tell a story of hope, delays and heartache.

After missing her last basketball season all together due to COVID, Hallie was excited to have another chance to play this year for the high school. She had a 7th period devoted to getting in shape and she attended open gyms two times a week for the whole semester. They delayed the season by a couple weeks but she was ready to play. Just before the season was starting we went to the store to get some new basketball shoes. She landed on these shoes that perfectly matched her uniform.

The first day of practice she broke her finger. That was a hard pill to swallow. She had worked so hard and she literally made it to one practice before having to take a break. She nursed that finger and did everything she could to come back strong. The day she was supposed to come back from her injury, practice got cancelled. The next day, the AIA (state high school athletics) postponed the start of games which meant her coach didn’t think they needed to practice the week before Christmas so he let them have a break. After Christmas, she made it to a couple practices before having to quarantine. This last Saturday was going to be her first practice back, lace up these shoes again.

Instead, Hallie got word on Friday that her basketball season – that had been delayed twice already – was going to be cancelled. The AIA voted to cancel all winter sports – for the whole state of Arizona. I don’t think anyone even knew they were planning on voting on this – especially because they said they would never shut sports down again (like last year) unless there was a government mandated shutdown. Hallie was blindsided. So much time and energy was put into getting ready for her previous season that ended up being cancelled. This time she had doubled, if not tripled her efforts. Her coach shared with us just a week ago how we admired her as a leader on the team. And then it was over. Friday the announcement was made and by Saturday morning the school was collecting all the jerseys. And these shoes just sat, nearly brand new, on the kitchen counter, eventually making their way to the stairs waiting to be taken up to her room.

She’s still trying to process it – we both are. These girls knew going into this season that it was going to be different. They agreed to very strict protocols. They agreed to absolutely no spectators. They agreed to a shorter season. They agreed to all of it. And then it was gone. Their season was postponed for safety reasons while football playoffs with spectators continued on. Their season is cancelled but she can turn around and show up to her spring sport conditioning/practice Monday after school. Seriously?! It makes no sense.

I fear for programs like girls basketball to survive this pandemic. In a school as large as ours, they should have no problem fielding a girl’s basketball team and yet they did. We were informed a week ago that four high schools in our league didn’t have enough girls so they just don’t have a freshman team. Out of almost a thousand freshman – they couldn’t find 8-10 girls willing to play. Because they didn’t play last year. So unless it’s your dream to play, chances are you’re not going to skip out on two years and then come back again. And now you have girls who have missed two years of junior high basketball which can be a girls first exposure to a sport like basketball (it was for Hallie) which means the program is going to suffer. Who is going to show up next year for the freshman team?!

Boys basketball may pull through okay but we’ve already seen how this has effected the girl’s program. It’s not good. Soccer and wrestling are still practicing and are looking to alternate options for a season. But girls basketball was quick to throw in the towel – perhaps a little harder logistically to figure out an alternate season.

In my heart, I’m still holding a sliver of hope (yes for Hallie, but really for all those seniors looking for their last shot). There has been some heated discussions the last couple days and I don’t think the AIA can walk away from all those demanding evidence for their decisions – perhaps it’s not over. And if it is, you move on. In Hallie’s case, she’ll move on to tennis tomorrow and her time and attention will be focused on a different court.

As for these shoes – they may never feel the warmth of her feet again – but they will always be a reminder of the season that never came to be. Unfortunately, they tell a story of disappointment – a lesson that no one seems to escape.

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Non traditional nativity….

I love to find unique nativities to adorn our shelves during the Christmas season.

Meet the newest addition:

Hunter’s creation is both special and a little entertaining. I mean have you ever seen a wiseman with such suave hair?! I love everything about it.

I hope he doesn’t mind these lego guys never going back into his collection. This nativity is going to be coming out year after year. 🙂

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