Merry Christmas from our emotional family…

This year’s card was a multi-fold – which appears much larger on this screen than it really was in person – much more pocket sized than it appears here. 🙂

Merry Christmas from our emotional family!

Christmas program…

I have attended this Christmas program for 8 years – 2 times each with all four of my boys. And this was the first year that it’s ever been held outside, half the class size, limited number of guests (with seating distanced) and no special holiday treats.

The only thing that resembled the program we are used to is the massive amount of costume changes! (I was a parent helper executing the changes after each song and it is no small task!!) And even though it was different – Briggs still woke up, excitedly put on his shirt and declared this the best day ever and he sang his little heart out.

His teacher is retiring after this year (after teaching this preschool for 30 years) so this was the ending of a Christmas program era for her – they went out with a bang.

Just like his shirt says…he’s my favorite little deer. Hard to believe my preschool Christmas program days are complete.

More stinkin’ gingerbread… :)

How ironic that I would post my disdain for gingerbread houses yesterday and today I learned we have a master gingerbread maker living in our house!

We attended Briggs’ preschool program and after they sang all their fun Christmas songs it was announced that they were going to give some prizes for the gingerbread houses they made in class (I love that they do this at school!!) They announced three runner up awards and then they announced the grand prize: Briggs. He looked nervous at first and then a little surprised. The teacher said he paid attention to patterns, he added landscape details and even included a little canopy on the porch. For a four-year-old without any help, I thought he did a pretty good job. He may have gone a little heavy on the frosting – it’s hard to know if there’s any gingerbread underneath there or not.

My favorite part is what happened this afternoon. Hallie got home from school and I was explaining to her that Briggs brought home the trophy today for his gingerbread house. So when he got up from his nap Hallie excitedly joined him in his room so he could give her all the details – she was recording him as he spilled the details.

Hallie: What happened at the program today?!
Briggs: So, we got a moose stuffed animal and a bear stuffed animal.
Hallie: Why?
Briggs: Also, I got a candy.
Hallie: Why?
Briggs: Because I did the 4th best or the last best.
Hallie: The fourth best?
Briggs: Yea, the fourth best is the last best. So I got fourth.
Hallie: No, I think you got first.
Briggs: No, I was fourth. Grant was first.
Hallie: No, they did fourth place. Then third place. Then second. Then First. You’re first place, you’re the winner.
Briggs: No, I was fourth
Hallie: No, I’m pretty sure you were first, I asked mom, she said you were first.

Briggs’ face was pure elation. He threw his sheets over his head in excitement. He thought because his name was last one called, that he was the “last best” or fourth place (out of 26 kids).

Hallie and I got a good laugh out of it tonight – we watched the video a couple times because it’s just so dang cute. In fact, I was laughing the whole time I sweeping up the frosting pieces all over my floor – and there is a lot of frosting on that house! 🙂

Christmas library…

Part of the magic of Christmas comes from this very picture – curled up on the couch reading Christmas books. I spent my early motherhood collecting Christmas books and we have accumulated quite the collection. And just when I think the older kids have out grown this tradition, I see this:

It’s been a while since we’ve added any new books to the list – every now and again I come across one and order it. But these books make up our Christmas library. Some get read every year. Some we enjoy for their illustrations. Some have tender messages. Some are starting to show their age and the love they’ve been given. But every year we pull them out there are squeals. We cherish these books.

(Amazon affiliate linked)
Snowmen at Christmas
Christmas Oranges
The Mansion
The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes
A Christmas Dress for Ellen
Christmas Bell for Anya
Christmas Day in the Morning (The first book we read every Christmas season)
Llama Llama Holiday Drama
Forgotten Carols
The Christmas Train
The Tale of Three Trees
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
Polar Express
The Christmas Candle
The Gift of the Magi
Drummer Boy
C is for Christmas
The First Christmas
The Visit
Great Joy
The Christmas Sweater (illustrated)
Snow Angels
Christmas Carol
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Olive, the Other Reindeer
Twelve Days of Christmas (Pop-up book)
Twas the Night Before Christmas (Pop-up book) (Our Christmas Eve book)
Christmas Sweater (novel)
Secret Santa
Christmas Jars
Christmas Parade
Beyond Bethlehem
A Christmas Story
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
The Crippled Lamb
The Three Gifts
Mary, Did You Know
I Believe in Santa Clause
Don’t Push The Button Christmas Adventure
God Bless Us Everyone

Christmas 2019…

Steve and I talked before Christmas and we knew that this was going to be Christmas to remember – not because the gifts that we were giving – but because of the ages of our kids. They are all at such fun ages and really have such low expectations that we knew it was going to be a fun year. We keep wondering how much longer we have where kids believe in the magic and they are requesting crazy expensive gifts!

They gave us some great reactions – and it was even more fun to watch them excited for each other’s gifts.

We got this reaction from Green Bay Packers socks. Throw that “G” on anything and he would be over the moon!

Bennett is the best on Christmas because he is overly excited about everything. He asked for a lego set and we delivered. He would’ve been happy if the day ended right there.

We hid Hallie’s present under her bed and she couldn’t imagine anything being underneath her bed because they had all been hanging out in her room since the wee hours of the morning and they didn’t notice anything. That’s we call parent magic!

Bennett opened a gift and was so excited. And then we teased him and told him it was just the box and then he proceeded to tearing open the box and was excited all over again when he realized he really did get it!

The kids did homemade or regifted gifts to eachother. Briggs drew pictures for Cannon and a note that says “I love you”. Cannon thought he one the jackpot and Briggs was elated to give it!

We open gifts one at a time and I love how everyone tends to hover over the person opening gifts.

I asked for a comfy for a Christmas. Its basically an oversized hooded sweatshirt with sherpa lining. I think Steve got it for me to be funny – the jokes on him because I love it and wear it every day!!

My parents gave Hunter and Bennett matching rubberband guns. When they realized they were the same shape, they opened them together and rushed to see who could open it first.

I’ve been working with Hallie on a special idea she had for Steve. She watercolored a picture of Jesus Christ for him and she worked so hard on it. She started back in October and made several drafts before finishing this version. Steve was in tears. Hallie was in tears. She nailed it.

Cannon and I were excited for our new cotton candy machine. This has been a long time coming. I have asked for one for years and Cannon has been asking for over a year. I know I seem like a 10 year old by liking cotton candy – but I love it! And we are all excited.

We had friends stop by for just long enough to play with some new toys.

Hunter and Hallie both got long boards and as soon as the rare Christmas morning rain stopped, they were outside trying out their new rides.


And how could we not spend Christmas afternoon trying out new flavors of cotton candy?! We made bags full and took it over to Steve’s family gathering. It was gone in no time. 🙂

Christmas exceeded all of our expectations. It was good down to the very last minute (and bag of cotton candy!) I would replay this day over and over again if I could. Instead, we’ll bottle up these pictures and videos as a memory and hopefully years from now they will spark some of the emotion we felt spending Christmas together as a family in 2019.