Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Making a List...

Thanksgiving has come and gone with wonderful blessing of family and friends. As we now find ourselves in anticipation of celebrating the birth of Jesus and closing in on the doorstep of Christmas Eve, it seems appropriate to make a list to see what needs to yet be accomplished.

*Running the annual Christmas Light Show-CHECK! This has been running beautifully since the day after Thanksgiving. Gorgeous, wonderful, so incredible. The amount of time Bob puts into this is staggering, and he hope he thinks it is worth it...I know that countless people in the community appreciate it!

*Setting up the Christmas Tree-CHECK! The kids and I got right on that project the day after Thanksgiving. I had so many little eager helpers this year that I did not put up a single ornament (I just may have moved a few to better locations on the branches)!

*Hanging up the Stockings and other Decorations-CHECK! Really! It is not only done, but had been completed before the first day of December rather than during the last weekend before Christmas which is more typical.

*Display of the Advent Wreath-CHECK! This is the prominent centerpiece on our (clean!) kitchen table, and has been set out since the first day of advent. The kids and I made this wreath last year at our church's advent celebration gathering. It is such a special and meaningful piece of Christmas decor in our home. I just love it. Actually lighting it with prayer and reflection every night? Sadly, we still need to work on that part.

*Application of the Advent Calendar-CHECK! Our advent calendar with all of it's felt pieces tucked neatly into their day-by-day pockets to be applied to the birth of Christ scene has begun it's story as it hangs from the front wall in the foyer where no one can miss it. Unfortunately, because of it's prominent place, it falls victim to Tubby's little toddler paws nearly daily, and the older kids find themselves restarting from scratch each day.

*Visit Santa-CHECK! We got to do this right away at the Glencoe Christmas Light Show reveal the day after Thanksgiving. With a countdown, hot cocoa, and pictures with Santa, the kids were able to request their desires, and the rest of the community got to be wowed by Bob's light display. What a fun show!

*Sledding and Playing in the Snow-CHECK! Though it was much too dangerous to play outside during the snow day, the kids bundled themselves up well enough to play in the sunshine the following day. Sledding into the fence at the bottom of the hill is fun for them....I prefer opening the gate at the bottom and trying to avoid hitting the many trees located in the wetlands. Laura was a great big sister as she helped Tubby down the hill. This year, Tubby's legs were long enough for him to walk up the snowy hill on his own!

*Making of the Chex Mix-CHECK! and CHECK! or rather, CHEX! The kids had a snow day during the blizzard warning we had last week. It was cold, windy, and downright nasty outside. We celebrated the day off with Chex mix and hot cocoa, stirred with mint candy canes hanging from the Christmas tree which St. Nick had just left for us days before. Two batches do not even last through one day at our house. We made another batch over the weekend to celebrate the completion of the kids' Christmas show at church. Leading us to.......

*Christmas Show/Concerts-CHECK! We are just about through with these for the season. Alex started it off with his college concert at MSU. So fabulous! Grandma ? held Bethany in the back of the auditorium so that I could enjoy my son's concert without worry. That was so much appreciated! Melissa was my concert buddy, and she listened intently, wondering what instrument she would like to play next year. She has been thrilled to be learning how to play the recorder at school. She and Laura put on a recital of their own a few weeks ago, complete with invitations and special seating!

Alex and Michael were part of the high school Yuletide Festival which was a massive 3 hour long concert in the gymnasium under mood lighting and holiday decor. Both boys play trombone in the two jazz bands which entertained people as they made their way to their seats during the pre-concert show. Actually, I think Alex plays trumpet in one of them. You know, he plays so many different instruments, I had to keep checking the program to keep them straight! The rest of the concert was good, and it was fun to watch my boys play so well. The last song was sung by the combined band and choirs together as candles were lit around the entire auditorium. It was beautiful! Grandma C was lucky enough to come out to this show.

The Children's Ministry programs, JAM and Jelly's, performed in their annual Christmas musicals. The kids have been rehearsing every Sunday evening since September, including many, MANY, extra rehearsals in this last week. In the end, it is all worth it, with a very nice, sweet, and entertaining display of very enthusiastic children. This year was Laura's first, and she was brave enough to even be a part of a dancing ensemble. In the show, "Hotel Bethlehem", Melissa was happy as a bell-girl, and Crispy was a bold shepherd who even sang a surprise solo, as he was the only Shepherd to remember to begin singing!

Jonny is finishing off the concert series this week with a band concert and a choir concert on two separate evenings. He had a small solo at the beginning of one of the pieces that were performed. And he is our first child to be in choir, so this will be a new adventure for us. But now that he is in the more challenging jazz band, I look forward to the spring concert when he can really shine!

*Attending Holiday Parties-CHECK! We had a super fun 8 HOUR LONG poker party at Uncle Billy's. These people are some good poker players! Jonny ended up coming in 4th out of 14, while Bob came in 2nd, Michael 7th, Alex 8th. The little kids and I left at 10pm, for our hour long drive back home, while the die-hards all stayed until 2am!!! All other parties will have to be declined this year due to family life(i.e.surgeries, broken bones, gosh, we are a mess over here!)...but hey....everyday here is a party!!

*Watching Christmas Specials on TV-CHECK! This has been one of our favorite things to do lately. I can get 6 kids snuggled up in my nice warm and soft bed as we watch a fun Christmas show before bed. Ahh....this is some sweet family time!

*Buying of the Christmas Gifts-CHECK! Boy, when you don't have much money to spend, it is surprising how quickly this task is accomplished!

*Wrapping of above said Gifts-well....a few. But hey, that is a few more than last year! No matter what, it seems as though each and every single year, Bob and I are up until 3am each Christmas Eve wrapping ALL of the gifts. No matter how hard we try, we just can't seem to get this done ahead of time!

*Addressing Christmas Cards-Oooooooo....bad......I haven't even ordered any yet. Why not? Hmm....I don't really have a precise answer for that. Being overwhelmed by everything else may just be the reason.

*Baking Christmas Cookies-yikes!....none done yet.....ok, I can DO that.....let's see, just gotta find a little bit of time here.....

*Creating Christmas Menu and Cleaning House-oh, gee.....um.....you know, I really thought I was doing well here, but I am now starting to get just a little bit stressed from what is yet left to do. But it will be OK, it always is, every year, no matter what, or how things end, whatever gets done, and what does not, for Christmas, after all, is "the most wonderful time of the year!"

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