This December has been lots of fun. James got out of school kind of early (earlier than other schools, anyway) and I did too, which has allowed us a good amount of time together as a family. It's been really fun. Now that Christmas is a mere DAYS away (cannot believe that), I am realizing more and more what a nice time we've had relaxing and enjoying one another... and celebrating Christmas in all of its forms. Here is some of what we've been up to...
Derek grew a beard in November. Then, when December rolled around, he trimmed it to look uber redneck. A true homage to our ancestry. ;)
We hosted Anderson Sunday... a tradition we have been letting slide too much as of late. Shawn and Mindy and their girls came over, and it was wonderful to spend time with them. We ate a fantastic "brinner" and kicked in it our pjs. Super formal. It's how we roll.
James wrote a letter to Santa... complete with gorgeous illustration (and all by himself)! He took a long time working on it, and I was so proud of him-- for not only the hard work and effort he put into it, but also the fantastic penmanship and drawing he produced!
We decorated Christmas trees (instead of gingerbread houses)! Much easier, much quicker, and much (with young children at least) more fun!
And later in the month, Rose (pictured action-like in the trees picture... she's my friend from across the street) came over and built/decorated a gingerbread house with the kids (hers and mine). It was at our house, but I was mostly uninvolved. A girl's gotta shower, ya know. :) I always joke that Rose is my polygamist wife (or Derek's, rather). She's often here when I'm panicking to get James off to school and myself ready... and she'll just start making mac-n-cheese while I'm showering. Derek often comes home for lunch to find Rose mothering our kids and me rushing around in the background. Haha. She's the best.
We also (finally) got our tree up, our lights working (grr - prelit trees are on my black list) and our halls decked! After the frustration of getting there, the result was quite beautiful!
James has done a lot of photographing lately (little sneak), so I'm including a sweet picture he took that shows a sweet iPhone and little hands reflection! :)
Another ornament picture I'm including is one that my Grandma Bunny gave me when Derek and I were first married. It represents a lot of our (Grandma's and mine) relationship, and this year it meant a whole lot to me. The reason is likely because my Grandma Bunny passed away this year. November 30th. So a large part of December- the beginning part, at least- was filled with tears and mourning and grief. I know I'll see her again, but I really, really miss her now.
The children also have their own little tree in their room. They still put their "fancy" homemade decorations on the family tree, but I think they enjoy having a little bit of Christmas in their bedroom.
We've had our fair share of Christmas folly this year as well. James had a Kindergarten Christmas Choir Recital at his school, which was the festivity that kicked it all off for us. He was so excited, and it was super cute. Since the first of November, he'd been telling me all about how I need to make him a Christmas tree costume for a concert thing they were doing. I disregarded what he said for a long while, since I hadn't received a note or anything regarding it... and, well, kids make stuff up sometimes. But eventually, I did get a notice. It said that the kids could wear their regular school clothes (uniform) or Christmas apparel. I'm pretty sure that meant a nice dress or church clothes... but James took that very literally. He held on to his original idea: he wanted to be a Christmas tree. I was worried he would be embarrassed when he showed up and was the only one all decked out like that. I should have known better. He was in fact the only one in full Christmas costume... but he looked amazing and got a ton of (positive) attention. That boy sure knows how to shine! I was so proud of him for being individual and not worrying about being different. It was a highlight (and teaching moment) of my parenting thus far.
I have done a good deal of shopping- both with James right after school (as Derek comes home at the same time as James gets out and would stay home with our little sleeping beauty while James and I ran some errands) as well as by myself. It's possible I got a few things for myself while I was out. (guilty) I realized that James and I shop similarly... we both are ridiculously indecisive and slow at it! Oye. It was really fun to get some one-on-one time with my boy, though. Since he's started school, that's happened less and less.
We attended our ward Christmas party, which was delicious and entertaining. The Primary kids put on a nativity show... and it was darling. James was an angel. So sweet.
And Kurt and Bonnie came down (over?) to visit!! Woohoo! Jolie discovered that Kurt makes a pretty spectacular horsie. Giddy up!
We haven't had tons and tons, but we have received a good deal of snow this December (unlike last year's dry and warmish winter). Which means we were able to play in the snow a bunch.
It also means we have spent a good amount of time indoors... having all sorts of fun. We have certainly watched tv/movies (Christmas movies, especially).
But we have done a lot of imaginative play as well, which I love. It's been fun to see the kids play so well together. With James home from school, he and Jolie have had loooots of time to just play together. They've done a little bit of everything, and had a lot bit of adventures! PS. The sweet LEGO man picture is by my little photographer son. Seriously, the boy's addicted to snatching my phone/camera. PS#2. You may notice that most pictures have been in our jammies (or the funky outfits Jolie throws together for herself). There has also been a great deal of not-getting-ready-for-the-day. It's been a little bit fabulous.
It's been a wonderful month so far. We have made many wonderful memories and spent a good deal of time bonding and growing closer as a family. Tonight I think we're going to visit Santa Claus at the mall (I'll post on that if we do). Then we need to get presents wrapped and our house ready for Christmas!! We don't have long to do it... so I'd better get busy! Looking back at this month, I feel the saying is most definitely true: It's the most wonderful time of the year!