Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter

December 15: It's Cookie Day!

One of our most favorite days of the year, although it's a lot of work...made into a lot more work by the fact that my 3 little men are helping. I have to put on the Christmas music and just be prepared for the imperfection that is the sweet perfection of having my guys want to bake with me.

There may have been half a batch of pumpkin bread that had to be thrown out because someone wasn't listening. There may have been dough-covered beaters flying through the air because someone wasn't paying attention. There may have been moments when I lost my temper about it all. But there were apologies and forgiveness all around, and I'm happy to have "helpers."

There may have been cookies flopped haphazardly onto the cookie sheet, resulting in several fusing together during baking. There may also have been snowmen that looked more like the Bride of Frankenstein. It was fun...once I decided to let it be.

There may have been some fingers in the sugar and possibly a squeeze or two of icing straight into the mouth. It was worth it.
There may have been (and may still be) a coating of sprinkles and flour across any and every flat surface...and my jeans. I wouldn't change it.

December 16: Cookie Delivery & Caroling!

It turned out to be just delivery. Even though we practiced a few songs and they said they wanted to sing, they got incredibly shy once they were put on the spot. My hopes of posting a video of the three of them singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to the neighbors were dashed. Oh, well.
We had 8 tins of cookies to deliver. We hit up a few of the neighbors and then moved on to our "heroes." These included a state trooper who lives at the end of the street, the local firefighters, and the local librarians.

December 17: Christmastime in the City

I'm crazy. I really REALLY love big cities at this time of year. Although some folks around here might disagree with me, Wichita is NOT a big city. So we piled into the car to drive to Kansas City. Three hours to get there, 4 hours at Union Station, and 3+ hours to get back (in a blizzard, no less). Totally worth it.
A little train ride and an amazing model train display (with Legos and superheroes, too!) entertained the kiddos. The beautiful tree and lights entertained Mommy. And a sack full of 100 candy canes that we distributed to strangers with a wish of "Merry Christmas" kept the people around us entertained.

December 18: Christmas in Miniature at Exploration Place

More trains! This time at the local children's museum. Their display was set to Christmas music and is a nice little show that takes you from sunrise to sunset and through the night.

There was also a holiday movie we were planning to see at the theater, but they happened to be holding a charity event during the exact show time we were counting on. It's difficult to be angry at the Make a Wish Foundation. So this day wasn't as Christmas-y as I had hoped, but it was still a lot of fun!

December 19: Make a gingerbread treat

I found a cute kit that was an entire gingerbread village. There were a total of 5 buildings, so each of us was able to decorate his own with no competition from anyone else. We made them sit and look at it for a day before they were allowed to rip it to pieces, which is what they really wanted to do.

December 20: Carriage ride & lights display for our "Christmas Eve"

Well, it was supposed to be a carriage ride & lights display, anyway. The line for the carriage rides looked like it was going to last all night, so we drove on past, checking out the beautifully lit tree as we did.

Then we looked up other lights displays in the area. We found a drive through display that was highly rated and headed across town. Some of it left the hubby and I scratching our heads and giggling. While neither of us was blown away by the experience, and were perhaps feeling a bit of disappointment, Thing 1 piped up from the back, "That was the most WONDERFUL thing I've seen this Christmas! I LOVED IT!" The other two boys agreed and drew pictures of their favorite thing they had seen as soon as we got home.

I was reminded that things don't have to be fancy to be wonderful.

I am going to try to look at the world through the eyes of wonder my children still possess...and thank God every day that they haven't lost that vision yet.

December 21: "Christmas" in Kansas!

We have a lot of traveling to do this year, and the hubby has a pretty busy work schedule...the end of the year we celebrated our first of several "Christmases."

The boys woke up early to full stockings and presents calling to them from around the tree. There weren't a lot, but the ones that were there were "big ticket" items that the hubs and I were pretty excited about. Particularly the giving is his favorite love language.

After the last gift was unwrapped, N looked at me and said, "Do you know what I was hoping for? I wish I had gotten an umbrella."

Hurt feelings, tears, apologies, hugs...followed by a discussion about (in)gratitude...followed by another discussion about our sinful hearts never being satisfied so long as we look to people, places, and things to do for us what only God can do: bring us peace and joy.

And finally, a reminder that a gift is a way for someone to say "I love you." Even if we are not thankful for the gift, we can be thankful for the love.

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