December was a magical month. There were so many moments and days that felt magical and charmed. I love Christmas more and more each year. And my kids love it more and more each year. Grace loved helping decorate the Christmas tree, Abby loved playing with all the nativities, and Eliza loved showing everyone our stockings. And James loved that right around the 1st of December he learned how to sit up all by himself. That was his gift to me--a tiny bit of independence :)
I told Reid, soon after Thanksgiving, that I had but one wish on my wishlist--that he build me two fires in our poor and underused wood-burning fireplace. And he did not disappoint. The first week in December we had some very, very cold days. And our poor furnace just wasn't cuttin' it. So he got his axe, chopped up some firewood, and built me the first half of my gift. The girls thought it was so cool, and I loved sitting on the couch and staring at my tree and my fire and my family.
Grace and Abby wanted to decorate gingerbread houses, which I thought sounded like a lot of work. So, instead I told them to invite six friends over for a gingerbread making party! (See how my mind works? yeah, me niether...)
Actually, I'd been wanting to get to know some of Grace's friends from school, so it worked out well. We played a few Christmasy games (Santa Says, Pass the Ornament, etc.), ate some candy, and attempted to glue graham cracker pieces together with homemade frosting. The girls had fun, and it didn't feel like that much more work than it would have been with just my girls alone. (Is that an indication that I have too many kids??? i think so...) My favorite (and the most surprising) part of the party was seeing Grace be really kind to both of her younger sisters--even around her "grown-up" friends.
Abby, our resident ballerina, performed in a Nutcracker recital. She could not have been any cuter. She was right on with the music (most of the time) and followed her teacher's instructions (the entire time). She loves music and loves to dance. And, thanks to Barbie and the Nutcracker, she already knew all of the songs :)
The Sunday morning before Christmas, I was upstairs trying to get ready for church, yelling who-knows-what at who-knows-who (that's just how Sunday morning go around here. It's a new form of worship) and stressing that we were going to be late to church again and how next Sunday we're going to do this and that differently and yada yada. When all of a sudden I hear silence from the front room, followed by a series of uncontrollable giggles. Then Grace calls "Mom, come look what we did for you!" And this is what I see.
Here's a close-up
These sweet girls had somehow managed to tune out Mom's grumpiness and arrange themselves in a row, in a sweet effort to brighten my day. I mean seriously?!? how cute is that? Needless to say, I joined them in the laughter, changed my mood, and we were even later to church. This is just one of so many moments this December that was filled with the joy and happiness that the Season brings with it. It's a time of year when I have more visible reminders around my house: reminders to teach my kids about giving, sharing, how insanely blessed they are, and how grateful I am for Jesus's birth, life, death and resurrection.