OK, it's official. I am in the holiday spirit! I have been avoiding the Christmas music on the radio until today, when my kids asked for it. I thought they started playing it MUCH earlier this year...like NOVEMBER 1st if not SOONER! I just couldn't listen to it then, but now, I'm hooked! OK, where's the SNOW?!? I have to have snow!!
I've even done some Christmas shopping AND decorating!! Those of you that know me know I'm a last-minute person, but since having my twins (6 years ago) thereby increasing the amount of family members by 50%, I realized that SOMETHING had to give. You just physically cannot do everything at the last minute for a family our size (well, unless maybe I give up sleeping, eating, etc.).
I love that Dave has Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday. It's so relaxing. We can catch up on preparations for Christmas, but not with all of the last minute pressure (yet). Often, his time off is extremely busy for our family but Thanksgiving is a nice chunk of time for low-stress family bonding. I know he really enjoys this downtime too.
Lilly's gearing up for her birthday next week. I can't believe she'll be 11 years old! She has grown into (even more of) a wonderful, sweet, thoughtful, creative child who still makes friends wherever she goes and then offers loyalty and kindness once the relationship is established.
She has a long list of very expensive things that she would like. As usual, we'll have to lower some expectations. After all, after her birthday, we have to finance Christmas for the 6 of us (plus our extended family) and Andy's birthday is right around the corner in February! Thankfully, there are some doable items on her list. I really like the way we are teaching our children the true meaning of birthdays and Christmas, which we would do even if we had all of the money in the universe.
Her teacher has gone on maternity leave. I know Lilly is going to miss her a lot. She plans to come back in February. In the meantime, I have been making an effort to spend extra one-on-one time with Lilly. It's been really nice! Her brothers are almost always still in the house, but we've been able to steal some moments to play a board game together (just us) and we even whipped up a no-bake pie before any boys could invade the kitchen!
She's still limping a little in spite of the doctor stating that her knee is perfectly fine. Hopefully the extra attention will help take her mind off of the pain she says she feels. She also loves Christmas (decorations, music, winter, gift-giving) so I believe this also steer her toward a happy path!
Andy's had his usual, go-with-the-flow, kind of week. He's an even-keel guy and has been enjoying raking more leaves and helping the family go through the toys that they don't play with anymore. Last weekend, the boys and Dave bought an old-school, used gaming system for next-to-nothing. At first I was not happy as I'm not a fan of electronic toys, but we've been limiting it like we do TV and computer time. So far, so good.
I had a great time voluteering in his classroom on Monday. Every one of the 3rd grade classes at his school circulated through each classroom as a group, one at a time. Andy's classroom was assigned a scientific project. When a class would enter, the volunteer moms would help the kids cut a cranberry in half, draw it, label it and describe it. I had a BLAST! It's a fun age.
Harry's been a real sweetheart lately! He's also been cuddly. I'm loving it! He's always had it in him, but he sometimes has a hard time staying positive with the demands of school, the limits on candy and other fun, noisy brothers and sharing the new game system. I think this weekend just hanging out with the family will be good for him too.
Harry and Lilly are alike in a lot of ways. His spirits too have been lifted by the Christmas music playing in our house and talking about Santa visiting very soon! He also lost his second tooth yesterday!
Mal's looking forward to starting basketball next weekend. It's the first time he's ever played. He's always been a natural with balls and sports equipment. (I guess that would mean that he and Andy are alike in this way!) What an arm he's got!
One of my favorite memories of Malcolm as a toddler was him carrying a tennis ball around constantly as a lovey. He was especially interested in textures at this age. He'd often go up to his twin brother, reach out and feel his eyebrows, mouth, hair, etc. Harry never minded, but Malcolm definitely did more tactile exploration than he did. I loved when he would just come up and rub his hand back and forth on my arm to feel a sweater I was wearing. Once in awhile, he still does something like this and that's when I miss how little the kids once were.
I guess the tennis ball was just fuzzy enough to cuddle with. He'd carry it everywhere and rub it gently on his cheek. It was adorable and too short-lived as these things often are with children. He would also reprimand anyone who offered to play catch with him using his special ball.
As I said above, I am heading into Christmas full speed! I also love this time of year and each holiday season, I vow to make it less stressful on myself. So far to this end, I am planning ahead with ideas and lists, taking advantage of sales/free shipping online and grabbing things as I see them when I'm out shopping.
I'm very pleased that the kids and Dave are working hard on decluttering the old toys. This way we can bless someone else while keeping our sanity around here! My job is to keep processing and filing all of the papers and bills that tend to pile up (quickly).
We are very fortunate that my sister and her family has graciously offered to host Thanksgiving. I will bring something, but it's nothing compared to the cleaning and cooking that she will be doing! She makes the table look so beautiful too and brings out her wedding china. We feel so specially treated as guests!
I hope everyone is also having a nice holiday season so far. It can be a difficult time of year for many reasons too. I will pray for all of you to see the good no matter what holiday(s) you celebrate and whatever circumstances you may find yourself in.