We are overflowing with opportunities to celebrate 'round here! I am attempting to be super-dilligent to remind myself of why I am doing all of this stuff every time I am tempted to feel overwhelmed by the extra work this holiday causes. It is for joy that we bake like mad, run around finding the perfect gifts, and stay out late several nights a week to party. It is because we have a joy that can not be kept silent, that must overflow and be shared with others. So, instead of grumbling when I want to be sitting instead of baking, I sing and praise God that I have a reason to celebrate! When I hand someone a baked good, I want it to be done in a spirit of someone whose joy bubbles up and cannot be contained and therefore expresses itself in providing a treat for others.
This year I am making granola to give to our church staff and various other friends from small groups we are involved in at church. Granola seemed like a great idea since everyone seems to get burned out pretty quickly on sweets. And, granola keeps for a while, so you don't have to rush to eat it. I'm almost finished with purchasing and wrapping gifts. Emory has been helping me and now one of her favorite activities is to "wrap" presents, which are actually random toys from her room. She's really pretty good! Lately I've been noticing she has incredible problem solving skills. She did not get that from me.
We've been consuming homemade chex mix at snack time, as well as the Christmas cookies Emory and I made last week. I think daddy finished those off at lunch today. She's asked everyday since we made them if we could make more! Now, we finally can. She's actually "into" everything Christmas this year. She wants Christmas music on as soon as we are up in the morning, asks every day if she can open her gifts, and heads straight for her Advent calendar. The first 2 weeks of December have been relatively quiet with our only outing being our Cantata at church last week. However, the next 2 weeks will be hopping!
Tomorrow we have a brunch with the music team my hubby is part of at church. Then, in the evening is the yearly Small Group Christmas party sans kids! Last year we began a dirty Santa tradition with a $5.00 limit and it was such a success. I came home with the most awesome re-gifted pasta pots. This year we will each contribute one $5 gift and one re-gifted/recycled gift. I'm pumped about mine!
Sunday night is our annual Zoolights expedition with Emory's buddy, Jackson. This year the number of kids have doubled since both me and Jackson's mommy were pregnant this time last year. After the train ride and visit with the big guy, we head to Dave's in Homewood for some pizza.
Next Friday we will celebrate Festivus with the best bunch of friends one could ask for. This year we are playing dirty Santa for the adults and we drew names for the kids. The only rule is that the gifts had to come from the dollar store. Again, pretty pumped about what we're contributing. Then, the following Monday the dearest and I are getting yet another adults only evening out to party with the deacons and their wives. Should be fun!
Tonight we had a treasure hunt after supper. Buddy the elf visited the house today during naptime while I was busy in the kitchen and left clues to a special treat he had left for the kids. Emory had a hoot figuring out the clues and following the trail to her treat. The hunt led them to the dryer where a copy of The Polar Express book was waiting. What a silly elf!
I leave you with some Christmas images of the Skocelai home. This is truly the most wonderful time of the year.