Can I please finish up my winter holiday blogging before it's 95 degrees and 100% humidity here in the great state of Arkansas? Pretty pleeeeeeze???? I'm trying my best to get caught up. You can go here and here in case you missed my other holiday posts. (And I apologize to those of you who'd rather not go back in time...)
Okay. First of all, I went to a fun cookie exchange party with some of the teachers at Homeschool Academy. The ladies who put it together are CRAZY creative and organized. They had us send our cookie recipes ahead of time so they could make us a cute, little recipe booklet. Isn't that sweet? They also gave away a door prize and then had a contest for the yummiest cookie and the most creative "wrapping." The other kindergarten assistant teacher won the yummiest cookie recipe with her Mint Ravioli Cookies. And y'all, they were seriously scrumptious!!! And, guess what? My container won the "Most Creative" prize! Yay me! Can you guess which one is mine? (Hint: there are birds involved.)
And then, CHRISTmas morning DID come for us, lest you thought we gave up after the tree debacle. Here's the way it went down.
Tuesday afternoon (before CHRISTmas), while I was frantically addressing envelopes for our CHRISTmas cards and putting the babies down for naps, the two older children (who should know better) were upstairs busily giving themselves a new look for the holidays. Actually, only ONE used the scissors. I'll let you take a guess on who that might have been. Perhaps you saw the end result? Anyway, when I came through the kitchen to pick up a final stack of cards, I happened to meet up with the "stylist," and boy, did I ever lose it! Self-control was nowhere to be found, let me tell ya. And I hadn't even seen BOTH of them yet!! One look at the other one, and it was all over. After a wildly awful call to their father and after banishing them to their respective rooms, I continued addressing envelopes...while bawling my head off for two solid hours! (So, if your CHRISTmas card had water spots on it, now you know why.) To say it was a bad day would be putting it very, very mildly.
Speaking of CHRISTmas cards, I had so much trouble with ours this year. I tried to design my own, but when I got them printed, they looked horrible. Here's an idea of what I was going for:
But we ended up with this instead, because there simply wasn't any more time:
Anyway, back to the "Great Hair Scare." The next day we got appointments to go see E.C., one of my old stylists back in my red-head days.........(What?! You didn't know about the red-head days?!) It was necessary. No way could I have fixed what needed fixing on those two. It was B.A.D. That night we went out for sushi. Perhaps Paul knew I was one home-cooked meal away from certain disaster. It was a much-needed respite from the craziness, that's for sure.
Once the kiddos were in bed that night, Paul and I stayed up LATE LATE getting all kinds of stuff done. We cleaned, we wrapped,
we I worked on wreaths, and we gathered things to donate. Lots and lots of things. We literally FILLED the Expedition, leaving room for only ONE child to tag along with Daddy the next day. In fact, when Paul dropped our stuff off at Little Rock Compassion Center, they suggested he take the last box to Goodwill, because they were tired of unloading all of it. Seriously! They really did. He obliged them and what a relief to have it gone!! (Unfortunately, we still have a ways to go.)
There were a few other random errands that needed to be run--a forgotten ingredient here and there, pull-ups for the toddler, etc. But once it was all done, we got everyone dressed up in their cutest CHRISTmas clothes and headed off to church.
My Handsome Little Fella'
Once home, we finished up our FamilyLife nativity and learned that God wants US for CHRISTmas. (Get one of these if you don't already have one.) Then we donned our most CHRISTmas-sy pajamas and got to bed. Paul and I, unfortunately, still had several things to do that night. There were stockings to stuff, of course, and a couple of large gifts to get out of hiding, and then the breakfast casserole had to be made and refrigerated overnight. I don't remember what all we did, but we got a half-way decent night's sleep.
The kids had a blast CHRISTmas morning. But I was so NOT on point that morning. Just couldn't wake up, I guess. We have always filmed the opening of presents, but somehow we didn't get around to it this year. At least I don't think we did. (Honey?) And the only reason there are any photos whatsoever is because Paul remembered to use the camera. I honestly don't know what I was doing. Helping littles do various things, I suppose. Going to have to be better organized next year. Definitely.
Atticus (and really Gabe) got a sand and water table.
And, y'all, I spent not a penny on it. Got it from Krista's church's "Share & Swap." (The "Share & Swap" is exactly what it sounds like. You bring stuff to give away and then you can GET stuff others have brought. No money involved. My other great "score" was a pink London Fog bib-style snowsuit in a sassy little size 5!) The sand/water table was basically brand new. Just missing a few parts, which I may or may not try to locate on Ebay. Right now, the kids don't know the difference. We set it up in the living room with a tarp underneath. And it would have been fine, had the big kids not taken over and lost a bit of self-control. Instead of sand, I used rice. (I figured if Atticus decided to eat it, at least it would be FOOD and not DIRT!) But once the rice started flying ALL. over. the. room, Paul and I moved it outside onto the patio--where it belongs!
Gabriel got a Radio Flyer tricycle. He loves it, but he's still using it like his little scoot toy (last year's CHRISTmas present, by the way). He's not convinced those pedals are for anything except looks. (And he's a bit too stubborn to listen to (Mommy's) reason.)
Saylor mainly got dresses (because we know the way to her heart is through fashion). We did get her a small toy item. She plays with Calico Critters. LOVES them! So we got her the baby furniture and accessories. Many tiny, tiny pieces. I really HAVE lost my mind.
Noah got a guitar and the promise of lessons. He was very excited. Now he's just working on some callouses...
Other gifts included coats...
and other essentials.
Then we ate our CHRISTmas brunch: breakfast casserole, monkey bread, apricot scones, and fresh fruit (courtesy of Noah). Later Poppy, Aunt Wendy (Paul's sister), Uncle Mert (her husband), Ezra (our sweet nephew), Paul's Aunt Donna and Uncle Aubrey, and his cousin Claire all came over to just hang out. We snacked on our brunch foods, played, napped, and generally laid around until dinner time, at which point we all headed out to one of the two restaurants open in town: I-HOP. AFTER I got out of my pajamas, that is. (I was determined to stay in them all day.)
Atticus was hilarious because he wanted to sit in Ezra's seat constantly. Sometimes Gabe would even push him around (it has wheels). See the look on his face? Ha! He was so serious sitting in it! Cracked me up!
We also made our traditional "Carpenter Family" fruitcake (not what you think). It used to be a CHRISTmas Eve tradition when I was growing up, then we started making it closer to Thanksgiving so we could enjoy it throughout the CHRISTmas season. At MY house, though?? Well, let's just say ours was more of a New Year's fruitcake than a CHRISTmas one. But the Davidson kiddos didn't mind.
It's made with graham cracker crumbs. Now back when I was a kid, there was no such thing as packaged graham cracker crumbs. So we bought graham crackers and would grind them with an old, vintage meat grinder. This is still our tradition to this day. And this is the very same meat grinder I grew up grinding crackers with. (Now...I just need to figure out how to make healthy, homemade graham crackers. Is that even possible?)
Even though we didn't take just a ton of pictures, we will always have good memories of this CHRISTmas with our little family of six and all those beloved people who came to visit and share CHRISTmas day with us. Precious, precious memories.