On Friday we had a speaker at MOPS who talked about keeping the joy in Christmas. It was obviously very timely, and really got me thinking, because her main point was to stop focusing on your list, and start focusing on what makes you happy. I feel like as soon as Thanksgiving was over, I had a list on my phone of groceries I needed to get for holiday baking, present ideas for our families, things I needed to buy for the kids, list of things that needed to get done around the house...
We talked a lot about the traditions we have in our families, and what things we carry on from our childhood. The main thing I want to do with my kids is try to emphasize the non-present parts of Christmas. The fun we get to have with our families, the holiday baking together, the Jesus Was Born Today dance parties, the Angel Lady, sending holiday cards and making new wishes to put in our wish ornament, and most importantly, remembering to be kind to others, and not making it all about what we're getting out of the holiday, or for the holiday.
To that end, we had a great day yesterday. We made a batch of cookies, and then took a trip to Target to pick out some presents for Toys for Tots. I was SO proud of both kids. Ellie was so happy to get a Frozen Fever Anna and Elsa, and even though she mentioned she wanted a set of her own (said it would be fine to get it for her birthday) she didn't cry about not getting to keep the set we'd bought, and was proud to carry them to the fire house and put them in the donation box. Then we rang their door and gave the fire fighters a plate full of cookies. The kids were incredibly thrilled when the fire fighters went and got them some plastic helmets and Junior Fire Fighter badges.
We also had a plate of cookies for local law enforcement. I thought the police station was across the court yard from the library, but apparently it's just that cops are sometimes at the city council building - it's not actually their station. So, cookies and our thank yous for the librarians! They actually have a great set up at the Civic Center, with a Santa's village going on right now (yesterday your pet could take their photo with Santa - Thor and Lulu passed on the opportunity) and a model trail club had one room of the civic center totally tricked out with model trains. There was a huge display that Adam loved watching, two smaller trains that the kids could drive, and then an enormous table of Legos next to the whole train set up made of Legos. We spend a good forty five minutes enjoying looking at everything, and it was a great opportunity to talk to the kids about the importance of being present in our community.
They took a much needed nap, and then we had a whole evening full of fun with friends. We went to the ceramics studio to work on some artsy holiday gifts with our neighbor friends, and then headed up the street for pizza and beer at Pizza Port (water for the kids!) We got a table near the arcade corner, so we could sit and let them run around and pretend to drive the cars and play the games. And then on the way home, a stop off to hang out with our mom friends, watching college football, and finally, letting ourselves into Gigi and Grizz's house and waking everyone up at 9:30pm (they know how to party.)
The kids were also thrilled because on Friday night they got to go to Winter Fest with Mimi and Poppy. Much sledding and throwing of snowballs, and drinking of hot chocolate. And laughing like crazy on the ride home because one of the neighbors has these light up penguins sledding down their roof, and it always cracks me up because that's a terrible place for penguins to sled! They're going to fall off and break their necks! So Tim and I made a bunch of jokes about penguins going splat, and Ellie laughed until she cried while also trying to correct us that it's JUST PRETEND.
In the end, everyone needs to go to bed early tonight, but it's been a fun weekend so far, and I'm glad for the memories we're making.