It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
And it's not just the vinyl Rudolph flag hanging above the produce section of Pak n' Save. Or the Santa surrounded by mechanical kiwi birds at the mall. Or the Christmas displays set up next to the swim wear. No, it's the fact that the wind is howling and the rain is pouring outside while we're cozy inside by the fire, baking sugar cookies with Christmas songs on repeat. The good news is that it feels like Christmas. The bad news is that this is our summer. Ever since December 1 it's been 50 shades of gray outside. Jayden's class beach trip was cancelled. They stayed inside and played monopoly instead. Kylie's end of the year class swim party was more like a polar bear plunge. Maddox's class beach trip was still on, despite the rain washing away their sandcastle contest. We'll enjoy it for the sake of Christmas, but come December 25 I'm fully expecting beach weather (and setting myself up for disappointment). We kicked off the holiday season with the tree farm and baking gingerbread men cookies. A tradition we've grown to love and will look fondly back on while cursing artificial tree limbs we just can't seem to assemble in the correct order.
The thing I love about decorating the tree here is that I'm not so uptight. I can be a bit of a control freak sometimes. I just let the kids have free reign with the few decorations that Judy has passed along and they absolutely love it. They take great pride in "their" tree, which is so much more rewarding than a perfectly color coordinated, evenly distributed ornament tree.
I've never been a big fan of gingerbread houses. They take so long that the kids usually lose interest half way through then I'm left with gingerbread houses sitting on my cupboard for a month that have half the candy picked off. Baking gingerbread men cookies is so much easier, the kids love them and the good news is that they are absolutely delicious.We started this tradition last year and will definitely be keeping it up for years to come! Get the recipe here.
Annual Christmas work party. Annual "small talk with people I don't know and show off how white my legs are" party. But it is nice to have an excuse to dress up and sit at place settings with 8 different utensils and eat fancy foods that I can't even pronounce.
Ryder's first school field trip set the bar high. From here on out, anything short of a double decker bus ride to the Christmas grotto will be a disappointment (sorry if you follow me on instagram, all these captions are repeats. I have no more creative juices in my brain. I was up way too late watching Defenders of the Galaxy and the boys are up way too early running around with blankets tied around their necks like super hero capes).
It was so fun spending the morning with Ryder, watching him be silly with his friends and watching his eyes get wide looking at all the Christmas displays. There was only one problem. I thought I had heard that Santa would be at the Christmas grotto, or maybe that was my own assumption. I spent the few days leading up to his big field trip prepping him to meet the man in red. We were both disappointed when the only santa there was a mechanical one that shook his hips to "Jingle Bell Rock". We were in need of a major Santa intervention, so I took him to visit the mall Santa afterwards. He told him he wanted legos, he asked where his reindeer were and what his favorite cookie is.
Jason took Maddox to the Christmas Grotto (which is really just a fancy word for a Christmas village) for his daddy date. I can't say enough how much we all love having Jason around more since living here.
We spent an afternoon helping Maddox's class decorate cookies. Maddox is always so excited to show off Ryder and Ryder is thrilled to be one of the big kids. He also likes to touch everything on the teacher's desk and smuggle home counting bears in his pocket.
Ryder had been carrying around and sleeping with the invitation to his kindy Christmas party for the past week. He felt so important to have an actual real live invitation. The morning was filled with a captivating magician, a nativity play featuring Ryder as a shepherd who couldn't be bothered with a head dress and a robe that kept falling off so he settled on a shawl instead. Setting trends and rewriting history, that one. There was a visit from one of the least convincing looking Santas I've ever seen, but he handed out candy canes so the kids could care less that his elastic beard was crooked and the pillow tucked in his shirt was poking out. They ended with the cutest round of Christmas carols where Ryder and another boy broke into a fight and they had to stop the music. I have it on film. Ryder's stink eye is legendary.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. I hope you and yours are enjoying the holiday season as well!