Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cheers to Hump Day, Christmas Edition

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas is right around the corner, and as of 11:00 am today, we are officially on Christmas break. Hooray!!!!!!!!

Here are a few things we are saying CHEERS to this week:  

Luton Family Christmas. Last weekend, we traveled to Aiken, South Carolina, to celebrate Christmas with my hub's "side" of the family, which included eight adults and eight kiddos. 

It was so nice to all be together and start a couple of new traditions: just before the chaos of eight kiddos opening their gifts, their Nana asked that they all sit together and take turns reading pages of a children's book about the birth of Jesus. It was just the sweetest thing and reiterated the importance of the true meaning of CHRISTmas. 

Nana and Pop also bought each grandchild their own personalized mug and served them hot chocolate and cookies around the dining room table. SO sweet! We had a wonderful weekend with wonderful family. <3

Turning 36. Although 36 means I'm inching closer to 40 (gasp! ;) ), I had such a lovely day, thanks to my hub. Not only did he take off work and take over complete kiddo duty (I didn't change a single diaper nor feed/dress a single child!), he started my morning out showing me the most beautiful gift: a video he spent hours and hours creating, filled with photos and videos of our little family over the years. I have cried every time I have watched it. <3 The day was filled with breakfast and Starbucks in bed, a Pure Barre class, a holiday feast with my Banks at his school, wine with two of my girls (who gifted me something that made me cry out of gratitude), and then a perfect evening in Aiken with our Nana and Pop, which was capped off by the carrot cake deliciousness my hub home-makes for me every year, using my momma's recipe of course. It truly was such a wonderful day!

Dinner with friends. The fun continued into the start of the week, as two of my bestest, our hubbies, and I all headed out to our second annual, special dinner. We laughed so hard our abs were sore, our eyelids were heavy, and our stomachs were still full the next day. So thankful for these special friends and this special night. 

1st Grade Party. I organized a lil' holiday party for Banks' 1st grade class yesterday, and I think the sweet kiddos really enjoyed it! Four wonderful mommas and I each ran one of five "stations": a snack/bev station and four game stations. The games were quick and easy to pull together; so, I thought I'd share in case anyone needs to tuck these ideas away for next year. The first was "Pin The Nose On Rudolph." I created the board using a large foam board I already had and quickly sketched and cut out the reindeer. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the letters for the board, as well as 20 red noses. I applied a glue dot to the back of each and voila! 

The second was "Jingle Bells." I simply slapped on stickers to the bottom of Hershey kisses and drew pairs of upper/lower case letters for the students to match in a game of "Memory." Make a match, eat the kisses!

The third was candy cane fishing. Easy and yummy!

And the fourth was Christmas Bingo, which required no effort other than printing out the (free!) Bingo cards from Pinterest and bringing in a large bag of M&Ms for the kids to use to mark off their squares as the game progressed. And that was it!

Preschool party. Speaking of parties, my sweet friend, Jennifer, hosted the most adorable preschool party this morning for a bunch of our neighborhood littles who had big sibs who were busy at school during today's half day. She had fun activities, such as cookie decorating, ornament making, and bag decorating (with the bags being used at the end of the party for a big, fun candy cane hunt). There was also a bounce house and plenty of ride-on toys for the preschoolers. Meanwhile, breakfast and snack foods were served, along with mimosas for the mommas. It was a great time for all!

Gymnastics programs. Raleigh had her first ever Christmas gymnastics program, and it was really sweet to watch. And y'all. I was SO proud of her. 'Cause my girl tends to be painfully shy and nervous in these types of situations (among many others). But she didn't show an ounce of hesitation nor anxiety. She proudly showed her skills and then smiled and waved at the audience. 

BUT ALSO? In true Raleigh fashion (the girl's emotions can go from hot-to-cold-to-hot again at the snap of a finger), after her turn was over, she was having a grand ol' time "in the wings" while waiting for her next rotation. She was smiling and laughing and showing off her bridge and just being silly. And then, one of her coaches quietly and kindly and gently approached her and encouraged her to watch the other gymnasts perform, in the nicest possible way. Which, of course, meant Raleigh had to shut down. She pretty much pouted for the rest of the program and was staring holes through my head trying to get me to look at her and, for the love, notice me over here pouting, Momma. I am just devastated, Momma. See? Don't you see me pouting, Momma? Jesus, take the wheel, y'all. The emotional roller coaster of this beloved child is just unreal. 

And then she finished out the show and that was that. 

And there you have it! We have very few plans for the rest of the week, aside from an adult's only Christmas party on Friday followed Christmas Eve church service on Saturday. Other than that, we will be spending time as just our party o' five, watching movies, going on Christmas light drives, eating too much sugar, and snuggling as much as possible, and I am just SO excited about it!!!

I have two more fun holiday posts I'll be putting on here in the next couple days, so come on back y'all! Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve! ;)  

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