Sunday, December 29, 2019

Gingerbread, Grinch, and Go-Karts

Good morning!

Here we are, on the other side of Christmas, where everything looks a little less shiny and a little more cluttered. All the days between Christmas and New Year's feel the same and I have to often look at my planner to remember what day it is.

I hope you had a great Christmas! Ours' was fantastic. Thankfully (miraculously) everyone stayed healthy!

The Friday before Christmas, on our way home from taking Granny to a procedure, our neighbor Mallory asked if we wanted an extra gingerbread house kit from the local cookie shop.

Um, yes.

Everyone was smiling while building and decorating the house, although Dan had to re-build it after my first attempt was a little crooked. Ina preferred being in charge of the entire process and breathed a sigh of relief when her sisters gave up and opted to eat cottage cheese instead.

Everyone (including me) was more than happy to eat our masterpiece the next morning.

Ina, Lola, and I started Saturday off with a walk. I think we both enjoyed each other's one on one attention for 40 minutes.

After I made a few patient calls, my mom came over to stay with the girls while Dan and I helped a family in our small group move into an absolutely beautiful house. Of course the men had to go on a little exploration hike after most of the heavy lifting was done.

Although my holiday shopping was complete, my Saturday afternoon was free and I felt the lights of the plaza calling me. I put Mira down for a nap, handed Dan the TV remote, and loaded Ina and Cora in the van.

The weather was perfect, the streets and stores were full of people and the lights were beautiful. Cora danced down the sidewalk to the saxophone playing on the corner. There were carolers singing as we walked into Barnes and Nobel where Ina thoroughly inspected every single book and activity and I spent $40 on stuffed animals we didn't need. We came home to game night with the Champ boys.

Sunday our church had a little donut party for Christmas.

Then I dropped the girls off at Grandma Frankie's and met Chessa and Danielle for some tapas and sangria to celebrate Chessa's birthday. We went for coffee afterwards and the time it took me to find a parking spot and then actually park in said spot reminded me why I don't often leave the house the few days before Christmas.

I said bye to them and then met Brooke and Mallory for some drinks and cards while exchanging Christmas presents. Can you tell that I am living my best Christmas life right now? Also, have you played Five Crowns yet? It is my new favorite game.

Monday morning I went to the gym and then met my friend Ryann for coffee. I adore her and left there wondering why we haven't done this more often. Then I went to Target to finish off my holiday shopping.

I came home to an empty house (the girls were still at Frankie's) and didn't know exactly what to do first, but soon Brooke texted me and I was over at her house for coffee and her daughter Holland came home with me to keep me company until the girls returned.

Christmas Eve started off very low key with me switching from my 2019 to 2020 planner, but we eventually got ourselves together and headed out to visit Dan's grandma in the nursing home.

We then went to our church's Christmas Eve service, where we watched the most awesome drum performance (Mr. Kyle is basically a rock star), laughed at parts of Elf, and celebrated the birth of our savior Rock Brook style.

I know I mention this a lot, but I love, love, love our church and the people who go there. Mira is not pictured because she stayed with the wonderful people in the nursery which was 100% the right decision.

We then headed back to Grandma Frankie's to celebrate Christmas where I took exactly zero pictures. Grandma Frankie spoiled the girls and started the 24 hour gift opening marathon out with a bang.

As we were walking up the stairs to go to bed, Ina frantically reminded me to put out cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. This came as a relief, because two days earlier she sat me down and said, "Mom, I need to know the truth. Is Santa real?"

To which I replied, "What do you think?" Ina, like the rest of our family, loves to talk, so she started down this long explanation of how she can't quite figure out if it is truly possible for Santa to get to all of the houses in the world, even when taking time zones into consideration, and three minutes later forgot what question she asked. I doubt I will be so successful next year.

Granny came over Christmas Eve morning and we tried to wait until the girls woke up on their own, but just couldn't. At 7:40 she went up and "Ho Ho Ho"ed until everyone was running down the stairs and ready for the scavenger hunt.

Last year we were puking in between clues, so this year was substantially better and I cried while Ina was reading the clues out loud to us.

Scavenger hunts were my favorite part about Christmas at my grandparents' house and sadly knowing they will never happen there again while also being happy that these memories are being created for my kids was more than my exhausted emotions could take.

The crying continued as they found their stockings and went on while I read both Cora and Mira's first year photo books that I made and ordered way too late.

We were all spoiled. Ina received a Fitbit (which is already lost) and a kids planner. Cora received a purple dinosaur with a purple remote (the only thing she would ask for), and Mira received the Olaf costume that I ordered for Halloween and couldn't return.

Granny gave Dan and I the best gift ever - piles of things we need, but typically buy the Aldi version of. I can't remember the last time we had brand name Ziplock bags in our drawer.

I gave Dan a Hawaiian Chiefs shirt and he gave me the most amazing coffee grinder/brewing system that does single cup and whole pots and is seriously the best thing ever.

We cleaned up and headed to my sister's house where she had a spread of delicious brunch food and my dad surprised the kids with GO KARTS.

We sat on the porch and watched the kids live their best lives driving go karts on a 60 degree Christmas day.

They all loved them. Ina was a tentative driver at first, but by the end was flooring it. Cora was happy to ride, but also liked going inside to play with Bauer. Mira insisted on having a helmet on the entire time and rode along with anyone who would drive her. Kauffman had her the most and would often stop to ask if she was okay. I love that kid.

My dad and grandparents left and my mom and grandma came over to spoil us yet again. We ended the night with more food and cards.

Dan and I loaded up our kids and Jessie's kids to stay the night at our house.

The next day I walked around aimlessly in the way that only a mom the day after Christmas in a house filled with unwrapped gifts, lots of blankets, and six children can. Then by brother in law came and picked up his kids, plus Ina and Cora. I put Mira to sleep with Granny and then headed to the salon to get my hair chopped off.

Eight inches, gone. It feels so good, but I still surprise myself when I look in the mirror and I haven't quite mastered the curl. There is time.

Instead of doing anything on my to do list, Dan and I took advantage of only having one kid who usually plays in the toy room by herself and watched Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The next morning Dan went to work and I put away all of the Christmas decorations and found a home for all the new gifts. And didn't change clothes.

Last night Dan and I met The David Nashes (what Ina called them when she was little) for dinner on the plaza. We didn't let the rain get to us as we walked the streets to window shop and grab some coffee. This was the first time we have ever seen them without our kids and I so enjoyed the uninterrupted conversation. They are such a blessing and inspiration in our lives and I can't wait to see them again!

Before dinner we completely cleaned and purged my office. Eight bags to trash and ten bags to donate later, we are now ready to paint! Any color suggestions?

I hope you have a fantastic New Year! 2020 is looking bright! Thank you for reading! You are such a blessing in my life. <3

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