We kicked off Christmas break on Friday and have settled into an easy routine around here of slow mornings, later bedtimes, no alarm clock and all things merry and bright. I think one of the things I look forward to most when I'm on vacation is a break from the normal routine. I love my job and never mind working... but it's the hustle of hurried mornings, getting kids off to daycare and school and so much busy that I get tired of. I think we were all in need of a break... Jaden was tired of school... Brandon was getting cranky at daycare... and I was hitting snooze on my alarm clock a little too much the last couple of weeks.
It's a little different having so many days off before Christmas day even gets here, but it's giving us a chance to enjoy some of the seasonal joys that we hadn't had time to fit in yet.
Friday night we went out for our annual Christmas lights drive. We turned up the Christmas music, stopped for chocolate shakes on the way and drove all over Cedar Falls to find our favorite displays. We've learned over the years which neighborhoods to hit and which to avoid. For example, the neighborhoods with the biggest houses have the last amount of lights and I'm sad to say that my old stomping grounds on Maryhill Dr. didn't have a single house with any cheer. Dad... they need you to move back. 122 looks dark and sad without you!
We did decide that we want to know who lives in this house and are convinced that it's a Panther family. Their entire theme was purple and gold coordinated lights... and of course that made it one of our favorites. ;)
On Saturday morning we visited the old Oster Regent Theater downtown for Movie Magic... part of our town's Holiday Hoopla event.
The feature movie was Prancer. Admittance was free and popcorn was a dollar! Prancer holds a special place in my memory bank. As a child, it was one of my favorite Christmas movies but I cried so much at the end of it every time I watched it, that my parents stopped letting me watch it at all! I just hated when Prancer had to leave that sweet little girl behind to return to the North Pole. ;) The kids had never been to the Oster Regent before and thought it was really cool to have seats in the balcony.
On Sunday after the bulk of the snow storm had passed, the kids were begging to throw on their snow gear and head outside to play. It was so nice that for the first time, they both were old enough for me to allow them to go out and play by themselves while I stayed inside with a book and watched (and chuckled) from the warmth of the kitchen window.
The first thing Jaden did was jump into the deepest area of snow right off the deck and make a snow angel. He looked so funny and carefree just lying there letting the sun soak his rosy cheeks.
Brandon... being the particular one that he is... was a little more hesitant to "jump right in." Every time I checked on him, he was brushing snow off of his snow pants and boots. ;)
After coming in from the snow and warming up over lunch, the boys got to make their long awaited gingerbread house. They had been asking to do this all week, and the main event didn't disappoint.
I was a little worried that only having one house to decorate would cause fights, but they worked so well together. I gave them each a job for the front of the house and they each had a side of the roof to decorate on their own. This was a peaceful and happy hour... and I'm pretty proud of the final product. ;)
Brandon was so happy with it that when we were all done, he sat in the chair and just stared at it for a full 20 minutes!
Other highlights so far...
*Lucy. She's been quite the stinker this December and though she's getting better about not climbing our tree in the living room, she's discovered my smaller tree on the desk in my office. Somehow she has gotten smart enough to know how to get the ornaments off that tree without knocking the tree over, and the bottom half of my tree is now bare. I am finding the little bulbs everywhere throughout the house, but so far I haven't been able to catch her in the act!
*Saturday night Cody and I enjoyed a night out at the Brown Bottle for his company Christmas party. While we spent a few hours with good food and lots of laughs, the boys enjoyed Christmas cookie decorating with Nana Deanne!
*The Santa Claus 2 on Sunday night. The boys enjoyed the first version of Tim Allen as Santa so we tried out the sequel while building Lincoln Log cities and waiting for Daddy to get home from work.
Getting very anxious for Christmas morning around here. The boys have been so good about leaving those presents under the tree alone and haven't asked one time to open one early. I'm the one getting impatient to see the looks on their faces when they open all their nice gifts!
Happy week of Christmas everyone! Wishing you all Merry Days and Silent Nights.