I sit here on the second to last day of our long break, pajamas on, a warm mug of tea beside me, finally ready to look back and reflect on our Christmas holiday. It was a slow one this year, with close family out of town and no extended family traveling in. And that was okay. The boys and I had plenty of time just the three of us. We played countless board games, snuggled on many occasions like they were toddlers again, and I watched the two of them get along better and better as the holiday break went on. They relied on each other for company and play, and by the end of this break, they've been the easiest kids to take care of. (Of course, some of that has to do with all the new gifts they received keeping them occupied for hours!) All that being said, I'm ready for us to get back into a routine around here - I just wish that didn't include going back to work and emails!
So without further adieu... our Christmas story.
With Christmas day falling on a Sunday this year, we had plenty of time to ease into the holiday at a slow pace, enjoying some days for final prep and settling in before any celebrating began. It all started with a day off for Mommy on Wednesday, my prized breakfast spot at Panera Bread and a good book. I later joined Brandon's class as a parent-helper for their winter party, passing out juice boxes and chips and salsa, helping kids pick up garbage, and being the class "Mom" for an hour. At the end of the party, Brandon and I ventured to Jaden's classroom together to wish a Merry Christmas to his teacher before bringing them home in happy, festive spirits - backpacks put away for two weeks - school clothes in the laundry - and no reading homework to worry about.
And a few hours after school let out, we joined the Outlaw teams for a basketball family Christmas party at the Sportsplex. We ate pizza, brownies, swam the night away, and watched UNI take on UNC on the facility's TV's. It was the perfect way to kick off our break, feeling thankful for these new friends and relationships that 2016 gave us.
Thursday was the boys' first day off, and it was an easy day. I caved and decided to let them decorate sugar cookies, but we cheated by picking up pre-cut dough from Martin Brothers. No mess - just bake and frost.
That night, Daddy took the boys for a guys night out to see Rogue One while Mommy enjoyed a bubble bath and a whole night to myself to make progress on my Mad Men Netflix binge.
Friday was for food prep. That morning we slowly carted through every aisle of HyVee, Starbucks in hand, picking up the perfect goodies to get us through our weekend. I know many are enjoying the new grocery shopping online feature, but when it comes to holidays, I love to be able to browse the aisles myself, picking out any last minute items that may not be on my list. And in the midst of our day, we were gifted with a storybook snowfall just like last Christmas. It was beautiful.
And in my opinion, there's no better place to enjoy a snowfall like that than on our storybook Main Street. So after the groceries were put away, we ventured out to Cottonwood Canyon and warmed ourselves over warm sandwiches and bowls of soup in this charming little house turned restaurant.
While we were eating our soups and sandwiches, I was getting messages from Megan that Bryce was eager to play in the snow. So we headed home and spent the afternoon building snowmen and throwing snowballs.
Our first snowman of the winter. He was little but he sure was cute, and Brandon adored him.
After a couple of hours in the snow, we came inside and warmed ourselves with warm mugs and board games by the tree as those big flakes continued to fall outside our window.
I also let the boys open one gift early, as our packages and letters from Sally and Bob had arrived from Florida that afternoon.
Later that night, we packed my parents into our van with us and set out for our traditional Christmas lights scavenger hunt. We visited the most charming old-fashioned neighborhood in the area, loved the house on Prospect with its music and lights show and eventually found most of the items on our list before warming up at Village Inn over desserts - cheesecake, pie and ice cream.
Just two more sleeps...