Yep, I’m gonna keep the joy alive and kicking around here, from chugging good coffee to loving on my beautiful family to celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmastime.
The wonderment of the season
Last night, the 3 Amigos watched in awe as Santa delivered each one of them a personalized video message. Thanks for turning us onto the Portable North Pole, Granny!
Stephen created the videos, which explain that they’re on Santa’s nice list, yet each should still try a bit harder. Santa said:
- Houston is “generous,” but needs to “be nicer to his brothers;”
- Gabriel is “full of energy,” but needs to “work on his table manners;”
- and Zeke is “quite a character,” but needs to “work on not having temper tantrums.”
Amazing how St. Nick knows such particulars about each boy’s personality and areas of behavior improvement. If you have a child who still believes in Mr. Claus, you should definitely check it out.
It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself. — Charles Dickens
Houston, who despite his best friend Asher’s adamant disbelief in the jolly old elf, still regards Santa’s existence as not only possible, but very true indeed. The funny thing is that he has questioned some of the logistical aspects of the mythical Father Christmas.
For example, “Mommy, do reindeer really know how to fly?” asked Houston. “Sure. If Santa can make it around the world in one night, he has to have a fast sled,” I answered with confidence.
The dudes also sent their letters to Santa a few weeks back, when naughtiness was reigning supreme at the time. (Admittedly, I chose this time to have each boy fess up to some of his misdeeds and to hopefully work through some of the issues.) Here’s what they wrote:
Dear Santa, I would probably not earn that many presents, but maybe one or two. I’ll try to be better till Christmas and after. — Houston
Dear Santa, I’ve been very naughty and I will try to be good and try to be nicer to the cats and Mommy “because she gives us everything we need” (Houston helped him out with that part). I hope Zeke doesn’t throw Woody anymore. — Gabriel
Dear Santa, I’ve been naughty “because I’m always thirsty” (we opted to edit out this excuse), but I will try to use my brain more and just do what Mommy says. I deserve a little bit. — Zeke
More Christmas cheer
Since I was quite restrained in our spending on gifts this year and did 99% of the shopping early and online, we had the opportunity to slow down a bit and soak in the season and all the fun that it offers.
Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. — Author Unknown
On 12/1, we kicked things off by attending the annual Holiday Parade downtown with Christie, Logan and crew. It was our first year to claim sidewalk near the start, instead of at the tail end of the route, and the kids scored tons of candy from the spunky and spirited paraders.
On 12/6, the boys and I went to see “The Nutcracker” with our CC pals “Miss Kristy with a K” and her sons, Logan (not to be confused with the other Miss Christie’s husband) and Landon.
Because it was a shortened student version, the local ballet company offered the kids some narrative explanation and let them see the crew do set change during intermission. The 3 Amigos were already familiar with the Tchaikovsky music, the story and its characters, and seemed to appreciate their first ballet, especially Houston.
On 12/15, the boys and I attended Miss Christie’s “Polar Express” Party. All the kids were admitted entrance into the gathering if they met the pajamas requirement and could also present their boarding passes (the invitation).
When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.
— Bob Hope
An admitted Pinterest fanatic, Christie went all out, with cookie decorating crafts, edible chocolate and peppermint trains, festive games and one-of-a-kind handprint ornaments homemade for each child in attendance. Of course, watching the namesake movie while feasting on popcorn was a big hit, too.
On 12/17, the dudes and I we went caroling (in the rain) with Christie and and the kids. Because we went during the day, we hit the homes of two seniors in her hood, and the weather couldn’t dampen our spirits nor could it diminish our singing and energetic instrumentation.
Then we came back to our stomping grounds and sung for Miss Shawn and the boys’ newest neighborhood pal, Cameron. Our setlist was You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Jingle Bells.
While drying off and warming up at our casa, the kids devoured the gingerbread house the 3 Amigos had made with Miss Jessie a couple days prior, and (sort of) watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.
— Author Unknown
On 12/19, Miss Shawn invited us over for cookies and playtime with Dixie. It was nice to get together with our awesome neighbors, who we don’t see near often enough these days.
That afternoon, we headed downtown to attend Daddy’s work party. The boys loved the the parking deck, elevated crosswalks, elevator rides, visit to Daddy’s cubicle and his tour of the historic building in which he now works almost as much as they enjoyed the endless supplies chicken strips and strawberries.
Another hit was the kid-friendly room, featuring choice live performances of The Nutcracker, holiday movies, made-on-the-spot theater-quality popcorn and tons of fellow youthful travelers on this stimulating ride we call Christmas.
Not a basketball star yet
On 12/1, Gabriel had his first basketball game, which fizzled before the scheduled end time. Gabe kept running off the court to see the photos I was snapping, one kid was crying ’cause he didn’t want the ball, while another was sobbing crying ’cause he didn’t want to share the ball … it was too comical.
Gabriel did much better at his second game on 12/8. Only he and one other Wildcat played the entire game. I was so proud. And Daddy and bros reported that he also gave a worthy effort the following weekend at his third game. Way to man up, Gabe!
I took Gabriel to buy a youth basketball (with his own piggybank money) after the 12/8 game. And since then, Stephen I have since souped up the boys’ old toddler hoop, attaching it onto the back deck at the six-feet regulation level used in his league.
While I spent some one-on-one time with Gabe on the 8th, Daddy took Houston and Zeke downtown to the city historical museum. Then we all met up post-basketball for a massive Mexican feast, which included guacamole galore for the 3 Amigos. Happy campers, for sure!
Other merry outings
On 12/9, the boys and I went rollerskating with a huge group of our CC friends. I knew it would be difficult for the kids, being their first time skating and all, but it was way more demanding on both them and me than I had imagined.
I had rented skates, too, so every time they pulled on me, I nearly toppled over. Just standing up was almost as an impossibility for the dudes in the beginning. But through diligence, each one made it around the rink twice, before giving up on skating and opting for video gaming with friends instead.
Of course, we’ve gotten together with Christie and the kids a few times beyond the already-mentined outings. One was a record-setting six-hour playdate that included good times at her house, my lunchtime lesson/discussion on “The Pilgrim’s failed socialist experiment” and then more romping at the park.
On 12/14, we attended our final Moms Club playgroup. The kids and I hadn’t been to one since the summer, so we decided to go and bid the group farewell and a Merry Christmas.
Moms Club was a life-saver for me two years ago, when the 3 Amigos were very young and I sometimes felt trapped around the homestead. We made some good friends over the course of our membership and surely plan on keeping in touch with those fine folks. Thanks, Moms Club!
Stephen and I had a nice date night that evening. It was a dinner-and-a-movie affair, featuring Thai food and then the spectacular flick Life of Pi, which was the first regular-release film (i.e. not a kids dollar movie) I’ve attended since seeing Apocalypto while pregnant with Houston.
Then the dudes spent this past weekend up in the mountains with Granny and Grumps. The creek house had no power for two out of the three days, but Granny survived (barely) and the kids had a great time roughin’ it, playing in the snow and listening to the wind howl “like a ghost.”
Sickness & health
In the midst of all this merriment, we have battled and conquered a couple illnesses.
First, the dreaded stomach bug, which raged through the entire family, starting with Zeke puking all over my side of the bed during the first Saturday night of the month. (I blame it on the kids literally hanging out on the dirty downtown streets for 2 1/2 hours during the parade earlier that day.)
Whatever the cause, that violent virus eventually made its way to every member of the family, but took each of us only a couple days to get over, thankfully. Pray you don’t this brutal illness anytime soon. Yikes.
About mid-month, Houston and Zeke developed a nasty cold/cough. Zeke got over his fairly quickly, but Houston actually lost his voice the night of Christie’s party and still has a lingering intermittent cough, but I’m confident he’s at the tail-end of it. Nothing major.
Not much to report on the homeschooling front, since we’ve been on official CC break since Thanksgiving. We’ve been doing what I like to call semi-schooling, which has been a relaxed break from the grind, but is still productive.
Till next time, Clan Dillingham wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!