Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Norwich Winterfest Parade 2018

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Here are just a bunch of photos from our super fun day at the Norwich Winterfest Parade. Caroline got to be a judge, the weather was great, and we brought home so much candy we still have some almost a week later.

Sometimes our town looks like the place they film Netflix Christmas movies (I’m obsessed with Netflix Christmas movies), and this was one of those days.

Christmas Tree 2018

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Previously at Geers Tree Farm: 2017 / 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013 and for a REAL throwback, 2009

This Christmas season is happier all the way around because E is here to enjoy things with us. We still enjoyed them while he was deployed, but knowing he was missing out dulled the shine of everything just a little. Plus it’s nice to have two adults around when you put up outside Christmas lights so one can call 911 when the other falls off the ladder. (No one actually fell off any ladders.) It’s also super nice to have another adult to wear the baby on his back for tree hunting so I can take pictures that have the baby in them.

We went to Geers Tree Farm for our tree, just like we do every year, and it was perfect. It wasn’t actually as cold as it looks in these pictures. I mean, it wasn’t like the year we didn’t even wear coats, but there was no wind and the sun was shining and I ended up taking off my scarf because hiking around is hard work and I got warm. We took the wagon ride up to the same hill where we’ve gotten our tree the last four years and then walked most of the way back, enjoying the view. The farm was the least crowded we’ve ever seen it (going at 9:30 am on a Friday was a good call!) and we were home with the tree up and decorated before noon.

We actually ended up with a slightly smaller tree than we usually do, but that’s ok because our living room isn’t that big and we’re going to have to fit presents for 5 kids and 7 adults in there on the 25th. I’ll tell Caroline that’s why Santa didn’t bring her a pony – there just wasn’t room.

Christmas 2017

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Merry Everything! We had a lovely holiday here in New England. A Christmas Eve pouring rain turned into a Christmas Day snowstorm so we got a true White Christmas. The snow blew in with a cold front; it’s less than 25 degrees now (and in the single digits at night) so we’ve been hunkered down inside enjoying the truly enormous and unnecessary pile of presents. My parents came up from Virginia to help celebrate and the kids we SO happy to have Mormor and Bumpa here. My dad helped me get a bunch of house and car stuff done (as usual) so the rest of our break week I can relax and just stay on top of laundry while packing up Christmas decorations. My tree was dead and out on the curb by 4 pm on December 27th. I know my Roomba is relieved – and might actually finish a cleaning cycle without needing me to empty all the pine needles out of the bin.

We had a stroke of good luck with Navy scheduling and E was able to be in port on Christmas Day so he watched everyone discover their Santa presents via Facebook messenger video. It might be the last time we get to talk to him before he comes back (which is still months away) so it was a very nice treat. He was a little bummed not to have matching pajamas or a delicious beef roast with us, but we’ll make up for it next year.

Please enjoy many, somewhat blurry photos of our day.

Please note Caroline’s shirt in the above photo: it says “Young, Scrappy & Hungry”.

 

This Christmas I Am Spoiling My Kids Rotten

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Hello Internet.

Thank you for all the wonderfully written, thoughtful posts about how kids these days are too focused on things and not on the true meaning of Christmas. It’s so important to remember that giving is far superior to receiving, just as God gave his love to all of us. I also read your advice on how experiences make better gifts than giant hunks of plastic. It’s true! You made some excellent points. Then there were the 4 Things devotees: Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. It rhymes! So adorable and minimalist and a great way to cut down on junk! And finally, there are the hardcore anti-stuff people who object to basically all of it and make their opinions loudly known. Thank you for your input, I appreciate the time you took to explain it.

This year, I am flat out ignoring ALL OF YOU.

wrapping presents

 

 

 

And I’m doing it 100% on purpose. I haven’t accidentally bought too much. I am not pretending to purchase only hand-crafted, heirloom quality, Waldolf-inspired toys. I am not claiming to be a minimalist while buying piles of presents. This is intentional, planned, thoughtful spoiling.

Our December has been full of both experiences and things. This year, we are seeing Santa no less than 5 separate times. We have five sets of matching Christmas pajamas, including two sets for me and one for the dog. Caroline has a special dress for The Nutcracker, a different special dress for our photo session with Santa, and another special dress for Christmas Eve. Oh and one more to wear on Christmas day after taking off her matching Christmas pajamas. We are opening seven advent calendars every morning. There are custom printed Santa bags for each child and fancy gourmet chocolates for their stockings. They are getting everything they asked for and then some. There is a giant Batman robot, thousands of Legos, and a stupid Baby Alive that pees. There are sleds and ride on toys and loud beeping things. ALL FOUR KIDS get their own Fingerling monkey, even the baby, who definitely does not need a Fingerling monkey. When they come down the stairs on Christmas morning, they’re going to freak out and scream their little heads off with joy.

Do you know what won’t be around our tree on Christmas morning? Their father.

I realize things don’t make up for your dad being deployed during Christmas. There is no present in the world I can give them that will stop them from saying “I wish Daddy was here”. My heart breaks a little more every time they say it – which is often. This isn’t their fault. They didn’t ask to be born into a military family. And until this year we’ve been able to shield them quite a bit from true Navy life – no moving, no long separations, no new schools. I grew up with that lifestyle and although I enjoyed it for the most part, not having “a” home or long-term friendships or a sense of being FROM somewhere can be hard sometimes. We’ve been very lucky that we can do this a little differently than most military families. But our luck ran out now that E is very fancy and important; his skills and expertise are needed on actual working submarines, and actual working submarines deploy.

It’s hard. Being the only parent means I am responsible for all the Christmas, for everyone. I don’t mind, really, because I love Christmas. But trying to buy stocking candy when I am never without at least one child is hard. Wrapping gifts at midnight is hard. Trying to decide if it’s time to tell the big kids about Santa is hard. I’m still part of a partnership as far as parenting goes but my partner is unavailable (most of the time he is 100% unavailable, not reachable by any means).

My choice to go completely overboard and ignore what other people are doing is in no way meant to be a reflection on others. This doesn’t just apply to our specific situation regarding Christmas presents or even just the holidays. As I am very fond of telling my children, different families make different choices. Some do small Christmases, some do big Christmases, some go to great lengths to be with as much family as possible, some want to stay home. Some people step away from Facebook and social media to stay focused on family, but I couldn’t imagine doing that when I spend so much time as the only adult in the room. Some find that taking photos helps keep them connected and in the moment (me, 100%), others find that putting away the camera makes them happier. It is a difficult time of year for so many people for so many reasons, finding joy however you want should be allowed. And this year, my joy is in distracting my kids from things that make them sad with things that make them happy.

Come January 2nd when everyone goes back to school, I am going to be cursing all this STUFF that will have taken over my house. There’s nothing more #firstworldproblem than buying too many toys and then being annoyed by too many toys. I’ll remind myself of that as many times as is necessary during the long, cold, dark months between the end of the holidays and the end of deployment. But right now, I am SO EXCITED about Christmas magic and that is just what our family needs.

Caroline’s 7th Birthday Celebration

Monday, December 18th, 2017

I asked Caroline what she wanted to do for her birthday this year, since it was just a family celebration and not a party. She said she wanted to get giant milkshakes, like we did for Lincoln’s birthday back in July. Lucky for us, Saturday also happened to be the reindeer visit at Foxwoods and their PR department invited us, so we were going to be headed there this weekend anyway.

Besides the reindeer, they also had a wonderful Santa and tons of Christmas decorations. It was very festive and joyful. My kids were almost well-behaved during our long, backward, sugar-filled lunch. They sang to Caroline and it was the highlight of her month. We learned a lot about reindeer – did you know their antlers fall off every year? Those giant antlers are only a few months old! And when we got home, Finnegan took a 3 hours nap because he was stuffed with french fries and worn out from fun.

We also did presents (all cheerleading-related), made her favorite dinner (spaghetti and meatballs) and had a small grocery store cake for dessert. She told me I am the greatest birthday planner in the world and it was the best day of her life. Considering the effort I put into her elaborate birthdays of the past, I’m just relieved she wasn’t shockingly disappointed. I do think from now on we’ll always have to go to the Sugar Factory for birthdays. Evan already requested it for his day in April.

Tomorrow is her actual birthday and we’ll do our traditional birthday interview. I am guessing every answer will be “cheer” or “unicorns”.

Linc was annoyed we had to wait for 3 whole minutes to see Santa.

Isn’t this the most gorgeous gingerbread house???

We went back to see the reindeer again after lunch.

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