02 January 2008

happy new year!

We've been off doing Christmas things for the past few weeks, but we're back and ready to overwhelm you with lots of pictures of our fun. We know you're all wondering how the expanded Bowersox family celebrated the holidays. Well, it's possible you don't actually care, but we like to pretend that we're the most interesting part of your world. Either way, here's the summary. All of the links will take you to our web albums filled with pictures to help you waste time.

I was determined to avoid a chaotic and commercialized Advent, so I finished the last bit of Christmas shopping at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving. I say that mostly to brag but also to say that it was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. Even with baking orders to fill, the addition of a new tutoring student 2 nights a week, and my grandparents' move out of their home (which led to a major cooking spree on my part while my relatives were all in town), our first December with our kids was relatively peaceful.

We kicked the month off with a trip to cut down our own Christmas tree. Growing up on a crowded street with concrete and asphalt everywhere, we wanted the kids to learn to appreciate nature by killing a tree with their own hands. I also read that local tree growers are more likely to have organic trees that aren't spreading pesticides throughout your house. My hopes were dashed when we pulled into the farm and parked next to a large shed that had "Danger: Pesticides" plastered all over it. At any rate, it was a fun adventure. That evening we decorated the tree and celebrated with our kids' first mugs of hot cocoa.

We celebrated Advent at home with an advent wreath that we lit each Sunday, along with nightly readings of an advent-themed Bible passage. We also started a fun tradition of putting the Christmas cards we received each day in a bowl on the table. After dinner, we read the cards together and prayed for the people who sent them. If you sent us a card at the last minute, you might still be in line for a prayer. We got seriously backlogged in the mad rush at the end. If you didn't send us a card, we're not offended, but you missed out on a prayer.

The second weekend of December, we took a Sunday night drive to check out Christmas lights. Unfortunately, it was raining, so Joshua kept putting his window down to unfog it. Much to our dismay, the kids loved the giant blow ups. However, Mommy did manage to brainwash them by continually saying, "Look at those pretty WHITE lights!"

The third weekend in December, we attended the Christmas party to beat all Christmas parties. As if decorating a large tree and consuming lots of food and beverages isn't enough, the highlight of the party is that Santa comes and brings gifts to all the children (all 30 or more of them)! We aren't doing the Santa thing at home with our kids, so we had an interesting time explaining to our kids before the party who Santa is. We didn't want to tell them Santa was coming to our house, but we didn't want to tell them that Santa isn't real and have them blow it for the rest of the kids at the party. It was quite a fine line to walk. After my long, carefully worded explanation of Santa, Joshua still had to ask, "Is Santa real?" I deferred to Peter who replied, "Lots of people believe Santa is real. But he's very busy, so sometimes he sends people dressed up like Santa to help." At any rate, all 3 of our kids ran to Santa when their names were called. Many of the little kids screamed when they got near Santa, but Garty was thrilled to sit on his lap. Of course, who wouldn't love a man who brings Chicken Dance Elmo? (Me, that's who. The batteries have already died from excessive use, and I conveniently don't have the right size to replace them just yet.)

The days surrounding Christmas were filled with lots of family gatherings with immediate and extended family. I didn't even try to upload the mass of pictures I have from all the different gatherings, but I did upload some from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We spent Christmas Eve with my immediate family, Christmas morning at home, and the rest of Christmas with Peter's immediate family. A great time was had by all until the dust settled on the 26th and we had to find a place for all the presents.

So after one final day of running around yesterday, today we returned to normal life. I had to wake Garty up at 10:30am. He must be trying to recover from all the fun. I only wish I could have slept late with him. Joshua had a smooth transition back to school. Patience enjoyed coloring and going to Trader Joe's. Peter had a full day at work.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing--it was a great way to start off my day!

I especially like your idea of praying for those who send you Christmas cards. We're gonna have to do that next year.

And I know you didn't ask, but I love sharing how we handle Santa Claus: Angel's family picked up the tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas' Day on Dec. 6 while they lived in Germany to commemorate the real "Santa Claus". Her mom had them put their shoes outside of their bedroom doors on the evening of Dec. 5, and would fill them that night with goodies. We've continued that with our kids (http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/EEEEMommy/439754/), and explain to them each year who the real St. Nicholas was (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas) with a significant emphasis on his love for Jesus. Of course, it is still a challenge when they talk with other kids who insist that Santa Claus is real...which has also been an opportunity to teach them discretion.

Well, I've rambled on enough, and need to get to work:S

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chris G.

EEEEMommy said...

I see my dear husband beat me to the punch! :)
Bottom line, beyond celebrating St. Nicholas' Day, we tell the kids, "The real Santa Clause (St. Nicholas) is in heaven with Jesus, all of these are just people dressed up like him, playing a game." This year I had a more significant discussion with my 8 year old because she had so many questions about why other people believe in him, we talked a lot about letting the parents decide what to tell their kids when.