Christmas Favorites

Here we sit in the aftermath of Christmas.  We’ve spent the last two days just home…reading books, playing, crafting and assembling lego kits.  I like the lazy slow days after Christmas.

When looking back it was quite a delightful holiday, even though all holidays are very different now and have a sting to them.  It being Amon’s first Christmas made it extra, extra special…especially with the year he’s had.

I sat back most of the holiday and just thought about how grateful I was to be his mom…to be all the wee Kelleys’ mom and to do this crazy little life with Josh Kelley.  And most of all…incredibly thankful for the gift of Jesus.  I am always amazed at the gift of Jesus…a Savior to the world with crazy redemption and grace and love just for our crappy, undeserving selves.  God’s ginormous love for us truly floors me.  I want to try to love like that.

This was my most favorite picture of Christmas because A) Josh Kelley’s expression, B) Huddy’s blurry face, C) Amon looks like a cartoon character and D) Sol looks like he just lost his best friend.  My boys…keeping it real.  Harper is my sanity.

Our Christmas was pretty simple.  Nothing fancy and very laid back…which I adored.  And this year with 4 out of 6 of us coming down with the flu, it made us slow down a lot…which I really enjoyed…minus the sick part.

I loved their grateful hearts and their joy and anticipation and excitement.  It was our best Christmas yet.  And at the end of Christmas night we sat down and did our annual timer family photo in front of our tree.




Mad may be my favorite.

And now we’re gearing up for the New Year.  Josh and I have already started talking about our 2013 goals.  I’m excited for a new year.  A new start.  New goals and the wonder & excitement of change.  It always feels like anything is possible with a new year.  So have you started thinking about your goals?  Any crazy ones?  Any that seem impossible, but you think, “Just maybe this year.”  I feel that way about a lot of ours too.  Excited to see what this next year will hold.

Happy Thursday.

Merry Christmas!

“And the darker the night got, the brighter the star would shine.”

Thankful for a baby who came to save the world.  Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

December 24

We still have some gnarly coughs, but everyone is definitely on the up and up around the Kelley house.  We even ventured out last night and drove around to look at Christmas lights.  The wee Kelleys adored it and we kept our germs to ourselves in our car.  It was a win win.

Today we made germ filled kid decorated cookies.  I will only eat one of Harper’s…I wouldn’t touch one of the boys decorated cookies with a 10ft. pole.  They lick and touch and lick some more and add more sprinkles, all the while grossing Josh and me out.  Harper is careful and cleans her hands and doesn’t lick all over her fingers while she works.  I like her.

All our presents are wrapped and under the tree.  I know the kids are excited and I’m pretty darn excited too.  Anticipation and Joy.

Huddy brought me the sweetest picture all wrapped up in wrapping paper.  He said it was my Christmas gift.  I opened it up and just cried big drippy tears.  Tis’ the season.

And tonight before bed we read the Christmas story from the kids’ Jesus Storybook Bible.  I love this little Bible.

“This baby would be like that bright star shining in the sky that night.  A Light to light up the whole world.  Chasing away darkness.  Helping people to see.  And the darker the night got, the brighter the star would shine.”

Oh how thankful I am that Jesus came.  The anticipation and joy.  The weary world rejoices.

  Happy Christmas Eve.

December 23

Wow.  So I’ve decided if the flu had a face, I would totally punch flu in the face.  Terrible people.  Terrible.  But I am happy to report that after 8 days, today I finally feel a little less like death.  Internet fist bump.  I have been so sick and just feeling so down about how this time leading up to Christmas has looked nothing like I had envisioned.  No kindness advent.  No salt dough ornaments.  No fun Christmas crafts.  No baking.  Ugh…it just made my heart hurt…all those well thought out plans and then BAM!  the flu, in the worst kind of way.  BUT…we sure did slow down…that’s for sure.  And I will say, the Kelley family has enjoyed each others sick company.  And for that I am thankful.

And I would love for us to get to do today’s kindness advent.  We bought up fun books…before the flu hit…in preparation and maybe, just maybe will get to give them away some how.

We shall see.  Right now Sol and I are curled up nice and snug with some Gatorade on the couch.  But maybe we will get some new energy.  Who knows…the Kelleys could get crazy with our flu love.

And…Hey tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Happy Sunday!

December 1

Well it’s December 1st and today we began our Kindness Advent.  And although it is in the 60s today, I feel like we’re headed in the right direction…towards Christmas.

So today we took a snack and coffee to a Salvation Army bell ringer.  The wee Kelleys loved it.  We had three items to deliver, perfect for three little pairs of hands.

And the lady was super nice and kind and wanted hugs from each of them.  Melt my heart.

It got them excited about the rest of the month and they asked feverishly in the car on the way home what we were doing tomorrow.

I think this month is definitely going to be a good one.

Did you spread any kindness today?  If so, what did you do?  I would love to hear how it went.

Happy Saturday.

Christmas Ramblings

Christmas is in full swing at the Kelley house.  Our tree is up.  Our stockings are hung.  Our Christmas books are out.  Advent envelopes are ready.  And I am a mad present buying fool.  Packages have started arriving…I heart the FedEx and UPS dudes. I’m checking things off my list left and right.  It’s good times I tell you…good times.

Harper had ornament day yesterday at school and it was too fun.  They made all sorts of ornaments and started decorating their classroom tree with them.  I love Harper’s teacher.  I could easily bring her home with us and keep her for forever.  Not stalkerish sounding at all.  Harper would like that.  God bless good teachers.

Our tree goes up seriously the day after Thanksgiving.  Josh Kelley is a Christmas tree lover and he is usually itching around Halloween to put it up.  I do my best to keep him at bay until after Thanksgiving.  This year it went up a week before Thanksgiving.

I need another stocking hanger.  I bought ours over several years from Hobby Lobby and now I need just one more, but Hobby Lobby doesn’t have them anymore.  Can anyone help a sister out?  Josh’s poor stocking is just hanging out on our stool below all of our nicely hung stockings.

We do believe in Santa.  We don’t do the “he sees you when you’re sleeping” Santa, but only because I find it a bit creepers.  We leave cookies and milk out and also do the reindeer food in the yard.  The wee Kelleys know that Christmas is about Jesus, not all about Santa.  But I like the wonder and imagination in it…just like their wonder and imagination with Princesses and Star Wars and Superheros.  Why has this become a matter of the heart and up for serious spiritual debate over the years?  Can’t we all just be cool with whatever works for your family…different strokes, for different folks.  One of my nieces told Harper Santa wasn’t real and I just told her the truth, “Well then Santa isn’t real to her.”  When she asks if Santa is real, I simply ask back, “What do you think?”  I want her to be true to herself and not to worry about what other kiddos say and do and think.  So yep, we dig Santa, but we dig the Savior of the world more.

We do three presents per kiddo and then some small treats in their stockings.  This is just our choice because Jesus received three gifts and it works best for our budget with 4 wee Kelleys.  I’ve seen on Pinterest the 4 gifts…1 want, 1 need, 1 wear and 1 read.  I thought that was pretty neat, but I just like giving the fun wants.  Ha.  And some parents go all out with presents and some do none…kudos to you too.  Virtual high 5s all around.

We like our Kindness Advent to further help us keep the main focus on what Christmas is all about.  I also saw this pin on Pinterest about doing Advent with The Jesus Storybook Bible.  It is hands down my most favorite little kid Bible.  I tear up sometimes reading it to them.  You must check it out.  I’m going to do this with the kids this year too.

I’ve always wanted a tree skirt, but those things are pretty darn expensive.  This year Land of Nod has a super cute one that I loved, but again, way too pricey.  What’s a crafty girl to do…make my own.  So 2 yards of natural burlap, some felt snowflakes and fabric pens later and voila…my own tree skirt that cost me just a few bucks.

I love all the Elf On The Shelf ideas I am seeing all over Pinterest.  We don’t have an elf, but I think all the ideas are way funny and cute and I bet my kids would love it.  I’m thinking I may just buy a cheap little creeper elf from Etsy and let him serve as our Elf On The Shelf.  My niece Campbell loves the whole elf thing too.  I have consistently bought her additional old creepy elves to add to her magical collection.  #auntoftheyearaward

And lastly what are your favorite Christmas movies?  Right now our favorites are Elf and Arthur Christmas.  My Uncle Tom got Arthur on Netflix for the kids while we were in Florida.  My Aunt Linda and I cried like babies.  It is such a funny and sweet movie.  I’m going to get it for the kids eventually.  Uncle Tom sent us home with a copy of Elf.  The wee Kelleys belly laugh at several parts.  Mainly the burping part and when he asks the rabid raccoon if he needs a hug….the boys enjoy acting that one out.  It’s quite hilariously funny.

So what are your Christmas traditions?  Any favorites?  I like that Christmas can look so different depending on the family.  Different is good…if we were all the same, the world would be quite boring.

Happy Friday!

Oh and I almost forgot.  Tomorrow is the first day of our Kindness Advent.  I changed things around with our deeds this year a bit, but decided to keep our first kind deed the same as last year…a little tradition within a tradition, if you will.  Have a great weekend.