John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation!

I got out of school earlier than the kids this year so I had a couple days all by my little lonesome. It was pretty nice being able to leisurely go about my day and eat cereal for lunch if I so chose to do so. I mainly cleaned, did laundry, watched shows that I have been saving on the DVR, and of course, wrapped presents.

I still had to get up super early since I had to take the kids to school. By the time I had been driving for approximately 45 minutes, I never seemed to go back to sleep when I got home. I did curl up on the couch and watch TV for a while and do housework during commercials.

The Thursday before Christmas was jam packed. I woke up early to get the boys off to their (three) separate schools (in two different cities!) and got home just in time to get a shower and get ready to go back to Kobe's school for his Christmas party. As I was loading my SUV with bags of goodies, treats, and gifts for the class and teachers, my phone rang and it was Callum calling to say that he was all finished with his exam and needed me to pick him up. Well, as usual, I was running a little late right on time. {I always seem to make it where I am going literally right on time. Never a couple of minutes early to have time to breathe...just in time to run in and be in place at the very moment I am supposed to be there...which I guess is better than being late (which I am sometimes too)} I ended up having him walk over to Kobe's school (on the same little street...just a couple of blocks. I live in Alabama so it wasn't that cold!) so I wouldn't be late getting to his party. I parked in the back where I found the closest spot ever! I was so thrilled to get such an awesome parking spot since I had so much to carry in the school. Well, this was less than a week since the horrific shooting that took place in Newtown, Connecticut and I didn't think of that... all of the doors were locked! It was super windy, not really all that cold but very windy, and I tried about three different doors until I finally found one that I could get open. I was so thankful for this. It made me feel very good that our school was being proactive. I do wish it didn't have to be because of things that have taken place over the years, but non-the-less, thankful that I felt like my child was safely inside. I finally made it down to his classroom (on the opposite side of the building) and was greeted by a room full of anxious kids and not-so-anxious parents. Of course, one of the last parents to get there...but the point is... I made it there! I helped pass out drinks and helped kids fix their plates. They had a little breakfast party. This year, Kobe's homeroom teacher, Ms. Thomas, decided to do something a little different. She had each kid bring a stocking with their name on it and each child brought a small gift for everyone in the class. I was so nervous when I first heard about this and had no idea what to send. UNTIL, I searched Pinterest. I found the cutest idea. I adapted it to my own little way and send Snowman Soup. I just bought the big box of Nestle Mini Marshmallow individual packets of hot chocolate and typed up some "Snowman Soup" poems with little snowmen around the wording and taped it to the packet and tied green and red shiny ribbon on it and let Kobe sign his name at the bottom. Voila! Cute gift for less than a quarter a piece! Ms. Thomas played a little gift game with the kids with a gift bag from her and they all had so much fun  playing. After that, Kobe was pretty much ready to go. Leave it to me, to not take any pictures! My cousin, Michelle did happen to get a picture of Kobe and her daughter, Ashlyn.

Cousins. Kobe and Ashlyn in the hallway at school
Arent' they adorable?

After that Callum, Kobe, and I went straight to Florence. I had some errands I needed to run before we went to Samuel's Christmas party at his school that afternoon. We went shopping for a Christmas gift for my dad. We picked up apples and caramel dip for Samuel's party and after that we went to McDonald's for lunch. 

This was the ONE time I was actually early for something. I was TWENTY minutes early. I went ahead and signed in at the office and we went on down to the Kindergarten room. Once there, I took Samuel around the school and let him hand out gifts to all of the teachers and office staff. He loved playing "Santa". We met up with his class in the hallway and he went with them to play in the computer lab and I went to the classroom to help set up. The kids had a lunch party. They seemed to enjoy everything. The big hit was the McDonald's chicken nuggets that some one's mother brought. Someone else's mom made snowman cookies and they were so cute! Everything was. Me? I went the easy route. I stopped at Publix and picked up a bag of pre-cut apples and a tub of caramel dip and once I got to the school I put it in my festive red with white polka dots chip and dip! I got green apples so it looked adorable! The kids ate the "lunch" and then went into the gym for some cute "Christmas Reindeer Games". They loved that! They got to wear red noses like Rudolph and do a relay race. After that the sixth graders came in to give their buddy a Christmas gift. {Explanation of "buddies"} Each Kindergartner is assigned a sixth grade "buddy". This buddy helps them adjust to coming to school, getting their lunch tray, knowing what to do in the library, etc. It is also a familiar, older face during times that can seem uncertain/scary/busy/confusing during the school day. It is also someone that finds them on the playground or in the gym and makes sure that they have someone to talk to or play with. Isn't that sweet? Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Samuel's school?? Sam's buddy is Garrett. I laughed when I first saw them together because it looks like they chose the biggest (I mean height-wise) and the smallest (in all aspects) kid in the school and paired them up. They are adorable together. Garrett will make his way through any crowd to see Samuel and talk to him. He is the sweetest kid and Sam loves him. He is the topic of many conversations in our home. The kids had their pictures made with Santa that morning and each Kindergartner and their sixth grade buddy took one with Santa together. The sixth graders then decorated a frame and brought it to the little ones. Samuel hugged that frame so tight! He loved it! He gave Garrett some snowman soup! I wish I had thought of getting him something...but I am new at this...what can I say? I will get him something at the end of the year for sure! After that, we were all ready to go. Callum had been through TWO elementary Christmas parties, Kobe had been through two parties, and shopping. My head was starting to ache and it was raining... I just wanted to go home. It was a nice day and the parents were able to get $200 together to surprise Mrs. Frederick with a class gift of a gift card to her favorite store...Target! She is a sweet lady and loves our babies. I was happy to see the smile on her face. She totally deserved it!

Sam, Garrett, and Santa. How sweet!

On Sunday, John traveled to Elizabethtown, Kentucky (half way point) to meet up and get my stepdaughter, Haley. She came down to spend the Christmas holidays and break with us this year. John left out early that morning. I got up a little later and got us all ready for church and met a friend there. We sat up close to the front and I am so glad that we did. It was a wonderful service! The band played all of my favorite songs (all time favorite, O Come O Come Emmanuel) and their was a monologue performed by "Mary". It was very neat to hear the Christmas story from Mary's point of view. It really provoked my thoughts about how committed and trusting Mary was of God's plan. Pastor Steve gave a great message about the love of God and how He showed that to us through His son, Jesus. While Pastor Steve spoke, Pastor Cliff (our youth pastor) painted the most beautiful picture of The Christmas Star, the manger, the cross, and Jesus' face. I wish so badly that I didn't leave my phone in my car during church because I would have love to have a picture of that painting.The kids got up and sang Joy to the World with Lenny (Lenny Leblanc is our worship leader) and it started off soft and sweet and then, it sped up and became more of a "rock and roll" version and the kids got up and danced around on the stage... and it began "snowing" in the sanctuary. It was so much fun and a great memory! Afterwards, Pastor Steve introduced one of the church members to the whole church. He is a divorced dad of two. A boy and a girl. He was diagnosed with cancer and it is stage 4. Because of the disease and the toll it (and the treatments) has had on his body, he hasn't been physically able to do much. He said he has had to pass up some valuable memory-making time with his kids because he just couldn't physically do anything. He seemed to be feeling somewhat better but you could tell it was a real struggle. He was visibly upset at the time that has been stolen from him and his children. Faith Church gifted him and his two precious kids (and another adult to help out, I am sure) with an all inclusive trip to Disney World. They called the dad and kids up and gave them balloons and Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed animals. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. It was incredible. I am really proud to belong to a church that doesn't just talk about what they need to do or talk about being about their Father's business... they are actually being about their Father's business.

Pastor Steve announcing the gift to the family at church. You can see in the background the heart shaped picture Pastor Cliff painted. 

After church I told the boys we could do anything they wanted to do. They said they just wanted to go home and play. They wanted me to make them their favorite meal. Hamburger helper, corn, mashed potatoes, and a roll. After that they asked to make a gingerbread house. Once that was finished, they asked me if we could watch a movie and eat we did. They asked me to make potato soup, cornbread, and I did. We had a very fun and special time, just the three of us that day. John got home with Haley and Callum (he went to keep John company) just in time for dinner. 

Our Gingerbread House

"JOY". I thought that was very clever of Kobe. I later learned that he got this idea from Duck Dynasty!

Samuel's Side. SO SWEET! He ate a few of his pieces off of his side.

We had a busy start to our Christmas vacation. Other than a couple of family get togethers, we pretty much laid low. I think I only left the house to go grocery shopping and rent movies. It rained almost the entire time we were out. If it wasn't raining, it was freezing! So, we had the perfect conditions for staying indoors and cuddling up watching movies and being just pure ol' lazy! We enjoyed having all this time together. The boys had their moments were I thought I might kill them they might kill each other...but other than that... it was a great time of family memories being made.


  1. Sara Beth, I've had so many posts to catch up on! I have missed reading your blog these past few weeks of vacation and Christmas all wrapped up in one. I'm so glad you and your fam had a Merry Christmas, I think the gingerbread house turned out awesome, and we did the exact same thing...stayed inside and cuddled up! Happy New Year, Friend!!!

    1. I have been a little behind since I have been at home with the kids. I am so glad you guys had a great time on vacation and a wonderful Christmas! Happy New Year to you, sweet friend!


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