Lexi, William and Kate,
Believe. It is such a simple word but the depth and potential of this word is limitless. From believing in your intuition, to believing in others to believing in the impossible to believing in Jesus Christ our Savior—the possibilities and outcomes are remarkable. In what has been the most challenging year, belief has been a staple in keeping a positive attitude for me. Every morning I choose to believe in myself, I choose to believe in the good of others and choose to believe in God and that this year is all part of a bigger plan. I should probably write several more blog posts about this word and unpack it a bit, because I believe (see what I did there 🙂 it is a truly powerful word. So as a true believer, celebrating Christmas and the birth of Jesus at the end of 2020 is a perfect way to end the year.
The Christmas season felt like a true gift from Jesus. To me, it was just as special and magical as it ever has been, probably more so. Each of you kids are true believers in Santa and of Jesus. We had a Zoom call with Santa that my work organized and when he asked what you were most excited about for Christmas, you yelled, ‘Jesus!’ It was definitely not what Santa was expecting to hear, but I was sure proud.
Every year, you kids get a little more into celebration of Christmas. You understand the Bible stories a little better, you want to be more involved in the decorating, the baking, the gift giving (and receiving), the wrapping, the music, the lights, the Christmas cards, the books, and the movies. Everything you experience is like gold and it is one of my favorite things as a parent.
Each year, I try and add or update one piece of my Christmas decor to help balance my love for Christmas decor and desire to want our house to look and feel like a magazine. Last year, part of those dream became a reality when we were gifted a 12 foot Christmas tree to sit in our front room. However, those dreams quickly diminished as string by string, the lights started to go out. Daddy and I attempted to fix some of them by replacing each bulb in a string one-by-one, but as more strings went out, I decided the whole tree just needed to be re-done. I knew it was going to be a time-consuming project so, come November 1st, that tree came out and I got to work. The tree originally had 1400 lights on it and each light was clipped to a branch to keep it in place. My plan was to replace light for light and take one light off and replace it with a new light to ensure it looked as good it originally came. I quickly discovered that the lights they put on these trees are made for that specific tree. They have strategically placed the bulbs in specific locations on the strings (which are also circular verses linear) so they hit at just the right spot on the branch and there are no ‘un-used’ lights. A regular string of lights that you buy at the store are obviously evenly spaced out on the string so there were many lights that weren’t able to attach to the branch that the original set was attached to—which also meant I was going to need more lights than the 1400 that were previously on there. Section by section, I took off the existing lights and replaced with a new set. With 5 individually-wired sections on the tree, I had to also strategically guess how heavy or light I needed to string in order to make sure I didn’t run up short, or have too many lights at the end. I did not manage the top two sections well and they didn’t have enough lights on them, relative to the rest of the tree, so I had to re-do those. Many, many hours, 1800 lights (maybe more) and a sore back later, we had a beautiful jaw-dropping tree.
Of course, as soon as the tree was done, you guys were begging to decorate it so away you went putting up the ornaments, knowing that I had every intention of taking every ornament off and re-doing it. To help compensate for my OCD ways, I did tell you we could set up our old tree and it could be the ‘kids’ tree. We could put colored lights on it and you could decorate it in any way you wanted. The three of you picked out pink, purple, green and blue ornaments and had fun putting all of your favorite colors and home-made ornaments on.
On a similar note, the three of you LOVE to help decorate the rest of the house with all of the decorations. Lexi put together the entire nativity scene this year and Williams and Kate loved putting the snowman shelf together.
Like clockwork, our elves, Sparkle Minnie, Sparkle Mickey and Sparkle Daisy arrived on December 1st bringing a Paw Patrol advent calendar. The elves also helped us celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th and brought us a fun Christmas painting book on the first day of Christmas break. As always, they got into some mischief by wrapping your bedroom doors with wrapping paper, getting eaten by dinosaurs, climbing up bows like a rock climbing wall on our shelf/window, taking a shower, sitting in the fridge, playing with the Tsum Tsums, and even made a visit to Grammy’s house. Finding them each morning was a high of the day and brought each of you so much joy.
Lexi, you are turning into quite the little gift giver. You listen to what others are saying and then suggest gifts that you’ve heard them mention and are really thoughtful in thinking about what the recipient would like to receive. All of the gifts you gave were spot on this year. You picked out new drill bits for Daddy, a Lion Guard figurine set for William, a lego kit and aqua beads for Ivy and a Barbie Pet Washing Station (complete with a bunny) for Kate.
At school, the Advent program was virtual due to Covid. They recorded what the program would have been like if it were in person and then shared the video link out for everyone to watch at home. You also both had fun celebrating pajama day and having an Advent party during the last week of school.
Your last day of school was on December 18th, a full week before Christmas, which allowed all of us to ‘quarantine’ for a decent amount of time and gather with Grammy and Papa and Uncle Joe & Auntie Angie, Dustin and Sheila and all the cousins on Christmas Eve. It was such a fun and much needed celebration. You kids had so much fun playing together, opening gifts, singing and just being silly. The adults ate delicious food, drank nummy drinks and played the 2nd Annual Bothwell Christmas exchange game.
The girls both received My Generation Dolls, which happened to have their same names and William received a beloved Nerf gun and a big T-Rex. All of the gifts were HUGE hits. Lexi is absolutely in love with her doll and couldn’t believe she got her own, let alone one that is named Lexi.
Christmas morning felt like a movie. All three of you kids were bursting with excitement you could barely keep your feet on the floor. Santa brought each of you what you had asked for; Lexi, a Barbie Pool and Barbie diver; William, a Dinosaur that eats people and Kate, a new purple Bunnie, Bunnie book and a dauber coloring book. After Santa gifts, you guys were SO excited to gift each other the gifts you had picked out, we went right to those. Lexi & Kate had picked out Lion Guard figurines for William and it will probably be one of the most played with toys out of everything you guys received. William & Kate had picked out a color your own squishie gift for Lexi and William and Lexi had picked out a pet washing barbie (because it came with a bunny) for Kate. The rest of the gift opening went well and was nice and relaxed. We took turns opening gifts and admiring what everyone received. The last gift that was opened was for Lexi and Kate had a huge blanket over it with a red bow and when they pulled it off, it revealed a BEAUTIFUL doll house, all hand-made by Daddy. It has a working elevator, working lights on a remote control, stained wood floors, doors between the rooms, windows, a side closet and complete with a kitchen set, bath tub and hand-made bunk beds. He spent hours upon hours building this for you girls and the details in it are exquisite. Your love for this dollhouse makes all the work he put into it worthwhile. The two of you have already spent so much time playing at it and tuck your dolls into their bunk beds (complete with home-made pillows and blankets from Grammy) every night.
After gift opening, we spent the rest of the day hanging out in our jammies and enjoying our new gifts, including a family Nerf gun obstacle course. It was a wonderfully relaxing day.
On the 26th, we got to work right away in the morning cleaning the house and getting things put away to host the Sampson’s for Christmas. It was a busy day but had a wonderful time celebrating with them. We introduced the gift exchange game with the siblings and it was a Big hit. All the kids got Lego kits, more dinosaurs, doll accessories, crafts, games and much more. It was a fantastic way to wrap up Christmas 2020.
Merry Christmas my sweet monkeys and may you never stop believing.