December was a whirlwind like always. And since the flurry of activity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I have made it a point to try to notice the little moments of joy amidst the chaos.
Somewhere in between the nonstop chaos of December and everyday life with four little boys, we managed to fit in a few festive activities. There were a handful of magical moments this year that I want to remember.
We kicked off the month by making hygiene kits for orphanages at a church service activity. Santa made an appearance at the end. It was nice to check off chatting with the big guy early on in the month, without the hassle of waiting in lines.
Santa and Finn looked a little like twins.
Blake and I had some tough, unplanned conversations about what is real and what isn’t at Christmas time. He learned the truth about elves on shelves and was devastated. It was heartbreaking. He declared that he didn’t want to know that information until he was 12. He was skeptical about Santa too, but I think we safely held on to the magic for at least another year.
Blake had his first piano recital. He practiced for months to learn and memorize his piece and showed up the morning of his performance with no nerves, just excitement.
We sat on the wrong side of the stage to see his facial expressions, but he nailed his song.
We unwrapped and read our children’s books around the Christmas tree. It is my very favorite tradition; a chance to slow down for a few minutes each night and soak up the spirit of Christmas.
We went Nash’s first grade holiday performance at school.
Finn showered him with hugs afterwards.
Crew was the only one to make a gingerbread house this year, thanks to preschool.
He also got to go on a field trip at the fire station with his preschool buddies.
We can always count on Finn to mosey his way in to the group of preschool friends.
There’s just something about little boys and firetrucks.
We took a cruise around the Newport Harbor while Troy’s family was in town. We rented a Duffy boat and brought dinner on board.
We had the water almost to ourselves which gave us a great view of all the lights, but was also eerily dark at times.
I got to help at Nash’s kindergarten party.
Even though I used to teach kindergarten, every time I step into a classroom, I’m blown away that anyone can be a teacher. Teachers are amazing.
Once school was out and we made it through the church program, we headed out to Arizona for the days leading up to Christmas. I drove with the boys and Troy flew out a few days later. One hour from our destination, we were in a multiple car accident. It wasn’t because of traffic or bad weather, but simply because one driver didn’t see another car when changing lanes. The sudden stop created quite a ripple effect.
Thankfully, no one was hurt. My car took the impact much more than any of us.
We waited on the side of the freeway for hours as we took care of all of the logistics with the officers and insurance company. The most beautiful sunset sprawled across the sky while we were waiting. My car made it the remaining hour to our destination, but not without several strange noises. After inspection the next day, it was determined there was no way it could make it back to California. The radiator was leaning on the radiator fan, the brakes were rubbing, the left headlight was cracked and pointing upward and the A/C hoses were bent and could blow any minute. It was a bit of a pain to work out having repairs done in Arizona with California auto insurance. But we had no choice other than to leave it behind in desert. We should be able to retrieve it the second week in January.
With all of the auto drama behind us, we packed up on Christmas Eve Eve and headed to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort.
We wandered around the resort grounds and checked out the carousel, ice skating rink, light displays and animated nativity.
Crew was pretty thrilled about the new friend he made.
It was unusually cold in the desert so we enjoyed our breaks by the fire pits. Usually I would be sad if we traveled to Arizona and it was rainy and cold all week, but since we were headed back to Southern California this year, we were just happy to be with extended family for a few days.
Some of my favorite December moments were unpictured. Like when Blake shared his favorite candy bar with his brothers that he earned at piano without a thought of hesitation.
Or when Troy had the idea to tell the boys to get their pajamas on and jump in the car. We munched on popcorn while driving to a neighborhood known for Christmas lights and simultaneously listened to a Christmas devotional.
Or when we attended a live nativity narration in an outdoor theater and Crew asked excitedly at the end, “When are we going to have a baby Jesus at our house?”
Or when Nash’s primary teacher asked his class, “What did the Wise Men bring to baby Jesus?” and Nash answered, “Gold, peace and…somethin’ else.”
Or when we gathered up a bunch of friends and walked through a nearby neighborhood filled to the brim with decorated houses. The neighbors rotated who served complimentary hot chocolate each night and it felt so Christmassy. Until Crew knocked over a plastic Santa…
There’s so much to do in December and it’s impossible to fit it all in. We added a few new activities to our schedule this year and skipped out on a few as well. Somehow, amidst all of the shopping and Amazon Prime deliveries, the routine schoolwork, the bickering among siblings, the extra decorating and the holiday programs and parties, the spirit of Christmas seeped in.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to skip all of the hassle and headache that Christmas often is, but it’s those small, fleeting moments when the boys light up and love trumps chaos that make it all worth it.