Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tis the Season

We had a fabulous and mellow Thanksgiving at our house - Joel cooked as usual and it was delicious. My Mom and good family friend Jim Idoine joined us as usual. Unfortunately, Jayci had to work this year so she didn't make it on Thanksgiving day but she stopped by the day after for a plate of leftovers and to pick up a to-go container with more leftovers for later! And this year we were super happy to have our good friend Rusty join us (you may recognize Rusty's name more as "Coach Rusty" from gymnastics). It was lots of fun but somehow I managed to not take any photos. Sorry!

I did however pull the camera out plenty the day AFTER Thanksgiving as the Tapler Family Holiday Season officially kicked off!! We woke up Friday morning to find that Scout, our friendly Elf on the Shelf, had arrived from the North Pole sometime in the night with a very special gift for Dean and a letter! (I'll copy Scout's letter at the end of this post). Dean was pretty excited about this, unlike the last 2 years when he wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with the Elf on the Shelf! (For those of you unfamiliar with the Elf on the Shelf, you can read about him HERE). The Elf brought Dean a special Christmas Toy Shop Lego set that we've been working on for several weeks - we're hoping this will become a sort of holiday tradition and that the Holiday Lego sets will become part of our annual Christmas decorations. That's been lots of fun!

After our breakfast with the Elf, we got busy putting up our tree and decorating for Christmas. Dean was actually a pretty big help this year! He helped me sort ornaments and was *pretty* good about putting them on the tree and not wanting to put them all on one branch like in years past!

After all our hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a little bit of Lego time, working on our Christmas village / toy shop and a bit of silliness!

The following week on December 1st Dean was super excited for the start of the Lego City Advent Calendar - an entire 25 days of Legos to count down the days to Christmas!!

And here's a look at that special letter from the Elf on the Shelf for those of you who are interested: (and FYI, the term "Strong Choice" is a phrase they use at school that we are trying to reinforce by using frequently at home, in case you were wondering why you keep seeing those words).

Aloha Dean!

I'm back! Remember me? I am so excited that it's finally Christmas time and Santa has sent me on a Super Special Assignment to your house again this year! I had fun watching over you last year and I heard you've been a pretty good boy already this year. Keep working hard on making Strong Choices every day - listen to your Mommy and Daddy and the other grown-ups in your life and try to have good manners all the time. No whining and remember to be careful with your tone of voice. Clean up your toys and other things when you're done with them, don't leave messes. Show appreciation for the things you have and gifts you receive in your life. Get a good night's sleep every night so you have lots of energy for positive fun. Give aloha to your family and friends and everyone you meet. You're a good boy and I can't wait to go back to the North Pole each night and tell Santa about all the wonderful things you do and Strong Choices you make each day. Because I know you can do this, I decided to bring you an early Christmas present. Go ahead and open it and have fun! It will be a special project for you to enjoy in the next several weeks before Christmas.

(Your Elf on the Shelf).

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