Sunday, January 29, 2012

It was almost Christmas...

(this is where I try AGAIN to get caught up. I'll pick up where I left off, which was just before Christmas). So getting back to our Christmas preparations...this post will be pretty long and full of random stuff. Sorry!

We started a new tradition this year. Just after Thanksgiving when I was pulling out all of the holiday decorations I decided to wrap each of our Holiday-themed books (we had about 19 of them at the time, some leftover from my childhood, some that we've accumulated over the last 5 years. A trip to Barnes & Noble and a few Amazon purchases made it a perfect 25). Starting on December 1st, Dean unwrapped one book per night and we read it together as a family. It was really really cool! Definitely a tradition we will continue, although there are a few books we'll be phasing out of the collection (because they suck) and in the future when I'm wrapping them, I'm going to add a little number sticker to them and have him open them in a specific order - because some of the longer books are better for the non-school nights and some books are better for closer to Christmas. But this was a really neat thing to do that we'll definitely look forward to year after year!

At school, Dean had a fun homework project to do before winter break that involved the whole family. He was to create an artsy Family Holiday project using outlines of our family member's hands and showing each member's favorite holiday traditions. He was given the piece of paper and instructions to decorate it however he wanted. He dug into his craft supplies and wanted to use lots of glitter, jewels and some sparkly pom poms! He also chose to add the title with some leftover chipboard letter stickers from my crafting stash. He worked really hard on his project and was so proud of it!

Each of us chose 2 of our favorite family holiday traditions, added a photo to our handprints, and then described our traditions (and Dean wanted us to draw an arrow from our traditions to our handprints, so we added that too). Mommy chose the Elf on the Shelf and our new tradition of unwrapping and reading Christmas stories each night; Dean chose making cookies for Santa and decorating the tree; Joel chose Christmas lights and the Lego Advent calendars.

One cold, wet Sunday we drove upcountry to Kula Botanical Gardens to buy a fresh wreath at the Christmas Tree Farm. It was REALLY rainy (as in flooding in places) and chilly, but it felt like winter! Unfortunately, they were out of wreaths. We bought a really pretty fresh centerpiece instead and then headed in to Makawao and had a yummy lunch at Polly's Mexican Restaurant. It was actually a really fun day!

As most of the family members who are reading this already know, Dean made handmade gifts for everyone in the family this year - from hand-dyed macaroni bracelets to sparkly Christmas ornaments. He worked really hard on these and started several weeks before Christmas so he'd have plenty of time to get them all done.

We were really excited that Grandma Jo and Grandpa CR got to spend Christmas with us again this year! It was a short trip, but full of fun memories!! A few days after they arrived, we all went up to walk around the grounds of Kula Botanical Gardens (can you tell we're slightly obsessed with this place? We love it!). It was a beautiful day and we spent a couple of fun hours exploring the place.

Grandma and Grandpa were also here when we baked cookies for Santa!

Grandpa and Dean wore themselves out (although I think Dean might be fake sleeping here, it's the real deal for Grandpa! Dean just couldn't resist climbing up for a snuggle!).

And of course, the holidays aren't complete without good friends. We also enjoyed a nice visit from my friend Sarah and her adorable baby Brooklyn! Dean doesn't much like sharing the spotlight of attention with little Brooklyn, but he is entertained by her. And aren't they cute? Won't this picture be adorable to show at their wedding in the future!? ;-)

So that's it. I'll try to get to the actual Christmas photos ASAP!!

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