Christmas is my mom's favorite holiday. She always made it such a big deal around our house when we were growing up. Since being married, it never really was a huge hoorah like my mom did. It never really felt right either. I went through the motions of trying to make gifts or scrape together the extra money to buy every family member a gift. We weren't always able to do that. I remember one year my brother bought me a digital point and shoot camera and a Three Doors Down cd. Those were my absolute favorite gifts that I had gotten in a LONG time. As soon as I got married, we jumped on the bus out west to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The land of lonely roads and the Air Force. I was active duty Air Force as Security Forces. I was a cop. A gun toting, patriot, red neck in high heels. I loved my job in the armory. I loved weapons (and still do.) But Christmas was a very lonely affair. I missed my family. Extended and immediate. I wanted to go home. We have yet to have a Christmas in Michigan since being married. Its been ten years folks. The year that I was pregnant with Sparkle I was severely depressed. It was Christmas. I was pregnant and I was in Wyoming and not Michigan. I was NOT happy. I had just gotten out of the military five months before and it was my husband that made the choice to not pack everything up and head back east. I was ticked. I didn't want to be here so far away from "home." My husband told me, "Home is where I am with you." Eight years later and I am finally comfortable with this. He is absolutely right. Home is where your husband is. And home is Cheyenne, Wyoming. I don't have any blood family here. But I have a whole slew of friends that I call my family. Some are military, some are military wives, some are locals and most are not. Cheyenne is a city where hardly anyone is a local but everyone lives here. Where driving an hour and a half to the airport in Denver when there is one in Cheyenne is normal and expected. Cheyenne is an amazing place to raise a family. Cheyenne is home.
This year I have promised Sparkle that we would make it a big deal. She loves red and green. They are her favorite colors. She's asked me several times why we don't decorate. I didn't really have a good answer for her. Maybe I was resisting the fact that this was really home. This year it feels like home and that is huge. Maybe its the fact that we own our home and we don't have an open heart surgery coming up or the birth of a new baby coming up? It's just our family and Christ. So I am going to make a big stinking deal about Christmas this year. Here's the kick off with an Advent Calendar Book Countdown.
What I Did:
I bought about five new books and wrapped them all up in coordinating wrapping paper. And of course they are red and green for Sparkle. I would have used the darling black and white chevron I found... Then I took twenty one books we already had and wrapped them up too. That way there is a surprise with what book we will be unwrapping everyday and they know there might be a new one in there too. The first book is the extra special one.
I cut numbers using my Cricut starting at 25 and ending in 0. Then using glue dots, I attached them to the wrapping paper in random order. I spread the five new books through out the whole set. Each day we unwrap a new book and read together.
The first book that we opened tonight is the special one. This is the same exact book my mom used to do with my brother and I. My mom actually found it when we were in Dallas going through her storage unit in October. It's an Advent devotional book that has ornaments my mom made that match the theme of that day's devo. So each day we read the book they unwrap, the devotional and then add an ornament to the miniature Christmas tree we set up. The girls LOVED it this afternoon when we opened the first one and read it together. They really enjoyed finding the ornament that matched the symbol and then hanging it on the tree. We have another Advent calendar that I am making at the moment. It will be up later this week. Its a darling little thing too!
And apparently the wrapping paper I used came out of The Incredible Hulk's personal stash because the girls had a heck of a time trying to get it open. Lovely was sleeping during these, but I wanted to have good light. The sun was already on the other side of the house when I took these. Hence the "noise" in the photos. But I still think they turned out adorable. I mean really, who else besides a head strong three year old can sport a gymboree dress with fleece lined jeans and a Jasmine shirt?