Friday, April 4, 2014

Christmas in February

Christmas was three months ago; however, on some levels it feels like it was just yesterday.  It must have to do with the fact my children have missed ELEVEN days of school this year due to snow days and as I type this, there is an 80% chance of a slushy mix tomorrow.  Seriously?!?!?  It is March 24th! (yes I started this post…that long ago….however, it is only April 4th and to think we had snow 11 days ago is crazy!)

One plus to the winter we have had this year is the fact that when we took the kids away to enjoy their Christmas present from us, it truly felt like Christmas.

I am sure many of you are like us and every year you look under the tree on Christmas morning and can't believe how many presents are staring at you.  You ask yourself where did these come from?!?!  Is ALL this necessary?!?!?!

Quickly the room looks like a tornado came through as wrapping paper is all over the place leaving you  with memories of love and joy from seeing the sheer happiness on your child's face.  They are playing with the toy they asked for and had to have.  They are so excited Santa listened to their wishes!  However, months later, while the memories still remain, the novelty of the "must have" toy has vanished.  You find many of the items they had to have are no longer important and just sit on the shelf or floor.

Christmas 2013 was an eye opener for me…for us.

Every year, Will and my dad get upset when they see that "under the tree" is not technically, under the tree, but rather under the tree and spreading into another room.   I quickly remind them it wasn't all us, but Santa too!  But the fact still remains…they are correct.  The kids get too much.

This past Christmas we made some changes within our family. We sat them down right after Thanksgiving when we knew they would be making their lists to let them know some of the new changes.  They would be allowed to ask Santa for three smaller presents OR two larger ones and then besides stocking stuffers, they would not be getting any presents from us (Mom & Dad) under the tree.  Instead, we were going to start a tradition of taking them away for a long weekend every year.  It would not be during the Christmas holiday per se, but sometime within two months after Christmas.  Where they would be going would be revealed to them on Christmas morning.

They didn't blink twice!  Not only did they not blink twice they had a hard time this year thinking of TWO things to ask Santa for!  Case in point….THEY.HAVE. TOO. MUCH!  And they loved the idea of going away!

Our family truly loves spending time with each other.  The memories we make spending time together are the memories we will never forget.  They will forget all about a certain toy they received and after time they will stop playing with that toy.  However, giving our children memories of a lifetime are priceless.

Whenever we plan a vacation whether a week away or a weekend we need to make sure there are activities for everyone…Anna Cate, Betsie and Eli.  We want to make sure everyone will have the same amount of fun.  On Christmas morning after all their presents were opened we gave them each an envelope.  And in the envelope was a piece to the puzzle of where we were going to be taking them.  They had to use each other's clues to figure out the destination.  And the destination was The Greenbrier.

The kids were looking it up on the internet and planning every minute of our time there….two months before we went!  To say they were excited is putting it lightly.

We had planned to take them over Presidents Weekend, as they had that Monday off from school, however with all the snow days they lost the day.  However, we decided to still take the kids away and have them miss two days of school.  At this point…after eleven, what is two more…right!?!?

The moment we arrived the kids were having a blast. They couldn't decide what they wanted to do first.  And I love a place that greets me with a glass of bubbly, so I was also happy from the moment we arrived too!

The weekend was filled with memory after memory after memory!

We swam (ok, everyone else did but me…I was "on call" in case anyone needed anything…oh and I was the photographer…lol!), we bowled, we shared a banana split, we went to the movies, we shopped and we went ice skating….ALL of us (except dad as he was then the "photographer").   I think my favorite memory was the fact all my kids tried ice skating for the first time…together!

Betsie and Eli wanted to try ice skating the moment they saw it was offered.  Seeing as neither one of them had been on the ice, we thought it would be wise if they learned properly with a private lesson.   I made the reservation before we arrived and while on the phone, I also asked if it would be possible to be able to take Anna Cate out on the ice in her "cruiser".  They checked and said "yes".  Little did I know what I thought the yes meant and what it actually turned out to be.

Betsie and Eli loved being on the ice…who knew?!?!?!  I could not believe it.  Will and I prefer warmer weather; however, we have a son who prefers the cold.  We should have known Eli was going to really like it as he is the child who always throws us for a loop with his interests…like BPS…(Bass Pro Shops for those who are like us and don't know what BPS stands for!)  No hunting or fishing genes in his blood, but this is his favorite place!

After their lesson, their instructor, Tyler, told me he would be the one to take Anna Cate out on the ice.  I was surprised as I assumed I would be lacing up ice skates and pushing her around.  Oh no…he wanted to give her the time of her life!  Tyler has a friend in a wheelchair who he has pushed around on the ice and he loves bringing that kind of joy to other people.  While we were talking and said we would be in touch the next day, the Director of Activities introduced himself, gave me his card and told me to text him with the time we would like to bring Anna Cate back and he would make sure everything is taken care of!  I was blown away at how accommodating they were….for us….for Anna Cate.  This was the perfect start to an amazing family weekend.

They are all the way in the back with the Tyler in the white shirt.

A little hesitant at first to let go…but now you would NEVER know!

Anything is worth doing for hot chocolate! 

And they did not disappoint.  It was a beautiful blue sky kind of day with just enough chill in the air to make the whole experience a gift in itself.  Watching all three of my children experience ice skating together was a memory I will never forget.  It was definitely a memory I never thought I would have.  All three of them had smiles on their face from ear to ear as they took to the ice.

Yes…I even ventured out…a little!

Went back nightly for more ice skating!

"Look mom, I'm not holding on!"

Little did we know, that this one weekend on the ice has turned into ice skating lessons and the purchase of a hockey stick and puck!  Eli hasn't come off the ice since!!!!  I love it!  I love how his interests are truly unique to him and what makes him tick…not what I or we think he should be doing.  We have gone that route and if he isn't interested…he truly isn't interested.  However, watching him you can tell he genuinely loves it!  He always has loved penguins…maybe he thinks he is one!

Ice skate lessons at Skate Nation…he has on the shark helmet!

playing "ice street hockey" on the last icing day home from school!

When it was nearing time to leave no one wanted to go.  They wanted to stay, they wanted to move in, we even heard they liked the Greenbrier more than the beach!  Wow…that is saying a lot as my kids LOVE the beach.  It was beyond a successful trip.

It was a a gift to our children.  It was a gift full of memories we will all remember forever.  It was a gift to us to remember to always appreciate each other and to stop and enjoy true quality time with one another.  It was a gift that will keep on giving as they relive the trip through their stories or from looking at pictures.

Sadly, this is the best picture of us all as I was always taking pictures of everyone and this was caught with our phone….oh well….we have the memories!

 The best present is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.

© copyright 2012-2014 – All rights reserved
Our Everyday

No comments:

Post a Comment