This year, like every year, we went to Florida for Christmas. This vacation was a first though. This was our very first family vacation with just the 4 of us....ever. We have never gone on vacation without other family members. Husband and I were worried that we would all be at each other's throats and would be miserable. This vacation was a test for us. A test to see if we could do this on our own. It turned out to be one of the best vacations ever. Of course we had our moments, but, overall, it was great! We went to the beach every day and swam all but one day. People asked why we didn't go to Disney or Legoland or someplace like that. Well, it's because our family is content without that. We are happier to sit in the sun at the pool or on the beach. We like to be where there's no crowds and no hassles. It was just what our little family needed to regroup.
I believe in handmade gifts. I believe in store bought ones as well, but I believe that is something special that comes with a gift being made that is unique and thoughtful. Every year, I try to make new gifts for friends, family and teachers. Actually, I try to have the kids make them. This year, we did several new things. I tried several new recipes for cookies out with a friend. The nut free snowball cookies were my favorite. Since my friend's son has a nut allergy, these were awesome. I also made them a second time on my own and I used almond extract since we have no allergies here. They were so good! I will be making these year round! Husband and I also tried out a recipe, or I should say a combination of two recipes, for empanadas. We used to buy them, but haven't been able to find them in the store for about a year now so we decided to take a shot. Definitely worth making on a regular basis! We used the filling from this recipe and the "dough" from this recipe (mostly because I couldn't find empanada wrappers at the grocery store and I didn't want to make the dough from scratch, but I have a recipe for that I'll be trying in the new year). I would have liked to have tried out more new recipes, but this month was so short and hectic that there was just no room in the schedule for it.
Crafts at the holiday season are a must though, so we made sure we made time. First, my kids decided they wanted to make cards for people in the hospital at this time of year. I think was brought on by our neighbor being in the hospital over Thanksgiving. It had a big impact on my kids. Beside doing that, the kids also made snowflakes out of coffee filters to donate to the local Alzheimer's care facility. They made cards to go along with the snowflakes as well. And, since I'm Room Mom, I have to include the cute ornament sun catcher we made as craft at the class party.
Teacher gifts this year were tough since Monster has 3 teachers. I didn't want to leave anyone out, but, at the same time, we can't afford to get them all gift certificates. So, I had ordered lavender soap from Country Chick Soaps and then Sunshine and I made Lavender Sugar Scrub to go with it. We did this for all the female teachers. For the male teacher, office staff, ballet instructor and karate instructor, Monster and I made S'more mix. This mix was so good that we also made some for home!
For the grandmas and aunt, we made salt dough candle holders. These actually turned out really well. The recipe that I had didn't work out. It made the salt dough way too crumbly, so I just had to play with it until it was the correct consistency. We also made thumbprint heart ornaments for our babysitter. These did not turn out anything like they were supposed to, but I think they still came out pretty cute. What I didn't anticipate was how hard the kids had to push to actually get their thumb prints to take in the dough. By pushing so hard, it left indentations. The indentations then distorted the shape. It was a lot of trial and error.
All in all, our handmade gifts turned out pretty well. While visiting a restaurant on vacation, we found out our uncle really likes sugar scrub, so we're going to whip up a batch of that for him before the next time we see him. January is going to be the month for new recipes, hopefully. I'm hoping to have more time on my hands, but life always seems to come at me faster than anticipated!
I say this every single year. I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. This year, it's more hate than love. I'm not sure what caused the change in Sunshine so much from last year, but this year, it had become all about the stuff for her. We were once again in Florida this year, but this time we flew, so we couldn't do gifts. We sent Santa our letters asking him to please leave presents at our house. The kids were both good with that. In fact, Sunshine was nervous Santa might surprise us with stuff and then we couldn't get it home. We let her know that Santa understands we were flying and it would be tricky to get the gifts home. Then, the closer and closer we actually got to Christmas, the less and less Sunshine actually understood that Santa was not coming to Florida. Before going to bed, she fully expected to wake up to a room full of gifts from Santa. We once again explained that Santa would be going to Ohio and not stopping here. She insisted that she understood that. Yet, when she woke up on Christmas morning, and there were only 2 gifts from Mommy and Daddy, she was heartbroken. She didn't get anything she wanted and was truly disappointed. She believed she should have gotten every single thing on her list. It took her a good portion of the day, but she got over her disappointment and had fun the rest of Christmas.
Fast forward two days to us getting home. When we got home, Santa had indeed stopped here. First two gifts Sunshine opened, she was thrilled with. I mean, face light up, her world was complete, kind of thrilled. Then, she opened her third gift. It had been something she wanted, had to have, when she saw it in the store. When she opened it though, she looked at it, said, "Oh" and just tossed it aside, completely uninterested. Went through a few more gifts and she got a Fur Real cat from her grandma. Her response, "I wanted the big one, but oh, well". After all gifts were opened, I asked if she got everything she wanted (which she did...she got every last thing on her list) and she said, "I didn't get the cat I wanted from Santa" Wow. How did that happen? How did she go from last year not caring about if she got anything to this year?
On the flip side, we have Monster, who was so thankful and truly grateful for each thing he got. He had all of five things on his Christmas list and his response when I asked him if he got everything he wanted? "I got everything I wanted and so much more!"
I just don't understand where the true meaning of Christmas was lost for Sunshine. Was it the build up? The anticipation? Was it everyone and their mother saying, "Are you excited for Santa to come?" Was it the fact that she is now exposed to more people who get everything they want and she feels left out?
A day later, all is well and she has "forgotten" (believe me, she will bring up the cat again) that she didn't get exactly what she wanted. A day later and she is all about making cards, pictures, and crafts for others. A day later and she wants to make baked goods for others, but only if they are baked goods she's not interested in eating. She won't make things she likes because she doesn't want others to get anything she would like for herself. So I have a year. One year to instill the true meaning of Christmas. One year to get her to understand that we should do good for others because it's right and it makes us happy to see others happy. One year try to knock the crazy materialism that has somehow taken over her. We start by baking chocolate bread for the neighbors. She can't resist anything chocolate. I don't always believe in baby steps. I believe in immersion. But, if that backfires, I'll try the baby steps. One year. We shall see.
These past two months have a been a struggle. I am barely hanging on. I'd love to blame it solely on the holidays, but, unfortunately, I can't. We had our first two Christmases this weekend. I have two kids who aren't feeling well in a school that is overrun with the flu. The days that I had to prepare for our upcoming trip were taking over with going to the doctor and caring for sick kids. I had a classroom party to plan. That was all just in the past 5 days. This season seemed to fly by. There was so much I wanted to do. I wanted to get the kids to downtown Cleveland to see the lights this year. Heck, I wanted to just drive around town to see lights, but that didn't even happen. You may be thinking that I still have enough time, but I don't. With everything coming up, I don't even have a moment to catch my breath. I have list on top of list of things that need done.
This morning, as I was adding to my long lists, I looked up. Instead of seeing the messy table and dishes made late last night, I saw my counter top. So? So, I saw my counter top. I haven't seen my counter top in a week. That moment I realized something...it will all get done. It may not be perfect or how I envisioned it, but it will be OK. Sure, maybe I'm scrambling to get the ornaments made for the grandparents that I forgot to make last month. Maybe I'm trying to get everything together for this holiday party, which I'm sure I forgot something. Maybe I still have gifts to wrap. But it will get done (OK, maybe not whatever it is I'm forgetting for the holiday party, but everything else on my long, long lists). Teacher gifts are made and ready to go to school today. All Christmas gifts are bought. Spelling words for test today are memorized. Little one slept in. Big one is feeling better. What more can I really ask for? Well, maybe for them to stop coughing, but that will come.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!
I've said it before, I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to actually get around to writing about our Christmases. Yes, plural. We had many this year, but I'm really only writing about two of them.
We are once again in sunny Florida for Christmas, but this year is a bit different. This year, the kids asked Santa to deliver the gifts to our house. He surprised them by making a stop here as well as our house with their stockings. Amazingly, the kids actually picked Christmas morning to sleep in a bit. By sleep in, I mean 7:40, but I'll take it. When they came out, there were a few presents from Mommy and Daddy and Grandpa and their stockings. Know what? They didn't even care. They came out and completely ignored the sad, little pile of gifts of on the table as well as not even noticing their stockings magically made it to Florida from where they hung when they walked out the door in Ohio. That moment made me proud and frustrated on so many levels. It frustrated me because of me, not them.
I honestly can't count the number of times I have said, "My kids don't need or want anything. They would rather have time." Christmas morning proved that. They wanted to sit around with Grandpa and watch A Christmas Story. Presents were secondary. Did they like the gifts? Of course, but they would have honestly been just as happy without them.
I was so frustrated with myself on Christmas because, even though I had already known we couldn't get the kids a lot of gifts; even though I knew they didn't want a lot of gifts, I still felt bad that Christmas morning they each only had three gifts to open. And, two of the three gifts were books. My kids couldn't have been more thrilled with what they received. They couldn't have had a better Christmas spending time with Grandpa and swimming and going to the beach. Yet, as I trolled Facebook, my guilt for not being able to get them "stuff" took over. I turned off the laptop and ignored Facebook for the remainder of Christmas so that I could remember it's not about stuff. I watched my extremely happy children and remembered it was about love and family.
When we got home, the guilt hit once more. Santa had come to our house, just like his note said. Though under the tree was not piled high with gifts, my kids were once again so excited and happy. They each got exactly what they wanted, no more, no less. Sunshine got a "big girl" scooter like her brother's, but pink, of course. She got Ana and Elsa dolls and the puppy purse she asked for. Monster got the last two books in the Lightening Thief series and two spy kits that he had seen months before and really liked. He was pretty excited Santa knew those were the ones he wanted (his list consisted of books, spy kit, "whatever else you would like to bring me"). Then Mommy and Daddy surprised them each with Nerf guns. The guns are whole different post though....
If you are counting, that bring the grand total of gifts for each child up to 8. Half of Monster's gifts were literally books. One of each of the gifts they received were actually games to share and play together. Realizing this had my guilt creeping in again. There was this feeling that they were being let down. Then, I looked at my kids. I mean really looked at them. Know what? They were happy. I was the only one feeling bad. They were so please with what they got. They didn't need, or want, more.
Each time I felt bad for not being able to give my kids "things", they made me remember that's not what it's about. I'm not just talking about Christmas. I am so, so grateful that I have such wonderful, happy children. They allow me to see pure joy in everyday life. They help me to remember that it's not the "stuff" they are going to remember. They are going to remember the fun and time spent together. They may not remember they got Pass the Pigs for Christmas in 2013, but they will remember all the fun times they had (and continue to have) playing it. They may not even remember opening gifts on Christmas day, but they will remember watching A Christmas Story as a family. They will remember all the fun we have together, because Husband and I try our hardest to give them what they truly want, not just at Christmas. We try to always give them our time. They know that they forever have our love.
This was the year of a lot of handmade Christmas gifts. I would have posted earlier, but we just had one of our Christmases this past weekend so I didn't want to spoil the surprise.
I really like themed gifts. I try to stick to a theme when I can. "Handmade" was the theme of Sunshine's teacher's gifts. I shared the ornaments that Sunshine made a while back. To go with the ornaments, Sunshine also made Candy Cane Sugar Scrub and Buttermilk Banana Berry Bread. We didn't get fancy like they did in the sugar scrub recipe with colors and I also used olive oil instead of almond oil because one of Sunshine's teachers has a nut allergy. Even with the changes, the scrub turned out nice and Sunshine got to make it all by herself. I didn't want to go the traditional cookie route for a baked good. I stumbled across the bread recipe on Pinterest and decided we should try it. I'm so glad we did. It was fun to make and it tasted awesome! Only thing I changed up on the recipe was I added raspberries as well as blueberries. With the gifts made, I just needed a cute way to package them. I didn't want to go the traditional gift bag route if I didn't have to. Sunshine and I found these cute little boxes at Hobby Lobby that worked perfectly!
For some reason, this season I was all about being crafty. I had found an idea on Pinterest about a year ago that I had really liked and I finally decided to do it. The kids made this for my parents.
Also off of Pinterest, I got the idea for these pictures of the grandkids. **faces are blacked out to keep my nieces identities private**
There are some handmade birthday gifts coming up, but those pictures will have to wait as none of the birthdays have passed yet.
For Christmas this year, we drove to Florida. Florida is nothing new for us for the holidays, but the driving part is. Let me say, I'm pretty damned proud. Out of about 38 hours total drive time, my kids played on electronic devices for about 3 hours, total....and that was because Husband and I needed a break from their playing and talking! Not one movie was watched in the van. Plus, the only games they had were educational ones for their Leapsters. Anyway....off of that proud note and on to another. Sunshine only had trouble sleeping on the way down in the hotel and the first night we at the house, the rest of the time, she slept like a champ! The girl doesn't sleep, which is why we are so very proud of her on this trip. Other than those two big things, there were so many other wonderful parts of this trip! We swam everyday. We went to the beach every day. We had true quality time together and with Grandpa. The trip was awesome! Husband put together a slide show of highlights. Hope everyone had as merry of a Christmas as we did!
***As a side note, Weebly has been down on my computer for some reason and Husband just got it back up and working by rerouting it through a different server, so that's why this took so long to get up.
What is it about Christmas time that everything has to have glitter? My house looks like a fairy threw up. There is every color glitter imaginable scattered everywhere. The funny thing about that is the only two colors that this most recent project entailed were blue and red. Yet, I'm finding silver, gold, white, and every shade in the rainbow. I think during the holidays, it just magically falls off the kids as they walk.
Our most recent project with glitter was supposed to be a nice, clean, easy project. That's why I decided on it instead of something more creative. Simple, simple, simple is what I wanted. Last year, for Christmas treats for the kids classes, they made each child a foam bookmark with those little foam stickers. Super cute. Super easy. No mess. No fuss. Perfect. This year, I wanted to go that same route, but you just can't do the same thing two years in a row, especially when you have kids from last years classes in class again. So, this year, the kids and I compromised on foam ornaments. There were kits with 24 in each. Perfect. I only needed 2 then, which saved me money for not having to buy smaller packs that weren't kits. Totally should have spent more money. Though the ornaments were fun for the kids to do, the first day we worked on them, they quickly lost their appeal. First, they only give you the EXACT number of foam stickers needed. Now this wouldn't be such a big issue if these pieces weren't so tiny. Even Husband and I had trouble getting these little pieces off. When you can't get the sticker off, the foam then rolls up on itself and forget about trying to get it unstuck because it's not going to happen.
Then there was the glitter. Dear Lord, the glitter. The scarf stickers were glitter stickers. Glitter stickers that dropped glitter like you've never seen. I'm not kidding when I say it was everywhere. It was all over the kids. All over the dog. All over the table, chairs, and floor. I was in my eyes and up my nose. That was pleasant....or not. To make it just a little more difficult, this project took 3 days. Yes, three. Day 1, the kids worked on them for an hour and a half and they each only got 12 partially done. That night, I worked on them for an hour and half after the kids went to bed. I did all the itty bitty pieces for Sunshine. I put the strings to hang them on all 48 (and of course the thread to hang them is glittery, too). I wrote on the backs of all of Sunshine's. So, after Day 1, we are totally invested in this project and there's no going back. To make it just a little more fun and exciting, this project also took up our whole dining room table, which is our only table. Kids thought it was fun that they had to eat their meals at the counter, but the mess just stressed me out.
Day 2 of this project, Sunshine managed to get the remainder of hers done because, well, I had done over half of them for her. She just had to put the bigger stickers on to finish up. Even with the bigger stickers, she somehow managed to get them all folded onto themselves. This means some reindeer don't have red noses or dark brown hooves. It is what it is though when you only get the exact number of stickers. I'd love to say in the product's defense it was geared toward older kids with better fine motor control, but no, it's for ages 4 and up.
Day 2, Monster only got 3 completed and the remainder of them started. That's after an hour of work on these. Top it off, we are now on the second day of no table usage. Finally, Day 3, after another hour of work, these damned ornaments are done! Well, mostly. Monster is going to write on the backs of them, but at least I was able to get the stuff off my table!
There should be no pre-made craft project for kids ages 4 and up that is this difficult. If you add it up, I spent 5 hours of my life dealing with crappy craft foam stickers. I'm positive I could have found a better way to spend 5 hours. And yes, it was my time, too, since I needed to be right there to help. I managed to multi task when I could, but I couldn't go any further than the kitchen since I kept getting called back to unpeel a sticker. The good news is that I learned my lesson. The bad news is that I'm sure I'm going to be finding glitter until next year.
I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I love Christmas music and the lights and decorations, but the stress is something I can do without. For me, holiday madness starts before Thanksgiving. This used to be because we'd go to Florida every year for Christmas. I'd have to be done shopping by the first week in December in order to get everything shipped. Last year was our first Christmas at home since Monster was a baby so we didn't need to ship anything. This year we have no shipping rush either. Yet, I still feel the need to have everything done by now. It's Dec4 and I feel like I'm way behind. Maybe it's because Thanksgiving was so late in the month this year. Maybe it's the fact that I haven't have a free moment since August. Either way, the craziness is upon me.
Like I said though, it's a love/hate relationship. I love Thanksgiving. It's actually my "slow down" time. We head to my sister-in-law's house each year. It's wonderfully relaxing. It's Monster's favorite holiday b/c we get to go to their house and see the cousins. When we get home, Oee, our elf, is normally waiting. This year was no exception.
The day after Thanksgiving is when the madness really starts. No, I don't participate in Black Friday shopping. I'm mostly done with my shopping by Black Friday, so there is no point. The day after Thanksgiving is tree trimming/ house decorating day. It's actually a tradition that I love, yet it brings out all my stress. I have so many decorations and no room for them. Each year, it gets me down just a little that I can't put everything up and I need to pick my favorites. This year is the first year that the kids really got into trimming the tree. They put on almost all the ornaments except the highly breakable ones. Last year, they each put on about 3 before they got bored. It's a festive and merry time, until about one in the afternoon. That's when everyone starts getting angry with each other. This is usually going on day 2 of being inside all day. This is when little bodies start to get restless and touch every ornament on the tree. This is when whining starts about siblings being mean. This is when I start making that mental list of everything left to do, so I snap at everyone when they interrupt. This is when Husband has the strong need to clean the whole house, including the basement so we can put the Christmas boxes downstairs instead of back up in the attic. So, we all struggle through the next few hours, cleaning, making lists, and whining.
By Saturday, things normally calm down and we are all merry and bright again. This Saturday was a bit different only because I had to take Puppy to the vet and found out he needs surgery, which he had yesterday. Other than that slight change, the rest of the weekend is filled with craftiness and fun.
Gifts for others are wrapped and under the tree. Half of the teacher gifts are made and ready to go (one actually gets delivered today and one was given yesterday). Only our kids gifts remain to be wrapped.
But again, Christmas is a love/hate relationship. As I finish up shopping and wrapping, I start to feel down. Isn't this time about giving and family and love? Why has it become about how many gifts are under the tree? I look at the tree and wish that there could be more gifts under it. But why? Why should I feel badly about not having a ton of stuff? My kids aren't ones for stuff anyway. Well, OK, Sunshine likes stuff, but she's also happy without it. Monster, he's never been one for stuff. Give him your time and he's the happiest kid in the world. Yet, there's that feeling I get, like my kids will be disappointed in not getting a bunch of stuff. Commercialism and greed have become too much a part of this holiday. Take a look at Black Friday. People are literally dying and going to jail over trying to get things. They are just things. Things aren't worth your life. I hope my kids see that.
With all that we've shoved into the past 5 days, I've had to write this in installments. I started Sunday night. I've been editing since then. Funny thing is, a blog that I follow pretty much beat me to what I was trying to say. "He who hesitates is lost," right? It's OK since she has a better way of putting how I feel than I do. You can read the post here, but I'm going to sum up a few things that I think are most important about this season.
The stuff goes away. Relationships do not. I see this as this as the number one thing to remember about this season. I know that Jesus should be, but since I'm lacking the complete faith my kids have, I'm putting more on this season being about doing unto others. Each person you encounter in life comes into your life for a reason. Be that to challenge you or help you. It's important to remember that YOU are in someone's life for a reason as well. Try to be the help, not the challenge, to each person you meet. Now, this is my "religious view", or as I say my philosophy on life, for the entire year. During the holidays though, it's even more important to remember this. People are more stressed out and worried so it's even more important to show kindness to others, especially those who are grouchy to you. A "relationship" doesn't need to mean something long lasting, necessarily, but a touching of a life in a positive way.
To go along with this is something that Husband and I have been trying to tell our families for the past 7 years. Our kids don't care about the stuff. They want time. If you want to give them a physical gift, fine, get a book or a crayons and paper and sit and DO something. Draw, read, talk. Sunshine wants nothing more than for people to just listen to her talk or sing or watch her dance. Monster wants someone to sit and read with him or listen while he explains a drawing he has made. Yes, it truly is that simple. One day, it may not be. My kids will eventually turn into teenagers and it may be all about what they get, especially if they see time spent with them isn't valued above the things they get.
Always say "thank you" to those working at the stores. And look them in the eye. And smile. This goes along with the first point. Make a positive difference in someone's life. The people who are working during the holiday season have a very difficult job. They have pressure put on them from their employers to be speedy. They have pressure put on them from their customers for all sorts of reasons. It is not their fault that the toy you are buying isn't ringing up the sale price or that the store was out of stock of the tights in the size you needed. They are swamped and doing their best to just get through the day, like all of us.
A handwritten note is always worth the effort. I have always believed this. This is why I have always handwritten thank you notes and started my children writing thank you notes from the moment they could hold a crayon. And it's not just thank you notes. It's anything. I write Monster a note in his lunch every day. Before he started first grade, I would write him notes on the fridge each day. This is a good reminder to me to start doing it with Sunshine again. We also have an "I love you because..." board that we write on. My kids write me and Husband notes every day. Sometimes, that drawn picture or a simple note saying "I love you" written in big block letters by the hand a 4 year old means so much more than when it's said.
The number of presents received does not matter. This is more for parents than kids. Again, young kids don't care. It's the parents that are conditioning their kids to expect a lot of gifts. This is something I repeat to myself every year when I start to feel disappointed about not getting a bunch of stuff. The number of presents received does not matter. It's how you feel inside and the joy that you bring to others that makes the difference. It feels good to do good.
Give to others first. And giving back isn't just a December thing - make it a year long thing. I love that she put this on her list. It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine. It frustrates me to no end when people act like they are such saints for giving to the giving tree at church during Christmas yet they do nothing for others the rest of the year. We make it a point at our house to help others throughout the year, in whatever way we can. There are times that Monster really wants to donate something to those less fortunate and we just can afford to do it, and we talk about it. We do what we can, when we can. And it circles back to giving of ourselves. We discuss that we can help others by our actions as well as donations of money or items. Sometimes, a smile is the best thing you can give someone. Monster truly understood this at church several weeks ago. He came to service with me instead of heading to Sunday school. During the greeting, he firmly shook hands and smiled at those around us. The looks on people's faces showed it all. There was no one who was grumpy or looked unhappy, but after shaking hands with Monster, their smiles were brighter. He touched lives and he saw that. He didn't just shake hands and smile because that's what you do at the greeting. He put his whole heart into it and by doing that, gave part of himself to others. When we talked about this after service, he told me that it made him feel good to make others happy.
Even if life isn't perfect there still can be beautiful and joyful moments. Life is never "perfect". It's unrealistic to think that it could be. Perfect is perception though. I've come to learn that "perfect" comes with the acceptance of flaws. Something I always tell my kids is that they are perfect for me. I remind them that we all have flaws, but it's OK. I also remind them that perfect is different for everyone. What is perfect for us may not be perfect for someone else, and it's alright. We can still have a perfectly flawed life that is different than someone else's perfectly flawed life. It's about accepting what we have and being our best selves. It's about always trying our hardest and putting ourselves out there. There are many, many times that I get down about my life not being "perfect", but then, I look around and realize my life may not be text book perfect, but it's my perfect.
Finally, after 5 days of trying to finish this, I'll summarize. The Christmas season is a love/hate relationship for me. Why? Because unrealistic pictures are painted of what this season should be. Commercialism is constantly trying to suck the joy out of this time of year. I won't let it though. I know that this next month there will be guilt of what my kids can't have, but there will be more happy moments and memories that will out shadow "stuff". I have been blessed with a perfectly flawed life and will fight to celebrate it each day, not just this month. I'll also be super crafty and do fun projects with the kids because that's just who I am.
Once again this year, when we got home from Thanksgiving dinner, Oee, our elf, was waiting for us. We didn't get pictures of him every day, but we got a lot. Here are some of Oee's adventures...
Since this was our first year here for Christmas, Oee brought the kids magical jammies to help them sleep on Christmas Eve. Of course, I forgot to take pictures, but here is the note Oee left with the jammies.
The kids can't wait to have Oee back. Finding him every day added a little cheer to their mornings.