IT'S BEEN SO LONG.
But every year my friend records her Christmas because we get "mom brain" and can't remember details. I thought it was such a good idea, I'm following suit. Because this year was my FAVORITE CHRISTMAS EVER in the history of Christmases.
what we did... where we went... what we gave... what we got... and what we don't want to forget!!
I must say that my life in general is typically a tad unorganized and mostly me scrambling last minute to get things done and eventually just crossing off the list all the things that I couldn't get to that I'll have to live without. Things like cleaning my house so that when I come back from vacation, I don't come home to a hot mess. Or leaving presents to be wrapped on Christmas Eve and resorting to a plastic bag for Zach's gifts because I'm too tired. But THIS year, I'm not sure how, but I was ON TOP OF IT.
I decided to throw Georgie a Poppy party based on the new movie Trolls, since she is so so so so freaking obsessed with her. I said I wasn't going to, but it was the first time she asked me for a party and wanted a theme so I just gave in like the big caver I am. I have to say, somehow I managed to cross off everything on my list and stick to a timeline so that all was taken care of prior to the day of the party and everything went smoothly despite the fact that I had planned a psychedelic outdoor glitter, bubbles, magical rainbow party banking on the sunny weather of Southern California and it rained for DAYS before and after!! Our yard was soaked and I had to move everything inside and cross off glitter and bubbles :( but thanks to Zach, he was a trooper and helped me arrange the house so that there was plenty of room for a little indoor dance party to none other than the Trolls Soundtrack! It really was an enjoyable day and made me so happy to see her dreams coming true as she opened gift after gift of Troll swag. Lucky girl! She made it known that all she wanted was Trolls, and boy did friends and family deliver. Tips I remembered from the last party: make the cake the day before & don't leave set-up to the day of. One tip I have to remember for future parties: get extra food, drinks, and dessert!!!! I did run out of all those things this time.... better to have extras than not enough!
Since Georgia's birthday is on the 23rd, I made sure to prep christmas and wrap all the presents several days before. Literally a MIRACLE. I'm still not sure how I managed to do that since I have never done it in the past. I even managed to participate in normal holiday activities, like taking the kids to see Christmas lights at the park, busting out our Elf on Shelf for the first time this year (a HUGE hit, I'm not sure why I put that off so long...) and making my Mom's HOMEMADE EGGNOG FOR MY HUSBAND?!? Literally have never ever ever ever considered that in years past!! I'm usually too busy/exhausted to enjoy this kind of Christmas Spirit... but this year was straight up magical. Dash (our elf) was both thrilling and terrifying to Georgia. Every morning she woke up and couldn't wait to see where he had moved to in the night, but she also was terrified during the time it took to find him. I blame this in part on Zach who liked to take her slowly around the dark house whispering "where is he? where is he?!" and freaking her out on purpose. But every time they found him, they laughed and shrieked and thought it was hilarious. Also, Georgia, who is TERRIBLE with names, asked me 27 times the first day (and many days after that) what his name was, often 2 or three times in a row "Mommy my elf!! *whispering - what's his name??" "Dash." "Dash! Dash is so silly and I have to find - *whispers again - what his name Mommy??" "Dashhhh." "Dash!! So silly..." Eventually I could hear her repeating whenever Boston was throwing a tantrum "Dash is WATCHEEN. Bossie not being a good boy..." One night as we explained again that Dash only moves at night after Georgia goes night night because he's magic, Zach said "Maybe he'll hide in Georgia's room?!" Her eyes got big and she shook her head "No, I scared!" haha silly girl. Boston surprised me by loving Dash SO much. Multiple times a day he would ask if he could go see Dash and then every time would say "Daaaaash! Silly Dash!!" in the cutest voice ever. Dash, the cute/scary elf, will officially be appearing every year going forward, yay for traditions since we haven't established very many yet!
I knew that we were going to spend Christmas in Camarillo this year with my family and I wanted to make sure that we weren't destroyed after Georgia's party so that we could just pack up and start celebrating. No rushing, scrambling, or giving up. We did just that!! We even got to spend time with Jordan and Sarah visiting from Utah and Frank and Cathy on Christmas Eve. We went to Fashion Island to see the biggest Christmas tree ever, looks as if it's reaching the sky (I love seeing this every year, its so cool, although I bet the Disneyland tree is bigger...) and eat a super yummy lunch at Yard House. And we absolutely froze our butts off. It has been SO SO cold in California this winter... windy, rainy, and overcast. I know it's good for our state but it just makes me sad!! I've forgotten what the beach looks like! I miss the sun.
That night we made it to Camarillo in good time, no traffic, and even managed to get Georgia some prescription meds before leaving town (my sickie babe came down with croup of course) so that she could enjoy this Christmas in FULL (last year was so miserable when everyone got the flu for weeks in Utah). It felt so good to leave my house clean and organized and know that it was waiting for us when all the festivities were done. And that our fish would be waiting for us too!! Yes we have a fish tank now... an early Christmas gift to the kids. We killed 3 of the 4 in the first 3 weeks but we had some friends feed our one lonely fish while we were gone.
One thing that I want to remember about this Christmas was the love and peace I felt this year. Zach and I already got our christmas presents for each other on Thanksgiving Day - apple watches from Target with their Black Friday deal and not only do I LOVE the watch, but I LOVED not doing extra gifts for each other this year. Zach is usually stressed about getting me a gift I probably won't even appreciate (sorry babe) and I'm usually also shopping for myself (sorry again babe) and stressing about finding him some mediocre gifts that won't ever amount to how much I love him anyway. So much of the Christmas Spirit is taken away in worrying too much about worldly gifts and part of me wondered on Black Friday if I might be sad on Christmas to not get anything, but it actually was the best feeling ever. I had no expectations, wanted for nothing, and therefore focused all my attention on my children and extended family. It was more than ever before about giving and not receiving and my heart was seriously happy! Never have I ever been so at peace during Christmas. I have spent past years being selfishly disappointed or over indulged, rude, and spoiled and I remember wondering if I'll ever be able to not spend my "Christmas money" before actual Christmas. Well, I DID IT!! What's up 2017, Kaari is KILLIN IT ;)
Even more special and fitting this year, Christmas was on Sunday!! I've never been happier to go to church on Christmas Day!
Woke up and let the kids open their presents from Santa! Georgia and Boston got the Trolls edition of the game Operation :) here's to our first family game together...
Boston got a modern light bright (pretty cool, I saw him playing with one at a friends house) and a Magic Tracks glow in the dark race car set which has yet to come :( back-ordered.
Georgia got a Minnie Mouse lego set and cutest Minnie Mouse blanket, white black, and gold.
We ate a big DELICIOUS breakfast made by my wonderful mom - famous cinnamon rolls and breakfast casserole. We were stuffed! Then time to get ready for a special 1 hour church service at 11:00am. After church, all the siblings and cousins came together at the Blick home to exchange the rest of the gifts.
What we gave:
- Shopkins to Finnie
- Classic Alligator teeth game for Madden
- Minnie Bop-It for Cutter (he brought it to San Diego with him, so I think he liked it :)
- Two Scoops of Candy Crush nitrogen ice cream frozen the night before and brought all the way from Orange County in my cooler for Kelly (my favorite ice cream ever, it has this caramel/toffee-ish chocolate candy that the owner gets from the south and crushes it in and it is crunchy and chewy and AMAZING)
- Be Still My Soul print and Unstoppable laundry beads for Kris
- Sweater for Booch
- LulaRoe lace vest for Mom Winger
- Christopher Columbus history book for Dad Winger
- Bop It and church toys for Cam & Chandice's family
- Our testimonies recorded for our posterity for Mom & Dad Blick (specially requested by them)
Gifts we received:
- Elsa blanket and church dress from NaNa & Grampus for Georgia
- Dinosaurs for Boston from NaNa & Grampus
- Monster Trucks and Mickey Mouse sweatshirts from Nana & Papa
- Minnie Mouse skating doll and sweatshirt from Nana & Papa
- Christmas socks & candy from Auntie Kris
- Cutest pajamas for Georgia & Boston from Auntie Kell - they never have enough jammies!!
- Crate & Barrel salsa and chips serving bowls from Kris
- Gold tassle keychain from Kell
- Body back trigger point self massager from Booch (best present yet)
- Trip to San Diego, Sea World, and two night stay in the Embassy Suites from Mom & Dad Blick
- Phone soap and memory book of our Caribbean Cruise Winger family vacation from Mom & Dad Winger
- Martinelli's & New years party bag and Hot Chocolate set from Cam & Channie's family
Such a good Christmas!!!! My kids loved ALL their gifts, they were so happy. That night we had another delicious meal - my dad made his famous Tri Tip that is to die for - happy for me since I don't love the traditional turkey. And their was garlic bread, salad, artichoke dip, bacon creamed corn, oven baked smashed potatoes, and much more.
That night we went to Kelly's and watched The Martian - I good movie!!
The next day we had yet ANOTHER Christmas dinner with Aunts, uncles and cousins and great grandma. It was DELICIOUS but we are getting fat. That night, Booch, Kade, Mom, Zach and I, stayed up WAY too late playing Word Up on the app Psych! and laughing our heads off. We love spending time with those newlyweds :)
Somehow we packed up all our toys and belongings and were among the first out the door to begin our trip to San Diego!! Still killin it ;)
The hotel was awesome and after getting settled in, we walked across the street to Cheesecake Factory and had a delicious dinner all together - even Jake & Jacky were able to come!!
We spent next day at Sea World seeing the various shows, animals, and discovering the amazing ride of MANTA - a hidden gem that far exceeds any ride at Disneyland!! Blasphemy, I know. But it was so unexpected, fast, smooth, and stomach flipping, I absolutely loved it. The food there is actually good - we got half of a roasted chicken and waffle fries and loved it. I'm really glad that Zach and I took the kids there a couple of months ago and enjoyed less crowds, warmer weather and were able to go with the flow when there for Christmas. The only downside was that it was stinking cold and Boston got whatever Georgia had and both were sad and sick at the very end of the night. Luckily we were able relax that night and enjoy our last night together in suites. The next morning we walked across the street to the bay and visited the Unconditional Surrender (famous kissing statue) in what turned out to be some pretty warm sunshine, then said goodbye to all our family and headed back to Orange County. What a Christmas to remember. I'm so so grateful for all our family (Winger and Blicks), our bonds, our love, our time spent together, and our wonderful parents who have set the ultimate examples. They brings us so much joy!!
I highly doubt next year can top this year!!