All the Christmas things

We are traveling for the holidays this year so we have been rushing through our traditions to squeeze them all in before Friday. A few weeks ago I was lamenting that I didn’t have any Christmas parties to go to and then all of a sudden the invitations rolled in and since last week I have been a busy girl. I just love this time of year (says everyone) and really like to celebrate.

From the top:

Last Wednesday I took the girls to the annual Foster Parents Christmas party. Alex had his last class for the semester so I flew solo through the buffet dinner line. All of the social workers and volunteers were super helpful. We found friends that went through foster classes with us. We also found Santa.


We have told Eleanor absolutely nothing about Santa Claus. He doesn’t bring gifts to our house and he doesn’t shoot down our chimney. And yet she loves the guy. I think we will approach Santa kinda like a dressed up Disney character. Just a storybook character that people like to dress up as and act out. For now that will work for us.

The Christmas party also had Magic Barry perform. Let’s just say Santa won the show. I’d prefer not to meet Magic Barry again anytime soon.


Thursday night I was invited to my friend Brittany’s White Elephant Exchange Party. I was in desperate need of a girl’s night full of wine and chocolate covered pretzels and that was exactly what I got. I picked up my good friend Katie on my way and we partied it up till nearly midnight!


And Friday night was another girl’s night party. Bekah hosted the annual Cookie Party and I brought my award winning Empire Cookies to exchange as well as another Kummerow family tradition: Russian Tea Cookies.


Both cookies turned out so well. I’m getting ready to make another batch of Russian Tea Cookies and contemplating another batch of the Empire Cookies too. Never too many cookies at Christmastime!


Saturday I woke up with a mild case of Mastitis (too much wine and not enough sleep=a weakened immune system!) I was tempted to stay in bed all day but we had a ton of plans. I cancelled about half of them but managed to rally for pie and casserole making duties and family dinner at Alex’s mom’s house.


We celebrated Christmas early since we will be heading to Chicago this week and the girls loved opening all of their presents from Vovvi and RonRon.


While the girls love all the gifts I would say the Little People Nativity set is by far the winning favorite. The girls wake up in the morning and head straight to it to play. Eleanor forgets to eat breakfast she is so busy playing with all the animals and people.  This is a great gift idea for any little and something I think they will play with for years to come. We plan to pack it away with the Christmas decorations so it is super special each year!


After dinner the girls, Alex and I piled into the car and drove to Tanglewood Park to see the lights. We knew the wait would be long but Oh.My.Goodness. We fully committed to our plan so four hours later when we finally drove into the park we let out a collective sigh and put on our best Christmas Cheer. The girls sat in my lap as we drove through the light show and to say that it was even nearly fun would be a complete lie. I can’t remember most of what we saw because I was too busy wrangling the two chickens on my lap, I was blinded with exhaustion and desperate for my bed which I didn’t lay down in until nearly 1am. Because Alex and I rarely commit to anything we were proud of ourselves for seeing our plan through but the phrase “Never Again” was uttered over and over.

Because we are completely sane people we drove to Asheville Sunday afternoon for another attempt at “good family fun.” After a leisurely breakfast at home we piled the girls in the car for the two hour trek west. We enjoyed an amazing lunch at Homegrown and then strolled downtown Asheville to kill an hour. We lucked out finding yet another friendly looking Santa with no line and nabbed a photo of the girls.


I seriously feel bad for all the great parents with great intentions who stood in hours-long lines this year to get a shot of their kiddo on Santa’s lap…most who failed miserably as their children wailed and pitched fits. Seriously, I feel bad. Without even trying we managed to get two great pictures with two smiling girls and two very friendly Santas with the girl’s in their cutest Christmas dresses! Luck. There’s no other explanation.


Back at the car the girls were not smiling anymore, and the main event hadn’t even begun. We planned the trip to Asheville so we could see the National Gingerbread House Competition exhibit at the Grove Park Inn but it didn’t open to the public until 3pm on Sunday afternoon. That means we skipped naps and had two strung out girls on our hands. We managed it all pretty well with promises of lollipops and threats of timeout but once again I can’t remember enjoying much of what we saw.


The houses were creative and beautiful and intricate and whimsical. We were glad we went but somewhere in the back of our heads Alex and I were both thinking “never again.”

After touring the gingerbread houses we made it through grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and an ice cream pit stop at French Broad Chocolate Lounge and then settled in for the long drive home.


Although we arrived home earlier than Saturday, it was still a very long and exhausting day. We jammed our weekend full of Christmas fun and somewhere in the mix of being sick, dealing with tantrums, long drives and waits, and tears (mine and the girls) we managed to make a few good memories and have a little fun. We enjoyed everything we ate this weekend, from Christmas dinner at Vovvi’s, to Homegrown, to the amazing coconut milk ice cream at the chocolate lounge. And Alex and I learned the art of patience and follow through. All skills that should come in handy as we travel to Chicago this week.


This Christmas is exciting. The girls are at super fun ages, but also really challenging ages. Eleanor loves all the Christmas celebrations and wants to be a part of everything, yet tires out easily and loses her temper. Ruthie is aware of everything around her, loves playing with her big sister and doing everything big sister does, but also gets into everything, tries to eat everything and is constantly underfoot. It makes for a crazy juxtaposition of emotions. I’m equal parts elated and frustrated. I go from laughing and playing and dancing with my beautiful girls to freaking out over the incessant questioning and whining…and the messes. Motherhood is slowly teaching me the art of patience and tolerance. My type A personality is challenged daily but I’m glad for the work God is doing in me through my children. I will be a better person for every struggle and challenge. Each day I reach closer and closer to Christ Jesus as I realize more and more how very inadequate I am for this mom job. And isn’t that what this season is really about? Recognizing our need for a savior and remembering the gift that was given to us. It is easy to be swept up in the daily tasks and routines and I try to do it all on my own. But I am unprepared and unfit for a task as large as raising children. I need the sweet love and grace from Jesus to pull through each day. Thank you Lord for the gift of life and second chances.

And now many more Christmas celebrations to come. It’s only the 16th and we have already had so much Christmas fun. (Happy Birthday Taylor by the way…my sweet, amazing nephew who turns the big 10 today!!) Prayers for safe travels this week are appreciated! Merry Christmas!

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