Christmas Tour - Part IV

Remember the day when you were little, and you stopped believing in Santa? Wasn't it such a sad day? I found out just days before my seventh birthday. A couple weeks ago I wrote about an old Christmas Memory. Well, after seeing Santa with my own eyes, I had to go share the great news with all the kids in my kindergarten class. Just when I thought they would start "ooing" and "ahhing" over my amazing story, instead they laughed - they couldn't believe I still believed in Santa. I ran home from school that day, tears streaming down my face. I remember sitting on my dad's lap that evening and telling him what happened. I said, "Dad, is it true that there really isn't a Santa Claus?" He brought out the pictures he had taken that Christmas of his friend Dave Thompson dressed up like Santa to surprise me. My brother had been in on it the whole time, too. I was crushed. Because I didn't really have a deep understanding for the true meaning of Christmas at that time - or for many years after that - the "magic" of Christmas really didn't seem the same anymore...

...that is until we had Noah. I get to live in the magic and wonder of Santa Claus all over again now that we have kids! It is a huge perk of being a parent! :) Yes, there are dirty diapers. Yes, there are long days. But, you get to BELIEVE all over again - maybe not in just a specific person, but in the acts of loving one another, giving gifts to those you love, helping those who need it, and thinking of others more than yourself. That is who Santa Claus really is, right?

So when our Christmas Eve celebration with Ryan's family ended, we stopped by to see our friends, the Larsen's. Ryan has known Paul and Marie Larsen since junior high when he and their son Jason became best friends. Jason recently got married to an awesome girl named Kim, and they had a son named Chase. Then, they moved away to North Carolina, and we miss them immensely! Anyway, they were in town for the holidays, so we stopped over for a bit to have a visit with them before heading home. Chase is getting so big, and we had a great time visiting with our friends.

Once we finally got home, it was time for some real fun! Ryan's parents had surprised us with a snowblower, and Ryan took the box and made Noah a house out of it. He has honestly played in that box a ton! Would you believe that Noah, Kya, and I all fit inside the house with the door closed? If only I had a picture to prove it.

Next, it was time to pick out some cookies for Santa.

Noah picked out a nice sugar cookie for Santa, but then he ate it.

Then we poured Santa a nice cold glass of milk.

Noah was so sleepy, despite eating half of the sugar cookie, that when we put him to bed, he fell asleep in no time. It was time for Santa's elves to get to work! Noah's little kitchen and all the fun Melissa and Doug food was ready to go!

The Christmas tree lights were shining brightly, and the stockings were ready to go. All that was left to do was to go to sleep and dream of what was to come the next morning.

Noah slept until about 8:00 a.m., and I felt the excitement of Christmas morning. Ryan, Noah, and Kya waited at the top of the stairs so that I could capture everything.

Once Noah spotted his new kitchen, he began playing...

...and playing...

...and playing. Seriously. he did not stop playing with his kitchen the entire day except to eat or sleep. Santa did really well!!!

I made breakfast that morning: Crescent French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, and Bacon.

Noah even got to dip his French toast in syrup for the first time. He loved it!

After breakfast Noah went back to playing with his kitchen again. We tried to show him other unopened gifts, but each time the tantrum got a little worse. I think he was so overstimulated by all his new toys! We decided to put him down for a morning nap, and once again, he fell asleep immmediately. Ryan and I opened out gifts. We decided to put a limit of $100 on our gifts this year. I bent the rules a little, getting him $100 worth of gifts from me and then another $20 worth of gifts from Noah. I got him a Chord Finder, a new pair of Sketchers, and a Resident Evil Wii game. Noah "picked out" a new t-shirt and a new book called Save Me From Myself, which is about the lead guitarist from Korn who left his life of drug addiction and fame when he became a Christian. I think Ryan read it in two days, which means it must have been good because Ryan doesn't like reading. Once again, I'm going to save what I received from Ryan for another post. Stay tuned!

After opening presents, I started our Christmas meal - Kelli's Tasty Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans Almondine. As I was heating up the roaster that Kelli let me borrow, we smelled plastic burning. Sure enough, I left the knife that was inside its plastic case in the roaster. OOPS! Fortunately, it wasn't too big of a mess. Ryan saved the day and pulled the grossness out of the turkey, and before I knew it, that bird was roasting and making the house smell sooo good!
When Noah woke up from his THREE hour nap (note: he slept 13 hours the night before), we took him into the living room where his other presents were waiting to be unwrapped. He wasn't that into opening them, but once he saw what was inside, he was excited! He also loved his new puzzle, slinky dog, and Polar Express book.

Noah loves his new "ta-tar!"

Before I knew it, the turkey was ready to be carved. I have never made a turkey, let alone carved one, so I did the best I could.

Lunch was DELICIOUS! I quickly learned that turkey truly is one of the easiest things you can make. See, look at Noah already diving into it. Oh wait, I forgot. He spit out my turkey and ate chicken nuggets instead. Oh well!

We spent the rest of the day playing with Noah. Once he went to bed, Ryan and I played video games instead of watching our traditional "It's a Wonderful Life." Now that I think of it, that makes me sad because I love that movie. Guess what we're going to be watching tonight?

We had a perfect Christmas together as a family. As I feel my heart growing closer and closer to God, Christmas is meaning so much more to me now than it ever has. Knowing that Jesus was born solely for the purpose of saving US just amazes me more and more. I don't know if I'll ever truly be able to wrap my mind around His life and His sacrifice. My hope is that as Noah grows older and someday learns that a man named Santa Claus does not really put his gifts under the tree, he will still keep the spirit of Santa Claus alive, loving others, helping others, and giving to others. And most importantly, I hope that Noah will also understand that Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift of all.

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