One of the biggest deals around the Riley home during the month of December is the Countdown Calendar. The kids are uber-excited each morning to find out what surprise activity awaits them. I've really had to work at being creative - the kids expect each year to be better and better, and of course, I'd rather not spend all of the Christmas budget on any random day in December.
So, with Travis and Steph's permission, Monday's activity was taking Whitley to see Santa Claus. (This was a "Yes" that Steph was able to say easily as she's not a fan of people in costumes) Whitley didn't have a problem at all with Santa however, but she was still a bit drowsy from her nap to pull out the really big smiles.
Heather was able to join us - we had a good laugh being on our "date with Whitley and the kids" as folks would ask about Whitley and it was kind of odd when both of us would answer her age or whatever, with neither of us actually being her mom.
Tuesday's activity was delivering lunch to the kids at their school. Mikayla was eager to have me join her and her friends (given Whitley was with us). Whitley was in a fantastic mood when she visited. Lots of smiles.
On Wednesday, the kids got to have a friend come over. Brayden had his buddies Tanner and Nick over, while Kenady assisted Mikayla in rolling out and painting some salt dough ornaments for our volleyball team players.
They were a little "bumpier" than I wanted them to be, but hey, a whole lot cheaper than purchasing store bought volleyball ornaments or trophies - and I personalized them too! We'll hand these out during our last get-together - a team pizza party and scrimmage on Tuesday night.
We didn't leave the house on Wednesday, and I found myself getting a little stir-crazy. So Thursday had Whitley and I running all over town on various errands. She was an ABSOLUTE ANGEL on Thursday. She slept a ton and when she was awake it was all coo's and smiles.....love that little girl so much!
Thursday's Countdown activity was "Date Night with Daddy" as Mommy had a date night with her Thursday Night Ladies. Pics to come as soon as I get them from Kaela, but we had a delightful time at a restaurant called "Turtles" across town. Leah, Kimmie, Amanda, Heather, Kaela, Elaina, and myself were all able to attend.
Lots of laughter and great conversation. At the end of dinner I passed out these CD's. The previous study's discussion was on joy and I thought it'd be fitting to pass on some of the music of the season that overwhelms me with the joy of why we celebrate Christmas. I hope they've enjoyed it - giving away music favorites is always a bit personal as what touches my heart might not necessarily touch theirs. Hopefully, one or two song choices will.... =)
I swung them by the Vickers house and light display on the way home. So impressive!
On Friday night, the family visited Michael at Dickie Jo/Yo's restaurant and took care of some Christmas shopping at the mall across the street. The kids were a little rambunctious (Michael winds them up!), but otherwise, some good family fun.
Originally, when I plotted the Countdown Calendar, I anticipated the boys being gone this weekend - across the country supporting Kenjon had he been invited to the Heisman Ceremony. That did not unfold like we had hoped, so the guys stayed home. Oh well, it wasn't going to change the reservations I made for the two of us girls to get a pedicure. =) Ah, Mikayla and I in our happy place at Bello.
We topped the evening off with a very quick dinner at PF Changs together. More pics to come of how the boys spent their date afternoon/evening.
As for now, I'm ready to head to bed early after watching yet another wonderful Hallmark movie ("Christmas with Holly"). Tomorrow, I'll be cranking out a ton of treats for Tyson Steele....(hmm, that'd make a good post title!) - so I better get plenty of rest now.
I hope your December is starting off strong and you are all finding time to take it all in and reflect on the true miracle of the season.