And to all a good night…

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. ~Andy Rooney

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5:30am may be too early to get up for school, but not for Christmas!!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!! I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends and furry ones, too!

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Christmas afternoon nap among friends.


Catching Up… Again

And just like that, our second season as part of Amazon’s CamperForce has come to an end. We spent three months watching campers pull into the RV park as their start dates approached, and the last two days watching as almost everyone pulled back out again. There are a handful of campers still here, but not many. Some people chose to leave their RVs here while traveling for the holidays, others are just waiting until after the holidays to head out, and there are some who stayed on with Amazon to help with holiday returns and inventory.

Rob and I stayed on until mid-January last year but this year we decided to exit with the masses. We have been done working for a few days now but have chosen to stay put here in Kentucky until after Christmas. We are not due to arrive at our next destination until January 6, so we have some time to rest and recuperate as well as get Waldo ready to roll again. It is next to impossible to drive with a tree between the seats and stockings swinging in your face…

We have had a change of plans since I last updated you. Not too long ago I posted that we were headed down to Florida when we were finished here, but have since come upon an opportunity that fits us better. We will be driving to the Outer Banks in North Carolina to volunteer at a wildlife refuge until April. Well, Rob will be volunteering while I finish up the school year with the kids. I will probably find a small job on the side as well. The area seems amazing and will be nice and quiet since it is the off-season.

The only down side to not going all the way down to Florida, (besides not getting to add a new state to our state map) is that I will not be able to run the Disney World Marathon. This is probably a good thing since I have not had any time for running these past couple of months, but I was rather looking forward to running through all the parks and seeing Mickey Mouse and Pooh Bear along the way. The timing is just not right this year, but I know that we will make it down there one of these days. I will turn my focus now to the run my aunt and I are going to do together in May.

As for Amazon, we will most likely return at least one more year. They take really good care of us while we are here and the experience is a good one overall. The work itself is pretty tough on the body, especially as pickers. According to my pedometer, my longest night (which was a 12-hour shift) was 17.53 miles. On average, though, we walked about 12 miles in a 10-hour shift. So, if nothing else, we leave here a little tougher, a little stronger than we arrived. That is definitely not a bad thing.

I am still amazed at just how fast the season went. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I am convinced that there must be some mistake, but my quarter-dozen giggling kiddos remind me that there is no mistake. No mistake at all…

Christmas Memories

Somehow, Christmas snuck up on me this year. We kept all the regular traditions: we visited Santa, decorated the house and put up the tree, went shopping for gifts, we even drove around to look at Christmas lights. But still, I didn’t feel as prepared as I have other years. I didn’t even get cards out until the last-minute, and even then I didn’t send out nearly as many as I usually do. I suppose it may have had something to do with the hours we have been working, or perhaps the warmer climate failed to trigger the start of the Season, but I didn’t really see it coming. Or expect it to arrive so soon.

The kids were ready, though. They always are. Even when I am three weeks behind schedule and dragging my feet, they are there to pull me through. To remind me what time of the year it is. To share their excitement.

And now, what I thought I had plenty of time for, has not only come, but is almost over.

Christmas. A day for family. A day to watch the eyes of little children light up an entire house. A day of love and togetherness. A day full of laughter.

We spent a wonderful day together and made many new memories. Memories that will last long after the cookies are gone, the tree taken down and the toys forgotten. Memories that will last a lifetime.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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An Annual Visit

We decided to kick off the month of December with a visit to the jolly man in the red suit. He was at a local store, so we ventured over on a Saturday at noon in hopes that the line would not be too long. As luck would have it, the rush had just passed and there were no other kids waiting when we arrived.

I should probably let you know that Catheryn has requested a doll that poops. Yes, poops. I confess that I have been secretly hoping that she would change her mind and ask for something else, but that has not been the case. She has been saving all her dog walking money in order to buy this particular eating, talking, pooping doll. I told her that if she were planning to ask for it for Christmas, then she better hold off on buying it. She agreed to do so, and is now saving up to buy diapers and food for the doll she is hoping Santa will bring her. Catheryn has been begging for a baby sister for quite some time now, and since she is most definitely not getting one from me, I suppose the doll is the next best thing.

As we are walking in to see Santa, Catheryn confesses that she is a little embarrassed to tell Santa that she would like a pooping doll. I told her to simply ask for a Baby Alive doll, since that is what she is called on the box. Sounds better than “Real Pooping Doll,” I suppose. So, she did just that, and after adding a Care Bear or two, she happily came back to me with her candy cane in hand.

Next up is Nathan. He climbs up onto Santa’s lap and kindly requests a turtle with a light-up shell and a rock tumbler. Santa looks down at him with a slightly confused look on is face.

“A rock what??”

“A rock tumbler,” Nathan says again, a little less confident this time. Santa’s next question nearly made me snort out loud, but I managed to hold myself together.

“Do you even know what that is??” he asked Nathan.

“It polishes rocks,” Nathan informed him.

Santa mumbled something about not even thinking that they made those anymore, and then he called over to his assistant, who was busy changing the batteries in the camera.

“Do you know what a rock tumbler is??”

“A rock what??” She had no idea what it was.

Nathan thanked Santa for his candy cane and then walked back over to me with a look that told me he had absolutely no idea what had just happened. I simply stood there, a motherly smile on my face.

Your turn, William. Perhaps a little nervous due to the previous events, he asked for a remote control helicopter, and then said he couldn’t remember what the other thing was. “A video camera!” Catheryn whispered as loudly as she could.

“Oh right, right,” says William, “and a video camera.”

Santa then wanted to know if the video camera was to go on the helicopter, but William informed him it was to record movies the kids were going to make. He picked up his candy cane and climbed down.

The camera battery issue had still not been resolved, so I took a picture of all three kids myself, thanked Santa, and proceeded to walk past the line that had formed during our rather long and awkward visit.

I realized as we were leaving that Santa is probably used to kids requesting the latest video games or hand-held devises and such. And at that moment I felt some pride in the fact that my kids do not have video games. They play with sticks, perform little skits, sing silly songs about stinky feet, and bicker like there’s no tomorrow. Just as it should be.

Don’t worry, Nathan, I know what a rock tumbler is. And I’ll see what I can do.

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Christmas Memories

Children’s excitement as Christmas approaches is so contagious that it is impossible not to feel giddy this time of year. I confess that, like the kids, I had a hard falling asleep last night, anticipation of Christmas morning keeping me awake. William was so anxious he was up at 1:40am and then again at 3:00. We finally let him get up at 6am.

The day was spent grazing on candy, playing games, watching Christmas movies, cooking a feast and enjoying being able to spend the day together. Bailey gnawed on his Christmas bone, Remi gorged on catnip-flavored treats, Wiggy Wabbit enjoyed celery and sunflower seeds. Even Flash shared some meal worms with his fishy friends. We laughed, we stuffed ourselves within inches of popping, I even confess to catching a small nap after lunch.

And just like that, it is all over. After months of excitement, planning and preparation, Christmas has once again come to an end. The presents have all been opened, the feast consumed. Kids will once again be able to sleep at night. The memories of the day will last a lifetime, though. Memories of a day spent together. A day of dreams come true and wished granted. A day of magic. A day where anything seems possible. Special memories. Unforgettable moments. Knowing that no matter where we are, where we live or what we are doing, as long as we have each other, things are just as they should be.

I hope all your Christmas wishes came true. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Merry Christmas!

We just spent a wonderful evening out looking at Christmas lights. We are finished now, but the boys have gone into the video store in search of a fun Christmas movie, so I am using the time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Our tree is all decorated and the stockings are hung,

our ham is in the refrigerator all ready to go into the dutch oven in the morning,

and cookies and milk are ready for Santa to enjoy.

So now it is time to head home. Santa is on his way, and we don’t want to be awake when he arrives.

The Best Gift