Sunday, July 22, 2012

Christmas in July? We Tried It . . . Once!

We usually think of July as a month for sunshine and beaches, parks, pools, hikes, and camps. 

But what about turkey dinners, festive decorations, elves, presents, and candy canes?

They just don't seem to fit! 

This year, though, as we were planning our summer, we thought it would be fun to try having a "Christmas in July."

Living far away from the rest of us, my sister Anita and her family haven't celebrated Christmas with the extended family for YEARS.  They've missed out on Mom's turkey dinners, seeing our houses decorated for Christmas, and all the joyous, loud times that we spend ALL TOGETHER. 

So, we got out the decorations, the Christmas dresses and PJs, the special story books and movies;

we even put up our tree!

We baked a bunch of sugar cookies and gingerbread to decorate,

and actually got my mom and dad to agree to join in the festivities
(including making a turkey dinner with all the trimmings!).

Anita and Amanda both had turns reading to the group

and then we went to my sister Tina's house to decorate her tree,
exchange gifts (each of us picked a name beforehand), and play a few rounds of Christmas charades.

The dads weren't as enthusiastic about the whole idea as the moms,
but with a few cookies and the promise of a turkey dinner at the end, they managed to make it through.

We ended at Mom and Dad's with dinner and some Christmas movies.

It was fun to be together and to have a little taste of Christmas in the middle of the summer.

But, I have to admit, there are probably some reasons Christmas is in DECEMBER and not July. 

It was a little warm to be hauling boxes and bins from the garage to the house (and back again the next day).  And a couple of times I looked out the window and wondered why we were sitting in front of the fireplace on a sunny Saturday. 

I'm pretty sure, too, that the neighbors across the street think we are all crazy--their daughter was riding her bike in the driveway to witness my sisters caroling at the door.  The snowman wreath we had hung might have added to her suspicions (the tree lights would only be visible from the back window--possibly alarming another set of neighbors).

Anyway, with all the work of decorating, baking, shopping, and cleaning up, I think Christmas in July might be a once-in-a-lifetime event for us--which is probably okay, because I don't think we will ever forget it.

And we will have to do it ALL again in only a few more months with the rest of the world.

I think we will spend the rest of the summer doing things that are meant for the summer :)

Unless anyone is up for a Halloween in July???

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Day Off?!

July is always a really busy month for our family--but in the best of possible ways.  My sister Anita and her family come to visit, and we spend the entire month doing as many fun things as we can think of!

So far this July we have spent our time in the usual ways, keeping up our summer traditions of

visiting our local dairy farm,

picking raspberries,

hiking near waterfalls,

exploring tunnels,

building dams,

trying on dresses,

and posing for LOTS of group pictures :)

This year we've had a few additional special events, also in the month of July:

Janae started shopping for school uniforms, getting ready for her upcoming kindergarten premier in the fall,

Ben officially became a cub scout,

our family went overnight camping (in a tent!) for the very first time,

and--the most special of all--Benjamin was baptized. 

His cousins were there to sing, as well.

So why--you might wonder--am I sitting at home blogging when there are still mountains to climb, oceans to explore, and cousins to visit?

It turns out that Jason has come down with the stomach flu . . . forcing us to take the day off.   

There are still 16 days left of July, and we have a long list of things we are hoping to do, see, and make happen over the next couple of weeks--we don't want to miss any of it, but we definitely don't want to spread the FLU. 

Hopefully a day off is all we will need, and the adventure will continue . . . tomorrow?