12 Days of Christmas (12, 11, 10)...

For the past five (!) years, we have celebrated the home stretch to Christmas with a 12 days countdown. The kids look forward to it so much - even if lots of what we do is repeated from year to year. I look forward to it because in a season of crazy, rushed, jam-packed nights and days this forces us all to slow down. 

Day 12 landed on a Sunday and this year, we pulled out all the stops... 

Only 12 days until Christmas - We're having a party! Let's celebrate with friends over hot chocolate and go look at Christmas lights!

Y'all. This started out with my fellow Dish Divas and coming over for a quick treat and then going to look at houses for the "Get Griswold" contest we are hosting. It became much bigger because this is me and Stephanie and Sam. 

And it was awesome!

Ryan and I had so much fun setting everything up - he even put the ornaments on the "gold tree". I made fun signs and got out blankets to keep us warm and what started out as a wet, cold, rainy day turned into the most perfect night for a hayride to look at Christmas lights. 

Did I mention how good everything tasted? The hot chocolate changed lives that night. 

By the time everyone had finished a glass or two, the kids were ready to head out and look at some lights... 

(This was the best I could do with moving kids, tons of parents, and the half-desire to get a great pic). 

We may or may not have had some wine in those reindeer roadies. 

The next hour and a half (!) was filled with giggles, glee and a whole bunch of Christmas spirit. Everyone had such a fun time and we totally couldn't have pulled this off alone! (Thanks, Steph and Jeff for the trailer!) We were driving down the last street of the night and noticed that there were a TON of cars parked in front. 

Stephanie and I decided that the kids just HAD to sing some Christmas carols. The most adorable thing ever in the history of the world. 

At the end of the night my kiddos were so grateful and I was, too. Grateful for a fun community of friends to share life with. This is definitely going on the Christmas tradition list... so mark those calendars now!

Only 11 days until Christmas - Celebrate with friends... you're going home with the Bailey's today!

This. This was the most amazing gift of time I have received in a while. A couple of weeks ago my sweet friend, Krista, sent me an email saying that she and Will wanted to treat me to a night alone. They asked if they could pick up my kiddos from school, feed them, entertain them and get them ready for bed - delivering them back to me in time for goodnight kisses. 

I immediately cried and said yes. 

This whole working out of town gig has been hard for Ryan, but I won't lie and say that it has been easy for me. I wish I could be that mom that keeps it all together, but the truth is I'm lonely and tired, and overwhelmed and this break couldn't have come at a better time. So on the 11th day, I spent my time doing this... 

While my kids were doing this... 

I'd say we were both winners. PLUS Krista and I exchanged gifts and clearly great minds think alike. 


Only 10 days until Christmas - spread some holiday cheer and wrap some gifts!

This one makes a regular appearance in the countdown - and we have typically packaged up popcorn and m&ms for the "extra" teachers but after tasting the snack my neighbor brought over for the hot chocolate party, the kids insisted on making those. 

(And L insisted on licking her fingers 2482 times - sorry teachers). 

Then we signed tags... 

(and Landry even got to sign her name this year)...

wrapped some goodies... 

assembled some gift cards... 

and we were done! 
(We packaged the treats and kept them in the fridge over night). 

3 days down... 9 more to go!

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