Saturday, December 29, 2012

Peaceful Christmas 2012 - 41 Reasons Why I'm Grateful

Christmas 2012 was hands-down our family's most relaxing and favorite Christmas to date.  Many things contributed to it being a whopping success so I made a list of all the things our family is thankful for this Christmas.
our happy, healthy crew
Ironically there were multiple fiascos that could have derailed Peaceful Christmas 2012.  But with each hurdle, God kicked in our sense of humor, covered our anxiety with peace, and helped us wing it when our preference would have been organized systems.  Here's the list of potential pitfalls that Jesus helped us overcome.  How can you not laugh?

  1. Getting an 8 p.m. call from my Dad and Marcy asking to move our Christmas celebration to 11 a.m. the following day due to a predicted snow storm in the pass they would have to drive.  I had planned to use Christmas Eve to do one last-minute shopping trip, clean my house, wrap presents, and prep food for Christmas dinner.  But Curt and I knew that in the grand scheme of things a clean house was irrelevant if it meant missing out on time with Dad and Marcy.  He took the day off work.  Then we worked as Team Stilp the next 24 hours to pull it all together.
  2. The turkey - that was thawing in the refrigerator in the garage - had a hole in the plastic bag.  Raw turkey juice leaked all over our entire refrigerator that was packed full of fresh produce.  We were forced to rewash all the produce and thoroughly clean out the inside of the refrigerator.
  3. Once we cleaned up the raw turkey fiasco, Curt dressed the bird.  I held the roasting bag open and as Curt put the turkey into the bag, the bottom of the bag split open and the turkey dropped into the sink.  Turkey: 2.  Team Stilp: 0.
  4. Our garbage disposal has never backed up in the four years we've lived in this home.  But on Christmas Eve - just as Dad and Marcy pulled into the driveway - it clogged up and spit dirty water in Curt's face.  Plumber Husband fixed it in no time flat.
  5. We have a soap dispenser that connects underneath our kitchen sink.  The threads are stripped and the soap bottle came detached at some point.  When Curt went to unclog the drain he found 12 ounces of hand soap spilled all over the cupboard.  Sink: 2.  Team Stilp: 0.
  6. I was supposed to make cheese soup for our Christmas Eve dinner with my Mom and Terry.  We made it last minute, really quickly and did something wrong.  It turned out terrible.  But since it was part of the main food course, we all gagged it down.  My brother's and their significant other's were very gracious, but we all knew it was awful.  There's always next year...
  7. On the way to Christmas Eve dinner, the soup (which I put in a crock pot) spilled all over the floor of our car and made a huge mess.  Soup: 2.  Team Stilp: 0.
  8. Christmas morning, I went to grab the orange juice from the refrigerator.  It was sitting in a pool of milk.  Our milk carton had a crack in it and had been slowly leaking milk all over the refrigerator.  Milk: 1.  Team Stilp: 0. 
In spite of all this, we had an incredibly fun and relaxing Christmas.  Here's our family's list of things we are thankful for.

1.  Beautiful weather on Christmas Eve.  It was sunny, crisp and dry.  A welcome change from all the rain and gray.
2.  Watching the kids play four square and kickball in the cul de sac, wearing their new boots and clothes from Grandpa Don and Grandma Marcy.
Christmas Eve Day with Grandpa Don and Grandma Marcy
3.  Five different sets of our awesome neighbors stopping in on Christmas Eve bringing plates of goodies and Christmas cheer.
4.  Dad and Marcy being willing to shift their schedules and expectations around to still have Christmas together even though it required great effort on their part.  We had so much fun together.
5.  I had five or so things left to purchase for Christmas and no time.  I went to Target and prayed on the way that I would be able to find everything on my list.  God answered!  I got everything I needed in record time and even got most of it for 50% off.
6.  Team Stilp showing up.  Curt and I have always enjoyed tackling big projects together.  We both really enjoyed dividing and conquering our huge list and watching it all come together.
Team Stilp

7.  Making apple pie with Curt at 10 p.m.  A first for us, but so fun!
8.  Wrapping presents on Christmas Eve with Curt.  We both abhor present wrapping which is why we entered Christmas Eve with very few gifts wrapped.  We started at 10:30 p.m, took a few deep breaths, and started wrapping.  I signed all my gifts, "from Mom and Dad."  Curt decided to use crazy signing antics:  "Frodo and Yoyo.  Rufus and Tufus.  Monkey See and Monkey Don't (on a monkey pillow pet), King Kong and Ding Dong" and then blamed the elves.
do you think the kids could tell the difference on who wrapped each gift?
9.  Paige's desire to believe Santa is real.  She knows Santa is just a fun story but she still left him a letter by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  Christmas is magical to her.
10.  Sprinkling reindeer dust on the front yard with Paige.  She in her red cowgirl boots and new Christmas jammies, gracefully flinging handfuls of oatmeal and glitter into the air to illuminate the yard for the reindeer.  Her delightful giggle and her sweet "This is SOOOO fun Mommy.  Wanna help me?" melted my heart.  I danced around the yard throwing reindeer glitter in the air with my little fairy Christmas angel.
11. The gratitude the kids had this year.  They were so appreciative.  SO excited.  So genuinely thankful.  And SO expressive as they opened gifts.  We loved the shrieks.  Gasps.  Huge eyes.  Tackles.  Hugs.  The immediate trying on of new clothes.  And the expressions of disbelief as Christmas wishes came true.

12.  Paige's funny comments.  Regarding her new red cowgirl boots:  "They are so stylish.  They look like real cowgirl boots with a design.  They're like something Jessie from Toy Story would wear."  And regarding her choice of what clothes to wear on Christmas Day:  "I'm wearing my new sweatshirt and comfy pants.  Doesn't it look like a cute PE outfit?"
Paige Elizabeth - 6 1/2 years

13.  Getting text messages and self-imposed crazy photos from Grant on his new phone.
14.  Grant texting me, "Thank you Mom.  This is the best Christmas ever.  I love you.
15.  Curt (downstairs) texting Grant (upstairs) during quiet time.  "Dude.  It's quiet time.  Stop playing your drums.  People are sleeping."  And then the drumming stopped two seconds later. Oh how times have changed. 
16.  Napping with Paige.  I've been so sentimental since the shootings in Newtown so it was priceless to get two blissful hours on Christmas afternoon cuddled up next to my baby girl.
17. Extravagant love of my husband who surprised me with the camera I've been wanting/saving for/hoping for for years now.  I was fully prepared to finish saving the money, but he rocked my world by getting it ahead of schedule.  
18.  The Word (Jesus) who took on flesh and "moved into our neighborhood" (as one translation of John 1:14 says).  Changing my life.  Offering peace and hope.  In the midst of of pain, suffering and struggle.
19.  Reading the Christmas story from the Bible around the breakfast table and then singing, "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, complete with cha cha cha's.
20.  An entire day with NO AGENDA!  Except to be.  Together.
21.  Watching Curt thrill over helping the kids set up their electronic devices.  Putting new music and play lists together with them and answering all their questions.
22.  Katie's delight and pure joy in a repurposed iPod Touch.  She knew it was Sarah's before it was hers, but it didn't damper her joy.  She was so thrilled to have it.  She kept asking, "Can I put pictures on it? Set my own password? Add my music?  Really?  I can?!?!"
Katie Joy - 10 years

23.  The sweet and thoughtful way Alli and Paige shared all their new baby doll gear.  It would have been tempting to bicker, but they divided it out so thoughtfully and took turns.  A parent's dream!
24.  Alli's generosity in giving her favorite set of twins to Paige so she could adopt a set of "Haitian twin baby dolls."  She has relinquished all rights to her former favorites and Paige has loved being their new mommy.

25.  Paige's THRILLED response over a $7 basket for her bike.  It got the biggest reaction from her which made Curt and I giggle.
26.  Seeing the kids grasp the joy of generosity.  From shopping for a family in need to their excitement to give us the gifts they purchased with their own money.  It was so sweet.
27. Paige playing with her little craft kits all afternoon on Christmas day.  She put together puzzles, made bead crafts with Curt, and colored giant sized Barbie pictures.  It was a piece of heaven for her.
28.   Seeing the girls walking their babies in their new little buggy around the cul de sac.  I love watching them out the window engrossed in make believe and creative play.  When they get too old to do this, I will be so heartbroken.
29.  The photo block Paige made for us in her first grade class.  It was really cool and she clearly worked very hard on it.
30.  Non-prescription glasses times three for kids who have x-ray vision.  I can't stop giggling every time Grant, Alli and Katie wear their very noticeable non-prescription glasses. 
one of these four wears prescription glasses.  the rest have x-ray vision.
31.  Grant requesting "skinny jeans, a beanie, non-prescription glasses, and a man scarf" for Christmas.  He's so Portland.  And way too grown-up looking.  Can we just stop time?
Grant Andrew - 11 1/2 years
32.  NO BICKERING!!!!!  When the kids asked us what we wanted for Christmas we told them, "A day of no bickering."  They delivered!  They were peace-filled, fun and amazing Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and in the days following. They were obedient.  Kind.  Loving.  Grateful. Fun.  Peace-making.  We were so blessed and blown away!
33.  Alli's crazy but fun sense of style.  Her Christmas day outfit was knee high socks, army boots, shorts, penguin hoodie, penguin stocking hat and glasses.  She commented, "Mom.  Get used to seeing this sweatshirt.  I'll be wearing it a lot."
Alyssa Claire - 8 1/2 years
34.  Curt having a job that allows him take the day off on a whim.
35.  A delicious and somewhat healthy Christmas dinner with my Dad and Marcy.
36.  A beautifully dressed table for Christmas Eve dinner.  It looked great in my mind's eye so when it came together in reality (at 50% off!) it was such a treat.

37.  Playing Rumikub with my Mom and Terry.  There was a lot of smack talking and laughter around that table.  (We were grossly negligent in taking pictures, but now I have a real camera.  Sorry Mom and Terry!  Let's get together again soon and we'll get some good shots.)
38.  Christmas Eve night with my Hadlock brothers, their families, and my Mom and Terry.  The only thing that would have made it better would be having my brother Shane and his wife and family there too.  
39.  Dancing around the kitchen with Katie to the new music she got for Christmas.  We had so much fun that Curt and Paige joined us as we twirled and laughed and sang.
40.  Adorable kid thank you notes.

41. An abundance of food.  Shelter.  Health.  Love.  Jesus.

Merry Christmas everyone!  


  1. I can't believe your list of pitfalls. That's crazy. Such a wonderfully long list of thankfulness to follow it up. :)

    1. It's been so fun Carissa. We've just been in vacation mode even though we're home.