Friday, Mr. Kacy, the church children’s choir director, loaded up the children’s choir as an extra special treat for all of their hard work and commitment in the Christmas Program and hauled them up to the McWane Science Center—-this amazing facility that we have in downtown B’ham. It’s about an hour drive there and an hour back. Somewhere between the trip organizing and the actually leaving, I lost my mind and volunteered to go and help.
(Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking. Was I momentarily possessed by alien forces? Was I drifting off and just nodded 'yes' while blankly staring off into space? Did I actually MEAN to sign up for this? Gives one pause for thought.)
We stopped with 12 kids and 6 adults and ate at Chick-fil-a on the way to town, and then played in the museum for a few hours. The grand finale was to meet Santa and go see the Polar Express on the IMAX. I was exhausted at the end of all of that. The kids had a blast, though, which is what really counts. We left at 12:30 and got home around 9:00. Whew. That was enough of the screaming shorties for this Mother Bear.
Earlier that morning, I morphed into Super Mom and The Husband strapped on his Super Dad cape, and we ran to and fro to get to all three class parties, in three different classrooms, for three different children, all at the same time. I carried Lily on my back to Elise’s classroom. Steve started in Elaina’s room. Then, I hauled Lily to Elaina’s class and Steve moved to Carter’s class. Then, we passed in the hallway, and I monkey-passed Lily to Steve’s back and walked across the whole campus to Carter’s room while Steve finished in Elise’s room. Confused yet? Imagine how we felt!
And this doesn’t even touch on the classroom snack situation. Who-signed-up-to-bring-the-cheese-cubes-and-who-has-the-gallon-of-milk-and-who-has-the-pretzels-in-which-classroom. I needed an org chart and some highlighters to keep all of that together.
We got it all done though. I felt a little bad about not letting the kids participate in the gift-swapping games. We have a few rules around here about gift giving. I seriously limit the amount of money we spend on Christmas in our house. We just think that it would be shameful to spend more on the kids than we are willing to give away to the Lottie Moon International Mission fund or to other families in need during the holidays, so we are on a tight budget to put the focus where it really belongs—on Jesus Christ and His saving power—not on a new toy or gadget.
So, The Royal We decided that after tracking it a couple of years ago and discovering that we spent almost $400.00 in “nothing” like dirty Santa gifts and gift bags for the other students and teacher gifts (which were always crappy because who can afford something really nice for eight teachers???), it was officially over. No gift swaps. No ornament swaps. No gifts for people outside of our family. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. It just became overwhelming. We just stick to the $200.00 per child and they are either content or they aren’t. The end. I’m good with it either way, and I hope that they are too. I sleep just fine at night.
Of course, that idea in theory is one thing. Telling Carter to get out of the circle of his friends and gather his things because we have to leave the class party now and no, you can’t participate in the gift swap because Mommy can’t afford yet another $10.00 gift, is entirely another. The kids are used to it so much now that when Carter’s teacher gave him this pitiful look as we packed up his candy canes and snowman art to head out for the holidays, he smiled and shrugged, “It’s okay, Mrs. R. Lily would just take my gift and break it anyway.” We Johnson's are pragmatic, at the very least.
And today, me and Nana called the North Pole and checked on Santa’s elves and their gift wrapping assignments. Evidently, they wrapped the entire afternoon to get the list finished and everything ready for delivery to our house on Christmas Eve. The elves are TIRED. (I’m just about full up on Christmas Spirit myself. There's not enough egg nog in this house to make me feel better about it either.)
Oh, and of course, we made our annual trip to Christmas Fantasy Land on Thursday night. I’ll be posting some photos of that deal in a day or so when I recover from all of this cheer and good will to men. Merry Christmas!