Monday, October 26, 2015

Christmas Comes Early This Year

Next month my beautiful daughter, Katelyn, will be heading off to Lima, Peru to share the gospel for 18 months for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). While we are super excited for her new adventure, we're also sad that we won't be together during the upcoming holidays. When we realized that she would be gone for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we set out to create a top secret birthday plan for her.

October 16th was Katelyn's 19th birthday. We told her that we had something planned and to leave the day open. Because our school fall break falls during her birthday, her brother was also home from school.


We made sure everyone was up and awake early the morning of October 16th. Then we had them wait at the top of our basement stairs. We allowed them to come down the stairs to discover the Christmas tree set up with gifts underneath. Christmas presents for both James and Kate had been wrapped in holiday paper, while her birthday presents were wrapped in more traditional birthday paper. We kept it simple and small, but we wanted to capture the feeling of the holidays on her special day.



We spent the next hour watching Kate and James open presents. Kate was surprised and overjoyed that we had planned such a fun activity for her birthday. We exclaimed "Happy Birthday," "Merry Christmas," and "Happy Thanksgiving" as she came into the room.

After opening presents, both kids spent another hour putting together their new Lego sets. Legos at Christmas are a tradition of ours. It gives the kids something to do. Once Kate had put together her shopping set, she wanted to set up all of her old Lego sets in one big village. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day.

So while James and Kate worked together to set up their Lego world, Brett and I worked in the background.



While we are going to miss her terribly when she is gone, this helps us feel less separated from one another. Now on Thanksgiving and Christmas day we will remember today and hopefully we'll all feel a little less lonely for one another.

Thanks, Santa, for visiting us early! It was amazing. While we hoped to find a restaurant that serves a turkey dinner, we ended up being too tired (pretty much like a real Christmas, right?). How often do you get to celebrate three amazing holidays on one special day? Happy birthday, Kate!

10 comments:

  1. Dorina D9:10 AM

    What a wonderful way to celebrate her birthday and all those special days. And your Legos tradition is so fun. This memory will last forever for your daughter and be one that she will talk about every year. One of our tradition each Christmas includes a Canadian Candy Bar (Coffee Crisp) that shows up in every sock thanks to my mother's Canadian relatives. I make a trip to Canada every December as they are not available in the states, Thank goodness I have relatives across the border, so I get to visit with them too.

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    1. I love that, Dorina! What a fun tradition. I hope your kids realize how lucky they are that you make the trek to Canada each year. :)

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  2. Jen, it is such a sweet thing to do! A special birthday like this can be remembered for the whole life.

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    1. I sure hope so. I'm going to miss her so much!

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  3. Such a fun idea! I bet she loved it! You're such a good Mom to give her such a happy memory before she goes. Looks like some pretty fun presents too! :)

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    1. Thanks, Mendi! I think it was as much for me as it was for her. Heals my heart a bit. :)

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  4. Oh Jen such a coincidence I'm from Lima-Peru. Hope she enjoy my city, eat all of our delicious and well known food, have fun and accomplish her mission.

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    1. Andrea, how wonderful is that? I can't tell you how excited she is to live in your country for 18 months. She's already fallen in love with the place and the people. :)

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  5. What an awesome, awesome idea!! Good for you for coming up with the idea and sharing
    so many special days before your daughter leaves!!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! It's hard to squeeze in every little moment, but I'm sure trying. :)

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