It snowed yesterday and school was cancelled. It was also cancelled today, but today was bitterly cold and so we played Just Dance and Exploding Kittens. Yesterday, however, it was only just cold enough to snow and so we played in that snow. And here are what about five seconds of that fun looked like.

First Snow Day of the Year

After the snowball throw

Lucy

Phoebe

Jack and Julia

Saturday night, Lucy stood behind the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra with the Children’s Chorus and performed. She sang beautifully and with her whole heart. (And I could not help but remember this.)

Lucy performs in the children's chorus with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra

The Children’s Chorus was an incredible experience for Lucy. The Orchestra Music Director and Conductor, Eric Benjamin, rehearsed with the chorus for six weeks to prepare for the annual Yuletide Celebration and he was amazing. He was exuberant and fun and knew how to connect with the kids. Lucy was scared the first day. She cried and we nearly left, but one of the assistants invited her to just stay and watch. So we stayed and she stood next to me watching rather than join the rest of the chorus. About halfway through that rehearsal, she started to participate. And when it was done, Mr. Eric gave her some encouragement to come back and bring a friend. She did.

The next week was better and the third week, they kicked the parents out of the room and it was even better yet. She was inspired. She sang all the time and we all got to know her songs. But there was nothing like seeing them performed. This is her favorite song from the performance. Night of Silence.

Night of Silence performed by the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra featuring the Children's Chorus (and Lucy!) and Ronald Barkett

I cried. It was just so beautiful.

When I picked her up after the show, the rehearsal room was electric. The kids were so enlivened. They all knew they’d done something very special. It was amazing. I was grateful that she could be a part of it.

Lucy, Eric Benjamin, and Kaitlyn

Julia sat next to me at Lucy’s performance. She was excited to see the orchestra perform. She joined the band this year and has just begun to feel what it’s like to play with a group. She’s playing drums and had her first concert on Sunday.

Julia plays the drum in the sixth grade band

This is her favorite song from her performance. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. She played the bass drum for this one.

Julia plays Jolly Old Saint Nicholas with the sixth grade band

She told me she’d liked to learn to play an instrument from every instrument family.

My little drummer girl

She’s on her way.

We made our gingerbread houses with graham crackers this year and I think we’ll be doing it this way from now on. We’d always used a kit before, but everyone loved designing their own home. And no one ran out of icing or decorations.

Gingerbread Houses!

Dave was gone for work when we put them together, so we sent him a photo of each house and asked him to guess the builder for each one.

Julia and her gingerbread house

Phoebe and her gingerbread house

Lucy and her gingerbread house

Jack and his gingerbread house

Maybe next time we’ll make a giant house!

This year marks our tenth Grimmett Family Christmas Countdown. We did our first one in 2006. We had just moved into our house, Julia was two and a half and the only child. Our countdown has evolved over the years. Lucy, Phoebe, and Jack have never known Christmas without it. Since last year’s was pretty great, we didn’t change anything, we just added to it.

Here’s our Countdown Corner.

Christmas Countdown Corner

I picked up a $1 advent calendar at Aldi for each of the kids. We’d done them a few years ago and they missed them last year, so they’re back because we cannot get enough chocolate in our lives.

The Santa sack is filled with wrapped books. We open one and read it each night.

Reading a Christmas book

Then, we put a cotton ball on Santa’s beard. (This is where you can find Santa‚Äôs Beard Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar Free Printable we’re using.)

Santa Beard Christmas Countdown

And – this is new for us – we add pieces to the Lego Christmas Tree we’re building.

Lego Christmas Tree

Lego has some amazing advent calendar building kits, but I wanted each of the kids to be able to do it and we all weren’t up for a big kit just yet. So I bought this little LEGO Christmas Tree and divided the instructions into 24 steps. Each day we open an envelope with one step of the instructions and the corresponding pieces and add them on.

Finally, we open a packet containing a piece of candy for each of the kids and a slip of paper with an activity on it, like “wear whipped cream Santa beards and drink hot cocoa.”

Whipped cream Santa beard, er, mustache

Or “visit the Christmas store and buy an ornament for the tree.”

Visiting the Christmas Store

Or “Elf Yourself.”

Our "Elf Yourself" creations

And on it goes until Christmas. CHRISTMAS!

Putting on Shows

by Leslie

I made Phoebe mad recently. She took my phone and recorded herself crying and gave it to me as a memento of her sadness, and also my meanness because “look what you did, Mom.”

Phoebe records herself crying to remind me that I am mean and do not let her do anything she wants

I asked her if I could share it with you and she was delighted for you to witness her suffering. Somehow I think we’ll be recalling this video one day when she’s accepting an Oscar or getting arrested for her performance art.

The kid loves to put on a show. Last night, she stood on a chair at the dinner table and asked for our attention so she could sing a song that she gleefully introduced as, “Mom’s gonna hate this!”

Her favorite thing right now is dance class. She got to be a Nutcracker Bon Bon in our studio’s Holiday Show.

My Bon Bon

Julia performed as well – her last in tumbling as she’s now moved to jazz.

Julia's last tumbling performance

Lucy tumbled, too.

Lucy with her flowers after her holiday show performance

Phoebe also chose to ride in a Christmas parade with her friends from dance last Friday.

Phoebe on the Melody & Motion float at the New Philadelphia Christmas Parade

Saturday, Lucy rode and sang in another Christmas parade with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Children’s Chorus.

Lucy sings with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Children's Chorus at the Dover Christmas Parade

She has a Christmas concert this Saturday. Julia will be playing drums in her first school band concert on Sunday. And this is a typical scene at our house (including the banana peel on the coffee table).

Feliz Navidad

All the shows. All for me, their ever-loving and enduring audience.

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