Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Seitz Family 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas- Seitz Style

On the first day of Christmas, my family gave to me a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the second day of Christmas, my family gave to me 2 dying cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the third day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dying cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 4 fighting children, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats ('s true, and they had a good long run. RIP Elvis and Sam), and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my family gave to me, Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 6 extracurricular activities (swim team, soccer, jazz band, show choir, gymnastics, youth group, Girls on the Run...I kid you not!) , Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 7 hours of Sherlock (Totally Jolie and it's probably more like 7000 hours), 6 extracurricular activities, Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my family gave to me 8 bags of groceries, 7 hours of Sherlock, 6 extracurricular activities, Ella's 5K where I almost died (Ella's personal best and I couldn't walk for 2 days, for reals), 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 9 loads of laundry, 8 bags of groceries, 7 hours of Sherlock, 6 extracurricular activities, Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats ,and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 10 Fantasy Football trades (Scott's only hobby of late), 9 loads of laundry, 8 bags of groceries, 7 hours of Sherlock, 6 extracurricular activities, Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 11 soccer practices (Cam's lucky to have his dad as his coach which means we get to pick the least busy day to have this practice on), 10 Fantasy Football trades, 9 loads of laundry, 8 bags of groceries, 7 hours of Sherlock, 6 extracurricular activities, Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats,and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my family gave to me, 12 preschool parties (Maggie is rocking preschool and is ready for Kindergarten next year!),  11 soccer practices, 10 Fantasy Football trades, 9 loads of laundry, 8 bags of groceries, 7 hours of Sherlock, 6 extracurricular activities, Ella's 5K where I almost died, 4 fighting kids, 3 days of Zumba, 2 dead cats, and a house to run on Pleasant Street.

*Reading this makes me tired.  I'm going on strike in January:) 

This is a pretty accurate depiction of the Seitz household on any given day and we hope you sang the words out loud, at the top of your voice, preferably in choir with all your entire family  because after all,

" The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."  -Buddy the Elf

We hope that this Christmas season you are spending time with the ones that you love, gifting the people in your life with a joyous heart, and celebrating the reason for the season.  I heard something  in a sermon a few weeks ago that has given this Christmas a new meaning for me. 

In this season of getting and taking, the season of Advent instead should be about waiting- waiting for the Baby Jesus who would become the Savior of the world. 

Waiting and patience are not my strong suits, in fact they are way down at the bottom of the list of things that I am good at.  And for many of us, Christmastime can be a stressful countdown of days until the next party, the next get together, the next gift exchange, and then by Christmas Day we are exhausted and stressed and spent and there's just not enough room in our hearts for the joy that is supposed to be there. 

This year we tried to be thoughtful about these days leading up to Christmas.  We are doing our Seitz Christmas calendar of fun, but I am trying my best to have a heart of patience, joy, waiting, in the midst of the mess of baking and snowflake making, letting my kids wrap the gifts when I could do it better and faster, trying not to roll my eyeballs when my kids slip the dog's name, along with our two dead cats', into the family gift exchange.  It's hard, I admit I am a lover of beautifully displayed mantle decorations and stockings that hang in a row neatly and not necessarily a string of Minecraft-style paper decorations that Cameron has strung together using twine and duct tape that he found in Scott's workshop.  Scott has an abundance of patience when it comes to these things, so he's definitely on the Nice List already (plus, I think he truly has an affinity for duct tape decorations).  But what he already knows and what I'm waking up each day intentionally reminding myself is that these lovely, brilliant, big-hearted and loving children of ours DO get what Christmas is about.  They are excited to decorate the house with lights and Santas and duct tape, they can't wait to buy or make a gift for their teachers, someone in need, the dog (or dead cats?), they can't help themselves from being so excited for what activity we're doing together as a family (well, maybe Jolie can) and that has given me such joy this season. 

We pray that you and your family experience that joy while you wait for this Christmas to come.  In all the crazy fun and busyness of the holidays, we hope you find a space each day to wait, to breathe it in, be thankful, be joyful and to celebrate. 

We wish you a beautiful Christmas and New Year!

With much love, Scott and Jamie, Jolie, Ella, Cameron, Maggie and Harper Seitz

And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.       ~Linus, of Charlie Brown fame


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas from the Seitz Family!
The Holiday season is here and we Seitz’s are gearing up for our favorite time of the year.  The perfect tree has been selected and decorated, the house has been lit “Clark W. Griswold-style” by Scotty himself, the kids have written their letters to Santa and circled items in the Toys R Us ad just in case there was any confusion, and the theme for this year’s Christmas letter has been decided on.  It’s time for Christmas!
Getting ready for Christmas for our family comes with lots of traditions and “can’t-wait-to-do’s”, one of which is going to look at Christmas lights.  We pack everyone in the van in their jammies after dinner and we drive around a few of our favorite neighborhoods, listening to Christmas music, and deciding who has outdone themselves on lights this year.  There’s just something about Christmas lights that fascinates our kids (and who are we kidding…it’s still something Scott and I love to do).  They’re bright, they sparkle and twinkle, they’re colorful and they make ordinary houses and yards become beautiful and magical.  And how amazing it is that what you don’t even notice in the daylight becomes such a spectacular display when the sun goes down (at 4:30 in the afternoonL). 
I have been thinking a lot about light in the last few days and maybe it’s a blessing that our Christmas letter hadn’t been finished and sent out yet (even though it’s much later in the season that it’s usually sent), because it has given me a chance to think about what I really wanted  to say this year.  With the terrible things that have happened in the last few weeks in the news and with some of our very closest friends going through some very tough times, I’ve begun to wonder why all this darkness during a time that is supposed to be filled with joy and love and light.  And although I don’t have a good enough answer for why, I know that we need to focus on BEING the light in the darkness. 
With Christmas just a week away, my family and I believe with all our hearts that God is the light of the world and we’ll be holding our candles high on Christmas Eve while we sing Silent Night at church to celebrate that Light.  But I also want to make sure that my kids know that they’ve been blessed with a light as well, we all have, God given gifts.  They have the ability to shine in the darkness for all those around us (you know, like the song “This Little Light of Mine”) and that’s what I want to share with you today.   I want to tell you a little bit about these lovely lights that shine in our lives every day and to tell you why we’re so thankful for them.
Our ten-year-old daughter Jolie is brilliant.  I mean that in the way that the British say it, to mean the most fantastic, amazing, and charming.  She is brave and adventurous, stubborn and creative, witty, hilarious and beautiful.  Jolie and Scott have been learning guitar together this year, along with her continuing to play the violin, and we are amazed at how musical our child is.  She rocks out like she’s been playing for years, she’s writing songs of her own after school and she’s fearless about playing for an audience.  She also discovered basketball this year and she plays with determination and she loves the challenge of a new sport.  She is afraid of nothing, she will try new things, and this light of hers is so bright that we don’t doubt that she’s growing up to accomplish great things.
Ella turned eight this year and she is growing into a beautiful, sensitive and generous middle sister.  She is quietly independent and fiercely smart.  She adores her big sister and she protects her younger siblings and teaches them well (most of the time…Maggie may or may not have learned the word “butt-head” from her this summer, but because of all the good stuff, we’ll let it slide).  Ella is passionate about reading and you will rarely find her without a book or her Kindle and she loves to act out the stories in the many plays that take place in our basement.  Ella is an amazing friend, she is gentle and sweet and she takes good care of those around her.  She had the best time with her soccer team this spring and fall and even scored her first goals, but I think her favorite part of soccer was having her Dad as coach.  Ella’s light is kind and nurturing and steady.  How blessed we are by her.
Cameron is our rambunctious, eager and snuggly five-year-old and the only boy in the house of so many girls.  Cam will one day make a fantastic husband because he will be able to tolerate all the crazy that girls bring.  This boy of ours brings us so much joy because he is free with his feelings, he tells you that he loves you all the time, he loves to entertain, and because he has a love of learning that could only come from his DadJ  His best days are spent outside building a fort or construction site with his big orange cones, Scott’s scraps of wood, our neighbor’s left over rope and bits of recycles from our bin.  He is happiest when he’s helping me cook dinner (apron, chef hat and all),  when he’s researching the moon with Scott before they take the telescope outside, or when he’s running down the soccer field doing just what his big sister Ella did.  Cam’s light is evident in his ear to ear grin and his big belly laugh that we love to hear because it’s a good measure of something really funny.  Our boy is one big ball of light.

Maggie, our last baby is now three!  She truly is the best ending we could have asked for in our family.  She is silly and sassy, she knows what she wants, she takes in everything that the big kids do and say, and her mischievous personality makes every day more interesting.  This baby of ours soaks everything in, she reads back to us what we read to her, she retells stories and jokes that her big sisters and brother tell her, she sings all the songs that they teach her, she tells her Daddy all about what she and Mommy did that day (even when it would be nice to keep it quiet that we went out for lunch and spent a little too much at Target).  Her light is her infectious smile and in her wonderment of everything around her.  She marvels at how things work, what will happen next, how the dog is feeling on any given day, and she teaches us every day to watch the world through a child’s eyes. 

These sweet babes are the lights of our life.  Scott and I are thankful every day for the health and happiness of our kids and of our family.  We hope we’re teaching them well, encouraging them to shine bright and to stand up for what’s right and to be an example.  We hope they know that although they may feel ordinary in the daylight, when the sun goes down they twinkle and shine like Christmas lights and that people will stop to admire them, like we do, with wonder and awe.  We hope that even when times are dark, we can BE the light for someone else, especially during Christmas, and every day after that.   We hope the same for you and your family too.     

Merry Christmas!  With much love,  Scott, Jamie, Jolie, Ella, Cameron and Maggie Seitz

Matthew 5:14-16  You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas to you!

Merry Christmas family and friends!

We’ve cut down the tree, the lights on the house are up (all but one 5 foot section of lights that Scott can’t get to stay lit), and we’ve had a dusting of snow. It’s almost Christmas! This means that it’s time for the Seitz Christmas letter and I’ve been racking my brain to think of the best kind of letter to write this year. Our dog Harper has joined the family and I considered letting her write it as the cats did a few years ago, but as sweet as she is she’s a little spastic and it probably wouldn’t get done. I thought about writing another sappy Christmas letter like last year, (which was a personal favorite of mine) but I thought maybe you might miss my sarcastic edge if I tried that two years in a row. So, without further ado…

The Top 10 Seitz Family Adventures in Preparing for Christmas 2011:

10. The Grinch. Perhaps it’s because The Grinch that Stole Christmas has been a favorite story of Cameron’s for the last few years and that we’ve read it about a million times in the year 2011 alone, sadly no one wants to read it now that it’s finally the season for it. They do however laugh hysterically when the song comes on the radio and they can sing out “Mr. Gri-INCH!”

9. The Movies. We love that our kids love to laugh and nothing makes us all laugh harder than watching Elf at Christmastime (and who am I kidding, we watch that guy all year round). We also feel quite proud that our kids like to quote Elf on a regular basis. Why just the other day Cameron told Maggie that she smelled like beef and cheese and sat on a throne of lies. Ahh….that’s our boy:)

8. The Christmas Letter. Who knew writing about what we’ve been doing all year could be so stressful? Do we do a Seitz Family Quiz? A letter from the pets? Funny? Serious? So many choices, so little room on the paper…

7. The Picture for the Christmas Card. Do you know how hard it is to get 4 kids, ages 9,7, 4 and 2 to smile a normal smile (not a constipated smile or a crazy-time I’m doing this just to appease you but I really look like a psycho in my eyes smile) at the same time. It’s almost impossible and so we’ve taken to snapping or having the poor soul that we’ve snagged from nearby snap about 50 pictures in desperate hope at least one of them turn out nicely. (And to be honest, more importantly than the 4 kids smiling is whether the picture of the mom is decent because there’s no way a photo will be sent to you, our friends and family, that isn’t. Scott could have his eyes shut in the photo and we could be missing a kid, but if the mom looks good, it might end up being the one that we use that year.)

6. The Christmas Lights. We planned to put the Christmas lights up over Thanksgiving weekend, but because of our busy travel schedule and a 4 year old with strep throat, it didn’t happen. Then the weather got cold and snowy and Scott insisted that we wait and let the snow melt off our roof so he would be safer. We were a little disappointed that he didn’t man up a bit and try to climb up there anyway, but eventually he untangled the lights and began the quest to find the broken bulb that made all the others stop working too. We tried to talk him into investing in some new Christmas lights to no avail, but armed with a volt meter and a pocket full of fuses, by golly, he got most of them lit.

5. The Christmas Program. Jolie (age 9) made her stage debut this year as a Dancing Elvis in the Christmas program at church. It was an Elvis-themed production called Bethlehem Rock and she was a ROCKSTAR in it swinging her hips and shaking it up! Cameron (age 4) and Ella (age 7) also made cameo appearances in the show in the choir and they sang and danced beautifully too. Plus it was a Christmas miracle that all three kids ended up on the same side of the stage so we didn’t have to be the crazy parents climbing over other parishners to get a good video.

4. The Baking. Although by the time you have received this letter we won’t have done any of the holiday baking yet, know that it has been planned for weeks. We’ve carefully decided on the kinds of candy we’re making (peanut butter buckeyes and pistachio cranberry bark for sureJ), the cookies we’re baking , we’ve already picked up the cute boxes and plates that we’ll use to deliver it to the neighbors and made the long list of ingredients that we need (basically a million bags of chocolate chips). In another week or so our kitchen will be a sticky mess of melted chocolate chips, toasted coconut and more bags of confectioners’ sugar than anyone should ever buy at one time.

3. The selection of the Christmas Tree. We drove out to our favorite Tree Farm and there was no snow on the ground, which I’m sure lots of people prefer but for us it felt a little strange to be heading out as we always do the first weekend in December to choose our fantastic tree with absolutely no real snow on the ground. Although we don’t actually trek out into the wilderness like Clark W. Griswold and his family through waist high snow to chop down a huge tree with our bare hands that will barely fit into our living room, we still prefer a little snow while we wander around. But we did find our perfect tree and it’s the tallest one we’ve ever had. It’s a beaut Clark, a real beaut!

2. The Family. There is something about the anticipation of the holidays and the excitement of our kids that makes us look forward to December. We count down each day until Christmas and we try to celebrate all month long in big ways and small ways. We talk about Santa and the kids circle toys (and electronics now that Jolie is 9!) in the Toys R Us ads and leave them in convenient places for us to see. It is a joy for us to see our kids so excited about Christmas and to see their faces when they open their stockings. We are so blessed to have these four amazingly smart and funny and healthy children who really do enjoy each other most days. We are warm and we are provided for and we are together and still smiling most days. What better Christmas present could we ask for?

1. The Baby Jesus. It’s the reason we celebrate this season. We’re doing our best to teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas. The presents are great, the tree is beautiful, the movies are funny and the traditions are special, but we do all of this to celebrate the Baby Jesus. Without it, Christmas just wouldn’t mean as much and our hearts wouldn’t feel so joyful. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas and much love for the New Year!

Scott, Jamie, Jolie, Ella, Cameron and Maggie Seitz (plus Elvis, Sam and Harper too)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Love Affair with Glee

I watched Glee a couple of times last year and loved it but I could never seem to remember what night it was on and I was always catching the last 20 minutes of the show. Plus, I have Criminal Minds and Parenthood that I love to watch and I just can't have that many tv shows that I would die to miss because I'm not just sitting around here eating bon bons, right?!

For Christmas this year I got Glee Season 1 on dvd and now I am hooked. I am a full fledged Mr. Shuster loving, Don't Stop Believing singing, crazy Finn and Puck and Rachel fanatic. I don't know if it takes me back to the good ole highschool days (even though I wasn't in show choir and didn't sing about my problems) or if I just love these songs so much and it's fun to sing along while I watch. Perhaps I just love Sue Sylvester, the super sarcastic Cheerios coach and the sayer of so many ridiculously hilarious lines that I can't wait to add to my personal conversations.

Then I discovered Glee on Pandora. Hallelujah! Now I can make dinner, unload the dishwasher and put away groceries all while rocking it out to Jessie's Girl or Tell Me Something Good. Sometimes Pandora gets left on while we're eating dinner and my kids and I jump from the table and perform a Glee inspired dance number of our own when a particularly fantastic song comes on, like last night when the Gleed up version of Like a Prayer came on.

I knew my Glee obsession was getting dangerous when I just wanted to watch the Season 2 Premier and tried to find somewhere online to watch it for free. Sadly, I believe I may have downloaded the virus that knocked out our computer for most of last week and made many late nights for Scotty having to rebuild and kept me from keeping up on this blog. So, for now I'm waiting for reruns and thinking of more fun things to chat about.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bathtime or bamboo shoots?

I have decided that I officially dislike the time of the day between dinnertime and bedtime. It may be because I'm home all day long with these crazy lovely children of mine or maybe because I'm dying too pee uninterrupted with door closed, but most nights 8p.m. (aka bedtime) can't come soon enough.

But before bedtime must come bathtime and that is a horrible time at our house. I will say that there was a time that I rather enjoyed bathtime, because it didn't used to be my primary task. Back in the day when there was just Jolie and Ella and the idea of having more was a panic attack waiting to happen for Scott, bathtime was done primarily by the Daddy at our house because I thought it was important for our kids to know that Daddy could take care of them too. Plus, Daddy's bathtime was WAY more fun filled with bubbles and overflowing bathwater and lots of splashing and usually went on until the bathwater was freezing the kids' tiny butts off. My bathtime usually had some singing of some sort and there were toys present, but I was much more about getting them in and clean, out and lotioned up in a timely fashion because frankly I was done playing after I'd played all day.

So, for those few lovely years we'd worked out a system where Daddy gave most of the baths and I cleaned up dinner and the house and this worked peachy. But then Cam and Maggie came along and our tub couldn't possibly hold all four messy Seitz's, and it was time to let Jolie and then Ella grow up and take showers in one bathroom while the little ones took baths in the tub because we started to get lots of fun questions about differing body parts and lots of screaming about who got to sit closest to faucet. (Who knew that would be so important?!)

At first taking a shower was fun and exciting for the big girls, once we got past the lessons on "how to officially tell if the conditioner has been rinsed out of the hair so you don't have to get back in when mom comes to check" and that "a wet body doesn't mean it's clean" and my personal favorite "mom's shaving gel is not meant for washing your body or for making the floor super slippery". (duh!) But now the shower has become the small confined space where we're quite certain will host a cage match fight between the girls most nights. Also, I think my girls may have set several records for the amount of time it takes two girls to wash their hair and get ready for bed as well as working on the record for the highest water bill ever to be paid in history of Iowa.

Basically, bathtime is the loudest, messiest, wettest time of the day with much fighting and screeching and usually some crying thrown in. Most nights it is not peaceful and calm and fun anymore like the good old days. I think that getting four children bathed, in their pj's, with teeth and hair brushed could be one of the most exhausting parts of our day, and sometimes think I would rather someone stuff bamboo shoots under my fingernails than do it all over again the next night. But I have to admit, they are pretty darn cute when they're clean and smell like baby lotion...and asleep.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's the New Year!

With the new year and all I decided that starting Monday, January 3, I am going to wake up bright and early every day before the rest of the house is up and sit at the computer with my cup of coffee and spend a few minutes writing, on this blog and in my journal and perhaps even begin my masterpiece that I want to publish soon. I've been in bed by 10:30pm at night and thankfully Maggie is finally sleeping all night long every night so I should be completely rested and not miserable getting up at 6am to start this "me time" that I want to carve out. I've filled my coffee pot with water and set it to brew before I even wake up so that I might have a Folgers moment and spring from my bed even though it's dark and cold.

But as you can see, it's Tuesday afternoon now and I'm just starting to write on this blog and my journal and my masterpiece are also void of any writing, because I would really rather stay in bed until 7am. Ugh...

So please, if you don't see updates to this blog on occasion or if you're in the neighborhood and don't see a light on downstairs, feel free to nudge me along.

And now I'll end with a Cam funny today:

Cameron, my spirited, ultra-intelligent, and Scott's mini-me in more ways that I can appreciate most days child, loves to remove the batteries from any toy or electronic device and make sure they're fully charged with his Daddy's battery tester. Over the Christmas holiday he has also learned how to plug in the reusable battery charger and charge up his batteries.

This morning he had 3 screwdrivers lined up neatly on the coffee table that he'd found from who-knows-where because I can never seem to find one on the rare occasion that I need one. He also had about 15 batteries that we'd just gotten from Christmas for new toys and he was trying to get them into a toy for Maggie, so he says. Really, I actually think he has just figured out that having all these tools out where his tiny 1 year old sister can reach them and eat them and stab herself in the eyeball with gives me a small heart attack and he enjoys watching me squirm. So anyhow, he was trying to get the AAA batteries into a toy with AA batteries and it wasn't working and he was very annoyed with me because he couldn't make them fit. So I asked him where he found the little batteries and he said to me like I was an idiot, "From the glob, mom."

I looked around and had no clue what he was talking about. So I asked again, "Where did you get these tiny batteries, oh lovely child of mine?"

At this point he stops working and puts the screwdriver down, sighing more than a 3 year old should have any right to sigh, and points a electronic globe on the floor, "the glob".

The globe. Funny.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas from Des Moines!

Because I would love to send out a Christmas letter to everyone I've ever met, but I have a husband who'd rather I send out an Christmas eCard instead, I've decided to post our Christmas letter to our blog so everyone can read about what we're doing this month!
Also, it's going to be my New Years Resolution to keep us this blog more than once a year! Now that I've decided not to freelance quite as much, I've got a little more time to keep you updated on the Seitz happenings (aka Jolie, Ella, Cam and Maggie funnies!).

With much love and stuffed stockings...

The Seitz Family

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

December is here and we’re starting to celebrate! We love traditions in the Seitz house and we have lots of them that we celebrate all year round. But we wanted to share with you a few that we especially LOVE at Christmastime to make sure you’re in the Christmas spirit.

Often tradition gets a bad reputation because it’s so easy to get caught up in the “have to” and you forget the true reason for doing it in the first place. While we’ve been guilty of that ourselves, our hope is that our “Seitz Family Traditions” help our kids feel like they belong to something special, that we’re all sharing these moments together and they’ll become memories that they will carry with them their whole lives and maybe even continue with their own families when they’re grown. These things that we do each season aren’t necessarily huge events for anyone outside our family, but for us we’ve been anticipating them for days or weeks or months and we can hardly wait for them to get here! So, enjoy reading about what we’ll be doing this month and maybe you’ll find something in there that you’d like to try with your family.

We start off the month of December by creating a “Christmas Calendar”. We begin with a blank calendar page and fill in each day leading up to Christmas with something special that we do as a family. Lots of days it’s something fun and silly like singing Christmas carols, watching a Christmas movie, saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone we see, or drinking hot chocolate in fancy tea cups after dinner. Some days we do good deeds like buying a present for a child in need, being kind to your siblings, or surprising the garbage man with hot coffee in a festive travel mug. (To be completely honest, this didn’t work out as well last year as it has before as he came early and I had just stepped out of the shower. I made Ella, who was completely embarrassed, walk it out to him and he was thoroughly confused and a bit weirded out by this tiny girl handing him a coffee. This year I’ll make sure I shower before 8 a.m. and all will be good!) Other days we go sledding or build a snowman (crossing our fingers that we have snow), do a Christmas craft, or make Christmas cookies with friends. Each day the kids wake up ready to check out what’s on the agenda for today and it’s been a fun way to celebrate the whole month long.

One of the traditions that we love the best is going to pick out our Christmas tree. We’ve been going to the same tree farm for the last 8 years, listening to Christmas music on the way there (our favorite is Bare Naked for the Holidays by the Bare Naked Ladies) and each year we have our picture taken next to the “chosen one” and we leave with candy canes and our Christmas quarter compliments of the Miller Tree FarmJ This sounds so picturesque and you may be wanting to throw up because of its sappiness (no pun intended), but sometimes these trips aren’t as lovely as we plan for them to be. As you know, we have 4 kids, which means that sometimes someone is grouchy (often Scott or I if you can believe it…) and the girls are fighting over which stray branch they’re bringing home to make into a Charlie Brown tree in their room and Cam is sneaking away to turn on the machine that shakes the needles off the trees. Ugh…are you exhausted just reading about it? But in the end, what we remember about that day each year is that we found the perfect tree, we brought it home on top of our van and we decorated it together that night and it was good.

About 5 years ago we wanted to help our kids understand that Christmas is also a time for being generous, so we began our tradition of ringing the Salvation Army bell together. Rather smartly, we chose an indoor bell in the mall near Target where we get popcorn and can use their bathrooms, plus it stays warm and there’s lots of people and it’s mostly fun. I say mostly fun because although it is our goal for it to be a fun evening by getting dressed up in our matching Christmas attire and planning to see Santa afterward, it never fails that by the second hour of bell ringing Scott and I are hissing at the kids through our teeth to get off the dirty floor, sweeping up spilled popcorn, begging the kids to quit fighting over who’s rung the bell the longest, and trying to find out what Maggie has in her mouth and where she found it. But again, at the end of the evening, what we remember is that the passersby’s thought the kids were darling, lots of people put money in the bucket because Cam told them they should, and we’re pretty sure at least one of the twenty pictures of the kids on Santa’s lap that we had to snap from outside Santa’s Christmas confines because we don’t want to pay $20 for a wallet size photo showed everyone smiling, and it was good.

And then there is Christmas Eve. I especially love our Christmas Eve tradition because there is no better way to start off the frenzy and excitement of opening presents from Santa and overflowing stockings with a simple and beautiful reminder of what Christmas is really about. My family sitting together in our church that we love, listening to the story of the Jesus’ birth and singing Silent Night with their candles burning makes me cry every year. My cup runneth over. How proud I am to be the mom of this family and as I glance at my husband, I know he feels the same. We have these four amazing kids that are so healthy and smart and funny and generous and we are so thankful to be blessed like we have been this year and every year. It’s often about this time when our hearts are about to burst with love and joy for this family of ours that we hear the less than quiet argument break out between Jolie and Ella over who’s candle is who’s, realize that Cam is dangerously close to setting the woman’s hair on fire in front of us, and see that Maggie has eaten the wick off her unlit candle.

But (if you don’t already see where I’m going with this) the memory that we’ll keep of Christmas Eve is that we drove home admiring the houses with the best Christmas lights, we set cookies and carrots out for Santa and his crew, and we put the kids to bed so they could wake up at the crack of dawn to open presents and it was good. It’s always good.

So, this holiday we hope you are enjoying the season and celebrating every day. Merry Christmas:)

With much love,

Scott, Jamie, Jolie, Ella, Cameron and Maggie Seitz (and Harper, Elvis and Sam- the pets)

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:10-11