Christmas reflections

Merry Christmas!

We had the most glorious Christmas day and then December 26th hit.  And we went from celebrating the birth of Jesus to building Noah's Arc.  But seriously, given the non stop rain the past 48 hours, I've had some time to reflect.
   When Jack was born, Christmas was full of tons of toys, not only from "Santa" but all relatives and honestly we could have opened a toy store after Christmas.  We were so excited to watch each and every present opened, completely satisfied in the rip of each paper and smile and happiness.  Then somehow our 1000 square foot house got cramped, and we noticed that truly only some toys really mattered and we had to re evaluate.
  It's a hard thing for a parent.  I distinctly remember coming downstairs on Christmas day to a million presents under the tree and the wonderment of it all.  Yet I also remember certain gifts and not others.  There is no doubt magic to all of those presents under the tree.   But we felt it was all a bit off, and we decided we wanted to try something else.  While we have set endless rules in our house that last a minute and chore charts and consequences that come and go, we settled on a Christmas plan and it might be the one thing that had lasted, and we feel good about it, and it is what our kids know and love and appreciate.  The possibly only perfect combination in the Ullery house.
We have always told our children that there were 3 wise men who visited Jesus and each brought a gift, thus Santa brings 3 gifts as well.  Mom and Dad also buy a gift so our children get 4 gifts on Christmas morning.  That's it.  So not a huge stack of gifts under the tree, just 16.  And honestly its more like 12, because often one or 2 is something big that won't be under the tree.
And I'll be the first to say that my kids aren't perfect, they complain all the time, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do, why are you so mean...."  but this is the one thing they don't blink about.  And they are as excited and giddy as any child on Christmas morning and honestly grateful for what they receive and so happy.  And Brian and I in turn are happy about  how we decided to do this so long ago, because again, we question every little parenting decision on a minute by minute basis and most often feel like we don't have a clue.
     So 4 gifts, we really have to think about it, no room for nonsense.  But also no need to be crazy, they are kids.  She here's an example of the the breakdown.  Jack: ping pong table was big gift, paddles and balls, a new swim suit, and a pokemon DS cartridge.  He was thrilled.  Callie:  horseback riding lessons was big gift, bungee chair, monopoly game (we are obsessed, our family owns 6 different versions), clothes.... not a lot but they were genuinely so happy.
     Obviously not all families do gifts this way.  Like I said, I clearly remember getting stacks and stacks of presents.  And this is NOT a judgement call on doing things different.  It's merely a testimony on possibly the only parenting thing each year Brian and I feel good about.  The rest of the year is a total guess and we paddle along this thing called parenting.

So back to the rain..... what the heck do we do with 72 hours of downpour.  This is it.....

And lots and lots of playdates.