Oh this Bucket List has been so much fun to work on over this holiday season! Truly, the holidays can be a painful reminder of the children we don’t have to set on Santa’s lap, so the distraction has not only been greatly appreciated, but it’s prompted us to create many new memories and I love that! Here’s a quick update on how we are doing:
Well … my first Holiday Bucket List (HBL) item was to Put together a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. I sat down after Thanksgiving to get the checklist from the website and find the nearest drop-off location only to find that the boxes are due before Thanksgiving and I missed the whole thing already. That would figure right? Way to start off on a great foot, haha! So instead, I decided to take my HBL item of Volunteer at an organization over the holidays and volunteer AT Operation Christmas Child. And then add a Toys for Tots donation to the list in lieu of the shoebox. Phew. So with that note, I have yet to drop off my tots gift (I have till the 21st) but did embark down to Bloomington, MN with my sister last week to volunteer at Operation Christmas Child! What an amazing experience it was! My job on the line was to remove contraband (glass, military/weapons toys, liquids, etc) and add fillers to the box if it was a little empty (things like soap, stickers, stuffed animals, etc). All I can say is that opening those shoeboxes and seeing the care people put into making them was amazing. And it was incredibly touching to realize that this small $1 yoyo and sheet of glittery star stickers would be the only Christmas gifts these children would received. I LOVED seeing the boxes that were clearly crafted by a child. They would include their school picture and adorable notes on the top of the shoebox, explaining the items or introducing themselves. It was a beautiful reminder in this season of how BLESSED we are for all that we have. I loved every minute of it and it will absolutely be an annual event going forward.
I have had an uncomfortable, yet awesome time of Intentionally acknowledge bell ringers outside of stores instead of avoiding eye contact. I am always impressed with their ability to stand still outside in the cold single digit temps, shaking their bell and attempting to sing. I have enjoyed tossing my change in there and saying Merry Christmas, leaving with a smile. (And have no picture to prove that this has been taking place so take my word for it.)
This last Saturday evening we crossed off three more items. Drive around aimlessly for at least 30 minutes looking at holiday lights, Visit a house that has a live music/light show and Visit a live nativity scene. First of all, can I just say “thank you” to all of those people who work so hard to put up outdoor Christmas lights? I remember as a child visiting a neighborhood in Westchester, IL that we called “Candy Cane Lane” where the majority of the neighborhood put out beautiful lights. The subdivision would turn into a slow crawl as cars would pull in and out of the streets, creeping by each house as our eyes tried to take it all in. It has always been a favorite childhood memory of mine and Saturday evening reminded me of those special memories. We started off the evening at the live nativity, which was truly, just beautiful. If you have never been to a live nativity, I highly recommend finding one in your area. I am so thankful for the hosting church and the volunteers who put it on. It was a “drive thru” one, meaning we simply drove around a loop, stopping at each scene, where a verse was posted about the Christmas story and volunteers stood still, acting out the verse. Between the people, live sheep and camels and powerful verses, it suddenly brings to life what Christmas really means. Josh narrated and read the verses outloud as we drove past, while I unsuccessfully choked back tears. One of my favorite memories from the bucket list thus far!
And then we visited a house that has a light show set to music on a private radio station and that was so fun to visit. (We still have one more house that does this that we would like to get to this year!). And then we drove around, looking up houses to visit that are known for their lights. There were many beautiful ones … and then this lovely one as pictured below that took blow-ups in the yard to an extreme. Hahah, we loved it!
Alright, next on the list was to try eggnogg. I knew I couldn’t consume a lot of sugar and didn’t have the interest in making homemade eggnog knowing I could only have a sip so I took the recommendation of the nice lady in Cub Foods and bought a container. And with Josh and my sister Courtney on my side, we tried it. And all I can say is I have a nearly full container of eggnog in my fridge if anyone is interested! :)
Next on the list was to Go ice skating at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis. I recruited my sister and her boyfriend to join me on this one and we spent a lovely Friday morning relearning to ice skate. It must have been 10 years since I had ice skated last and I have gained an entirely new appreciation for those who make this look simple. It was a challenge, but a fun one, and I am thankful we ventured out on the ice.
Josh and I have been working our way through our Christmas Movie list on free evenings. So far we have watched Elf, Christmas Story, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Josh added an “honorary” movie to the list, so we have also watched Home Alone and will also try to get Home Alone 2 in there too. So two more movies left to watch and we still have a week left. I think we can do it!
I had so many awesome invitations from others to help complete my Attend a Christmas concert of some sort item. I couldn’t help but excitedly accept the invitation to 3-year old Mallory’s Christmas concert. Let me tell you, you haven’t been to a Christmas concert until you have been to one that has tons of tiny children sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. It truly blessed my heart. Plus I got to see one of the cutest stable piggies ever too! So special!
The last item I have completed thus far is Paying for someone’s meal/drink behind me in a drive thru. This was a fun one that I did while grabbing an iced tea from McDonalds. It was fun to bless the minivan behind me and hopefully they enjoyed their lunch.
Alright, that leaves about a week to accomplish a few more … I think I can do it. Thanks for following along!!
- Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Home Alone 2
- Recruit my sister to reenact a childhood Christmas photo
- Go sledding
- Build a snowman. Perhaps a Cali sized one.
- Make a snow angel
- Buy new pajamas for Christmas morning. (Extra points if I match my sister)
- Look at stars with Josh on a cold, snowy night
I have so much more to update y’all with …. and plan to soon. In summary, the naturopathic route has been going well all things considered. I knew the detox and adjusting to this much slower way of cycling would take a lot of time to get used to and it has. But I am continuing to try to keep moving forward with a good attitude and a hopeful expectation of the answers to prayer to come. Oh and I have also started doing heat yoga, which is TOTALLY new for me and will have to share some fun stories in the posts to come. Good news so far is I haven’t passed out!
Lastly, I want to wish my friend Charity over at The Word of a Nerd a Happy First Blogiversary!! She has invited to me help her celebrate and is an amazing Christian lifestyle blogger. Check our her blog today and also, have a chance to win some awesome giveaways!
Alright all, hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and are enjoying the season we are in. Try your best not to let your expectations of the holidays overshadow what this time is all about! XOXO!