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I am by no means the “got it all together” mom, but what fun is there in that anyway? I have always loved the idea, though, of establishing a way for my family to recognize advent and start some traditions that will turn into solid, smile-bringing memories for my kids. As soon as the twins were born, I started trying, only to find how difficult it is to keep up with any kind of nightly activity in the busiest month of the year! I continued to try in my years as a single mom, only to find it harder in, what was then, the most exhausting month of the year. Now here I am this year with this mess of kids and a husband up for whatever my crazy decides we should attempt so….here I try again!

Two things were very clear for me before I even started to plan anything: I did not want activity to overtake the season to the point where I miss it all, and our main focus would be Jesus. To accomplish that first one, I wasn’t going to put anything on our schedule that I knew would be stressful for me. Baking anything with 7 kids is just not fun for me. image1 (29)I have this traumatizing memory of flour and sugar everywhere that just overtakes my ability to enjoy such an activity. The idea of taking our bunch to the ice skating rink always results, in my mind, with a visit to the ER=not fun. Sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen is obviously out, and no, homemade snow so we can do it anyway does not sound fun. Don’t even get me started on that Elf. Despite not being a fan of the overall idea, I don’t want a reason to sit bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night while scaring my husband awake as I declare, “We didn’t move the Elf!” I am sure he appreciates that too. While I may not be a “got it all together mom”, he appears to be a “very on top of it” elf, and those two things just don’t match when it comes to believability. Another one that is out for me, at least for this year, is family Christmas pictures. I cannot begin to explain to you how much family pictures stress me out. By the time you get the last kid dressed, the first one has somehow already gotten a stain on their carefully selected outfit. By the time the last child’s hair is done, the first one has rolled around on the couch and has half of theirs sticking straight up. Then there are the moods-do you know how often all of our kids are in a good mood at the same time? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not often. One picture-that is about all we will get, if we are lucky! From the wedding day, we have one picture in which everyone is smiling, looking at the camera, and behaving. All the other family pictures exist for our comedic relief (you must zoom in on some of the awesome faces in the pictures below). I am not saying we will never again have family pictures done, but I’d rather not spend a day as a scrooge at Christmas time.

Ashley Karaffa

Ashley is mother to a blended family of 10 and appreciating the beautiful chaos of it all. She enjoys creating systems - because how can you survive a family with 8 kids without systems - and spending time celebrating her family.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on December 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Still cracks me up to see that picture and remember how proud of themselves they were! None of us our perfect, but you do an amazing job raising 7 children! I admire your efforts!

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