Monday, December 15, 2008

Cookie Cutter Houses

So, let me preface this post by admitting.....I have issues. You all know it, well, so do I.
OK, that being said, let me take you back to 2001. I was pregnant w/ Suzannah and there's nothing like a bun in the oven to have you take a serious look at the Christmas traditions that you want to pass down to your kiddos. Something that I felt like was very festive that we had never done growing up was make Gingerbread Houses. We had done it in school a couple of times w/ graham crackers, but that wasn't the real deal. So, that Christmas Billy and I made our first of what we hoped to be many Gingerbread Houses. And, of course, the only way to make a Gingerbread House was w/ the recipe in the December issue of Martha Stewart. So, early that day I rolled out the gingerbread and let it cool. After dinner we sketched out a template and Billy cut out the walls and stuff. I made the icing and bought all the candy that was traditional for gingerbread houses. He assembled it as I melted the sugar for the windows. The finished product was spectacular!!! We even wadded up a short strand of Christmas lights to put inside it so that there would be a cozy glow coming from inside. OK, by now, if you didn't already know that I had issues you are beginning to understand. :)
Fast forward to 2008. We had yet to make another Gingerbread house. "Why?" you ask. Well, b/c who has the time to make gingerbread houses from scratch w/ little ones (mind you Martha only had one child!)!? And, to be quite honest....I don't work well w/ others. I never have been a "group project" kind of girl. However, b/c I love my kids so much and want them to enjoy the experience of making Gingerbread Houses at Christmas time, I was determined to do it this year. I was getting stressed out at the thought of sharing the duty of decorating the house w/ little ones....not to mention fining the time to make, cool and cut out the gingerbread. While at wal-mart one day, picking out bananas, I saw this:

WHAT?!?!? You have to be kidding me?! People buy prepackaged gingerbread houses?! How lame!!!! So I got my bananas and stood in front on the huge display of "easy to assemble" houses and began to sweat. I was not going to cave to convenience and have a cookie cutter version of a tradition.....and yet, I knew that considering it had been 7 years since our last one and knowing that I would get too stressed out to actually follow through w/ making one from scratch, and I really needed to do what was "best for my children".......I put the box in my buggy (thank you, thank you. i cant hear you all cheering!). It's disturbing how difficult it was to purchase that, but I'm really glad I did.
We finally got around to decorating it yesterday and the kids had a ball!!! Me, on the other hand, I tried not to watch and stay busy preparing dinner. I can't tell you how badly I wish I had bought 2 so that I could decorate one all by myself....I'm sick in the head, I know!!!!!


Here's the only "in progress" photo I took.

And here's the finished product. I'm learning so much from having children. It is a blessing to learn to let go and enjoy the small things (like asymmetrical gum drops and uncovered icing and...sorry). God is so patient and while my perfectionism and control issues aren't that big of a deal in the big picture, they really do rob me and my family of joy. So, I'm thankful for a laid back husband that helps me loosen my collar and let my hair down, three fabulous kids that leave me absolutely no other option than imperfection and a Father that is patient and merciful and generous......ok, ok, and *gulp* prepackaged gingerbread houses! :)


17 comments:

Grams said...

Awesome house! Your "four" kiddos did a great job!!

Mabry's gamma said...

They did good and you did good to, Stacy. I know exactly how you feel, recently my girls told me I don't do well with others and I hate relinquishing control, so you are talking to the choir here. I keep reminding myself to "just let it go."

Merry Christmas and love to all,
Aunt Cheri

The Clevelands said...

I laughed the whole way through! You should go buy another one just to do for yourself! Have a very Merry Christmas, Stacey!

YaYa and Pops said...

Huh, I don't know where you could have possibly gotten your "issues!" ;-)

April said...

We love the prepackaged gingerbread houses at our house! David's mom and the kids put one together every year at Thanksgiving. Lots of fun and with a little less preparation...:) I'm proud of you for getting one for your kids to enjoy. Billy, you guys did great making it! Stacey, I, too, struggle with perfectionistic tendency as well as control....God does teach us through our children, doesn't He! :)

laura said...

I'm going to have to find that package when we're back home in the states :) It looks like the kids had such a great time! I feel you on the letting go thing though! Our tree is my domain. I like the lights to be perfectly spaced, the beads to be perfectly placed and all ornaments exactly where they should be. Needless to say, I'm learning to let go, not well, but it's a work in progress :)

Jenny said...

I bought the same one b/c I wanted to start that tradition with my family! And, like you, I was hesitant about it but hey - who has time for the real deal these days???? Your house is beautiful and they will love the memory forever!!!!

Meredith Hedges Hernandez said...

Haha........oh, Stacey, you're awesome! I love that you're the same Stacey I knew in high school....and that we clearly became friends because of having many things in common......this perfectionism thing being one of them!!! I've seen those kits in the store and thought "oh, my, that's sooooooo cheating! Why in the world would someone want to use those awful things?" (no offense intended to anyone!) I sooooo know I'll have the same issues if/when I get to be a mom someday. Thank you for highlighting my own issues and providing encouragement to me in my pre-mom years!! Love ya!! And oh, can I just tell you that I admire you so much as a mom.....ESPECIALLY the "imperfections" -- they make you the sweet, lovable Stace who became my very best friend all those years ago!

Jessica said...

You are hilarious!!! That is one beautiful gingerbread house.

Rusty and Ann said...

Yay for you! Oh, I get it, I get it. I had to get Hallie her own tree for her room so she could put all the ornaments on one branch in her own space, not mine! Ha! One day, I'll let go of that one. (Maybe when she's 14 and might space them better anyway!)

Laura said...

Look at those HUGE smiles that the kiddos and Billy have. The kids is b/c they had so much fun and Billy's b/c you stayed out of it :)

I am soo proud of you. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. You have only 11 more to go!! I am on 10 so I am already more better than you ;)

Love ya & the house is awesome! How did it taste? (hee-hee) YOu know I am going to sneak over and eat it!!

The Clevelands said...

I'm thinking of you right now - my kids are wrapping gifts by themselves. Would allow this? :)

I know I'm not as much of a perfectionist as you, but it was kind of hard letting them do most of it themselves!

The Loftis Family said...

So glad you caved and just bought it. You are a good mommy, prepackaged gingerbread house and all :)

Shill said...

"...three fabulous kids that leave me absolutely no other option than imperfection..."

I laughed out loud.

Laura said...

I bought one today b/c you inspired me!! I could never and WOULD never build one from scratch so just attempting a pre-packaged is a huge deal for me!!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Jessi -in love with her boys:) said...

I am sooooo proud of you. :)
You get the mom of the year award.

Jill said...

sooo funny! I totally understand how you felt! I never read an issue of Martha Stewart without thinking of you...

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