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! :)