Monday, December 23, 2013

A Resurrected Tradition

As promised I will post the outcome of tonight's adventure. This was my status update on Facebook this morning (Saturday, December 21, 2013) :

Tonight I will be doing the unthinkable. I will be allowing my children, to once again, create a gingerbread house. Now, for those that do not understand...I may be great with cookies, but gingerbread houses have been my undoing. Our last experience was, for lack of a better word, tragic. (so much so that I swore...NEVER EVER to attempt one EVER again) I will NOT however be doing this alone. We have enlisted a couple who are highly trained and apparently very successful to assist. If you would just pray, my children are, as you can imagine, suffering from PTGBHBS (Post traumatic gingerbread house building syndrome). Pray that tonight's experience will redeem this Christmas tradition for the Engel boys. lol!! Off to purchase some supplies! (After this evening I promise to update in a blog - that will explain any of the gaps in this status update). ;P

What some do not know, is that last December, I was experiencing pre-menopausal symptoms. I didn't realize what was going on. This particular day, this day of gingerbread house disaster story was indeed my undoing and my reason for getting help. (You can read about some of this experience here: What Do You Call An Old Chicken)

It was December 10, 2012, I remember the day like it was yesterday. We had 3 kids and 5 gingerbread houses to build. I had every supply neatly organized, each boy was patiently waiting their turn to decorate. One bag of icing (which clearly is not enough) and several cute candies to place on each house. I put together one house, gave it to the Shane and started on Kyle's house. While I was trying to put Kyle house together Shane's house collapses! I put Kyle's house on hold and attempt to fix Shane's. In the meantime, Brendan sits patiently waiting. While trying to fix Shane's his candy that he meticulously placed starts falling off the roof of the house. I give him his back and attempt to fix Kyle's. This went on...way to long. Finally finished building Brendan's and Kyle's fell apart again..with almost all candy on them. I still promised two more houses, but after all the repairs. I had no icing! UGH!

At some point in all the chaos, I cry out..."I PROMISE YOU....WE WILL NEVER EVER BE DOING THESE EVER EVER AGAIN!" "I HATE GINGERBREAD HOUSES!" I had to walk away from the table a few times. Here was the result:

OK, I know it doesn't seem awful, but that is because my boys are adorable and I love them and they are amazing...but this was pure torture for me! I let my kids eat whatever they wanted immediately after this picture. I wanted nothing in my house to remind me of this. About an hour after all of this, as I was still cleaning up, I saw out of the corner of my eye, my son Brendan running away. I went to him and calmly asked..."What's the matter honey?" I noticed that he was crying. He said..."I'm so sorry Mom, I am so sorry!" What in the world! It is okay honey! No matter what it was....tell me what happened! I went real close to him and he hugged me. I was worried, I didn't know what happened. He finally walked out and showed me that one of my dining room chairs was broken. He said he was standing on the side of it and the leg snapped in half.  Calmly and lovingly I held him in my arms and said.."Hey, its ok! It's only a chair sweetheart! It's just stuff...don't worry about it!" It was that moment...that very important moment that caused me to call the Doctor the next day. I just flipped out like a mad woman over a gingerbread house that kept breaking...and now (like Jeckyl and Hyde) I was calm as a cucumber over real furniture! Something was desperately wrong with me. We laughed through tears...and I decided...promised...pledged NEVER to attempt these things again!

Tonight, I will be observing as some of the masters of Gingerbread House Building attempt to redeem this Christmas tradition that has tragically died in my house. I'll return to post pictures and write an update!

I'm back (Monday, December 23, 2013)! I had to wait until the competition was over. Our friends had people vote on their favorite...and posted all 8 of the gingerbread houses that were completed by their 5 children and my 3 children.

Well, I must confess...this year's gingerbread house building and decorating was amazing. I didn't have to do one thing except operate in my love language...words of affirmation. I can do that. I'm not gifted in the art of gingerbread house building, but I can encourage like nobody's business.

The Reynold's family were all prepared (you can tell they were experts). Long table with plenty room for 8 children, bowls filled to the rim with every candy you can imagine and graham crackers...lots of them. Both families contributed to the candy stash as well as the royal icing. (Although...we had WAY too much of both - better to be prepared!) Last year...I ran out of icing that was given to us in the kit...very frustrating.

So here are the results. I'm proud of my boys. They operate in a deficit because I don't really do much in the craft department with them. However, they were amazing! They went right to work...without any touch of adult hands...whatsoever! Not only am I proud, I'm also VERY THANKFUL!

Brendan's Gingerbread house and yard! 

This was Kyle's mobile outhouse. (one side of it) 

Here is the entrance to Kyle's mobile outhouse. That's a nice place to go potty I think!

And finally my Shane...A Christmas castle!
I'm pretty sure their favorite part was knowing they accomplished this tradition that we all thought was dead forever. They did it on their own and then they got to eat as much as they could when they were done! Besides the smiles on their faces, the joy in their hearts and the fellowship with some awesome friends...for me, I enjoyed watching them be creative and then eating I didn't have to bring it home!

I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I've decided, promised, pledged that I will allow my boys to do this again next year! Truth! They had a great time..from picking out the candy, to building and eating it!

Christmas! We have so many wonderful traditions around this time of year: our advent calendar, cookie backing, reading stories, hanging ornaments and retelling every story that goes with each one, seeing Christmas lights, watching movies and I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting to mention. So now, thanks to our friends who encouraged me to give it one more try - we celebrate a resurrected tradition! Merry Christmas to you and may you all enjoy the traditions of your family during your celebration of Christ's birth!

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