April Jeppson: Making memories with family this Christmas

Published 9:03 pm Thursday, December 26, 2019

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


My kids have been asking to go on a trip. Mostly it’s my oldest who’s asking, but he’s got the troops rallied behind him. We’ve talked about going to a waterpark before, so this year I gave them a choice. I gave a very detailed interpretive dance about how I have “this” much money and I can either spend it on gifts or I can spend it on a trip to a waterpark. They unanimously voted on a trip.

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My three children don’t unanimously agree on anything. If I gave them two choices, they’d find a way to give three different answers. So when they all agreed so easily, I knew I had a trip to plan.

As fun and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants as I can be, at my core, I like to have all the information before I make any major decisions. I ask questions, I go online, I create spreadsheets, maybe even a PowerPoint. I want to make sure that I’m getting the best bang for my buck. I read the reviews, I compare prices, and once I think I have an answer, I sleep on it. After much deliberation, I chose one night at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Cities. Then after another week of research, pondering and price-checking I chose to wake up Christmas morning at the hotel.

So my family was about to embark on an adventure! Brian and I both worked short days on Christmas Eve, and I was able to pick him up from work around lunchtime and head up. My family has a tradition of eating fried chicken and potato salad on Christmas Eve. It stems from my grandfather being from the South, and I just grew up with this. It wouldn’t be the day before Christmas without it. So on the way up north we stopped at KFC to get our fried chicken fix. It was kind of humorous, but traditions just feel good, and that meal felt real good.

We were lucky enough to arrive as our room was getting ready, so we were able to check right in and bring everything to our room. I tell you what, I was not disappointed. Our room had a little cabin nook with two sets of bunk beds in it. My kids could have spent a week just hanging out in their room. They were so wowed with the fact that they could all be together yet have their own bed. Oh and the TV. We don’t have TVs in our bedrooms at home. We only have two in our entire house. So my children were on Cloud Nine in their bunks watching TV. We hadn’t even made it to the waterpark, and they were already happy with this trip.

We swam until 8:30 p.m., which is incredible because on a normal night we have lights out by 8. My kids were happy and exhausted as they laid their heads down on Christmas Eve. They slept so well that night, which was exactly what Brian and I needed so that we could sleep good and prepare ourselves for day two.

As recommended by many of my friends, I packed a ton of food. In our home when we do bacon they get two slices. If we make extra or if someone doesn’t want their allotment, then they can have extra. But they know there’s a limit. So when they had unlimited bacon, muffins, berries and juice, it really did feel like Christmas morning.

We swam, played and ate snacks ’til 4 p.m. I’m sure the kids could have stayed longer, but we enticed them away with the promise of ice cream on the way home. We stopped at one of the only open fast food restaurants we could find and they all ordered chocolate milk shakes. I don’t know if I’ve ever allowed my kids to order an entire milkshake — I usually make them share. But once again, it’s Christmas.

I think we did good. We played, talked about Jesus’s birthday, ate fun food, spent time together, we listened to Pentatonix Christmas music while we ate breakfast. (Hans’ current favorite song is Carol of the Bells.) We really just enjoyed our two days together and had a good time, which ultimately is the goal.

“The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love.” — Amanda Boyarshinov. I think my kids will remember this Christmas for a long time.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.