Today’s post is a little bit two-fold. First, I want to share with you all what we did for our advent today, and then I want to share with you about one of my favorite things we own.
So for today, we had a chocolatey hot chocolate party. What is that? you may ask. Well, it’s creamy, dreamy, whipped cream, sprinkled and marshmallow topped hot chocolate paired with chocolates to eat of course! It. Was. A HUGE hit! I’m telling you, it’s all in the little things, my friends.
The girls and I whipped together the hot chocolate, threw down our Gathre mat, cranked up the JohnnySwim Christmas album and all sat down together to enjoy our chocolate feast.
Since my post about our coloring date I’ve received some questions about my Gathre mat. First of all, let me tell you, it’s a total game changer. While we could have had our chocolatey hot chocolate date at the table, it would have felt much less party-like. There’s just something special about being able to gather together on the floor, and enjoy each other’s company. And when momma doesn’t have to worry about the mess that’s being made, she has a lot more fun too.
Now, I would LOVE to tell you all how I came to have this mat. This story is so special to my heart, and I’ve been wanting to post about it for almost a year. Are you ready? Because I am so ready.
At our annual Solar Family Christmas party, my grandpa had passed envelopes around to every one in the room. Now, this wasn’t unusual. Every year he gives all of his 13 grandkids $10 inside of a Christmas card. We expected no different. However, this year, we were told to open them a little bit differently. First, the great-grandbabies (6 in all) were to open their cards. $100 inside of each. We were speechless, to say the least. Next the grandkids were to open theirs. As we each opened our envelopes, gasps filled the room. Followed by tears. And then an overwhelming gratitude. I won’t say how much he gave, but I will say, I have never received that much money as a gift before. To say we were awed would be an understatement.
You see, my grandpa is getting up in years (88, I believe), and he’s not doing as well as he once was. Over the past year or so, my mom has been helping him get his affairs in order. During this process, they stumbled across some old stocks he had bought years ago. He figured they were worthless and told my mom not to worry about it. She figured it was worth it to at least check them out. Boy were they surprised when they found out what they were worth. The kind man helping them said that he could use the money to invest into something else (which my grandpa had no interest in ), OR he could use the money to leave a legacy for his family. Now THAT definitely interested my grandpa. So they cashed the money and prepared to give it to all of us at the Christmas party. Seriously, to this day I’m still floored.
As the weekend went on, we all discussed how we would use the money that had been gifted to us. As soon as I saw that check in my hand I knew I wanted to get something that would always remind me of my grandpa. I wanted something that, every time we used it, I could tell my girls how we got it, where it came from, and why I wanted it. Instantly, I knew the first thing I wanted to buy with that money was a Gathre mat.
Let me tell you a little bit about this amazing company. It’s run by two mommas who have a heart to see families gather together and make memories. Their mats are made of bonded leather and are insanely easy to clean. They are tough and can handle almost any kind of mess. These mats are an investment, but they are worth every penny. The heart of this company perfectly fit what I wanted.
So I took the plunge. We purchased the maxi mat. And we use it all. the. time. We use it outside, at the beach (sand doesn’t stick to it!), on the table, on the bed when we order pizza at a hotel, for craft time, for tea time. Really, it gets pulled out at least once a week. The girls already know if we’re doing something special on the living room floor, they need to clear a spot so we can lay down our mat. It’s become part of our standard. And every time my sweet little family gathers together on it, I think about my grandpa. And his great act of incredible generosity.
It’s for sweet moments like these that I wanted this mat.
AND because all of our kids are 5 and under, there were definitely some spills to clean up.
And lots of crumbly chocolate everywhere.
We simply grabbed some towels, and dried up the water. And when we had finished our party, I took the mat by all four corners and gave it a good shake outside. Then I folded it up and put it back in place for next time.
And this is the man that made it all possible. My Grandpa.
If you want to check out a video of us using (and Eleanor cleaning) our Gathre mat, head on over to my instagram or Facebook page. Thank you so much for sharing in my special story today. I so appreciate it.