We has such a good Christmas this year. I actually feel like we are still in the midst of it, Jer has until January 2nd off. Having him home is such a joy! Everybody is happier when he's at home, and everything just feels slower and more peaceful.
I wanted to share a few...ok maybe not a few... pictures of our Christmas. I'm also going to throw in some from the weekend we spent with Jer's family. You can see some pictures from the holiday celebration we had with my family here.
The kids' favorite activity we did with Jer's family was building gingerbread houses. Some of the kiddos have celiac so we used gluten-free graham crackers. Each of the kiddos had their own tray to build a house, but Mini Man and Big Buddy decided to work together. They made a fort - it was really just a group of little boxes to dump candy aka weapons into.
We packed a lot into the weekend. In addition to gingerbread houses we also went to see the Nutcracker, exchanged gifts, played in the snow, read books, did crafts, etc.
When we got back from celebrating with Jer's family I decided to push pause on school. We spent the rest of December reading, baking, and crafting.
↑ I did a blog post about these watercolor nativity silhouettes; you can read about it here.
One of our traditions is that when we drive around looking at lights the kiddos hand-out an award to their favorite house.
Another one of our Christmas traditions is new pajamas on Christmas Eve. This year we went with crazy stripes from Gap. We closed the evening by finishing off our Advent calendar and then the kiddos all crawled into bed together.
Jeremy's sister Heidi and her husband Colby joined us for Christmas morning. The kids had to stay upstairs until they arrived; they were pretty patient, but were very HAPPY when the call came to come downstairs.
In order to try and keep Christ the focus of Christmas we always take a break between stockings and gifts. We have a big breakfast with a birthday cake for Jesus. We also give the children three gifts to represent frankincense, gold, and myrrh. I was really excited about Big Buddy's gold gift. He's been into drawing arthropods and on his own started to pin up some. We got him a few taxidermy arthropods, a book about setting up a home nature museum, and few supplies to get him started.
I wasn't as excited about Mini Man's gold gift, but his face and squeals totally made up for it. Sometimes you have to give into those wants, even when you think they are kind of silly.
Little Lady's gift was a sewing machine. BabyZ got a basketball hoop that we actually just pulled down from storage. It was given to Big Buddy when he was two and until a couple months ago we forgot we still had it. We don't think at this age BabyZ will mind that his gift was not new. His aunts also provided him with plenty of NEW ball toys.
His myrrh gift was also second hand. I was able to snag some gently used magnetic blocks. It was such a good deal that I didn't realize it had moving parts - the dinosaurs actually walk!. Luckily, Aunt Heidi was here to help with the assembly.
Jeremy picked out all the kiddos' frankincense gifts this year. I'm so pumped to read them with the kids. The illustrations in The Biggest Story and Found are fantastic; the prose is also pretty stellar. The Bark and Bog Owl doesn't have any illustration beside a map but it's a biblical fantasy story that I know Big Buddy will just eat up. The book I'm most excited about is the The Radical Book for Kids. It's a guide book that uses some amazing graphics to take kids through the history and theology of the Christian faith. I've paged through it a couple times and it's already taught me a few things.
The kids were all excited because I told them they didn't have to do any chores on Christmas. Unfortunately, that doesn't apply to mommies. I honestly didn't mind though. It's a privilege to be the guider/supplier/protector of their innocence and joy.
As I mentioned above Jer's off on a bit of an extended vacation so I feel like we are still in the midst of Christmas. In just a few days, though, we will have to get back to daily tasks of life that can seem so mundane. It's easy to loose sight of the of glory of Christmas when we take down all the lights and return to normal. I love this message that Jer shared on his instagram Christmas night
"It was a good good day...all is quiet here now. All the “get to’s” and “have to’s” are complete and we are all spent in the best kind of way. As I have been winding down the day, this “night after that night” has been rolling around my head. As anyone knows, who has seen their child come into the world, there is an inevitable adrenaline crash. Was it this quiet for Christ’s earthly family? Did things go silent until Anna and Simon? What about after? Were they left with normal exhaustion and this “other” weight? Did the shepherds ever come back? Did Elizabeth ever come back to share that connection with Mary? We are so weak sometimes and faith is such a fight, and that’s just my little corner...there battleground of faith was entirely different. As these thoughts tumbled to a stop, I had such a moment of thankfulness about the “timing” of the Magi. To THAT kind of breaking into your normal day, that fight of faith, is just the way God is the cornerstone of fighting faith. That moment, that Magi moment is coming. For those that fight for their hope and faith and love in their Savior, His message of assurance that the fight is worth it, is already on its way. It might still be years out, but He has already released it...you...we...I need only hold on. The message that we are not alone is not just for Christmas night. Our God rings that bell so many other times in our lives. Look, listen and wait. Isaiah 9:2"
I married a good one! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and as the New Year comes I hope you hold on to the fact that we are indeed not doing this life alone.