We had a wonderful Christmas, full of joy, blessings, giving, and love.  It was a bit different this year, in that we found ourselves with 4 children who understood what presents under the tree were (instead of the 2 last year).  While each child certainly had their list of “wants,” there were no complaints after they received what we thought would be most useful.  It was also a great deal of fun have JR and M old enough to earn allowances throughout the year, and buy gifts for each other as well as their brothers for the first time. 

Around here, it all starts on Christmas eve, when we gather around, Daddy leads us in a little devotional to ensure everyone remembers the real reason for Christmas, and we all open one gift.  This year, we chose to open our gifts from Uncle S and Aunt P (my brother and sis-in-law).  Although I forgot to take a pic, S and I got a wall decor piece, made of Alaskan driftwood (they live on Kodiak Island), tied together, and then they had fixed Alaskan stones to spell out “Proverbs 22:6,” one of our favorite family versus.  I love the rustic nature of it, and feel it fits our home perfectly!  We even have just the spot to hang it!!  The kids received handmade hats.

The kids loved their hats so much (all except R, who is at that age when she absolutely refuses to wear ANYTHING on her head–but don’t worry, Aunt P, she’ll be able to wear it next winter too!!), that all of them decided to wear them to bed.

I won’t bore you with too many details, or go through each and every gift, but here is a few of our favorite photos of the day…….It starts with reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke (don’t you just love N and A’s enthusiasm as they listen to Dad read while eyeing the presents?):

Little R got a Raggedy Ann doll from Grandma

M got a princess dress, complete with crown and wand.

The kids all received a neat little 3-D, coloring gift from our neighbor.

S gave me 2 huge stainless steel pots so I can more easily boil down tomatoes, applesauce, and even water-bath 1/2 gallon jars of cider next year!

JR and M also handmade a couple of gifts for S and I.  My camera doesn’t do it justice, but JR came up with an idea for a magnet, and with no help, created it totally on his own:

 He found a bottle cap, turned it into a mini-skillet, punched a yellow paper hole for scrambled eggs, and cut 2 tiny strips of paper for bacon, then used his elmer’s glue to put it all together.  It graces the front of my fridge now!

Just for fun, here is a quick video clip of M opening Grandma’s gift.  (oh, by the way, Grandma is a big-time John Deere fan!!)

http://youtu.be/46-KnMbiV7Q

The kids received lots of other little gifts as well.  Thanks to the issues we are battling with A right now, many of the gifts were focused on sensory input, fine motor skill development, or education.  Of course, their absolute favorite, was a totally justified Craigslist find (since A really needs the practice with balance and coordination, as well as a means of expending energy, right?!)

Boy, let me tell you, trying to get the kids all in bed early on Christmas eve, so S and I could assemble the tramp in a foot of snow, temps in the low 20’s, and using only lantern light created memories I’ll sure never forget!!

We were so eager to see their faces when they discovered the tramp on Christmas morning!!  How were we to know that N’s morning ritual is to look out the window?  Next thing we knew, all 3 boys came racing into our room at 6:30 in the morning, talking excitedly about the new trampoline in the woods!  Apparently, N had looked out as usual, and said, “JR, der’s a twampoline ow-side!”  I didn’t even know my 2-year-old knew what a trampoline was!  Oh well, so much for that surprise.  No doubt they are all enjoying it though.  Even in the frigid temps, they make sure to get at least 30 minutes of jump time each day! 

All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing day, celebrating the birth of our Savior.  We also started a new tradition this year, and that is to give each of the children a themed Christmas ornament to remind us of a memorable event that occurred that year.  R got assigned Precious Moments, M got Willowtree Angels, A got Bears, and I’m still trying to figure out a theme for the other 2 boys.  This year, though, JR accepted Christ as his personal savior, so he received a frosted glass cross to help comemorate the event.  The intent is to create a meaningful collection of themed ornaments for each child, that they can take with them when they move out on their own one day, and at the same time, help give them glimpses of their past Christmases with us. 

I hope each of you were equally blessed in some way this Christmas season! 

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