Some years we have had some Christmas pictures taken. I love looking back at those from years previous when the kids were all so itty bitty. But this was one of those years that all we needed, and all we had time for, was the tripod and my talented hubby.
We took some pictures on Christmas Eve of the kids in their shirts that my mom made. The big kids did a great job smiling, and Hope was mostly cool with it, but Luke was refusing to sit and smile. Imgaine that. A stubborn toddler! :) We had Elizabeth and Anna trying to feed them fruit snacks to keep the littles happy, but it didn’t work all that great this time.
Our days leading up to Christmas this year were very full and busy. The month of December brought a lot of travel for Steve and I and we tried to do our best to create a feeling of calmness in our home and hearts despite the crazy days. It is so very easy to let the busy, even well intentioned events, cloud our heads and keep us from concentrating on the true meaning of Christmas.
On Christmas Eve Day, Steve had class, but was able to come home between his morning and afternoon classes. This gave me time to run to the market for our produce for the rest of the week.
The kids were enjoying a few days off of school and were snuggled under blankets watching some Christmas movies. It was sweet to see them just enjoying the down time. There were many books read and many legos played with (during the littles nap time).
This year, instead of multiple Christmas parties hosted in our home, we borrowed our friends coffee shop and had everyone go there. It wasn’t as small and intimate and had a different feel to it, but we were thankful we had a place for everyone to meet.
We invited all of Steve’s students and other friends who frequent the coffee shop. There were a lot of people there! We also had some of our friends go to help and filter the crowds… they did such a great job getting numbers of students and reaching out to them, and helping to answer questions about the true meaning of Christmas.
Because Steve had class all day, I wasn’t able to go over and set up ahead of time, so we had about 3 minutes to get things set up. We kept the decorating to a minimum. Thankfully a simple strand of Christmas lights do a lot to create a nice feel!
Every year we have made gingerbread houses with the kids. This has been a fun tradition to keep up each year, and one that no matter where we are, we can still do. Most years we do this project with a group of people and I make a very big amount of gingerbread. This year however, in an effort to keep things simple, we just made them for our family.
We had talked about just doing one large gingerbread house for the while family and have everyone work together on it. The whole idea of teamwork. But to be honest, just sharing the candy is enough teamwork sometimes. And of course they each have their own ways to express their creativity and such. But the main thing is to avoid any extra drama! So long ago I printed some templates, reduced them down to 40%, and I just use those to cut the rolled out gingerbread. We certainly don’t need big houses!
Because my camera was very dead, and my mom was growing increasing tired of my less than perfect instagram pictures, it was time for me to get a new camera. When a friend came out, he graciously hand carried my new camera out to us… (after chasing it down at the UPS store on his way to the airport… just to keep things interesting).
It came just in time for Thanksgiving and with all our celebrating and hosting and baking I didn’t have much time to use it. Until the week after. Then I started to really enjoy it! I got the kids ready and we headed outside before Luke’s morning nap. I took our house helper and our friend outside with me. I had to be realistic. Toddlers on the loose require chasing. And I have 2 toddlers.
We had a good time and I was just so thrilled to have a working camera again!
*disclaimer* – Steve always tells me I can borrow his camera… but his professional level camera is just too much camera for me! It doesn’t do what I want it to do! :)
With such a busy fall, our usual Christmas decorating day was the first day off our family had had in a really long time. It was wonderful! We always start the night before with me making sure all fall decorations are packed away, and then Steve and I getting the tree put up, and the lights on without 10 little feet stepping on them or getting them tangled.
The kids woke up to the tree with lights and one lone ornament. The big kids know exactly what to do… the soft non-breakable ones on the bottom, and the more fragile ones up high. They went right to work and did a great job! It really was nice because they were real help. Not the kind of help which really means it takes me 3 times as long to get a job done! And we had the entire day to put up a few decorations. It was not a chore, but a fun time!
We had a really fun Thanksgiving this year. But I did a horrible job taking pictures of it, or even remembering it. Steve was out of town until the night before Thanksgiving, and so I was finding myself being very challenged to get all the prep work done to pull off a big Thanksgiving meal!
But, with help from friends it all got done. I did not however have much energy left for picture taking.
This year we had some friends from the capital city come and celebrate with us. It was fun having them join us! We also had 2 of our Chinese friends, who truly love American food, join us.
We had lots of fun appetizers for lunch, a cheese ball, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, and hummus. (because of course hummus was served at the first Thanksgiving right?) Thankfully all of those things I could make ahead of time.