Sunday, January 19, 2014

12 Pics of Christmas

The Christmas season has been gone as long as it was here, so I guess it's about time I share some of the photos and activities of our family's celebrations. I'm limiting myself to twelve photos, though, so here are the essentials:

The Sunday before Christmas, which also happened to be Matt's parents' 40th anniversary, we took them to lunch and then went back to their house to open presents (since Christmas Eve was going to be so busy!) I typically do something memory-oriented for the girls' gifts to their grandparents—handprint mugs, a photo calendar, etc. This year, I made "memory keeper" boxes on for the grandparents to keep cards, photos, and artwork from the grandkids.

 Christmas Eve, as expected, was jam packed, starting with our noon service at church, done in the style of our Sunday evening casual service, The Road. We offered kid activities so little ones could stay in the service. I printed manger coloring sheets (outline of the stable and star) for kids to color and add their nativity scene. And so the kids could have "candles" for the singing of Silent Night, I had supplies to help them wrap a glow stick in white paper and add an orange tissue "flame."

After that service, we went over to Granna and Opa's again for a light mid-afternoon meal and visiting with Matt's aunt and uncle, who were there as well. Love this pic of my girlies in their Christmas finery.

And this one of the whole family, including BGC. Kate determined that anyone not wearing red on Christmas Eve was on Santa's naughty list. Sadly, this meant that the only one on the naughty list was Uncle Gary, whose birthday we were also celebrating. What a way to treat the birthday boy, Kate! (Maybe Gary feels like I did on my sweet sixteen, when I decided on a pink theme instead of the usual red, white, and blue for my July 4th birthday!)

From there we went to a nearby nursing home where both of Matt's grandmothers reside, to visit with them a bit. They are both quite elderly and can't get out to join family celebrations elsewhere. I always think about how, when Matt and I got engaged, we both had three living grandparents. Then I lost one a few months before our wedding, and the other two just months apart in 2010. Matt still had his three until his grandfather died on our anniversary this past October. It was good to see the grandmothers this Christmas.

Then, it was back to church for the evening Christmas Eve service. Since the day had been so crazy and I'd had the girls to wrangle during the noon service, I cherished the opportunity to sit and celebrate the Incarnation with some presence of mind. Then we headed home to read "The Night Before Christmas" and set out milk and cookies!

We enjoyed Christmas morning with just our nuclear family, opening stockings and gifts, eating our traditional egg casserole and singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. (And by nuclear, I do mean nuclear, as BGC is a super-late sleeper and missed the morning festivities!) We got a Kindle Fire for the family.

After BGC got up, she got her own little present party, with gifts both from us and from an "angel tree" sort of volunteer gift giver DCS recruits. Kate and Claire loved helping BGC with her presents. We saved some for her to open when my parents arrived later, but then she was napping, so she missed it and had another private present party!

After getting dressed (the kids all in new outfits they'd been gifted) we went to the hospital to visit a church member. We hated that he had to spend Christmas in a hospital bed, and felt bad for the nurses that had to work, so we picked up doughnuts on the way to spread some cheer!

When we returned in the early afternoon, my parents arrived for their visit! We opened more presents, hung out and played, and enjoyed a nice dinner.

My parents stayed a few days, during which we saw a movie ("Saving Mr. Banks"—so good!), ate out, visited the Frist art museum's Norman Rockwell exhibit (and hands-on kid area, which Claire is enjoying in the pic below), and ice skating! 

Popi entertained the little girls on the bleachers while Matt, Mom, Kate, and I skated. The girls went back to my parents' condo with them for a sleepover that night, and I enjoyed a lot of scrapbooking time on our child-free morning!

I was determined to make sure the Christmas fun didn't stop with the 25th or with grandparent visits. For one example, "after Christmas" sales at Michael's made possible some fun Christmas crafts on the cheap!

So that was our Christmas. Whew! I'm glad I didn't decide to blog 25 pics of Christmas. I noticed that this is blog post #901 on The Parsonage Family, so maybe—despite my blog-aversion of late—I can resolve to hit the big 1000 this year! Hope your 2014 is off to a good start.

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