Tuesday, December 24, 2013

joy to the world!

The weeks leading up to Christmas had been very busy what with travel and illness (again and again and again). But since we're all on vacation for the next two full weeks, the past few days have been everything that the days leading up to Christmas should be. There has been a lot of lounging around the house in pajamas and slippers (or not), with big brothers reading some of our favorite Christmas stories to little brothers…


Fathers teaching their daughters to play Backgammon, and then getting totally schooled by said daughters (Charlie has the two brown pieces on the ledge, while all of Elizabeth's white pieces are in territory and on their way off the board. I think bunny gives her an extra advantage…)


Photographic-memory sons playing the game, Memory, with their aging mothers, and then schooling their mothers (final score: Henry = 26, Me = 10). What's really sad is that I'm not one of those parents that "let" their children win, I was actually trying my best to defeat my six-year-old and couldn't for the life of me remember where anything was. He thought I was joking…


Hitting the malls to shop for gifts for our siblings (no, you can't all have iPhones)...


And bringing some donuts to our local firemen with our best wishes for a healthy and safe holiday season and 2014….


While at the firehouse, we also dropped off our annual donations to the Toys for Tots program.


As I told sobbing Henry, if you love the present so much that you picked out for someone else, you did an awesome job, because just think how much they're going to LOVE it, too!  His response, "I've got some toys at home that I can give to them, please, please, please - why can't I keep THIS one?!"


After our toy drop …


The captain was just in the middle of giving the children a tour of the ambulance when an alarm went off and they had to jump in the ambulance and take off. So we all took a moment to offer up our prayers for their safety - and for the well being of whomever they were responding to. Life can change in a split second … even during Christmas.


These days, there has been a lot of dressing up and pretending we are reindeer…


And Elves (this is our best attempt to keep our eyes OPEN in a picture)...


On Christmas Eve, the kids sprinkled Magic Reindeer Dust all over the front and back yards….


And then everyone was able to open to one present …


An Ear Wax Vacuum? Charlie said this immediately reminded him of me, and is something I've never known I've apparently always wanted because I'm so practical. My Man, keeping the romance alive!


We headed off to church wearing our brand new wool coats and hats (Charlie received a hat just like the boys, but he says that he "forgot" to wear it. Uh huh… sure he did.)


Our Christmas Eve candlelight service was as lovely and thought-provoking as always…


As soon as we returned home, the kids had to quickly check Santa's status via the NORAD Santa Tracker…


Before we sat down for dinner.



They set out cookies and milk for Santa that they had baked earlier in the day.


Along with some handwritten notes, which they thought were necessary to drive home a specific point.




Once the children were in their pajamas, they listened to "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."


Exceptionally narrated by William…


And then checked Santa's status again via NORAD before retiring to bed for the night; or at least 10 minutes until they were up asking, "Where is Santa now?"

How about now?

And now?

…. now? 

… yawn. Now?


Scrolling through these pictures, everything really looks so idyllic.

Lovely children, lovely decorations, lovely traditions!


Not shown is the bickering, teasing or whining that is known to occur. Also not shown, the frustration and sudden lack of patience that can crop up out of no where and without warning. Most notably when brothers knee each other in the face and then scream in pain, and you hold your breath waiting for the blood to start gushing from a broken nose, or another prematurely lost tooth.  Make no mistake, we've got our challenges a la plenty.

But during this blessed and magical time of year, we're focusing on our love, hope, and faith.


And also, our major SCORE on Peppermint Stick ice cream earlier today (there are two more low fat 1/2 gallons just like this one in our freezer).  Yes, Jenny ... there really IS a Santa Claus!


May your Christmas be full of sweet moments and miracles, too.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!