Before I knew that I was pregnant (surprise!), I had oh so many Christmas plans. There was a whole list of devotions, random acts of kindness for the kids, Elf on the shelf for every day, many cookie recipes, etc, etc. Then I found myself pregnant and tired. So scrap plan A and move to plan B: simply! And that is just what we did. The only thing I regret is that I didn't put up the usual Christmas lights around the windows and mirrors. Other than that, I was ok without garlands, only occasional Elf visits, less devotions and less RAOK. I loved having the kids home from school for their break! They are such a help to me now and I love watching especially Nathan and Abigail grow closer together and become better and better play buddies. Yes, there are the days where they just fight all day long. Especially the first two days after break starts. But then they settled into a mostly peaceful pace.
Our Christmas of course always starts on Christmas Eve (a German tradition). In the morning we opened my mom's package and were able to Skype with not just her, but also uncles Matze and Alexander and aunt Kathrin (with Noah still in her belly). The immediate sugar surge from all the German candy is always a good start for any holiday. :-) Most of all though, my mom surprised us with a gigantic amount of money. Uncle Chris added to that and now we are able to take the kids to the Great Wolf Lodge for two nights and three days! It'll be a blast.
Christmas morning Santa had left us full stockings and extra presents for the kids. Abigail got this long-wished for Lego Friends set, Nathan got a football uniform costume and Isabelle a toy puppy. Nathan tore through his stocking, Abigail leisurely went through hers and Isabelle had to be continually reminded that she had something left in her stocking. :-) They had so much fun. I love this American tradition. Thank you, Santa! (And also for my goodies!)
As you can see, the breakfast table was very simple. I'm afraid to say, I didn't even iron the napkins.... Strangely enough, I was ok with that too. Lorena did a great job with the breakfast. She cooked most of it in order to help me out. The lovely centerpiece was a wonderful gift from Jennifer H. Thank you! I had oogled those at a local grocery store but the price just kept me from getting them. Everyone admired it.
Oh, and Nathan was in his suit from Grampy for a mere....hmmm...10 minutes. I guess that is what happens when Santa brings that greatly desired football uniform. The girls wore their dresses, also courtesy of Grampy, all day long.
Pinterest had some Grinch hats which I made for the kids. This is them slowly eating at them although they are not yet supposed to eat. :-) Usually only Isabelle will eat a fair amount of food. For some reason, holiday breakfasts are a big deal now and even the older two love them and eat tons. Abby will even eat sausages and bacon that she won't eat any other time of the year. Tangent: Abby's curls are turning into waves. :-( I'm sad and will miss her little corkscrew curls.
Breakfast morning with uncles Mike and Chris and Grandma. Daddy is taking the picture. Then we feast!
After breakfast we open presents. The kids are unusually patient for this. However, once we told them we'd start, Abby rushed to her present for me and wanted it to be the first one given. I loved that she didn't think of herself, but was experiencing the joy of giving instead. Her gift for me was a lovely angel that is now displayed on a shelf above our TV. Nathan gifted me cross earrings. From my wonderful husband I got a wall hanging with my favorite hymn and a wonderful mug with a Jesus quote. It is now my favorite mug. I must not tell Abby that her gift from last year went to the #2 spot... I love, love, love gifts from my kids and husband. They are always so thoughtful and fitting for me, showing that they pay great attention to what I like.
Isabelle greatly accessorizing her outfit with an orange cone.
Uncle Mike gifted Isabelle a gigantic Tweety bird. It is literally as big as she is. The only problem is that it has a ginormous head and a tiny body, so it won't stand. Incidentally, the tiny body is what Isabelle flings over her shoulder and how she carries Tweety. In years past I would have grinched at such a present. Now, seeing their joy, it is a perfect present.
Abigail giving us her excellent Mary, Joseph and Jesus set that she made at school. She was very proud and wanted to give it to us two weeks before Christmas already. :-) It was very hard for her to keep it in the gift bag until Christmas morning.
Nathan was gifted much-needed wrestling headgear and knee pads. Naturally he had to try them immediately. Truly, he just wanted an opportunity to wear his singlet.
Abby giving Nathan her two presents she had made for him. She had made him a really cool toilet paper tube snake (since he loves snakes) and a parachute (which he also loves).
Opening the second round of presents. Rusty and Megan made my night. They gifted us a dinner out while they would feed our kids dinner at the same time! It's a two-in-one!
Abigail and Isabelle posing in their pretty dresses in front of our fireplace. Notice the Elf in the middle of the mantle.
All kids in wrestling stance! I love Isabelle's. Abigail looks really good in hers, as if she had practiced it. And Nathan of course has this down.
We had a really lovely Christmas. The kids enjoyed it very, very much. We are so blessed to have most of our family here where we can spend the holidays with them. On occasion, even a German makes it out here for Christmas. :-) Maybe again next year?
Either way, the kids' ages are wonderful. I can't wait for Christmases to come, when all the girls are a little older. Although the thought of Nathan being so big already is not pleasant. I love his age but it also reminds me that he will grow up before we know it and will be off, living his live independently from us. And that will be sad when they are all out of the house. We'll miss them. But right now, we love having the privilege of having them in our lives.