Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Family Traditions #16: Christmas 2012

"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson

This year was the best Christmas as a family yet. Jonah and Silas understood what was going on. They knew it was a month long birthday party and they knew whose birthday we were celebrating!
They could tell us the whole Christmas story with their flannel graph characters and the cardboard characters from the Christmas play. It was delightful hearing their versions!
{Celebrating the lights being on the tree}
One evening soon after Thanksgiving we dug out the Christmas tubs from the shed, made some hot chocolate, turned on the Christmas music and decorated our tree together. The boys called our tree, the "pretty tree", they came up with that on their own. 

Eden loved all the sparkly ornaments and a blue pacifier ornament especially that I got at the doctors office when I found out J and S were both boys! 
She went for that pacifier first thing each time she crawled into the living room. I'm not sure how much tensel she consumed this past month, but she survived! 
Jonah and Silas were fascinated with their "first Christmas" handprint ornaments. We made one for E this year too.  
 That night was a lot of fun! Next year I'm sure the boys will be begging us to put up the pretty tree before Thanksgivings! 
That was a fun night!
It's a tradition to take a family photo in front of our tree. It started so that we would have a Christmas photo for our December prayer letters, but once the boys were born we started framing them as ornaments, so we have one for each year on our tree.  
The ones that don't get framed are always my favorite though!
Somehow we always get a hug shot!
 Mamas usually don't make it into photos with their kids as often as they should, so while my kids were willing, we snapped a few!
We started our advent devotions December first. The boys call that tree, the "button tree"!
We put baby Jesus on the button tree on Christmas day right before nap time. 
Throughout December we played lots of Christmas themed games using different things that the boys have been learning, like our Gingerbread number game:
and Marshmallow Bingo. (I photoshopped out Santa and added more nativity scene characters to talk about)
My boys probably consumed an unhealthy amount of marshmallows this month!
We try to serve together as a family each year in some type of Christmas outreach. This year it was the Christmas presents for the children's shelter
Our water pump broke the night before Christmas Eve, so Jimmy and the boys fixed it Christmas Eve morning... and Christmas day... and the day after Christmas. The dumb thing broke a month before we are to move and the replacement is a dud that leaks our cistern dry. Instead of buying a third one we just  walk outside to turn it on and off when we need water. 
Jonah and Silas love helping Daddy with their tools!

We have been looking forward to starting this tradition with Jonah and Silas. It is from Jimmy's childhood. On Christmas Eve we open up one present, some type of game. The boys just started playing board games a couple months ago. They play UNO too. We love it!
{Ready to open the present!}
Jimmy had the idea to have a cookout at our forever house and open the present there. It was really special. 
 The game this year was Chutes and Ladders.
Eden played too... with the packaging!
Can you tell by this victory dance who one?!
 That night we skyped with Papa and Kiki. They had gotten some pool noodles to be able to have a battle via Skype... silly Papa and Kiki! 
We let J and S have the M&M filled candy canes that Kiki had sent them. It's funny because Silas woke up Christmas morning and before he looked at the tree or said anything to anyone he walked straight to the fridge to get his candy cane out to finish. 

Daddy and I had a blast wrapping the rest of the presents that night. Jimmy was in charge of the train!
 He set it up so it would be the first thing they would see as they turned the corner. I found this train 6 months ago at a thrift shop here. It was new, but the packaging was really beat up. It is hard to find good quality lasting toys here and if you do they are about 33% more than what they would be in the States, so I was thrilled to find this! All the rest of the presents came over in a suitcase, so we have to plan ahead... way ahead!
Here is our tree all ready for Christmas morning!
Here's our soccer sock stockings!
 Even Lucha and Fije had something under the tree! I labeled all the presents with just letters since Jonah and Silas can't read names yet, but they do know what letter all of our names start with. It was kind of like a game for them... easily delighted!
We didn't want to miss the boys' reactions, so we got up earlier just in case... too early, by over an hour!
Here's our sleepy faces!
We decided to do Eden's stocking with her without the boys.
 Daddy had found and bought these cupcakes all by himself and she LOVED them!
Finally.... Silas woke up! (Notice the candy cane in hand!)
He turned the corner and said, "Oh... broccoli!" He thought the mountain looked like a big green vegetable... and he was just as excited about a big toy vegetable! He's so crazy!
Jonah soon followed and as soon as he saw the train he turned and said, "Thank you, Mama!"
They played with the train for about an hour which included Facetiming Papa, their train buddy, to tell him about their cool train!
 They still don't get that the green thing is a mountain, Jonah calls it a "tree". 
We eventually moved on to stockings. Eden was napping by this time, so she missed it all. 
Jimmy helped the boys make me some pretty snowflake ornaments! They love using scissors. 
Jimmy said that our present for each other this year was a stick welder. I think it was clearly more for me although he wants my first project to be chicken tractors! (These are not the proper goggles by the way, I do have a helmet.) 
The googles were a hit though!

Jonah and Silas got several things they could play with together, but there were some toys that were very specific to each boy, like...
 Hulk hands for Silas!
 It didn't take long before this started:
And this is what Jonah kept telling us he wanted: 
a guitar! That was one happy little boy!
Silas was pretty thrilled with their walkie talkies too. 
We stopped mid morning to eat breakfast. 
That is when we had our birthday cake for Jesus. It is a tradition for it to be an Angel Food cake. The boys like that kind because we eat it with strawberries and whipped topping.
We also Facetimed with G and MaG and all their aunts and uncles. They had sent presents for the kids to open and we got to see them open theirs from us... fun!
Eden eventually woke up. She didn't really get the whole present thing. Jonah and Silas didn't mind helping her with her gifts. 
She ended up really liking her plates and cups!
She got some pots and pans too... the girl is ready to cook!
She especially likes that the pots make a very loud noise when clanged together!

We had two of Jimmy's chickens for Christmas dinner. They were delicious!
And then we just spent the rest of the day playing together. It was nice!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas as well!


  1. Looks like fun! I wish I'd been organized enough to do first Christmas handprints with my boys. I love the framed photos, too, that's just awesome.
    So fun to see how fast Eden is growing (and the big boys, too!).

    1. She IS growing so fast! I can't believe how many words Dominic says already!!


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