Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas 2016

We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
We had a wonderful Advent and Christmas season this year. This year we got our tree early, the day after Thanksgiving. Last year we got a late start and most of the trees were picked over. We went to Ward's Christmas Tree Farm again, as we have since moving out to East Chester. The kids look forward to the horse-drawn wagon ride out to the field to choose just the right tree. It is then cut down and loaded up on the wagon, along with all of us. We go inside the tiny cabin like office to pay and enjoy hot chocolate and cider. We love the new traditions.
We set the tree up in water at home and give it a few days to adjust, then we pull all of the totes full of decorations downstairs. These totes hold ornaments accumulated through years of marriage, ornament exchanges, tiny hands making festive creations and even some passed down from our childhood. Memories made. The kids love finding their creativity from passed years, finding the baby ornaments and guessing which belongs to whom. Usually we alternate who gets to top the tree with our start, but this year the bulb blew and we never got around to getting it replaced.  
As soon as December arrived, we began our Advent devotional, called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp. Ann is such a poetic author, that at times it is often hard to read her work. This was our second year and it was much easier to understand. We enjoy the building anticipation of Christmas morning, when we celebrate the first coming of Christ to this earth. With each nightly reading, someone hangs an ornament on the pallet tree that Daddy built last year. The final ornament, the star, is hung at the top of the tree on Christmas morning after our final devotion and before presents!
We took Lottie and Jude to see St. Nick since neither had seen him before. Although we do not use Santa in our celebrations, we do observe St. Nicholas. He was a Christian bishop who gave to the hungry and poor. This is where the legend of Santa Claus is derived. We learn about St. Nick in our History of the World cycle. One popular story about him we read is that he gave bags of gold to a poor family for the daughters of the family a dowry so that they could marry. He was a giver, which goes with the Christmas season.
We also continued with pour tradition of making homemade Christmas cookies and candies. Mia looks forward to this time of year because she LOVES to bake. She has grown quite good at following a recipe. We also made some homemade ornaments out of felt and popsicle sticks. We may or may not have started a new tradition of caroling. We had a good time singing carols to friends, but I am not sure we were in tune.
Christmas morning was a little different this year as well. We decided to visit and celebrate with family before Christmas day, reserving the day for our immediate family. This year was special because Christmas fell on Sunday, so we went to worship with our church family after opening gifts and eating Christmas breakfast. I got to cook my first Christmas feast this year, except for the turkey that we bought at Birth Choice. Everyone enjoyed the meal and I enjoyed not having to fool with dinner. We had lots left over. Other first we enjoyed were Lottie and Clementine experiencing Christmas for the first time.
I do wish we would begin wrapping gifts as we buy them. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning is getting old....or I am.

 Two blond, blue-eyed beauties
 Our group photo at Ward's
 Trimming the tree

The ornament hoarder
Ann Voskamp's Christmas Devotional was much easier to read the 2nd year.
Our Advent Tree 

 We wanted Lottie to experience Santa Claus :-)
2016 Homemade Ornaments
 Eggnog Fudge
Traditional Turtles
 2016 Christmas Card
We decided to have a little fun and use one of the many outtakes as our card.
This is what it is really like when we try to get a group photo.
All is calm.
 Christmas morning chaos

 Clementine's first Christmas
2016 family Christmas picture
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14

Eva turns 8

 Sweet, Sweet Eva Lou turned 8!!! It amazes me how each birthday seems to startle me with another year added to the life of our little ones. Eva is not so little anymore. Eva is growing into a sweet young, lady. And yet, she maintains her eccentric, artsy personality. She has taken a new liking to LEGOs, spending hours creating. She recently took offense to her sister's comment that she wasn't girly. She is very much girly, yet her personality is all her own and we celebrate that!

We love you sweet girl! We praise God for giving you another year ahead. We look so forward to seeing you grow and your charm continue to captivate all of us. You are a blessing and a true beauty!

Eva was gifted the day at the skating rink with her friends!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Quick Hail

 Hail as big as ping pong balls came raining down for just a few minutes. Maybe 5.
Got a few dents in the top of the van, but no one can see them.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Baby Dreads

She wallows around in her bed trying to get to sleep each nap time.
She has worn herself a nice, large bald spot and a couple baby dreadlocks. 
Can't bring myself to cut them.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Eli turns 12

 Eli is 12 today!
He is entering into his last year before he is a teen. This is proof that life is a vapor. Born one minute and on the verge of being a teenager the next. We are proud of the young man he is becoming. He is our compassionate, animal-loving, precise, LEGO-building, competitive, soccer-playing son. He loves the Lord and has shown spiritual fruit over the past year. We are quite blessed to be his parents.


Parent Watch Week: Eva

 I always love Parent Watch Week in the girls' ballet classes. Recital leaves us so far away from our girls that we never get to focus on the intricate details of how they have grown as dancers. This year Mia moved into the class where Parent Watch Week was a thing of the past. Sweet Eva got the spotlight. She is rough on her tights, with stains and holes adorning every pair. She says she does not love dance, but she dances so gracefully. She prefers sports and action. She has even declared she would love to take hip hop class. I think Eva sticks with it for the social aspect. One of her best friends is in her class. I enjoy knowing that she is growing up with friends and learning the arts at the same time. She has become more confident in her dancing and her focus is on point. She will make an outstanding dancer if she stays with it. She is so beautiful inside and out.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Clementine: 5 months


What sweetness! Clementine is now 5 months old. She is chewing on everything. She loves jumping in her jumper. She squeals and mimics our sounds to her. We love "talking" with her. She squeals, then we respond by mimicking her. It goes back and forth with many giggles from our girl. She loves to be held and carried. She know which siblings love to  accommodate her wishes and she squeals in their presence. She is still nursing exclusively 6-7 times a day and still at least once per night. No teeth, no food. She is working on trunk strength, so it will not be too much longer before she gets the hang of sitting up alone. She does not love to be away from us and will cry when someone holds her where she can see mom. I do not blame her, I love her as much as she loves me!!