Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I know I'm a few days late...but we have been busy having very much fun and celebrating!  Now I'm going to blast you away with lots of great pictures and a story of how we celebrated.

We started celebrating on Thursday night by having over some exchange students and their families.  

 We had great food...
 and games!  Snow was the only thing that seemed to keep us from partying all night long...we were taken by surprise--a clipper that wasn't supposed to hit us at all dropped a snowfall worth shoveling...
 ...only we didn't shovel it.  On Friday, Christmas Eve, we hung out inside and stayed warm (and possibly a little bored).  It was great!  My only regret is that we didn't pack ourselves up and go to the Christmas Eve service at church. 
 Later Friday evening,  Mitch and I got the kids started on a movie while we went downstairs to "do some laundry".  Hehehe.  We had a Christmas surprise up our sleeves.  On the day after Thanksgiving I bought a set of flannel sheets and a set of fleece sheets for our king sized bed.  This is the first time we've had fleece sheets.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.  Mitch does too.  We started talking about it, and decided we should purchase sheets for the kids' beds too, especially since they sleep downstairs where it is colder at night.  We thought they would love them.  We found some on sale, and I had secretly washed and stacked them in the laundry room (they must have thought it was random piles of fabric, or else they are as unobservant as their momma).  I made the sheets for the crib/toddler mattresses, since those are smaller and I have gobs of yummy microfleece here (VERY EASY to make crib sheets!!!).  I also made pillowcases for the extra pillows.  So Mitch and I stole away downstairs and got all the sheets changed on the beds.   After that chore was done, I pulled out some fleece and got Mitch and Kathi started making a fleece tie blanket.  We didn't tell Kathi it was for her.  See how hard they are working???  Not distracted a bit by the movie...

 After the movie and blanket were finished, Mitch hid all our throw blankets that were in the living room.  No one noticed until we sat down to do our Advent story.  Hmmm...I'm cold!  Where are the blankets???  Soon Mitch disappeared to a back bedroom and came out carrying armloads of new blankets.  We had a new blanket for each child (we bought on clearance when Wal-Mart was moving).

 The excitement was contagious.  It was so hard to get them to calm down and be quiet so Mitch could read...
 After we were done and ready for bed, we took all the kids downstairs to help us do some laundry.  We told them to put their blankets away....and....that's when they discovered their new sheets.  I don't know if they were more excited to go to bed because of the sheets and blankets or because it would make Christmas come faster, but wow they were ready for bed!!  (Some people stayed up until midnight playing games, I just don't remember who or what...every night since then has been late...)

The next morning, the kids were excited to find "baby Jesus" wrapped in cloth and lying in the manger [my homemade cardboard manger...it worked out well!]...

 We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of pancakes made with red and green sprinkles.  Very festive and yummy!

 Then we lit the Advent candles and finished our Tabitha's Travels story.

 Finally it was time to begin opening presents!!! 

 Tirzah opened this present first, and she couldn't have cared less if she got another present the rest of the day.  I swear she didn't need another thing.  :)  This is a little doll that we picked up at Wal-Mart for $20.  It has a soft face that actually moves and "sucks" the bottle or pacifier.

 The next set of pictures here will help you get a glimpse of the excitement that occurred with nearly every package opened...we gave lots of presents to the entire family rather than to each individual child.  This was a big one, so we had everyone gather round to open it together.
 I love the look on Eden's face as she sees what it is ...
 ...a bow and arrow set...so nice of the big kids to let the littlest kid pick it up first...
 ...and they all explode with excitement!
 Kathi with a cool MN t-shirt from our friend Cathy Chilson...one of a couple gifts she received from our friends!
 At this point I could have posted many more pictures, but I haven't.  There are just too many.  We have been at it for hours (opening only one present at a time).  Mitch had each present numbered, so as we brought out a gift, he needed to locate the number on his notebook and let us know who should open that particular gift.  We had lots of fun small stuff wrapped also (and Kathi had lots of fun gifts for us from Germany--thank you!!), so it was really taking us a while.  It was so much fun!  Finally I crawled under the tree and drug out all the presents that were left to open.  I thought we must be getting close--but nope!  We seriously had less than an hour to finish, me to get a shower, clean up, and get lunch ready.  We were running out of time, LOL. 
 Tirzah pooped out before we even made it to lunch time.  I suppose that was a good thing.  She wouldn't let go of her baby the entire time.  I'm telling you--present of the year.  :)
 In the afternoon, Paul & Marilyn, Eva, Holly, Kyle and kids all came over for lunch, more presents and games.  It was a wonderful, full day!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was making videos on the elf yourself website.  We laughed and laughed.  Here is an example starring Hailey, Eden, Caleb, Micah, and Zeke:

On Sunday after church we went to Paul & Marilyn's for a play date. The kids rode snowmobiles around the yard and I stayed warm inside playing games. I discovered that I definitely should not play the game Blokus. ;) Games that are all strategy and have no random elements are not good for me (I prefer Sequence, Uno, Gin Rummy, word games, or social games such as Apples to Apples)! I'm such a sore loser. Mitch got the driveway shoveled out on Monday when I left to do my weekly shopping and run errands. That brings us up to today, Tuesday! The rest of our week is full of appointments (dentist, doctor, chiropractor)...it's a good opportunity to get caught up. We are hoping to celebrate the New Year with friends. Kathi is off to the cities for a Campus Crusade for Christ convention.

Oh, one more thing before I go. Mitch and I exchanged gifts too. He surprised me with an ipod touch (64 gb, 3rd generation) that he scored (gently used) on ebay. I surprised him with a camera of his very own that I got for a great price on Amazon. I found a good website that reviews the cameras I was looking for (lower-end point-and-shoot cameras): http://www.digitalcamera-hq.com/. I was specifically looking for something small, less than $150, with good reviews, and easy to use.  I ended up purchasing the Panasonic DMC-FH1, but my second choices were the Panasonic DMC-FH20 or the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS.  It was REALLY hard to choose!  In the end, price won me over.  I got the FH1 for a mere $89.  :)  I think he likes it.  I know I love the ipod touch.  Yikes--my productivity level just plummeted.  :)

I hope your Christmas was equally wonderful!!

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