Saturday, January 01, 2011

Christmas 2010...

Our church had Christmas Eve service this year, which was new. In the past, there has been no service, and while the first year was difficult for me to get used to, I had begun to cherish the calm Christmas Eve we had grown accustomed to with nowhere that we had to rush off to. So this year was a little difficult as we had to plan our day around the 4:30 service.

But once I was there, I remember why it was hard to get used to not having a service. Seeing everyone dressed up (our church is normally fairly casual) and wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas” was enough to put anyone in the Christmas spirit. I had some great hot chocolate and the kids sang “Silent Night” while signing it, and Kyle was part of a reading. I was so content.

And then our pastor started preaching, and my mind began to wander back to that night over two thousand years ago. I’m pregnant. Very pregnant. And for the first time, I’m very pregnant over Christmas. I thought about what it was like for Mary to make that long journey on a donkey while very pregnant. I thought about Mary having to give birth in a setting other than a controlled environment (like a hospital!) – I say this because John has adamantly reminded me over and over again that we’re not sure where she actually gave birth, only that they had to spend the end of the night in the stable. I thought about how she laid him in a manger, and I wouldn’t dream of having anything rougher than the carpet touch my newborn, and yet there was probably hay all around baby Jesus. There were animals around Him…imagine that today…wild animals around a newborn??? And yet that’s how Jesus came into this world, and He was here to save us. While the service was very light-hearted and wonderful, the magnitude of the thoughts that went through my head were very heavy. Thankfully the event ended with some great news about a friend and the overall cheeriness that comes with Christmas.

As we were driving home I realized that our big dinner that we had planned (prime rib, green beans and potatoes) would take 2 hours to make and we would not be eating until 8:30, and then by the time we did all of our other Christmas Eve rituals, we and the kids would not be getting to bed until really late. So I ran out and got KFC and we had a great, fast dinner :)

After dinner the kids opened presents from my sister and from John and I (their annual PJs), and then they quickly went to bed. John, Suzie and I went to work finishing up everything we needed to finish and then heading to bed ourselves. John and I continued with our tradition of opening each other’s presents before we went to bed. I had gotten John some clothes and other things, and he handed me my present. He has been getting me new knives each year to add to my collection. But I knew this year he didn’t feel like getting me knives (which I was OK with because I have enough to cook anything I need to cook). We had talked about getting a new camera because we had talked to a camera shop and were told that instead of putting more money into lenses for our camera, we should get a new camera because technology had improved so much in the 7 ½ years since we had gotten our camera. But I knew that was a huge expense and I told him that we should wait. So when he handed me his little present, I was relieved to see one little box. It was a flash for my camera. My biggest complain about my fabulous camera is that it doesn’t take very good pictures in low light, so I was excited to get a flash! We then got ready for bed and as the lights went off and I started to watch a little TV, John handed me another present…it was a flash card. He told me and he was reaching under the bed again “you’re going to need a new one of those for this” and he handed me two more boxes. These boxes contained a new camera and a new lens. While I was “upset” at his trickery, I was so excited and so happy. For me, while I love getting new things, even creating a Christmas wish list was hard…I don’t need anything, and I’m so content with what I have been blessed with, so while this was an incredibly wonderful present, it was also hard for me to swallow and accept. After playing with the camera for a few minutes, we finally went to sleep :)

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning (about 2 hours after going to bed) to John leaving the bedroom and telling our two little santa-watchers that they had to get off the couch and go back to bed. That’s right, Kylie and Josh had planned on sitting on the couch and just looking at their presents under the tree until we got up the next morning. Thankfully, they did go back to sleep, but only for 3 more hours :(

Christmas morning started with me putting some fruit together for breakfast, and Kylie and Josh “patiently” waiting for Ryan to wake up so they could start opening presents. Finally around 7:30 we let the kids wake Ryan up and we started opening presents. Kylie opened her big present first – an iPod touch. Even as I write this she is having so much fun playing with it with her friend that happened to get one for Christmas too. Joshie got a new bike and a basketball hoop for the basement and some little golf stuff. Ryan got a lot of Woody and Buzz toys.

After we opened presents we played with the presents :) We also cleaned up the house, getting ready for John’s family who was coming over in the evening. Then we all got ready and headed over to my sister’s house for brunch and more presents.

When we got to Cindy’s house, the girls all immediately started cooking. We made sausage, bacon, hash brown casserole, omelets and tator tots. It took us a while (we were doing omelets in boiling water and I put too many bags in at once), but it was a great lunch and it was fun eating with everyone.

After lunch we all opened presents. Again, it was so apparent how extremely blessed we are. The kids got things they wanted off their lists, and I got some great things too, ranging from cooking items to gift cards to Sephora. John got his gas card and beer, which while it was kind of a joke (he had e-mailed everyone telling us there was no need for a list, just get him a gas card and beer), he truly loved it! He also got some gift cards to his golf store so that he can get some new clubs this spring. I loved giving away all of the gifts I have been gathering for people over the past month.

After opening the presents we had to load up and head home. As soon as we got home, John’s parents arrived and we hung out with them while also getting everything ready for dinner. John’s sisters arrived shortly after and it was so nice to sit and talk and watch the kids play with their cousins. John’s parents gave the kids their presents – they got Kylie a Kindle, which they had told us a while ago so it was fun to finally see her reaction and talk about it with her! They gave Josh a tire swing and some other little things, and he and Ryan got a tiny little air hockey game and they love it! They got Ryan some books to go with the Tag system and some games for his “DS.”

After a while we ate dinner and then we did our flash mob. We had practiced this a couple of nights before and it turned out great except for the fact that John’s dad got up and started dancing with us! We did it to “We Are Family” and we had a whole “routine” planned out. But as soon as the first one started dancing, his dad joined right in. The whole thing turned out really well and we had fun!

After that it was time for the gift exchange. We had all drawn names so we exchanged those gifts and then everyone hung out some more. The majority of the people didn’t end up leaving until around 11:00.

So, even though I’m hugely pregnant and miserable 90% of the time, it was a fabulous Christmas! Now I get to enjoy this whole week home with my great kids. I’m sure there will be lots of playdates (already have two scheduled), as well as lots sitting around and relaxing :)


Kellie said...

Sounds like a fantastic Christmas! I love how John pulled off the new camera :)

Sherry said...

You know as I was reading this blog I couldn't help think how humble you made me feel. Your thoughts on Jesus' birth in a stable, comparing to how now days everyone is so protective of new borns. How everyone is blessed with so much in this world and how Jesus had so little. yet at the same time I couldn't help but compare your family to the "first" family. the love, concern, caring and SHARING of happiness is awesome. You my blog friend are amazing as is your family. You all have the sharing part and the giving part down perfectly and it's your faith that brings this out.
Your Christmas sounds fantastic and oh yeah I am in awe at the thought process your hubby put into presenting you w/ your new camera, I love it.
Love all the pics they are great and pfft you don't even look pregnant, how's that??? :)
Great blog , very inspiring and full of love just like you.
Happy New Year!!!