Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

Last summer we bought a case of Stephenson maple syrup and somehow we finished the entire case this December. One of the families in our church also bought a case last summer and they blessed us with a jar for Christmas. Yeah. 

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how nothing stays the same. Everything is constantly changing. This Christmas was the first time Joshua and Emily weren't with us. Leading up to Christmas, this was very much on my mind. I knew we would all miss them very much (Certain behaviours from certain family members definitely indicated that we would miss them.) and I made an effort to send them special things that would let them know we would miss them. 

But I also was intentional in mixing things up for our family. So for  the first Christmas Eve ever, we got home from church and had Chinese food. Not only were we missing Josh and Emily, but Kaylin was working on Christmas Eve until 10 pm. 


We ordered our food ahead of time so we just had to pick it up on our way home. Then we picked out a Christmas movie and sat in the living room to watch it. Now I don't anticipate this will be a tradition for our family but it was different and was a great way to show the kids that as things change, we can still make memories and celebrate those special days in a new and fun way.

Christmas morning we kept to the same schedule. We got things going around 8:00 am and even with that we had to wake up Peter. 

First thing Robin read the Bible while we drank coffee or hot chocolate and ate the bubble bread. 

Every Christmas Robin wears his red socks so I guess some things never change.

Kaylin has been running regularly so she had a running theme this Christmas. 

Peter is constantly tapping on tables, chairs, or just about anything. So we got him a beat drum. He had no idea because he has not asked for a single thing for Christmas. But he was clearly pleased.

What Peter was most excited about and again, had no idea it was coming, was a drawing tablet that is hooked up to the computer. The 5 kids draw each other's names and just get a nice present for one of their siblings. This was Joshua's present for Peter and is his favourite present. 

The drawing tablet requires a huge learning curve so Peter spent a lot of the day trying to figure out how it all works. 

Gaëlle bought for Kaylin and knew that she was going to get henna for her. Then she also saw an elephant so had to pick that up also.

Gaëlle had an American Girl Doll Christmas last year and also had a bit of that again this year. Kaylin had Gaëlle this year and gave her an American Girl movie, doll hair extensions and the sweater she is wearing. She loved it all. 

Robin and I buy the kids each one main present and then fill their stocking. Believe it or not, it's not easy to buy a meaningful gift for the younger kids. They would love an iPad or iPhone but that's just not going to happen and they know it. But Gaëlle spends a lot of time listening to an audio series called "Jonathan Park". Our family has been given 2 of the series and she listens to them OVER and OVER again. So we downloaded the next 8 volumes of the series for her and burned them to CDs. So they are on our computer and on CDs for her. She spent most of the day on the couch or chair listening to the next adventure in Jonathan Parks and combing her American Girl dolls' hair. 

Gaëlle was so content with her new art supplies and Jonathan Park that Kaylin and I took care of our lunch. 

This may be the last time time in a while that the Christmas china dishes come out so we enjoyed them. 

Peter took a huge drumstick. 

Needless to say, he ate it all. 

It's always interesting to see how we handle change and disappointments. A lot of us can be defeated by those big moments because the reality doesn't always meet our expectations. We managed to Skype with Emily for an hour at the end of the day, and we texted with Joshua throughout the day. We were so thankful for those small connections to our adult children. 

I can honestly say, our Christmas was a beautiful day. The kids handled everything with smiles and good attitudes and gratitude. We spent time remembering our family in Edmonton, NJ, Massachusetts, and in Haiti. We talked about next Christmas and how we don't know exactly where we will be or who will be with us. I'm praying that the differences of this Christmas will comfort us all to know that God will be with us and we can make memories regardless of our circumstances. 

Kaylin went to work again at 4:00 pm and so the four of us went to the movies to see "Night at the Museum 3". Again this was something different and so fun for us all. And to make it even more fun.... we were the only ones in the theater. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Out and About

One thing that never changes around here; Peter spends a lot of time on his art. Last weekend he spent some money on art supplies from the art store downtown. He mainly draws with pencils so he got some more pencils but also some other tools. He also chose some pastels to play around with and some watercolours. So he is set for a while.

Gaëlle still loves being read to. She is enjoying The American Girl books so we are having fun going through all of the series. 

We are also enjoying all of the Christmas baking. I am not doing as much as I often do, but we are pacing things and getting in our favourites. These marshmallow treats are a favourite from our time in St Andrews. Karen brought them to a cookie swap and this has since become a regular Christmas treat.

It's hard to see but the girl with the cup on her head is one of Gaëlle's babysitters. She was Chip in a local high school production of Beauty and the Beast. We went last weekend to see that. They did a great job.

We picked up Kaylin yesterday at the bus. We're all happy to see her. Let the festivities begin. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December Happenings

For many years, every day of December we give the kids one piece of candy. Sometimes we read an Advent story along with it. Sometimes we do the Jesse Tree. Sometimes it's just candy. But there's always candy. This year, I sewed up little bags and stamped designs or sewed some buttons on. Then I put candy inside and sent them to the girls. I'm not known for being early or on time with my gifts, but in this case, I managed to get them to the girls by December 1st.

Our church puts on a 2 day Christmas variety type of show called, "Christmas on the Hill". Robin is putting together a Black Light Hand song with the kids. It's going really well and they are all pleased with it. 

Peter is playing a shepherd in the final Nativity Scene.

Gaëlle is also singing with the children in Junior Church for one song and then all the participants come out for the final song. It's a lot of fun and is tonight and Sunday night. 

Both kids are spending a  lot of time with their drawing, colouring and all over crafting. It's a nice way to fill their time. It's a busy time of year, but we're trying to take the time to find joy in our every day world.