Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas morning, Angel awoke first, around 7:00.  She desperately wanted to awaken Grins and go upstairs, but the Mr. asked if she would mind waiting until he'd had a chance to shower.  So she cozied up next to me in bed and waited very patiently, not even asking once when she could go upstairs.  The Mr. finally finished showering and dressing around 7:30, at which point she said, "Can I wake up Grins and go upstairs now?!"  We laughed and obliged, and the two of them ran upstairs excitedly, with us following close behind.

Angel was delighted to find the Science kit she'd ask Santa for, and Grins was thrilled with his spy kit.  They were equally delighted with the nuts, oranges, cough drops and vitamins (plus a few chocolates) in their stockings!  They kept plenty busy until after 8 when we finally allowed them to awaken Wiggles, as we needed to leave for church at 8:30.

Wiggles got a quick peek at her gift from Santa, and we then got everyone dressed and out the door in record time.

Not the best photo but we had to run off to church! :)
After church, we returned home and got back into our PJs.  (It's tradition)  The Buchanan Family traditional Christmas morning breakfast is ebel skeevers but we don't have an ebel skeever pan.  The Stout Family traditional Christmas morning breakfast is sausage breakfast casserole and Cinnabons but there is no cinnabon near us and last year's breakfast casserole was a disaster.  So, we decided to start our own family tradition.  It was fun....but probably just a one year event (you'll see why:)

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I asked the children what they wanted for Christmas morning breakfast.  They had recently decorated a Gingerbread house (long story short: they decorated it in the church nursery one Tuesday night while I was working with the Young Women.  After Young Women, I admired their beautiful job, carried the gingerbread house out to the car and set it on top of the car.  You can guess where this is going.  After loading up all of the very tired children and a young woman I was driving home.....I forgot about the house.  Until I heard a huge crash a moment down the road.  Not wanting to litter, I returned and picked up whatever gingerbread and platter fragments I could, but it devastated the children.  And we didn't have the time or means to replace all of the ingredients necessary to make more houses....)

Naturally, the children asked if we could make Gingerbread houses for Christmas breakfast.  I suggested that, since they would likely have sweets in their stockings, we select a more nutritious and substantial breakfast.  That is when Angel came up with the "Waffle house" idea.  I doubted it would work but the Mr. insisted we could make the waffles extra crispy and give it a try.  So we did:

Waffle walls and roof with whipped cream 'glue' and blueberry syrup 'snow'.

Wiggles chose to decorate hers with strawberries, nuts, and cereal bits.

Grins went crazy with whip cream and sprinkles.

Angel was determined to make hers work, and disappointed when it didn't hold together.
In the end, though, they were all delicious!  And we had fun!

After breakfast (which was technically brunch) we finished opening presents.  Most of the pictures look the same: the children smiling as they open, or holding up their gift, so I'll simply post the year's favorites:

Grins - Lego Star Wars from Grandma and Grandpa Stout

Wiggles - candy.  She literally would not even open other presents until she was done with her candy (I finally took it away!) as is evidenced by the following shot of her surrounded by unopened gifts as she sports a candy-covered face.  Of course Angel and Grins willingly helped her unwrap, kind older siblings that they are!  The doll from Santa came in second.

Angel - the porcelain ballerina doll from the Mr. and I

My favorite - this beautiful hawaiian blanket, gifted to the children's great-grandmother in Tahiti many years ago, and hand stitched by our very own Oma for our family.  Beautiful and so meaningful with such an incredible story behind it!

After opening gifts we were able to Skype with both sets of grandparents, have a simple Christmas dinner as a family, and speak again of our gifts to the Savior for the coming year.  It was a simple, quiet, and beautiful day with our little family, and we loved every minute of it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

While we missed our extended families terribly this Christmas, I must say, it was nice having some quiet time with just our own little family; especially since the Mr. was able to be home for it!

After finishing the Yule Log on Christmas Eve, we donned hats/scarves/gloves and our little candles and went caroling to deliver some simple treats to our friends and neighbors.  We were graciously received and had a LOT of fun!  After 10 houses, the children, though freezing, still wanted to continue!  But we reminded them that there were still more Christmas Eve activities waiting at home!

As soon as we returned home, we began dressing in our Nativity "costumes".  Angel wanted to be the angel, Grins, the innkeeper, shepherd and wiseman, and Wiggles chose to be Baby Jesus.  That is, until she learned that her part involved simply lying in the manger; at which point she decided to play the part of Mary, "if Daddy is 'Thoseph' ".  I was the narrator and photographer.  We read Luke 2 and acted along, pausing for hymns in the appropriate places.

Tell me that's not the cutest little Mary you've ever seen - with the Baby Jesus in her tummy poking out the top of her shirt.

 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all athe world should be btaxed.
 (And this ataxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is calledaBethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
 To be taxed with Mary his aespoused wife, being great with child.
Mary rides the donkey to Bethlehem.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

 And she brought forth her afirstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the binn.
 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the aglory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you agood tidings of great bjoy, which shall be to all people.
 11 For unto you is aborn this day in the city of David a bSaviour, which is Christ the cLord.
 12 And this shall be a asign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14 aGlory to God in the highest, and on earth bpeace, good will toward men.
 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16 And they came with ahaste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and apondered them in her heart.

Matthew 2: When (the wise men) had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
 11 ¶And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and afrankincense, and myrrh.

After completing our little Nativity performance, we enjoyed a delicious Bethlehem feast seated on the ground, with our hands, the way Mary and Joseph would have eaten.  We enjoyed lamb, couscous, pear and goat cheese salad, and some figs for dessert.

After finishing our feast, we changed into our pajamas, quickly sprinkled "Reindeer Food" on the front lawn, left some cookies and notes for Santa Claus, and were off to bed!