We were so blessed at Christmas this year in a lot of different ways. The first and most exciting one for us as parents was the growth and maturity that we saw in both kids actions. While we were discussing Christmas at Family Meeting after Thanksgiving, we asked what they wanted to do for Christmas and what they wanted. We told them that we would only be spending what we did last year on them, but we needed to know what they wanted. We also reminded them that family members wanted their lists as well and that it was tight all around for everyone. They said they would think about it. At the next weeks meeting when asked what they were going to do, A2 said that he would just like money to go towards the summer missions trip he wants to take with the youth group. He said he knows things are tight and this way we wouldn't have to raise as much for that. A1 said she wanted the same thing. I just about cried in front of them(I did cry later), just because I don't think that a year ago either one would have made that decision. A lot of spiritual growth and maturity happening, thank you Lord. We told them that was great and that they could do the money for missions with the rest of the family or get gifts from them.
The very first gifts to arrive at our house were from my TLT Secret Sister, Sarah. I was so excited when my box of goodies came while I was still recovering from surgery. It was just what the doctor ordered. Plus, being the competitive type you all know that I am, I was the 1st to receive my box and find out who my Secret Sister was. Here are pics of my ornaments. They are just perfect. Thanks so much Sarah.
Our first Christmas celebration was with my family, scheduled for the 21st. We were going to go out Saturday night and spend the night with them, however, a glitch showed up in the form of a virus with a fever on Wednesday with A2 a scratchy throat and lots of drainage and a headache. I didn't think it was strep, but we did all we could do to get him better in time. The fever had broken Friday evening and everything was good to go to Grandma's-Grandpa's too. Saturday morning and afternoon we were getting some last minute things done at home when A2 decided about 3pm to sit and rest because he had a headache-not good. Out came the thermometer and yep, we had a fever. Calls were made, my Mom was scheduled for surgery after the New Year and we didn't want her to get sick. We were going to all stay home and just go Sunday afternoon-those who were well minus an adult to stay with A2(Dad since it was my family), but A2, bless his heart, through tears of missing the whole Christmas celebration told A1 and I to just go ahead and go. He said that the guys would just hang out and be okay. So with my mother heart torn in two, by one who wanted to go and one who was going to be home without me sick, DH sent us on our way. Of course we forgot a lot of things that I wanted to take extra, but we survived them.
A1 and I arrived and brought our load of stuff inside in one trip-I should have known I'd forgotten something then. We had chili for supper and popcorn balls. We broke out the cards and played euchre-Dad and I against Mom and A1. Dad and I won, I had a beautiful lay down loan to win the game-we came from behind. It was so sweet as A1 was coughing loser into her arm when we losing 7-1. While we were playing we were just chatting away and having fun and staying warm. The temperatures had dropped into the sub-zeros without wind chills.
The next morning dawned bright and very, very cold. A1 had not brought appropriate church clothes for this very cold weather. So we made the decision to give A1 the boots for church instead of sandals and she wore her jeans. We also raided Grandma's closet for a sweater-that suggestion was met with the "Are you crazy/sure, eye-rolling look" typical of teenagers. We found a nice cream sweater that was long and big on her, but we also found a thin belt that she belted it with and viola-great look. I stayed back as I couldn't sing or talk yet and Mom stayed with me. We have a wonderful time cooking and talking, just us girls when we have done this before. This day was no exception. We had a few glitches with the oysters-the grocery had ordered the wrong kind so we had to make a quick run to exchange them, because stewing oysters just don't fry right. Even with that glitch we were still eating by 1pm. We got pics kids and I had to carefully place them so that I could photo shop A2 into the pic, read the book that the kids have read since they were little-see previous post for name- and started opening gifts. The kids were all excited and got through theirs. A2 opened his at home. A1 got her own box of Chocolate-did she share this with her Mom? Are you kidding-she is a chocolate lover like me. A1 in front of the tree before gift open.
Then it was the big kids turn. My brother and I had to open them together. As I got my box unwrapped I was confused-it was a digital converter box, which we didn't need, but I noticed my brother's box was different so I opened again. I had a ton of tape to undo-Dad likes, no loves, to use tape. When I opened the box and saw that it was a digital camera I was so, so very surprised, shocked and I, of course, cried. We hadn't put anything on our list at all. What was even sweeter for my parents was the fact that the night before while playing cards I was talking about our APS camera biting the dust. I had asked if they still had Mom's point and shoot 35mm and if I could borrow it for a while, possibly a long while. I didn't need the digital of their's and would just appreciate the other and being able to get pics. Dad said they were kicking each other under the table and trying not to bust up while I was talking. Of course they had said we could borrow the other camera, but I said that I wouldn't need it anymore. It was so cool how God worked that out. I didn't tell DH when I called later that evening to see if he thought we should stay another night because of the cold temps(sub-zero again) and driving at night, and I forgot to take his cell with us. He said yes to stay that Dad and my youngest brother were right it was a good idea. A2 was still running a fever, but they were having a movie festival and really didn't want the interruption. A1 went home with my youngest brother to spend the night with my niece. The next day I re-wrapped the camera and after a couple of power outages and helping Dad figure out if we needed to get an elderly neighbor lady and my grandma over to the house where my parents have a generator and the gas fireplace or not, I picked up A1 and we headed home. DH was very surprised and touched by the gift too. He had been thinking really hard he said about how he was going and when he was going to be able to get us one. He knows how much we use it-bless him-he is a great guy. The camera was the second thing.
The next event was Christmas Eve with my extended family-A2 was hoping hard, drinking lots of water and taking every vitamin that I told him to, but he was still contagious on Christmas Eve. This time I stayed home and sent DH and A1. He actually used the camera first. A2 and I watched Christmas specials on TV and cuddled on the couch. We also made calls about Christmas Day with DH's family. We didn't want the kiddos there to catch anything. SIL said that they had already had it and if A2 felt up to coming that was okay with her; she did appreciate the call though. Christmas Eve went well with the first ever taco and dessert night. Everyone loved it and had a great time I heard. That is all the details for that I have...I wonder why????
Christmas day dawned, fever 99.8, feeling up for Christmas-yeah we were all going. Everyone was excited. The guys had been working on a special project for the littlest nephews and A2 really, really didn't want to miss this.(SIL said that we would reschedule if he didn't feel good yet)-Blessing number 3. We packed up and had to take both cars-there was some things to do last minute that DH had to go to the office(shop) to fix and we met DH and A1 there. Then A2 finished helping put the final touches on the gifts with his Dad. We had a wonderful lunch and then came the gifts. The kiddos opened theirs first except for the one for both boys. Niece 4 loved her cradle for her Baby that Uncle Andy made. A1 and A2 were overwhelmed by Blessing 4-Grandma's gift covered their missions trip.(They are learning so much about how God provides and cares for us this year-I am even now tearing up) Then Nephew 7 & 8 got to open their present. They couldn't figure out what was in the big bag-neither could their parents or anyone else except for Abby the Nanny(she gave us this idea-thanks Abby). The digger was a hit. Oh, but wait there was another surprise in store for the bigger kids(think BIL and Abby-who said she would video how it worked for us if we needed more info when she went back to the place where the one that gave her the idea was. At this point, we wondered was this for the kids or for Abby to play with?-She said some things should just not be discussed when we asked her :DYes, DH had made a big people version of the digger. He didn't have time to get it all painted up, but everyone still thought it was pretty cool.
After gifts we all talked and played with toys including the Wii that "Santa" left at BIL and SIL's house for their family. It was a lot of fun. My kiddos didn't want to leave when we did later that evening, but their poor Mom was getting tired. We came home and spent the next day getting ready for our Christmas-continued in Christmas Blessings Part 2.