It always takes me some time after Christmas to finally upload pictures and go through them. Not only did I have a blogging hiatus over Christmas, I also didn’t sit at my computer. But I’m back and I’ve got pictures to prove that Christmas indeed took place. First off: Christmas Eve.
Our faith doesn’t typically hold church services on Christmas or Christmas eve unless that day happens to fall on a Sunday which was the case this year. We were able to listen to touching music, testifying of our Savior’s birth. My favorite musical number happened to be instrumental and involved the most beautiful cello and piano arrangement. I love music and Christmas music can’t be beat!
After church pictures: Getting kids to look at the camera and smile is always a challenge!
Christmas eve is interesting for us. For many years – we were on our own in Milwaukee and we were surrounded by the most amazing friends we luckily call family. When we moved back we had family to celebrate with which was great. But a part of us liked our own little family together on Christmas eve with our own traditions. So often we gather as a extended family and we don’t see our children until we’re gathering them up to head home. But we wanted to be closer with them on Christmas eve, so a few years back we started doing our own thing as our little family unit. We often look for opportunities to invite others to join us that may be lonely or not have any family around. This year was no exception although our night was divided into three distinction sections.
In the afternoon, we went to a neighbor’s house to decorate cookies. They don’t have any little kids around and they don’t have family – they’ve built relationships with our kids and it was fun to be in their house for the afternoon. The award for most cookies decorated goes to Hunter. He never left the table – most the other kids decorated a few and then just wanted to eat the cookies!
From there, we went to our good friends’ house for dinner. A third family who is new to our neighborhood (and they don’t have family in town) also joined. The parents were both born and raised in Taiwan (they moved here from the bay area) and their life stories are fascinating, the more I learn of them and their family the more impressed I am. The hope is that we didn’t overwhelm them on Christmas eve with our 5 kids and our friend’s 6 kids! They did join us for a hayride around the neighborhood to enjoy the luminaries that everyone lights – I think it was a first for them and I think they really enjoyed it.
After the hayride, we made it back to our house for our traditional Christmas eve program. We invited a couple from our congregation who don’t have any grandchildren that live close. It was special to have them in our home with us. We opened Christmas jammies, acted out the nativity and then shared thoughts on our Savior and Christmas traditions. It was just long enough to be impactful and memorable.
Steve closed out the evening with Twas the night before Christmas – a book his father read to him every Christmas eve.
The kids went to bed later than usual, but they fell asleep quickly. And then it was quiet. We didn’t have much we needed to do which was amazing. It gave me time to enjoy the moment just a little bit longer.