This year our Christmas went really well. I was worried how it would work with Lorena not doing so well and me having a baby girl to watch. But with enough planning and scaling down on certain things it went really well. I got the dishes Russ got a few years back for the family to use, his chairs and then added my own table cloths, napkins my mom sent (which I loved and they reminded me so much of Christmas as a child) and lovely table cloths also courtesy of my mom over the years.
We actually always start our celebrations on Christmas Eve. This year was no exception. That is when the German's celebrate it and in order to celebrate with them, the kids get to open their gigantic package from Oma on Christmas Eve. Since they are 9 hours ahead, we open it around noonish. Which makes for very happy children. This year Oma did something crazy and sent us TONS of cash. She had me buy things for everyone that I thought they'd really like.
When I grew up, we also had to recite a poem, sing a song or read a Christmas story in front of the manger. My mom was very pleasantly surprised when Nathan recited Luke 2:6-20 and Abigail and Isabelle both sang different songs. Isabelle sang quietly as she always does, barely audible and with a shy look. Abby on the other hand loved singing Oma a song in front of the computer (love Skype). Almost as if she was sitting in our living room. Not really.
This must be the most-loved Christmas present ever. I suggested my mom buy him Broncos gear. She got him a light jacket since he really needed one and by chance picked this hoodie. The boy will NOT take it off. I have to beat him out of it to wash it. He sleeps in it. Then he seriously tried to wear it to school. Boys. So many of their ways are mysterious to me.
For Isabelle's big present from Oma, she got this teepee for her room. Here she is on Christmas day in her teepee with her super-soft blanket and animal pillow from Grandma. So much love.
Abby mentioned at the beginning of the season that she loves all of our "Wadleigh 20__" ornaments. Over the years we have bought one almost every year and then just in the years when we added babies. My mom loved that idea, so Isabelle and Abby both got the above ornament. On the back I dated them and wrote that they were from my mom. Both girls, but especially Abby, loved them.
For Hannah my mom got this 1st Christmas pink horse with Hannah's name engraved. Oh, and the elf hid 24 candy canes for the kids to find, like the one next to Hannah's ornament.
Another tradition has become that Grampy buys the kids and their cousins Christmas dresses and Nathan a suit. This year Megan did a great job of putting together the outfits for the kids and getting accessories for the kids. We had the kids dress up in the morning and had them walk down one at a time to show dada how pretty/handsome they were.
Somebody was proud of her pretty dress. Her hair has gotten so nice and long. For this special occasion she even wore a hair band. She usually hates things in her hair. Her dress held up really nice but her hairband fell victim to the ever chewing Betsy. Even though she is a girl dog, she doesn't like accessories.
Pretty little Abigail. She loved her glitter shoes Auntie Megan picked out. Unfortunately her dress (and Olives, which was the same dress) didn't make it past Christmas.
The handsome little man who loves putting his hair up now. We had him match his tie to the girl's dresses. He looked so handsome.
For the group photo. Crazy how much taller Nathan is than Isabelle.
The cuteness!!! I can't stand it!
Good. It was overwhelming me. Focus on food. This is a tasty treat we got from one of our neighbors. David had told him that a large portion of his roof was lifting off in a storm and they were so thankful, that they not only brought us this frozen and ready-to-bake treat but also a plate full of homemade cookies. Yum. They didn't make it until Christmas....
Christmas Day for breakfast. We had a regular Wadleigh holiday breakfast: Sausages, lot of bacon, pancakes, potatoes with onions and peppers, fruits, the braid from our neighbor, toast, and various jams. Oh, and of course by now various sweet treats graced out table thanks to Lorena. Only the good stuff, See's candy and two full pounds of it.
The kids couldn't wait for presents. Yes, their own as well but more so than that, they wanted to give out their presents. This year Grandma gave them each a dollar per person and they could go and buy gifts. It was amazing what thoughtful gifts they came up with for just a dollar! It was a great experience for them (thinking ahead of time, planning, budgeting, crafting, etc) but more so it was a great experience for me. Not only did it utterly warm my heart to take each of them to the dollar store but it also amazed me what they could come up with and how much they really knew about their relatives.
Abby just could not wait any longer to give me my present. I LOVE nice mugs and always seem to break mine (I already broke 2 this year and it's only February). Abby got me another wonderful mug from the Christian bookstore.
Isabelle opening her present from uncle Chris. All she wanted for Christmas was a stuffed animal. Actually the one she had given Abby for her birthday. A gray elephant. And she got it! Along with the tiger and Oma bought another frog from Gund. Isabelle was very happy. Big brother Nathan as always helping her. Between Nathan and Abby, Isabelle is well taken care of. They both are so good with her.
Nathan getting his second football for Christmas. See Isabelle in the background all happy with her stuffed animals? :-) Football was the big theme for Nathan this year. He'd love to play but there is no way with all the injuries happening in that sport. Especially since we just got over a concussion and that was very scary. And it was only a minor one.
The amazing and awesome animal Sherpa blankets with matching pillows that roll up into stuffed animals that Lorena bought for all the girls. Abby got a lamb and Isabelle got a dog. They are amazing. Normally I wouldn't say the price but this was so amazing, they were only $11! And they are of really high quality. The girls have been getting lots of use out of them.
This was one of the gifts Nathan picked. :-) He couldn't think of anything for uncle Mike who is admittedly hard to shop for. So when we went to the store and he saw these, it was a no brainer for Nathan. Good choice. We all had a really good laugh and uncle Mike was a good sport for wearing them. Other funny gifts included a horrible dollarstore tinsel Christmas tree (gold) that Isabelle got for uncle Chris "because he doesn't have one," and a Christmas hat from Isabelle for Grampy (think Bah Humbug) because "he wants that."
The kids' favorite part of the day - when their cousins Rosie and Olive arrive. It seems that now Rosie and Isabelle play really well with each other and Olive and Abby are joined at the hip. For the longest time Isabelle would tag along with the two older ones. Nathan and Abby fight a lot lately over Olive. Poor Nathan.
Isabelle and Rosie sitting next to each other during dinner. We had lots of yummy food, including a new corn casserole, green beans, glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, and others.
And Olive and Abby in matching dresses. These two are just loving each other and having so much fun together.
The baby! Oh, so sweet. She had a little dress to match the other three little girls but then I realized that dresses for babies are just a hassle (especially when they try to crawl). So we put a snowy PJ on her instead. That worked for me.
What a fitting picture to end up on: a sweet little babe, just like the one we celebrated. And His love that flows through our family.