Anyway. After the kids were in bed, dreaming of
Ted and I woke at 5:30 to make sure we had everything in place. Lucan and the girls were up before Tobin and Arden, amazingly! I couldn't believe we had to wake them at 8:00! I had homemade frosted cinnamon rolls ready, and we also had fresh kiwi and scrambled eggs with sausage. We had a wonderful breakfast, letting the kids open their stockings at the same time. Then we put candles in the cinnamon rolls and sang happy birthday to Jesus, because I just ran out of time to make Jesus' birthday cake (which was supposed to be a cowboy cake at the kids' request).
After breakfast was cleaned up, we read through our Advent book and prayed, and then the kids passed out gifts from our extended family members. So, we opened the presents from my parents, Joel and Sarah, and Clint and Ski. Then we told the kids there was a surprise from us in the basement, and they all trooped down and were duly surprised and delighted with what they found in the play room. Among the Playmobile sets we purchased were a Roman arena/coliseum, pirate ship, airport and airplane (complete with baggage carousel!), Noah's ark, a jungle/zoo, log cabin...and too many animals and people and accessories to count!! ALL the kids were overjoyed, and even Ted got lost in the mechanics of all the things! What I love is that there is something for ALL the kids, from 21-month-old Lucan to 10-year-old Charis! (And 34-year-old Ted, LOL.)
During the ruckus, I slipped away and went to my stamp room to spend a happy 2 hours listening to RadioU's Christmas program on my laptop and playing with some new stamps and accessories from the upcoming Occasions Mini-Catalog. I designed a new card and then made a dozen thank-you cards...seems I'm always needing those!
Then it was time to put Lucan down for a nap. We fed him a light lunch (most of his meals have been light this week--I think he's popping another tooth or two) and put him down for a nap. Then we had cheese and crackers and grapes while watching The Sign of the Beaver, a movie picked by the kids. Tobin found it when we were at the library last week, and as we had recently finished the book as part of our history studies, we thought it would be fun to watch it come to life. The kids chose that over Polar Express, which we had borrowed from friends, which was fine with us. The movie was very well done; a few changes from the book, but they were true to the spirit of the novel and the characters, and I thought the changes emphasized the themes nicely.
When the movie was over, Ted woke Lucan up and took him, Kenna, and Arden to the airport to meet Grandma J! Tobin and Charis stayed home and helped me clean up our mess from the morning and finish setting the table and preparing our big meal, which we ate nearly as soon as Rhonda walked in the door, as she had had a direct flight all the way from Denver! We enjoyed a yummy ham, which I heated in the crock pot, and pineapple sauce to go with it; plus cheesy hashbrown potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, and garlic carrots. After our meal was cleaned up, we did the gift exchange with our own gifts plus Grandma J's, saving the Wii surprise until the very end. Kenna was happy to play with her new kitchen set, which Charis scored for $5 at a garage sale this summer! It has a refrigerator, stove, and sink/dishwasher, in three separate pieces, plus a (brand new) tea set. So while the older folks were busy with the Wii, Kenna was happily making and serving tea and dessert over and over to anyone who would take them!
So the rest of our Christmas evening has been full of silliness, laughing, desserts, and fun. The kids are now being herded to bed, and I can actually see my family room floor again, LOL.
I love Christmas, and I love the chaos that comes with sharing it with children! (Although I did love the quiet moments I was able to share with Ted before anyone else was awake!) I loved watching Lucan wander around in utter delight, squeezing his new stuffed animals and playing with whatever he saw that caught his fancy. I loved watching Kenna find her surprise in the "Harry Potter closet" in the basement. I loved Tobin's look of combined disbelief and utter joy when he realized he was holding a Wii remote. I loved hearing Charis jump around in excitement when she read my note about ordering her own "Hand Stamped by" stamp. I loved Arden's big bear hugs and heartfelt "THANKS, MOM!"
Tomorrow I will love bundling everyone up and going to church to celebrate again the birth of our Savior with our church family, and then I will love coming home to leftover potato chowder (from our Christmas Eve dinner), a nap, and playing the Wii. I love that my husband is HOME with our family this year, and I don't take that for granted anymore...not when we could very well be on opposite sides of the world in 364 days! I love that the kids were almost more excited to see us adults open the gifts from the kids than they were to open their gifts from us. (Of course, it helped that my sweet children gave me the movie Despicable Me!)
Most of all, I love the fact that God, in His infinite mercy and grace, left the splendor of heaven to come to earth, arriving in the most humble environment amidst extraordinary fanfare. I'll never get tired of the Advent story, and I'll never tire of waiting for my Savior to return again--this time as a King!