Christmas 2014: The Day in Photos

All is calm… All is bright…

Slightly grainy but still cute.

I love the early morning sleepy faces.

He saw this picture later and said, "why am I hugging my stocking?"

Our little angel baby. :)

She's in her element and so excited. Let it go, Let it go…

Santa made his day.

The great pickle search begins.

Aaaaannndd no surprise, Ruby found it.

Quite the WARM Christmas this year. No snow for days.

We made a nice big breakfast, and Ben made pancakes especially for the kids. They usually love pancakes, but they didn't really eat today for some reason. Maybe the excitement. Maybe too many stocking treats. But this would be the "after breakfast" picture, not before or during. 

The kids had already left the table and Ben and I were talking about the neighborhood, wondering out loud if those around us had a Christmas this year. He stared out the window, deep in thought, and I said that I should empty the trash can so I had somewhere to put all this food. Because who saves a bunch of cut up, half-eaten pancakes mushy with syrup? The sharp, piercing contrast didn't escape me, though. I couldn't believe it just seamlessly flowed out of my mouth like that, but it had. A quick skip rock throw from poverty to food in such abundance it needs to be thrown away. 

To bridge that gap between desperate need and abundance, without enabling but teaching, equipping, and empowering, to care for the widows and orphans, to truly live in community, to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly--those are worthwhile pursuits. But I'm not sure how to do that with leftover pancakes.

Clayton said, "It was you guys that put the fruit snacks in our stockings, not Santa!"

"What makes you say that?" I replied.

"Because the box is right here in the recycle bin!!"

"Well, maybe Santa recycles. You never know. Maybe he decided to go green this year."


Foto Friday, My Week in Review: November 21-27

Foto Friday is the collection of photo collages from my week. What used to be seperate daily posts are now conveniently bundled together by the week. This one is full of traditions, celebrations and love. Enjoy!

November 21
Today was Eva's 2nd birthday. She is such a sweetheart. We went to Target this morning, and she requested something from Starbucks. I really wasn't going to stop there today, but I couldn't say no to her on her birthday… What can I say, she twisted my arm. We had a fun day together! 

The kids were biting at the bit for her to open her presents, which we were going to save for her party tomorrow, so they picked one for her to open tonight. It was an American Girl-type doll named Eva, which my mom had gotten for her some time ago. She loved it, and Ruby is quite excited to play dollies with her now and share clothes and accessories. 

November 22: Eva's 2nd Birthday Party!
Party Day! The theme was a combination of babies and Frozen--her two favorite things. Baby fish, baby donuts, baby oranges, yummy breakfast and "candy" {pink gum balls}. I asked her repeatedly what she wanted for her birthday, and her answer was always "candy." 

She squealed when she opened up the baby presents, and she was oh-so-blessed by everyone today. Thanks guys!!

P.S. We did something a little different for this birthday party, and I'll share the details about all that after the holidays. :)

November 23
Christmas is in the air, and it materialized as a tree in the living room today. I love watching the excitement in the kid's eyes, especially the baby, who was thrilled to participate this year and hang up some ornaments.

November 24
The kids have been doing "pickle training" since we got the tree up yesterday. One of our Christmas traditions is that we put the pickle ornament in the December 24th cubby in the advent box. Before I go to bed on Christmas Eve, I hide it somewhere in the tree for them to find in the morning. Santa leaves a small prize for the winner along with the presents.

Ruby has disproportionately won over the years {she credits her glasses for that because "they make everything look HUGE" and thus easier to find}, and the boys are determined to have a better shot this time. They started "pickle training" and conducted pickle drills all morning to practice for the big day, taking turns hiding and finding. So funny. Ruby still found it most of the time…

If that's a tradition you'd like to start, too, we got our pickle at Target. The kids love it. Our original one broke, and this one may too by the end of the month. It's well-loved.

November 25
I've loved having the kiddos home this week. It's been a sweet time of rest and a chance to spend some quality moments together. I'll be sad when they go back to school next week…

November 26: Pie Day!
We always spend the day before Thanksgiving baking a few choice pies that we have for breakfast on Thanksgiving Day. Eat all the good stuff first, right? I was reminiscing about two years ago when our pie-making plans got stopped short and we made an impromptu visit to the hospital instead to meet our beautiful baby girl.

The more years go by, the more excitement there is about traditions, and the more little hands there are to help prepare them. In my heart, I have a peace about being "done" with babies, but a part of me knows that another one would blend seamlessly into our family like all the others have before them. That we would look at them in the years to come and wonder what life was like before them and think about how we couldn't have lived without them.

Love is funny like that. In our finite understanding, we underestimate it's capacity for inclusion. For bending, molding, and stretching to accommodate lives. There are never too many to love, because love  has the infinite ability to expand if we allow it. So there will always be a part of my mother heart that will wonder, what if there was another? Because I know I would love them, too.

November 27: Thanksgiving
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4