Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Look at the Days Leading Up to Christmas.......

As I said in my last post, time got away from me when I had much more to share!  So I guess there's no time like the present to share it, even though it's after the fact, right?

We have a few family traditions that we do leading up to Christmas plus we started a new one.  

The kids have always counted down the days of Christmas with the advent calendar and we try to do an activity a day, even if it's just watching a Christmas movie together.  Well we did alot of Christmas movie watching and my favorites still remain, It's a Wonderful Life and A Holiday for Love.  However, I just LOVE Christmas movies and Christmas music (in general).  

One thing we always do is to make or decorate at least one new ornament to add to our tree.  This year we picked up some unfinished ornaments at Hobby Lobby at half price and let the kids decorate them.  Here's Joy and Luke at work:

And their finished work:


And Luke's: 

The next project required a little more parental and sister involvement  :)  Colt had his own sweatshirt made like this, as did Joy when they were Luke's age or a little older, so of course, Luke had to have his own too!  It's a Rudolph shirt made with his handprints.  With Luke, we opted for a long sleeved T-shirt just because we got a great deal on it.

Here we are at work:

And Mr. Luke in the finished product.  He was a little proud of it, I think.

Another thing we've done since Colt was little is to let the kids wear their pjs and take blankets along in the car and go out and look at Christmas lights.  Then if it's nice and cold, we come home and have hot chocolate or sometimes drive through and get some somewhere (which we did this time). 

Here's Joy and Luke as we were just getting started in the car:

And here they are much later:

Back at Home....Love to watch him sleep!  :) 

We also went for another Christmas light drive a little closer to Christmas.  Joy's friend, Christina, came along.  We stopped at the park in our town that's so beautifully decorated for Christmas and took a stroll.   It's so enchanting to walk through the lights with the Christmas songs playing over the speaker.  These photos were taken there:

We even had a little (and I do stress a little) snow a few days before Christmas....Luke's first snow here in America (I'm sure he saw plenty in Inner Mongolia):

Santa brought him gloves so he no longer has pink gloves....this snow caught us by surprise so we made do!  :) 
 A new tradition for this year (we have done it a few times but not a regular yearly thing), was to decorate a gingerbread house.  Although one year we made one from scratch with putting together our own design and style, this year we opted for a kit (much much easier and less stressful).  This is definitely something we'd like to make a Christmas family tradition though.   :) 

Here's dad, Joy, and Luke at work:

And here's their finished gingerbread house and sleigh which decorated our pass through from the kitchen to the dining room on Christmas Day for the family dinner.

And last but not least, there's always the family picture taking ordeal, or at least getting pictures of the kids at Christmas for our cards or just for memories.  This year Amber took the family ones (bless her's no easy task with our crew) and these were my favorites from the photo session:  :)

And then all three kids together.....yes, it's Colt finally home long enough for the picture!  I get really excited when I get all three in one picture!  :) 

And Joy and Luke:

A few more family pics from our photo shoot that night:

The silly boys (can you guess they were causing the most trouble?)

Oh, and we heard alot of Christmas singing from Luke (his version), especially Jingle Bells and Winter cute and sweet.  Maybe I can catch it on video and share.....

And last of all, Christmas was so much fun with a two year old in the house again, although he was really overwhelmed with all the stuff.  It was over- stimulation I know and although we tried not to overdo it and restrained from buying alot; it was still a bit much just from what other relatives bought.  Here's a few pics from Christmas:

Coming into the living room to see what Santa brought....

Proud of the Ninja shirt Colt gave her....

And during all of this hustle and bustle and going-ons, I was sick and had been since right after Thanksgiving (Jason too).  This stuff just doesn't go away, so just had to keep plugging along. Nevertheless, I feel so blessed.  To think this time last year, my heart ached to bring Luke home and this year he was right here with us just made it all worthwhile, (sick or not)! 

It really is a Wonderful Life!  :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

From Our Home to Yours........Merry Christmas!

Oh where has the time gone?  I could tell you so many reasons I've been missing from blogland, but no one wants to hear excuses, especially today!  So instead I thought I'd pop in here and wish you all a Merry Christmas and leave you with a little tour of our home this Christmas Eve (something I've been trying to get to for awhile now!).  Enjoy the tour! (Warning...lots of pics)!

To all our family and friends, we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!