December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

One of the great joys of this Christmas was having my entire family here on Christmas Eve.  One of the greatest bummers was not getting a single picture to document that.  Oh, well.  We were enjoying our time together so much that we never remembered the camera. 

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is the Christmas Eve service at the church.  I think this year might have been my favorite.  Lucas started with the children's message by talking with them about how Christmas is a birthday party, a celebration.  He gave them party hats and cake pops and (duh, duh, duhhhhh) noise makers!  He asked them not to blow them during the service, but to really go to town on the last song ("Joy to the World").  Then he gave a really wonderful sermon - using a slideshow he had put together - showing all of the wonders of the universe (our galaxy and beyond).  He showed the size, beauty, and majesty of the stars and read verses about the heavens declaring His glory and God holding the heavens in His hand.  And then he showed a picture of Jesus in the manger. The God who not only created the universe, but is so vast and great that He holds it in the palm of His hands, became a baby for us.  It put into perspective both our size in the whole of the universe, and our individual importance to the God that created it all.  Then we all stood in a circle and lit candles and sang "Silent Night."  And then...then we sang "Joy to the World."  The jubilant sound of the children blowing their noisemakers was perfect.  There wasn't a single person in the sanctuary who wasn't smiling, and it really set the mood for the Christmas celebration.
Goofing off in front of the tree before the Christmas Eve service.
We came home, got the kids to bed, played some games before we sent Nic and Ariel to her parents, and then got to work creating some Christmas magic.  Once again, I wasn't completely finished with my Christmas presents and nothing was wrapped.  Seriously, one of these years I will get organized.  Somehow, we still ended up in bed before midnight!

The next morning we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then we opened presents! Ryan and Allie could hardly contain their excitement.

First we put our "presents for Jesus" under our little Christmas tree.  These were all of the things the twins did for others during advent.  We re-read each card and placed it under the tree.
Then the kids opened their presents.
Just before the present opening.
More than once Allie opened a present and yelled, "A box!  I love boxes!  I always wanted a box!  I love it!"  And then she would be beyond excited to discover the present was inside!
These monster trucks were the first present he opened, and he loved them so much that I didn't think we were going to get him to open any other presents!
Allie said her favorite present was this princess shampoo.
 He was, thankfully, as thrilled with the second present we talked him into opening!
His gift from Allie.  He has the best facial expressions!
(Note: since the writing of this he has discovered that the book includes the book on cd - with character voices!  After teaching him how to work the cd player, he has "read" it at least 5 times...and thanked Allie again each time!)
Opening her gift from Ryan.  She kept yelling, "Ryan, how did you know?  How did you know I would love this?"
As you may remember, our big present to them was the train table.  We saved so much money that we went ahead and bought their favorite Chuggington engines.  There are 3 so we wrapped up 2 and told them to find the last one.  I took them all over the house, having them check in each room before I suggested the basement.  They were crazy excited as they ran downstairs and rounded the corner.
And then they saw it.  And they paused for a fraction of a second.  And they breathlessly (and wordlessly) began to play.  It was almost as if they were afraid that, if they made any noise, it would disappear.
The rest of the day was pretty much filled with playing with toys.  They would play with one of their toys for a little while, but then would return to the train table.  There was a lot of time spent like this:
And a little spent like this:
It was inevitable that one of them would want one of the trains that the other had...

I made Christmas dinner.  It was basically a second Thanksgiving dinner.  Lucas' favorite meal is turkey with all the trimmings, so part of his gift is having that for Christmas dinner.  After my Thanksgiving fail, I was a little nervous.  But it turned out perfect.  Perhaps the best I've made ever.  I had to include a picture of my redemption turkey.
I have to end with two of my favorite pictures.  See, I made the beanbags.  They were a Christmas present.  But I didn't get the removable outer covers finished in time.  I thought about staying up until 4 am to finish them, and then I realized that they wouldn't care.  They would love the beanbags even without the covers (made out of a fabric they picked).  I'm so glad because I was right.  I still need to finish the covers, but they are loving them for now - especially during naptime.

I can't help but wonder if it gets better than this?  This age seems perfect for Christmas.  They were so excited, they were thrilled with boxes.  I'm sure it won't stay that way forever, but I love it right now.  I am cherishing the enthusiasm and appreciation of a Merry Christmas indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sad we missed all this but I'm thankful for the blog and the pictures. Looks like they had a wonderful Christmas!! I did. ♥ NANA