Our Christmas festivities...mostly

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing and joy-filled Christmas.  I know we did!

In an effort to play catch up and do a better job sharing on the blog, I figured I should get crackin' on all the Christmas festivity photos that were begging to be edited.  I'll start with Christmas Eve.  We attended our church's 2pm service.  So after lunch, we headed out.
 I know you might be thinking the above photo is more appropriate for an Easter service.  Well, we don't always go with "traditional" around here.  So it works for us.  But the good news is, the girls can certainly wear their dresses again, for Easter. lol

After church, we came home and started working on dinner.  We have started a tradition of eating lobster on Christmas Eve.  To this we added some Alaskan king crab legs (Caleb tried them a few weeks ago and LOVED them), and I also made some potato latkes.  It was so delicious.

We have been working our way through Ann Voskamp's book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, which we love. So we read another passage.  And then the dumplings each opened up a "group" gift for them to enjoy together. And then Caleb and Madeline each opened up a special Willow Tree figure.
 Then it was time for lights out and a quick snap of the tree with all the presents underneath.  This is not a Pinterest-worthy presents-under-the-tree photo.  Nope.  The wrapping paper isn't all coordinated.  Not every present has a bow, or a tag for that matter.  But under the tree is love and thoughtfulness wrapped up in a variety of gifts from lots of different people.

Much to our surprise Christmas morning, Caleb didn't wake up till 6:45am.  (Havi had been up for a bit with Patrick.)  So we had him go wake up Madeline.  We poured our coffee, and I took the cinnamon rolls I was proofing overnight out of the fridge.  We read the last passage in Ann Voskamp's book and then proceeded to open gifts.  We gave each of them just three gifts, with one big group gift for all of them.  The rest of the gifts they received from extended family.

In taking pictures, I opted to focus solely on capturing  the dumpling's expressions.  I cared little about composition or technique that morning.
 They started off with their stockings.
 A New York Yankee pillow pet
 Peppa Pig figures for Havi, which she loves
 Roller skates for Havi
 A pink tennis backpack for Madeline
 A microscope for Caleb
 The new WiiU for all of them
 A much needed phone for Caleb.  His intense tennis training schedule necessitated it.
 And then Caleb and Madeline's last gifts could not be wrapped.  So we placed them in the kid's playroom and threw some sheets over them in case they went wandering away from the tree and toward the kitchen, which Madeline did.  Thankfully, though, the surprise was not ruined. Havi was so cute covering her eyes also.

 A vanity for Madeline and a bike (that now fits) for Caleb
While I captured a lot of presents being opened, there was one in particular that I missed because I, myself, was wrapped up in its unveiling.  My mother-in-law painted a beautiful picture of Madeline wearing her dance recital costume from this year.  As soon as we safely removed it from its packing, Patrick quickly whisked it away to Madeline's room to keep it safe from all the hustle and bustle.   Well, that meant not getting a photo of it.  Boo.  I will have to do that.

So after presents were opened, we ate breakfast- those cinnamon rolls I alluded to earlier.  Then the dumplings played while Patrick and I began working on dinner- lasagna!  He made the meat sauce while I made the ricotta cheese and lasagna sheets.  Once I got all the sheets cut, we headed out for a bike ride.  We just go around the neighborhood, but the path we take makes for about a 40-45 minute ride.  That's enough to put Havi to sleep on the back of Patrick's bike. lol  Anyway, once we got back, Patrick and I got to work layering the lasagna sheets with the sauce and cheese.  We made a great team.  And the lasagana....woah! It was so delicious.  Homemade everything just makes all the difference.  Seriously.   

The only thing I would do differently next year is make the cheese and lasagna sheets ahead of time.  I didn't think it would take too much time, but it definitely kept me in the kitchen instead of photographing the kids playing with their new toys, like I usually do.  So that part bummed me out.  Lesson learned.

Well, the cooking, baking, and Christmas celebrating has continued through this weekend because my sister and her peeps came into town yesterday.  Andy had a gig with his band Elevators Friday night.  So their typical visit on Christmas Day was delayed.  Anyway, we have already done some serious eating, and we're only half way through the weekend! lol  If you've followed this post all the way to the end, then I'll be sure to send you some of Jesus's birthday cake. ;)


Cheri 12/29/2014  

Such beautiful pictures and fun times! Seeing your kids standing side by side makes me notice how much they've grown! Time is flying by too quickly!

PS...we had lobster for Christmas dinner. With shrimp, and scallops. And it is crazy seeing your kids in summer attire while it is so cool here!

B Wilson 12/29/2014  

Wow - those looks of surprise are worth their weight in gold!! Can't wait to be there in January! Sending love and best wishes for a Happy and healthy New Year!!

lisacng @ expandng.com 12/30/2014  

Awww, their faces are priceless! I'm not good about taking photos of the kids opening presents. I liked just observing and enjoying it. Hopefully their uncle got good pictures though :).

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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