Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy Jesus' Birthday 2011

I had an encouraging conversation last month with an acquaintance who, with his wife, has raised their children in hopes of celebrating the Truth of Christmas at Christmas. I have been praying specifically for clarity and direction in how we are to celebrate Christmas with a firm focus on the truth of celebrating our Savior Jesus' birthday and, at the same time, not being legalistic in my/our view of Santa Claus. I want our children to enjoy but also understand the truth of St. Nicholaus and what the world 'makes' of him in the magnification of Santa Claus. All that said, in ending my conversation with my friend, he waved and merrily said, "Happy Jesus' Birthday!" as we parted. For me, that is such a neat verbal gesture to help me and thus my children 'get' what Christmas is all about!
Christmas was, indeed, a rich and sweet celebration in 2011. We started out with planning to celebrate Christmas on the actual day of Christmas (December 25th) this (last :)) year. For the last few years passed, we've celebrated Christmas {with Russell's parents and family} on Thanksgiving in order to be with all family, but this Christmas was different. It was more traditional, and I think everyone appreciated the change.
We started with a sweet Christmas party at Rhys' preschool:
Daddy & the boys...
Rhys opening one of his Christmas goodie bags. There were sooooo {TOOOOOO} many goodies!!! That's all Rhys asked for morning, day and night until I finally got smart and HID the goodies from our kitchen counter! :) Oh, yes, out of sight, out of mind! So true!!!
Then, we spent some fun time with my family. Baba, Mama Nili & Aunt Soraya enjoyed giving some really thoughtful toys, pj's and things to the boys, and Russell and I were spoiled, too!
My favorite part of opening gifts is watching the boys' faces! Rhys literally learned what a 'gift' is this Christmas! He was ready to open ALL gifts {even the ones we wrapped for others!} once he opened his first one! :) Cute kiddo!
Rhys opened a HUMMER!!! Yay!!! Then, he went up to Baba Nili to give him a thank-you hug. :)
Caleb got a fun, educational helicopter to help him learn to count, which both boys are enjoying!
We've had some good family visits with my parents and sister at their store, recently, and the boys have FUN playing on all the rugs! It's like a giant gym for them! :)
(I had a stomach bug in the above pics, so I looked as bad as I felt! Not fun, but I was trying to wear a smile!! :))

Then, we went to Mississippi, where we spent time with Russell's family:
Pappa & Grandmom had a beautiful Christmas tree!!!
Of course, the kiddos {& adults} were curious about all the gifts until Christmas morning!! :)
Then, finally, Christmas morning came! Sierra, Caleb and Rhys were lavished over with fun toys and trinkets, etc.
They got toy airplanes in their stockings, so Pappa gave a lesson on how to fly them! :)
Caleb got a great alphabet train toy, which teaches numbers and the alphabet! I'm ALL about educational toys for our kiddos! Rhys has just as much fun with this great gift, and he is learning a lot!
Rhys got more trucks, tractors, Matchbox cars, a Matchbox car carrying case, etc! Whew!
We all had a fun morning, reading the Christmas story, watching each other open gifts, then indulging in Grandmom's yummy Christmas morning breakfast. No one goes hungry in Grandmom's kitchen! :) She was cooking morning, day and night for DAYS while we all enjoyed visiting, playing and all those fun times!! "Thank you, Grandmom!!"
Then, that evening, the kiddos and Aunt Tami set to baking cupcakes in order to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, which I think really helps us all "get" the purpose of Christmas' celebration that much more.
Uncle Todd & Aunt Kristie (Russell's little sister). :) Caleb could not have been more happy than in Uncle Todd's arms! So, "Uncle Todd & Aunt Kristie & Sierra, we need to get our families together more often!!!"
And a sweet memory to capture of these sweet playmates...Cousins Rhys & Sierra.
And the three grandkids.

Christmas 2011 was a sweet time with friends & family, perhaps with new family traditions. I hope sinus infections is NOT one of those family holiday traditions, as we ALL came home with sinus infections, rushing us all to the dr/pediatrician from Mississippi to Alabama shortly after Christmas. Whew! Glad to be on this side of that! "Thank You, Lord Jesus, for health, wellness and even for medications!"

I hope and pray that you and yours had a Happy Jesus' Birthday and a great start to 2012!!!!

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