Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas...Its a Wrap

This wraps up our Christmas festivities.  The day after Christmas was spent just hanging out.  The kind of hanging out where breakfast doesn't happen until after 10 AM.  It was an incredibly relaxing couple of days.  Lots of talking with a coffee in hand, games being played and plenty of food being eaten, pretty much around the clock.  There was something happening in nearly every room of the house, you just had to find which room was doing your thing.

Three hour game of Monopoly?

Princess Yahtzee Jr?

Baby holding?  Oh, what do you know...Melody is holding a sleeping Aiden...again.

These two do not believe in condiments in moderation.  Hot sauce or salt anyone?

Clearly, a very deep conversation.

Dancing, food and probably not quite as deep a conversation (no offense, ladies :)

This is us huddled around the computer...we webcammed my brother and his family in Colorado.  He is being deployed to Iraq and will be leaving in a few short days, but thankfully he was granted a four-day pass over Christmas to be home.  His name is Tim and he will be serving as an Army Chaplain...please pray for him when you think of it.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

I John 1:3

Christmas Day

Ok...there are a lot of pictures here.  BUT, it IS Christmas and we DID have 25 people here Christmas morning.  Yes, that's 25, including 11 children under 11.  Tim and Elizabeth, we missed you guys!!

The blessing of family was not lost on anyone present.  I heard several different people throughout the day proclaiming God's faithfulness and evidence in our lives.  Not all of our Christmases have been this merry, but all of us who were present serve a God full of Grace and Love and He has healed and restored much of what was lost.  We are so thankful for a big God who cares about the little people. :)

We've been celebrating Christmas with my mom's sister and her family for 30 years.  They've always lived in New York and we used to do every other year between NY and CT but then my family of six started getting married and growing and now live in six different households so they've graciously made the trek down to CT for the last 12 years so we don't have to rent a school bus to get our family to their house.

As our family grew, we made the decision several years ago to pick names.  All the adults pick an adult name and all the kids pick a kid's name.  Its become a fun tradition to try to guess our secret "santa".  Merry Christmas, Avery-girl!

However, we all still do stockings for each could be argued that they have gotten a bit out of control...

My cousin Melody was on duty the full time she was here.  If she wasn't holding one of the three babies, she was upstairs playing PS3 hockey with the older ones.  She was in high demand and never once asked for two minutes of quiet.  Aiden has missed her sorely, especially the first time I made him sit in his walker...all by himself.  He said If Melody were her, SHE would hold me!

The 2009 First Christmas babies.  Rocco, Aiden, Levi.

So, do you believe me that these two are sisters?  :)

Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Lee...two of the most dear people in the world to me.  Its hard to even put into words what they've meant to my life.

Aiden got some big-boy Tonka trucks, truck books and his first tool set. 

In the evening, we had our first annual Talent Show.  We had stories, guitar and piano music (Chris is playing around the corner) and dancing.  Our family ended up with an "F"...Avery decided she was too shy to read and Amanda followed her queue when it came time to sing.  Maybe next year.  However, the show was tons of fun and everyone else did a great job!

My cousin Johnny works retail in Philly.  He took the 4+ hour train ride Christmas Eve night and headed back at 7 AM the day after Christmas.  Thanks for making the effort for 24 hours Johnny!

Baby's First Christmas.  Love you, little guy!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve

I have a plethora of photos from this past week, so I need to get them up here right away before I decide I'm overwhelmed by it and just forget the whole thing.  Christmas Eve is one of my very favorite days of the year.  Most of the Christmas prep is done, family is arriving and the anticipation that's been building is nearly at a climax.

For the last decade or so, we have celebrated Christmas Eve at my sister Amy's house.  We all go to church for the candlelight service and then we go back to her house for dinner and dessert.  Her in-laws, who have become dear to us are a part also.  Its just a fun, full, festive time.

This year, Avery was a part of the choir, comprised of adults, 4&5 year olds and grade K.  Her cousin Allison sang, too.  They did a beautiuful medley of Silent Night, Away in a Manger and Peace on Earth.  Avery didn't seem nervous at all, she was focused on the conductor and even remembered to smile.  We were very proud of her.

After their quick run through before service, Avery said (excidedly), "Look Mom...she has the same dress as me!"  I wonder at what age that will not be a good thing?

Our "little" group of family took up the better part of two rows.  You can see the proud papa in the stripe shirt watching his daughter on stage.  Amanda was not understanding why she couldn't be singing if Avery was.  "You're too little" is not a good enough answer for her.

Beautiful and powerfully moving to watch the light spread as each candle is lit and the house lights go down.  Silent night, holy night.

Pretty cousins!

My cousin Melody did not waste any time getting her hands on one of the three babies available.

My sister Amy hard at work.  She and her husband did an amazing job hosting, as always.

Family doing their thing...

Then we came back to my house, where the elves got to work putting bows on presents that had made the journey from New York and filling stockings.  The pool table was instantly transformed into a workbench.

Traditional Twas the Night Before Christmas reading.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:4-7