Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve is all kinds of fun in the Green home. We begin the “festivities” around 5:00 by picking up Arby’s (that started one year when I didn’t have time to cook a nice dinner and we have happily kept it up since) and driving to Thanksgiving Point to see the Christmas lights. After coming home, we dress up and act out the Bible story. The kids were so excited this year to have Sophi be “baby Jesus.” We open one gift (always pjs) and then we do “grand bags.” Grand bags are probably very unique to our family! It started with Allen (Jeremy’s dad) and has trickled down to our family. When the kids were little and we traveled to Oregon for Christmas, Allen would always do a “grab bag” for each of us, but the kids called them “grand bags” since they were from grandpa. The name stuck, even though Jeremy now fills their bags. A grand bag is like a second Christmas (or first, I guess) in a bag. It is filled with one’s favorite cereal, drinks, and goodies—none of which have to be shared (which is a big thing in this family!) It also holds other little treasures that Jeremy puts lots of thought into. I even get a grand bag! (: We then sip hot chocolate and listen to an audio version of “The Christmas Carol.”

Jeremy and I were up late into the night on Christmas Eve. It may have had something to do with the wonderful doll house that Santa brought for the girls. (: Our kids were kind enough to let us sleep in a bit on Christmas morning, and they were almost out of their minds when we finally rolled out of bed close to 9:00. We made them come up the stairs in “shifts” so we could get video of everyone’s reactions. In our family, Santa brings each child three gifts, symbolizing the three gifts brought by the wisemen. Taylor and Parker were ecstatic to find that Santa had brought them DS’s. They think they were the last kids in town to own one. (Maybe Santa finally found screaming deal in China, making it possible.) It was so much fun to see the joy on their faces!! Parker also got a helicopter and a ripstick, and Taylor a new Tennessee sweatshirt and scooter. Graci got her much-wished-for Password Journal and tiger webkinz, along with the Barbie house that Santa brought for her and Jesi. They love playing Barbies together! Jesi got a cooking set and a pink Zhu Zhu pet. Xander scored big with a new bike, spy kit, and nerf gun, and all the little girls got new musical toys. We’ll call this their “second Christmas” (the grand bags being the first.)

(Some of these posted out of order, and I'm not going to take the time to fix them...)

After seeing what Santa brought, we got things cleaned up a bit for Channel 2 news, which came to video a short segment on the adoptions. Then we started their “third Christmas” aka “gifts from each other.” Our kids save money for months to buy Christmas gifts for each other. We double their allowance (that they earn from completing their chores) during the month of November to help them out. This is where so much of the real Christmas joy comes in—watching them GIVE. There were so many thoughtful gifts given. One of my favorites came from Graci and Jesi. At one of Graci’s doctor appointments at Primary Children’s, I saw a vase that was filled with folded origami birds. I commented on how much I loved it. Well, my Graci remembered, and she and Jesi spent hours making one for me!

After all the gifts were opened, we had our “fourth Christmas.” Both Grandma Larsen and Grandma and Grandpa Green had sent money for each of us for Christmas. Instead of buying each child something (heaven knows they had enough presents!) we pooled all of the money together and bought a new TV! It is our first big screen, first flat screen, and first HDTV all rolled into one. The kids were DYING! (They also think we’re the last family in town to own a flat screen.) I’m not sure who was more excited—the kids, or Jeremy. (:

Our “fifth Christmas” happened yesterday, when my parents came to celebrate with us. They spoiled us all!

As you can see, our kids scored big this year! And if they ever deserved it, it would be this year. They have been through a lot and made lots of sacrifices to get to where we are today. Of course, even with all of those “Christmases,” it goes without saying that our best Christmas gift this year is having Lexi and Sophi home with us. They continue to capture our hearts. We are completely in love with them, and have so enjoyed having time off of school to have all of the kids here at home. It’s CRAZY, for sure, but beautiful beyond words! And of course, the birth of the Savior is what brought it all about. All glory to Him.

Merry Christmas to us! (:

And Merry Christmas to you! Jeremy still thinks we’re going to get our Christmas cards off, but just in case we don’t (wink, wink) we want to say we love you and are so grateful for good friends and family! They didn’t include it in the video, (they only took a few of the things we said) but you should know we went on and on about the support and love given to us by our neighbors, friends, and family. We couldn’t do this without you. We love you!