Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas 2013

We had a wonderful Christmas!  Our "no presents from each other or Santa" idea fostered a lot of extra time to create special memories.  We sent Santa a letter telling him all about the many things we have been given this year and how we would love if he would share our presents with another family.  As I'm sure you can imagine, this lifted a lot of the holiday stress from our lives!  We implemented many of the ideas given to us by you creative readers-- thank you!  One of our favorites was judging Christmas lights.  We found a "Best Holiday Lights" certificate online and printed out ten of them.  We then spent a couple of hours driving around different neighborhoods and finding beautiful Christmas light displays.  Our top ten received treats and a certificate.  I think that's one that will have to continue as an annual tradition!   We tried very hard to do something every day in December that would bring the spirit of Christ into our home.  We read lots of Christmas stories, watched Christmas movies, and had lots of fun with secret service.  Many days were busy with school and homework and activities and we were only able to do little things, but it still helped us keep our focus in the right place.   At one point we told the kids that we wanted them to each come up with their own idea of a service project that we would help fund.   For example,Taylor's idea was to pay for someone's groceries the next time we were at the store, which turned into a beautiful Christmas Eve memory.   We have been given SO MUCH and we are so grateful for opportunities to give back in little ways.   I am grateful for wonderful children who know what Christmas is all about.   (:

Of course, the kids did get to be on the receiving end too.   We had cousin gift exchange, gifts from grandparents, new p.j.'s from our adopted grandparents, fun neighbor gifts, and of course, grand bags.  Most importantly, we were able to spend time with lots of extended family-- we love you all!



 Sophi and Alaya gave to each other

 She got her baby doll!

 Grandma's house

 Mariah and Jesi exchange gifts

 Celeste and Graci

 Lexi and Charity

 Cali and Charity-- Cali just loves her!

 Neighbor gifts waiting on our porch when we got home from visiting Grandma's-- thank you!!!!  We received one very special gift-- a Christmas jar--for which we are especially grateful.  If you are out there, please know how much it meant to us!

 Arby's and Christmas lights

 Jer kept telling them to smile, but Parker continually made faces at the last minute.  Ha.

 New jammies-- thank you, Russ and Candice!

 Grand bags!  (i.e. bags from Dad full of all your favorite, often non-healthy foods that you normally don't get and that you are not obligated to share-- big time fun!)

Every time Sophi pulled out something she would exclaim, "MY FAVORITE!"  She is so much fun!!!