Monday, December 29, 2014

Celebrating with Family- Focusing on the JOY!!

On Dec 21st Matt and Caitlin arrived in Minneapolis!

It was so wonderful having them here!
Matt has been extremely busy with studying(bio statistics)- a subject that he loves but he/they are feeling like they needs more balance. Caitlin works with special needs preschooler. Many of her little students have severe needs- she loves it but her days are challenging. 
Finals are over, school is out and they can finally exhale!
So thankful they chose to "exhale" with us!

Billy and my sister Barb.
We really have fun when we get together!

Emma and Ellie are enjoying their Christmas break from school!
Johnny is done with finals and will be spending time with Katie and Emily in Colorado over J term!

Two of our girls - Kelly and Caitlin!
Caitlin and Matt are checking out homes in the area!
They are considering moving back! (woooohooooo)

Sarah made this beautiful picture for Matt and Caitlin!
 We love Abeka art projects!
Easy to do and great results!

Kelly made "Olaf" mugs for the children filled with a hot cocoa bag and candy canes!

Mia has a blue candy cane !
Still working on the relaxed smile ;-)
After playing outside in the snow they all came in for hot cocoa!

In early December we went to the movie
"Saving Christmas"
It was not the best movie...
it saved our Christmas!


Because it reminded us what to focus on.
The joy of the season, the fun of the season, the celebration of Christ and the gifts that were given to us through HIM!

NOT the stress.
Not having everything perfect.
Not excess...

It's great to decorate your home!
It is wonderful to shop for others!
It's fantastic to serve holiday meals and goodies!
But only to the point that you are still feeling "JOY"!

It's okay to lighten up on yourself.

As the Mom/ Nana of all of this I need to feel the joy.
I can't afford to have it sucked out of this amazing time of year.
What am I teaching my children IF I am crabby, stressed and tense?
I don't want to carry this burden, only to transfer it to them...
I want them to feel the JOY of Christ's birth!

So for me-
I choose to be nice to myself.
Our bedroom- "command central"- is a wreck. 
During the month of December no one can go into my closet. 
The week before Christmas no one can enter our room.

I have soaps and candles that I forgot to put out for the holiday (theres always next year).
I had no idea where the girls leggings were on Christmas eve (straight into prayer), our back up was their old black leggings. I forgot to get shirts for under the boys sweaters- so we searched and found a few old shirts and 2 others that they hadn't worn yet.
Em and El wore MY black socks with their shoes to church. The other girls have boots to wear but Em and El's feet are too wide for the boots.
We pulled it together and it worked!

I went into this holiday with Prayer-
 Lord I know you have this covered. 
Please remind of what I need to be reminded of... I trust you. 

Somehow everything falls into place!

My job...
Is to be joyful!
I kept reminding myself ;-)

Yes, I wake up in the middle of the night and remember something I forgot or where I have fallen short...
Take it away Lord!
Let me honor you with joy!

Our decorations were extremely simple.

This is it!
Along with some garland over the fireplace.
We chose to move the stockings to the stairs so we could have fires in the fireplace.

Simple works for me and decreases my stress.
Different things work for different people.

My kitchen helpers!
Getting ready to make the egg dish for brunch!
I love working together with the children.
It's fun and it makes the job more joyful!

Christmas Eve Brunch was delicious!
We make two egg dishes and yes, I forgot the peppers and onions for the zippy one.
So bland won this year!

So thankful these two were with us!

The littles LOVE sitting at this table together!

No snow for our Christmas- but it came two days later!

Matt and Caitlin gave the children gifts to work together on!
Arts and craft projects which they love!

When Christmas was over Luke asked
"When can we do this again?"
In 365 days, honey!

I love puzzles!

Thank you, Matt and Caitlin!

Figuring out
how to do the crafts!

When the children opened the spirograph one of them said-
 we already have that...

Well, yes...
But that would be the 1968 version - 
mine from when I was a child!

Abby has settled into our family beautifully!
It didn't happen right away.
It took her a good year plus to feel better (health wise) and to figure out what a family is all about.

We love doing puzzles!
Especially during Christmas break- it's so relaxing!

Anna has surgery tomorrow.
Please keep her in your prayers!
They will be closing the fistula on the roof of her mouth- no more food coming out of her nose!
Next year they will do a bone graph to connect her dental ridge (gun line).

The dining room becomes the puzzle room!

We finished this 1000 pc puzzles in 2 days!

Why quit now?
The children have opened up every large puzzle we own and they are working on them!


Heather H. said...

We, too, did our "big" dinner on Christmas Eve this year, and ate leftovers on Christmas Day. It was so much less stressful. I plan on continuing this way for the foreseeable future. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Stephanie M said...

Jean, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! Love the testimony in this post! Thank you!! And, as always, love all the photos! So fun to look at!!


K said...

Happy New Year! I love reading your blog and seeing all the pictures. The glimpse into how you organized the holidays was refreshing and inspiring.

I'm single and have four daughters from China. I think we're doing well, but it's a constant challenge with lots of ups and downs.

I am licensed childcare home so I'm used to tending to many children at once and know it can be done simply, but I'm always looking for new ways. Can you please share more of your daily routines such as how you manage bath time and getting ready in the morning or getting ready for outings?