Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!

We took a few pics and then we were off to church!
Went to the 6:00 service instead of the crowded 4:00 and got prime seats!

And after church we took up where we left off for some more family pics!

I grew up with a "rigid" but wonderful Christmas eve and Christmas day schedule.
Church at 4:00, then dinner at our house (mandatory) and the family gifts were exchanged and opened that evening.
On Christmas morning Santa had left us gifts.
We opened, had brunch and later that day went to Grandmas house.
When Grandma and the Aunts could no longer have the celebration we stayed at our home and relaxed for the day.
It was wonderful and I have so many great memories!
My Mom did everything for us- the three kids, my father, other relatives and Grandma and the Aunts.

Once married we did our best to divide between the two sides of the families.

If you were not at my family gathering on the 24th- you missed it. There was no redo, no second party... it was over...

There were three kids in my family and Hubby's family.
Times have changed.
We have 18 kids (hopefully, prayerfully 2 more) and 2-3 spouses and a grand daughter.

Flexibility is our middle name... it has to be!

We celebrated with Katie, Emily, Auntie Mimi and cousin Jimmy on the 14th of December.
Matt, Caitlin, Auntie Barbie, Billy and Kelly on the 21st of December.
Then Johnny and the rest of us celebrated on the 24th and 25th!
With guest appearances by Auntie Barbie and our Billy.

At first the idea of so many celebration was overwhelming
it turned out to be just the opposite!

It was relaxing, enjoyable, less pressure and wonderful to be able to be with everyone so close to Christmas!
(except our sweet Mark in Fiji)

Mia isn't quite sure how to smile for pictures!

There it is, honey!
Now, we are having "redo's" when she does that stressed smile!

Feeling amazingly blessed!

The children waiting patiently on Christmas morning!
Once we woke up Johnny and had our coffee ready to go, 

Started down the stairs!

Everyone was soooo excited!

At this point the children get matching gifts.
We may change that in the future but for now this is working!
A couple Christmas's ago we gave the children different gifts and they all wanted what another sibling got and not what they got.
It was a little hard on the shoppers and we realized that the children are s easily overwhelmed. They didn't know how to be thankful or how to self regulate.
So we cut back on the amount of gifts and the options.
It was a good choice for us and it has made our Christmas celebration so much better!

The gift theme this year was 
"everything personalized"!

The got a personalized box for their stuff only (a must when you have a large family) with an individualized toy or game in it.
A personalized lockbox for THEIR money.
A personalized bath towel with shower gel, lotion and slippers.
A personalized ornament for the tree!

They spent most of the day in their jammies playing with their new things, playing games and watching Christmas movies!
It was a delightful couple days!

Praising God for His gift to us!


Sarah said...

Looks like a wonderful celebration! Merry Christmas to your beautiful family!

Emily said...

You have the most beautiful family! I love looking at each of their faces in your photos. They've all grown and changed so much. I just love it! Merry Christmas to all of you.

sneakishfrog said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for the update - I just love your family! (I know it might seem strange as I'm essentially an anonymous internet stranger, but I'm so glad you've taken the time over the years to talk about faith and family. I come from an agnostic background and am just beginning to explore what faith means to me, and the way you talk about it in your life is so real and warm. It makes me so happy to see your kids thriving, especially because there are so many skeptics about "large" families! I think about your family often and I include them in my version of "prayer", as I continue to explore what that means.)

K said...

I love how you did Christmas for your family! It's hard to convey to others the different ways our children perceive receiving gifts and how they handle it. It sounds like you found a great way to preserve the joy of gift giving for yourself and the joy of receiving for your children.

The pictures of your family are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them. I particularly like the one of your son hunkered down with his arms outstretched around the girls.

Vicki said...

Beautiful memories for these sweetie pies....
Geesh. I only have 3.

Vicki said...

Meant to leave our blog address:

lizzielou said...

Merry Christmas to all of you! And continued prayers for you all and your waiting little ones. xoxo

Sally R said...

We celebrated just like you did this year and it was wonderful, so much less pressure and yet time with all of our grown children who were in town and with the littles. It was great! Can't wait for next year to do a repeat! Now off to San Francisco for our gift to each other .....a night alone in the city!

Shay Ankerich said...

A beautiful Christmas sweet friend!!! Love to you all!!!

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! What a blessing!

Mom Of Many said...

Dw and I loved looking at your pictures. You guys are amazing and your family is precious beyond words - you model God's heart so beautifully. Much love from Phoenix my sweet friend!! xo

Heather H. said...

Ironic. My newest-home daughter just started doing that same smile on Christmas Eve. And like Mia, she has such a gorgeous natural smile. I hope she finds it again soon.