Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas part 3, Christmas eve and morning



And more Books! My kids love them just like JR and I. We opened these on Christmas Eve. Thank you Uncle Jeff, Aunt Vicky, and Cousins Kira and Aiden!

Christmas Morning
We lit our advent candles and read the last chapter in our Advent storybook. This year we read Bartholomew's passage. It was probably a little advanced for the kids but it was the beginning a of great tradition. We were amazed with how much Olivia is able to pick up and understand. Our other advent tradition has been to open an advent calendar that has little pieces of a nativity scene to be set up each day. These activities have provided lots of anticipation as we approach Christmas day.

A Christmas morning tradition for our family is to have a birthday cake for Jesus. Why not start out the day with a celebration and a little sugar?! :)

Olivia is opening the gift that Jesus wants for his birthday.

And that gift is YOU! Jesus wants you (or your heart as we learned from the Donutlady) for his birthday. That is why we celebrate Christmas. Jesus came down to earth as a human to know us and love us. And then he would die and be raised from the dead so that we could have a personal relationship with God. Jesus is my beloved. He wants to be yours too!

We left home briefly to greet some of our homeless "friends". This past summer we started joining a group called Burrito Bikers every other Saturday to fix/serve breakfast burritos, coffee, water and other goodies. Usually we serve them on the sidewalk near the City Center Park in downtown Greensboro but this morning, the Methodist Church downtown was hosting a hot, sit down meal. They had lots of volunteers but we went to socialize and spread some joy with them this on this Christmas morning. This has been such a good service outreach for us as a family. Our friends adore the kids and their smiling faces. We are learning to talk with and get to know people that are a bit different from us and don't smell so good. I am not sure the kids even notice.

On the way home, we stopped to see a nativity. It is set up by Greensboro College. As part of our approaching Christmas traditions, we went through several drive-through and walk through nativities. So many different ways to consider the events of the Christmas story.

Once we were back home, the kids opened their stockings. They are always so much fun! (JR and I opened ours last night after the kids went to bed. A nice new tradition I think. :) ) 

Then we headed to the gifts under the tree. Ezra was napping by this point if you are wondering why he was absent from the pictures.

There will lots of art fun in the days to come in our house. :) Gabe and Olivia were so excited when they saw this set up by the tree.

Christmas part 2, with Grandma and Grandpa

Christmas week part 1, at Grandma Sims's Nursing Home

We visited with my Grandma and her husband (Granddad) at her nursing home in Durham to start our Christmas celebration. My Mom's brother, my aunt, and my two cousins were there. It was lots of fun. The nursing home was decorated beautifully and there are several cages of birds that entertain the kids.

Dad and Olivia. He presented her with a Nutcraker.

My mom and Gabe. Gabe was playing the falling over game. Do you know the one I mean? He was not holding up his own weight and mom didn't want to let him go cause he would fall. Sometimes, you just have to let them go. :)

My Dad and Ezra. He just loves faces.

How big is Grandpa's lap? :)

Grandma Fenske/Sims (mom's mom) holding Ezra. He was very content.

Hugging Granddad Sims

Never still.

Olivia is still Hello Kitty crazy. She hit the jackpot with a notebook, pens, and a bingo game.

Ezra playing with the gift bag. His favorite part of the gift. He received an outfit which came just in time as he had messed up two outfits by the time we started to open presents.
Great Aunt Nancy made Gabe his own Quiet Activity Book (she made Olivia one a few years ago)

Gabe and his steam roller. His playing was complete with sounds.

The whole gang

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Play

Our church did a Christmas play this year and Rebecca and Olivia were the stars! They did such a fantastic job! Rebecca and Miana (our music coordinator, fantastic babysitter and pastor's daughter) put together a 30-minute play based on a video from a while back called "The Greatest Present of All" which featured the Donut Man. Olivia begged and begged me to do the play, but I'll admit, I was too chicken. Rebecca stepped in and did a wonderful job.

Rebecca as "Donut Woman." She actually sewed those donuts for her costume. I have to admit, I was impressed with how great they looked.

Olivia speaking her lines. She knew exactly how to hold the microphone with no coaching! That's my girl! :)

For those who don't know the "donut" illustration, our hearts are like donuts: they each have a big hole in the middle of them. But Jesus acts like a pastry "donut hole", filling that empty space up perfectly.

Amazingly, nothing caught fire!

Did I mention that this isn't the first time Rebecca's had a run in with donuts? Seems to me that history does repeat itself. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Luminaries and Lights

Our neighborhood put out luminaries last weekend and they were beautiful. Olivia loved walking around the block and seeing them all.

Does it count as a "White Christmas" if it snows on Christmas Day?