What November lacked in photos, December more than makes up for it. I was feeling so much better — physically, yes, but also emotionally and mentally. The pregnancy fog that plagued me for so long started to lift and I was starting to feel like myself again. The things I normally enjoy (like taking photos) was fun again. Plus, with three Christmas celebrations, a 17 day trip, and lots of firsts (like sledding!) there was a lot to photograph!
The month started off strong. Since we were going to be leaving on a trip to Michigan later in the month, we wanted to be sure that we took time to celebrate Christmas as a family first. So, we got right to work decorating, wrapping, and preparing for our December 8th family Christmas.Days leading up to our family Christmas were filled with baking, preparing, school, and getting ready for our trip. Our "Christmas" morning started off as usual: stockings, pictures in Christmas jammies (opened the night before), and breakfast together. Thai sticky rice (in red and green!) is always the request! Then we moved on to gifts! All the present opening wore us out (as evidenced by Miss Bethany pretending to nap with her new blankie and pillow pet), so we cleaned up and rested. Then, I took the kids out for a bit so I could get some photos of them. It had been a long time since I took them out specifically for photos. Caleb was sick and we were losing light fast, but we were still able to get a few good ones.
The next day, I made everyone get dressed again to try for a few family pictures. It was a complete failure, but at least we got some laughs out of. Not one picture that I love, but a lot that make me giggle! And yes, I am completely embarrassed to show the ones of me in the them. I hate them all. But hey, this is real life and this is sometimes what we get. In case you are wondering, I set my camera on a tripod and I use a remote timer that I set to take a photo every three seconds.I take that back...I love these two 🙂 Daddy to the rescue to save a screaming baby. She loves him so much!
Mixed in with packing and getting ready for our trip to Michigan, the next week was filled with some leisure. Walks with the kids, baking, and just soaking in the beauty of God's creation. Almost nothing brings me so close to the Lord than stopping in awe and wonder at His beautiful creation. His creativity — even in the smallest details — leaves me awestruck.
On the 15th of December, we drove to Michigan to spend the holidays with family. On the 17th (in addition to celebrating 13 years of marriage!), we celebrated Christmas with Jason's parents and brother. One of the first orders of business for the day was for Caleb to wow us with his magic show. He had been practicing for a few weeks and he did a great job!
My favorite part of the day was getting to spend it with our sweet Lucy! She isn't able to live with us at the missionary home so she has been living with Jason's parents. I can't wait to have her back with us again!
On the morning of the 21st, the kids got to experience for the first time what they were most excited about: SNOW! Michigan got a light dusting and long before the sun was up, our kids were out enjoying it!Bethany woke up later and took her turn exploring the white stuff.
On December 23rd, we made the seven hour trek to Madison, Wisconsin, to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my side of the family. It was a fun time to be all together and my younger sister and her husband were great (and gracious!) hosts. Christmas morning was a bit insane, but even Santa found some time to snooze.On the way back to Michigan, we had the pleasure of spending a few hours with former coworkers from Indonesia. What a blessing it was to get together! Once we got back to Michigan, the kids were thrilled to see a good amount of snow. They LOVED playing and sledding on the piles dumped in Wisconsin and so they were thrilled for a few more chances to enjoy it before heading back to North Carolina. And I was thrilled with the local salvation army that helped us get all five kids outfitted for under $30! No use spending lots of money on things we probably won't ever be able to use again!
The final event of our trip was something that we had been meaning to do all month and just hadn't had the chance to do yet: make gingerbread houses. It isn't something we had ever done before, so when I saw these kits at Hobby Lobby on Black Friday, I thought they would be a great first-time experience for us. The kids had so much fun (and made a huge mess of Jason's parent's kitchen!)And one final photo of 2012...saying goodbye to grandma and grandpa (and Lucy :(). Looking forward to a GREAT 2013! And that was December!