As I was filling 11 stockings on Christmas Eve night, I was filled with a feeling of being so blessed. Okay, maybe at first I was a little overwhelmed! But overall, I was so thrilled to be having so many children in the house, all snug in their beds, and me planting treats and toys into their stockings! Too much fun!! Guess I should've been an elf.
We had 2 celebrations- the 10 of us plus Grandma Lee on Christmas Eve, then a large family gathering a week later at Aunt Gayles. Our Christmas Eve was a nice quiet day, with turkey and stuffing for dinner, talents performed by the kids before gift opening (very creative, and many very unexpected!), and the whole afternoon for enjoying our gifts and each other's company. As a family, we seem to do best with a laid back approach to celebrations, lazing around, playing games and snacking.
I was thrilled that Luke seemed to enjoy his Knex rollercoaster, and had it put together and working that same day (so much for it keeping him busy during school break) Bri was fascinated by the camera she got from Grandma and was snapping pictures and video all afternoon. Camille spent much of the afternoon flipping between drawing with her art set and wheedling people to play Battleship with her. Janet put her walkman on and it never left her head until church, so that one was a winner. Godwin got several Avengers characters that battled the whole afternoon, and Quinn was more fascinated by the packaging than any particular gift!
At 4:00 we went to Christmas Eve service at my mother's church, and it was a beautiful ceremony with lots of special music and a moving sermon by Pastor Mark. Christmas service is like old home week- families are there with members that you haven't seen since last Christmas, and it has the feeling of a class reunion.
Wrapped up the evening watching some of the MASH series that Loren got as a gift, playing games the kids received, and eating lots of Christmas cookies! Yes, we are "those kind of parents" that make our kids watch our old favorites, hoping to garner at least one or two converts who will also love watching these shows with us. He also tried to get us to like 6 Million Dollar Man, but we all thought that show was dorky.
Which brings me back to filling the stockings. How wonderful that we have been blessed with this many little stockings to fill, and little lives to guide. Thank you God for entrusting these kids into our care!
At Gayles house the following Saturday, it was much of the same thing- good food, followed by gifts, then all the kids (and yes, the term "kids" applies to some of the adults!) bundled up and grabbed their sleds. My uncle and cousin hooked up the sleds behind a couple of 4 wheelers, and the kids rode the snow waves for almost 2 hours before the cold drove them back inside.
I'm so grateful that we are in the position to provide memorable holidays for our kids. So many families are struggling in this economy, and although our gifts were fairly frugal, and I spread out the shopping over several months, it is still challenging to afford all the food and gifts for a large family. Another blessing that we can be grateful for!
I had some great pictures to go with this post, but Blogger isn't letting me upload any pictures. Hmm. Guess you will all just have to use your imagination!