Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas With The Schuiteman's

The day after Christmas we headed to my parents to celebrate Christmas with my family.  

Our table is officially full and the kids filled up two other tables.  It is amazing to see how our family has grown over the years.  

Max gave a few "mmmmmmmm's" as he enjoyed grammy's Christmas brunch.  We always have grammy's egg bake, fruit parfait, muffins and the yummy peaches and cream.  

When there are 11 grandchildren there just isn't room for the stockings to be hung so grammy shifted to baskets.  Look at that row of kids.  God is good ... we are blessed!

Next it was the adults turn to open their stockings.  We all still love the little treasures my mom finds to fill our stockings with ... still children at heart!

Alexa snapped a picture of Eric and I as we were going through our stocking.

We surprised Papa and Grammy with a new TV. 

With all the additions to the family we were all agreed that our kids are blessed and really don't need anything.  So we simplified Christmas this year in the gift giving department.  It was so nice to feel like things were crazy with presents and paper flying everywhere but instead our focus was on each other.  

Our afternoon was spent playing games with cousins ....

getting tickled by uncles ...

trying to figure out the new scooter ...

playing Nerf guns ....

and of course sipping some soda!  The adults had fun playing the dice game while the kids played their hearts out. 

We finished the night trying to get a picture of all the kids in their matching pj's on papa and grammy's bed. This is about as good as it gets with the whole gang!  I vividly remember taking this picture last year as we were so close to traveling to bring Max home.  Shane was the only little boy and I couldn't wait to see Max in the mix this year!

Little did we know that in the past year God would bless our family with a few other precious boys! 

Look at all those little girls! 

We had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with our family!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Every year we rotate between Eric's family and my family on Christmas Day.  We were all looking forward to having the McDonald's Christmas at our house this year.  It is so nice to have more room to entertain and have family and friends over in our new house.  The kids were anxious for some cousin time. 

On Christmas morning the tables were set and ready for Eric's family to arrive.  I was very thankful that I got things ready the night before when I was feeling a little off because I had no clue that the gift I would receive on Christmas Day was a good dose of the flu. 

I have to say even though I was feeling crummy I felt very blessed on Christmas morning.  As I laid in bed my husband took charge of life.  He made a very yummy brunch complete with coffee cake, fruit par fee and yummy eggs with mushrooms and onions.  He also got 4 kids ready and was checking on his sick wife.  

The kids were excited to see their cousins walk through the door and were ready to eat! My brother and sister in law decided to take their chances with me being sick and come up to celebrate anyway.  They are so easy to have around and so I didn't think twice about having them come up when I was feeling crummy.  I would hang out when I felt ok and sneak back to the bedroom when I was feeling crummy. 

Max quickly remembered just how much fun it was to open presents. 

Max was very excited about his new truck and wouldn't put it down until it was out of the box. 

Shane got pretty excited about his Lego's too! 

Emma and Callie loved their Potholder Looms.

Alexa was pretty excited about her first sewing kit. 

The kids love having Aunt Molly around too!

The girls had fun crafting and playing with their dolls.

The boys wasted no time getting their racetracks out of the boxes 

and set up! 

These two boys are quite the pair! 

These girls are three of a kind! 

I would have to say this wasn't my favorite Christmas for obvious reason but in the midst of feeling crummy I really do feel blessed this Christmas.  First of all we have Max home.  I also feel very blessed that we didn't have to travel and I could crawl in my bed when I needed.  My husband graciously juggled the demands of four kids and entertaining.  I feel blessed that Eric's family is so easy going and it was fun to see the kids have an absolute blast together.  I didn't capture a lot of pictures on the day but that is just how it goes.  There is always next year! 

The Stockings Were Hung

The stockings were hung and ready Christmas morning! 

I on the other hand was not feeling ready Christmas morning.  I was hoping a good night of sleep would be just what I needed but instead ....

I took a picture of the kids as they saw their stockings for the first time and then proceeded to launch my camera towards Eric as I made my way to the bathroom.  The flu had hit. 

Eric captured the excitement of our four as the went through their treasures. 

You can see me re-entering the scene her and I was able to sit and watch the kids take it all in! 

I love the girls sleepy head look in this picture. 

The boys tried out their super hero costumes. 

I love this picture. 

Our newest little superhero! 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

"This is our God, worthy of praise. The love of the Father, revealed on Christmas day." - Matt Osgood

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We started the tradition of celebrating Christmas as a family on Christmas Eve when Alexa was born.  We have been able to follow through on that tradition for the past 9 years except one when were snowed in at my brothers on Christmas.  The kids look forward to our Christmas Eve service, daddy's yummy pasta and opening gifts.  This year was the first year that it fell on a Saturday and we were able to take the whole day to celebrate.  We started the day by rolling out of bed and getting somewhat presentable.  Mom showered but the rest had bed head put in ponies and combed and comfy clothes on.  We headed out to one of our favorite breakfast places, The Pancake House, for some yummy breakfast.  We had a great morning of enjoying yummy food, good conversation and just enjoyed our time with each other.  With 4 little ones at the table it was fairly calm and uneventful which was a blessing in itself for this mom.  As we were getting ready to leave our waitress told us our bill had been paid.  We quickly looked around to see if there was anyone we knew around us.  The kids were in awe and there was a buzz at our table as we talked about how nice it felt to be blessed by God in this way.  The kids have so enjoyed doing our "Light Up The Community" and have really loved what it feels like to give to others and share Christ's love with others.  It was neat for them to be on the receiving end too and know what it feels like to be blessed in a special way.  Later our waitress told us it was the couple that was sitting next to us that had left already! 

We got home, showered and got ready to open gifts.  We tried to get a picture of the four but the excitement flowing out of them didn't help the already difficult situation. 

The kids were so excited about the gifts they had made in school.  They requested those be opened first. Shane had to memorized Luke 2:7-14 for school so was very proud to give us the picture he made to go with the verses he had memorized. 

Emma had made some special ornaments to add to the tree! 

Shane was pretty excited about his very own Bible!

Max had the best expressions and was full of excitement the entire day! He was so much fun to watch! 

All the kids got "God Love? Adopt" shirts! Our journey to Max has changed their hearts each in a different way and it will fun to see how God continues to work in their little hearts.

One of my friends told me about these wooden planks that the kids could have hours of fun with.  Yes every piece is exactly the same!  This was a hit in the McDonald household! 

The boys thought life was pretty good when they each opened their Cars tracks.  

The girls were very excited about their American Girl Doll puppies that were at the top of their wish list! 

Our afternoon was spent just hanging out as a family,

building and playing with race tracks ....

doing arts and crafts .....

lots of smiles and laughter ....

building with Keva planks ...

special sister time and even mom and dad caught a little nap while Max napped.  

It really was an amazing day.  We then looked at the clock and knew it was time to get ready for Christmas Eve service. It was about that time that I wasn't feeling quite right ... I decided to forgo having the kids change clothes and get all dressed up for church but instead they went as is and figured we would get some pictures in their Christmas clothes in the morning. 

Now in the perfect world our busy, noisy 2 year old would sit still and be mesmerized by the Christmas lights and the service.  We would have this special memory of Max's very first Christmas Eve service as he held the candle and you could see the flicker of the flame in his little brown almond eyes.  Well instead it went something like this ... passing him back and forth, digging out an never ending amount of snacks, trying to page through books quietly and other toys, digging out more snacks and then finally right when it was time to light the candles he was officially DONE .... so him and his daddy walked out.  So Max's 1st Christmas Eve Service looked nothing like I dreamed up in the perfect world.  In our world with Max though it was the perfect Christmas Eve Service .... it was a total picture of our little boy.  He is a bundle of energy, who rarely sits still, he can't contain his excitement for life and it flows easily and loudly from him and snacks are a love of his but can only keep him occupied for so long!  A Christmas Eve service we will remember first and for most because we had our little boy home with his family! 

Eric always makes a yummy seafood pasta for our Christmas Eve dinner.  Once again he didn't disappoint us. 

Now this is where things started to go down hill. The seafood that usually makes my mouth water began to make my stomach turn.  The family picture by the Christmas tree and by the table that has been tradition for the last 9 years got thrown out the window as I started to feel worse.  Everyone but me enjoyed daddy's pasta. It was then time to get pj's on and settle in to bed to see what Christmas morning would bring. 

We had a wonderful day as a family.  We had such a special day celebrating Jesus' birth and our first Christmas with Max at home! We are blessed! 

© Mom Of 4 Little Blessings

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