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! 


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