Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas Whirlwind Day (PART 1)

Our Christmas morning actually started on Christmas Eve night. Every Christmas Eve the kids each get to open one gift, which is always "surprisingly" new jammies to wear that night and on Christmas morning. I used to babysit for a family in college (who are now dear friends of ours) who did this with their children, and I always loved it and thought it was such a fun idea. So a decade later (I'm dating myself!), we now share this tradition with our little ones.


And WAH-LAH (imagine a little magic wand in my hand)...three adorable, perfectly coordinated munchkins ready for a fun morning:

Because of the late bedtime the night before, our morning got a little bit of a late start (which is really saying something considering we have three children four years old and under!). I'm not sure how many of you know our children, but in case you don't, one thing you should know is that they love to eat. And I don't mean they just like to munch on cookies, candies, and sweets (although they do enjoy that)...they just love food! Jack eats bananas and edamame like his life depends on it, and with the exception of scrambled eggs, Abby has pretty much never turned away a food. And Isabel seems to be well on her way toward keeping the tradition alive.

So did we race downstairs on Christmas morning and open the gifts that were lying in the middle of the living room floor? Oh no!! We looked at them with a smile as we booked it to the kitchen to make muffins for breakfast!

A little fuel for the work of gift-opening...

So with full tummies, it was off to open presents. As you can see, Abby is always the big helper for her little brother and sister:

The jury's still out on whether or not Jack was excited when he opened up his new tractor from Papa Joe and Nanna Lori in Connecticut:

And this was one of my favorite photos from Christmas morning:

On a much more important note, Josh and I have been looking for ways to teach the kids about the real significance of Christmas (see the Nativity post here). Presents are is yummy...and parties are fun.

But Christmas is the day that Jesus Christ was born.

What an incredible day to celebrate. And one of the ways we choose to do that and to teach our kids about the joy of giving is to sponsor a child through Compassion International. Our hearts have been drawn to Africa, and we were excited to find a little girl in Uganda around Abigail's age who is in desperate need of practical help (such as food and clothing) as well as emotional and spiritual support and encouragement.
So when the kids were finished opening their gifts, we pulled out one more present and told them we'd saved the best for last. Abby opened a small envelope with our sponsored child's picture in it:

She was confused at first, but as we began to talk with her about it, she started asking question after question about Loyce's life. And it has warmed our hearts to see her spend time drawing pictures and saying sweet prayers for who she calls "my new friend, Loyce".
This organization welcomes sponsors year-round, and there are countless children that still need help. Compassion International is committed to high standards and financial integrity. They have extensive information on those topics on their website. We would love to see others join in this invaluable and rewarding program, too!!

Well, I'm only to 10:30 on Christmas morning, and this is vying for the "World's Longest Post" record, so I'll close for now. Stay posted...lunch and dinner to come!

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