"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Christmas Eve happened to be on a Saturday this year, so the day started off right with a wonderful sleep-in. :) We all were up by 9 A.M. and found Mama and Daddy cooking up a wonderful breakfast! Daddy was making omelets and Mama, chocolate chip muffins. We had our personal and family devotions and then ate breakfast!
One thing's for sure in this house: we do not starve for good, healthy food! :)
As we were getting everyone and all the food to the table, Mama and Hannah finished shaking some cream:
So, you're probably wondering what "shaking up cream" means. It means we were making butter! Yep, we skim the cream off Halle's milk put it in a half-gallon jar and then shake it until butter globules appear at the top of the cream (which is now called buttermilk...but I won't confuse you too much). It's a really neat process. :)
Lydia eating her plain omelet.
Judah soon woke up and he was excited to come downstairs and see everyone! :)
Okay, I couldn't resist this picture of his (and one of Hannah's) eyes. He's so precious! :) [Hannah's nice, too! ;)]
When breakfast was over, Daddy went to milk Halle and we cleaned up. About 1 hour after breakfast we finally sat down in the den and opened presents from Daddy and Mama!
Those of you who have been following this blog for years know what this thing pictured is: one of our wise men sacks!
The rest of you are probably confused, so I'll explain. We don't do Santa at our house...he simply isn't mentioned (for many reasons). We prefer pretending that the "wise men" come on their camels to bring us gifts. We all (minus maybe Lydia and Josiah) know the "wise men" are Mama and Daddy but it's a fun way to disguise things. For example, we'll say "So, Daddy, have you seen any wise men lately?" and Daddy will reply with something like "No, but I heard someone nearby got spit on by a camel, so they must be getting close." Anyways, Mama and Daddy (a.k.a. the wise men) put our gifts into 3 separate burlap sacks and wrap them with cords that look like they came from the Middle East. This just adds to the fun, wise men theme!
We normally have three "wise men bags". In theory, there is an educational bag, a stocking bag, and a personal bag.
The first wise men bag we opened was the personal bag! We started with the youngest, so Judah got to go first!
We normally teach Judah to not touch presents, so he was excited to get to rip open his own!
Inside, he found some yummy food!
(The Air Head was from me but he wasn't awake when we did sibling presents the night before, so he got it in the morning!)
Judah also got some new cloth diapers which he really needed (unbeknown to him)!
Lydia got a new car seat and she was extremely excited about it (the things that kids like...).
Josiah got some new arrows for his bow...
...and a hippity hop!
Eden also got a hippity-hop, as well as a pretty bracelet:
Seth had the biggest present and inside the box he found a music stand!
This was his face when he saw what it was! (Seth plays the bagpipe and was having a hard time finding somewhere to put his music book, where he could follow it and play at the same time. The music stand works out perfectly for him!)
Putting it together.
Caleb got some new jeans and boots from Bass Pro.
Lexi's present was a box that sent her on a hot-cold hunt. She found her present in a closet and brought it back to the couch to open.
She loved what she found:
A fuzzy coat!
If you know Lexi, you know it's rare for her to be anything other than cold. This coat was right up her alley!
Hannah got two things for her hope chest. One was this plaque and the other was a Thanksgiving platter (which was really cute!).
Mama bought Daddy some yummy Cocoa Pure!
With the first bag of presents being opened, the next wise men sack was brought out! This time we all got a bag full of little individual gifts (much like what you would find in a stocking).
Judah got some new shoes!
Hannah, Lexi, Eden, and I all got beautiful journals. This one pictured is my own. :)
Seth got a Knights of Arrethtrae pendant.
A keychain for Hannah...
...toothpaste for Weedels...
...and candy for everyone!
Love Josiah's eyelashes...
After all the stocking gifts were open, we moved onto the more "educational" wise man bag.
Everyone received a present of the same size and we opened them simultaneously.
We found these!
These plaques have the first and middle name of each of us. They also contain the meaning and verse of each. After we all admired our plaques, Mama went around and explained to each one of us, the meaning of our name, how they see it being fulfilled in our lives and why they chose the two verses for us. It was really neat!
(These presents really were a labor of love. Daddy and Mama both stayed up late (early?) researching our meanings and finding verses that matched, as well as adding decor to the boards.)
Mama expounding on the meaning of Eden's name.
If you want to read the meaning of our names, here are some pictures of them. Click on the picture and it will enlarge and you can read most of it!
The plaques ended our presents from Mama and Daddy. We then spent the next few hours eating, playing with our new stuff, or doing other Christmasy things. :)
Around 2 P.M. we ate lunch! We do an early lunch on Christmas Eve because the service at our church is early and we had to be there even earlier because some people were singing. :)
We had sparkling juices for our drink!
For a few years now, we've always had Stouffers lasagna for our Christmas Eve meal! Our neighbors, the Townsends, bring us one (sometimes two) lasagnas every year and we eat one for Christmas!
Broccoli was our veggie. :)
We also had buttermilk rolls!
Once lunch was over we went to church. While Daddy, Hannah, Mama, and Lexi practiced in the sanctuary, the rest of stayed out in the 242 Cafe or went outside and played on the sidewalk.
At 5 P.M. the service started and we all went in the sanctuary together (even the little guys!). Our friends, the Jacksons, came to the service too and we overflowed an entire pew (they've got 11 kids)! It was great! I was in charge of Judah and he liked to let the entire World know his location, so I sat out in the Cafe for most of the service. But it was still fun to be in the sanctuary for a few minutes with my entire family...that only happens once a year.
After the service, some of us piled into the Jackson's vehicle and others into our van. Mrs. Jackson put on a lovely singing and dancing performance for those of us who rode with her.
Now you're probably wondering why the Jackson's were coming back to our house. Well, we found out that the Jacksons have a Christmas Eve tradition of watching It's a Wonderful Life. We have that tradition too (great minds think alike, right?)! So we invited them to come to our church's Christmas Eve service and then come back to our house for popcorn, cookies, and a movie!
Seth's googly glasses were a favorite with the younger kids...here Asher J. tries to figure out how they work! :)
Boaz J. was a favorite with everyone!
Mr. Jackson found the googly glasses too and was entertaining everyone with them. He then put them on Boaz which made everyone laugh:
The poor little guy had no idea what was going on! :)
Hannah all bugged out...it's a nice touch, isn't it? :-D [Hannah would probably like to interject here and say that Mr. Jackson put these on her...and that she's very insulted I dare put this on the World Wide Web. :)]
We had a cookie contest between our family and the Jacksons. We both had favorite, "passed-down-through-generations" recipe that we make at Christmas. So, we each decided to make that recipe and share them with each other! Our family made Spritz Cookies (pictured above) and the Jacksons made Candy Cane Cookies. :)
While most of us enjoyed good fellowship, Daddy and one other person, popped, buttered, and salted popcorn. We had originally planned on making all the popcorn early but we didn't get to it. I think the popcorn producers popped over 30 batches of corn and were in the kitchen for at least 1 1/2 hours. Yep...24 people eat a lot of popcorn! :)
Finally, the popcorn popping expedition was over and we all settled down in the schoolroom for It's a Wonderful Life.
The Jacksons brought over one of their big T.V.'s and we put it on two chairs on top of our school counter to watch the movie. :) Our 20x20 schoolroom was looking kind of small with 24 people in it but we all found somewhere to squish in and watch the movie! :)
Josiah, Asher J., and Lydia getting ready for the movie!
Since the popcorn took longer than we expected, the movie went longer than expected (shock, right?). I don't think it ended until 10:30! We were all tired (some fell asleep), so we cleaned up, said goodbye to the Jacksons and hurried up to bed.
It had been a full yet wonderful day!