Scenes from Christmas Day 2017

Christmas Eve was small, and Christmas Day even smaller, as Daniel had to go to work. Though we opened ALL the presents the day before, the kids still got to start with stockings from Santa!

We spent the rest of the morning out walking… what else do you do on such a beautiful Christmas Day?

We came home to fresh baked hot cinnamon rolls from the neighbors.  I barely snapped a picture before they were gone!  What a blessing.  We may or may not have eaten them for lunch!

Christmas 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

Our Christmas celebration seems to take place on different days each year, according to Daniel’s schedule.  This year the “big” celebration was Christmas Eve.  Though, it was not really “big.”  We enjoyed having my parents, and of course having X-man’s first Christmas with us.  Our traditional breakfast, along with church, opening presents, and a lovely dinner made by the Hubs, (who was still recovering from a stomach bug from the day before!)

I was debating between a bubble machine and a scooter for this little bot, when I found this “Finding Dory” bubble blowing scooter in the clearance section at Target.  I love how God looks out for me!

Had to include the Sierra picture… we had tongue moments, for sure.  (Keeping it real!) Overall, I really enjoyed having a smaller Christmas at home.  After a super busy year of travels and Daniel fighting fires, it was just what we all needed!

Fire Station Celebration

Our Christmas at the fire station took place a bit earlier this year… Dec. 22.  It was X-man’s first time to the fire station.  Initially, I was disappointed because he was more scared than excited.  But, after a few minutes he came around to enjoying it and ended not wanting to leave.  As always, we enjoyed good food, did no dishes, and the kids played.  I’f day that’s a win!  So grateful for our hard-working firefighter captain!

Random Thoughts

  • It’s the day before Christmas, (our Christmas Eve celebration, at least), and I feel like I should be stressed out.  December was crazy.  Sickness.  Winds.  Fires.  Birthday parties x 2.  I was later than ever getting out Christmas cards.  Later than ever in buying and wrapping presents.  Yet, here I am blogging.  And, I feel peace.  It is inexplicable, except to say that Jesus is real and His peace passes all understanding.
  • Our gathering is small this year.  Just the grandparents and our family.  We will celebrate tomorrow since Daniel got forced to work Christmas day.  I’m not sad or disappointed.  Again, I feel peace.  The quiet I’ve yearned for the past few months is here.
  • The winds blew in the small branch  above, and I took that picture just as I found it.  It looks like a little unplanned Christmas decor.
  • As always this time of year, my head is swirling.  A new year means new possibilities, new adventures, new starts… What do you have in store, God?  My goal is to ask Him that question more, and to think of my own plans less…
  • I can hardly wait to belt out Christmas praises tomorrow.  Yummy food,  Cozy family time.  Then, I can’t wait to put away Christmas and play games with my kids.

Natalie’s Reindeer Games

My Natalie turned 11!

To celebrate, she requested a “reindeer theme,” which I quickly turned into a “Reindeer Games” party. Thankfully, I was able to find a whole set of free printable online to get me started!

Natalie’s favorite food is potatoes, so our main course was a baked potato bar.  The catch?  Their was a prize for cutest reindeer head potato.

We only had one craft for kids to work on while waiting for everyone to arrive; deer ornaments.

After lunch, we let the games begin!  When each person arrived, they were given a piece of string tied around their wrist, either red or blue, which determined what team they were on.  All of our games were team games with blue (Team Donner) vs. Red (team Blitzen).  We didn’t get pictures of all the games, but here is a sampling:

Game 1:  Rudolph’s Red nose roll… a relay blowing a red pom pom.

Game 2:  Drop the Deer.  First team to successfully hang a candy cane deer on the top wins!  (It took some time!)

Game 3:  Roll a Reindeer  Teams lined up.  One person at a tim would roll, and draw the corresponding reindeer head part.  First team to complete the reindeer head won.

Game 4:  Reindeer Race  Candy cane reindeer on a string  — First team to have all players send the candy cane reindeer back and forth without falling won.

Game 5:   Wrap a Reindeer  Team with coolest reindeer won.

Game 6:  Build a Barn  Most awesome reindeer barn, constructed of toothpicks and marshmallows, won.

Game 7:  Blow a Bubble.  Teams each chose a representative to blow the biggest bubble using Rudolph’s nose as gum.  Largest bubble won!

Other games not pictured… Reindeer Races, where each team had a red pom pom and some vaseline and had to race to put their nose on the reindeer.  Reindeer Mad Libs; self-explanatory.

After leading the games and taking pictures, I sat down for a piece of cake and a cup of coffee only to discover it was time to open presents.  As I searched for my camera, I discovered my oldest had taken it and offered to do the pictures for me.  Uh… yes, PLEASE!  I returned to my friends, coffee, and cake, and the kids took over.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Natalie!!

Malachi Turns 6!

When planning a party in Southern California, one can never be sure of the weather in December.  Turns out our outdoor army party was just right for an 80 degree day in December!  What a gift and blessing for my little soldier who turned 6!

We began with lunch… our local Chinese restaurant seems to be a favorite for our kids’ birthdays!

After lunch, boot camp began.  First up was the tug-of-war!

Next, the water grenade toss!  (I’m still not sure how my husband managed to fill all 100 up this morning, but I am so grateful for his miraculous ways!)

Finally, the guns were passed out along with the ammo — marshmallows.  Daniel made each kid his own marshmallow shooter.  I definitely married the right guy!

The kids knocked down targets, then just had fun shooting wherever.  (Marshmallows everywhere!)

The kids played in the bounce house obstacle course any free minute they got.  Originally, I had wanted to make up my own obstacle course, but in the end I am so glad we went with this.  All kids love bounce houses!

Cake and present time:

Happy birthday, my sweet 6 year old!


Our 2nd grader reading Pete the Cat to Angel the cat.

I’ve said it before, and it still rings true… I love to blog about our “special times.”  I can’t wait to document our last trip, Thanksgiving, and the upcoming birthday parties.  (Let’s hope I find time!)  But, my most favorite blog posts are the simple ones.  Life as it is everyday.  My girl reading to our cat.

We’ve had a rough couple nights.  Last night, a kid burst into our room and no sooner told us she didn’t feel well before her dinner was everywhere.  (Seriously; everywhere!) The night before, we were abruptly shocked awake when our whole smoke alarm system went off at 3am.  (Malfunction — praise God!)

We’ve also had some sweet times.  My husband is home for 5 days!  We went to see The Star, decorated for Christmas, and have enjoyed beautiful weather and each other’s company.

The good.  The bad.  The tough.  The sweet.  I’ll take it all with this sweet bunch I get to call family!  Praising God for the simple; for the every day!