Of course, I must write about Christmas…

Our first year with a fake tree ~sigh~ due to Wesley's extreme allergy to all pine trees... I have a wistful longing for a real tree, but it's worth it if it means no more winter-time asthma for him!

I never reported that my husband found my camera.  It was under the middle seat of the truck… where I had sat nursing my baby before my boys’ baseball game… and took pictures of her.  Duh.  It must have slipped under the seat.

Anyways.  I’m happy to have pics to share that didn’t just come from my phone, although the above pic was taken with low light and a slow shutter speed (because flash ruins the effect), and it ended up pretty blurry.

So.  Christmas.  How was yours??  Mine was sweetly peaceful and very pleasant.

I was prepared to truly have no money for Christmas.  Honestly, in the past, we have been able to be very generous at Christmas, because my husband would get whopping bonuses at Christmas.  He’s still in homebuilding in this time when virtually no one is buying new homes, so we’re very blessed that he has a job, and we do not complain at all about not getting any Christmas bonus.  It was nice, though, to be able to give lots of gifts to our kids and family, to buy whatever we needed for our home, to fix our vehicles, to pay off any debt we had accrued…  Ah, the good old days.

This year, we communicated to our children that Christmas would be high on family warmth, and on the focus of the Father’s gift to us, in the form of His son, Jesus.  We told them not to expect much of anything.

We were given a few gift cards, and I had been doing a little shopping… or, rather, doing some prioritizing, figuring out how to maximize our very limited purchasing power.  I had also, with gift cards, purchased cloth and supplies to make four dresses for my 2.5yo daughter, Audrey, and nice aprons for my mother and mother-in-law.  Then, Thursday night (a week and a half ago), my husband surprised me by saying that he had actually saved some money and that we could spend it on Christmas.  As a side note, my husband is fabulous about looking into the future and doing things that benefit us, long term.  However, that often means that we have little money to “play” with, and things are almost always tight, financially.  And, it got much worse when the gas prices rose, because he has a long daily commute in an old vehicle that just sucks up the gas.  (But, since we own it outright, we crunched the numbers, and even with paying a wad in $$ for gas, it still didn’t make financial sense to go into debt to pay for a new/used car.)  Anyways.  He’s not a short-term saver, at all.  So, I was totally blown away by having money to spend on our kids, on our extended family, and on the worship team that he leads at church.

That was the good news.  The BAD news is that, since I was given money to spend less than a week before Christmas, I had to cram in lots of shopping (which was actually very pleasant;  I was just stressed out about how close it was to Christmas), and made some online purchases, praying that the items would get here before Christmas.  Most of them didn’t.  In fact, I’m still waiting on three items to arrive.

By appearances, we had a boring Christmas.  We hardly did anything.  We did have Martin’s Dad and Stepmom over for Christmas afternoon and evening, but that’s it.  They came with reports of having gone to literally eight or ten different parties and events over previous week.  I felt like a total slacker.  I asked Martin, after his folks had left, if he felt like we missed out on anything by not going anywhere or doing anything.  His response was something like, “I am so relieved that we did not have the sort of week they did.  That would have been hellish.”  So, we’re both happy being homebodies, I guess.

I did make my first — ever — big Christmas dinner.  Usually, it’s sandwiches or soup or something.  But, since Dad & Carol were coming over, I decided to make a real meal.

Back to Christmas morning.

Cookies for Breakfast

Cookies for Breakfast

Being that Martin and I had stayed up until 2:00 a.m. wrapping presents, we weren’t feeling chipper when the kids woke at 7:00, even though 7:00 is a reasonable time to rise.  So, we made ’em stay in their bedrooms and brewed up some coffee, I nursed the baby, and we rubbed our sleepy eyes.  Then, we let them come out, and I gave each child have a plateful of cookies to eat as a “breakfast snack” while Martin read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2.  Then, we opened presents.

It’s always a slow affair opening presents, because we do it one at a time, giving attention to whoever is opening their gift.  What with a baby to tend to, and Audrey gasping at every outfit, “Can I change?  Can I please??” it just went very slowly.  But, even though the boys protested that Audrey had changed outfits five times (it was four), it was still very sweet and fun, especially since she took the greatest delight in all of it.

All the kids loved their gifts.  In the past, I’ve relied on memory and hastily-made lists to choose their presents.  But, memory has proven less and less reliable, and as I now have five children, I just can’t keep it all straight.  And, there have been too many presents that just didn’t go over as well as I had envisioned.  So, for a number of months, I have kept a list of things that my children would like and/or need… and it worked!

I must post pics of all the stuff I made…  It has me thinking about opening an Etsy shop.  I had such a wonderful time sewing.  It wouldn’t be quite the same, sewing for profit…  And I wouldn’t do the aprons, because those ended up being really time consuming.  But, I could do a shop with just these simple pinafore/jumpers/sundresses, and maybe the coordinating hairbows…

All the bodices are lined with coordinating fabric:

And here are views of one of the aprons I made:

I’m always apprehensive giving anything to Martin’s stepmom;  it seems I never choose exactly right for her.  This year was no different;  I’d never even seen her wear an apron!  But, I went for it, and she absolutely adored her apron, exclaiming that she’d been wanting an apron for a long time, a fact which Martin’s Dad corroborated.

I hope you all had a similarly pleasant Christmas celebration…


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 29, 2008, in Allergies, Babies, Family, Holidays, Shopping, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I am so glad that you were able to finish all those dresses. They are so adorable. It sounds like you guys had a great Christmas.

    I plan on posting on the rest of ours. But it really was low-key too. We hung out at my parents all day on Christmas day and the weather was nice so the kids played outside a lot.

  2. Hey KJ,

    I am so glad that your Christmas turned out so wonderfully. I know it’s hard when your not sure what monies you have to work with and making it all stretch. Tell Martin, Good Job!

  3. Those dresses are too cute but of course the model is cuter!!!! I lover her pink boots, you know we have the shoe thing in common. 😉 I am glad that ya’ll had a blessed Christmas and I wish you and yours a Happy New Year!!!! How did the boys like the metal detector?

  4. Those dresses ar ADORABLE!!!! You could totally sell them on Etsy! I’d buy them for my daughter! (It’s so difficult to shop for little girls these days!) Seriously, if you ever decided to make them for others….LET ME KNOW! 🙂

  5. Christy ~ We hardly saw our kids, either, on Christmas day! They were either playing outside with their Nerf guns, or inside playing Risk the whole day… It was great!

    Lori! Hi, Sweetie! I’ll tell Martin for you. 🙂 See you tomorrow!

    Kiva ~ Of course, you’d notice the boots! 😀 Those were one of my very few Christmas impulse buys. I went into a Western-wear store to find a stick horse (which I couldn’t find anywhere else!), and was waylaid by the rows of adorable little cowboy boots. And, there was a pink pair, in Audrey’s size, on clearance! Leather boots for only $20. Out of ALL the boots, that pair was the ONLY one on clearance. I took it as a sign from God. 😉 She loves them. She even wore them to bed for a nap. 😀 And, she makes it very clear that they are cowgirl boots.

    Daja ~ I will definitely let you know if I start an Etsy shop. I’m so glad you like the dresses!

  6. Those dresses are amazing and would definitely sell. If I had a little girl, I’d be getting my Etsy orders ready right now! In fact, I saw a child’s dress in a similar style in a posh shop recently and the fabric wasn’t even as nice (and the bodice certainly wasn’t lined) and the price was in the realm of $AUS60. I’ll check out the exact price next time I’m there. I do wish I could sew.

    Heh, we were up sorting out presents until 1.30am on Christmas Eve (Day) too! I thought I was organised but no… I like the idea of reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning. I had to take Kiko out of Christmas Eve mass because he was being so badly behaved, it was so embarrassing. At one point he whooped at the top of his voice: “Where’s Santa?” What must people have thought?! I might start that tradition next year of reading the story of Jesus’s birth on Christmas morning, it’s a good one.

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