Of course, I must write about Christmas…
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.
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…