We have a family tradition to read the Christmas Story in Luke 2 with our families before we go out and open presents. We had a special time this year because we were doing it with our friends AND they had a really cool nativity to play with as we talked about the story! Each child opened a piece of the story (Mary/Joseph/Jesus)... (the Shepherds/angel)... (wise men) as the part of the story was read. We really enjoyed doing this and it was good to help keep the kids focused on the real meaning of Christmas!
The kids waiting at the door way as we got all the last minute things set up... "can we come now? can we come now?" Stocking FUN...Sadie Mac's "Rapunzel hair"!
In the afternoon we went to a park that is near their house and enjoyed playing and taking pics... Zip line, that even Noah tried! ;-) Bubbles! Two little princess friends Hope you had a wonderful Christmas like we did!
Being away from family during the holidays can be hard. Skype and pictures on Facebook can be great... but it can also remind you how far far away we really are. We have some friends who we have known since before we were married. We were there the day they had their first child and have walked through life many transitions together... through the good and hard.
Well, we're blessed that God has placed these friends just two hours away from us... in Italy. We feel like they are our family-away-from-family. We all understand what it's like to like to live in 4 different countries in 3 years... what it's like to have babies where they don't speak English... the joys and trials of living overseas... (even if it is in France or Italy)... and we're thankful we can be so close.
They live in Torino (Turin) Italy and so we were able to see some sights in their town one day.
Sadie Mac running from Micah in one of the town squares A large art stage in the center of town with Christmas decorations and a large nativity Our 5 kiddos in front of the nativity Stephen counting with the kids the metro stops until "ours"
I have mentioned before that I'm trying to be a crafty mom for my little treasures. Sadie LOVES projects and so I'm learning more ideas, things to use, and how to engage my children in the real meaning of Christmas. So... this year as my project portfolio grows, here are a few things we have done to get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus!! Some are Christ centered (our goal...) and others are just ideas I found.
Here are my two little angels (and their coffee filter wings glued onto milk bottles)... all "blinged up" with stars and stickers! The angel appeared (to the Shepherds) and the Glory of the Lord shown around them... Lk2:9 Fun ornament making... (thank you KG for your recipe)!!
1 C. applesauce + 1 C. cinnamon + 1 tsp. glue... roll out into 1/4 inch thickness... cookie cutters or trace hands. Cook on low temp or let dry for a week. More ornament making... which is better to decorate, or eat the decorations? (These ornaments are cookies, thank you IKEA) Christmas wreath made of my favorite little hands Playing Nativity with play mobile figurines Colored nativity glued onto a pizza cardboard circle Face painting (at a friend's house)...
After weeks (seemingly) of rain we were thrilled that we could finally put our snowflake stickers on our calendar! And it was the perfect snow... a little wet, good for packing... but not too wet so it was still fun to play in. Yesterday and today Sadie Mac had adventures playing out in it.
Snow Angels!!! Fashions her little snowman very carefully... Then kicks him over in one swoop!
We learned to make and throw snowballs (our favorite part of the day!!!) We even saw some other snowmen that were about her size that she wanted to sit on! We had a great day!!! All the while Noah was at home eating smurfs!
Everybody loves a good Christmas parade! I was excited l to be able to take Sadie Mac and have a special (surprise) friend join us from out of town!! It was really neat as the parade brought in by music, bubbles, stick-men, Père Noël himself (!!) and fire breathers... (which Sadie continues to talk about all the time!). These festivities all led up to the lighting of the town lights! (In all actuality, this part took too long for us and we headed home before the lights came on! Long day + tired mom with toddler on her shoulders= short night of festivities!) We had a great time... enjoying the cold of winter here in France and all the festivities that go with it.
The man that breathes fire!!!! "Stick-men" (on stilts!)
Père Noël so close we can touch him!!
*Special thanks to my friend who took the pics and let us use them!!!
I LOVE the Christmas season!! So thankful for it's meaning and love all the festivities that go on! This week we received a flyer from Sadie Mac's school that there was going to be a "small festival" at a park that is near our house. We had gone to a friend's house for a play date and all decided to go find the festival. (So thankful for these friends whose little girl and Sadie play great together and the mom helps me learn French. We talk in French, but when I don't know a word, she has enough English to help me!! What a blessing!) Anyway... we go to the park and nothing is there! We saw some red tape that was up, with some balloons, but no people and no festival in sight. So, we just decided to let the girls play for a little while when out from around the corner comes Santa! Sadie and her friend both start screaming (with excitement): "Père Noël!!! Père Noël!!!!" My heart was happy because on her own, Sadie was speaking French... and it was with a friend! So precious. So we found a small little festival behind a building that is beside the park! We had a great time and heard some Christmas music by an old time music box... wind up kind, and got to take a ride with a donkey drawn sleigh (? maybe that is how the story goes here in France! ;-)!) Great day. Very thankful for time with friends and for a ride with Père Noël!
My sweet friend, her daughter, and Sadie Mac... waiting for the sleigh ride!
So, look very closely and you will see a tiny sleeping beauty on the pillow with my own sleeping beauty. I went in one night to check on Sadie Mac and this is exactly how I found her. Aurora is her favorite of the princess' right now... and so I guess she decided to sleep with her this night! I just thought it was too cute not to pass up the pic (and of course show the grandmothers) here on the blog! Sadie's kid brother... is my little, "I'll share my crib with you." Apparently he's not one to stretch out... but leaves plenty of room for a friend. Cuddles up against the edge I suppose. Again, cute and couldn't pass up the photo opp!
A few Fridays ago we had the day off from school and so we enjoyed taking the kids up into the mountains (Les Alpes). There is a castle behind us and just beyond the castle is a cool path that use to be a village. There are still some remains from the village and so we hiked around and then ended up at a beautiful waterfall. It was pretty cold, but we all enjoyed the sights!
When I think back to one year ago when I brought home this baby boy that could easily fit into Sadie Mac's baby clothes... I look at him today and think... I am so blessed. He is healthy... strong... active... crawling everywhere... starting to want to walk on his own... He is a treasure. He was so tiny... The only way I could get him to actually lay down still beside "Molly" was to give him a bottle... then he still wouldn't stretch out his legs... but you get the picture... he is much much bigger... and the Lord has been so gracious to us over the past year! Thank you Lord! **Special Note from Noah's father: This is NOT Noah's doll... only a mere comparison from the week he was born!!! ;-) Sadie's doll... Noah size!