!The kids are getting so much more invested in the blog these days. They want a family record and no slacking. I think I’m going to teach them how to do it since they care so much. I said I’d just throw up a few Christmas pics but Eliza insists on the play by play so I’ll try to include a few details☺. Just for you, Lulu (as Daddy likes to call you). (sorry the pics are small- if you click, they should enlarge).
The first special night of Christmas for us is decorating night, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was so fun this year to pull ornaments out of storage here and suitcases from the U.S. and see them all united on our little artificial tree. We miss the real thing but it’s still glowy and cozy and we had a great start to advent, complete with choccolate shakes (our Thailand alternative to hot cocoa). I love how excited the kids still are to unwrap the manger scene, and it’s funny how the girls have finally given up on ever putting Jesus in the manger. That’s Si’s job. 🙂
This year, we did our advent devotions a few times a week, using poems from the perspectives of characters in the Christmas story, in a book called Voices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes, along with a CD of Mennonite a cappella Christmas hymns (a gift from Joe and Janice a few years ago). In a very hectic time in our lives- lots of school projects, language school stress, and work, those quiet times together were very needed!
Celebrating Christmas with our Cambodian friends at the construction camp was also a really special day. The Thai church people made quite a feast of snacks and brought lots of presents. We made some brownies, brought some group games and just joined the fun. Lots and lots of the parents were there too, so it was just a really great time. The pastor and his wife lead some singing and shared about the story.
Another special night of our holiday was right after the kids finished school (At the end of the term, Claire was in a special Christmas choir concert and Si was in the elementary school version which was so cute- our teammate Anna did a lot of work on it and it turned out so great). We kept our old BKK tradition of heading downtown to see all the festive lights in the malls and around a particular major intersection where the Erawan Shrine is located (the one that was bombed earlier this year). If you think of it in terms of Jingle Bells, we were dashing through the heat and the skytrain was our one horse open sleigh and the city was our fields. We did laugh and our spirits were bright, that was the same.
Christmas Eve was spent with our dear team at Nixson and Rhonda’s house. We love to do a bunch of festive snacks and have our little team family time and gift exchange. It was fun to have the REACH team there and we missed Dan and Anna (who had both headed back to the States). Steve and Nixson led some English/Spanish Christmas songs, we read the story in our languages too and a great time was had by all. Thanks N and R!!!
The kids were soooo excited and hyper for Christmas! Silas thought he would never make it through that long, long night! But he managed to, and Christmas morning finally arrived!>>>
Here are the details for you, Eliza (pretty much the same as every year!)…. we gathered around the tree with our cinnamon rolls and Daddy read the Christmas story from The Nativity by Julie Vivas. You three were soooo excited to open your little stocking gifts but you took turns one by one, one thing at a time, to stretch it out niiiiice and long. You got things like olives, hair things, chocolate, lotion, bike bell.
Then it was present time. Everyone wanted to give their gift first. Especially Silas could hardly contain his excitement to give his gifts! We opened slowly for awhile and then got our McDonald’s breakfast delivered (haha- perk of Thailand!), paused to eat that, then went back to it. The afternoon was lazy (we walked down to our little neighborhood park and laughed about how it was a perfectly normal day in our neighborhood) and then we had pizza and watched your favorite silly Christmas movie, Elf. A few gifts to remember: Claire (sparkly little ring, pretty dress) Eliza (badminton set and hula hoop) Silas (Schleich turtle and whale, big stuffed shark from the girls) Tom (book of Bangkok walking tours, feather pillow) Candice (aqua tray, framed family pics). To top off a very wonderful day, we got to open some boxes from America!! The kids were thrilled with the candy and games from their Greenwood friend Melody, the wonderful crafts from the GMC small group who prays for us, and gifts from Grandpa and Grandma. We felt so blessed! Thank you!!
It was a bittersweet Christmas in some ways as I was dealing with vertigo/stress and visited the hospital several times that week. But Jesus came for us broken people, right (?) and sometimes we need reminding how much we need him. The school break was a wonderful time of being together lots and we had lots of time for reading aloud, playing badminton, taking walks, playing games, and sleeping in and reading. Everyone seemed happy to head back to school in the rain this morning, so it seems like it was a satisfying amount of time off. Now, we’ll start looking forward to Grandpa and Grandma’s visit next month!!
Just a few more random pictures from the season…