So, one last quick post for this year... as promised, I just wanted to share some of our photos from Christmas. As it turns out, it seems I took hardly any pictures. I was terribly ill both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While I usually have a few hours each day where I can get around and take care of basic needs, about one or two days a week I am completely laid up. It just happened to fall on Christmas this year.
It could have been worse - I remember our first Christmas just a few months after we were married. We had just found out a couple of days earlier that I was pregnant, when I started bleeding on Christmas Eve. When I started having horrible cramping on Christmas Day in the evening, we called my OB's answering service and they told us to go to the ER (duh - we had no clue there's nothing they could do for us). We sat in a cold ER waiting room for hours, where all the chairs were set up theater-style to face the television screens, which were blaring the "Jerry Springer Show", so we chose to sit in a windowsill off to the side instead. People who kept coming in after us were called back before us because it was more serious - one guy still had a knife stuck in him! I think it was from a family gathering of all things. We finally got called back, just to be told they could do nothing to stop a miscarriage. It was a very bizarre experience, especially for me who had only been in the US for a few months and did not even know such television shows existed.
But I digress... my point is, compared to that Christmas, this year's was a lot better! I am thankful for the little baby growing inside of me, being fashioned and knit together by God himself. The other kids are constant reminders of why it is all so worth it. In any case, I took hardly any pictures.
Because Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we decided to open gifts on Christmas Eve instead. Also, instead of tearing all the gifts open at the same time (which is like a hurricane sweeping through and would have been too stressful for me to handle - noise is a nausea trigger), we each opened one gift every half hour. It was fun, and a lot more mellow than usual. The kids got to play with each gift before tearing open the next.
Taken from my vantage point on the sofa. Notice our very strange tree that we cut this year. It's the best you can find in Arizona!
Dad playing with play foam with the girls
Miriam and Becky playing with their gifts from their aunt
I got Miriam this musical jewelry box. She absolutely ADORES it! Just the reaction I was hoping for.
Christmas Day was also our church's 6-year anniversary, to the date. For the special service, I decorated the building for Christmas, and we put up a Christmas tree that had gifts for everyone under it. I had bought all the gifts and decorations during the last several months, and done most of the wrapping, which turned out to be a real life-saver now that I wasn't feeling well any more.
I just love how they all sat there lined up like this.
Today, for New Year's Eve, our church is not having its usual "Watchnight Service" because of it being Sunday tomorrow. We will do our personal family tradition of fondue and board games, and just spend a quiet night at home. Last night I was feeling well enough to do most of the prep work for the food today - we are having a cheese fondue first, with lots of other yummy finger foods on the side, and rounded out by a dessert of chocolate fondue at the end. Depending on how it goes, we may just observe midnight on Eastern time, instead of in our own time zone, and send the kids to bed long before midnight... :)
So, I am not one to make new year's resolutions - I just don't think they work. Nobody becomes a better Christian or wife or mother on January 1st, or any single other day of the year for that matter. It's a continual process, requiring renewed effort and motivation every morning. I do like the idea of general goals, such as "I'd like to develop a laundry system that really works", but I am always working on various goals like that independent of what time of the year it is. I am more the type who likes to look back on the past year and reflect on the many blessings we have had, and thank God for them. It has been a very good year for us - God supplied all our needs, many of our wants, and has continued to bless our family. All of our children are healthy and well, and here with us - I am not asking for anything besides that. I woke up at 4 AM this morning to baby Anna's hand snuggled up by my face. Her sweet baby smell was such a treat, as was playing with her little fingers and stroking her soft head with the downy hair. It's impossible not to be in a constant state of thankfulness to God with children in the house. My only goal is for 2012 to be as full of God's mercy and goodness as this past year was.
Happy New Year!