we had a wonderful christmas this year! though it was very different than any i've had before, we were thankful and had a great time. instead of having 45 family members and a hired santa come to my parent's house we had our little family of four, auntie kim and leslie.
Christmas eve we went to a church service here and then came home and started our first annual christmas tradition. we sang two christmas songs together and then read the story of the birth of Jesus from mary's kid bible. mary loved the story and luke loved dancing to the songs. it was a sweet moment for our family and one that i look forward to expanding as our kids grow up.
Christmas morning we woke up, open presents and then had a delicious breakfast (involving bacon, which is very special if you live in a country like ours). here's our one family picture from the day... awesome, right?!?
luke was entirely clueless about christmas, but he did enjoy the wrapping paper and his new basketball. mary is enjoying his other toys (especially his animals and safari truck). :)
mary didn't really know anything about christmas except that it was "jesus' happy birthday" (as if she even understands what that means). she was pretty excited when we told her there were presents and surprises. after she opened the first few presents we had to convince her to open other ones... she didn't get that there were more. but, she got the hang of it and was wanting to open everyone's by the end of the morning. :)
one thing that danny and i really wanted to get her was a guitar with real strings. though it was only $7 she thinks she's the real deal now. she carries it around and sings nonsense songs all of the time. and, she sways her hips back and forth as she sings. she's a trip sometimes.
and they got swings! i'm really excited about the swings. playgrounds here aren't great (in fact, i think i've seen one baby swing in the country thus far) so this is fun for both of them.
if you're wondering what the swings are hanging from... oh, our metal grating over our entire little backyard. it's used to keep theives out and to hang swings. perfect.
danny and i watched "the navity story" during nap time. first of all, i love watching movies during nap time... i feel like i'm on vacation. it's a great movie and we went out to dinner with some good friends of ours here and then we ended the night with this...
happy birthday, jesus!
though it was sad to be away from family and friends, we're thankful for the grace that God has given us during this season. we've tried to look at the positive things about being here right now and are thankful for the opportunity to establish our own family traditions and really enjoy our kids during these young years. it's kind of neat to be away from the commercialization because we can really shape what our kids know about christmas. we want to always remember that it is our Savior that we are celebrating. as i've had longed for "home" here God has really encouraged me through scripture about His incarnation... that Jesus left His place in heaven and came to earth. as i wrestle through hard days here (days of really missing family and friends or days of just wanting to not stick out or day of not wanting ants everywhere), God reminds me that Jesus gave up so much, not only in His death but in His life here on earth, and that He gives me the grace to walk the path He's marked for our family. i'm so thankful that i have a humble Savior, who though He was God on earth, He didn't use it to His advantage (Phil 2) and became a servant. even the story of His birth speaks of His humility and His love for the lowly. I'm thankful for Jesus.