Thursday, March 10, 2016

Christmas with Five!

I know, I know, it is almost Easter and I am just posting pictures from our Christmas. I have no excuses this time of being busy, to be honest, I just forgot! 

Our first Christmas as a family of five was wonderful. Abram is at an age where he is learning about the meaning of Christmas, enjoys all the fun things the season has to offer and of course was super excited for Christmas morning.  Jack and Luke of course didn't understand what was going on, but it was fun to have everyone around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and watch Abram help open his brothers gifts.

For years, Chris and I have been talking about what we want Christmas to look like and be like for our family.  Of course, we want to emphasis the birth of our Savior over presents, but what would that look like? For us, it meant looking for ways to serve, not teaching Abram about Santa Claus, limiting the number of Christmas gifts and celebrating Advent. We didn't want to take the fun out of the season (because it is fun and meant to be celebrated) but every chance we got we tried to explain to Abram why we are celebrating and what is important. 

The season started off by ringing the Salvation Army bell one Saturday afternoon. A sweet friend of mine in Monterey showed me what the Salvation Army does (especially at Christmas) and it is something we wanted to be apart of.  One evening Chris and I worked at the Angel Tree table in our mall, also.  Something easy, yet needed that everyone can participate in. 

My mom came out to visit us in the middle of December so we were able to take Abram to some special Christmas events that, to be honest, were easier to do without the twins.  Next year we will definitely include them in more, but they are too young and we also felt like it was some good quality time with Abram that he needed. The local farm here does a dinner and live nativity story which was amazing to watch at night in the middle of a field. 

On a hayride at the Live Nativity

Also, Honolulu does a fun lights display that you can ride a trolley to and enjoy.  Even though it takes a little longer to get into the Christmas spirit here because it is warm and we were still wearing shorts and flip flops, the lights and music definitely help! Of course Abram's favorite part was the rides!

On the trolley going to see the lights.

He never says "no" to a ride with his Papa!

Earlier I mentioned how we don't teach Abram about Santa, so these pictures may seem a little hypocritical. Let me explain... we can't ignore Santa during the season because he seems him every where.  We tell him some people believe, but he is just a fun part of Christmas. Of course with all three boys we had to get a picture with Santa. I love that we have both pictures!

The highlight of our Christmas season was Abram's Christmas play at school. He was asked to say the opening lines. He had two sentences to memorize.  Abe has an amazing memory, but occasionally he can be shy.  His teachers practiced with him for two weeks and we practiced every day at home.  However, he never once said his lines at school (even though he knew them perfectly). So what did we do? We bribed him! Yes we did! We told him if he said his lines, he could open one Christmas gift early. Terrible I know, but we were desperate! 
What did he do at the opening of the play? Of course, he said them! And he did an amazing job! Both Chris and I were in tears. Hearing him speak the lines so clearly was just another example of how God is working in Abram's life. A year ago he was just beginning to talk and hardly no one could understand him.  Fast forward to this year, he is not only talking, but well enough to say lines at his play. God never ceases to amaze us and our boy is pretty incredible!

The cutest shepherd there ever was!

Another Christmas tradition I wanted to keep this year was to make and decorate Christmas cookies. I played the easy card this year and did the store bought gingerbread dough, but we cut them out and decorated them none the less. Abe's all time favorite cookies are gingerbread men so he was in heaven. Thats all that matters anyways! 

The final product!

Another tradition is candle light service on Christmas eve. Love everything about this evening! The songs, the excitement and the true joy of remembering the birth of our Savior. This is Abram's third Christmas with us and his third candlelight service and every year it is such a gift to watch it through his eyes.

We had such an exciting Christmas morning! The boys were blessed with many gifts from friends and family. We kept all the gifts hidden until Christmas morning and Abe's eyes were huge when we saw the tree for the first time! I know I've said it a ton in this post, but it is so wonderful to watch Christmas through the eyes of a child. He was most excited about opening his stocking! Also, he is such a fun kid to open presents with. He opens and plays with each gift. You have to remind him there are more and he can play with them all later. He is truly excited about each gift!

So sweet! They were just learning to sit up! It was so fun having them crawl around in all the paper and bows!

Abram helping them open the present he got for them. He was so excited for them to have it!

Abram's gift he made for us at school. Just precious!!

Absolutely one of my favorite pictures from this season! We should have the three of them sit on a box every year to watch how much they grow.
And of course Jack and Luke had to be dressed in festive Christmas wear.  Chris wasn't too happy and from the bottom picture, it looks like they weren't either!

And of course in Hawaii, Christmas isn't complete without rainbows. Huge rainbows that are so bright! We saw one on Christmas eve on our way to church and this one was on the day after Christmas outside of Target. (I never miss the day after Christmas sale!)