Downtown tradition

Our best efforts at getting to downtown Seattle this year, as we do every year with Danielle and Todd, were foiled by unbelievable traffic. We ended up in Bellevue instead, not quite the same but better than nothing. This is how the traffic made DeeDee feel:

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Other highlights were Christopher and Todd posing with the snow princess only to find no memory left in the camera…Kyler running through Macy’s smack into a very large man square between the legs…Kyler reaching to take the bottom box of chocolates from a giant pyramid of Frango Chocolates.

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Christmas fun

I’m back from my blogging break. It’s been a long week. But here are some highlights for the fam:

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Reade Christmas Tree Farm in Snohomish provided us a great tree for cheap, rolling hills covered with trees, a tractor ride and free cocoa. This may have been the first year we had no major meltdown or marital “disagreement” on the day we got our tree, hooray for that!

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Ever wonder what 2 1/2 batches of chex mix looks like? Here you go. See the nice sharing taking place with my three little cooks? Those are my favorite moments. They measured all the ingredients for me and shook it all up and have done their fair share of eating it too ūüôā

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We were planning on 16 children this morning at our house for our Christmas Craft morning, but we only had 11 due to colds and such. It was fun, the kids decorated wrapping paper, made ornaments and iced sugar cookies (or rice cakes!).

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In other unrelated news, I am excited to be back to cloth diapering for Audrey, now having enough to go 2 full days before washing, which is my bare minimum for my own sanity. The above are my new (bad photo sorry!) darling dipes for little Audie girl. When diapers are this cute, who wouldn’t want to cloth diaper? Thanks Amanda for the great diapers and the custom capes for our boys for Christmas. I can hardly stand to keep them hidden for 15 more days!

More than a meal

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Karissa has worked with Step by Step, on organization that brings hope and health to mothers, babies, and families for many years originally as a Behavior Health Specialist and now as a volunteer. This last Friday night, Karissa and I had the privilege to volunteer at the annual Step by Step Christmas Party. What a treat this was for us. Karissa was able to reconnect with many of her past clients, hold their babies, and share stories about life. These mothers and their families came for a wonderful dinner which was served to them at their table. Along with dinner, came gift basket style door prizes, activities for the kids (face painting, balloon art, a cupcake walk, advent rings, cookie decorations, and even pictures with santa. For all of these families, this was an evening to be rememembered. Perhaps the best part of the night was the Toy Shoppe. Here each mother was given the opportunity to pick out one toy for each child in their family. These toys were donated by many different people and all were brand new. Not only did they get a toy for each kid (and they were some really good toys) but then there was a team of gift wrappers. Paper, scissors, and tape was flying furious, but you could not believe the relief and joy in so many mom’s eyes. I couldn’t stay out of this room, because you could tell that this was a room that brought so much hope to people who did not think they were going to get anything but dollar store items for their kids this year. There were many tears shed that night, as stories of desperation were shared by moms who for at least one night this Christmas season had much to be hopeful about.

Karissa and I love the organization Step by Step and if you were looking for a place to donate extra this year, maybe this is the organization you could give your time or your money towards.

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-Chris

Christmas Creativity

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I am so excited for Christmas! Why you ask? For a number of reasons, but right now, I can ‘t wait to exchange gifts with Todd, Danielle, Stephanie and Karissa. This was the first year that we decided to to the old draw name trick. I was not too excited about it, because who doesn’t like opening up two gifts instead of one…but it made sense to save some dinero as well as continue our pattern of trying to make Christmas not all about the indulgence of stuff. ¬†However, when Danielle suggested that we do something creative for our drawn name, I began to get really excited. ¬†What a potentially (I’ll let you know for sure in about a month) great tradition…to give a gift as well as some creative expression. ¬†This could be a poem, dramatic re-enactment, song, sculpture, carving, skit, story, painting, pantomime, etc. ¬†Not only am I looking forward to sharing my creativity with the person who’s name I drew, but I can not wait to see what everyone comes up with. ¬†It is all going to be a surprise, so it should prove to be quite enjoyable. ¬†

Karissa and I are continually trying to solidify our family traditions and have been pretty dilligent in thinking through how we want to experience the Christmas season as a family.  I am sure we will share about those in the days to come.  Until then, what are your favorite Christmas Traditions?

-Chris

Operation Christmas Child

We have talked a great deal this fall about how to build tradition and memories into our Christmas season that are our own. One way we thought would be fun and help focus outward was to compile shoeboxes with gifts for children around the world living in poverty who would likely not receive anything for Christmas. Children who hope to have enough to eat. Not children whose Christmas list includes an iPod, designer clothes and expensive toys. Samaritan’s Purse has been facilitating this idea for years. So after discovering it last week online, I sent out a last minute Evite then immediately after that Audrey was admitted to the hospital.

Thanks to my sister Danielle for hosting on short notice and my friend Kristin who is always up for something new, we still managed to throw six boxes together today and will plan ahead more next year. The 8 kids watched a little DVD of kids across the globe opening their boxes, it made me cry. They were so happy with so little. Then we went to work decorating boxes, writing notes to the kids who would open them, placing all the gifts into the boxes then we prayed for the kids who would receive our boxes. It was a little chaotic and crazy but it was a great start! As we work to reject the materialism and consumer-driven aspects of our culture and seek simplicity and gratefulness, it is baby steps for sure. But baby steps are better than no steps…

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Naked trees and hummus

Here is the scoop on the last few days here:

Rylee read her first book by herself-so exciting! Here she is sounding out a BOB first reader book.

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Rylee and Audrey took their first bath together

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We did patterns today with foam shapes, I love that with the instructions “see what kind of pattern you can make with your shapes” they both did totally different things….and Caleb’s more turned out to be a collage

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I am attempting a dairy free day, we made hummus together for lunch it was so fun. The kids never will eat store bought hummus. So imagine my shock when they devoured it at the park today when we drove to meet Daddy for a walk. We ran out of crackers to dip in it, Caleb suggested a spoon, if only we’d had one.

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A sweet nose kiss from my second born…who informed us that though the trees were nearly naked “they aren’t quite naked, that one has on a hat and underwear”

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Rylee enjoying her favorite thing in the world-Audrey (who is, by the way, wearing a size 6 diaper because I forgot the diaper bag, had to use an old washcloth in the car for a baby wipe and could only scrounge up a Kyler-sized diaper in the parking lot while everyone waited for us)

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Christmas card photo? Maybe, if I hadn’t changed the exposure level on the camera earlier today for indoor photos and forgot to change it, leaving this one a tad overexposed, bummer.

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