An Old Time Christmas...Family and Friends 'Round the Tree

12.27.2007

Our Christmas Day here was probably similar to many of yours. We spent the day with people we loved, missed those who were far away, got more excited about the gifts we gave than the ones we received, and took it all in by remembering the little baby who came to earth to live and die for us.
The differences? The garbage men still picked up the trash, life outside our four walls went on as usual, no Christmas carols on the radio, no special Christmas programs on the TV, and (thankfully) no post-traumatic stress disorder from mall shopping. The last part may sound like a dream-come-true, but the trade off is spontaneously bursting into torrents of tears everytime the iPod shuffles to "I'll Be Home for Christmas" or "Old Time Christmas" (this one, by Randy Travis, really gets me. OK,
Christmas is over and I'm still getting misty just thinking about it.)
A picture IS worth a thousand words...this one, in brief, is saying, "Please, please, please tell me you didn't gem me a back-up generator for Christmas (read the box)!" The box contained a lovely baby doll sent by her aunt!


Benjamin opening presents with help from doting sisters. In reality, they barely let him put a finger on his toys before they took over and "showed" him how to play with them.




Sophie's face aglow at the thought of her own alarm clock...was I this mature at six? Doubtful.


Sophie and Annie's surprise at their new dollhouse! Shock and Awe : )

We finished our day with a lovely dinner spent with great friends and birthday cupcakes to celebrate Jesus' birth.




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'Tis the Season

12.24.2007

Strangely enough, Christmas season seems to be hectic, no matter what side of the globe you are on, here are a few pictures of our warm-up to the big day, and good reminders from our kids what it is really all about.




A patient big sister, Sophie teaching Benjamin to walk...








Those of you with more than one child knows the pain of trying to get a decent picture of all three of them at the same time...this attempt was obviously not successful...nor were the other 100 attempts NOT SHOWN.







Our "angel" Sophie, in her school's Christmas program. She shows signs of her father's flare for the limelight...watch out world!


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Annie enjoying decorating cookies (I think more icing went in her mouth than on the cookies!)



With all the "busyness" about the house, Benjamin found sometime for some monkey "business" of his own...Some children play with blocks, our boy likes longlife milk. Future architect or demolition engineer?






Festivity Fatigue Sets In: Benjamin falls asleep waiting for dinner to hit the table.




This was Annie's first Christmas where she really got into the Christmas story. So my scarves became her Mary costume, and the huge spot light atop a buidling 5 km away became her "shining star". Admittedly, it did take some convincing to keep Sophie from disillusioning her by telling her this is NOT Bethlehem, the spotlight is there to help protect the building at night not to lead wisemen bearing gifts to our doorstep...., but in the end we have all been inspired to take another look at the Christmas story through an almost-four-year-old's eyes and embrace the WONDER.




Mountain Retreat

12.03.2007

For the first time in way too long we were able to get away for a kid-free weekend...thanks to the generous babysitting of some dear friends. We headed northwest about 5 hours (not including the times we were lost, which we choose to describe as "a lot of learning going on".

We spent the weekend in a mountain town known for its snow capped peaks, sweets, and humorous inhabitants. Here are some visuals that we hope will help you get a taste of what a lovely weekend we had...














Scenic shots from the road...
Mountain views...





Giant trees displayed on the backdrop of gorgeous mountains...





and fall foliage that was eye candy for us city dwellers!






Traffic Jams and other highway hazards...










Scenes from a mountain town...





Beautifully restored buildings...


and some wonderfully UNRESTORED alleyways...






An ancient king's palace...on the outside...

and inside...






some likewise ancient churches, one of which is believed to date back to the first century A.D. ...




and so many minarets we lost count...


Friends along the way...




Evidently the phrase, "Don't talk to strangers" transcends culture...these little ones fled from us as if we had suddenly sprouted horns!





These fellows were more than happy to talk to strangers, and insisted we take their picture.


These guys' friendly faces welcomed us when we strayed into a deserted courtyard.






Loaded Ladas and other oddities...



Let's play a guessing game...the one who guesses how many persimmons in this Lada gets to take the whole thing home!




Those dangerous "naked" lights!




Random Shots inspired by our "global nomad" friend (you know who you are and sorry there were no bugs!)...


In an ancient caravan saray...






rice warmers from the 14th century (Beth thought they were military helmets!)...



Samovars for our national drink, tea...







An intricate doorway into an ancient church...








Produce rather speaks for itself doesn't it?


Thanks for taking this little tour with us...come visit and we'll take you in person!


P.S. For those of you tenderhearts concerned about our dear kiddos, they didn't cry for us a bit, and were delighted we had returned. The best of both worlds!