Week Before Christmas

The kids were a little crazy this week because, well, Christmas is coming! But, really they weren't too bad. Partly, maybe, because we finally had time and energy to do all those Christmasy things together that I've always imagined. (Stuffing everyone in a phone booth for a Christmas card photo is Woo's Christmas wish, not mine, but we did that too!)

The kids had this whole week off of school, Woo still had to work and we had no plans of going anywhere, so I made a deal with the kids. If they gave me a couple hours in the morning to run and get some other things done, we'd do a fun activity every afternoon. I drew up a schedule, the kids were excited, and I got some time to myself everyday.

We decorated the house--the kids even making a nativity scene for us--notable for it's giant Baby Jesus and Joseph by Herbie and Archie, and it's tiny Mary by Penelope. Also the angel Ruby made has a lightning bolt scar (which she swears is an accident) and converse high tops.

I handed down my top-secret snowflake-making secrets to the kids and Moses and Linus made dozens and dozens of them, many of them very nice.

Each of the kids rolled out their own gingerbread dough and cut out cookies. Most were eaten that day, but a few were saved to decorate the next day, and so on. They loved these activities.

Also we watched an episode of The Blue Planet with David Attenborough every night after dinner. We hardly ever watch movies or tv and even less all together so this was a real treat for the kids. Plus, they love them! Sharks, hilarious penguins, British narration... what isn't there to like?

And... Ruby turned thirteen! We had a baptism that day and she got to say the opening prayer. (Woo spoke and Archie said the closing prayer.) Then she decided to exercise her teenage rights by refusing to walk with us to the Lidl; she'd rather sit in the van (the baptism was in a neighboring town). Anyway, we did get her to come, which she ended up loving because what was going to be a quick trip for a snack, ended up becoming a giant Christmas/birthday spending extravaganza, because Lidl happened to have everything everyone had been wishing for.

Thank goodness it was a short walk because we all came back laden with large boxes. Thank you for the money, Grandparents!

While we were out, we dropped by a convent displaying thousands of nativity scenes made by local artists. Some were even working on site for us to watch in a side room.

Today we only had Sacrament Meeting, but it was all us, all the time, with Herbie saying the opening prayer, me leading the music, Woo blessing the sacrament, Ruby, Woo and I giving talks, all of us singing "Noite Feliz" and Moses saying the closing prayer. Thank goodness that's over. It was too much us even for me.

Everyone we invited to church or lunch today (for Christmas) fell through, so I think we'll walk to the hospital to see if we can visit our sick branch member (something we've not been able to do yet, but not without trying... every minute I've spent in there I've dreaded one of us actually needing to go to that hospital!). Then we'll eat dinner and do our usual nativity, singing, night before Christmas type things, and then sleep until Christmas!!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Nellpea (reading the Friend): Mom, do you know why the tree of good and evil was bad?
Me: Why?
Nellpea: Because there was a snake in it. It lives in it!

Overheard in the hall:
Penelope (to Archie): You have to run for president. I already raced and I won!

Archie (reading the primary song book): Jesus num pres├ępio. (Jesus in a manger--Away in a Manger) What is that in English?
Penelope: Jesus, the principal!

Woo: What do you want for Christmas, Archie?
Archie: Oh. I just want a Darth Vader. What’s remote control, on a skateboard. And can walk.

Two new Elders were transferred into our branch last week, so now we have 3, which is very exciting for my boys.

Herbie (reminiscing on the walk home about how awesome one of them was): ... And then he knew the names of all the motorcycles!
Linus (nodding authoritatively): That’s because missionaries know everything.