It has been a strange holiday season...with lots of sunshine and too little Christmas music. I normally have my Pandora station running nearly non-stop all through November and December...but Pandora doesn't work on this side of the world. (boo.) And while I certainly DO NOT miss the snow, it is strange to have the days be so balmy and bright.
Our Thanksgiving a beautiful event...with fabulous volunteers and good food. Sadly, we had no pumpkin pie (no canned pumpkin can be found anywhere here) but we had rolls and mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, and apple pie. And most importantly, deep gratitude for this experience and the peace of shared serving and giving.
NEVER in my life have I had a month fly by faster than November did! Maybe just because I could not wait to get to December and finally have it be time to fly to Delhi and BE WITH MY SISTER!!
What a blessing that was.
And then came Christmas...
With a little help from Pinterest, we decided to save our toilet paper rolls all fall in order to make a Christmas Tree to hang on our wall. It is small and pretty flat...but we were excited with how it turned out...
Seriously...these kids are so kooky sometimes...I just love 'em!
The cleaning ladies made beautiful "Rangolis" for us outside of our door and Dr. Susan's door.
We had a peaceful Christmas Eve with our family and Ashley (another year-long volunteer). We did a White Elephant gift exchange, a "for-reals" gift exchange, and then our family homemade gift exchange.
Our homemade family exchange is my FAVORITE thing every year. My kids were in weird moods when we took these photos.... Avery was grumpy and so was Cohen...which is why they both decided to wear things on their faces so they wouldn't actually have to smile. Ha!
The mask was a gift that Avery found months ago and hid in her suitcase to give to Cohen for Christmas.
Cohen made sleeping bags for Avery's two dolls.
Avery made an agility rope ladder for Liberty to work on footwork drills for soccer. (And also an iPod stand for Camry...that is what is in Camry's left hand. ; )
Liberty made a tea mug cozy for Lon (not pictured).
Camry made a beautiful painted peacock mug for me (also not pictured).
Brooklyn made a secret compartment book for Camry.
I made a toilet paper tube rocket for Cohen.
And Lon wrote a beautiful poem for Brooklyn that is on her iPad...lucky girl!
I just love seeing what everyone comes up with each year to personally make for their person. It will always be my favorite tradition and my favorite time spent together each holiday season.
It was nearly eleven when we got the kids in bed...just in time for Santa to come!!
The big sign was from a teacher meeting on the last day of school.
Avery with her new Michael Vey book.
(notice her maxi-pad slippers...her score from the White Elephant exchange!)
Cohen with his Webkinz Hedgehog. He LOVES him and named him Hedge.
Yeah...I know, original, huh? ; )
This little boy has such a soft spot for animals! He says it was his Best Christmas Ever! He got four little carved necklace charms...a gecko, a penguin, a turtle, and a cobra. He got a wooden alligator from Sri Lanka, a stuffed animal turtle (that he named Shelton--which is actually pretty cute for a turtle), and a large plastic rhino (now named Horton) that makes a noise like a cow which was his White Elephant winnings. ; )
And after exactly 3 photos on Christmas morning, my camera got set down, I was distracted watching everyone open presents, and I never once picked up my camera again. ; ) Oops...thank goodness Ashley had her camera out and after she gets back from her New Year's trip (she left today) I can get more photos and pretend like I was a better mom and diligently recorded it all. : )