Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Just Our "Little" Family Christmas

For the first Christmas ever, as in ever ever, as in since Matt and I were married, as in since Matt and I had kids, I mean since we moved into the Compound, in case you don't understand, for the the first time ever it was just our "Little" Compound family for Christmas.

No out of town guests, no in town guests.

Just the eleven of us.

No schedule, no meals that had to be just right, nothing but us.

It was great.

Don't get me wrong, I love all our extended family, but there was something great and simple about today.

Normally, we grown-ups are a little preoccupied with traditional breakfast, and/or dinner for a group of people.  We are visiting with relatives and friends we might only see on Christmas so little things get overlooked.

But for today we asked the kids what was important to them: Bubble Bread. That was the one tradition that mattered. So we whipped up some Bubble Bread and called it a day.

We opened stockings, and presents and instead of worrying about the next meal or dishes, or what everyone else was doing, we played with the kids. We read books together, drew pictures, built model airplanes, and raced cars.

We watched Christmas movies and planned family getaways. The babies played and napped as they needed. And AJ had a great day, barely a fit.

I know the kids fell into bed tonight exhausted and happy. It has been a wild, crazy year around these parts but oh how blessed I feel to have my "little" family and to have had our quiet little Christmas this year!!

Merry Christmas to All!!

P.S. The rest of the photos:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nana and Papa's Christmas Letter

Getting it out on Christmas Eve still counts as "before Christmas", right?!

So, if you're willing to come along on a brief (2 pages, mostly pictures) tour of our 2013, click here.

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

An Amazing Evening

We had a bitter sweet evening a few night backs.  When we connected with Grace the boys Tummy Mommy, I never mentioned that her husband was in the air force.  He was here in the states through out the pregnancy and delivery of our boys.  He was able to see the babies as they were delivered,  in other words being pulled out and whisked off to the NICU for ventilation.  He can recall hearing David give a cry and Jonathan not making any noise but he was never allowed in the NICU to see, touch, or hold them.  By the time Grace and I meet Brandon was stationed in Korea.  Once again he couldn't come hold or meet the babies. 

Five months from our first meeting Brandon, and with no time to spare as they are moving to another state after Christmas, got a chance to meet the boys.  It was bitter sweet knowing that it would be the last time we would be able to see them face to face for awhile but was so so awesome to see the love and happiness and watch Grace and Brandon play with the boys that they helped give life.

The boys were a little cranky having being at their NICU follow up clinic earlier in the day but Brandon being amazing with babies was David's best friend by the end of the night. 

 This might be my favorite set of pictures.
    Jonathan:  "No Don't hold me"
    David:  "Brandon and me BFF's"

"Why are you still holding me"

"Yeah lets keep fiving"

"If I wave will you let me down"

"We're bro's and point together"

 Here this baby likes to be held!!

Now that  I got my way I will smile!

After dinner everyone played.  Jonathan even got into the action. 

These two became fast friend.

At the end of the evening we all went to lay them down for bed.  I said good night to the boys and then Grace and Brandon said goodnight.  This mama teared up as she watched Grace tuck them in and kiss them goodnight.  It was almost to much.  It made me think of a sign I saw earlier in the week"

 "Your beautifully messy complicated story matters. Tell it!" 

There is nothing that makes sense in this story of ours but it is beautifully and it is God's work at hand.  It shows unconditional love, mercy and grace.  We are so blessed to have Grace and Brandon in our lives and will be for ever great-full for the gift they gave our family.  

Safe travels Grace and Brandon and we will can't wait to see you again.  Hopefully sooner than later.

The 2055th Mobile Division

While Tracy could haul as many as three kids on her bike alone, today's convoy configuration has one on her bike, two in Matt's trailer, and one in the trailer behind Serafina who is hooked up behind Janice. All the pics:

Who do you think are the two in Matt's trailer?

Teddy Bears are Special

No one likes Teddy Bears more in this family than Papa. Well, there are some close runner-ups, but generally that's true. One of the runner-ups is Matteo, who said a Teddy Bear was something he'd like for Christmas. Well... As soon as Papa got wind of that, it was stuffed animal shopping time. Complete with Elf, Serafina. Get a load of the one they picked out...

A Nativity Appears

There's a Christmas tree in Nana and Papa's room. The area on the floor beneath and the first foot or two of ornaments are for kid play. You know, paper and crayons for coloring (AJ's fave), Cars cars to zoom around (Mater is the best!), wooden trains, some relatively indestructible airplane ornaments, etc. The other night a creche scene appeared. All set up. Turns out Matteo made it at school and had now found a proper place to set it up at home. Works for us!

And from the kitchen counter:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Vacation Really Begins When...

...the kids' school/church Christmas programs are all done. And we had the last one last night for the older kids at Coastal Christian School. An investigative reporter, Blond - Jane Blond (yea, we get it!), digs deep enough to find out that Christmas is for real. It was cute, of course, 'cause the kids were so... kids. And God bless Leonard Lutz, the school's music guy.