Whew! Christmas has come and gone and I have a big virtual stack of pictures to share. Posting a blog has been on my to-do list for a long time, but since I rarely accomplish everything (or anything) on my to-do list, and I’ve had other more exciting things to do, it’s been pushed back time and time again. Now you get one great big blog with more pictures than most of you care to see.
Our girls are a wonderful age for Christmas this year. Annika was old enough to remember last Christmas, and to anticipate each new morning and the eventual arrival of Santa Claus. Lucy and Elise weren’t really sure what was going on, but they were certainly old enough to get excited by the lights, the music, the food, and all of our activities. Each morning they would look out their window at all of the Christmas lights hanging in the street and excitedly point and say “Mommy! Look! Look! Christmas!” That said, my girls are at a fun, crazy, chaotic age where nothing ever goes as plans, and everything we try ends up in some kind of disaster. I was going to write this post and just share pictures and stories of all the fun, happy, yummy things we did this December but that wouldn’t be quite honest or fair. You see, we did a lot of really fun things, but it was really crazy too. We made snow globes – but the first time we tried it Lucy and Elise were screaming because I wouldn’t let them hold the glue gun, then Annika dumped a huge pile of glitter in the water, but it was too fine and wouldn’t sink so we had this snow globe with a glob of glitter floating on the top that would never filter down the the bottom. We made cookies together too many times, but mostly the twins just tried to climb up on the counter to eat the dough and when Annika tried to frost them they all got broken and there was frosting everywhere. When we made gingerbread houses Elise sat by me and licked the frosting off of my house and painted the table with it. Annika was interested for a couple of minutes, and then ran off to play. The rest of the evening I could be heard saying “Go away, girls. Go play somewhere. I’m making my gingerbread house!” We have fun around here, but it is messy, and there are tears, and Brad is continually reminding me to temper my expectations.
So, there are supposed to be captions with these pictures, but they’re not showing up. Lame. But basically we got a tree and decorated it, Elfie left fun surprises, Lucy and Elise loved the snow globes (after they worked), we celebrated Brad and Cambree’s birthdays, Annika decorated cookies, and we delivered “candy cane play-dough” to all of her friends.
We have officially submitted our paperwork to separate from the Army next August. I am excited to be going back stateside and to be closer to family, but leaving is bittersweet. We’ve lived here for over 4 years now, all of our children were born here, and it is really the only permanent home we’ve known together. We love Europe. This was our last Christmas here in Europe, and I’m a bit torn up about it. Christmas markets really aren’t Brad’s favorite thing, but we went over and over again because I didn’t want to admit that each one could be the last. I visited the Christmas market in Bern-Kastel Kues, we rode the train to Mainz, and the Baumholder Christmas market was right outside our front door. (Literally — in the picture you’ll see Annika and Brad standing at our front door.)
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we spent together – our little family of five. Brad didn’t even get work calls the entire weekend. It was a little Christmas miracle. On Christmas Eve I planned a dinner with the kinds of food Christ would have eaten, and even came up with scripture verses or stories relating to Christ to go with all of the things on the table – candles, bread, grapes, water, pomegranate, cheese, lamb, etc. It was one of those things that seemed like a good idea in theory, but really is not. Before we could even get the food on the table Lucy and Elise were screaming for the grapes. Then I turned the lights off so we could eat by candlelight (authentic, you know) and Lucy kept yelling “Dark! Light on! Dark! Light on!” I would try to read a scripture, but nobody was listening – the girls were just crying for food and Brad was busy trying to keep them fed. By the time I finally gave up on the scriptures, and got ready to eat my own dinner Elise adamantly informed me that she was all done and wanted to get down. It was a delicious dinner anyway. We also attempted to act out the nativity, but the twins hijacked baby Jesus and kept putting him to sleep in different places. Annika did fabulous in her role as the angel – she knew just what to say. “Glory to God! Peace on Earth!” After Lucy and Elise were ushered off to bed Annika left Santa some cookies and bubbly water “because he probably gets tired of milk.”
I’ll let the photos of Christmas day speak for themselves. We had a wonderful holiday, and we hope you did too. Merry Christmas!