31 New Delights

1. Let the Festivities Begin!  And so begins the most festive month of the year!  With a flip of the first card on our Advent Tree, the boys delve into their flannel snowy sheets, or at least Muma puts them on the beds.  This year, Alex, Aidan, & Papa will spend this first December weekend up at our favorite Camp for the Father/Son Retreat, and Lucas and Muma will spend some special time at home.  (Lukie slept in Muma’s bed)  The boys know the first card is always “Snowman Sheets” but  why not?  We’ve had a balmy fall so far, but they say the snow is just around the corner, and this house of boys is ready and waiting!  We’ve got beautiful white lights on the house, and the trees and Christmas decorations have been up since Thanksgiving Sunday but that just leaves more time for soaking the simple joys of the season.  Let the fun begin!

2. Muma and Lukie Time  Family at Father/Son Retreat | Quiet Sabbath | Reading Stories | Watching Read & Grow Jesus Story | Neighborhood Walk | Favorite “Blind Man” Worship- leading each other around the house with a blindfold, some tasters.  Tricker than usual in a still-new house! Learning to Trust Jesus when we feel scared, following Him wherever He leads, learning to need Jesus to help change our hearts (open our eyes!)  We did this several times | Smoothie and Toast supper; making popsicles with leftover smoothie.  “In Winter!!!??!…”  | Our card today: Play a Family Game.  Not Rudolph Memory or Candy Land but…  Return of the Bup-Bumm game!  Oh the happy Lucas! Being the pizza delivered to the BupBumm’s cave- with RASPBERRIES on top!  He has so much fun, but gets so into it- maybe actually a little scared | Quick Jaunt out to Target fun being in the holiday festivities |  Jennifer Arrives!  Chatting with a sleeping Lucas on the couch.

3. A Sparkling Return  Adventurers followed by a twinkle-light stop and Birthday-bin fill-up with the Lucas man topped off our morning.  With a honkity honk honk the boys returned in the afternoon from “Man Camp” and gave big and happy hugs to the waiting Lucas and Muma.  Today’s card: One Early Present intrigued boys to their utmost delight, until clothes!!! grrrr… (matching jammies and socks) tamped down their enthusiasm at least until a little later.  But a sweet evening ensued with Lucas and Aidan playing happily together again; cars, Lego, Duplo, and when bribed, the dirt pile in the sideyard.  Alex and Papa put up the rainbow lights along the house,  (Alex was allowed up on the ladder, much to his delight) and fished extension cords through the muddy pipe under the driveway to make way for Muma’s new twinkle ball tree.  Wrapped in green lights with Alex climbing high to place the Purple (pink), red, green, and blue twinkle balls the happy family tree has a good friendly start but it’s lacking a golden ball for our yellow guy.  Muma ran errands for the hard workers, and enjoyed Christmas Light company in the near balmy (50’s) December air.  After sunset, Jennifer returned home from her meeting to a happy spaghetti family dinner and later a Treehouse Masters with three clean-bathed boys snuggled now-happily in their Christmas jammies. They ended the evening with a slumber party in their snowman flannel sheets in the 2-boys room, playing stuffies and giggling (with some help from Papa) until nearly 10pm.  After some nice grown-up chatting it was time for a tuck in of our own.  So happy to have our family back together.  So happy for Christmas Merries!

4. A Favorite Cookie Tradition  It was a special evening for a favorite tradition.  Nana brought the big boys home from school and we jumped right into making cookie dough for the night’s big event.  After a favorite family supper (Lucas and Muma made loaf during today’s 10 o’clock ‘kitchen time’),we had a bit of time for some violin practice with some Christmas Songs- Jingle Bells, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, O Come Little Children, May Song, and the ever-agonizing Rudolph.  Alex delighted in showing Nana his winter village he’s set up on his bookcase and bed-shelf in his room.  A collection of Lego and other treasures through the year, his love for his winter village began with Nana’s Santa Village at her house, so he’s always happy to show her his improvements and rearrangements.  After the chores, the boys were eager to pick their favorite cookie cutters and jump right into the rolling.  Being the first year in or new house, we had to figure out all the logistics but ended up punching out the cookies on the breakfast counter so all the boys could be the right height.  Alex took charge right away, an old pro at this now after 10 years, he jumped right into the rolling and giving instructions, transferring them onto their cookie sheets with his spatula or fingers.  Lucas was most excited about his puppy and big red snowman cutter Muma had to keep flouring for him.  Aidan was happiest with his big Michigan cookie cutter, and Alex just wanted to get as many on as fast as he could.  Nana got to watch more than usual this year with the young ‘uns taking charge, but still had helpful tips and kept everything running smoothly.  Of course there  were lots of smiles with festive Christmas music and a little Silk Egg Nog for Nana and Alex.  We wrapped up the evening with boys in their matching jammies (Alex had worn his new favorite socks all day) and worship in the Living Room.  With cookies now made and ready to decorate, I think it’s pretty safe to say the season has officially begun!

5.  Hot Cocoa Bar!  Tuesday is our crazy day of the week.  We don’t usually get home from the day until nearly 10pm.  Today Muma spent the afternoon running errands and Christmas (and Birthday) Shopping!  What fun treasures were found!  But the three boys were excited for their ‘Holiday snack’ when they arrived home.  We had Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow snowmen you could make with a cute little head and then one or two ‘shmallows’ for their body, and pretzels for arms and legs.  Lukie opted for one marshmallow, because everything he makes he likes to be the cutest, littlest one.  Aidan put cute sprinkle buttons on his that Papa tried to copy.  Alex had his floating in a foamy hot-tub (with whipped cream).  Muma added a bath-bomb (red sprinkles) to her snowman in the hot-tub.  Papa liked the bubble bath idea so he added whipped cream even though he doesn’t even like it.  They were super yummy and so cute- at least until the melting began.  Of course there were lots of pictures to take, and at the end lots of teeth to super-scrub.  Being so late, we wrapped up a short worship talking about things we appreciated about others from the day- sometimes a mind-stretcher for boys to notice all the kind things done for them (or others) throughout the day.  One thing Muma appreciated was the hard work Papa’s been doing moving field stones to the retaining wall, even in today’s blustery wind.  And seeing as we all overslept today and are all pretty tired, another thing we’ll appreciate sooner rather than later is our soft pillows and warm comforter… Now on to wrapping a gift or two before bed…

6. A New Garland  Working with Lucas on the Christmas Puzzle | Teaching Lucas how to knit | Christmas Shopping with Lucas & Papa | Picking up brothers from School – haircuts & Cinnamon Crumb Cake treat at Starbucks | Our Christmas Cards arrived in the mail!  Addressing the first one!  | Finishing the Puzzle with three boys together | chores & Christmas song violin practice | Watching a Christmas Light Fight while Muma makes supper | Making our new Christmas Garland (Years ago Alex and Muma (with a little help from Aidan) made the first of these tree and mitten garlands, and it’s been hung in the boys’ room every Christmas.  But this year we thought we’d make a second, created by three kiddos for the other boy’s room. It turned out really sweet) | Boys decorating their Duplo houses with a variety of ‘Christmas Lights’ (duplo blocks light bricks, whatever they can imagine) to be judged by Muma’s bear Samão on Friday | Papa’s home just in time for worship | Aidan’s cuddle & massage night & chatting about the day.

7.  Nana’s House Deco  Today was the first day of real snow!  Though it didn’t stick, it sure made for slow roads!  But on Thursdays, Muma teaches French and spends the day at the school.  Even though it doesn’t look like it, a lot was acomplished today in terms of moving books around and sorting them to their correct categories.  Perhaps part was due to the fact that Lucas stayed home with Papa and Muma had less distractions.  In French we reviewed some holiday vocabulary, sang Vive le Vent and watched a short video about Christmas with a French Family.  The kids seemed to like our lesson today quite a bit.  Alex says he really likes when Muma is at the school all day.  Lucas and Papa came to the school just in time for lunch.  Lukie loves being with the other students- especially at lunch and recess time, but we also come in for worship with the Pastor most mornings and participate in any other less intense learning times.  Sometimes Muma works with the first graders on spelling or reading and Lucas can join in there as well.  Today we also worked on yearbook in the afternoon, so Muma took shifts of grades and taught them about creating a spread and had them do a spread each and write a story.  After school we took the boys over to Nana’s for an evening of Christmas decorating and sleepover at her house.  It’s always a special event and Muma got to faceTime to join in the fun for a little bit.  They put up the crèche (one of our French vocab words), mini tree and little stockings underneath it.  Of course they set up the winter village too (still one of Alexander’s favorites) and other little decorations here and there.  Muma made a quick stop to pick up a bonus gift we found for Aidan from FacebookMarketplace (more on that another time— so excited!), and after a snowy drive home, enjoyed an evening of supper with Papa, playing with Aidan’s new toy and wrapping a few gifts while Papa read a book (The Miracle of the Seventh-Day Ox)  Papa doesn’t particularly like to wrap, but I enjoy his company and we can read something together.  Not too late of a night tonight!  A reasonable bedtime tonight is good news because there’s a big weekend ahead :)!

8. First Fire  A very busy day  |  an excellent violin lesson with a happy heart and improvements on those Christmas songs   |  furnace company quotes  |  a Meijer not-so-quick trip  |  welcoming Sabbath with our traditional pancake supper  |  building our first fire in our fireplace  |  Reading the Christmas Story by the fire  | Alexander’s Christmas program with special music “O Come Little Children” by Aidan and his violin, Muma tried to play her ukelele during song service  |  Sabbath bath time  |   Reading our Seventh-Day- Ox together with David  |  David preps for Sabbath School  | Sweet Sabbath rest before the busy weekend.

9.  Cookie Decorating!  And here comes the snow!  A beautiful Sabbath where the snow is falling (and sticking!) and the roads are beginning to slow.  But not so much that after church, we were invited to one of our A2 friends’ homes for some practice and recording of Daniel Chapter 6 for the Pathfinder Bible Experience.  What fun we had to join families and dramatically read parts for a memory tool that the little ones can use to help them remember the chapters for the competitions in 2018.  This sweet family is such a blessing and inspiration to ours, and the whole idea of reading and recording parts just makes Alexander so very happy.  Aidan and Lucas were willing to say verse numbers but nervous (unwilling) to do much more.  But they still loved being part of the crew.  Even Papa got in on the action.  Lots of smiles and laughter and lovely fellowship this sweet Sabbath Afternoon.  This evening was the great cookie decorating event, though a bit more subdued this year.  Aunt Nancy decided to postpone her drive from Chicago due to the weather, and Nana wasn’t too keen on making the trip, but Kamran and his crew came to join in the fun and they decorated some very festive and sprinkley cookies this year!  It was our first year without Nana, and we certainly didn’t have as many to do, but of course Muma has that lovely cookie talent, and Papa did a few, ate any that didn’t turn out, and made a cute squinty-eyed snowman to flirt with Muma’s purple-scarved one.  A bit later after good-bye’s and it was clean-up time, (though Muma stayed to do a few more), Papa took the boys out for our first sledding outing of the new house.  In the dark and cold, and not-much-snow, the whoops and hollers of their backyard adventure could be well heard in the house.  Of course, the longer they rode, the faster the trails grew, and tales were told of sledding into the woods, and even Lukie hitting a tree when he didn’t ‘bail!’ on Papa’s command.  At nearly ten, four soggy boys came back into the house for hot cocoa, exciting tales to tell, and eventually toothbrushes and bed.  Muma and Papa enjoyed some quiet time to decorate cookies with lovely music before a bit o’ shoveling, more clean-up and computer work to round out the evening.  There are seemingly endless things to be done, and tomorrow promises to bring another happy holiday event!

10.  Schaper Christmas.  Nancy made it in from Chicago today, and after weeks of pulling everything together, our Schaper Christmas Gathering day arrived.  It was nice that Bill and Carol arrived early, and we got a little chance to chat and visit before all the commotion of the festivities began.  Alison, Ben and little M. were the next to make it.  Little M pretty shy and unsure at first, but eager and playful with the boys in no time at all.  Nana and Nancy brought the casseroles, sprinkles, appetizer veggies (everyone was hungry and thankful for those!), and super yummy pumpkin walnut cake and it wasn’t long before a traditional Schaper feast ensued with Hamburg Noodle Bake (vegetarian to some’s dismay), green beans with mushrooms, Cesar Salad, Bread and the Winkler Twist and Aidan-request of Pepperidge K loaf.  It was yummies all around with a full table and happy hearts.  Later we did a white elephant exchange.  Alexander ended up with Papa’s gift of crazy elf slippers.  It was quite all the commotion as we-thinks he really liked them but was a bit embarrassed by them, in the end Papa ended up snagging them to wear to a work meeting, and Alex ended up with a Peanuts Christmas Tree, which he later traded with Nancy (the Peanuts lover who doesn’t have a Christmas Tree) for a cozy blanket.  But most people ended up with things they liked or could use— more or less.  We all exchanged gifts with Nancy, who gave the boys some especially sweet gifts they loved including the puzzle cube that continues to keep the boys busy and they even brought in the car the next day!  After sweet desserts of Apple Pie (thanks again Costco!) a la mode, Pumpkin cake, and of course Christmas Cookies, there was more time to visit and play and chatter before the Chelsea crew had to depart.  Nancy stayed later for a fireplace fire, and tuckered out boys to tuck in.  They have been amazing today- helping Muma all morning in all the preparations and cleaning, as well as sweet hosts through the evening.  What a good day!  Thank you everyone for making the trek and the priority for some holiday family fellowship.  And the fun gifts were a treat too.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

11.  More Snow!   Oh how the boys are super excited for the snow– especially Lucas, he knows his birthday is coming!  In fact, today we sent out his birthday invitations,ordered some supplies for his party, and did some brainstorming about his special day.  But today was in fact a pretty heavy work day for Muma.  Dishes galore from last night’s event, laundry from hampers and a naughty kitty.  Planning for the week, and party preparations for next weekend filled up most of the day.  Papa came home though and ran his tractor out in the snow and got the driveway plowed.  He was also able to drive us in the bad roads to pick up the boys from school, enjoy a very un-merry visit to the dentist, and then round two of a nice leftover meal with Nana and Aunt Nancy at her house.  Since Nana got a super-cool card shuffler from Aunt Nancy for Christmas, we couldn’t leave however, without a hand of UNO.  The boys told stories of their day at school celebrating a friend’s birthday with pizza and a pinata, and making salt-dough ornaments for their classrooom tree.  What fun!  14 more days to go!

12. Violin Rehearsal.


14. Snow Day!  What a day!  No school for the boys today, so we got lots of shoveling and plowing done with Papa’s tractor.  We strung twinkle lights on the sledding hill and the boys took some turns, but the snow was too big!  So they mostly worked on ‘insulating’ the little pallet shack we built earlier in the week.  Wrapped a few presents and finished a couple last Christmas shopping gifts!  Two huge packages arrived in the later evening, so we waited until Papa arrived home to open them and put wrapped treasures from Minnesota under (or beside!) the color tree :).  Muma got about half her cards ready to mail and boys also watched a Christmas Light Fight and we made cupcakes for Lukies party on Sunday.  Then wound down the evening with a kids’ Bible Study conference call with Pathfinders and a touch of Lego fun.  Sounds like a pretty good snow day to me.  Did I mention we were in our jammies until nearly noon?  Yup- hooray for snow days!

15.  Rehearsal.  Only a half day of school today, but just enough time for some cookie-making, and some rehearsing for their program tomorrow in church.  We also made a Meijer trip for Lukie’s party supplies, and weekend potlucks (yes, that’s TWO potlucks this weekend!)  Made it home through the snowy drive just in time for boys to have a few minutes to relax, and then finish frosting Lukie’s bear paw cupcakes for Sunday.  Boys always enjoy a long Sabbath bath, pancake dinner, and  a very special worship this evening.  We’re reading through the Christmas Story in Luke and taking it piece by piece, but jumped ahead a little bit this evening to ‘act out the Christmas Story as a family.’  This time Lukie got to be the sheep and Papa didn’t have to be the donkey/sheep/camel (he’s always the rideable animal) because he got to be Joseph.  It’s fun to see the boys become more mature in their acting out as they get older– using real scripture for their lines instead of squeaky voices (that’s still Lukie), but they still enjoy scavenging costumes, props, and kings’ gifts around the house.  It’s always a fun part of the holidays and brings us back to the real reason for Christmas. (sorry picture hasn’t been updated- some glitches here with wordpress– will work on it maybe after the weekend! 😉

16.  School & Church Christmas Program.  What a day!  Sabbath School was first and Muma joined Lucas with for a special Kindergarten Sabbath School about Angels and the Christmas story.  Then, for the church service, a beautiful combination of musical arrangements, school performances, and sermonette by Pastor Choi.  All of the students did so very well!  They had a skit where L was the mother for the kids, who each kept coming by to ask her to join them in one or another of their service projects- but she was too busy with coordinating the season.  Then 4 Christmas angels, Love, Joy, Peace, & Faith remind her the true meaning of Christmas.   It was humorous and still had a wonderful message.  There was a lot of interaction with the congregation laughing and connecting with the themes.  Even little J who is usually very shy did a great job with his many lines.  Aidan had a small part “Hi Mom,” which he managed to pull off, and Alex did great with all of his part talking to “mom” as well.   Mrs. Canada also led the students in three lovely songs, my favorite- Celebrate the Season.  Lots of enthusiasm, and great direction by this fantastic mom, friend, and former Zork student.  We didn’t want to drive back and forth to home, so we had planned to hang out at Nana’s but ended up just staying at the school and visiting with friends.  The boys got involved practicing their PBE skills, and it was such a blessing to see them so enthusiastic about delving into God’s Word.  Aidan and Lucas even were in the mix for most of it.  (A2 getting frustrated when grown-ups are around and not being able to write his answers fast enough in the time given).  But it was a really nice Sabbath afternoon, when we weren’t exactly how things would end up.  Finally it was time to be off to Aidan’s Nutcracker recital.  He was nervous, but we had 3 other Adventurer friends playing as well, and when he was in the mix and Muma left him alone, he did just fine chatting with friends and comrades.  He played all the simple songs, as well as Jingle Bells, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Lightly Row, and French Folk Song.  He bowed out of Allegro because he just doesn’t have the tempo- but it was a little bummer because he missed O Come Little Children, and another that he did know well.  But he was happy to just play the songs he’d mastered, and I know that each year, he’ll be comfortable playing more and more.  We wrapped up the evening with dinner out with Grammy & Grampapa, then home for the party preparations, and Lukie’s sponsored  card of hosting a Christmas movie.  He served little snacks while they watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas Medley before bed and getting to sleep in each other’s beds.  Muma and Papa burned the midnight oil creating an amazing cake, baking 2 loafs for tomorrow, and decorating for the Woodland Birthday party tomorrow afternoon.  Adventurer mornings come way too soon, when you go to bed after 3am!

17.  Woodland Palooza   Happy Birthday Lucas!  Today was a special day with Adventurers in the morning with a focus on families and family traditions, and in the afternoon a grand celebration for our littlest soon to be six!  For more details, you can read all about them here, but it was a crazy and fun day for our special little Lukie.  With friends and family to play with, yummy and creative food, warm-weather sledding by the twinkle lights, and gifts to make Lukie’s heart sing, three boys went to bed with happy sleepy smiles, but still asking, “How many days until Christmas?”

18.  Welcome Chewey!    Last Christmas Lunch for boys  |   Mama’s Holiday Hair Appointment  |  Finished the Christmas shopping with Lucas  |  Browsing at PetCo and getting first hamster supplies  |  Hot Cocoas to pick up the boys from School  | Shopping for Lukie’s New Hamster  |  Phone calls to the grandparents about Chewey  |  The joys of the hamster set-up  |  Lots of weekend and party leftovers for supper  |  Watching a Great Christmas Light Fight together  |  Worship & a little more Chewey play time  |  After boys in bed- wrapping gifts together  |  Planning TPC!!!

19. Happy Birthday Lucas!  Today was a Muma and Lucas Day!  He opened the last of his little gifts in the morning after breakfast and then it was off to drop the boys off at school.  The brothers at school visited Woolf Aircraft to present their Christmas Program.  Though I asked Lucas if he wanted to go, he preferred some Muma time.  We had a grand day together.  Made a post office stop to mail a few Christmas cards, then a toy store stop (it was his birthday after all) on the way home.  Upon arrival at home we played some Paw Patrol together (Christmas of course!), watched a movie (a real treat for Lucas), made lunch together, played some tickles and bup-bum upon request, and played with his birthday floof making really funny little snowmen.  Muma made the typical little snowmen but Lucas had a funny flair to his– sometimes half-melted, or quirky with a tip of the head, tiny with long arms, or upside-down in a handstand.  With a laugh and smirky little smile on his face he’d show me each of his creations- I tried to mimic some of his silly designs, but he just had his own cute way of doing it.  Before long it was time to pick up the brothers from school and begin the Tuesday evening craziness.  This week, I allowed Aidan to miss his violin group, so we had a little extra time to get a couple presents for Papa (shh don’t tell), then ran errands for the boys to get secret gifts for their friends at school during the others’ gymnastics class.  It was certainly a scurry-about evening!  But it’s also a little fun in the festiveness of the season.  Upon our typically late arrival at home, we wrapped the boys’ secret and class friends’ gifts, and wrote cards for a church friend we hadn’t seen in a while while waiting for Papa to come home to celebrate with Lucas one last time.  It was one last hurrah of a song and candle blow-out for our little guy with a pinch of cake and ice cream before bed.  Yes, this was not a very wise and healthy decision- but tomorrow is the boys’ last day of school and today was a special birthday.  (Excuses excuses…)  Happy Birthday, sweet Lukie!  We love you so very much!

20.  Class Christmas Party  Oh these crazy boys.  Alex has had his outfit for the day laid aside for nearly a week; new Christmas pajamas, glowing Christmas Light necklace, reindeer antlers or elf hat, reindeer socks, and for Alex- the crazy elf slippers from Schaper Christmas.  They had such fun passing out their secret gifts and gifts to their classmates, playing games and decorating graham cracker houses with Mrs. V..  Mrs. H. also made some beautiful custom pencil holders for each child with their name on them- with fabric from the kids’ favorite things.  Such a thoughtful gift.  The crew were all in great spirits and came home with armfulls of treasures and cheery ‘see you next year!’s to their classmates.  These are some of the best childhood school memories.  :).  To celebrate the last day of the year, we also stopped for lunch at Crepes and Games.  The boys have been wanting to go for quite a while, so it was a treat to eat something yummy and play some new games.  We tried Hungry Hungry Hippos, Mouse Trap and Don’t Spill the Beans.  Papa introduced the crew to Operation, and Lukie had fun with an Angry Birds one.  Alex and Papa and Muma really liked one called Concept, even Aidan joined in for a little bit.  Then Aidan and Lukie discovered one where you can build fun mazes for for the marble to go through with Maze Racers.  Lucas liked making traps for the marble, where if you landed in that pocket, he would shut the passage way with a mischevious giggle.   The rest of the evening?  A treehouse Masters, a late supper, some gift wrapping, last Christmas cards to write, (laundry), and a few chores and bit o’ playtime.  Whew!  So happy we get to sleep in tomorrow…  maybe… 🙂

21.  Parties for Hosting  A first day home for the boys, there was much to do but also plenty of quiet time for good egg-sandwich breakfasts, wrapping of Papa’s gifts, and starting some serious house cleaning and floor mopping (a couple hour-long process) for the holiday weekend.  Papa also took the boys to a private gymnastics lesson (always a favorite) before friends came over in the evening.  We hadn’t seen David’s good friends from his youth  in a few years and it was a  bessing to visit and share new experiences, and get advice about repairs and projects.  Aidan and Tate were happy to share in Lego delights and common interests like Titanic and a hundred other things eight-year-olds have in common.  Big kids (and Lukie) chased around with swords and nerf and giggles.  A very late night for little boys, but a sweet evening especially for Papa and his buddy reunion.  Boys counting down Christmas- just two more days for us!

22.  Getting Ready for a White Christmas  A busy Friday as usual, but Papa’s first day home for Christmas vacation.  Worked on fixing the tractor belt to be able to snowblow the upcoming threats so he can get up our driveway! :O  Also took the boys for a ride (and even let Alex drive) the tractor up to get the mail.  With the warm temps, it seems our white covering will be more of a brown smushy Christmas.  But you never can tell…  Lots of housecleaning and finishing Christmas cards to take to Church on Sabbath.  Happy for a very special snowman pancake supper with marshmallows for snow, stripple scarves, raisin smiles, and m&m buttons.  Always one of our Christmas tree cards the boys enjoy. Of course warm soaking Sabbath baths, followed by a special Sabbath Christmas worship.  All is calm…

23. Quiet Christmas Sabbath  A lovely Christmas Sabbath, but a very sick little Lukie.  He fell asleep on the pew in church with a moderate fever, and since there were not other children, Aidan moved up to the big kids’ class and Muma took little Lukie home to rest on the couch.  He was awake by the time we arrived home, and eager to do a little Sabbath School of our own, so we did our little class for him right on the couch.  We even pulled out the felts.  He really likes Sabbath School, but didn’t feel too much in the mood to do the craft, so Muma did most of the work on our little nativity silhouette.  We had a bit of warm soup for lunch before Papa and the boys returned from Potluck.  We’d planned to do some family outreach but with Lukie under the weather Papa went alone for a quiet afternoon with Muma and the boys at home.  When he returned for the shortest Sabbath (daytime) of the year, we gathered together to sing some Christmas Hymns and finish our readings of Jesus birth from the Biblical account.  We have a fantastic book with the scripture texts and amazing artwork that is one of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions and the boys all gather around to see the pictures.  Then somehow, miraculously, Lucas was in perfect form for stocking opening.  They were a little lighter this year, but happy family had lots of smiles for simple treasures and lots of chocolate.  Playtime of course, with a mini phone-microphone, a balloon helicopter, a small lego to build and lots of excitement for tomorrow.  We wrapped up the night with a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” (though we’ve never done Santa with the boys they still like the poem and story) and boys giggly to bed.  Now…  to the build of Lukie’s store-gift for tomorrow, last minute wraps, tree-stocking, and some snuggle time on the couch before bed…  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

24. Just us. 6am pouncing by Aidan, followed by another little excitement ball. Muma gets a few extra minutes then guilted out of bed by 4 Christmas merries. Down to the Family Room with 3 bouncing balls of energy entranced by the large chair-like gift. DONT sit on it! Torn open to be a little store and gifts passed out in a scurry.  What fun.  Happy faces with each gift.  Alex enjoying the nature / camping wrap on his gifts as much as what to be inside.  Aidan super excited by Lego Boost.  Lucas thrilled with Sphero Mini.  Fun opening Minnesota gifts and lots of treasures for the outside as well.  Hammock, games, BeanBoozled…  Shirts and legos for Muma, clothes and tools for Papa.  Our quiet day of the week… boys absorbed by Sphero and Boost, Muma and Papa resting, playing, all eating too many yummies and still in our pj’s well after noon.  Later, a quick trip out by Muma and Papa when the snow begins to fall.  Boys make themselves lunch (for sale at Lukie’s store) and we bring home Pizza for supper.  Putting together Muma’s Lego Friends ski resort, and watching some Puppy Dog Pals save Christmas.  Boys too excited for tomorrow to go to bed.  All three sleeping under the Christmas tree in the little boys room.  Love that they’re still small enough to enjoy all these holiday delights.  Loving this new home holiday season.

25. Grateful, thankful, blessed. Up early this morning. David picking up Nana from the snowstorm- in an accident but no one injured- just some vehicle damage. Arrivals and super excited boys. Happy helpers all day. Lovely brunch and some dishes. A new sense of wonder in the new house. Boys so excited, polite, thankful, working together. So proud of them! Thrilled with each gift and giving hugs and super big smiles. Quiet afternoon of Cozmo and Lego, snoozies by some. Later sledding in new sleds in the fresh powder. What a winter wonderland today! What a perfect white Christmas! Nana’s Chile to warm up with later and breads and veggies to counter so many yummy snacks throughout the day. Men took Nana home later and shoveled for her. Sharing pics with Grammy, enjoying toys, and quiet time. Later, movie night, worship and finally sleeps after sitting one more quiet moment by the tree with my favorite. Merry Christmas.

26. Downtime.  So happy that Grammy and Grampapa could stay over and enjoy Christmastime just a little bit longer.  The day was a recovery from the two-days snow storms, and happy time at home.  Lukie changing Cheweys cage, and escaping from his ball- to be stalked by Tatou, but quickly caught by Muma to live another day.  Each boy with their toys.  Between Cozmo, Boost, remote control cars, and a new supply of Lego-put togethers, boys happy and contentedly playing together, jumping from one thing to another.  Leftovers mean no cooking for Muma.  Papa and Grampapa shoveling and snowblowing, Watching Treehouse Masters with Alex and Grammy (little ones with their toys).  Later Papa and Alex go out and do some planning for their own treehouse that Alex is so excited to build this spring.  Alex can hardly contain himself- walks around wearing new harness, caribeaners and helmet, dreaming about zip-lines and saving his money and Home Depot Gift cards for ‘treasures he wants that Papa won’t buy.’  Happy boy.  He later said that he loves everything about his new house.  That’s really nice to hear.  Christmas has really made our new house a home to us.  So thankful for all the holiday memories this year- even when busy, and sometimes overwhelming- quiet days like today make everything worth it.

27.  Out and about.  Today Papa left early with Alexander to work on finishing Grammy & Grandpapa’s basement.  So it was a quiet morning with two little boys.  We decided to go out and about to Ikea and Costco (with a stop at Toys R Us in between) to get some shelving and a new Lego Table for the Lego kingdom.  The world sure was a bustle about, but the boys were happy and at peace with the errands.  We stopped for lunch at Panera.  It’s just sweet time to be with the little ones and chat with them about their world.  It usually includes conversations about ‘moo-cows’ and punny jokes they make up about the things around them.  On this event… “What is Trump’s favorite instrument?” asked Aidan.  “A Trump-et??”  haha…. “Do you think it’s funny, Mama?” One of the boxes at Ikea was so heavy Aidan and I could barely lift it.  But he put in such a great effort.  Love this boy getting older and taking more pride in his abilities.  I love to hear him talk to me about things he’s proud of in his ‘low’ little voice, so matter of factly, with his head tipping this way and that way and his hand making various gestures– his eyebrows up with a smirky smile.  Fun to watch him tell me all these things as much as it is to listen to them…  Later tonight, organizing Legos a bit, last minute tidying and Jen and Jason’s arrival and a long happy chatty night.  Happy for friends… Happy for Holidays.

28.  More Building  We all jaunted up to Saginaw today to help with the basement finishing.  Jason was a great help with the electrical, and the boys were happy to try out the new Christmas toys for Grammy & Grandpapa’s house.  Jen and I played clean-up with the vaccuum and played games with the little boys while the big boys worked.  Warm soup and grilled cheese sandwiches were a perfect lunch.  Stopped for some shopping at Birch Run on the way home, before happily boys returning to play and show Jason new toys and a quiet evening of haystacks and chatter.

29.  Day with Friends  Favorite pieces of today:  A slow lazy morning of boys playing, showing toys and girls sleeping in.  Putting new Lego shelves together with Alex and Jen.  David and Jason figuring out electrical here.  Working on the Lego World for the boys and seeing things neaten up and come together.  Watching the boys sledding and taking pictures.  Seeing the boys so eager to make it down the hill on the snow surfer.  Who can make it the farthest?  A quick Kroger trip and good chats with a good friend.  Later, lots of fun with the BeanBoozled from Minnesota– laughter and faces from Lukie- the bravest to try any flavor, Alex tried a few, even Aidan.  Thankful for grapefruit juice to swallow after a ‘lawn clippings’ jelly bean.  Jason teaching them how to tell the difference– it didn’t work every time…!  A favorite Sabbath tradition- pancakes with the family on new woodstick placemats.  Wrapping up Lukie and helping him out of the tub, later tucking him in, writing on his back, and hearing him chat about Chewey… “Muma, why do I like Chewey so much?”  “Because God has given you a compassionate heart for his little creatures…”  “But not big bears…”  He’s getting more mature in his little face, and I miss my baby Lukie.   On early Sabbath nights- David reading stories with the boys on edge- always wanting another chapter.  Aidan’s wide listening eyes.  Aidan was happy today- even handled his broken sled okay.  Cheerfully helping with unloading the dishwasher and making supper.  Yes a good day.  Winding down the year.

30.  A Wii Night  A Sweet but short Sabbath with friends.  David preaching at Lakes Area with Aidan and Jason, and Serena teaching children’s Sabbath School for two.  Potluck with a reunited crew and Grammy and Grampapa too.  A quiet afternoon of coloring and GYC.  And Serena falling more and more under the weather.  After a short end of Sabbath Worship, some time for games and fun, fruit and snacks and smoothies (and a little more coloring).  Lots of fun with Wii- the old old one, with bowling and frisbee, running, sword fighting and ‘water sports.’  Lucas as the frisbee champion, Aidan a stellar bowler, Jason taking the medal in the wakeboarding, Alex- swordfight champion, David conquers on the skidoo.  Jennifer star coloring queen.  Serena took pictures.  Oh the fun and smiles on all five of those boys faces!  Good fun for a very very cold Sabbath night.

31. Happy New Year from the Rockwall!  Friends departed this morning, a little delayed because a couple more chapters turned into a couple-hour long reading session to finish our book on Cabin on Trouble Creek.  Muma was down and out for the count this morning, so a dozey, listening morning sounded pretty good.  After making quick lunches for friends to take on the road, and boys to put in their tummies- the house was very quiet.  Muma rested on the couch in the living room while boys played quietly for a couple of hours.  Mid afternoon, David took the boys to meet up with friends at a New Years Eve free shindig in Livonia with swimming, rockwall, playground & more.  Alex got to take his new Christmas climbing gear, and they actually let him use it on the huge rockwall.  Aidan and Lukie loved the play area, and everyone had a grand time in the pool, lazy river, and waterslide!  Lucas went down with Papa once, then he was hooked- going down again and again on his own, barely able to peek up over the huge innertube, you could hardly tell it was was his scraggly blond hair and goofy goggles peeking up over the edge, pouring into the pool.  Aidan’s favorite was the relaxing lazy river- floating along.  Alex liked being spun around in the whirlpool.  Little friend enjoying the time with his buddies.  Later, a meet with the Mamas for dinner but not wanting to wait in the hour-long lines elsewhere, ended up a the classic Red Robin to share stories and yummies.  Lucas fell asleep on the way home, and missed the evening snacks- but the rest of us rounded out the evening with Phase 10 until big brothers got to enjoy a sleepover in Alex’s room- Aidan cozily camping out in his tent- a reunion of room-sharers from a house ago.  Midnight “Happy New Year!” texts bounced around the house, though Aidan missed his- he was already fast asleep.