We celebrated Christmas over several days and of course I took many photos! I will break it into multiple blogs since they will all be long.
Christmas began with midnight mass, again, this year. Last year Tobin and Carmen were assigned to serve at the Christmas midnight mass. I should mention that our parish celebrates midnight mass at midnight (unlike many others that have it at 10pm). This year Abram was added to the mass schedule as lector for the mass. We do enjoy the mass. Rachel was asked to carry the baby Jesus up the altar and place him in the manger scene. We almost had full family participation!
I think I took this picture after we put the last presents around the tree once mass was over and the kids were in bed.
Our Christmas tree is usually visited by Zori. She is the only cat who is able to climb into the tree successfully. The tree is artificial, yet sturdy enough to withstand her climbing through it and then sleeping on the limbs. I think she enjoys the perch. She is the cat who enjoys climbing up the apple tree often.
We had been wrapping presents all week and during Christmas Eve. Rachel would often look through the names and see which ones were hers. At one point she was very concerned that she was not going to receive many gifts since she only saw ones for others. She was my main wrapper and I told her that I was not going to hand her presents to wrap that were for herself. This statement made her feel better. At one point, she discovered a large present that she decided would be the first one she opened on Christmas morning.
Here is the picture of her after she opened that present. Carmen gave her a unicorn pillow pet.
These are slippers! Sarai received Celtic slippers last Christmas. Rachel had been saying she wanted some for herself, so Sarai found some monkey Happy Feet. We had fun wrapping these because we placed them in separate gift bags. Rachel was confused when she opened the first one since they don't look like slippers at first glance.
Tobin does look like he is going to rob something or someone. He is showing off his new running outwear paired with a nice sweater he received for Christmas.
All the girls helped me immensely with the wrapping. They each spent a good amount of time curling ribbons and writing messages on presents. I took some pictures of the things Sarai wrote on the presents she gave to different family members.
This one is for Carmen
Abram has always written little sayings on presents he wraps. I find it interesting that Sarai is following suit. Here she has drawn a mustache on a snowman for him.
I have never thought about getting presents for the cats since what they love most are boxes filled with tissue paper and to sleep on wrapping paper.
Zori joined us after we had finished most of the unwrapping. Notice Cappi is resting in a box. He is in the bottom left of the picture.
Mrs. Claus gave the family an Xbox 360 with Kinect. We all had a blast playing different games against each other. Here are Joel and Noah boxing each other.
Noah and Tobin competed in the hurdles. Tobin set a record of 105 meters in the javelin throw. He was either throwing insanely far or off course. We learned that you can throw the javelin into the crowds on this game! Hurdles test your visual reaction time. I am slow to jump, but jump really high.
Marley loves visiting company. He snuggled up to Lawrence and asked for tummy rubs. I really think he has no clue he's a cat since he exhibits many dog behaviors.
Matthew is going to culinary school. I asked him to help me in the kitchen with dinner. We had beef tenderloin, roasted potatoes, green beans and two salads (one had dried cranberries, red onions and greens; while the other was just your normal salad). Thanks Matthew for helping me get everything cut up and ready to cook.
Matthew is cutting potatoes for me. I learned that you can get purple potatoes. We made roasted potatoes with sea salt and minced garlic.
I am grateful that my mom took many pictures that day too. I was able to use many of her photos to capture the feel of the day. Here are my silly kids. Sarai was lying on Carmen, being goofy and loving at the same time.
I love the composition of this picture. All my children are looking at Noah, listening and enjoying what he had to say.
We have discovered that Sarai is a natural Kinect player. She can beat us severely in ping-pong. She playing ping-pong against Noah in this picture. It is also cool that our new TV is a LCD screen allowing the camera to see the picture clearly (otherwise I'd have no idea what game they were playing!) We got a dance game that I am pretty good at.
I bought this cat bed over a year ago. None of the cats liked it much nor did they use it. I venture upstairs during Christmas and find Cappi sleeping in it. I am amazed that such a big cat can curly up into a small cat bed. He has slept in this bed every night since then!
We tried another swap this year. This year's theme was anything that fits in a jar. The big hit this year was the Brush Bot. Here's Abram looking at this gift. This gift exchanged several hands.
Rachel is opening her gift. She either ended up with money or gummy candies.
Rachel made this clay snowman as her swap item. Lawrence opened it up and said it was the best and perfect gift! Nice job Rachel.
I think everyone had a fun time during Christmas.