Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Traditions are great and our kids need them.  Some come from our home of origin while others morph over time.  I'm definitely a traditions kind of mom.

Ours start Christmas Eve Eve.  Since one of our traditions is to sleep over at MomMom and PopPop's house Christmas Eve, we have our celebration on the day before Christmas.  Thus, the early start.

Christmas Eve Eve includes family movie night except that often, family movie night becomes two family movie nights because it's difficult to find something for everyone.  And Christmas Eve practice at church kind of cut into the Christmas Eve Eve family movie night as well so next year I'm putting my foot down, no one leaves the house after 6PM.  Family and traditions trump everything else, after all.

Anyway, 6PM is the whole family movie.  Then, after the younger kids go to bed, 8PM is the big kids' movie.  So far we've done popular 80s movies but I suppose we will run out at some point and either have to start over or move into the next decade.  It's been fun to introduce the kids to some of our favorite movies and to have mature conversations afterward.  Of course special snacks, not normally found in our house, are included.

Christmas morning starts with a little something to hold you over until brunch.  This year the children found instructions and a daily schedule (with approximate times but enough information so I didn't have to answer the same questions X7 all day long).  Their first assignment, while everyone was gathering, was to write encouraging notes to their grandparents.  When all were awake, or at least upright, we sat down together.  This year we finished the Jesse Advent Tree, then spent some time debriefing from the events of 2013, and had a time of prayer.  Then, one of my favorite parts, reading the encouraging notes we wrote to each other and placed in our stockings.  A few years ago we did this in lieu of stocking gifts and we've enjoyed it so much that it's been a treasured tradition.  I may or may not have cried a bit during this part.

Of course there are gifts.  The children exchange names and that's always a fun time so they went first.  There's always someone who has given it away ahead of time but HopeAnne was the hero of the gift exchange this year.  She had Shoun's name but every time Jesse tried to torment her and ask her again to tell him whose name she had, she'd always respond, "Jesse."  She stuck with it so well that she even had him almost fooled into thinking that she did have his name.  It was all her idea to make Shoun a blanket.


There were a lot of special gifts this year including a handmade picture from Mariana...

...car decals for John (just to make people look twice as he drives around town in a small car presumably filled with 10)...


...a Cookie Monster from Andrew to his Secret Santa, Victor, who promptly chewed on his new toy (Victor did the chewing, that is).  Victor also had Andrew and chose this shirt all by himself ...

...noise makers for Victor made by Eden and HopeAnne (yes, they did use empty pill bottles and yes, we did cover up the labels so he wouldn't look like such a druggie, and yes, we did use childproof caps and yes, we did hot glue gun the lids just to be safe)...

...footie PJs from the boys, who insisted I open their gifts at the same time, just to be fair...


...handmade scarves from Jesse...

...and tune in tomorrow for the best gift of all (but here's a hint)...


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