Christmas at the Homestead

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Christmas is over. The paper and ribbons are cleaned up. The leftovers are put away. The frantic pace of December has slowed and now is that blessed week of reflection and rest between Christmas and New Years Eve. I love the days that follow Christmas. The house still reflects the beauty of Christmas but in an easier, less showy way. Toys are strewn about as the kids start assembling Lego kits and piles of new books are scattered around the livingroom as the kids lay around in their PJs reading, not bothering to get dressed. Christmas music still plays in the background but the urgency of the season has passed and now we pause to reflect on what a wonderful Christmas it was.

The holiday was holy.

We went into Christmas unsure of how it would go. We knew God was calling us to open our home to two extra children this year but even with the knowledge that this is what we were being called to do I still had a knot of worry in my stomach as we drove out to Ohio to spend Christmas with family. I didn’t know how our visitors would react to our way of celebrating Christmas, what emotions they would be feeling, or what traditions would be missed. As a result I entered Christmas in prayer.

Toby was off work on Christmas eve so we were able to leave for the Homestead a bit earlier than typical. When we arrived at 1:30 there were hugs and greetings and then the kids were off to show Ozzie and Zoey around. They were eager to see the big red barn and meet the animals. Later in the day we began our usual Christmas eve traditions of appetizers for dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and the talent show. Every year the kids put on a show for the grown-ups. Sometimes it is a dance number or a story read but this year they rewrote the classic Christmas Carol and performed it with Uncle Travis playing Scrooge. It was very funny. 🙂

Uncle Travis and Rusty.

Uncle Travis and Rusty.

After our party inside we headed out to the barn to take care of the animals and read the Christmas story.

Ozzie leaning to milk a goat.

Ozzie learning to milk a goat.

George was a big hit with the kids!

George was a big hit with the kids!

Ozzie was thrilled when George gave him a "hug"

Ozzie was thrilled when George gave him a “hug”

Gracie by the barn door

Gracie by the barn door

The reading of the Christmas story

The reading of the Christmas story

After our time in the barn we headed back into the house so that the kids could open their Christmas eve gift…new PJs. Usually we do matching PJs for Christmas morning but this year I tried to find PJs that reflected each child’s likes. After opening their gifts the kids ran to change and model their new clothes.

Christmas eve PJs.

Christmas eve PJs.

By then it was 9:00pm and we tucked the kiddos into bed while Mimi, Pop pop and Uncle Travis left for 10:00 mass. The three girls slept down in the family room and the three boys slept on the floor of our room. Toby, G.G. and I visited in the livingroom, waiting for the kids to fall asleep so that the Christmas magic could begin.

In the morning the kids were up around 6:00 am eager to see if Santa came. Toby did a valiant job of keeping the kids contained in our room until the adults had the turkey in the oven and cameras ready.

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Tyler and Ozzie ready to come down the stairs.

Before the kids entered...

Before the kids entered…

After the kids entered...

After the kids entered…

We had a wonderful morning opening gifts, checking out the stockings and spending time as a family. After all the gifts were opened and the papers and bows picked up, the ladies headed to the kitchen to put casseroles in the oven and the kids began playing with their new toys. Zoey was thrilled with her baby doll and tea set and decided to have a tea party, Ozzie and Rusty began constructing their new Lego sets, Tyler headed out the barn to play with his football and the girls snuggled up in the livingroom to read the new books they received.

Tyler playing outside on the swing.

Tyler playing outside on the swing.

Ozzie with one of his completed lego sets.

Ozzie with one of his completed Lego sets.

Around 3:00 it was finally time for dinner. I always find it amazing the amount of preparation and work that goes into a single meal. There is always a short amount of time in the hour before it is on the table when it feels like it isn’t going to come together but it always does and it is always delicious!

After dinner we began the laborious task of finding and collecting all our clothes, new gifts, toys and children before we began our 2 1/2 hour drive home. We said our good-byes and thanked everyone for another beautifully magical Christmas and for opening their Christmas and home to two extra kids this year. As we drove home the kids all declared this Christmas the best Christmas ever…and it truly was!

Thank you Lord!

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