Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Second Christmas

our "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree this year

Daddy reading the Nativity story on Christmas morning

... in Chile! Pictured here is our celebration at home on Christmas morning, although we did do some celebrating the night before as well. Jenn and Mark invited us to their house for a delicious cookout (Mark is excellent at the art of an asado) and we exchanged gifts with the cousins. In Chile, the custom is for the entire family to meet at the house of one relative and enjoy a huge cookout around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, so as we headed home later that night the aroma of dozens of asados was wafting through the air. It's always fun to be up late on Christmas Eve and listen to the neighbors, because the Chilean tradition continues with the opening of gifts at midnight and then parents and children enjoying their new toys until the wee hours of the morning - in fact, I remember as a teenager sitting in my bedroom window and trying to get a peek in my neighbors' windows at 12 a.m. to see what fun they were having!

Our tradition (meaning Pedro's and mine) is to leave the wrapping of the stocking stuffers for Christmas Eve, so we are always up late doing those last-minute gifts. I took some pictures to document the tradition this year! The stockings are actually one tradition that each of our families shared, so it is something special that both of us enjoy doing for the kids.

the night before

Christmas morning

gifts from the United States

Owen's gift to us - artwork from school

Isabel and Mommy

Eva's surprise (thank you, Faith Baptist Church!)

Christmas morning must be one of the quietest mornings in Chile. Actually, Eva noticed the silence and asked why all of our neighbors were so quiet! Everyone is sleeping in and even our kids didn't hurry to get up this year. Eva, as usual, woke up first and kept herself entertained doing some coloring until her siblings got up around 8 a.m. or so. The kids actually put on a video and seemed to forget it was Christmas until we told them it was time for presents! We did the stockings first and then stopped for Christmas breakfast (chocolate chip oatmeal bake was the children's choice this year) before doing the bigger gifts. It was such a nice, relaxing time as a family.

Unbeknownst to the kids, we had saved one very special gift for last. Thanks for my grandmom (thank you, Meemie!) we had money to purchase new bikes this year. Pedro tweaked them and then hid them in the apartment we are moving to at the ABWE campus while we finish packing our house. We took the kids over under the guise of delivering a Christmas bone to Daisy, and instead surprised them with a new bike in each of the three bedrooms of the apartment. It was so much fun!

Eva's bike in her favorite color, blue
(and look, no training wheels!)

Isabel's bike in her favorite color, purple

Owen on his sporty blue bike

All in all, it was a wonderful second Christmas in Chile and we thank God for the privilege of being here as a family and we are also so grateful for the love shown to us in many material and immaterial ways this season. God is so good and though there was a piece of our hearts missing in Haiti with Ian and Alec, we were still able to enjoy this special day "a lo maximo" as they say in Chile. Our hearts were (and are) full with thanksgiving!

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