Christmas in Louisville

This is long overdue and some of these pictures are from over a month ago, but better late than never. Before all of our travels around Christmas, we had a fun time celebrating Christmas here in Louisville. Both of the girls were involved in putting up the tree, and by involved I mean Julianne actually helped and Lorelei just got into things. Julianne was especially helpful in putting the decorations on the tree. She put up the ornaments faster than I could, since I was also unwrapping them, so the tree was a little bottom heavy with ornaments. She tended to put four or five ornaments on one branch, so after she helped I spaced them out a bit more. This year we did an Advent Chain (just a paper chain with a couple of Bible verses about the Christmas story on the back. This was also a way to count the days until Christmas. We read the Bible verses, then Julianne picked out a small wrapped gift. She is beginning to have real understanding of why we celebrate Christmas and often declares, "We celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born then died on the cross." I know that she is combining Easter along with Christmas, but I think she has it exactly right. If Jesus had just come as a baby and that was the end of the story, we would have no reason for hope. Our hope as believers of Jesus Christ, is in that He came as a baby to one day die on the cross for our sins, then he rose again to defeat death and sin forevermore. Praise God for the Good News that began through a little baby!

In Louisville we had an unusually snowy start to December and had snow on the ground for the first three weeks. Because of this we spent a little time outside in the snow, and a lot of time inside trying to stay out of the snow. We baked cookies, read lots of Christmas books, listened to and sang Christmas music, wrapped presents, and just played. One day I filled a small tub with water in the kitchen, stripped the girls down, and let them splash and play with the water until they and the entire floor of the kitchen were soaked. Julianne was actually very helpful in wrapping gifts and wrapped many gifts on her own. They were by no means perfectly wrapped, but I thought she did a really good job for a three year old. Julianne loves to sing and although she knows many traditional songs, she enjoys making up her own songs weaving them together with the traditional songs. Some of her songs are quite original. Julianne and Lorelei enjoyed playing with the manger scene and Lorelei could often be found chewing on baby Jesus. One evening we packed the girls up in the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights. Julianne loved it, but Lorelei was not crazy about being cooped up in her car seat.

We had our family Christmas on the Tuesday before Christmas since we would be leaving on Thursday for St. Louis. We used an interactive nativity called, "What God wants for Christmas" to tell the Christmas story, then opened gifts. Both girls got a new movie, then Lorelei got a re-gifted present from when Julianne was her age and Julianne got a new pink booster seat. Neither of these probably sound very exciting, but both girls were very pleased with their gifts. Stephen actually got me an Ove Glove, which I would have never gotten for myself, but has been very helpful. We are so thankful for another year to celebrate Jesus' birth as a family.