Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Recap...

Some beautiful Music --

We started the musical season with Claire's Choral Concert -- she sings in both the 6th Grade Choir and the Treble Choir. This sweet girl loves to sing, she bounces on the risers between songs because she is so eager to begin, and her face lights the stage.

Next came the Band Concert...Mason plays the Euphonium and is just awesome!

Claire plays the Saxophone...

And Benjamin (the only one I could actually photograph during the concert) plays Percussion. I am amazed at the talent of this entire Band...and especially love listening to my trio play!!

Memorable Visits from Family --

Wade's Dad and Anna made their annual visit the first weekend of December. The kids were so glad to see them and we all had a wonderful time at Cabella's (well, except maybe Claire who has issues with all the...uh...non-living animals...)!

My family visited the next weekend. We had not seen my brother, Talley and his sweet wife, Sarah, in more than two years so this was a much-anticipated visit! My mom was especially delighted to have all her chickens under the same roof -- even though having all her kids together meant we teased her mercilessly! We all enjoyed having her pamper us with her good-cooking and I fear this visit ended with a few extra pounds on us all!

We have the luxury of having Grandmar (Wade's mom) live just miles from us...but we enjoyed spending Christmas with her as well!

Some Merry Family Time -- Shrader Style!
Yes, the Shraders took another run at Disneyland. We had to have Benjamin in San Diego on Dec. 19 for a surgical consultation and needed to get back in the Christmas spirit fast after that. Using our Disney Annual Passes one last time seemed the perfect ticket!! And it was!! The Teacups are our favorite ride -- you know that, right?! We started the trip in California Adventure and towards the end of our first day Cate looked up at me and asked, "Mommy, why don't the teacups live here anymore?!" After explaining that they were in a different door (how would YOU explain that to a three-year-old?), we rode them TWICE before leaving for home!!

Next to the Teacups, Dumbo is the favorite of the Girls (the boys like a bit more action.)...and so we squeezed into one Dumbo and attempted this self-portrait!

I love all the Christmas decorations at Disneyland but perhaps my favorite is the changes they make to "It's a Small World"...and this visit had even more perks because they have just refurbished the entire ride, complete with this new boat for our family where Benjamin just drives right on...he was perched up there like the King of the World...well, the King of the Small World to be sure!! He loved the new boats and so did we!!

And really, nothing beats the carousel -- this is King Triton's Carousel and Cate in on her favorite Sea Lion!

And finally...some cute cute kids!

Christmas morning, Wade and I thought the kids were awake but they weren't calling for us. We went to get them up (we couldn't wait any longer to see what Santa had brought!) and started with the girls' room. It was empty. We found them all piled in Benjamin's bed giggling just a lot...and eagerly awaiting our arrival!
Ah, the blessings of Christmas. We will smile for months at the quick way Cate caught on...and wanted to know if Santa could come again the next night! And the magic of watching the kids -- all four -- play with their gifts, and GIVE the gifts they had purchased for each other -- will stay with us all year. But the best part by far, was worshipping together as a family on Christmas Eve as we celebrated the real reason for all this special stuff -- a baby born in a manger, Jesus!