Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! 2014


We weren't exactly sure when Eric would be getting home from his deployment, we hadn't anticipated that it would be before Christmas so we didn't make any plans.  But even if we had known when he was getting home we wouldn't have made plans anyway.  Usually, we would be splitting our Christmas into four since Eric and I both come from divorced families, but since we moved to Germany Christmas has become our time to veg at home together without the chaos of having to split it four different ways. 

Isabelle and I did minimal decorating for Christmas because minimal decorations is all that we have here in Germany, and bought a small tree to put a few of our ornaments on.  For a very long while now I've been wanting to get personalized Christmas stockings, but every year we thought that maybe by next Christmas we would have a new baby in our family, we thought that maybe we should wait because we would want the new baby to have a personalized stocking too.... so for five years we kept waiting.  

Our biggest blessing this year has been the ability to move forward freely & peacefully on our path....knowing that we are not able to have more children has allowed us to stop waiting for the maybe, so we got the most perfect personalized stockings from Eric's stepsister this year!  Aren't they perfect?!  **Squeal**

We went to mass on Christmas Eve and had soup for supper (our Christmas Eve tradition at Eric's mom & stepdad's house- it wouldn't feel like Christmas without soup!).  I talked to my Dad on the phone and Eric Skyped with his mom & sister, and then Eric and I stayed up waaayyy too late enjoying some time alone together with Christmas lights and music and wine.... it was perfect too, just like our new stockings.

Isabelle made this ornament for us- it has the year each of our babies were "born." 

I have this thing for Santa.  I think his face is the happiest, cutest, most adorable face ever created!  Santa is usually the theme of our Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and ornaments.  If it wasn't a little weird I'd even get Santa flannel sheets for our bed just for the month of December.  Actually, I don't think that would be weird, but maybe it is?  I don't know, I don't think Santa sheets would be weird, I think they would be adorable!

I am still trying to figure out how to take better pictures indoors.  I only have the flash that is already connected to my camera but it's pretty useless (it bounces off the edge of my lenses and creates a dark half moon shape on the bottom of all my pictures).  I tried turning all of the lights on on the main floor of my house and cranked up the ISO but there's still an orange tinge to all my indoor pictures.  I've got my eye on a flash at one of the electronic stores here in Germany but I'm putting that on my birthday list.  I'm not in a big hurry to get a flash, but I'm wondering if that would help eliminate the orange tinge?  Sigh...I've got so much to learn still and it's overwhelming!  I kind of want to get better at taking pictures in natural light before I attempt learning to take pictures with a flash, but I really hate how all of my indoor pictures look and natural lighting is sporadic here in Germany.  


Isabelle knows that there is no Santa and that the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but our family believes that having faith is powerful and we live by "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matthew 21:22, so even though she doesn't "believe" in Santa she does believe in what Santa represents (giving) and the magic he brings.  I don't care how old she is, she will always get gifts from Santa (sorry/not sorry to her future husband). 

Santa came!  Journey smells something in his stocking.... 

He was so excited and moving too fast for me to get a great picture, but LOOK AT THAT FACE!

All of Eric's family went in together to get Isabelle a new bike.  She has been telling me for more than a year that her old one is too small for her but I didn't believe her until we took her bike in to get the brakes checked before school started in August.  The bike repairman said that it was indeed way too small for her....
**What do you mean, Mr. Bike Guy, that her bike is "too small?"  Isabelle is my wittle baby girl who just got training wheels taken off yesterday, or was that six years ago?  I don't know, but that's not the point.  Are you telling me that my wittle bitty baby girl needs an adult bike, Mr. Bike Guy?!  Are you looking at her?!  She's just a toddler and obviously way too little for an adult bike!** 
Sigh....yes, that was exactly what Mr. Bike Guy was telling me, Isabelle was either a ginormous toddler or had truly outgrown her old bike.... and it took four months for me to finally realize that my baby is actually a young girl with long legs who needs an adult sized bike to ride to middle school everyday. {big fat pouty face}  

Isabelle is one of the luckiest girls in the world to have the grandparents, aunts, and uncle that she does because they adore her and were eager to surprise her with a brand new adult bike for Christmas!  So this next part is for LeAnn, Warren, Nikki, Brian, Ray, Deb, and Sydnee:  Y'all made her Christmas!!  After four months she had given up thinking she would ever get a new bike and was NOT expecting it!!  She was especially thrilled that it was blue and not girly (I so badly wanted to put sparkly streamers on it though)!

Someone's awake! 

Little brother had to tell Isabelle that Santa came! 

What's that? 

Mom, this right here, what is it?? 


It's perfect!  Thank you Grandma LeAnn, Grandpa Warren, Aunt Nikki, Uncle Brian, Opa Ray, Grandma Deb, and Aunt Sydnee!  THANK YOU!  I love you all and miss you!  

Grandma Mary, Papa, The Krein's, Auntie Angie, us, and Santa gave gifts too.  Isabelle was definitely feeling love from back home and we tried to keep her grounded by reminding her to keep a grateful heart.  She got the skinny jeans and graphic tee's that she made darn sure I knew was on her Christmas list!  She also got a closet full of hair stuff and lots of nail polish, since her hair and nails are now a big focus in her life.  Everyone was incredibly generous and reminded us how truly blessed we are.  

Journey had worn himself out with all of his new toys by this point. 

Isabelle wasn't the only one to get gifts (though you wouldn't have thought so if you walked into our house about twelve hours ago), Eric got a new knife set- a German kitchen knife set that only need to be sharpened once every ten years or so.  We had read the reviews and these are one of the best brand of knives you can get...and for the chef in our family they couldn't be more perfect!  He added a few more DVD's to his collection and a new carry-on was under the tree for us to share!  It's a little too big for Ryanair specifications but we're going to take it to Rome anyway and see what happens.  But what Eric really wants is the shorts version of lederhosen, so that's what we'll be on the lookout for on our travels.

For me, my camera, my two lenses, and a new camera purse (not to mention the cost of fixing the screen that had cracked at Thanksgiving), a Life Planner from Erin Condren (the most ultimate in daily planners!), and a trip to Rome we have planned for the next month are all my Christmas gifts this year.  Santa did bring me new slippers, a coffee mug that looks like a camera lens, and perfume!  My best friend sent me a South Dakota pillow a few days ago and my Dad sent me a Garth Brooks t-shirt!  My mom sent gift certificates which will be used in Rome, and there just isn't anything else I could ever imagine wanting!  

We are spoiled and so very grateful!  I've been 'liking' a lot of things on Facebook today and love getting to see everyone's gifts, Christmas tree's, and family traditions.  I'm thankful that we have the ability to keep in touch even though we are across the world from everyone we love.  I don't even know how to sum up our year.... It's been healing and freeing.  We are healthy and happy and our only hope for 2015 is to remain on God's path, wherever it may go.


This is a scanned copy of our 2014 Christmas card!  

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