Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas With The Clarks...


We love visiting family all over the US during the holidays... I love road trips with Joey and the kids... I love the craziness of everyone being together; all the chatter, the mounds of delectable food, the giving of gifts, the joy on all the kids faces... I love family coming together.

But this year we are at our home! It has been a few years since we have woken up in our own house on Christmas morning... So I am soaking it up... And we still get the joy of being with family... My amazing parents live close by and we got to spend a wonderful afternoon with them.

Granny got the whole fam Diego wash clothes... She's always so fun!

Reesie got some carrots all over her "Christmas" sweater... Oh well :)

Gramps and Reesie!!! So cute, huh?

I just like this picture

I am in love with traditions... I love to watch the kids get so excited each year when we pile into the car and head to Home Depot to pick out our tree... I love how their face lights up when they come down stairs from their naps and see the whole house decorated with Christmas cheer... I love that we get to talk about Jesus the whole month of December... All that is going on is an opportunity for Joey and I to explain, teach, & live out Christ towards our children...


Some of our traditions...

We have tried to come up with some things that we can do each year with the kids that exemplify the meaning of this season... We started out Christmas week by talking with them about giving... We talked about how giving is a tangible thing that we can do to show others God's love... Originally we asked the kids to pick out three toys that they wanted to "give" to kids that might not have any toys... I was afraid that it might be difficult for them to give up their stuff but instead of being hesitant they were overflowing with generosity!!! When it came time to pick toys, we ended up with six grocery bags full of stuff that they were wanting to share with others... Then I was afraid that they didn't really understand and that when we dropped the stuff off at the Goodwill there would be many tears... I was wrong again... Siah told the guy that helped us unload our car that "these toys are for kids that don't have any." And as we drove away he asked me, "Is that man going to share our toys with the kids that don't have them? He needs to share those toys!" He totally got it!!! Halee did too... She kept saying to herself in a singsong fashion in the backseat, "I share my toys, I share my toys," the whole ride home. We are praying that our kids will truly find as much joy in giving as they do in recieving... and after this years experience I feel like we are off to a good start. :)


On Tuesday evening Joey did "What God Wants For Christmas," with the kids. It's really awesome if you're looking for a way to bring the Christmas story to life with your kiddos... The kids were totally into it!!! It's so interactive and Joey got to talk through the whole story of Christmas with them... I just cherish these family times... seriously :)


We have been asking the kids everyday, "What is Christmas?" We want them to know that Christmas is ALL ABOUT JESUS! It's Jesus' birthday! It's a time each year for us to tell God, thank you for sending your son!!!! Our prayer is that they will grow up loving Christmas because of their great love for Jesus!


On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, we went to the Wild Animal Park. (Not that we plan on doing this every year but it was an extra special treat spending time together) ...

Joey spent the afternoon making Edible Christmas Wreaths (He used to make them with his mom when he was a kid.)

This year he decided to call it "Grinch poop" cuz it doesn't look much like a wreath... Sophisticated, I know. :)

But the best part of the day was taking the kids to a service... this year we were super blessed to be involved in a service at the Schmaltz Family Home!!! I got a little teary eyed looking around their living room while we were singing Christmas songs... All the people there were families that Joey and I grew up with in church... What I loved most about it was that it just felt like REAL CHRISTMAS!!! We were all sitting there singing at the top of lungs, worshiping our sweet Savior!!! I can't even think of words to describe how wonderful the evening was for my heart!!! Blessing upon blessing!!!!!!!!

When we put the kids to bed on Christmas eve, we didn't talk much about waking up to presents... instead we talked excitedly about waking up to Jesus' birthday... We told them that we're going to have a delicious breakfast in celebration of our Savior... we told them that we get to listen to Papa read the Christmas story to us... we told them that it's going to be one of the best days ever!!


Christmas morning... We read the Christmas Story out loud to the kids... When we got to the part about the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus we began our gift opening tradition!

(A lady in a study that I was in a few years back shared with me that she gives her son three presents each year because the three wise men brought Jesus three gifts in celebration of His birth... So we started that tradition a couple years ago...
But this year, my amazing friend Tara, (the one who made my blog so beautiful :) shared with me a way that I could make our tradition even more meaningful! Instead of just giving them three random gifts we give them one for their soul (their main want), one for their body (clothes or something of that sort), and one for their spirit (something that will grow their relationship with God!)... Brilliant, just brilliant I say!!! So that's what we did this year...

Although our kids are really small and I know that they don't always understand everything that we share with them, but I feel like they are so moldable... So I am asking the Lord to help me to not miss out on any opportunities that allow Joey and I to show them, live out towards them, speak life; true life; Jesus life into them, into their hearts...

My parents helped us get Hal a dollhouse... She loved it so much that she didn't want to stop playing long enough to eat breakfast...

Siah got a zillion tools and Las Vegas Grandma got him a tent...

I am so grateful for the Christmas season and for this season in our lives, this season in our parenting, this season in our marriage, in our family, and this season in our journey with Christ! I am learning soo much and I am soo grateful!

A Most Merry Christmas From The Clark Clan!!!!