Monday, December 7, 2009

Ornaments, Parties, Decorating and more!

This last weekend we had our annual tree decorating night. It's my favorite tradition of the Christmas season. I wrote all about it a couple of years ago and you can read about it by clicking on the above link. We also did our "sibling" gift exchange since this was the week that all our girls would be home. So we had our family celebration and in spite of the cable man arriving during our dinner to install another satellite connection in the guest room (even though he SAID he would be there in the morning) and the babies being tired and a bit cranky - it was a wonderful evening. I made lasagna for dinner. I made the meat kind of all those who like meat, the non-meat kind for the vegetarian, and the kind without cottage cheese for the one who I thought hated cottage cheese (turns out - he was good with the cottage cheese). I looked for the whole wheat pasta for those who count carbs but the store didn't carry it so we all had regular pasta. I'm not sure how I became a short-order cook LOL!

After dinner we had our gift exchange. The kids all exchange names and it's always so much fun to see what they get.

Here is Michelle proudly displaying her gift - a pair of Toms from her brother-in-law. Toms is a great company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in a third world country for every pair they sell.

Three sisters being a bit silly.

Brad and Michelle brought all of us special gifts from Peru. Michelle gave her sister's fingerless gloves knit by hand from alpaca.
I received a beautiful alpaca scarf:
Some Peruvian hats were gifted as well:

We did things a little bit backwards this year. We opened gifts first and then we decorated the tree. Every year since they were born, I have made my girls a Christmas ornament. This year I found the sweetest one. It is the little Christmas Robin that is at the top of my blog. I have had it there for a while and the girls never suspected it was their ornament! The one in my blog header is not one that I knit - but I found the pattern on Ravelry (my new favorite internet hang-out).

And after the ornaments we told our traditional tale of our first Christmas as a married couple. Here is my husband placing the star on the tree.

The girls putting on their ornaments.

We had a wonderful family evening together that was way too short and has already been filed in the official "Ryan Family Memories".

I have always made a special Christmas ornament for our church board members each year as well. It is just a token of my love and appreciation for our church board and the way they always have taken such good care of us. The hardest part has become finding a new idea to make each year. This year I chose to embroider an ornament. Red work has always fascinated me and I decided to give it a try. So I sketched a simple picture and went to work. I added a red wool felt background with a sparkly red ribbon. I really love the simplicity of it.

And finally, I wanted to share a fun idea I used this year. At our church we sign up to help decorate for Christmas. This year I signed up to do the big tree in the foyer. I wanted it to be fun and special because it is the first tree you see when you enter. I also wanted to do something the children would enjoy. I remembered watching Cinderella and loving the part where the sweet little birds decorate her ballgown. I started researching some ideas on the internet and I came up with this idea:

Jessica helped me by climbing the ladder up to the very high ceiling to attach the birds on fishing line. I never could have climbed that high. But I love how it turned out and it is fun to watch the kids when they see it.

I'm sure your list of things to do by Christmas seems just as daunting as mine does. Just this week alone I have three parties to attend, many gifts to complete, and I haven't even really started shopping. You just gotta' love it!


Becky said...

Robin what a wonderful celebration! I am so happy your whole family was together. And some wonderful, very THOUGHTFUL gifts were exchanged.

Those ornaments are so adorable. Just perfect!

I hope the rest of your Christmas time is spent loving on whoever is around. And they on you.


Karen said...

This year's celebration must be so meaningful for you all, being back together again. I love hearing about all the hands-on things you do for your family -- the cooking, the crafting, and decorating for the church. That tree is awesome! Such a marvelous idea, with the little birds decorating it.

And I'm still in love with the little bird in your headers. And . . . just to show you how 'slow on the uptake' I am, it just now clicked for me that it's arobin. I probably shouldn't have admitted that:/

Dawn said...

Wow, that tree in the foyer is wonderful! What a clever lady you are.

The Peruvian gift are wonderful - what a special Christmas you're having. I love the little birds for your girls, and the ornament for the board members - adorable. As many years as you've been there, some of the board members could have a whole tree decorated with your handiwork! We always have a board dinner, but we're neither one on the board this year, and we have no pastor, so I guess that won't be happening! It seems strante to not be in on the process of calling a new one.

I decided to keep the ornaments wherever I want them and, believe it or not, they're leaving them alone after the first couple of days. Now they just get up from bed in the morning (they are here two nights a week) and up from their naps and just stare at it - so cute. Last year they weren't walking, but would roll underneath it and look up through it. I am really surprised at how well they're doing.

Anonymous said...

I am happy you got to be with your family this you, all of them! I love the ornaments you made. You are so clever! God is good! I need a board ornament as with Jeff having class we won't be at the party. Was it last Tuesday?