Each day of December began by opening our advent calendar(s). We had our traditional candy-filled calendar and a fun winter scene PlayMobile toy calendar
(I saved it from the Christmas sale at Kroger last year--90% off BOOM baby!)
Also, my iMac did finally bite the dust as declared by the Apple store.
Not so says my competent husband. A a few suction cups, a new hard drive, and You Tube video later it's restored!
It now has 4 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive!
I have no idea what I'm talking about there ^
I forgot to share that about a billion weeks after birth Airdrie's cord stump finally fell off. Much rejoicing, mainly by her older sister, Caithness.
I love Christmas goodies.
This is why I put them on top of the cupboards in tins, out of my reach.
After breakfast one morning my sneaky husband took evidence that lack of height is no match for a hungry nursing momma...
ANNND then I packaged most up to give to dear friends for Christmas gifts.
That's me, sorted.
A favourite saying 'round these here parts.
I wanted to make them like Whitman's Samplers...you know those boxes of chocolates at the end caps of the card aisles in Wal-Mart?
Well I happen to know (and love) that they have little "chocolate maps" in there. It tells you exactly what you're going to get when you bite into a chocolate thus solving the issue of putting those nasty strawberry-filled chocolates in my mouth.
WHO eats those anyway?
So I made a map of the Christmas goodies we were gifting.
Not to be outdone, my own hunger led me to this:
the stuff my mom brought from the USA.
This is the "grotto" where Santa is hanging out with Nessie.
This was at the party/fundraiser for our sister congregation: Portgordon Community Church Christmas .
Caedmon chillin' with Santa also.
Making gingerbread houses and people. Airdrie was extremely hungry so Mark did an excellent job of taking over the piping of frosting.
Also, Nessie calls gingerbread men, "ginger men" and it makes me laugh.
Our unlit tree to show our ornament collection.
We brought all of our ornaments over from the US to have a sense of home here with us. It was so nice! SO very different than the trees here, but I think our friends enjoyed perusing all the fun treasures on it even if they were a bit overwhelmed!
My grandma crochets all these for our family.
The original was mine and it's 31 years old so please excuse it's dingy appearance.
Also, every single year Ness has a meltdown about the colour of her stocking (white) and then tries to negotiate with Aberdeen (pink stocking) to trade with her.
This year's meltdown also included "Why the heck doesn't my ginger woman have a mouth?"
Don't say 'heck', Nessie.
Christmas Eve...Santa thanks a whole lot for bringing our kids furniture, we live in a FLAT.
What the heck were we thinking?!
Don't say heck, Jordan.
We open our stockings first thing.
Ness got jewellery.
Caedmon rocking' his IronMan onsie.
(wait, what are those? Onsie? Singlet?).
The stockings were filled with American candy!
Aberdeen be lovin' her some Dum Dums!
Airdrie is happy to nap on momma during the stocking-scramble.
Then in the calm after everyone has their mouths crammed with candy and the 2 year old has dumped her stocking on the floor...
Momma makes them tidy up and we read the Christmas story.
Ya'll don't be weirded out that I do the 3rd person thing sometimes, ok?
Then breakfast break!
I managed to make orange cinnamon rolls just like the Pilsbury ones using rare cans of crescent rolls.
Also, Mark got to use his gift from Santa, a coffee mill!
One last (posed) hug before they're allowed to sort the gifts and start the madness!
Ukelele she's eyed in a shop window for months.
We all go around in a circle and open a one gift at a time. It's so fun this way--everyone can see people's reactions and no one gets bored waiting for their turn!
Aberdeen got lipgloss and she and Nessie were SO excited!
(Nessie makeup 1)
These girls LOVE one another. Makes my heart happy.
Pretty much my most favourite boy, ever.
The mother of all cash registers.
Mark and I may or may not have played with it.
AirBear got a super fun baby gym from her Grandma and Papa.
The girls got their brother a kilt pin.
Nessie adores these dresses by Pompatu.
She had outgrown her others and was SUPER happy to get one "her age" (size).
Grandma and Papa got Nessie a makeup set.
She loves this more than breathing I'm fairly certain.
(Nessie makeup 2)
My husband is quite attractive.
Mark knows me well...I got makeup too!
What can I say, I love to paint stuff.
And what's this face called?
The selfie-holic teens on Instagram always make it.
My parents got Marker his first power tool in Scotland.
I love my Origami Owl necklace from my parents.
Because her daddy is one in a million...
(Nessie makeup 3)
Nessie doing her makeup.
The following is a sequence of photos I took while sitting next to her.
Lalala...painting my finger nails...
[Glance up in mirror]
Oh hell-o there gorgeous. I love those lips!
[Momma snorts in laughter from the chair]
Lalala painting my finger nails...
[Forgets mom is in chair again]
Oh I see you're still there--Oh how I LOVE those lips!
The final product.
Who knew pink teeth and lipstick moustache could look so good?!
(Nessie makeup 4)
Playing candy shop together.
OH. MY. LANTA.
They come in mini size!
Helping Caedmon with his Ninja Turtle game.
After Christmas and Boxing Day we did the returns run in Elgin.
My husband is graciously letting me get on with my shenanigans.
Look at that big girl holding her head up!
She still has problems with it, but nothing is impossible for our God.
Instead of pumpkin pie for dessert for Christmas dinner I made the traditional Scottish favourite Sticky Toffee Pudding.
This is a wonderful cake-like dessert made of dates (you can't taste them, promise!) with a toffee sauce poured over it and whipped cream on the top.
We had it for leftovers for a week!
It rocks my face off.
It also makes my clothes shrink.
We love watching the firth (the sea) out our upstairs windows in our flat. For a few weeks around Christmas there was an oil rig -R- and it's support ships -L- moving around there.
The rigs are usually out on the North Sea but come into the firth to Invergordon for repairs.
We loved watching the goings on with our binoculars out over the rooftops.
I have explained in length to our neighbour that us mountain folk are "sea curious" and aren't trying to be creepy in any way.
Our baby girls.
I love them.
Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) was spent at the hone of dear friends.
I love how most of the houses here are named above their door.
Look how pretty the Aitken's living room is!
Here in Scotland a lot of people like to do an "old fashioned" Christmas tree. These are not the perfect triangular trees, but more sparse. They are beautifully decorated with a few drizzles of tinsel and perfectly spaced ornaments.
So pretty, and that is a coal fire--so toasty!
For starters at our meal we had lentil soup.
They make some crackin' good soups over here.
Haggis, neeps, and tatties. Was our main course.
Haggis is, of course, Scotland's main dish--made from ground up sheep entrails and oatmeal, stuffed in a sheep's stomach and boiled. My husband and children love this.
I can't stomach it (pun totally intended).
Neeps are turnips, and they're fabulous.
Tatties are potatoes and they're fabulous as well.
Enjoying time around the fire after tea (supper).
What a year it has been. I've never been so relieved to go into a time of new beginnings. This past year I've cried more than I ever thought possible, prayed more and more feverently than I ever have before, and seen the hand of God so clearly it brings tears to my eyes even still.
I truly believe God is ever pushing us to a deeper faith to Him. That we shouldn't be content to let our walk with Him lay stagnant or what we would feel to be 'complete'. Times of trial and trouble should be what draws us to our God--into a deeper, more abiding faith.
Time and again Mark and I would cry out, quite literally, to God. We found such comfort in His Word:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.2
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,3
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.