Tuesday, January 17, 2012

it hasn't even been a month

Yes, it hasn't even been a month so it isn't too terribly shameful that I am wrapping up the rest of our Christmas events now, is it?  
I've been busy, alright?
First, our Youth World Christmas party.  We went to some big huge restaurant and had a portion of it to ourselves.  The meal was complete with Ecuadorian Cultural entertainment.  Before we delve briefly into that, please notice in the photograph below, that Santa's reindeer are running away from a village and back towards the sled.  What exactly were they doing?
 Moving on.  Mostly there was dancing with each dance depicting something to do with the culture and/or history.  We are not quite sure what, as even the Ecuadorians in our group had a difficult time understanding Charlie Brown's teacher, who was the MC for the night.  But it was interesting none-the-less.
There was a lot of flipping of girls' skirts.  A lot.  And since these dances were about history and culture, it would seem that a good deal of this country's history and culture have to do with men chasing around women and women showing their undergarments.  Very interesting historical information.  A little too much information, if you know what I am saying.

 A few friends asked when I was going to go up and join the dancing - do my performance.  I told them that I forgot to put on my good panties, so I couldn't.
One friend, my darling prayer and walking partner, Katie, did get to go up and dance.  She was absolutely thrilled about it.  It was one of those situations where the group goes and selects people from the audience to participate with them - one of those situations when you are praising the Lord that your name card was placed further away from the stage.
 Just a note about gaining permission to post photos of other people....  I know that I should request permission to post photos of others.  In many cases I have.  In this case - absolutely haven't.  No way.  You seriously think that Katie would let me put this picture up here?
After much dancing were some musical performances while we enjoyed dessert.  Somehow I seemed to have deleted those pictures, but you've probably seen something similar before:  a posse of four, dressed in poncho-type stuff, playing guitars and pan-flutes?  Beautiful music but it all sounds the same?
Roberto (an Ecuadorian) and Eric decided to join the band.  Roberto played the glasses and Eric had is own version of the pan flute.
 Beautiful.  I would have strongly reprimanded Eric but since Roberto was doing it, it must have been okay.....

Next, the kids' school Christmas parties.  
Mia's class kind of had activities throughout the week.  The only one that I was able to attend was the Tuesday baking of cookies.  Her class broke into four groups and we went down to the home ec. kitchen and rolled, cut out and baked cookies.

 Several of the kids had never done this before - helped in the kitchen at all, much less roll and cut out cookies.  They loved it and were thrilled to participate.
Due to a shortage of cookie cutters, etc. the teacher asked me to bring mine in.  No problem!  Except for one thing:
See the sparkliness of the cookies?  Um.  Yup.  So apparently I didn't clean them after this project last year, so the cookies were rather sparkly.  The kids and I decided that it was most definitely edible glitter.
Her class also decorated the cookies the next day, went to the teacher's house for a party the day after that, and watched "The Christmas Shoes" on Friday.  Lots of partying, little education.

 Cade's party was a little lack-luster in my opinion.  Since he seemed to be having a good time, I didn't say anything.  But seriously, if you're going to party, then PARTY!  His was on the Wednesday before school was out.  I'm not sure what was wrong with Friday - the last day (and a half day) of school before the year ends, but hey, no problem it can be a different day.  Just seemed a little anticlimactic to me to go back to studying after the party.
 They had ice cream sundaes - and Cade was quite emphatic that we should bring peppermint marshmallows, so we did.
 And they opened their stocking presents as well.  Friday they did get to watch a Christmas movie, so they had fun with that.

Lucy's party was on Thursday.  Again - not on Friday.   Whatever.
I decided to make melted snowmen.  I had seen this on Family Fun, but decided to do it a little differently, and using what I already had.  I made cake balls out of left over cake made for Lucy's Awana party and dipped them in white chocolate, smooshing around the excess on the bottom.
The eyes and mouth are little blobs of chocolate that I piped, since you can't get mini-chocolate chips out here (or any sized ones, for that matter).  The hats are cut up pieces of gum drop, dipped in chocolate and  with the excess chocolate also smooshed around.  Once they were hard, I put them on the snowmen with a little extra chocolate.  Far from the cutest thing ever, but they did the job.
Lucy loved walking around, handing out her gifts for all her classmates. 
 She gave them excess ear-muffed and scarved lollipops (Mia gave hot chocolate on a stick and Cade gave the girls initial ornaments and the boys something that I don't remember.....)
 Someone gave bubbles.  Always a hit.
 Lucy and a friend thoroughly enjoyed blowing bubbles in each others' faces.
 Lots of food - that always makes a good party.
 And a little world ornament craft.
 There were several advent activities that we never completed, as the family went to the beach (since I wasn't there, there weren't pictures taken).  But the kids did draw pictures for our Compassion child
 and they did do sugar cookies.

 Those sugar cookies?  They are still sitting in our freezer, undecorated.  'Cause that's how good of a mom I am....  Feeling rather guilty for not getting that done, but I'm sure we will some day.  Just simply ran out of time!
One not-so-Christmasy activity occurred for a poor little neighborhood birdie.
 Apparently Maddy was just sitting and reading in her room when she heard a scuffle.  She looked to see what was going on and then frantically called Eric and I.  Apparently kitty went outside and got herself a little Christmas present of her own to play with.  She thought Maddy's room would be a good place to play with very frightened birdie.  So frightened that she pooped several places in Maddy's room in a short amount of time.
 Eric managed to save poor frightened birdie, but aside from just poop, she left behind plenty of feathers. Birdie didn't move for a long time outside, so we don't quite know if she made it or not.....

Then was the after-Christmas taking down of the tree.  I took it down on the 27th.  Never in all my days have I ever taken a tree down so early.  This tree, however, turned out to be like the first one (and apparently all real trees here) - a dried up, very prickly tinder box (remember the New Years photos?).  I thought it best to take the hazard down.
 There were a lot of remains.
 The final Christmas event was after Christmas.  We had another Santa Clause movie marathon with the friends who couldn't be at the first one.

Ordered pizza for dinner, had lots of yummy snacks, the kids watched the movies while the adults (correction - the women, as the men pretty much didn't participate) sat and talked.  While I don't condone  having many days of watching 5 hours of movies in a row, it was a pretty good time!

The next activity was intended to be a Christmas activity.  For some reason, however, we have pretty consistantly done it on New Years Day.  It usually results from my forgetting to do it and then thankfully remembering on New Years.  Its a good fit anyway - it is almost like a new years resolution of sorts... but much more personal and meaningful.
Years ago our dear friend Susie gave us a Jesus Stocking.  We hang it up every year.  The idea is to "give" Jesus a "gift" each year.  For example, in past, I've given Jesus the gift of prayer for the persecuted church, or more focus when studying His word.
We have a little journal that we write in each year, or the younger kids draw a picture instead of write (or just write on a paper).

 After we are done, we tuck our papers and journal back in the stocking.  Each year we also read what we wrote the last year.  And this past year we started to incorporate the Jesus stocking into our Easter activities as well.

 Finally, during the holidays, we were able to spend a little bit of time (not nearly enough, but we'll take what we can get!) with our friends who came here to visit family.
It was a very relaxed evening of pizza and hanging out - no more cooking for this girl.  I had had it for a while of large group cooking!  It was great to visit a little, see the kids enjoying each other, and know that we still have right-back-where-we-left-off friends whom we cherish.

That's it.  Now I am done Christmas 2011 (and some New Years stuff).
Now I can feel mildly proud of myself.

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