Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rachel at Christmas

I have not taken many pictures at all lately, partly because my kids are so independent that I no longer spend most of my time with them and partly because a certain 10 year old is avoiding my camera. We've had a good Christmas season,  but I don't have a lot of photographic proof. So I'm combining it all into one long Christmas themed post!

Early in December we gathered with church friends to make peppernuts for our church's annual cookie sale. Rachel is not the enthusiastic cook that her sister is, but she couldn't turn down the opportunity to hang out in the kitchen with friends.
The next week we gathered again with our church friends to go caroling. We caroled around the church neighborhood and at a local retirement community and had so much fun! Rachel was not excited about going, but afterward talked about what fun it had been.
Rae has been interesting to watch this Christmas. It is the first year that she no longer believes in Santa and she has asked so many questions about the details of our Christmas. How do you fill the stockings? Who writes the letters from Santa? Who eats the cookies for Santa? Oh, never mind, that would be Dad. Not believing has made her want to be a part of the whole process. For years, we did daily Good Deeds during December, small kindnesses done for others. As a family we decided not to do a Good Deeds list this year. But Rachel eagerly worked her way through an advent calendar full of acts of kindness she received at church. She bought gifts for everyone's stockings. (She gave me chocolate covered cranberries - yum!) She insisted on making gifts for us, firmly insisting that she knew what she wanted to make and that Granny could help her. She spent several afternoons with Granny working on her secret project. Christmas morning, her book loving family opened gifts of handmade bookmarks from Rachel. (Granny supplied pictures of her at work.)
It has been fun to watch Rachel, who is in the thick of eye rolling, moody Tweenhood, work so hard to make Christmas special for others. She is no longer a believer, but most definitely understands how to spread the magic of Christmas!

A few days before Christmas we invited over church friends who were in the midst of a family crisis. The two sets of sisters decorated cookies and giggled and hung out together all day. Rachel loved having company and all four girls enjoyed the day.

Rachel was a reluctant angel in the church Christmas pageant. She was not excited about singing or reading her lines or even her costume. But she did it. It makes me a little sad that my girls' church pageant days are at an end, but I still love watching all the younger kids telling the story of Jesus's birth.
We spent Christmas morning at home. Even if she didn't believe in Santa, Rachel was quite excited about Christmas and woke the house as early as allowed!
Rae has recently developed a passion for jigsaw puzzles (much to my delight!). She has worked her way through all the 500 and 1,000 piece puzzles in our game cabinet, with a little help from her mom. She opened two new puzzles Christmas morning and was determined to complete one that day. By 10:30 AM, it was finished!
We spent Christmas afternoon at Granny and Poppy's, eating far too much food, opening gifts, and hanging out with the Chicago cousins. Rachel's gifts included another puzzle and the game Battleship, which she talked her dad into playing.
We had a lot of fun!

The day after Christmas, Rachel wore her pajamas the entire day and spent her time working a puzzle and reading .
Yesterday we gathered with the other side of the family to celebrate Christmas and enjoy each other's company. We all loved watching the 21 and 14 month old great-granddaughters. They were afraid of all the strange adults, but happy to play with the big girls, much to Rae's delight!

Rachel was pleased with her gifts - books, the game Clue, and another puzzle. Aunt Maribeth had to check out her collection of new stuffed toys.
It's been a good Christmas and we are all enjoying the extra time to hang out together.

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