This year has been amazing! We have had so many surprises and blessings. I feel so unworthy of all of the love that we have received from friends, family, and most importantly our Heavenly Father.
I was really worried that this years Christmas was going to be a sad one for our family. Most of my family was going to be at my parents house this year for Christmas and this is the second time that I have missed out on being there with everyone. Plus, being in a whole different Country, I was worried that I might have some homesick problems. But we have felt the Spirit so much these last few weeks. There just wasn't time for me to get too homesick, and that is a HUGE blessing.
A few days before Christmas this year I received a text from a Lady in our Ward (I'll keep her name private) asking me if I was home because she wanted to drop off a Christmas Card for us. I told her yes and about 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door. She was carrying a huge Christmas bad which she handed to me. She gave me a hug, told me Happy Christmas and that she was following a prompting and that she wouldn't be at Church on Sunday so she wanted to bring it by now. Then she just turned and left.
I was shocked and speechless. When I looked in the bag there was presents in there for each of us, a ham, a bottle of Sparkling Grape juice, and a package for a Scottish Trifle. It was amazing and so incredibly sweet. Especially since Steven and I didn't have a lot of money this Christmas so we decided to just get stuff for the boys. They each got one thing from us, one thing from Santa, and then whatever the Grandparents got them. We didn't buy anything for each other, so it was nice to have the extra little present. We also had stood in the Grocery store for about 10 minutes trying to decide if we should get a ham or chicken for dinner. We wanted the Ham because it seemed more "Christmasy" but it was so much more expensive then the chicken.. so we ended up just getting the Chicken. So it was really nice to be given that wonderful ham as well.
Then on Christmas Eve we had the Missionaries over so they could Skype their families. One of the Elders, Elder Ihalmo is from Finland and so they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve so he wanted to talk to them then. Elder Trawick's family just decided to do Christmas Eve as well to make it easier. Anyway, we had the missionaries over along with a guy named Levi who is in Steven's Graduate program. He wasn't able to go home and so he spent the evening with us. (He has distant family in Scotland so he spent Christmas day with them, but it was fun having him for Christmas Eve.) He also came with presents for the boys. They each got books and I'm so excited to read them to them. He also gave us some brownie bites and mini pies. It was really sweet of him.
I was able to make the traditional Wassall, even if it was a WEE bit different. It still tasted wonderful. Sadly its the only thing I was able to make.. they just have such weird ingredients over here.
Well, while they were over here we got a call from our Hometeacher asking if he could stop by and give the boys a present. He came really fast and didn't even want to come in. But I was shocked by the bag he had handed to Steven. It had two really big presents for the boys, along with 2 little ones for Steven and me. It was SO sweet of them and completely unexpected, but we really appreciate it. We had the boys wait until the next morning to open them, but they got Rhys a Rescue Helicopter with a working rope that comes down. The boys love pushing the button making the rope go up and down. They got Gavin a Rocket Ship that has 2 Astronauts and an alien that go with it. There's also a button that you push that makes it say "3,2,1, Liftoff." Gavin pushes it over and over... it doesn't get annoying at all. =)
Christmas morning was really fun. The boys woke us up at 6:45 which was actually later then we were expecting. After Steven turned the Christmas lights on we had the boys come in. Rhys was so excited. He ran right to his stocking and started to open presents. I ended up having to stop him and tell him to slow down. He was a good boy though, and waited patiently for me to be ready. Gavin immediately saw his box of cereal that the Grawrocks traditionally get in their Stockings and immediately wanted to eat it. We ended up pouring some in a bowl and he was munching on it all morning. (He even ended up eating Rhys' box.. it was very nice of Rhys to share.)
Rhys got what he asked Santa for, which is Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii. He also got a Sonic game for the PS3 and a book on how to draw Pokemon from Gramma and Poppy. We gave him a Lego Star Wars game for the Wii and my parents got him some books. They got 2 presents for the boys to share which were an ABC puzzle and the Backyardigans Beanie babies.
Gavin LOVES Elephants right now so he got an Elephant pillow pet from Santa. He also got some Barn animals from us. Their heads twist around and make a clicky sound. Gramma and Poppy got him an "I love Elephants" t-shirt, an animal puzzle, and a little Elephant play set.
Steven got 3 video games. Batman and Agarest from my parents and a Colossus game from his. He also got a Nightmare before Christmas Sketch book and a board game called Transeuropa from my parents that you can only get over here, so that was fun. His parents also gave him a black vest and 2 bow ties.
I got some winter boots, a beret, and some colored pencils from Steven's parents. I got the final Season of Boy Meets world, a scarf, earrings, a mini puzzle (the smallest jigsaw puzzle in the world and I did it in 2 hours. =) and my new fun toy, a Drawing Tablet, from my parents.
Steven's actually really jealous of it and wants one himself. Its kind of fun having the new "fun" toy.. usually its Steven who gets it. But I'm nice and share. =)
We both got shower sets from our Hometeacher and that will come in especially handy for Steven as he goes to London in a few weeks.
We finished opening presents in time to get ready really quickly before Ben and Olivia came to pick us up for church. There was a lot more people there then normal. About 50 total when there's normally about 40. =) We had some Scriptures read to us and then we sang Christmas Hymns between them. It was a really nice service and the boys were even good for it. I like having Christmas on Sunday.. it helps you remember the reason why we're celebrating the Holiday and I think its easier to feel the spirit.
After Church we had the Missionaries over for Christmas Dinner, along with a girl named Lauren who is also part of Steven's Graduate Program. I was really excited for her to come because I hadn't had much time to talk to her before. She's a really nice girl and I have decided that I need to go into the city and hang out with her sometime when they get back from London. =) She was so sweet and brought presents for everyone. Stockings full of American candy for the boys along with felt pictures for them to color. She also got a hat and gloves for Steven (Something he actually really needed) with some chocolates, and a beautiful scarf and Chocolates for me. It was so sweet of her. I so wish we had the means to give everyone presents. It was hard to not have anything to give everyone, especially after feeling so loved by everyone's generosity. I told Steven that when we have money again I want to make it up to everyone.. I just hope we get the opportunity to do it...
Christmas Dinner was wonderful if I do say so myself. Steven made the Chicken and it was delicious! We also had sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls that Lauren brought, Devilled eggs, and some delicious pie for dessert that the Elders brought. It was an amazing day full of fun and laughter, followed very closely by peace and the Spirit! I hope that every Christmas we get to feel of this wonderful Spirit that we had and I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to feel it as well. Happy Christmas everyone!! =)
Our Christmas Tree with all the presents under it.
All of the Stockings laid out.
Steven getting ready to pass out the presents. Its his favorite responsibility as the Dad. =)
Gavin with his bowl of Cereal.
Rhys was SO excited to get his game from Santa.
On our way to Church.. aren't we cute!
Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!