Monday, December 31, 2018

Celebrating Christmas!

Christmas Photo Dump!  Here we go!

Getting ready for Christmas

Putting up decor

Making Gifts for Family

They started by painting small craft boxes (with star cut-out drawers) with chalk paint

They drew things that distract us from the true meaning of Christmas on the sides of each box with chalk...

When the chalk was erased, only the light of the battery tea light shown through the star cut out.

 Included in each box was a copy of this poem they helped write to explain their gift:

Out of billions of stars that the wise men did see,
Their focus was on one, following it faithfully.
Drawing them to the Savior as they traveled through the night.
Emmanuel, God with us, the Messiah, the Light.

Many distractions at Christmas do shimmer.
May this box remind you to let those grow dimmer.
Chalk on the box distractions from today
Take a wet cloth and wipe them away.

As your focus is drawn to the light of the star
May it remind you of the wise men traveling from afar,
Who focused their journey on one most important thing
The light that brings hope, the One who is King.

May Christ be the center of your CHRISTmas, this year and always.
With Love,
Summer, Colton, and Larkyn

Shopping for Angel Tree Gifts

Making Christmas Lists

After reading a story in Compassion's magazine, the Explorer, about a Jarwin, from Columbia, who only ate dinner that evening if his dad made enough money using his motorcycle to drive people around, the kids hearts were TOUCHED and broken.  They all decided they wanted to sponsor a child from Compassion ALL ON THEIR OWN in addition to the ones our family supports.  Because they don't have any source of income (except a small amount from extra chores in the summer) they found a way to support a child using their Christmas and birthday money.  Because it costs $38/month to support a child, they each requested to replace one Christmas present from Mom and Dad, one from Grandma and Grandpa T, and one from Grandma and Grandpa K a piece, and request that $ to be for their compassion child, which would raise 9 out of 12 months support.  They agreed that they would each put $38 on their birthday lists when their birthday rolled around in order to earn the final three months of support needed.  We are so proud of their generous hearts.

The three of them spent HOURS looking at kids who needed sponsors on Compassion International's website

They prayed that God would direct them to the right kiddo.

They chose Bran, a boy born on EXACTLY the same day as Larkyn, from Mexico.
 They sent this video to the grandparents, letting them know what they would like "supporting Brandon" added to their Christmas list!

 Christmas Dates

My mom, sister, and I had a shopping and lunch Christmas date

Larkyn and I went to one of my youth group girl's band concert, playing at a mall, and turned it into a Christmas date for the two of us :)

Paul and I got out for dinner and ice skating, just us two!

Colton Gingerbread House Day at school

The first graders got to invite two adult guests to their special afternoon. 

 Baking Cookies

Each year we make up plates of cookies to bring to the neighbors as well as buckets to bring to family gatherings!

Annual Christmas caroling and cookie delivering to the neighbors!

 Mr. Ken's "Museum"

 Our neighbor, Mr. Ken, invites us each year to come see his Christmas decorations.  The kids love how his house is literally packed with unique and fun Christmas decor, antique toys, and more!  This year he gave the kids each a special train ornament that matches his collection.  He also gave them giant bags of candy and fun Christmas hats!

Here is a fun video showing the kids enjoying one of Mr Ken's antique toys:


We love going through the Advent Jesse Tree devotional book during the month of December, reading each night at dinner about how Christ the Messiah was predicted and foreshadowed all throughout the Old Testament, up until the birth of Jesus that first Christmas morning.  The kids take turns putting up the symbol ornament corresponding to the daily devotional on our "branch tree" each night.

We also do this felt advent tree, made by my Grandma.  We love adding Christmas cards to our Christmas card wall as they come in the mail too!

Kirkwood Side Christmas (December 21-23)

Our first Christmas celebration was in Woodbury with the Kirkwood side.  

We all gathered Friday evening for a fancy meal!

Grandma loves to get the cousins matching jammies!
We had a blast eating, playing games, and hanging out with family!  Summer received a bar necklace with a verse from the Bible about man looking at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.  She also got some great Christian books and a girls shopping trip!  Colton got a truck from the cars 3 movie and a skateboard (which he loved practicing on in Grandma and Grandpa's basement!) and the chance to go to a hands-on engineering museum with Grandpa.  Larkyn was thrilled to get a scooter to match her big siblings as well as a Paw Patrol toy and some shopping money!  All three kids are so excited to go to see Mr. Poppers Peguins with Grandma and Grandpa K in a few weeks!  And Grandma and Grandpa also generously gave to the kids' Compassion Kid Fund.  We all had fun just being together, and especially getting cousin time!

Our Family Christmas (December 24-25)

We enjoyed Christmas Eve at home by taking the kids ice skating for the first time, going to our candlelit service, coming home for a delicious Christmas dinner and opening one present- new PJs :).

The kids did their best to drag Daddy out of bed on Christmas morning ;)

So much handmade and kid-bought love under that tree!  

We love to start Christmas morning by reading the Christmas story, and the past few years the kids have enjoyed acting it out during the reading (they each take different characters).

As usual, Larkyn always requests to be the angel  :)  Video:

I took each kid separately to pick out gifts for their siblings, and they LOVED this.  All three were very generous and picked out very specific gifts they knew their siblings would love! 

Larkyn displaying the puppy she got from Summer and the doll roller skates she got from Colton :)

Paul and I enjoyed opening the special gifts the kids made for us at school!

The kids received a scrapbook to hold the letters and pictures from their Compassion child, Brandon, along with support money.  In addition to this each kid received two presents and an experience.

Larkyn got a Shimmer and Shine light-up watch, paw patrol slippers, and and tickets to go see "the Littlest Big House" with
Mommy at the children's theater.

Colton got a digital camera, Ricky Ricotta books, and tickets to see Monster Jam with Daddy in February.

Summer got a specific pair of American girl doll boots she wanted, a doll and me matching outfit, and a date with Mommy to an Escape Room in Burnsville.

In their stocking, the kids got small plastic animals.  Larkyn made this castle for her penguins out of magnatiles.

Summer made this "cat" house for her cats.

Colton made this fish tank for his sharks.

While the kids built houses for their new plastic animals, Daddy made a yummy pancake and bacon feast!

We read the last devotional from our Jesse Tree devotional

And then we had a quiet afternoon to play....

...and relax :)
On Christmas Day evening we made our traditional graham cracker houses (with all our leftover valentines day, easter, 4th of july, and halloween candy :))

  The boys decided to make a house with a giant yard that had a soccer field!

The girls decided to make a pink princess castle

Boys house

Girls House

Obermayer Family Christmas (December 26-27)

We woke up on the 26th and headed to Chicago for the Obermayer celebration on the 27th.  We had a blast reading the new Mr. Poppers Penguins book from Grandma and Grandpa K aloud most of the way!  A highlight every year is swimming in the hotel pool after a long car ride :).  The next day we enjoyed seeing many people we only see twice a year!  Everyone met at a pizza place for some good ol' Chicago pizza!  Then we went back to my Aunt and Uncle's house for gifts and dessert.

All the great-grandkids got games from GeeGee

While the kids started in on dessert, the adults had a fun grab-bag exchange complete with stealing and a dice round ;).

Tommerdahl Family Christmas (December 28-30)

When we arrived home from Chicago, late the evening of the 27th, Grandma and Grandpa T, GeeGee Sandy, and Javonte were bunking in with us early to avoid getting stuck at home in Fergus Falls due to the blizzard up north!  We spent a relaxing day with them on the 28th, and then met up with the WHOLE Tommerdahl crew at the Timberwolves game Friday night.  Uncle Jordan is on the dunk team, and we had a blast coming out to support him as a large group! 

 Here is a video of Uncle Jordan dunking:

Then we all bunked in at our house and enjoyed hanging out, learning how to knit, lots of catching up, and great food brought by Grandma and Grandpa T!

The kids were again blessed with generous gifts, including gift cards to Wild Rumpus Bookstore from Uncle Ty and Auntie Sarah, Claires and Target from GeeGee Sandy, and a generous donation for the kids' compassion child from Grandma and Grandpa T!  The girls were so excited about their doll carrier suitcases (Colton got a soccer goal instead!), and all three LOVED their highlights magazine/puzzle book subscription and My Story Hour CDs.  Grandma and Grandpa also blessed our family with a gift card to go to a waterpark up in Duluth!  We are so excited for a gift that will give our family quality and fun time together!

Bringing in the New Year (December 31)

After alllllllll that celebrating we were thrilled for two days at home before school started again without much on the agenda!  We enjoyed lots of low key family time.  The kids hit the hay early on New Years Eve, so we celebrated as a family on New Year's Day Evening watching a video of the actual celebration ;).  Cheers to 2019!