It’s our 8th annual Christmas Tree video! Enjoy and Merry Christmas from the Thomason family!
Today we celebrated Christmas in Yakima with Bethany’s side of the family.
I’ve been writing for the past few days that there’s been a bit of a delay with Christmas as we’ve been waiting to get the entire family together. Everyone was here this morning bright and early, and we enjoyed breakfast and cinnamon rolls on the floor by the tree. Bethany’s dad read Luke 2 and we enjoyed opening presents and giving gifts to each other. We had a great time together and we were blessed to receive lots of new books, clothes, and toys as a family.
We alway start the present opening time with stockings and work from youngest to oldest. The process takes a few hours, but it goes quickly and is great to watch all the responses. Everyone in the family keeps a wish list active that the rest of the family can pull ideas from, so it’s always fun to open presents and things that you may have added to your list a while back. I’m especially excited about the new books that I got this year. Everything from new Bible commentaries to business books to poetry, all of these will keep me busy for years to come. The kids were also blessed with books, along with a Buzz Lightyear costume for Titus, and a Jessie (from Toy Story) hat for Avery.
After presents we took a break (and naps!) and rested in the afternoon. Besides some snacking, we skipped lunch and planned for a big meal out together at a local restaurant in the late afternoon early evening. We reconvened about 3:30pm to take a family photo together. For all I know, it’ll be a few years before we get to do another photo like this again.
Dinner tonight was incredible. We haven’t had a big, American style dinner out in six months. I was so excited to eat a cheeseburger with real American cheese! We had fun being loud and enjoying the family time out. The restaurant is a new place that’s only been open for a few weeks here in Yakima (shown below). The food was delicious and I ate way too much. On the bright side, I shouldn’t need to eat for a couple of days!
Our time here has been sweet, restful, and fun. For me, I think this has been a recharge and a God-ordained trip to just think and rest. Czech is not the easiest place, but I’m so thankful for what God is doing in that part of the world and how he continues to stretch and grow us in order to use there. Tonight as we were driving home from dinner I actually missed Czech. It’s our new home and even though we have had a lot of fun here, I look forward to being back there and continuing to pursue all God has for us, good or bad.
“Go big or go home.” It’s a phrase I use often, mostly joking, to describe certain situations or even little things like ordering lunch. But I guess when it comes to Christmas it’s “Go big AND go home.” I only say that because today we celebrated Christmas 1 of 2 here in Yakima. That’s how we’re describing it to our kids who by Tuesday will have celebrated Christmas 3 different times. Today’s Christmas was at their great-grandmother’s house where we opened presents and shared a big meal with Bethany’s mom’s side of the family. I remember being at it last year and us saying goodbye to family with no intentions of seeing them for at least two years since we would be moving to Czech. Little did we know that we would be back this Christmas celebrating together once again.
The format is simple: eat and then open presents. Bethany’s grandmother always goes big on the gifts and I think she spend a certain set amount on everyone, though this still remains a mystery to me. I am pretty excited about my new pocket knife, shirt, and three more volumes that will be added to my MacArthur commentary set! Bethany was given a new necklace, salt and pepper shakers, and some clothes. Avery got some kitchen toys, including a working cash register and a stand mixer (think Kitchenaid) which she calls her ice cream maker. And Titus was pretty pumped about his big play ship thing that folds up. We’re definitely thankful for the wonderful gifts and kindness of our family!
Overall our energy levels were better today and we were all up at 5am. I think we’re gaining an hour of sleep every night. It’s such a bummer to have to turnaround and flip back to Czech time in just a few weeks, but that’s just part of the life we live right now. Christmas part 2 will be on Tuesday will complete the triple Christmas celebrations we have had. It brings excitement for gifts, but a little anxiety as to how exactly we’re going to get all of this stuff back to Czech!
Here’s a few more photos from the afternoon.
That’s Titus and Avery with their second cousin Savannah.
Traditions are important. I haven’t done a big study on the topic or read any books, but I think one of the main reasons people like traditions is because they are a constant in the midst of a changing world. No doubt some traditions need to go, but some are ones we look forward to year after year.
Bethany grew up with the tradition of enjoying breakfast, cinnamon rolls, and reading Luke 2 all on the floor around the Christmas tree. This tradition has carried it’s way in to our family and it’s one we now enjoy. Today we celebrated our own Christmas on the floor around the tree. With traveling to the States on Christmas Eve we felt like we should just have an early Christmas of our own here in Czech before we leave. Below is the mini-feast we enjoyed today, complete with cinnamon rolls.
We didn’t tell the kids a single thing about the plans for this morning. Bethany had the big blanket laying out by the tree and Titus, “Hey, what’s this blanket doing here?” We told him to look under the tree and when they saw the all the presents they were giddy with excitement. Once the food was ready, we brought everything out and enjoyed our eggs with cheddar cheese, bacon, coffee, orange juice, and of course the cinnamon rolls. After we finished we cleared the area for present opening. I took the photo below of the kids before we started opening presents.
Below are the photos I got during present opening. Nut much explanation needed, just a lot of happy faces and excited screams.
Here’s Titus playing with his new sword and shield. We bought these at the Christmas market in Poland on Monday. He loved it!
This afternoon we did a ton of work cleaning the car and the house. We want things to be nice and tidy for when we return from the States in mid January. Bethany also worked on making chicken and dumplings which we enjoyed for dinner! While we were outside cleaning the car, our landlord came down and gave our kids a little plate of cookies and gingerbread gifts. This little house (below) she gave to Avery has incredible detail!
Titus and I had to walk to post office this afternoon as well, so I got a few photos of the amazing weather we were enjoying. The sun was shining and even though it was a little windy, it was just a nice walk.
It was a really fun day and I’m excited were able to make it happen. Tonight we reminded the kids just why we celebrate Christmas–the birth of Jesus. I look forward to celebrating it again next week with our family in the States.
It’s a big deal to fly to the States with two little kids and four large suitcases from Central Europe. Today I took the kids with me to try and secure train tickets for the first leg of our trip which will take us four hours to get to Prague on Tuesday morning. There’s not a ton of room on the train so I was hoping to get seats where we can fit all of our luggage. We’re trying to bring empty suitcases so we can bring stuff back with us. I did end up getting tickets and we’ll see just how the luggage is going to fit. After the train ride we’ll grab a bus to a hotel near the airport. On Christmas Eve our flight leaves early, but Lord willing it will all go smoothly.
Tonight Bethany spent time wrapping up some of the gifts we have for the kids so we can do our own little Christmas morning tomorrow. Since we’ll be traveling, we thought it would be fun to do something at our own place here in Czech. As you can see from the photo above, the kids are doing just fine this Christmas. We’ve been picking up little things here and there and we got a few things in Krakow this past week as well. Bethany made cinnamon rolls tonight, so that will be a little treat in the morning as well. They will definitely be surprised and it’ll be a lot of fun.