A Blessed Christmas Day by El Momma

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas day. We definitely did. It was one of those days where it could have been a complete chaotic mess and that would have been okay. Because, what can you really expect from a family with four kids, age five and under!? But, by the end of the day when my husband and I were sitting alone in our living room by the soft glowing lights of the Christmas tree reflecting on the day, we knew our Christmas day was just as it should be. Perfect.

Our day started with 3 very excited little Els. They were anxious to get downstairs and see if Santa left them a present under the Christmas tree. I think this picture captures them in the middle of saying “happy birthday, Jesus!”

Santa was good to all of the Els. He brought an engraved rocking horse snow globe for the baby, a collector’s baby doll for Trinity, an electric guitar for Maddux and Magic School Bus science kits for Bakri. They were very very excited!

Our day continued with the arrival of my parents to celebrate Christmas with my mom and dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law and three of our nephews. Not leaving our house on Christmas day was such a blessing. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this made our Christmas. My parents arrived with lots of food and I made a couple of really simple dishes- baked brie, a turducken, and green bean casserole. We just relaxed and prepared the table for food and the kids played with some of their new toys.
My brother and his family arrived and the fun really began! They have 3 boys and another baby on the way. So, we will soon have 8 grandchildren at all of our gatherings. It is a lot of fun. After a casual lunch, we had a birthday party for Jesus.

We gathered at the table for the birthday party!

 

 

 We sang the “happy birthday” song three times. One time the candle went out on its own. Then my sister blew it out the second time. Finally, the third time (the charm) the grands blew out the birthday candle. Whew!

Soon it was time to open presents. We gathered in areas of the living room…separated in to family groups! And, actually, it wasn’t that crazy after all. The wildest time was when the boys opened their “pillow pets,” a gift from their Aunt Melinda. It was hilarious. They all screamed and cheered about their pillow pets. So fun!
Leeland got a new blanket with his name and birthday monogrammed on it. He loves it.

 Maddux is a sharp dresser. So, he really loved his new winter sweater and wanted to put it on right away. He did. No big deal that it is on backwards!

 Leeland, Trinity and Anthony got rocking chairs from Grandmother and Grandfather. The older boys got rocking chairs for Christmas a few years ago. These rocking chairs are so nice. They are solid cherry and have their names and birthdays on them. I hope they will keep them forever and someday their children will rock in them.

 After all of the partying, opening of presents, eating, singing and laughing, the kids napped and then watched a movie and I folded clothes and made dinner. Yes, folded clothes. It was glorious! Seriously, with a family of six and all of the rehearsals, preparing for church services, Christmas parties and family events, I managed to keep our clothes clean, but not put away. It took me nearly two hours to complete this task! But, I did it and I felt amazing when it was done! For dinner, I asked the Els what they wanted and the answer was “pancakes.” So, I whipped up a fresh batch of homemade pancakes and they each ate at least three. I think Bakri had five. And then, with full tummies, we put them all to bed, with their pillow pets, of course!

There was still plenty of work to be done in the house, but instead we decided to sit together in the quiet, downstairs. The Christmas tree was lit and we just talked. We talked about Christmas. We talked about our children. We talked about how special the  day turned out to be. We talked about the blessing of Christmas. How do we make it about Jesus when the world says it’s about presents? I don’t know the answer to that. But, I do know that we showed our children a lot of love on Christmas. We didn’t give them a lot of presents, but I know they felt the love and hopefully they will learn that is the most precious gift you can give and receive.

May your days be Merry and Bright.

Lots of love,
El Momma

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Christmas Eve with the Els! What a day! It turned out great, but it was one busy, hectic day, especially for El Momma!
When you are the momma you are expected to do certain things. At least, in this house. And, I’m okay with that. I am considered a “stay at home” momma. And, I’m good with that title too. In addition to the many jobs that title brings with it, I am blessed to have another job as a worship leader at a loving church in West U and with that job comes a lot of work around the holidays. Great work! But, work, none-the-less. Leading up to the days before Christmas, I led worship the first 2 Sundays of Advent, participated in two  Lessons and Carols Services on the 4th Sunday of Advent, led worship Christmas Eve during our 5pm Family Service, led worship the first Sunday after Christmas AND my husband sang a song “Manger Throne” as part of the sermon series throughout all of Advent. And, we had a sit-down dinner party for the band at our house plus a ton of rehearsals to prepare for all of the services. The Els were amazing through it all. They almost always have to come early with me to services. And, for the most part, they were great! So, back one of the things I am “expected” to do: shopping, that’s the big one for Christmas. I think a lot about gifts. I like to get people things they will really like and use. I don’t know if I’m totally successful with that. But, my heart is in the right place. Somehow, some way, we managed to get all of the gifts for family in time for Christmas, except for one that was guaranteed for Christmas Eve delivery to Sugar Land and is still floating around somewhere in Stafford. But, other than that, I did my job! I don’t even know how I did it. In fact at 1:40pm Christmas Eve, just 1 hour and 20 minutes before I was supposed to arrive with my entire family to church for sound check and rehearsal, I was still inside Mega Marshalls. This was right when they announced over the load speaker that they were “probably going to lose power at 2pm for about 30 minutes.” Aaaaah! That is one way to cause panic and make everyone in the store rush to the front. What a nightmare. And, really, I was just trying to grab a new dress or something that would actually fit my “I have a 5 month old baby” body. So, after that, I managed to get home, help get everyone dressed for church and get myself dressed and then we made it to church only 15 minutes after sound check was supposed to begin. Luckily, the Youth Band (which I am lucky enough to direct) started their sound check without me. The service was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And, it was nearly perfect. I was a little stressed during Silent Night when no one came to light the candles of the band members and the lights didn’t go out in the sanctuary. But, in the great scheme of things, that really is not a big deal. And, I believe that wasn’t important to God at the time, or it would have happened. So, I’ve had to let that little imperfection go and know that our praises to Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit were perfect on Christmas Eve, even without candles in the dark!
After the service, we made our way to Moustapha’s parents’ house to have Christmas Eve dinner and a celebration with the family. We didn’t make it in time for dinner. We probably would have been closer to dinner time, if it wasn’t for the horrific rain storm we traveled through. We’re lucky to have made it at all. And, after we finally made it inside, somehow I didn’t burst into tears. But, I promise, I came very close!
Moustapha and I enjoyed dinner and soon everyone gathered in the living room to open presents: Moustapha’s parents, all three of his sisters, their families including five more children and all of us found a place to sit. Two of our nephews had ear infections and were running fever. Thankfully, they are all better now. But, that was really hard on them and their parents. We spent the rest of the night opening gifts, relaxing and talking with family.

 The Els in front of the Christmas tree.

 Leeland and his new froggy!

 Aunt Leila with Leeland at dinner.

 Maddux with Toy Story toys!

 Oooooooooooooooooh, a tricycle!

 Grandma and Jiddy

 Christopher and Aunt Amira

 My first Christmas

 Princesses

By the time we arrived home, Trinity was asleep and Bakri and Maddux stayed up to put cookies and milk out for Santa. It wasn’t long before they were dreaming too. Mommy and Daddy’s work was still not done. We had to really get ready for Santa! But, soon, we were fast asleep and before we knew it, the Els were waking us up ready to start Christmas Day!