Thursday, December 31, 2009

Five Christmases!

We loved having a house full of happy, loving, boisterous, and sometimes crazy family members! They are pictured in front of the Christmas tree, which you can almost see behind Victor's head. Victor and Dennis cut it from the ditch with Dick and it was perfect! We also loved celebrating the birth of Christ not once, but FIVE TIMES with different family groupings.

There are lots of things which made this Christmas memorable in addition to sharing it with Victor and Dennis and our other children from Honduras, Michigan, Des Moines, Ames, and Cedar Falls:
*Being snowed in on Christmas Eve
*Having our own worship service at home
*Opening presents by candlelight off and on
*Getting stuck in a snow drift in the 4x4 truck
*Building a snowman at my insistence
*Making Nigerian chin chin
*Did I mention 5 family gatherings in 5 days????
*football, food, fun, family, fellowship, foul weather, and our forever gift- Jesus!

It is much quieter around here now- of course I cried as I said goodbye to my children who live miles away. And I got hugs from my African sons who are left behind. The world is smaller this year somehow.

Christmas greetings to all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowed In!!

My advice to my African sons when we learned we had some snow days was this: "These days are a gift. Spend them wisely." They took my advice and we had three wonderful days full of: Christmas cookie making, new recipe trying, Nigerian deep fat fried vegetable eating, mouse trap car engineering, snow scooping, snow angel making, fast sledding, movie watching, computer practicing, house cleaning, clothes washing, gift buying, more snow scooping, picture taking, homeworking doing, extra sleeping, truck traveling, table talking, and world-of-white gazing. We loved it. Thank you, Snow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

I wonder if it is even possible to prepare the boys for a Nichols Christmas. They have already figured out that we start WAY earlier in our celebrating than they do in any part of Africa. Last weekend when I asked Victor if I should email his father a scan of our Christmas letter, he said with shock, "NOW??". He said it was WAY too early and that he would remind me when it was time. I'm counting on that because it's going to get kind of crazy around here and I'll probably forget.

I was telling Dennis about the upcoming craziness that happens when all five kids and our precious daughter-in-law descend upon our house, and he said, "It will be FUN!" It will be much different than his Christmases in Tanzania, where he must avoid his family's Christmas celebrations. He is afraid that if he attends, his father will not let him return to school. My heart aches to think about that. So I will concentrate on making this Christmas wonderful for him. I will have lots of good help.

Apparently, our IRIS coordinator has asked for some information on what will happen at Christmas time in our family, and how the schedule will change. Victor said, "Ashley wants an essay!! The answer will be very long!" It all begins on the 17th when the college kids begin arriving, followed closely by the missionary daughter from Honduras on the 18th. The rest of the crew will arrive on the 23/24th and away we go. There will be non-stop celebrating Jesus' birthday from the 24th to the 28th because we have to do our December/January birthdays in there also. We will go caroling as a church youth group and also as a family, attend church together, enjoy our traditional donut feed, open lots of presents, watch movies, play games, watch football, sleep in, and eat special foods that we don't eat any other time of year.

I hope they are ready, because their schedule is about to get seriously messed up! I hope I survive to write about it when it is all over!!