Simple Gifts

Permit me a semi-obnoxious mom gush for a moment, would you?  
I just have been so blown away by how innocent and pure hearted my little boys are this Christmas.  NARY a word in the weeks or days before Christmas about what they'd be getting.  Nary, I tell you.  I'm serious.  I think at one point Michael mentioned he would like a bow and arrow but it was a few weeks ago and he wasn't even referring to Christmas.  They spent the remaining days of Advent working night and day excitedly and hurriedly preparing their gifts for each other and doing all sorts of extra acts of service to earn more money for their gifts for the poor.  And then, no joke, Christmas morning we opened the doors to the library where the tree and gifts were and not ONE of them noticed the huge gifts sitting there.  They immediately wanted to give each other the gifts they had made.  Honestly, my children move me to tears sometimes.

And now I'll show you way too many pictures.

Simple gifts

How could you not want some of these gifts under your tree?  Ridiculous amount of money spent on new pajamas now totally worth it.

Now onto Christmas morning...
Placing baby Jesus in the stable

Michael was so proud to buy David some new army men with his own money.

A gift for David made by John Paul.  It's a train made entirely out of cardboard.  And the wheels roll and pivot.  Seriously, my heart....

John Paul was so super sneaky one day at Michael's and bought this wooden ship puzzle for his brother without him having any idea.  He was so focused on buying just the right one that he knew Michael would want.  So awesome.

Then John Paul and Michael decided to give David this bunk bed built by John Paul a few years ago.  It's for his stuffed dog and bear.

And Michael was even generous to himself.  He literally made something in his art class, wrapped it up and opened it on Christmas morning.  And still managed to surprise himself.  

A work bench for John Paul made entirely out of pallets and pegboard.  Brian outdid himself.  The front even opens as a drawer.  In front is Michael's bow and arrow.  Um, not handmade.  The boys seriously didn't even notice this huge addition to the room and we had to point it out to them.  They were so psyched to give their gifts.

Also a gift to me since this will hopefully keep all the boys' work supplies in. one. place.  

A teepee for David.  I made it using these instructions.  It was way harder and more bad word inducing than it looks.  I was very tempted two days before Christmas to scrap the whole thing and run to the toy store. 

But I pressed on.  The whole thing was SO worth it to have David ask who gave it to him and when he learned I made it for him, he ran over, jumped on my lap exclaiming, "I LOVE my teepee, Mama!  Thank you SO much!"  *tear*  It was so so good to hear our challenging David say that.  He then willingly took a nap in it that afternoon :)

Michael's ready for battle.  At this point no eyes have been shot out.  Yet.

Camera face.  Luke with his wooden peg sorting set.  (Idea found here...I'm not that creative.)

Every year I get each of the boys (and now Brian) a personal ornament that somehow represents their year.  It was so fun to hear how excited they were about their previous ones when we were decorating the tree.  This year John Paul got a celtic knot (aka, "the Lord of the Dance symbol"), Michael a toolbox, David an airplane,

and I found a mama and baby hippopotamus ornament for the Luke!  (Ahem.  Only a real woman can allude to herself as a hippopotamus without flinching.)  Brian got a turkey.

Every year I make Brian and my in-laws a calendar.  Brian claims it's one of his favorite gifts.  I think this year's turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

In the afternoon we went over to my mom's to celebrate with my sisters and their families.  Seventeen kiddos all nine and under equals one crazy Christmas celebration.

Chocolate mint cheesecake is Jesus' favorite.  

Another merry Christmas to you, friends.  Gushing is now over.  Thank you for listening.  Today we're relaxing, enjoying treats, listening to Christmas music, doing puzzles, and planning the rest of our Christmas celebrating.  Life is good.  Thank you, Lord, for all your gifts.


  1. Wow, reading about your boys moved me to tears!! You guys are doing such a great job. I remember my older kids being like this until they went to school. Seriously, keep them home forever!!

  2. What a lovely Christmas! I was so impressed with my kids too, making each other gifts. It is so precious!


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