We have had the loveliest Christmas here at the Birrd's Nest. Christmas can be the best day of the year for big families. The activities and traditions of Christmas increase in fun the more children you have around to participate in them, so even if you stay home and no one comes over, it's a party.
Having a large family can be tough. It can be grueling to have the responsibility for so many little ones on your shoulders around the clock, day in and day out. Some days I just pray that we will all survive. And then there's Christmas, where having a house full of little ones seems like so much joy that I will burst. It's my payback day.
Because we've moved around so much and had so much change over the years, we have traditions about some things but not others. This year we decided to have a nice family dinner on Christmas Eve. I had a hankering for what I call "Minnesota Meatballs," which are made with wild rice. It's a beloved recipe from my youth up north that I can only make on the rare occasion I have wild rice in the house. So it seemed special enough for Christmas Eve.
I don't know what kid had the camera at what point, but here are some pictures I ended up with.
Here's my kitchen going full-tilt. I would never have thought to take a picture like this, but one of the kids did and I thought it was kind of cool.
Roo and Rabbit love to set the table, which makes me so happy!
Someone cleaned up the living room and snapped a picture of the tree. My Christmas tree has been a giant toy this year, with kids constantly moving the ornaments around on the lower branches. I think the upper part of it is quite lovely though.
Hello, Twig! How's the high chair life?
Sitting down to dinner.
Here's a better angle. Everyone raved about the food.
We set out a jigsaw puzzle. Frog was very interested in it. He does good with the puzzles at nursery at church, so he was sure he could handle this one. He worked at it for a long time, though I don't think he fitted any pieces. He's definitely a puzzle person, like his mother.
Here we are with the little ones in new pajamas doing our annual Nativity puppet show. This is a tradition I love!
We had planned to have a fire in the fireplace, but we had technical difficulties. (The short version is that all our firewood is all still too green and wet.)
Bean was the narrator this year. He did a fine job.
Frog loved the puppets.
After our devotional, we had pineapple upside down cake. The twins were absolutely adorable mooching bites off the Badger. He enjoyed sharing with them. It was kind of crazy having dessert right before bed though... I don't know that we'll turn that into a tradition.
The kids were so wound up, but the funny thing was, they went to sleep right away. For several weeks Roo had been referring to Christmas Eve as "the night of horror" because you can't sleep and it seems like tomorrow will never come. But she fell right asleep! So did Peanut and Frog, and Fish and Rabbit weren't far behind. Bean has always been my night owl, so I put him to work helping play Santa Claus. It was great to have him haul all the presents up from the basement and help with some toy assembly. (We keep all presents hidden away until Christmas because my little kids would never leave them alone and wrapped if we put them under the tree during the days and weeks beforehand.)
And this was what it looked like as we went off to bed, greatly anticipating the joyous morning to come.