Tag Archives: Christmas

A Caroling (on Skype) we will go…

CALLING ALL SKYPE USERS! CALLING ALL SKYPE USERS!  This is a Skype Caroling Event that you DON’T WANT TO MISS.

Jared in the park with the Awana Club of Clute, Texas

In an earlier post, I was discussing the things that we are doing to make the Christmas holiday special for our kids.  The focus is mostly on Jared and Luke right now, because Grace doesn’t really understand what is going on right now at eight and a half months of age.  However, Christmas in the life of a boy who is nearly four and a half, and a boy who is almost three, is quite the exciting time of year.

I have been practicing a lot of Christmas carols with them, because Jared became involved in a Christmas caroling event with his Awana Cubbies group.  As we sang the songs, I got a great idea for a Christmas Tradition that I would like to start with my friends and family.

Here’s the idea:  We will find out how many of our friends and family have Skype addresses (if we don’t have that contact information).  Then we will schedule a time in which we will “visit” by “knocking” on the Skype doors of your homes and singing some Christmas carols for about five minutes and wish you a merry Christmas.

For those of you who are interested in our Skype Caroling Event, please e-mail me (crcmeier@yahoo.com) the following information:

Your Name
Your Skype Name
Date for Skyping (Choose between December 22, December 23, December 24, December 25)
Time for Skyping (Between 9am-12pm or Between 4pm-9pm, CENTRAL STANDARD TIME)

It will only be five minutes of your time and it would be fun to go Skype caroling to your home across the virtual spaces of our computers.

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All I Really Want for Christmas

I love listening to Christmas music during this time of year.  I have some of the classics, but I also have a lot of albums made by Christian contemporary artists.  In 2005, Stephen Curtis Chapman wrote a song called “All I Really Want” describing what an orphan would really want for Christmas.  I thought the song was sweet, but the words never hit so close to home as they have this year. These words have taken a new meaning for me:

“All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for, but there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family.”

© By Stephen Curtis Chapman

This Christmas a little girl is getting that Christmas wish.  She may be too young to understand it.  After all, she’s only nineteen months old.  But one day she will understand.  She’ll find out how her parents, Philip and Chrissy Cobb, began praying for direction in adopting a child.  When the door closed for them to adopt a child from Ethiopia, they didn’t give up.  They moved on to another adoption agency and were introduced to a little girl in China who was in need of a permanent family.

They first announced to the world that they were looking at adopting a little girl in China in early May of 2011.  Although they had been told the process could take well over a year, they were able to fly to China on December 8 of this year and are now finalizing the paperwork in order to fly back to Florida in time to spend Christmas together with their new daughter, Li Rose.  They are due to arrive in Gainesville on December 21.

It has been quite an adventure.  Find out more about their story by visiting their blog: http://hobnobwiththecobbs.blogspot.com/

Philip with Josh, Chrissy with Li Rose

Deck the Halls

Every new job situation had provided us with the opportunities to learn how the staff celebrates the holiday season at the end of the year.  Although some things are universal, there are many things that make each place unique.

As Stephen becomes more integrated into the culture of Brazosport Christian School, he also learns what they do to make Christmas special around the school.  One tradition they have is a special door decorating contest.  Each teacher and staff will decorate their classroom (or office) door and a special panel of judges gets to decide which door is the best decorated door.  On the day of the Christmas chapel, the winner is announced.  Stephen didn’t decorate his door, but his secretary made sure he didn’t miss out by decorating it for him.

Notice the little running shoe in the bow.

Jared and Luke pose proudly outside of "Daddy's office."

Another tradition is to have a special Christmas chapel on the Wednesday before Christmas break.  Stephen got a chance to speak a few words at the end of the chapel.  So, he decided to read one of the Christmas stories that he had been reading to the kids from the Christmas devotional.  Stephen tells me that the school purposefully avoids mention of the secular figures and symbols of Christmas (Santa Claus, Frosty, etc.) so that they can focus on the story of Jesus coming to earth as a baby to become the Savior of all man-kind.

The message given by the teacher was on the gifts of the Maggi and explaining the spiritual significance of each.

Gift-giving is a big part of the BCS traditions.  Each staff member who wished to be involved could become a “secret angel” and give gifts to each other anonymously until they reveal themselves to each other a few days before Christmas break.  Stephen decided to be involved and I was quickly drafted to find some Christmas gifts around $1 each and then one nice gift to give the person on the final revelation day.

The staff "fireplace" where they hung their stockings for their secret angels to deposit gifts.

Stephen received gifts from his “secret angel” but he also got many gifts from staff, students and parents.  Gift cards appear to be a very popular item this time of year.  Perhaps this is not a new observation to many of my readers, but it is something I had not discovered before in the few years that I had celebrated Christmas within the U.S. borders.

We now have gift cards of various values for Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-a, and other local shopping locations.

My favorite tradition so far is the two week vacation that comes to those who work within the system of education.  Now Stephen doesn’t have to work until the Monday after Christmas and we can enjoy some time together as a family.

Christmas with the MK Meier Kids

It was late summer when I picked up two bulletin boards from Wal-Mart to be hung over the beds of each of my sons.  These were to become the boys “brag boards.”  Basically, I wanted a way to showcase my kids’ creative work that they did in Sunday school and at home.  As the holidays approached, I got the idea to update the bulletin boards to reflect each celebration.

We started with Halloween and then moved on to Thanksgiving and now we are in the midst of celebrating Christmas.  I printed out a December calendar for Jared and Luke with December 25th highlighted.  Each morning, the boys paste a sticker onto the day’s date.  As they slowly fill the calendar, they can see how we are getting closer and closer to Christmas.

Besides decorating their bedroom, we also purchased a Christmas tree and placed it in our living room.  Of course, the first task was to create boundaries to ensure the survival of our five foot Douglas fir and its delicate ornaments. I told the boys that if they touched the tree, they would get a slap on the hand and then have to sit in time out for a minute.  After a few days of “timing-out” four or five times, they finally got the point.  What they really enjoy is sharing the responsibility of turning on the Christmas tree in the evenings.  Each night, they take turns doing this. It is the only time they are allowed to approach the Christmas tree before Christmas day. We are very proud at how the boys have complied with the rules, and (so far) we’ve only had one circular globe of Christmas joy shatter on the ground.

At this point, we have decided not to push our luck by leaving wrapped Christmas gifts under the tree in advance of opening them.  We keep our gifts tucked in various hidden corners and crannies of our house and slowly wrap a few when we have some spare time in the evening hours.  They will all be placed under the tree on Christmas Eve after the boys are in bed.

Besides these things, we have made special Christmas bookmarks, and assembled our own gingerbread house made from a kit we picked up at the store. At their nightly story time, we’ve also added a special Christmas story devotional and sometimes sing a Christmas song.

Jared and Luke begin to build the gingerbread house

Here is the finished creation.

The boys love to sing Christmas carols.  But that is something I will be writing about in a separate blog.

The opportunities are endless during these early years of their lives, because their young minds and hearts are open to whatever tradition we want to begin with them.  It’s exciting to think of all the creative things that we can do that will one day become treasured memories for each of our children.

Christmas with the MK Meier Family

The timing for Stephen’s trip to the U.S., allowed for many Christmas gifts to be brought back to Ecuador.  Stephen spent one night with my siblings in Gainesville, Florida and they gave him many gifts to bring back to Ecuador with him.  We had also saved up gifts purchased over the summer to give to the boys for Christmas.  So, we have a tree loaded with presents when the boys woke up on Christmas morning.

Jared climbs through the tunnel of his new tent.

Every year, Christmas morning becomes a little more meaningful as the boys grow to understand and appreciate what the season means just a little bit more.  At nearly three and a half, Jared was really starting to understand the concept of Christmas.  He was able to help pick out some presents he wanted to give his brother and his mommy and daddy.  We counted down the “naps” until Christmas, since Jared sleeps twice in a 24 hour period. 

I woke up on Christmas morning before anyone else.  Usually, I find it difficult to get out of bed, but the adrenaline of the upcoming day got me up early.  I puttered around the house getting last minute things done and waiting for the boys to wake up.  A surge of excitement welled up inside me as I heard the boys stirring and Jared started talking to Luke.  I grabbed my camera and waited to take a picture of the boys as they came out of their bedroom for the first time to see the tree, the presents, the bulging stockings and…of course…their first present, a small Discovery kids tent with a tunnel attachment already set up in the middle of the living room. 

Luke zooms through the tent tunnel with great excitement.

Jared came out of the bedroom first.  His eyes grew wide as he looked into the living room.  However, he retreated quickly back into his bedroom before I could get a picture.  I could hear him talking to Luke and trying to coax him to leave the bedroom. 

After about five more minutes, I see Luke walk out of the room, with Jared literally pushing him out the door. 

“Look at the presents, Luke!” Jared was saying. 

They were both surprised to see me standing there, and got a bit side tracked by my Christmas greetings.  But eventually they made it to the living room and their new tent.  They were so excited and begin to climb through the tent and the tunnel immediately.  I let them play a little while, and then told them that they needed to drink their morning milk, because it was already 7:30 in the morning.  They had both wet through their pajamas, so I changed them into new sleepwear.  By then, Stephen was awake. 

We let the boys open their stockings first.  By this year, Jared was beginning to understand the concept of digging everything out of the stocking before focusing on one object.  Luke, however, wanted to stop and play with every toy he pulled out of his stocking before trying to get anything else out of his stocking.  It took a bit of convincing to turn his attention back to the stocking when he had so many intriguing toys lying around him.

Jared and Luke open their stockings with a little help from Mamma.

 After the stockings were finally empty, it was time for the boys to take a bath and get ready for breakfast.  So, we all got ourselves cleaned up and filled our bellies before we tackled the Christmas tree loaded with wrapped gifts. 

By the time breakfast was done, the dishes washed and put away, it was already 10am.  Stephen read the story of the three wise men to Jared and Luke to explain why we give gifts to each other on Christmas day.  The night before, we had read the Christmas story of Jesus being born, so we didn’t repeat it again that morning. 

Then, we began to open presents.  We let Luke be the first to select any gift to give to the person to whom it belonged.  That was Jared’s present.  Next, Jared selected a gift.  We let Luke and Jared continue selecting the gifts.  Luke was the first to get tired of the gift-opening process.  After selecting gifts for the fourth or fifth time, Luke began to grab gifts, hand them to his dad and then take off to play with a gift he had already opened. 

Jared wanted to help everyone open their gifts, too. 

We had to pause a few times to allow the boys to try out their new gifts.  By the time all the gifts had been unwrapped, it was past noon.  We gave the boys their lunch and put them down for a nap without any struggle.  They fell asleep almost immediately.  Who knew that opening gifts all morning could be so tiring?

January Greetings

Packing up our Christmas decorations on New Year’s Eve has become one of our yearly traditions.  In the midst of wrapping up Christmas lights and packing small ornaments, I found myself wondering where the time went.  The last time this Meier family sent out an update was the end of October.  Now, a new year has already begun.

Sorting through all the events that have taken place in the last two months is almost as challenging as making sure that I get all our Christmas decorations packed away for another season.  Invariably, I will tape the “Christmas box” shut before I find that one last bobble or Christmas kitchen towel that I forgot to pack.  It usually ends up in a little plastic bag sitting on top of the Christmas box. 

As I sort through my recent memories, I’ll try to remember those that are the most significant.  Please visit our new posts to find out about the following “happenings” in the lives of the MK Meier Family in Quito, Ecuador:
-Current Prayer Requests for the Meier Family (Home Page)
– A Thanksgiving Trip and a “Compassion” Visit (Ministry)
– Nearing “half time” as the first semester comes to an end (Ministry)
– How Stephen broke his thumb bone playing Flag Football (Family News)
– Is Jared ready to be potty trained or not? (Family News)
– Luke nears his first birthday and first steps (Family news) 
– Christmas Ills and Good Wills (Family News)
– The amazing fruits and vegetables of Ecuador (TCK Views)

We are grateful to each of you for your friendship, love and support even during these times that we do not keep in touch as often as we should.  Give us a “shout out” when you have the time through whichever communication tool you are most comfortable with: e-mail, Facebook, Blog comments, Phone call to our Florida Vonage number or Skype.

Sincerely,

Cristina Meier (for the rest of the Meier family)

Christmas Ills and Good Wills

The Christmas season brought good will and a few ills to the Meier Family this year.  Apparently, there was a stomach virus spreading among some of the students and staff during the last week of school before Christmas vacation. 

It was during that week that Jared began to throw up his meals and started having some problems with diarrhea.  I assumed he might have been reacting to the amoeba medicine given to him by his doctor.  However, Luke started having the same symptoms during our Christmas break.  By Christmas Eve, both Stephen and I were also feeling ill. We had to decline a Christmas dinner invitation because we were trying to recover.

A Meier Family Christmas Pose

In spite of having weak stomachs, we were able to enjoy Christmas day together.  I actually started feeling better on Christmas day.  Jared had finally recovered from his symptoms and baby Luke was able to keep most of his food down that day.  We were able to talk to our extended family on Skype at different times during the day.

And the family who invited us over for a Christmas meal decided to bring the food to us, so that we could have “a taste of Christmas” at home.

By New Year’s Eve, each of us had fully recovered from our ills.  And I think Little Luke is trying to make up for all the meals he lost during his illness by being hungry all the time.

It will be a Christmas holiday that we will not soon forget.