Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas, Armbruster-style!

So many Christmases, so much to blog about!

'Armbruster' Christmas happened the week after the actual day, on Dec. 30th. We planned it around our trip to NJ and my brother Collin's work schedule, and it was so much fun to all be together!

Have I mentioned yet that my sweet Grandma Jessie moved into my parents' home back in November? She is living with them now, as she requires around the clock care and the family just wasn't ready to put her into a full-care nursing home if there was a way for us to care for her ourselves. My mom spends much of every day tending to her needs, and although it is A LOT of work and responsibility and greatly affects her freedom, she does it gracefully and patiently. I have learned so much from her example, it will have to be a blog post of its own another day. But I think it is one of the great privileges and callings that God gives to us - to care for family members at the end of their lives. Not everyone embraces it - but my mom has, and her self-sacrifice along the way is an act of worship to God. I'm so lucky to see this demonstrated within my own family, and Rob and I fully intend to walk this path later in life as our own parents age and as we have the opportunity.

Grandma Jessie
(She's cute, right?!)

So Armbruster family Christmas included all of my immediate family (Mom, Dad, Collin, and Kelsey), and our little family as well as my Grandma Jessie.

Christmas donuts for the kids' sweet treat at breakfast!

We are a flexible bunch as far as when and how we celebrate, but we always seem to land on having a big brunch first and then opening gifts. Staples: monkey bread, mom's egg casserole, and fruit salad. Often a good number of 'breakfast biscuits' (mexican wedding cakes, secret family recipe!) are eaten throughout the morning, but this year we were all just too busy to make a batch right before our celebration.

Robbie always requests salt if he sees Rob using it at the table, so we pretend to salt his food too.

We are edging into the chaotic gift-opening scene this year, with 2 little ones. My family's Christmas gift opening is usually very serene and I think it's only going to get worse, seeing as how we will be adding a 9 month old into the mix by the next Armbruster Christmas. I missed nearly all of the gifts my brother and sister opened, and I definitely did not get to enjoy my coffee like my sister is in the background! haha. It's a happy trade, don't think I'm complaining.

Love this - something funny/surprising is happening in the background, while Ellie takes advantage of the chaos and reaches for my mom's nice camera. She's a sneaky one.

This picture is for the DeBlock's - Robbie got his very own Aero train! We will be bringing it with us on future trips to NJ. ;)

More awesome Aunt/Uncle gifts - my brother and sister got Ellie this pink pony!
I almost died - again, I could never get her something like this in good conscience but they can and I LOVE IT! If you press the ear it plays a recording of a man singing "I'm a prett-y poooony, clippity clop, clippity clop... such a prett-y poooooony, clippity clop, clippity clop... I LOVE TO RIDE MY PONY!" It kills me. It sort of sounds like something you would have heard on the radio when our parents were little - very vintage sounding. Since bringing it home, both kids fight to sit and rock on it.

After the gift exchange, we laid Ellie down for a nap and made a late lunch of chili and veggies. Then Robbie baked his annual birthday cake for baby Jesus. I let him crack the eggs with me, look for shell bits (none!), mix the batter, and frost and decorate it this year. He was so careful throughout the entire process and loved doing it. I love that it reminds him what we are really celebrating at Christmastime.

A little bit of batter might have been taste-tested. He is, after all, my child.

The finished product!
Yes, it looks like a train wreck. And yes, that is one happy, proud little boy.

(None of this cake was consumed by anyone but him. There were about 1,000 finger pokes in it by the time it was finished, and being the walking petri dishes that my kids are right now, it was safer that way.)

It has been a wonderful Christmas season, and we are so thankful that we were able to spend it with all of Rob's and my immediate family members and even a few relatives.

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