Thursday, December 18, 2008's Christmas.

I guess this is the most appropriate picture to begin this post. Last weekend, we made it to a live nativity scene, complete with a marketplace, shekals, and Roman guards. It was cold, but it was a fun way to experience Christmas with Ben. He kept asking if that was really baby Jesus. It was held at the First Baptist Church here in Columbus. Afterwards, we enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies.

Here is Ben and Santa (aka "Smash") at Dad's work. This picture beats any ol' Santa picture at the mall. Ben is all smiles, because he just got done telling Santa that he wants Obi-Wan Kenobi's star ship. (Whatever that means...) Santa's job: just nod and smile. Hmmm...kinda like my job half the time ;)

This was the first year that Ben really enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree. He just loved it, and when there weren't any more ornaments left, he still wanted to put more on.

And dear Lydia...what can we say? You're just beautiful, being you. I took these pictures this morning before we left to take Ben to preschool. This cute little outfit came from a friend from Germany, who we were stationed with in New Mexico. I just think it's the cutest thing. And polkadots are a big deal down in the south.

And if you have made it this far. This by far is my favorite picture: a Strawberry Shortcake complete with her own "Guitar Brush". Gotta love multifunctionality. :) I love this so much, because it is Lydia's first toy - from her big brother Ben. The backstory is that Ben had Awana's last Sunday and it was a special night because it was Awana Store night. This is the one night that they take all their Awana bucks (that they have worked so hard for by memorizing bible verses and other good deeds) and cash them in at the Store. With no prompting whatsoever, Ben was insistent to his teachers that this is what he wanted to spend his hard-earned "money" on - a Christmas present for his sister, Lydia. When we picked Ben up and pulled it from his bag, we were both completely speechless and in awe. Collecting ourselves, we asked the teachers if he was really sure this is what he wanted. They said they asked him the same thing, and he was set on his purchase.
I sure hope Lydia grows up one day to know how much her brother loves her, in spite of all the fights and arguing they will someday have.

And at the end of a day, it's the smiles and laughter that make it all worth it....