Our last days of Advent were full and I don’t want to forget a second. We headed downtown for a day of traditions; we bundled up and went to see the Christmas windows (although since Macy’s took over they are the same as last year..boo), checked out the huge tree inside, and sipped fancy coffee (and hot chocolate for the younger set) while walking through the Christkindlmarket.  Thanks to Groupon we got a great deal on a hotel and stayed a block off Michigan Ave.  This was a tradition we used to do every year before we had kiddos and decided we need to bring it back.  It is so awesome to be downtown and the kids loved the pool and unlimited jumping on the bed.  I loved walking down Michigan Ave in the wee hours with my early to rise son strapped to my chest.  Even with the crowds, grit, and inconveniences of this city it is an awesome place to live.

El train ride downtown


Abishai’s first time to the windows

Macy’s tree

we are blessed

it wouldn’t be Chicago unless you had to squeeze your way through crazy crowds of people

we highly recommend the pretzels & roasted sugary almonds (even if Annikah’s face says otherwise)

hotel craziness

Abishai’s first time in a swimming pool. He was unimpressed.

I love these pictures.  Not because they are perfect but because they are us right now.
Full disclosure: After the El ride Evy had to pee so bad that she managed to pee all over her chupis and pants while going to the bathroom so she ended up wearing her sister’s chupis and her PJ pants the rest of the day.  Packing light seemed like a good idea until that moment.  And 30 seconds after the family picture was taken Abishai spit up all over himself, me, and the floor (you are welcome folks who work at Macy’s).  Life with small kids.  A crazy, chaotic, beautiful mess.  Never boring though.

One the 23rd we had some newly arrived refugees over for a meal.  They all arrived mid December and had not been out until coming over to our place. Moving to Chicago in the winter must be so overwhelming!

It was so awesome to eat with our hands, talk, and share Advent time with our new friends from Pakistan and Iraq.  Even with limited language communication you can share so much and we were so blessed by our time together.  The family from Pakistan had a little boy who turned 4 that day and Evy decided to give one of her birthday gifts to him as a present.  I was so proud of her for sharing and she reminded me of the importance of giving of what you have.  There is something special about welcoming folks who are new to a place at Christmas.  It reminds us that Mary and Joseph were also weary travelers in a new place and relied on the hospitality of others.  Our prayer, “May we show a glimpse of God’s rich love.”

We had our family celebration on the morning of the 24th and after reading the last page of the Advent book and lightening all the candles we had a big breakfast and opened presents.

The caption here has gotta be “bed head rocks!”

The joy of the unwrapping

The girls bought special gifts for each other and opened thoughtful gifts from their girl cousins

Do we really have to wait a whole year for Advent again? As we took down the tree and decorations today and made space in our home and hearts for all that 2014 will bring I was glad the snow kept us inside and together for one more day of family time.  I want to wrap up these memories; all of them, and open them again and again.  Hope your Christmas was a blessed one.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing pics and storys about your special time – even if it is only a little bit out of the real full life!I love that you had a over-night in a hotel and that the kids had so much fun. I love the pic with your 3 watoto – you are really blessed!!!And I love the shot from J, his son and Evy at the edge of the pool – there is so much love in Js eyes for his little buddy!Advent is for sure a very special season in the year. And I love your candle holder circle. I think we need one like this as well 😉