Come in, come in, and welcome!

December 25th, 2013

 

It’s so good to see you!  I’m so glad you were able to come!

Here, let me take your coat.  Laura, could you please take this up to our room?

Can I get you something to drink?  Go ahead and make yourself comfortable in the living room and I’ll be right with you after I get Katie off the potty!

 

[At least, that’s what would most likely greet you if you called ahead.  At our house, we say that if you stop by without warning, you deserve whatever it is you see!  Haha!]

 

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Verity made her own Paradise Tree this year with a little help from big sister Laura.

Put the lid back on the glue stick, Verity.  Say, “I’m putting the lid on.”
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Now put the glue stick down

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Tear the green tissue paper, Verity.  Say, “I’m tearing the paper.”

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Laura takes after her mom in a lot of ways, heh, heh.

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Push the tissue paper down, Verity.  That’s right, push it!  You are pushing the tissue paper!

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Now put some orange dots on the paper.  Dot, dot, dot.  Say, “orange dots on my paper!”

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Take the lid off the purple paint.  Say, “I’m taking the lid off.”

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Good job, Verity!  You are all done!  Look, we will hang your paper on the refrigerator!  Say, “re-frig-er-a-tor! ” Good job saying “refrigerator!”

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This is all that’s left of four pans of our favorite overnight coffee cake.  Would you like to have a piece with your cup of coffee?  It won’t be here long!

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This year we invited some good friends to join us for our annual gingerbread house nightGood friends who will soon be related to us by marriage!

Lindsay’s sister Rachel made us a large pan of lovely hot chocolate and we baked and decorated to our hearts’ content.

I gave us all a break from the camera that night, but Daniel shot this one with his cell phone.  Yes, our gingerbread houses are two dimensional, and we cut them out freehand.  Trees were also in high demand this year!

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So you think you’re going to get pictures of us in our matching Christmas dresses?

Yeah right, Mom!  You go right ahead and try!

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Ok, I’ll smile for ya, but no eye contact today, thank you!

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Verity, where are Mama’s eyes?  Look at Mama’s eyes!

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Ah-aaaah!  Love Verity!  Love Katie!

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These Christmas dresses are more special to me because they helped raise funds so my friend Grace Knuth can bring 13 year old Tony home from Pleven!  She only needs about $9000 more to be fully funded!

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If you look carefully, you can see a little Kit-Kat rejoicing in the Christmas teddy bear her school team gave her with their love.  If you listen carefully, you might hear one of our favorite Christmas albums playing on the CD player.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Immanuel…shall ransom captive Israel!

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We have a little feverish sickness visiting our house right now, and all four of these little boys have been under the weather, so we’ll have them stay far away from you while you’re here.  But they’re not too sick to decorate some t-shirts for Christmas!

Boys, you look almost as white as your t-shirts!

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Aren’t they sweet?  So sweet they’re almost edible!

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Wait, did she just say I was sweet?  Sooooo, people with Down syndrome are happy all the time, eh?  I didn’t get that memo, so it doesn’t count!

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Some of them thought they heard me ask for silly faces!  Goofy kids!

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Our first and last Christmas as a family of fifteen with Joseph home.

See Katie keeping her eye on Tommy.  If you listen very carefully, you might hear him shrieking!  He was quite over-excited!

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Pull up a chair and dig in!

Maybe next year Tommy will try our traditional red grapefruit, Bed and Breakfast baked egg casserole, and his daddy’s famous caramel pecan sticky buns!

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Reading the Nativity Narrative~

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Listening to the Nativity Narrative~

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The big people love to sing Christmas carols and the little people love to listen.  We do this every night by the light of the tree.

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Our oldest five exchange names.  Joe and I give each of the youngest eight children a simple individual gift, and then all the rest are shared gifts.  This year we were excited to give the family a nice stack of audio dramas and audio classics along with a modest number of other carefully-chosen items.  It’s fun to give good gifts to our children!

Daniel was glad to receive some needed tools from Joseph for his growing collection.

Note the to-do list on the white board behind Daniel.  We celebrate Christmas for a whole week at our house!  And boy oh boy, were we ever ready to escape the pressure cooker and take a breather this year!  Whew!

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Jane knew Laura would be delighted with a good pocketknife and a high quality heavy duty LED flashlight.

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The doll stroller needed no explanation, although Verity has never had one before.  This was clearly the right choice for her this year!  Here she is contemplating her newly maternal reflection in the dishwasher.

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Katie was thrilled with a foldaway mirror, one of the shared gifts…

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…and Tommy with his bright, shiny red truck!

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Every family should have a chubby little baby sitting in the middle, and you can quote me on that.  <grin>

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Oh, you have to leave again already?

Thanks for stopping by our place for a visit!  It was so great to see you and be able to sit and chat!  Next time, I’d like to hear more about what’s been happening in your life!

Bye-bye!  Come again!

*Big tight hug*

 

 

 

 

 

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18 Responses to “Come in, come in, and welcome!”

  1. Sandi, bbcooker says:

    Thank you for sharing!  I appreciate learning how other families celebrate Christmas in a Christ-centered way.  And how big families practically celebrate Christmas.

  2. Louisa says:

    Very fun to share your sweet family time together! Merry Christmas!

  3. Lea says:

    Thanks so much for sharing!  Your Christmas looks like it was a wonderful time and Verity with her stroller and Tommy with his truck are just too sweet!
    Merry Christmas!
    Lea

  4. Deanna says:

    Beautiful!
    That stroller is the perfect gift for Verity this year!  She is a sweet mama! 
    We had a lovely day too.  Sorry about the little boys.  I hear that is going around.  We are still in party mode here too – we have another week to go with Lindsay’s birthday and our anniversary next week.
    Love from the Rabes to the Mussers!

  5. Lauren says:

    Your first and last Christmas as a family of 15? Are you trying to tell us something here?!!

  6. Laura says:

    Beautiful, welcoming family, Mussers! Your example of Christ-centered living is lovely and the way in which you share it is thoughtful and loving! Merry CHRISTMAS!

  7. Mary Winslow says:

    Thank you for the “visit” Susanna! We had a wonderful time with you all! Merry Christmas! Love from the Winslows in NH!

  8. Susanna says:

    Lauren, there’s a wedding coming up! Our oldest son Joseph is getting married to Lindsay (the oldest daughter of this wonderful family: http://mrsrabe.blogspot.com/ ) on March 1st, and we were so glad to have him here for one more Christmas!

  9. Susanna says:

    Deanna, love you back! You are a blessing!

  10. gail says:

    so…these pictures of yours. I’m not sure I can even describe the emotions I am feeling after reading/viewing this post. On the surface it’s ‘just’ a big, happy family, doing what big happy families do, when they get together to do big happy family things. But those of us who have been following your family as you pursue the heart of the Father know that what is at the surface is but a tiny bit of what lays beneath. The endless ‘mundane-ness’, the endless ‘less-than-picture worthy-ness’ (all matters of opinion to be sure). The endless little things that go on that none of us REALLY want to do but know that there is eternal value in doing them. So I laugh and I cry and I pity and I envy, all in the same breaths. But mostly my soul is drawn to the heart of the Father. And I know I am standing on holy ground. And when you share your lives like this, I feel like somehow, we are in ‘this’ together. May the Holy One bless you and keep you and make His face shine on you; may He lift up His countenance on you and give you SHALOM! Gail

  11. Ginger says:

    I just love it when you blog posts like these. Love, love it!

  12. Amanda says:

    Thank you for sharing your life with the world through this blog. Your life is such an awesome expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You have shown us all how God values the weak, the poor and the outcasts. How He went to such great cost when we never deserved it. That He freely lay down His life so that we can live. I just think of your children, one day being perfect and praising the Lord for how they were used in His plan to show His glory to the world. Your beautiful pictures and precious poetry (as in your previous post) are so powerful, I love it!! I pray God will continue to uphold you and bless you in your obedience. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of how much God loves us. (Also could you recommend some audio books that you like? We have gastro going thru our house with 8 children so I am thinking they would be handy:-D How do you deal with that situation…preventing the spread of sickness with many little ones??) In Christ, Amanda

  13. Anya says:

    Oh my! We were out for a drive this evening (Saturday) in Amish country and I needed to stop into Walmart on the way home to pick a few things up. I was turning down the cookie aisle, trying to wrangle my 2-year-old from yelling me try! me try! at all the sweets when I turned the corner and ran right into your husband and two of your daughters! I was so shocked as I have been reading your blog for years and the sighting caught me completely off guard! I felt like I had spotted a celebrity! Laura probably thought I was crazy because I started smiling at them :) What a beautiful family Susanna, your husband was so wonderful with the girls, Laura just exudes such serenity and such a sweetness and Verity was just too cute for words (and so well behaved compared to my donut-toting son ha)! I was just so excited and had to share :)

  14. Rachel says:

    First and last Christmas of 15!  I know your son’s getting married, but I never saw the memo that there wouldn’t ever be more surprises or intentional additions.  hehe  I thought it was a secret suggestion too.  ;-)  Three little girls trying to get breakfast behind me……. which need help.  God bless you and Merry Christmas!

  15. Tori says:

    I just thought that I would let the readers of this blog know that the charity that Sevenly is supporting this week is Reese’s Rainbow. They are selling some super cute shirts and the profits will go to Reese’s Rainbow. Check it out!

  16. Susanna says:

    Anya, that is so neat! Laura had a faint memory of you and both she and Joe wished you had introduced yourself! Thanks for commenting!

  17. Susanna says:

    Rachel, that phrase has gotten quite a lot of attention! At the time, I was just thinking about Joseph! Maybe I should tweak it to be more accurate!

  18. Susanna says:

    Amanda, you may not look back at this comment, so I’ll copy and paste this into an email, too, but thought perhaps someday someone would benefit from seeing this list. 

    Here are some of the audio goodies that have given our children many happy hours:

    My top pick if only buying one set is an unabridged version of Pilgrim’s Progress. 

    Unabridged J.R.R. Tolkien–Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion
    Classics of the Christian Faith, read by Max Maclean, includes Pilgrim’s Progress
    The Wind in the Willows
    Three Men in a Boat
    Borrowers
    Trumpet of the Swan
    Stuart Little
    The Great Quillow [hilariously presented by some home educated students]
    Beatrix Potter [for very young children]

    Focus on the Family Radio Theatre:
    The Chronicles of Narnia
    The Secret Garden
    The Hiding Place
    Les Miserables
    Ben Hur
    The Legend of Squanto
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Father Gilbert mysteries [for older kids]

    Diana Waring history
    Jonathan Park

    We have LPs of Carnival of the Animals and Peter and the Wolf that are entertaining for the littles. :)

    If you have recording equipment, a great gift from older siblings to younger siblings is to record themselves reading some of the younger children’s favorite picture books, complete with a little prompt when it’s time to turn the page. Homemade recording are also a fun way to encourage your children to memorize information you want them to know by heart–Ten Commandments and other key Scriptures, days of the week, months of the year, days of the month, home address and telephone numbers, national anthem and pledge to the flag, poetry, grammar rules, the list could go on and on and on. We’ve used cassette tapes at our house for this purpose. While the quality isn’t top-notch, the younger children have loved homemade recordings and played them over and over again.

    Last but not least–a good quality set of the entire Bible on CD is very worth what you will pay for it! Our children have grown up listening to Bible tapes or CDs every night as they fall asleep. Large chunks of the Word are in their hearts simply because of this habit.

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