What did Christmas look like for the Welsiens in Dar es Salaam? A little bit like this...
Building (and eating, in Aya's case) gingerbread houses...
cookies for Santa were also being baked during this time :)
Finishing up two Danish Christmas calendars (TV series from Denmark)...
While waiting for Santa, Aya got her "rock" on...
Grace & Noah worked very hard to sort and organize presents properly yesterday. Too bad they were finished by 11:00 am and couldn't open anything until 5:30 pm!
After lunch...diving into those gingerbread houses!
There was no Christmas Eve mass here, so yesterday we quietly spent a few minutes on our own in church. I read the Christmas story from a children's Bible and we offered our gratitude for the many blessings in our life; Grace and Noah were quick to wish Jesus a Happy Birthday. Then we visited our friends' house for a few minutes to say Merry Christmas!
Santa Claus made an appearance...Noah was a sweet boy playing along (although he says he knew it was John Henry's Dad) but Grace felt a little bit embarrassed (since she knew he wasn't the REAL Santa...). Aya, on the other hand...well, let's just say this is the first time we have a classic American picture with a crying baby on Santa's lap.
For dinner, since we're on our own and not making a HUGE holiday meal just for us, everyone got to choose something they wanted to eat. Grace chose bruschetta. Noah and Far both chose "risengrul". Mama chose stuffed mushrooms and "ris a la mande" for dessert. Aya tried everything! So here is our very non-traditional dinner that was super lovely anyway...even though Noah could absolutely not wait to be finished!
Then came my favorite moment. Our small candle-lit tree! It always surprises me how beautiful it can be with those candles! And Aya LOVED walking around holding hands and singing. It was so sweet and I tried really hard not to cry...but a few tears betrayed me so that Grace shouted, "Why are you crying, Mama?!?!" Oh, my sweet daughter...some day when you have a family of your own and they are all holiday hands walking around the Christmas tree singing "Silent Night"...then you will understand. When your heart is so full, you sometimes have to shed a few tears to make space.
Opening gifts was awesome. Grace and Noah both got the things they wanted the most: a Furby and Ninjago Lego for Grace, the Lego Pirate Ship and Playmobil pirate ships for Noah, among many other generous and fun presents. Aya was just adorable playing with her new baby and baby-gear. She also got a Lego Duplo House that she really likes. It was a fun night and we couldn't believe how late everyone stayed up! Big kids didn't leave their note to Santa until almost 9:00 pm!
They woke up to this display - Santa had in fact come during the night! The big surprise was that he left us a box of cat food...he must have known that we ran out. (Note that we don't officialy have a cat, but there is one on our compound who wishes she was ours...and we do feed her.)
Santa brought skateboards with safety gear for Grace and Noah, as well as a cool new game, Minion Movie, and microscope for the whole family. Aya, our cat lover, got a toy cat house with 5 cats and a new backpack for starting her pre-school morning program in January!
Today it has been build, play, build, play, eat a little, build, play, etc.
It is hot outside and quiet inside, and despite being "alone" this Christmas we're all feeling pretty happy as 2015 comes to a close.