Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas! (lovely pic by our friend, Maria, again.)
Maeve was getting into the fun from the beginning...
Bran and Nuala go to the embassy daycare two mornings a week (don't call it "preschool", they'll tell you it's "daycare" because they "don't learn anything there!" It's okay, we do "school" at home...) and the kids put on a little performance at the embassy Christmas party. There's Nuala in the white dress twirling. Bran... who knows. He wasn't quite as into it as the girls were. That was true for pretty much all the boys. They were cute!

Santa was there and Maeve was our ticket to breaking through the madness surrounding him, since they went youngest to oldest. N&B tagged along for the kids' pic with M, and then got to chat with the Big Man. Maeve was rather fascinated with Santa.
Bran. He wanted tools, a robot, stuff to build a robot with, and a new warm blanket (?). And "more weapons," I forgot to add... like he doesn't already have a huge stockpile...
Nuala. She wanted makeup and dollies. The paper she's holding is actually a picture she drew for Santa, not her list.
Here is the cast of our little branch Christmas program! Yep, the five little kids put one on, and they did quite well! Susan (in the black sweater) and I are Nora's (sitting down) Primary counselors, and we both had to read a big long thing in Bulgarian -- half each of a rather detailed version of Christ's birth. It was difficult, I'll be honest. I had to practice a lot, and N&B practiced their parts a lot, too. Nuala was Mary and Bran was Joseph and they each had one line in Bulgarian. Mia (the angel) is Susan's little girl and goes to school here and speaks Bulgarian pretty darn well. She had several lines. The other two (Zoe-Andrea and Shaina-Jade) speak some Bulgarian. All the kids are native English speakers, so it was kinda cool that we did the program all in Bulgarian. Well, they sang "Away in a Manger" in English. They did learn "Silent Night" in Bulgarian, though, and it was really pretty! I was actually very impressed with how well they did, especially Bran who doesn't really have the longest attention span. He did fidget a bit and came down off the stage to ask me stuff, but he did great!
Maeve likes that the ornaments on the branch Christmas tree are within her reach. Nice shiny balls... (photo credit: Plamen Nikolov)
Sunday the 19th we had the branch Christmas lunch after church. It was fun! We really have such a great little branch here. It's so different from any ward/branch (that's what congregations of our church are called -- "ward" for larger ones, "branch" for smaller ones) that we've ever been in. Sooo different :) Seriously, I need to just do a post on our little branch and some of the more... interesting... things that have gone on. But the people are so sweet! And the gospel is the same, no matter where we go. (also Plamen's photo... and so are the next three. I forgot my camera.)
Sister Violetta holding Maeve. Maeve has so many little grandmothers here...babas... Sister Timenushka is in the center, and then there's Susan holding her little Ivy, Maeve's baby buddy. And Mia. Mia and Susan and Ivy are not babas, just for the record...
Soooo, through a bit of a miscommunication, Sister Nora was under the impression that our 5 little kiddos were supposed to put on a 40 minute program at the district Christmas party. A district is made up of several little branches... the ward equivalent is a "stake". Anyway... the other two girls were outta town, so it was going to be the three little tykes above. For 40 minutes. Yeah... Luckily for all involved, the other branches were all doing part of that 40 minute program, not just us, so Nuala, Bran, and Mia only sang their two songs. Very cute, of course.
"Dyado Koleda", or "Grandfather Christmas," made an appearance there, too, and Maeve checked that fella out just as thoroughly. That was the last Christmas party/celebration. Which was great, because there were entirely too many goody bags this past month. But the kids had fun, and it was nice getting together with friends to celebrate Christ's birth and have fun with Santa.
N&B and I made Christmas cookies throughout the last week or two. Yummmm.... On Christmas Eve we took them to some neighbors and sang a song or two. We finally officially met our across-the-street neighbors, Olga and Ivaylo. They thought we were one of their sons buzzing the gate, so just let us in and didn't come to the front door. When we finally knocked again they were horrified since apparently one of their dogs is less-than-friendly and they wouldn't have left us out in their yard defenseless had they known it was us. The dog in question didn't even get up to sniff us, though. Nuala and Bran (and I) sang "Silent Night" in Bulgarian and they were very impressed with the kiddos. They don't even know it in Bulgarian, they said! It was a nice little visit. Too bad it took us a year and a half to go see them, even though we wave and say hi all the time.
For Christmas Eve we made tamales. They turned out great; good job, Z!
We had 6 missionaries (4 young elders and an older couple) over, and our photographer/babysitter/friend, Maria, who opted out of the "missionary picture." The missionaries had earned a special p-day and were dressed in normal clothes instead of suits! I hardly recognized them!
Of course the kids have a blast when the missionaries come over. I mean, 19- or 20-year old boys... they're big kids themselves while at the same time make perfect jungle gyms for 4-year olds.
Elder Morgan's a BYU football player in his pre-mission life.
After dinner we read the account in 3rd Nephi about the night before the day of Christ's birth, and we opened a few presents together. Then our visitors went home and Z and I helped Santa get everything wrapped/assembled for the next morning. At 3am we stumbled to bed, only to be up again less than 4 hours later. But we got a two-hour nap during Maeve's blessedly long snooze later that morning... it was bliss.
The three tykes about to open the first present of Christmas.
The first present was the most nicely wrapped (in comparison to the others) and had a picture of the Saviour in it and the account of His birth. We talked every day about the real meaning of Christmas, and Nuala and Bran would periodically talk about Jesus's birth being what Christmas is really about and all, and we did some (but not enough) service this holiday season to help focus more on the birth of Christ, but they were pretty excited about the presents, too... shockingly.
Here, N is exclaiming about the banana in Maeve's stocking. Lucky Maeve.
Doesn't M look like a little helper here? A little elf-reindeer, of sorts.
Nuala's favorite present, that she'd been asking for FOREVER was "real makeup". Her little face just kept getting more...colorful...all day long. Oh, she loved how she looked! She was sad when I told her she could not wear makeup to church, and kept asking if we could bring pictures of her wearing her makeup to show her friends. Sure, Nuala, sure.
So, Merry (late) Christmas! We've been very blessed and are thankful for all the Lord has given us and done for us. We hope everyone has a wonderful new year -- 2011, here we come!


pauline said...

Oh those are such great pics! I loved them, and I laughed out loud of course too. The first pic (Maeve) looks like I remember baby Fiona at times! Your friend, Maria, takes great pics. What a good idea for the first Christmas gift ... that is a wonderful tradition for your family. Love the fam pic at the very end ... you all look so nice! Yeah, Nuala, that's about how I'd like to show up for Church with my makeup well plastered around my eyes :) hee hee hee ... I guess you'll just hafta direct the church members to your blog to see the awesome makeup job! You sure had a lota missionaries over for tamales! Yum! Good job Zac... the tamale spread looks good! Tee hee hee, it was about time you visited those neighbours ... how funny about the dog ... did you bribe him with a cookie... nice cookies! Your children had a full and fun time for the Christmas holidays ... oh, and the party at the embassy was nice too, incl Santa himself... he did look a bit differently clad ...a litle more fluffy, than the Bulgarian Santa. I like how intently N&B are telling Santa what they'd like ... and M checking him out! The children look so cute, singing their parts in the Christmas program at church ... hee hee hee ... the whole entire Primary: 5 children and 3 adults! It looks great:) good job, learning Silent Night in Bulgarian! What a cute dress Maeve has on ... and N&B looks great all dressed up too. It was quite the busy season for you ... parties, church, etc... I am thinking you are relaxing these days! Thanks for sharing... Love, Mom (Dad too) xox

pauline said...

... take off the "s"

Aislinn said...

Ahahaha! I had a bunch of comments in mind, until I got to the pic of Nuala, wide eyed and covered in makeup, and now I'm laughing too hysterically to remember my other comments, LOL! She sure is different from her mommy, huh? Bwahahaha!

Maeve totally does look like you when you were a baby, F! I am particularly reminded of a pic of you in the little blue dress Auntie Liz (?) gave you, with little white socks pulled up to your fat little knees and cute little shoes, LOL. I really love the pic of her putting the decoration on her head. I can't believe she's nearly ONE! (Ha,ha...;o))

I love the sideways look Bran is giving Nuala in the cookie pic. It's like he wants to make sure she isn't going to snake some cookies while you're taking the pic, LOL. For some reason, I'm thinking he might be the more likely one to do something like that, LOL!

Nuala's pink dress looks so familiar! Awww...I remember M and A wearing it. *sniff, sniff* It looks cute on her...I'm glad she's getting another winter's wearing out of it!

That last Santa is rather dubious looking, isn't he? I can see why Maeve is checking him out, LOL.

What a great idea to wrap the pic of Christ and the story and have it as the "first present of Christmas"! I love that! Maybe we'll do that next year, too.

Glad it was a merry Christmas at the Rollins' house! We love you guys!

Elle Emme said...

Fiona, you and your escapades make me laugh. However, I am genuinely shocked to learn you forgot to bring your camera somewhere. I thought it was permanently attached to your body. ;) Take care.

Tara Milligan said...

I love that first pic of Maeve, she is so gorgeous. All your Christmas activities look so fun, I love the way Nuala is waiting with her hand on her hip while Bran is talking to Santa, so funny. The first present is a super good idea, and your tamales sound way yummy. But seriously, I can't believe you didn't let Nuala wear her makeup to church! Way cute family picture at the bottom!

Mike said...

Merry Christmas!!!