Christmas at The Ruff House

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All hail to the days that merit more praise

Than all the rest of the year… John Playford

Merry Christmas and happy new year from the land of many children.  I thought this year would not be a very cheerful Christmas for us. My mother and sister are far away. It has not been the easiest of years for me personally. The landscape of my side of the family has changed quite a bit this year.  I lost my last living grandparent and the Christmas traditions that have long endured through childhood into having my own children are completely gone now.  I have felt a little lost and sad. I have also felt like a failure in the category of faithful Christian mother helping point my children’s hearts to the meaning of the season. We had so much to do in the first half of December, so many parties, celebrations and end-of-the-year school work.  Advent pretty much didn’t happen. I’ve been feeling so much pressure about how to spend the first part of December. On one hand it is wonderful to celebrate and be with friends, at no other time of the year are there so many opportunities to see people and to make merry. I feel these things are precious and should be participated in. It is a treasure to “drive the cold winter away” by the fireside of loved ones. On the other hand I know there is great value in trying to be quiet and restful, to shun the flurry and focus on the Lord.  But for this year I feel like I blinked and it all went by. And I had felt like a failure. However, we have had such a beautiful, special Christmas. We’ve spent lots of time with friends and loved ones leading up to the day and for the 12 days of Christmas we have been quiet and restful and have focused on our family and Jesus. It has been so pleasant, we may do it this way every year! The kids said they’ve never had a better Christmas. They all have acted extremely content with what they were given and how our time has been spent.  They’ve been so enjoyable and I’ll be very sad to see this Christmas go.  On Christmas morning we had our usual morning of singing and a visit with Santa.  Then Christmas evening was spent with our very dear friends on their lovely and, I firmly believe, magical farm!  It was every child’s dream come true.  To make merry with goats and sheep and chickens.  To run through meadows and feed animals apples from your hand.  To be served a flaming pudding and have personalized Christmas crackers.  To gather round a beautiful piano and sing songs that stir even the smallest child’s heart (as she wildly runs around the room tooting on a party blower).  It was beautiful and blessed.  It was a balm to my wandering Christmas soul!  Thank you Lanier and Philip for a Christmas our children will remember when they are old and grey.  This Christmas has been one of joy and peace, and we are very grateful.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you our dear friends and loved ones!

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Elizabeth was very taken with Santa this year.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus

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Mamie and Mima got to celebrate with us via Facetime

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Joshua was posing like Grumpy Cat, his favorite present this year

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Boys in Elf on the Shelf pjs

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Christmas at the Ruff House

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Christmas sisters

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Christmas in an Antebellum kitchen

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“Lulu” the kitty, that belonged to Clara in the morning and Elizabeth by the evening…

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Mrs. Lanier made the most beautiful crackers

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Puck ended up pinning Joshua into a wall with his head, {if you know Puck and Joshua it makes it doubly funny}

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Lilibet may or may not have gone a little crazy in that barn

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Louisa May is in love with Diana

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Gangsta shepherdess {Rob found her in the sheep stall bossing all the sheep around…}

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#welliesandresses

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Vivian our dear friend was able to join us

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the FLAMING pudding

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Thankfully none of my children caught on fire…again

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The gentlemen retired for the evening to read vintage Peanuts books

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Then Elizabeth Jane challenged Mr. Philip in chess

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She finally decided that she had won and then promptly swept all the pieces off the table…

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The scene looks so beautiful here as we belt out a song request from Andrew, “Grandma got run over by a reindeer”

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A truly lovely Christmas

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