Advent (and the Nutcracker) in Wisconsin

Because Christy’s family lives in Wisconsin, we booked a light schedule in that area during the Advent and Christmas season, an moved into her mom’s farmhouse for six weeks. It was a fun change to the normal routine, since Christmas music was now in the mix, Christmas decorations were in all the churches, and the excitement of the season was in the air. If you don’t get excited about Christmas, have seven children and enjoy the season through their eyes. Grin!

Of course, there are always concerts and church services to set up for. Go team!

(Because of the weather, commuting distance, and the necessity of getting overnight accommodations, Steve took only a couple girls to some of the events–a rare Travel Bags split.)

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And sometimes there are beautiful old friends to hug!

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And inevitably there are empty grocery store aisles to dance in as we make our way back to Grandma’s farm after a late concert.

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One of the enjoyable aspects of being on the farm for six weeks was taking off through the fields (or on the road) and visiting Christy’s grandparents.

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Here Marissa and her great grandmother are looking at photos and old calling cards from Great Grandpa’s family. We had a fun discovery of a family look-alike from generations before. Blood, love, and faith tie our family together, but it’s special to have these other memories, moments, and discoveries to strengthen the bond.

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Christy’s mother launched the Christmas season by treating all the nearby ladies in the family to The Nutcracker at the Meyer Theatre in Green Bay.

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It was a beautiful evening!

Elijah spent a day at “real school” with his 2nd grade cousin Natalie, and his mama didn’t get a single picture. She did, however, get this great quote:

“There was a girl there who was giggling at me and another girl said the giggling girl had a crush on me.

I said, ‘What’s a crush?’ and the other girl said it means she likes me and that I should run.

I was frightened.”

And that, my friends, is reason enough to uproot your entire family and never stay in one place for more than two weeks. Wink. Except we’re not joking…much.

Due to a snowstorm the three little ones and Christy borrowed some PJs and stayed overnight after the big school day/crush-run event. Here Rebecca is teaching her little cousin Samantha a song.

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When we made it back up north, we headed on over to Great Grandma and Grandpa’s to decorate for Christmas. It looks like Jack Frost got there before we did.

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The tree we decorated was found during a six hour tree-gathering event on the farm hills, which involved a fun uncle, no parents or small children, sleds, a dog, hot cocoa, and crazy antics none of our teens will tell us about. There are no pictures for obvious reasons—stealth carries no camera.

We decorated.

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Great Grandma supervised.

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And the end result:

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Everybody had a great time.

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Steve headed to Nashville for a week of vocal recording sessions with the great Phil Naish for the third Stephen Bautista CD. He drove straight back through the night to arrive in time to see Rebecca and Elijah in the Christmas program at their grandma’s church.

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Next was a Christmas surprise from the Green Bay aunt and uncle.

For the older four…

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tickets to see the Hobbit. Woo hoo!

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Don’t let Elisabeth’s total lack of emotiveness fool you. She was bursting with excitement!, right, Bean?

For the next two…

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A trip to Build-a-Bear with their cousins for a manly bear for Elijah…

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and a freakishly huge, take-up-all-the-space-in-the-trailer pony for Becca. Ha ha!

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Have I introduced you to my niece, the human pretzel? That’s her in the background.

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And little Ellie, well, she got to make a new friend. When you’re knee-high to a grasshopper (or a store mannequin), you don’t notice (or care) that your new friend has no head.

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Stay tuned for Christmas.

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