Collin’s parents have arrived, the kids and I are officially on Christmas Break from homeschool and we are LOVING this week! I can’t wait to bake cookies, decorate gingerbread houses with cousins, watch a final few Christmas movies and basically squeeze every last little drop of Christmas out of this week. Can you believe we are almost there? To Christmas Eve and Christmas morning? I’m so excited and SO happy that Collin’s parents will be here this year. We’ve never had Christmas company before. I like it and I hope it becomes a fairly regular tradition for them.
MaMa taught Clara Beth to crochet this afternoon. My babies are having so much fun with their grandparents and have asked them about 348 times to move to SC.
Sunday evening a couple of weeks ago, Collin, the kids and I were out at the mall doing some shopping. We ran into our friends Brandon and Jencey and Jencey asked if we would be doing Santa photos this year. We told her that we had no plans to, but that if she could get a Santa together we would come up with some time to photograph her boys with him. Well, after A LOT of schedule-juggling we were able to free up a couple of hours last Friday for Santa photos at The Claussen House. Jencey invited her friends and on Thursday afternoon we sent out an email inviting our clients to make an appointment to come out and meet Santa at The Claussen House the following day. It was very last minute and we honestly didn’t think that many people would be able to show. We were wrong! We had appointments coming in back to back for two hours to meet the most FABULOUS Santa I have ever seen. Seriously, I’m pretty sure this guy is the real deal. He was SUPER with the kids…he knew how to hold babies…he worked hard to gain the affection of those who were not huge fans of him…I loved him.
Because of the limited amount of time that we had, we were not able to open this event up to the public. We did not share it here on the blog or on Facebook. We only extended invitations through our email list. We don’t do this often, but occasionally it will happen, so I encourage you to make sure you are on the email list so you can be included in events such as this one!
Have you heard of World Vision? I hadn’t until we received a catalog in the mail a little over a month ago. We have all been mesmerized by this catalog. It sits on our coffee table in the den and all four of us thumb through it every day. It’s filled with amazing gift ideas. Things like a goat and two chickens for $100. Stocking a fish pond and teaching a village to fish for $200. Digging a deep water well and providing life saving CLEAN water for an entire village for $13,000. Obviously, that’s a pretty hefty price, but there are also easily obtainable gifts such as a pair of chickens for $25 or three ducks for $18. These animals go to people in third world countries and are used to feed the people as well as provide a source of income. Think about it. For $100 you can provide a family with a goat and two chickens. A goat that will provide milk that you can drink as well as the opportunity to make yogurt and cheese. Chickens that will provide eggs to eat and sell. And World Vision educates the recipients of the animals in how to raise them and take care of them. There are little testimonials written throughout the catalog, and one in particular really caught my eye. It basically said that this one family decided to give a gift to Jesus every Christmas. After all, it’s His birthday. This family gives Jesus a birthday gift by selecting something(s) from World Vision every year.
We knew we wanted to do something with this organization, but we didn’t know what. And then the Santa thing happened. Together with Jencey, we decided on a price to charge for a digital file of Santa photos and use the money to benefit World Vision in some way. We had no idea what we would end up with, but we decided that this year, that would be the organization that we helped. Collin and I had planned to give a gift to World Vision all along, but now we were SO Excited at the opportunity to make it much bigger with the help of Santa and a bunch of cute little babies and kids who wanted to meet him. AND a family who offered up their home as the perfect spot for this meeting to take place.
The sessions went so well. Brandon and Jencey’s home provided the perfect backdrop for the sessions. We saw some kids who were happy and excited to see the big guy in the red suit, others who were utterly amazed that he was actually here, and of course, those who were NOT fans at all and gave the cutest little pouty expressions or all out cries of disdain. Each reaction was fun and sweet and I love the photos that we ended up with.
In lieu of a studio Christmas card this year we are adding what we would have spent to the donation to World Vision. We definitely didn’t plan to do this all along…it’s just that Christmas has slipped up on us pretty fast this year, and quite frankly we didn’t plan well enough to get a card out. That, combined with the money raised at The Claussen House has provided enough money to buy a farm through World Vision! Because of the help we received from YOU, ten families will be provided with 28 farm animals to help save them from hunger and provide income. Collin and I are so thankful to you for helping us with this, and we are already looking forward to what can be done next year.
Be sure to find World Vision on Facebook and check out the MANY ways that you can help. There are photos and videos full of testimonials that show you how lives have been changed!
Thank you again to all who participated in this last minute event! And thank you, Brandon and Jencey, for offering up your beautiful home! I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting for Santa!