Thursday, December 24, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

Me in front of a giant the fog.

For the last two years  Christmas time has been either difficult or sad for us. In 2007, we were still settling in our new home and environment and it seems as if we were always sick. There were still boxes stacked around the house, in the hallways and bedrooms. It seemed as though every virus that existed that year found its way into our home and not for just a day or two, but for a week or more at a time.  We were sick for Christmas and the New Year.

Last year, we were shaken by the sudden death or our koumbaro and spent the month tending to our koumbara along with funeral/memorial services. The children were very sick and the kitchen flooded. It seemed like such an effort to feel good.  Our children were the reason that we celebrated, which is why I think children are so wonderful. They bring us joy when times are less than joyful.

So now, we're spending our third Christmas season in Greece and I have to admit, it's been great. Sure, we had a one year memorial for our koumbaro, but time heals and some of the sadness has lifted.
Our children are so excited and I'm trying to keep them that way because Christmas is magical and every child has the right to experience this magic. We've been watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas stories, listening to Christmas music and attending Christmas events when we have the chance. We're having fun and it feels great. There's nothing more rewarding than to watch the faces of my children light up with excitement , especially now.

Another reason  that I  feel great this year is because I'm surrounded by generous and caring people. On daily basis,  my friends & family give me plenty of reasons to be thankful for their company, support and smiles. Whether near or far each person is always in my heart and I try my best to make sure that they know how much I value their presence in my life because without each one of them I wouldn't be whole. Usually, I'm the person that runs to help others but there was a time this year in which I needed support and my friends and family wouldn't let me fall, I was held up when I felt I couldn't stand on my own. I feel that there are no words adequate enough to describe the extent of my gratitude but I hope by reading this that they know how thankful I am.

I appreciate everyone in my life and this includes my blog readers friends.Thank you for inspiring me to keep babbling on this blog, I always look forward to your comments and again, I appreciate your interest in my musings & photos.
 In the spirit of the holiday, I want to share a few more special moments we've enjoyed this season. We really have been enjoying ourselves!

Alexandra & I 
Izabella took this photo, she's getting really good with the camera!

Izabella stuck in Santa's sack

This Christmas ship was beautiful but a lot of the lights weren't lit...

and Foti tried to figure out how he could fix it. 

Alexandra does a little dance while trying on all of the stockings & hats while Gigi strikes a pose for the photo. 

Our Christmas tree 

A train at Oneiropouli, Drama. 

We enjoyed a Karagiozi puppet show for the holidays. 

Foti is not only a star in my life but he was a star in his school Christmas program.

Little angels waiting to perform.

Foti's performance

Foti receives a gift from a noticeably "fake" Santa. He received a "girl" gift and was traumatized for the rest of the night. He proclaimed, "That's it! I'm sick of fake Santas...I want the real one!" I can't say I blame him for feeling shafted.

Izabella & Gigi

My little munchkins pose for yet another Christmas photo. They're great sports!

And finally, me...enjoying the holidays.

A few Christmas Quotes:

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  ~Charles Dickens

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...

~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. 

 ~Carol Nelson


Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα!




  2. This is an awesome post. Great photos by an experienced photographer like you Cheryl. Your family is lovable. We all love you. Nicolaides family. Merry Christmas to al of you.

  3. Merry Christmas & Xponia Polla from my family to yours!

  4. i really hope that this christmas is memorable for you - wishing you all the happiness in the world!

  5. Such beautifully expressed sentiments Cheryl, and so thoughtful. Isn't it lovely that you have an opportunity to document the children's wonderful expressions with your talent in photography skills. Thank you for sharing your family's life with all your grateful readers.
    I send warm wishes of Christmas cheer to you all (GiGi too) and hope that your holiday season brings all that you wish for.
    Merry Christmas my dear!

  6. Merry Christams and a very Happy New year. Thanks for a glimpse into your life.

  7. @ ΔΥΣΠΙΣΤΟΣ - Thank you so much! Again, I wish you the same! :) I hope that you've enjoyed Christmas eve...and I'm glad to have "met" you this year.

    @ Phivos - What can I say? You've humbled me with your wonderful words...again. I'm so grateful for your friendship and my family feels the same about you & your family-we love & adore all of you. We're so glad to have met you & Popi! Merry, Merry Christmas!!
    Hugs & kisses from Thessaloniki!

    @ Peter - Efxaristo poli!! We send warm wishes your way and hope that your holiday is memorable and enjoyable. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

    @ Maria - Thank you. I can say the same for you:) You deserve all the happiness in the world, you're such a wonderful-caring person and your family is amazing. We can't wait to spend time with you again. Have a Merry Christmas!!

    @ Biddy - Thank you for being so kind, I truly appreciate your comments and I do consider you a friend. It is wonderful that I am able to document special moments with my children, I don't think I could manage life without a camera. They will have so much to look at one day and I'm hoping they'll appreciate the documentation of their lives.
    You're welcome, I enjoy sharing our lives with all of you. My friends and I always joke about the blog being a polished version of what goes on around here and have joked about my own reality series...if only I could handle having cameras on us day and night. :P
    Gigi is having a wonderful holiday so far as she's getting spoiled by Yia Yia's attention.
    I hope that you're having a Merry Christmas and have a wonderful, prosperous and healthy New Year!

    @ constance - You're very welcome-I'm glad that you enjoy visiting us here. AND... Thank you for the warm wishes! I wish the same to you and your family. I hear it's a white Christmas in Wisconsin...lucky you. I miss it!
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  8. Hi Cheryl,
    Merry Christmas to you and your family! Lovely pictures and a great post, happy to hear that your holiday season is going better than the previous two and that you are able to enjoy it.
    Take care,

  9. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family with good health above all. Hope that all your future Christmases will be even better.

  10. Feliz Navidad Cheryl,

    Your Christmas blog inspired me, as I sit here in Tripolis, in St Basil's square. Yes, the year has been filled with sadness, (losing my mother while I am her, losing my maiden aunt on Christmas Day back home, husband still in hospital, but there are moments filled with joy, for in the Orthodox tradition, joy accompanies sorrow. Today, the Roma children came to the cathedral, I encouraged them to go in for antidorn, the council lady gave them money and asked them why they didi not go on the Sunday school trip, which her daughter, a politeckni kathegetria organizes. The priest came them loaves of artous, he told them he would give them money late, asked them how much they made singing kalanda, how their father is. So at least not everyone treats these children badly.
    As bad as it has been, people have been kind and helpful to me,too. Perhaps the meaning that the Christchild brings.
    So keep photographing your beautiful family, have a safe healthy year, and to you and yours.
    Will your children celebrate Three Kings Day? It is big in the Puerto Rican communities where I teach, i always did a lesson around it. Make lots of tamales and pernil!

  11. Wow! Your family is so beautiful! It looks like Christmas was very busy this year. :D Your kids are too cute. Kala xristougena kai xronia pola!

  12. @ Angela - Thank you so much. I hope that you had a nice Christmas:)
    Have a Happy New Year!

    @ Ivy - Hronia Polla! I hope so too!
    Wishing you the best in 2010!!

    @ Maria - Thank you for your kind words. It sounds like you've really had your share of sorrow. I hope that your strength endures so that you remain healthy in order to cope and support others. I hope that your husband doesn't have to stay in the hospital long. It has to be difficult for you.
    I'm glad that you've taken comfort at your church and in the faces of children. When things seem to be wrong, there's always a glimmer of hope to keep us going and I'm glad that you've been able to realize them. My thoughts are with you and I hope that things get better soon, because they do get better.

    We don't celebrate Three Kings Day in our home because unfortunately, we can only afford to recognize our 2 prominent cultures, American and Greek. Our children receive gifts from us and family on Christmas...then on New Year's Day from Agios Vasilis/Santa. Also, Foti's name day is on Jan. 6th and Izabella's birthday on Jan. 8th...hence gift overload! :)
    But, I do teach my children about the Puerto Rican culture and our relevant holidays. We always have Puerto Rican rice on the table Christmas day and it's their favorite. And, I make pernil al horno & other favorites throughout the year. Thank you for asking and acknowledging my Puerto Rican heritage. :)
    I wish you the best in 2010!

    @ Irene - Thank you so much for your compliments Irene. Have a Happy, Happy New Year!