A walk through thirteen Ljubomir Christmases

Looking through the Christmas album, I find these tell a pretty amazing story. We met at Christmas time 2006, and one of our first dates was to Mychael’s work Christmas party.

This year will be thirteen Christmases together, and it’s been a blessed life, and one we both think of as undeserved.

It’s interesting to watch it chronologically, and see the family grow.

Our fist Army Christmas ball. Mychael is “out to here” with Kenna.

The following year, Kenna starts a tradition in our family. Suspicion of the big guy in red.

That year, Mychael worked Christmas eve (hence the nursing uniform) and we opened presents and went to church when she go home.

Chrnistmas morning church

Christoipher’s first serious hunting knife

The following year, we moved to a new duty station, and Santa had changed his entire look

It was also the year of the pointiest tree ever

Kenna crashes after opening presents

Baking Christmas cookies

One year, I came home from Afghanistan during R&R and we got to go to a hotel (alone) and go see Austin Ballets “The Nutcracker”

Salado Christmas Tree Farm. Christopher had a huge bandage on his finger from the neighbors dog who bit him.

David shows up, and this is one of my favorite pictures of him. Salado closed, so we tried Silo Tree Farm

And Christopher took over as the guy who cuts down the tree

That was the year we bought the big house that we lived in for almost seven years

Kenna did not understand what was in this box, but once I built the doll house she loved it

I started taking pictures of Mychael hanging tree lights

Snapped this one during a photo shoot for Christmas cards in the woods behind the house

You can see me in the background trying to hold up David

Aleksandar appears for the first time, only three months old

And it was out first Orthodox Christmas

Another Christmas ball, San Antonio

We had temporary duty for those two years, so we had to find a different tree farm, again

More of the tree light elf

Gratuitous picture of David “helping” me tie the tree down, another year.

I tried to recreate the magic of the cowboy hat David picture with Aleks, but this one is just not as good

Aleks takes suspicion of Santa to a new level, this time its just pure terror

Super cool filter for fireplace photo, another year

David–first gun that actually shoots a projectile (darts)

During the intermission at their sisters Nutcracker debut as a reindeer

And now, here we are, about a week out from Christmas number thirteen.

Aleksandar, the youngest boy, is still very suspicious of Santa.

…very suspicious.

David, has reached a level of not being so “anti-help” and actually gets some things done when I need him to.

In order to jam it into our temporary arrangement, the tree is much smaller.

The Montana sky is more breath taking than I imagined even in my dreams.

And my wife is still my dream girl.

Here’s to hoping all our readers have blessed Christmas season, and if we don’t see you on Christmas day–Hristos Se Rodi!

To finish off as we started this post, with another work Christmas party, what a difference a few years makes.

 

 

 

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Getting it ready, slowly

I can’t remember the last time it took me this long to get the lights up. It’s usually something I do Thanksgiving weekend. Here it is December 8th, and I just got it done. Also, we are going a little subdued this year, so it wasn’t even that hard.

If I had a taller ladder and money for WAY more lights, it would be lit up Clark Griswold style.

I had a little help from the blonde kid that lives with us:

And the little tree I cut down on the ranch had to be trimmed even smaller to fit on the TV stand. But I think it still looks pretty good:

Since the Orthodox Nativity Fast is a little longer than the western Advent season, we started using this book from Elissa Bjelitich. It is an Orthodox children’s survey of the relevant scriptures, to be read daily. It brings you to an understanding of how each story fortells, in some way of the coming of the Christ child. As an adult Christian, the stories are not new to me. But the format is great and I must admit to finding a little vicarious living through my children, for whom these stories are mostly new, is fun. There is a question and answer section at the end of each story (only my 9 year old really engages in that part) and it comes with a tin of ornaments–each one corresponding to the story you just read. Mychael bought this little tree to hang them on.

Mychael and I hope all our readers are slowing down to enjoy the season.

Edit: I just came across this slick video that Montana Shed Center made of the delivery and assembly of my barn a few months ago. They  even came back and took some aerial footage so you can see our horses, donkey and some of our vehicles.

Christmas drawing near

Scott has wanted to cut down a Christmas tree on his own property for pretty much his whole adult life, and this year, he finally got to do it.

And I am pretty sure this is going to be a family tradition that he will never let go. We have thousands of trees on the ranch.

As things cool down, we are starting to feel like we actually live in a place that has seasons.

And we are having to stay stocked up on wood, in case we have an unscheduled power outage.

We’ve sort of settled in on what is going to be our religious routine. There is an OCA (Orthodox Church in America) parish in Bozeman, and they are a thriving community with a lot of children across a very wide age range. We also have several friends who worship there. But we are not willing to give up on our Serbian culture, and the ancient ethnic manifestation of our faith in Christ, which is celebrated in full at the Butte Serbian congregation. The OCA is on the Gregorian calendar (which means they celebrate Christmas and so forth on the same days as everyone in the west) and the Serbs are on the Julian calendar. This is actually going to make it convenient, because we will celebrate one Christmas with our Bozeman friends, and then celebrate “Serbian Christmas” two weeks later, with all the cultural aspects represented. Here is our oldest posing for a picture with Fr. David of Saint Anthony’s in Bozeman. The picture is for her online Orthodox religious class.

The grocery store here is great. They even let you suggest things that aren’t normally carried, and they will order it for you. We got sweet soy sauce that way.

Scott has been growing out his beard and wonders if it is time to trim it yet.

My new favorite thing is playing with it an burying my face in it. I think it should go a little longer. It has red from his Irish side and a little grey which drives me crazy.

And finally, we got a much needed “date night” which meant going to our friends house for dinner and coffee.

We love it here. We have not fully decorated the barn and the tree, but as soon as we do, we will put it up. Take care.