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More Christmas 2014

This was our Christmas "mantle" and stocking/gift center this year. . .tucked in our little office space in our living room -- ha!  Again, we didn't have a tree and I really didn't miss it all that much.  I wouldn't want to go *every* year without one because the ornaments are so special to me but for this year, this was enough.

 These were some of the pictures of Marie's village this year.  She has "inherited" the pieces I have always had and tries to add to it every year.  She takes a lot of time setting it all up and making sure it's turned on every night.  This year it was in three different places in our living room!
This was our living room all lit up at night. . .Tom and Marie built a table to go behind the sofa and it's perfect!  The new pieces she got (library & well from Grandpa Foster and chocolate shop from Grandma Wolf) are on the buffet behind me in this picture).

I took a bunch of pictures of our LR one night and that drove Frederick nuts for some reason.  I just really liked our cozy space this year :)  This is also a way to share it with our Ohio family!

I did get lights outside this year, too, thanks to my Dad!!  Those stayed on until January 1st :)

The village will stay out until the end of January, probably, but all "Santa" and nativity stuff is put away. . .it's great having kids old enough to help with this stuff!!!

 Gotta figure out the collage thing. . .here are some special pictures of our family Christmas -- always the Sunday before Christmas when we will be out of town on the 24th-25th.

We went to church, then out to eat (our favorite -- El Tap) and then home for gifts.  Margaret felt the need to change out of her Christmas dress first :)

My previous post pretty much details most of this stuff. . .

Notice Frederick's annoyance of another picture here. . . .

Our first night in Ohio we went to a Christmas concert and then my mom took us out to eat.  This is such a special picture to me. . .my brother and sister-in-law are/were in from Florida and my mom with all my kiddos. . .a smile on *everyone's* face -- a Christmas Miracle!!!

Yep, need to figure out this collage thing -- ha.

My sister's beautiful tree.

Christmas Eve 2014
 Cousins picture!!!  Always very important to me. . .these are the 6 most important children in my life.

 My mom and the 3 most important children in her life.  I think the three that come with us are pretty important to her too :)

My beautiful sister and our dad. . .good times together.

Uncle Brad and Aunt Kristin are always so generous with our children. . .
 Always a favorite gift. . .an annual popcorn bucket (you can fill it up for $3.75 each time you go to the movies during the year) and movie gift cards!!

These two. . .there are no words.  They are three months apart and I babysat AVJ for the first 4 years of her life. . .they are so special to me.
They have always been "Miss Marie #1 and Miss Marie #2".
My sister. . .by God's perfect design.

And then. . .it was Christmas Day!!!

The Bells had a beautiful tree too so the only thing we really missed out on was the set-up and tear-down of the trees -- ha!
Santa gits!

We do 3 Santa gifts/kid.  These aren't usually "big" things. . .when they were little it was one game, one book, one toy but now it's just little things that they might want but probably wouldn't purchase with their own money (not needs).

Santa himself this year :)

Fred opening his pancake mix :)  He knows he's getting b'fast now!

It was quite a morning!!!  It's nice that they are older now. . .we get up leisurely (I think the last of us stumbled downstairs around 8:30) and open one-at-a-time so we can appreciate everyone's goodies.  After this marathon, we made a big breakfast for Grandpa Fred (one of his gifts was a box of Cracker Barrel pancake mix) and then spent the afternoon enjoying one another's company, playing games, and preparing for our evening meal with Grandma Wolf and Grandpa Foster and Uncle Brad & Aunt Kristin.  My MIL is the *best* -- she always, always includes my family in *everything*.  (And on that same note, my sister includes my in-laws too. . .they just bowed out this year because Aunt Kathy was in from Utah and they were soaking up time with her.)

Ready for Christmas dinner

Marie, Thomas, Margaret and I made the goodies on the right

Appetizers -- you could fill up just on this stuff!!!

 Grateful to all be together -- not so pumped about another picture.  Oh well.

An abundance of food for sure!!!  My mom brought the Honeybaked ham and 4 side dishes (from QVC no less -- they were delicious!) and Thomas made "Grandma's potatoes".  Nancy had green beans, sweet potatoes, lots of pies (apple, pumpkin, peanutbutter) and did all the appetizers.  My dad usually supplies the wine :)  It really is a wonderful, family, group effort!

More gifts. . .can you believe it?!?  Really. . .

My dad brought over his gifts for my kids (shoes and athletic wear that they had picked out plus some travel mugs and comforters for the girls).

The kids got Grandpa Foster an immersion blender because there's a funny story about that. . .he pulverized some chili with ours last time he was down here.  Hopefully he'll use his for things like smoothies. . .

It's a Keurig!!

 My mom had purchased these additional Christmas Day gifts for my kids. . .Air something-or-others. . .they really like them.  They are mostly fast-paced memory games -- perfect for the car!

Dessert time. . .the holiday food was overwhelming for my new Fitbit -- ha!
 Love this picture

We capped off the night with a rousing game of Apples to Apples after my mom, brother, and SIL left (unfortunately, none of them felt very well that evening. . .and all ended up sick by the end of the week).

I don't think I've ever written a post this long (it took me 2 hours!!!) or downloaded as many pictures either.  This is definitely a journal entry for my and my family to look back on and reflect on our many blessings.  We are fortunate and this is not meant to be anything other than a documentation of God's infinite grace in our lives.

~ Jenni


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