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!!!
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 :)
previous post pretty much details most of this stuff. . .
Notice Frederick's annoyance of another picture here. . . .
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!
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!!!|
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!!|
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.