Prepare yourself. Lots of photos in this post.
#1 - McKinnon Party.
This was a singular Christmas for Greg's family because 4 out of 5 missionaries arrived home this fall. 1 is already engaged and the 5th one is due home in February. All of them sang to us in Spanish for our talent show. It was amazing!
The next round of cousin missionaries leave in a year. And then the next batch includes my oldest. I don't want to think about that yet.
#2 - Carver Party.
Once again we were so happy to celebrate Christmas at my parents' cabin. The effects of my Dad's tumor have been making him weak lately. So I was thrilled to see him up and about with the grandchildren. Every additional year with him is a tremendous blessing. Dylan Thomas' prose has never been so painfully poignant to me than it has the past three years. I'll never be ready to let my Dad go.
#3 - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Our Christmas was heavenly! Lots of happiness and fun.
Next to my nativity set from my time in Jerusalem - this little guy is my favorite Christmas decoration. He's a smoker my brother brought me from his LDS mission in Germany. The crafted detail of his backpack is exquisite - esp. the flowers. I hoard the two boxes of incense that came with him. We only light 1 per year - and always on Christmas morning. I love love love him!
Christmas Eve dinner with our first attempt at Christmas Crackers. They didn't go as planned. One child got scared by the explosion and cried. Another child couldn't find their treat in the resulting mess and cried. Another child thought the whole thing was stupid and the fourth one was indifferent.
We're not doing them again.
The rest of the night went better - jammies, our nativity play and making cookies for Santa Claus.
My husband really knows me well when it comes to my stocking... :)
The boys and I did our traditional puzzle. We do this every year - and it usually stretches out over a few days. This one took 20 minutes. Yes, we're THAT good. It was also only 100 pieces :)
We went sledding with the kids' new ski masks.
We made creme brulee.
And then everyone crashed with me in my bed around 8:00 pm.
I miss Christmas already.