We had a fun Christmas Eve with all of the family last Thursday evening. Jamie and Kelly came late because of other family parties and Melinda didn't get to come at all because she had bronchitis - we missed her. We tried our hand at fondue and decided we need a lot more practice - I over heated the chocolate and the cheese was stringy ... so they didn't look very pretty but they tasted good - and I MISSED the yummy artichoke dip that Da was going to bring. It was an interesting Christmas Eve - every year I work hard to find just the right story or program for our family Christmas Eve and then every year we have the Christmas Story done by the grandkids. Well this year I just plain couldn't think of anything to do program wise, so we decided that we would just get together and eat and visit and then do the reinactment of the nativity.
We waited for Jamie and Kelly to bring their babies so we would have a baby Jesus and then we decided not to do the nativity at all - we had a fun time visiting and eating and thought that would be sufficient. But we missed the nativity --- it isn't what you call spiritual because the kids don't practice it in advance or anything - but it is definitely one of our family traditions... and it was missed. It also is a break in the talking and eating and I missed the chance to stop and take a moment and appreciate the reason for the Season -- the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The evening felt incomplete because we didn't 'do' the spiritual part of it!
Another reason that the evening was incomplete was because we were missing Makae. We did get to see her though - a bunch of the family all headed down to North Salt Lake for a 2 pm visit with her. It was a wonderful chance to hug her and talk to her and watch her get excited over seeing many of the family that she hadn't seen for two months.
We also got to see Makae on the Tuesday before Christmas - her whole group put on a very fun musical program for us - This is Makae singing with the girls at Lifeline. She seems to enjoy the staff and the students and has adjusted to their routine very well. She is learning to make some good decisions with her life right now and she is in our every prayer.
It was so fun watching Shawn and Kristanne's boys lovingly hold their new little cousins. All three of them were so excited to be holding a baby. Of course the babies were the hit of the party with everyone - here we have Ethan and Cade holding Taylie and Brayden. Taylie even looks a little bit like Ethan!
Here's Cade - in his fancy new jammies which he LOVED!! With a sweet Brayden
Taylie and Brayden were held and held and held that whole Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - they had to be exhausted after having to entertain all their aunts and uncles and cousins and gramma's and granpas!!
Jace was really excited to try and hold Brayden. At first I held Jace as he held Brayden but it didn't take me long to realize he did a good job holding the babies. So we sat him on the floor and let him go solo. We had a fun evening with everyone - there is nothing I love more than spending time with my family. It gets a bit BUSY in my little house when all of us are there but there is no cure for that problem - its only going to get worse as the families get bigger. I am still waiting for my kids to buy me a bigger house!! ;-D
But we had a lovely evening and then the next day Ed and I got up early and were on the road to Lehi by 6:45 am so we could be there when Ben and Simon came down the stairs to see what Santa had brought.
This picture of Benjamin is priceless - the look on his face is exactly what Christmas morning is all about. The excitement and thrill of a new train set! One that he could make go all by himself!
this is our own version of Godzilla - as soon as Simon realized he could make his train go foward and back, he had to get in the middle of things - literally!
Here's Ben watching Da as she sets the train back on the track again - I bet Dirk and Da wish they had a nickle for every time they have had to do that in the last week!
Benji got a normal looking train and Simon got the 'front-runner'....it didn't take him long to figure out how to get the little person in the train out and then he discovered he could make the train go on the carpet as well as the track...the rest of the time we were there he was driving his train all over the carpet. We tried to get Ben and Simon interested in their gifts but nothing doing...all they could see was TRAIN!!
After we had spent 45 minutes at Dirk and Da's house we got back in the car and headed to Provo where Kecia had been waiting patiently (???) for us to arrive. She woke up Glenn when we pulled up (he was glad to get to sleep in an extra hour!)
this picture should be very last --- I had been taking pictures of Emma and her trucks - there she was running back and forth in her jammies and her high heels and watching the trucks go = she was sooooo excited. Then I looked over at her mommie... sitting there with her hat and scarf on, her stack of presents in front of her and holding up her new saute pan in HER jammies and with her new high heels on too! Like mother , like daughter!
Note princess Emma's glass slippers - she didn't want to have anything to do with her new princess dresses and jewelry and crowns but she put on her new high heels as she chased back and forth watching the trucks going.
She didn't touch the trucks or the tracks - she just ran back and forth and back and forth saying truck truck truck
Like Ben and Simon - Emma was so excited about her tracks and trucks she was not the least bit interested in the presents we brought or any of the other presents under the tree - she would look for a second and then back to the 'truck, truck, truck'.
This was what was waiting for Emma when she first came into the living room - a whole box full of princess dresses and high heels and crowns and jewelry ... NO THANK YOU, NOT INTERESTED.....TRUCK ......TRUCK.....TRUCK!
Thank you Kecia and Glenn and Dirk and Da for sharing Christmas morning with us. Ed just decided on Christmas eve that he wanted to watch the little ones and see and feel the excitement of Christmas morning. I wasn't too sure about it (after all, I didn't get to open my presents until 11 am when we got back home!!)
Christmas Day was a fantastic day as we got to spend it with the people we love, watching the excitement on their faces as they opened the gifts that we had lovingly picked out to give them. Christmas is such a special time - as we drove down South that morning we saw a cross walk above the freeway where someone had taken cups and created the message in the fence that said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS"
Mauri and Ira and their sweet kids got to our house about 12:30. Grandpa was anxious to give them all rides on the RZR but it was sooooo cold and his hopes of pulling them on their sleighs over behind the church house on the lawn there were dashed because of the ice mountain between the lawn and the parking lot. After they left I got a half an hour nap (which is a good nap for me) and then Shawn and Kristanne came with the three boys. While they were still here Jamie and Kelly and the twinners showed up. We had lots of good food all day long and again, lots of love and laughter. About five pm we followed Shawn and Kris down to Kelly and Terrie's house to see grandpa Merritt - All of Kelly's family were there plus Jeff and Teresa and Skye and Katie Jo - so again, we enjoyed the love and laughter of our wonderful family. Teresa and Jeff added so much fun to the group.
Ed and I were getting ready to leave when the phone rang and it was Chase calling from North Carolina. Kelly put the phone on speaker mode and we all sat around the table for an hour chatting with Elder Nielson. It was great - and it was a marvelous ending to a marvelous day. As he bore his testimony of Jesus and all that Christ did for us I couldn't help but feel an even closer tie to my Savior.
People complain about how commercialized Christmas is but I love it because it gives me a reason to put smiles on the faces of the people I love the very most. Christ is the reason - we ARE celebrating his birth day - Thank you Jesus for inviting us to such a wonderful birthday party!