Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas 2014 - A Time to Remember

Christmas 2014
Time is passing.  Quickly.  Only one of our four children asked for toys this year.  The others wanted teenage-y stuff.  GAH!

This Christmas was extra special because my brother and his family drove out from Montana to celebrate with us - a first since we've lived in Oregon.  It was very special to celebrate the holidays with them.

On Christmas Eve my entire extended family on my Mom and Terry's side met at Champoeg State Park and did family photos - times TWENTY NINE people!!!!  We actually got every grandchild to the photo session and even managed to get a few shots where everyone was in focus and looking at the camera at the same time.  It was a Christmas miracle.

After the pictures, we headed back to our house and our neighbors joined us for a potluck dinner. After dinner the cousins acted out the nativity story while Grandpa Terry read it out-loud from the Bible.  It was pretty darling.
No room in the inn 
Angels telling the good news
When the skit was finished we gathered in a circle in the family room, illuminated by the light of the Christmas tree.  Each person held an unlit candle.  Michael lit his candle and said something he was thankful for in 2014.  Then he lit the candle of the person sitting next to him.  Around the room we went - filling it with light, love and thankful spirits.  My mom was the last person to share. When she was done, we sang Silent Night then quietly blew out our candles.  It was a holy moment.

Before everyone dispersed, we moved our entire group out to walk around the neighborhood and look at the Christmas lights.  Other families were out doing the same thing and it was so fun and festive.

 After our guests left our kids pitched in and and helped clean and prep the house for another fun gathering on Christmas day. Once everything was done, the kids started hounding us for their Christmas jammies. Delivered every year by "The Elves," new pajamas have become an annual tradition.  The girls waffle back and forth between wanting to match and wanting to be their own individual.  This year the Elves delivered stylized jammies and the girls were thrilled.

Christmas morning the kids are not allowed to come downstairs until a designated time that involves at least some level of sunlight.  They come downstairs to find gifts underneath the tree and stockings that are full.  I always make them pose for pictures too.
my babies
Usually we read the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible before we open gifts, but this year we tried something new.  Since we had just read Jesus' birth story the night before, we each went around the room and said one way following and knowing Jesus had changed our lives in 2014.  It was really special to hear what each person shared.  When we were done we prayed together, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, and then started opening gifts.  Even the dog gets presents and she's smart enough to know to expect them. She sits like an eager toddler by the place where we set her gifts, looking expectantly for her turn to come.  It's pretty cute.
Dusty with her new toy
Later that day our home filled with more family.  My Dad and his wife Marcy drove over from Bend.  Shane, Quenby and their girls migrated to our house to stay for the next few days.  We shared a giant meal, took a walk, did family photos, and hung out.  I kind of wanted the day to last forever.
group shot
The holidays can create so much angst that every thing, every relationship, every gift needs to be perfect.  But no holiday ever goes exactly as planned and those kind of expectations are next to impossible to live up to.  This Christmas wasn't "perfect" but it was pretty close.  It's definitely one to remember for years to come.

Merry Christmas.

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