We had about five Christmas' we were fortunate to celebrate with family. Here are a few pics of our joyous celebrations.
This is one of the hundred attempts to take a Christmas photo of the kids for our Christmas card. This is one of them that didn't make the cut.
A fun Christmas tradition includes the nephews and nieces getting together for Cookie Day with Grandma Karen; this year we hosted the event. Each year it gets more fun as the kids help make the treats.
Alia was too cute; obviously she has learned well to eat the whole cookie and clean her whole plate!
Poor Eli, he had to just sit there and watch.
Hannah had fun being held, and she even got to nibble on some cookies.
Jamil and Hannah supervise Isaac and Alia putting on the finishing touches of a very special cookie.
Grandma Karen and Levi make a good team.
The gang hard at work...
Our first Christmas was with Papa Jim and Naomi; we had a great feast and then lots of fun playing with their dress up stuff.
Later that evening we trekked on over to Aunt Carol and Ken's new (and beautiful) home for the Simmons Christmas. One of the highlights is the Gift Exchange. I was lucky enough to choose a home beer brewing kit! Jason wins the award for giving the most unique gift. Alas, later on in the exchange he stole his own gift from me. Arrgh...it would have been fun to experiment in making beer that I couldn't drink. Fortunately for Jason, Dave was there to pass on his brewery lore, giving him tricks of the trade on making your own beer at home. It's just one of those gifts I never expected to receive...I do love surprises!
Grandma Simmons and the Hallman grandkiddos...
Josh and Levi know how to ham it up!
Sunday morning on Christmas Eve Eve at Anchor, a fancy photo with Salma and Isaiah Sauder.
A Sunday afternoon Christmas photo at Grandma Karen's. Of course hardly anyone is looking at the camera...
We decided that our kids would open Christmas presents in style; no lounging pajamas for us today, only suits and fancy attire!
Ahhh...now it is time for the pajama picture; the day is almost done...what a fun Christmas weekend. And we're not even half way done yet!
Christmas Eve included an early dinner at our home, the Christmas Eve service at Anchor, and then dessert at Amy and Jamil's. Alia baked a birthday cake for Jesus, and all the kids had fun singing Him the birthday song and blowing out the candles. And eating the cake and ice cream, of course.
Once everyone got cleaned up from the cake, it was time to dance! Come on Alia, don't be scared, it's only Emma!
Ahhh...Christmas Eve night, at home, in soft, warm, new jammies; a traditional Christmas Eve present.
It's Christmas morning! Yippeee!
For those of you who are observant - yes, Emma is not wearing the pajamas in which she went to bed...she will change pajamas two or three times in a night. On this particular night she had plenty of new jammies to try on...
These are the skates Emma wore for the photo shoot with Cleo & Dot in November, she can't wait to go skating with her Daddy!
Tara surprised me with a book she made of my blog entries from the last year. It is a beautiful hard cover book that she used with her Creative Memories software. Amazing.
Tara and Emma ooohing and ahhhing over some diamond earrings. Just like last year...
And the long awaiting Celtic Women Christmas Album...now that Christmas is almost over. My timing is not that good...
A whole living room full of toys and books, and what are my kids doing? Playing with the boxes on the kitchen floor, using their imagination! I believe they are riding boats down the river.
After a very late pancake breakfast, we lounged around the house, the guys played with their remote cars, Tara and Emma played a card game, and Eli went down for a little nap. It was a fun way to spend the day.
While everyone played, I enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee while I read through the book Tara made for me. The sun was shining, the kids were laughing, there was gift wrapping everywhere... it was perfect.
Later in the afternoon, Grandma Karen came over for a bit and ended up reading quite a few stories.
Boxing Day is when we celebrate Christmas with the Hallmans. We spent Christmas night at the Lake, and in the morning we feasted on our traditional fare of Monkey-Bread. Yum!
Emma was fascinated by our game of Skip-Bo. Jerm and I hadn't played for quite awhile, it was good to hang out and play.
The Feast-Table gets bigger and more crowded each year!
Levi and Aunt Maria are happy, but Lydia isn't so sure about saying "cheese!"
Each year we make a special drink consisting of vanilla ice cream, lime sherbert, 7-Up, Squirt, and Canada Dry. It's quite the concoction, and this year the kids were eager to help.
With all the presents we had to open, Uncle Jerm and Grandma Rozer had to keep a tight hold on Eli and Lydia, lest they disappear amongst all the gift paper.
Levi likes his Backyardigans guitar.
We had a lot of fun digging the gifts out of the big box that the MacFarlanes sent us!
Papa Ger and Grandma Rozer make quite a pair each Christmas. They are very funny to listen to.
Aunt Shirley is grateful for the homemade calendar Tara made for her. Tara is very creative!
Of course, on Boxing Day Eli was nine months old. And of course, this picture was taken the next day. The twenty-sixth was a bit to crazy for pictures like this...