Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Last Christmas I somewhat morosely realized that it was our last "normal" Christmas before our family changed and Rebekah left for college. And though she would come home for the actual holiday, it would be for just a visit. But Rebekah's Christmas break was three full weeks...much longer than I was expecting. So in reality rather than a visit, it just felt like she was home. I tell you what, having all six of us under the same roof for that amount of time was the highlight of Christmas for me. (Probably because now I am somewhat morosely realizing that next Christmas she won't be here even for a visit...just a skype session from wherever she is serving her LDS mission.)

The traditional Christmas jammies and sleeping under the tree...

On the 23rd we had our traditional party and nativity recreation with Bryan's side of the family. Little Samuel Bryan (Kevin and Kari's newest) was born just before Thanksgiving and made the sweetest little baby Jesus. 
And then of course we all thought it was so cute that every single one of us had to get a picture....or ten. (Rebekah was the smart one that got a picture of all the wannabe photographers.)

And then the actual nativity which also included Lilian as Mary, Brandon as a wiseman (with apparent Rastafarian leanings...what's with that hat?) and Julianne as the narrator. Carol convinced all the grandkids to take one last picture, even the older ones who opted out of the nativity this year. The only one missing is Jordan who is on a mission in Indiana.
Have you ever seen such excitement over a jar of nutella? When her grandparents called to ask for Christmas shopping suggestions, I read them Lilian's list...on which was "my very own nutella." Lynn thought it was so funny that along with the stuffed Olaf, he included the nutella.

And as for Brandon...his grandparents decided that being the stuntman that he is and with his amazing sense of balance he'd be the perfect candidate for a unicycle. He and his cousin Aaron (who also got one) spent the next few hours in the basement getting the feel for it. My guess is they'll both be unicycling around all summer long.

On Christmas Eve Bryan and I took the kids to St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Salt Lake City for their Christmas mass. At 10:30 there was caroling and then the actual mass started at 11:00. As one who would be happy if Christmas was on Sunday every year, I thoroughly enjoyed the religious services that lead us through midnight and officially brought in Christmas. Along with the caroling there was plenty of music with a choir, organ, brass and drums. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" was especially memorable, also Handel's "For Unto Us" from the Messiah. Brandon and Lilian didn't make it through, falling asleep on the bench.

We didn't get home until after 1:00AM...but that meant that the kids didn't really wake up till around 10:00 to see what Santa brought. And we woke to find a white Christmas! Considering the temps had been in the low 60s just a week earlier, this was delightful! Snow and sleeping in? It was a Christmas miracle!

The most important thing on Lilian's Christmas list was long silk gloves...heaven knows why. But it was the first thing she would mention when anyone asked what she was hoping Santa would bring her for Christmas. Luckily Santa was able to find a pair for her....she was thrilled, as you can see.

While we had nowhere to be on Christmas Day, we did have a few sets of visitors....Bryan's parents for a few hours in the afternoon and then my parents for Christmas dinner.

On the 27th we attended a Christmas party for my side of the family. This year we decided that we'd have a theme...everyone was to get a book and a favorite treat. For a family that enjoys reading so much, and often to snack while we do so (for some of us at least) it was a fun way to do the gift exchange and brought on lots of book discussion. Kind of like having a Christmas book club meeting as we explained the reasons behind what prompted the specific book choice.
Silly little girly cousins...Allison, Lilian, Abby and Maddy...using their new sheep stuffed animal/pillows as head gear.

I didn't take the Christmas tree down until January 7th...a full week longer than normal for me. And though I made excuses as to why, such as attempting to celebrate Three Kings Day on the 6th or leaving it up longer because we got it up late in the first place (because of our Thanksgiving trip), in all reality it was to do with a more sentimental reason. As long as the tree and the decorations were still up then it was still Christmas. And as long as it was Christmas, Rebekah was still home. Because I started realizing that this was kind of it. Once Rebekah went back to school we'd never have this long with her again. We'll have odds and end weekends, and she'll get a week in March for spring break. But once she finishes finals that last week in April, it'll be a mad dash to sending her off on a mission. She stated her date of availability as May 9th, her 19th birthday. She'll likely leave not till late May or early June but we'll be hard pressed to get her prepped and ready to go. So this Christmas break? I was trying to savor it, I suppose. It was nice to take the tree down and get the house back to normal. I always enjoy the feeling of January and its promise of new beginnings. But oh, it was a little bittersweet this year.

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