Christmas 2011

Azia, getting her correspondence with Santa organized on Christmas Eve.

"is a glorious time of the year, simple in origin, deep in meaning, 
beautiful in tradition and custom, rich in memories, 
and charitable in spirit."  -Thomas S. Monson

Azia reading her part. Her fellow angel Jenna looking on.

I suppose it's a little relaxing to have the chaos of Christmas behind us until next year, but also always a little sad too. There's so much good about this time of year and so much anticipation with all the kids to all the fun traditions and activities it's sad to see it come to an end.

Christmas Eve Tradition: the kids' live nativity. The oldest trio of boys got bumped to the audience this year, but some of the younger ones read pretty well now, so they had scriptures to narrate the story.

They did a really nice job with the Christmas story.

 And after it was over, we had a few wise men who like dramatic exits. That crown seems to be flying through the air.
 And you all have a Texas longhorn and Superman in your nativity, too, right? (Sometimes bargains are necessary to secure happy participation.)

And then there was this: 
 Four generations of family all in one room. My grandma was there at my parents' for dinner, along with all five of us kids, our spouses and all of our kids.

We have the best sort of Christmas excess.

This was one of our presents for Grandma this year. The kids all recorded little clips about their favorite things about her. Eldon put it together into this movie:

There were a lot of Christmas laughs and secrets and presents and an exciting Truth or Dare app that kept about a dozen little girls entertained and giggling for the better part of an hour. And then all these little people in Christmas attire and little people reading the Christmas story (as soon as Gwen released them. . . someone has to be in charge of these things.)


 Zoran reading the note in his present from Yaya: "Your life is important! Write about it."
 Mom gave all the grandkids journals for Christmas. Azia and Zoran were both very excited and got to work writing right away. Azia also wrote messages to Santa in hers and left it with the milk and cookies she left for him. Zoran had to find the perfect spot for his (right next to the computer in the library) so he could find it each day after school to write about what he did.

And then we had this sort of jarring interruption to the evening:
Michael surveying the scene
Our ambulances needed to respond to a car wreck in Dixon and we had six of our volunteer crew (which is more than half) all at our Christmas Eve gathering.  Unfortunately, this almost seems like part of our tradition, too. My parents were both on the ambulance when we were all growing up and we have always had a good portion of our holidays interrupted like this.

Of course the timing is always disappointing when anyone has to leave in the middle of meals but as much as all of this gathering is an important part of Christmas, if you really want to try to remember the charitable spirit of the season, it's a little hard not to go when someone clearly needs a little help. Food reheats, presents don't go anywhere and while some families are spending the evening in the hospital, we get to come back to all this:

 All the cousins. Except maybe Bryce? I can't seem to find him in there anywhere. Is he buried under someone?
I love that my kids don't take having all this family around forgranted. They love their cousins. We took this picture of them right before we all headed home. A little later when I was cleaning up the kitchen I found this note Zoran wrote to Bryce:

And then my kids let me take pictures of them in their matching Christmas pajamas.

I told the younger three to sit beside Israel (who was already sitting right there) and sit like he was. Zoran ignored me, Azia's hands-on-elbow looks sort of like she's going to punch someone, and Lex has an angelic praying sort of pose.

 It seems when life is this good you sort of owe it to the universe to help others where you can.

As the kids got ready for bed, Azia got cookies and milk and notes ready for Santa.

Zoran had written a letter to Santa a few weeks ago promising cookies and beer (he is his father's son. . . ) so he added to Azia's set up. 

Azia not only left a note for Santa, she also gave him a pretty extensive lists of tasks. It took up quite a few pages in her new journal. She wanted to know who was on the naughty & nice lists (there was a list of people with boxes to check), a questionnaire about Santa's favorites (colors, foods, and so on) and place for him to sketch a picture of him and Azia together, instructions for him to build her something with those mold-able, bending blue things beside the notebook in the photo that she got from someone, and also a page where he was to write a story.

 And then in the morning, they were all up early for conquering the presents.

Lex is expanding from Captain America. A couple days before Christmas he told me he really wanted a Thor hammer. Since it was the only thing he asked for and I hadn't really bought him any presents it seemed like an easy enough request to fulfill. Of course I didn't think through to the part where he'd begin throwing it around the house. As if the Captain America shields hadn't caused enough damage.

 Lex got a motorized Captain America toothbrush in his stocking. I was very hopeful this would encourage him to brush his teeth (which he hates). He did try it out once.
 Then he decided it was a great cleaning device to scrub all his toys.

After a nice relaxing day of doing basically nothings, we all headed into the movie. 

Azia and Jenna happened to get matching, stylish bright pink boots for Christmas. And apparently Christina and Dad had nearly matching shoes, too. :)
I love Azia's flashy dressing. She got ready to go and was wearing zebra print pants with her zebra coat. I suggested she go put on some jeans so she wasn't mistaken for an actual zebra. I'm not sure the layered multi-color skirt and flowered leggings are much less wild than head to toe zebra print.
iphone photo in complete darkness. . .you can actually see there are some kids in there!
And yet another reason Mom is wonderful. She took this whole row of children (and a few in the one behind it) to see Alvin and the Chipmunks so the rest of the adults could go to an actual adult movie.

It was a pretty great ending to another great holiday.

And now a few days to get life organized again (maybe even buy some groceries?) before the new year begins.

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