Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Beautiful Christmas

It was a nearly perfect holiday.

Heidi's family was in Idaho, but the rest of the kids were home for Christmas. Karli sang in our ward ("Gesu Bambino"), and it was spectacular.

I decided to try something new this year, and we had our big family dinner on Christmas Adam. I really liked doing that. It made Christmas Eve and Day less stressful, and we could sit around and enjoy. Plus, Eve set the table. I loved watching her primp that table and make it beautiful. She's growing up, my girl!

After dinner, we joined Brad's sister Amy and her family to perform some Christmas carols at the local rest home. This is the fourth (?) year we've done this, and it is such a blessing for our families. Some of us are very talented while others of us are support staff, but the residents are always so happy we are there. I'm indebted to Amy for taking the initiative each year to set this up and plan it.

Christmas Eve started early for me--up at 5 am because I hadn't wrapped a single gift! Then Micah and I headed on some last-minute errands for last-minute presents and last-minute tamales (worth waiting 30 minutes in line!).

Then we were off to the zoo. We've gone to the zoo on Christmas eve for at least 12 years, and I love it. It uses up most of the very long Christmas Eve day with time together burning energy running through the zoo in the gorgeous AZ December weather. This year was busier than most (our secret must be getting out!), but it is still virtually empty and stress-free. Even my bigger kids like this tradition.

We used to do a pinata every Christmas Eve when my older kids were little with my aunt and uncle and their kids, but it's been a while since we've done one. And Micah was the official pinata buster, may the record show, even though there is no photo evidence of his mighty swing!

Kids opened pajamas (the 27th year in a row I've made pjs for my kids) and Tucker took his family home for their own Christmas Eve. I love that they are establishing traditions in their own home with their family.

After living in this house over 11 years, we finally installed a projector and sound in the basement. The installer had a medical emergency and couldn't finish the sound, but the projector worked, and we gerry-rigged it up so we could watch life-sized Buddy the Elf on the wall. I don't know what it is about this movie, but it will forever be my favorite Christmas movie.

And by 8:30, all kids were sequestered upstairs and elven magic began.

Almost four hours later (sigh!), Brad, Ben, and I had a foosball table and a punching bag stand assembled and ready for the morning rush.

We loved having Ben and Makayla here for their first married Christmas morning. Our crew is getting smaller and smaller every year, and I don't know how much I like that, so I'm happy when our ranks are bolstered by visiting adults.

It's so strange how I stress over each present and each child, but in the end, it's not the presents that matter, but the time together and the spirit that comes from giving to each other. My kids took a special interest in sharing gifts with each other this year, and that brought me an extra dose of joy.

After hours spent figuring out the new Nintendo Switch, intermittent naps, and a quick walk thrown in, we spent the evening at Brad's sister's house with a light meal of sandwiches, another walk, and peaceful time surrounded by most of our kids and now our grandkids.

It truly is a wonderful life. Here's hoping your Christmas 2018 was just as beautiful.

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