Picture overload, I'm sorry.
This is what happens when mom is still recovering from surgery and decorating for Christmas is just not on the priority list.
Better hop to it or matters get taken into tiny hands.
I was proud of this man who, for the first time, tackled exterior lighting solutions.
Heights are not his thing so typically it's up to me. But this year, he pumped up some Christmas music on speakers playing out to the yard and decked the halls while I sat on the porch grinning from ear to ear.
While Celia was home for Thanksgiving, we gathered up for our Christmas card picture.
My heart nearly seized when I realized this would be the last one with everyone for awhile.
The girls wanted to hang just a bit for a photo shoot-as-long-as-I-could-stand-on-my-feet. Which wasn't super long but I'm glad I snagged pictures of these beauties.
Everyone else was just too cold.
This year, Newel made an executive decision that we would embrace a new tradition of chopping down our own tree from the Rocky Mountain National Forest.
Since now, we kind of live on the edge of it.
Charlotte wasn't especially thrilled with the idea of a winter hike.
The snow became pretty deep so she and I shuffled along waiting for the others and taking in all the silent winter beauty.
Until she decided she was done.
Then we realized later that night that she had double ear infections accompanied by strep throat.
Which is always a thrilling motherhood moment.
Our "Griswold" hilarity finally got our mega tree home.
And I laughed as the crew set up our over estimated tree in our underestimated living room.
But it turned out to be beautiful.
The elementary school held an old fashion sing along which made me feel like I was back in the second grade myself. It was also Polar Express morning so my cute second grader was in her pj's and boots.
Our ward party featured all ten kids of our primary reenacting the nativity, singing songs, and visiting with Santa.
Never too big ... or maybe, just a little ;)
It's a tradition to sleep under the lights of the tree. This year was no different.
We carried a tradition with us from friends we miss so much. Their gingerbread house making party was always a highlight of our season. We recreated that with our new found friends.
It was a hit.
Some of these cute kids had never done this before.
I think we will have to make it an annual event.
These dads turned it into a competition. I shouldn't have been surprised. Some of them are builders by profession and had some mighty fine skillz.
I've always loved the Christmas Eve excitement over NORAD's Santa tracker.
And one of our traditions includes exchanging our secret Santa gifts between siblings.
We spend the season doing secret acts of service and leaving a Hershey's kiss as a marker for our "name". Then exchange gifts in a great reveal on Christmas Eve.
The air is always pretty thick.
I'm glad these guys are never too old to act out the nativity ... or pose for one of my pictures.
Christmas morning surprises.
We are SO glad this kitty showed up here since this girl saw it in the store and when I said she couldn't take it with us, she whispered in it's ear to not worry because Santa would find it and bring it to her house on Christmas morning and she should wait right there on the shelf until they could be together again.
Thank heavens for Christmas miracles ;)
After this gift, we lost Grant for the rest of Christmas vacation.
Everyone needs a villains coloring book, Charlotte says. Villains are her favorite. Why am I not surprised?
We sent off a care package to our favorite missionary.
His mission president suggested he call us on Christmas and we were super thrilled to get to hear his stories, see his sweet face and know that he was doing so very well.
The rest of vacation, we partied it up just a bit, soaking in the fact that everyone was home.
A wonderful season to celebrate the birth of our Savior, the gift that He is, and the peace and love that His gospel brings into our lives every day.