Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And There Was Christmas, And All That That Implies...

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in The Hobbit that...

"Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to..."

And isn't that the truth?  I could tell you all about our Christmas (and I will, mostly because I want to remember it later myself), and it really won't sound like much, but it was all quite wonderful.

Of course, Wyatt and Tate were working a lot of hours at their grocery stores, because we all know how holidays and food are linked, do we not?  Gunnar volunteered (with some other CAP buddies) to help the Salvation Army with their annual gift distribution.  All the boys have helped with this on various years, and they really enjoy doing it.

They have quite the organizational system, with numbered gifts and boxes, and various sizes of food boxes for variously sized families.  Well done, Gunnar :D

Since my brother married (and has two sets of in-laws to manage) we see his family on alternate Christmases.  This year we had them Christmas Eve.  Or rather, my sister did - that is, she hosted.  Here's my brother and my mom...

... and Wyatt, my dad, my sister, Gunnar, and my SIL helping my niece.  Tate has to work until 6pm, so he and Kerry joined us a little later.

My sister really goes all out with decorating... very festive!

Her Christmas tree has all white lights, and mostly red and white decorations, unlike our anything-goes tree.

The boys were quite pleased to get the new, extended-version, Hobbit Trilogy of movies from my bro and SIL.

I think my dad was equally pleased with his array of hot cocoa mixes!

Tate... obviously glad to be off work!

And Naomi, in all her Princess glory.  Apparently she gave herself a haircut about a week before Christmas.  I think it's absolutely adorable short, if rather uneven.

Dave and his family had to head back to Seattle, and we were all ready to head home as well, to get ready for...


I know this pic (above) isn't fabulous of Wyatt or Gunnar, but I love how cozy the house looks with all the pretty lights and candles.  *Happy Sigh*  The boys opened their stockings before breakfast.

And in their stockings?  Warm socks for everyone!

Wyatt would be very distressed if I posted the series of pictures leading up to this one.  Suffice it to say, he was still waking up, but having a good time :D

Yes, Gunnar was happy with the chocolate "coal" in his stocking ;D

I think we've discovered a new Christmas breakfast favorite.  They may look stoic, but they were just waiting to dig in!

 I made a cinnamon-roll-french-toast casserole... and there were no leftovers.  Win!

Hmmm, hadn't had his coffee yet, I think, but he was enjoying his sausages :D

Ah, now he's fully awake!

And this was the view out the window, toward my parents' house.  The hill is forested, but the wide white swath is the Bonneville Power Lines (probably about a hundred yards across), just to give you some perspective.

This has become a tradition... the Outhouse Calendar.  Yes, photos of outhouses.  And with out-of-context quotes that take on new meaning along the photos, like Eleanor Roosevelt's "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

Kerry always gets the boys a "fun" gift - i.e. a toy. Like an action figure...

... or a car...

... which sometimes turn out larger than he thought when he ordered them!

And of course, Kerry gets a great deal of chocolate and - his favorite - Candy-Cane Joe-Joe's.

He found this for me, in Mexico.

I've been slowly, over Christmases and birthdays, building the boys a basic toolbox.  This year - hammers, and allen and hex wrenches.

Then, on up to my parents' to get together with the extended family.  My boys and my cousin's girls get along great, if sometimes (okay, often) goofy!

This is absolutely classic of my dad... with a camera :D

What were they laughing at?  No idea.

Teasing back and forth with Gunnar about something or other.

Here's the five of them :D  Gunnar, Mikayla, Tate, Raelynn, and Wyatt.

The boys and Kerry gathered together to open their joint gift from my cousin's family...

... movie tickets, treats, and t-shirts - WIN!

I called her today to tell her we all went to see Star Wars this morning.  With the boys' work schedules, we were glad to find a NINE A.M. SHOWING, because that's what worked for everyone.  No spoilers.  We all liked it.  Undeniably, the boys are more "into it" than I am, but I enjoyed it too.  The previews nearly killed me, though.  What?  Are there only two movie plots in development anymore?  I think we saw about eight previews and they were all either
A.  Superheroes tricked into fighting each other (Superman/Batman or Captain America/Iron Man).

No thank you.

Back to Christmas...  It can be hard to get a good photo of Wyatt.  He tends to look so serious!  And he's really a fun guy!  (Not a mushroom.)  So here's another one of him laughing.

Oh, my mom cracks me up.  You'd think she'd never seen a frying pan before, though this is the exact set she asked for.  She looks so surprised, like we'd found the Ark of the Covenant.  Merry Christmas, Mom!

And this picture... well, this is apparently the ONLY photo I got of my cousin, who was sitting directly across the room from me.  I'm sorry, Ryan!  She's a nice looking person!

And somehow I didn't get a good one of my sister, but you saw her in the Christmas Eve photos.

Also, note my dad, opening a new pair of slippers.  I know some people get all formal and fancy for Christmas.  But there's my dad, wearing the "pants" my mom bought him - otherwise known as "pajamas".  Because we're all about comfort :D

And this is my cousin's husband, Mike.  Mike is fun to have around, because he's fun.  (Like that circular logic?)  Because he nearly always has that happy expression on his face, in spite of mostly likely being so exhausted he'd probably rather be in bed.  (He works for UPS - if I understand right, he's in charge of all the mechanics from Seattle to Canada - so this is a crazy-busy time of year for him.)

I don't believe in taking photos of people eating, but fret not, there was good food aplenty.  We practically ate ourselves into a food coma.  Merry Christmas.  But in defense, I give you this, which has been circulating the interwebs:

I would much rather err on the side of Nigella!

Happy New Year :D


Monica said...

Good morning Julie! I loved walking through your Christmas holiday with you! What wonderful memories. It is hard to get everyone together once they start working. Especially in retail. When our girls start college we start giving them "homemaking" gifts for Christmas. Hope Chest type things like kitchen gadgets in their stockings, crock pots, toasters, towels, etc.
I agree with erring on the side of Nigella! :) LOL!

Sara McD said...

Yes! I knew there was a reason you weren't posting much - you were having too much fun!

You have a very nice looking family. Your boys all look happy to be with you - even Wyatt who often looks so serious. ;) They are so grown and responsible. The road goes ever ever on I suppose.

We usually make cinnamon rolls for Christmas, but french toastified! That something new and exciting! Yes, let's err on the side of Nigella.

Rebecca D said...

What a wonderful, family packed holiday! So fun!!!

Felicity said...

Looks like so much fun!!
Your boys have grown sooo much!! I've seriously been out of the blogging world for too long...
I love the Star Wars t-shirts!! I'm a bit wary of the new movie - scared in case I'm disappointed ;-)