...we bought a Christmas tree! After setting up an artificial tree in the front room, we decided that our lovely (and newly rebuilt) nine foot ceiling was begging for a real tree to scratch its surface. We headed to Bennington Pines and took a fun (albeit muddy) tractor ride out to the fields before realizing that everything decent and most everything halfway decent had already been tagged. Fortunately, we found a lovely pre-cut fir to tie on top of our mini-van for the ride home. I think the kids enjoyed the free hot chocolate most, even if Eli did end up dumping his in his lap.
Our hero Jason tackled the tedious job of putting on all the lights. Here we have Annika and her baby doll helping him to get into the Christmas spirit.
Our Talia Lily, gazing at our now decorated tree.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage! (Or four, in our case.)
I was super excited to set out our Fisher Price Nativity. I love how the kids can play with it.
Of course, they don't always play with the figures in the most conventional way.
In case you missed that, here's how Annika brings the Christmas spirit with her wherever she goes.
Turns out Annika's a bit obsessed with boots.
I also found this Nativity arrangement in Eli's room before giving Star Wars the boot. No room in the inn for Yoda there is.
Brooklyn and Talia also set up a Christmas corner in their bedroom, complete with a dog sleeping by the chalkboard fire. Hey, we've wanted a fireplace and they've wanted a puppy, so we solved two problems at once.
It's easy to see why this ornament is a favorite for Jason and me.
Since it was Christmas, we decided to use our hutch for dishes. What a novel idea!
It wouldn't be Christmas without music. Here's Brooklyn making her Aunt Callie proud by practicing a school choir piece.
It also wouldn't be Christmas without shopping...and lots of it. Annika was a fairly good sport as I dragged her into store after store, at least as long as I took her picture.
Of course, all that shopping can leave you all tuckered out.
We adopted a young girl for an angel tree and found "something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read."
Moving on, here are Brooklyn and Talia in their gorgeous Christmas dresses.
As you might have suspected, the Christmas outfits were courtesy of NomiAnn and Papa K. Thank you!
Enjoying a Christmas season meal on our holiday plates.
We even had a mild spell that was just perfect for putting up lights. They may add a bit to the electric bill, but Christmas lights make me happy.
Okay, are you bored reading yet? Because I have to confess: I'm bored writing. The Christmas season is wonderful, but by the time the end of January rolls around, it feels like pretty old news. I'll try to make the rest of this brief.
In the days before Christmas...
...we made gingerbread houses. Here's Talia in design-build mode with her third grade class.
Talia's friend, Johanna.
Adelle and Erika, working on their own masterpieces.
School wasn't the only place they built gingerbread houses. Brooklyn, Talia, and even Eli built gingerbread houses during Activity Days that were put on display at the Mormon Trail center at Winter Quarters.
Another pretty display. It's such a fun place to visit each year!
At church, we enjoyed a Rockbrook Ward Christmas breakfast, and enjoyed not being in charge even more. :) This little guy peeking through the curtains totally cracked me up.
Reenacting the Nativity. Talia was super excited to dress up as an angel.
Here's Talia again, talking to Santa.
Annika wouldn't sit on Santa's lap, but was plenty happy to take a treat bag from Jolly Old St. Nick.
Consistent overachievers, we decided that one ward Christmas party would never do and went to the Eagle Run Christmas breakfast as well. Whaddaya know, Mr. Claus was there too!
Hate to say it, but my big girls scarcely fit on Santa's lap anymore.
On the positive side, Annika finally decided to give Santa a try.
Aunt Callie and Eila flew out to Omaha as soon as Callie was done teaching for 2015. I'm saving all the cute Eila pics as a cliff hanger for next post, but here's Callie helping us round out our Christmas shopping at the mall.
Suppose you're cute too, Annie Mae. Vain, but cute.
Why wear your own coat and hat when you can swipe your cousin's?
Speaking of coats and hats, here's Annika bundled up warm enough to withstand Winter Storm Aksarben.
Sure enough, snow all around! The snow tumbled all Christmas Eve, creating a winter wonderland for Talia.
Papa Kay volunteered with the hard job of shoveling our enormous driveway.
Pretty sure Jason helped too, at least as long as he wasn't building snow forts with his daughter. :)
We worried that the weather might keep our honored guests from arriving, but look what the NomiAnn cat dragged in!
Callie, Eila, Adam, (and Zoe)
With everyone cozily gathered, the festivities could begin.
Guess that's what makes it the most wonderful time of the year.