Tanner (who is the only one young enough to still sit on Santa's lap, telling Santa what he wanted for Christmas. . .
...Tanner, still giving Santa an earful....
Finally, after Noelle hollering at him repeatedly to smile for the camera....
...and now he is finishing giving Santa his 'list'.
We also got to go to Bonner's Ferry to the Carey family Christmas Eve-afternoon party. They did their traditional Pinata, with all of the kids 10 years old and under taking a turn smacking it. I wish I had some photos of everyone and all of the food that was there.
And special Christmas memories were shared with one another, and Rachel sang "Silent Night" for all of us.
The traditional "top of the stairs" pose.
Isaac, checking out his new backpack. (I have a little story about that at the end of this post, after most of the photos!)
Noelle, with the bag that Rachel got her
Tanner, unwrapping his new blanket. We LOVE blankets around here...
Thanking his mom...
I don't remember what or why THIS happened...guess we were just having a really good time!
Me, with the gift basket that Rachel and Noelle got for me. They won this ginourmous gift basket FULL of brownie mixes, cake mixes, frostings, sprinkles, cookie cutters, etc etc that they won at the high school's Christmas Concert raffle. They were SO excited to give it to me, cuz they know how I love the Brownies!
Rachel, with the new Michael Jackson CD
...and the quilt I made for her...
This year has been especially hard for us, financially, as it has for a lot of you as well.
So several months before Christmas, I let the kids know that there wouldn't be a lot under the tree for them. They are good kids, and took it in stride.
So, here is a funny little crazy story -
My husband and I went to a friend's Christmas party, one that they traditionally have every year. And one of the traditions at this party is to have a white elephant gift exchange. You all know how it works: each person brings something crazy or fun or super cool or random, wrapped up as a gift. Everyone gets a number and chooses a gift in order. Or, the next person can "steal" a gift from someone who has already unwrapped a gift. And the third person to snag that gift gets to keep it.
So when a genuine Air Force backpack (complete with flight suit. jacket, sleeping pad and bag, and long johns) was unwrapped, my husband figured out a way so HE could be that third person to get that gift. Once he got it, he presented it to our host friend (who happens to be involved with the Explorer Scouts). He laughed and said, just keep it, we already have more than enough donated backpacks for the Scouts.
So, after discussing together whether it was tacky or not to give a white elephant gift to our son, as a real present, we decided that Isaac would think it was such a cool gift that it wouldn't matter.
Here was our dilemma - Isaac was getting this "big" gift, when we didn't really have the funds this year to do the same for the rest of the kids.
I took the girls aside (Tanner is still young enough not to care or notice) and let them know how and when we got this gift for Isaac. And that things might seem a big lopsided in the gift department.
They completely understood. Or so I hoped.
They understood more than I realized....
There is something I need to explain here so that you will realize why this is such a touching moment for me.
Over the years, I manage to do EVERYthing for the Christmas holiday - bake, shop, wrap gifts, send out the cards, everything, (Christmas Tree Nazi kinda covers it all) and not including the rest of the family like I should have been.
I realize that now.
But what warms my heart about this Christmas is how the kids all took time, thought and care about getting gifts for EACH OTHER. Santa's pockets were pretty empty by the time his sleigh landed on our roof, but the kids came through for each other and for their dad and I.
They truly saw what Christmas was all about, the Giving and not the GETTING.
And you know what? I think that they had the best Christmas ever!
( A couple of them may have told me that, so I know it's true!)
So, along with that Christmas Miracle, re-purposed items, and misc gift cards & store credits that I discovered in my wallet that I'd forgotten about,
(and a big splurge on my husband's behalf -for me- that he had planned for months)
we weren't lacking for anything at all this Christmas!
P.S. The only reason there isn't a photo of my husband in this post is because he took just about all of all the photos and I didn't realize it until now! Whoops!