Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas, part 7

Ok, I think this is it for Christmas celebrations...

This one was at my sister's house with my whole family (that had already gotten together for Christmas Eve), but now we had another of my cousins and her family here!

We again shared good food

 Then we enjoyed skating on the rink my brother-in-law made!

my uncle helping one of his grandsons

me helping my daughter

my niece Bri pulling Aleah and my younger niece, Anna

Bri pulling Grandpa Dale!

The 3 "greats" that weren't here for Christmas Eve

Love that Grandma was able to come again.
Love that we could spend time with my family again.
Love that there were 4 generations together again
Love that we could celebrate the birth of Jesus again

Christmas, part 6

On Christmas Day, we travelled a bit to Mike's sister's home. We don't generally see both our families over Christmas as it is just too much travelling, but Mike's parents were coming closer to us this year, so we could easily make it work!

The reason they came our direction rather than celebrating at home? Mike's sister was 9 months pregnant, so couldn't travel home as she normally would! So, our next Christmas was spent with Mike's family at Sarah and Jesse's home. We got to enjoy family, talk about the upcoming baby, and share our excitement.

Note that I said Mike's sister WAS pregnant (since we were there, she has had their beautiful baby boy, but that will have to wait for another post!)

Handing out gifts (always one of Sarah's jobs, but she sat out this year)

(do you see baby Keegan??)

Uncle Dan

Mike and Grandpa Gene
(I missed getting Grandma Sandy in a picture. I'm sure she is disappointed.)

Barbie Jeep
(this was on her list, but ideally she wanted the kind that you can ride!
Come on Uncle Dan, isn't your only niece worth it?)

Lego boat, truck and camper (just like ours at home...kind of)


Cotton candy (leading up to a larger present in a bit)

The smile says it all...

Rip Stick!! Thanks grandma and grandpa!

This was the main thing on Aleah's list, and grandma and grandpa came through!

mouth full of sweet, puffy goodness
Showing off his presents

and hers

Loving on Aunt Sarah and baby Keegan!

We gave Sarah and Jesse an "Elf on the Shelf" to start their own tradition!

Thanks Amundson's for another great celebration.
I should also mention that grandma and grandpa brought and prepared all the wonderful food we had so Sarah wouldn't have to do extra work. Thanks Sarah and Jesse for hosting, and thanks grandma and grandpa for the great meal!

Christmas, part 5

Ok, this isn't really a separate Christmas either, but it is just easier to stick with one naming strategy once I started it.

Christmas morning, since I was a little girl, is when we open our "stocking" presents. These presents are theoretically from Santa, but I think I knew from a pretty young age that Santa wasn't real (sorry if I ruined it for anyone!). It was always a fun part of our tradition, but was not the focus of what Christmas was about. Stocking presents were generally small things like an ornament, fun socks, small toys or other little things like that.

Thankfully, I married a man who had the same Christmas traditions (main gifts Christmas Eve and stocking presents Christmas morning), so we have now continued that with our children. As I mentioned in a previous post, we don't put a lot of focus on Santa, and I don't know what my kids truly believe about him (it would for sure ruin it for them if I asked!). If they do believe in Santa, that is fine. If they already don't believe in Santa, that is fine too.

What there is no debate over in our house is what the whole reason for Christmas is! Our kids are probably already tired of hearing from us some version of "but you know that the presents and all those type of things we do at Christmas are because God sent us the very best gift of all...His Son!". They can probably quote it in their sleep, but that is good. It should come to us automatically when we are asked why we celebrate Christmas. I have made a new promise to God to keep life even more simple over this next year, and especially to focus more on Him throughout the year, and into next Christmas. I am excited to see how this will look for our family.

Anyway...the whole reason I started this post...Christmas morning:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! (even though now it is New Years...)

Christmas, part 4

This installment of Amundson Christmas is about our Christmas Eve gathering with my family. The group included my mom and dad, my sister, brother-in-law and their 5 kids, my aunt and uncle, a cousin, her husband and their 2 boys, another cousin, and the guest of GRANDMA!!

We had such a wonderful evening. It started with a Christmas Eve service at our church with a great message reminding us what is important about Christmas. Then everyone came over to our house for dinner and presents.

Right after the service, though, my mom and I headed to the nursing home where my grandma is staying. We were hoping we could get her into the car and to our house without too much difficulty for her (and us!). She had been doing pretty well, but is still really limited in her ability to get around, even with help. Well, she apparently really wanted to be part of Christmas Eve because she did great! She just about hopped from her wheelchair to the car. When we got to my house, she walked with a walker from the car into the basement (no steps!).

It was so wonderful to have this special lady who has been a cornerstone of our family for generations (who is part of most of my Christmas memories) be there again this year to be a part of her great-grandkids' memories.

3 "greats" weren't able to be there for Christmas Eve,
but this was the rest of the crew.

We shared some good food together...

We read the Christmas story from Luke (a tradition for many generations now, although I don't think previous generations read it from their smart phone!)

We shared presents together...
(this is where things get a bit crazy!)

my sister's family

all the kids got "Sing-a-ma-jigs" from grandma and grandpa

Aleah's gifts
She got my baby doll from when I was little
What a special gift, including clothes that I wore!

Dylan's gifts.
He had disappeared already, but I wanted to keep track anyway!

and last but not least for this post...
Grandma Ruth and our kitten SeSe
(check out grandma's leopard print coat!)

It was a great evening with some of my very favorite people in the world!
If I haven't said it before, I LOVE my family!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas, part 3

Ok, this is maybe cheating a bit, calling this post a "Christmas", but Christmas Eve morning, our kids opened their main gift and a couple other gifts. We did this partly so they could enjoy them that day, and partly so our big Christmas Eve celebration that evening would be a bit more simple. As you will see in my next Christmas post, that celebration is always far from simple, but anyway...

Christmas Eve morning...

Their main gift this year was a keyboard.
Dylan will be starting lessons in a week
(he just doesn't know that yet
not sure if he will be excited or not)

How's this for an excited face?!?

Aleah's gift from Dylan
(huge container of gumballs--there is nothing better in her book!)

Dylan's gift from Aleah
(Hoopla by Twister. We haven't played it yet, so don't know if it is fun or not)

Snow tubes
(Nothing more to say about these really.
Love his awkward smile and her enthusiastic one!)

So, a successful morning was had by all

I Won!

So...remember a little while ago I shared about how he won?

Guess what?? Now I WON!

I won this
 My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software 

from Deb who writes this great blog:

I haven't had the time to play around with it yet, but I am excited to!

Thanks so much Deb!

It is so much fun to win something!!
I highly suggest going to your closest carnival and playing the "pick a duck" game
(or something else that has a winner every time)
The feeling is great, no matter what your age ;)