This has been one of the best Christmases I can remember.
We had our extended family gatherings on Friday and Sunday. Friday night we got together at my mom's. Every year the kids re-enact the Christmas story in costumes that my mom makes for them. (In spite of the red eyes, I like this picture.)
Mom is always trying to keep up with the growing kids. Abby's angel gown is a bit short this year! Of course, having Abby with us, doing so well, was a huge source of joy for all of us.
On Sunday, after church, we went to my in-laws. It was nice to be able to have a relaxing day there without the pressure of needing to get to another place afterward. My little nieces are so adorable. I forgot my camera, so I don't have pictures, but trust me! We had some good laughs watching Colin's sister's wedding video from almost eight years ago. We got home late that night, but stayed up until after one watching White Christmas together.
On Christmas Eve we decorated our tree and then my mom and step-dad joined us for dinner. We used the good china and had a lovely dinner. We headed over to church for our 10:30 service. Christmas Eve services at Redeemer are always wonderful, but the music was especially good, and Pastor Petersen preached a fantastic sermon.
After we got home I tried to fill the stockings as quickly as possible, because I knew Christmas morning would be there before I was ready.
Especially since my alarm didn't go off! When I woke up and it was light outside I knew we were late. My family surprised me and they all got ready and out the door in an hour.
We had another wonderful church service and another great sermon. I thought that I was going to make it through the service without tears for the first time in months, but as the row behind us returned from the communion rail quite a few of us shed tears of joy as we watched a friend who had his leg amputated above the knee, make his way back his seat with a walker for the first time since his surgery. It has been a rough year for many of us, but there is also so much to be grateful for.
After church I made my first attempt at cooking a whole beef tenderloin. We had a lovely time with our guests, Katie and Nathan. We sat at the table for hours after the meal talking, reminding me of dinners we've shared with the rest of Katie's family.
And, oh yeah, I got an iPod!
I love the week between Christmas Day and New Years. We have services every day at church. Colin is home. Today, since we had sun and relative warmth, he played basketball and went for a bike ride with the boys.