Here, through the eyes of joy, is our first and last Christmas alone in our house.
58) Up early due to hunger, rather than child-like excitement to open gifts, I made my first cinnamon rolls from scratch. They were no substitute for Grandma C's monkey bread or my B-I-L's gourmet breakfast feasts, but with strong coffee, they did the trick to get us ready for 59.
59) In John's family, there is only one grandkid (at least until next month), so Christmas starts when he wakes up. We've been there for almost all his Christmases, and this year we were virtually there, via Skype.
60) Four-year-old Jaden was so fun to watch open his mountain of presents. The only thing that kept him from playing with each one immediately was the beckoning mystery of what was in the next.
61) On my side of the family, there are 8 grandkids (until next month), so it's a little more chaotic when it comes to opening presents. Still, we maintain some order by opening one gift at a time in order of youngest to oldest. Here are my sister's twins opening the basketball hoop we sent them. Also thanks to Skype, we were able to watch as each nie-nep (my word for the 7 nephews and 1 niece), except for Solo who is still in the hospital, opened and went right to playing with their gifts, mumbling quick thank-yous in the direction of the laptop.
62) Even Mocha's gift from Grandpa W was put to use right away!
63) For part two of Christmas we were actually present with friends who are virtually family. Michael and Mary were part of the "Class of 05" with us--a number of couples from our then-church who got married in 2005. John and Michael were roommates at the time and best men in each other's weddings. We are so blessed to be Aunt and Uncle to their two girls, Sophia and Bella, and have them be the same for Blueberry. This is Mary's beautiful table with her heirloom china, on which we enjoyed the delicious brisket dinner she prepared.
64) After dinner, our new friends Douglass and Andrea gathered the kids around to read the stable animals' version of the Christmas story. Their son, Noah, took advantage of the audience to tell a story of his own.
65) Sophia anticipated each animal's voice and rewarded Douglass with approving laughter.
66) Evie played catch with John and celebrated each time she caught.
67) Bella couldn't decide which was more fun, the purse she got or the little finger puppets that came in it. (The purse won, she carried it around the rest of the night.)
68) Noah was happy to have a "manly" toy to play with amidst all these girly things, but I think his parents were happier that his toy couldn't break or hurt anything!
69) We are so thankful for the magic of Christmas, that turns friends into families and families into friends.
So, dear readers, how was your Christmas (or holiday of choice)? Did you find and give joy? What was your favorite present given and received?
I'm linked up with the other 100 Joys blogs on Sarah Markley's blog today. Click on the 100 Joys graphic on the sidebar for even more joys.