Monday, December 25, 2017

Mom Saved Christmas ~ Christmas 2017 Part 2

Mom was determined to buy and mail her gifts to Alaska. She didn't make it. I found gifts and a list...and I finished wrapping them. Alaska Air allows residents 2 free suitcases and we had brought an extra suitcase down. We filled them with gifts and carried them back with us. 

The only thing under our tree this year on Christmas Day were the gifts from mom. It was a bittersweet year for me. I couldn't help think how mom would have loved being here to see Bella tear into packages. She would have loved to hug and play with Gideon and Benny.  Mom LOVED Christmas. She had a collection of over 200 nativities. She shopped year round. I kept reminding  myself she was with Jesus on Christmas....and that "everyone" says the first holiday's are the hardest. This was also Michael's first Christmas without his Mom.   I don't usually post a lot of photos of gifts on the blog, but we'll want to remember these. 

Our poor, poor tree. 
 Bella LOVED the ribbons

Mom (with the help of Kathy Hammer) made a lovely quilt for Benny. 

Gideon got one too. 

Bella received a Disney princess book - with an inscription about reading it together. ::sniff:: 

Izaak got a little communion set

The "boys" (which would include Jared) all got some sort of screwdriver tool thing

Alex got a wallet

Stacia received a magnetic holder for nuts and bolts - which works great for sewing pins. 

Nolan is our game and puzzle master

Michael got the leaf puzzle 

Bre,  Krista, Larissa and Arielle got glass jars - which Lorri had painted with flowers 

Mom also saved boxes all year for her gift giving; Arielle's was a box for  her prosthesis

I opened mine last. I had no idea what it would be, but I knew it may cause me to cry and didn't want to ruin the night. We flew back from Japan when the girls graduated from Bible College. We rented a house on the OR Coast and took them, the 7 of us that were still at home, Mom and Dad and maybe the older boys, to the coast. We had a great time playing games, visiting, and sight-seeing together. It's a fun memory. I was looking for a gift to take to Akiko-san. I fell in love with a tie-dye sweat shirt in a small store at the coast. I bought one for her and one for me - so she "wouldn't' be the only one in Japan wearing one."  In 2015, my sweat shirt was stolen from the shower house at an RV park. I have looked for another, but couldn't find one. Mom found one at a store on the Oregon Coast when she was there with Nate and Heather.

The story came out that she had called both Bre and Krista about the size (it's really roomy - which is how I like my sweat shirts) and then someone told her that wearing it would signify I was part of the alternative scene. She almost didn't give it to me, but they convinced her I knew that before and  I loved my shirt. I'm glad they did.  And, yes, this happened.

It's an unflattering picture but it's such a picture of what is going on around here still (22 Jan). Happy memories, followed by tears.  Because of Mom's careful planning, and year round shopping, we made it through our first Christmas without her.

She is NEVER in Gideon's swing....but she was tuckered out and there she is. LOL 

The guys began putting "the puzzle" together. 

Christmas 2017 Part 1

I posted this on Facebook on Christmas morning.....I have heard it said family is what is important at Christmas, rather than a boatload of gifts. Agreed. 
But this a.m., spending time with the word, I was missing our moms. My Mom, especially, is such a recent loss it feels raw. I wasn't feeling the season. I read a bit and remembered what I have always isn't even about family, as big a blessing as family is, it's all about Him. Jesus, coming as a babe, fully God and fully man to save us. Its Immanuel. He is with us. It's about His presence.
I am digging down deep, past the emotions and tears, and choosing joy today, and in the days to come. That is what Mom would want us to do. 
Merry Christmas from our family to yours. May you enjoy the blessings of family, friends, and most importantly, His sweet presence.

Josiah and Jamin dropped by to go shooting with Cory, Izaak and Dakota. Both were decked out in their Christmas best. 

I made Cinnamon rolls, sausage, fruit and something else -  and set the table with china Mom had given me. We stopped in late last night to pick up a few things and the gals at Freddy's gave us this arrangement and a poinsettia.

When everyone got back we visited and I prepared Christmas dinner. 
Uncle Cy and Gideon - Gideon's first Christmas - 7 months old

Bennett's 1st Christmas - 1 month old
 Bella was wearing a dress that used to be Aunt Krista's. Bre and Krista had matching dresses that year - compliments of Grandma Julie from Portland First Church. Sweet memories. 

Cory has his Christmas best on too! 

Aunt Arielle and Bella

Hey Big Boy! 

Christmas smiles from Gideon 

Gideon and Bennett - share a first Christmas

Cousins - with a bit of help 

Bella loves these boys
Before we go any further, we have to share a sound we heard much of this Christmas. 

We are not about to let our Charlie Brown tree rob us of the traditional photos in front of the tree this year of all years! We have two new babies!
The S family 

The D family 



Two of the Five Brothers

Stacia, Nolan, Alex
 Our "at home" family


We usually have a Jesus Birthday Cake, open the Jesus stocking and play party games. We didn't do that this year....but we did move to the living room to open stockings and our "gifts from afar." Typically, Michael's sister, Mary K, and Mom mail gifts. Both like to have us open them on Christmas Day. Otherwise, we have a family exchange on New Year's Eve.

JaRissa were away at a cabin. Krista hasn't arrived for her holiday vacation yet.