sweet family christmas


The morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up at 5  and was unable to fall back to sleep.  I slipped out of bed, put on my robe, and tiptoed out of the room to spend some quiet time in the house before the family woke up.  I imagined a nice cup of coffee to be drunk in leisure while gazing at the Christmas tree all aglow.

However, when I opened the door I discovered a sleeping teenage boy on the couch, along with my six year old son Seth who was wide awake and watching Garfield on TV.

And he was full of energy.  Nothing I tried would get him to stop moving from one activity to the next.  I wondered if he had perhaps eaten sugar or candies for breakfast.

Therefore, it was quite surprising that the next day -Christmas Day- Seth was the last child to wake up!


We sat as the dark morning turned into light and waited for the youngest sleepy head brother to appear.  And he finally did at 7:30 am.


He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.  Roy Smith


The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

I wonder if I’ll ever be as happy as I am right now with my own children to please with gifts, while they are all still mine, at home.   They are a joy to watch as they open their presents.  The smiles, the exclamations, the gratitude, all make the busy days leading up to Christmas worth every moment.


Jacob opened the much wanted PS4.


Jacob and Ethan don’t spend as much time together as they did when they were little boys, so it was a sweet sight to see them side by side, sharing another Christmas day.


Watching Seth’s face as he opened a gift.  And Caleb as he read through the titles of some new books.


Grace sat in a nest in the corner of the couch and opened her new iPod.


This was the first year that we had a child buy presents for his family members out of his own paycheck!  Jacob was very excited to shop, wrap, and give out gifts.


This was his face as he watched his Dad open new sneakers that he bought for him.


He gave David a Ninja star, with very sharp points.


He gave Grace throwing knives and she was thrilled and touched by his thoughtfulness.


He gave Ethan a pair of “sick” sneakers.  (same kind that he and Emily wear).


Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Author unknown





Parker received a new toy and several bones.


“One of the most glorious messes in the world

is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.

Don’t clean it up too quickly.”  Andy Rooney


Once the gifts were opened, the playing began.


Lego sets


big cats


Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.

~Laura Ingalls Wilder


little cats


books/new robe


new clothes




fire in the fire place


headphones and iTunes giftcard

He bought this album.

(by the way I loved the cone shaped tree things that I found from Target for Christmas decorating…they are covered in cherries! (I collect cherry things.) )


The rabbit hopped around in the wrapping paper and nibbled on cardboard and the Christmas tree.


Gentleman Gray got wrestled by Seth.


And he was pinned!!



We put our “old” TV downstairs in the basement and set the kids up with their own entertainment area with the old sectional couch.  The PS3 and PS4 are hooked up.  For many years I resisted video games for the kids but over the last year (our first) the boys have enjoyed themselves so much with the games.  They have friends over often and it will be nice to have the living room cleared up for our own use now.

(In fact, Michael and Jacob are currently at Savers trying to find a coffee table).


Seth got a real bow and arrow set and he couldn’t get over it.  He was in awe.  He came to me and wondered who had picked it out.  “It was I”, I said.  “Thank you, Mom” he replied, and my heart melted because it was probably his most sincere thank you in all his six years of living.

His Dad took him outdoors for his first lesson in bow shooting.


Sarah told me I should not have gotten it for him because it was real and “not a toy”.  (you should only get toys for christmas, she thinks) But Seth wants it anyway.



My handsome firstborn son, Jacob, who is turning 19 in two days.  Emily gave him a new jacket for Christmas and her Dad gave him the hat which is a very lightweight hat so he keeps having people hold it to admire how light it is.


Grace came out of the woods after throwing her new knives and shooting her bow.

We passed by each other as I was on my way to find David.


He was busy practicing with his new tomahawk in a world of browns and greens.


He made the target himself.


Isn’t it beautiful in the woods?  He has already spent hours in this spot.


He’s amazing.

I stood and watched him for a while, and he took my picture.


This was as cozy as I could be for the day.  I was sick with a cold…..so a long warm skirt was just the thing to wear (sort of blanket-like) and a new sweatshirt from my husband.  Hair pulled back, bangs bobby pinned back out of my face.  No make up.  Cozy, cozy, cozy.  I was even wearing my slippers.  LOL (not pictured)


The last pictures I took on Christmas day were of the chickens enjoying their christmas gift from dear Emily….which was MEALWORMS.  Yum, yum.  They love mealworms.


And, so, Christmas comes to bless us!
Comes to teach us how to find
The joy of giving happiness
And the joy of being kind.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham


5 thoughts on “sweet family christmas

  1. Bless dear Emily for getting some meal worms for the chickens!

    I loved reading about your Christmas Day and seeing pics of everyone with their gifts. I use to love sitting in front of the Christmas tree in the mornings before everyone got up, too. 🙂 The woods do look magical!

    You look really good without make-up and being sick! I hope you are feeling better.

  2. what a beautiful day spent with your family all around! So many happy smiles! My oldest three are out of the house (2 married and 1 recently engaged)…but we had them all at home with us this Christmas…it doesn’t get any better! It’s also fun to have the spouses enjoy Christmas with us. I love that you have a puzzle on your coffee table…we did too! I put a new puzzle out each year at Thanksgiving and our goal is to finish by Christmas day. This year we did not finish it…it was so difficult! Perhaps i will choose an easier one next year🙂. Hope your cold is getting better and that you are getting to enjoy a slower pace these last days of the year!

  3. Merry Christmas, Shanda!! I loved reading about your Christmas. It makes me want to take more pictures of my kids opening their gifts, because it’s so fun to see their faces. I loved the picture of Sarah and Seth in their Christmas pajamas. Looks like a really good Christmas!!

  4. Beautiful smiles on all those faces. Yes, Christmas with all of them is the best. So glad you are savoring it. The youngest two in their Christmasy jammies are adorable. I love how your family appreciates their gifts. It was fun “walking around” with you after, and seeing all the bow and arrows, knife, and hatchet throwing. My boys would have been in heaven. Merry Christmas to you all with Love.

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