We had a quiet, relaxing Christmas, for which I am thankful! More about that later. For now...photos, in reverse order, because I keep forgetting to plan for the way Blogger's photo upload works and I'm not *about* to try to try to re-order them. :)

Em's penguin watch from Mamoe...
Em with her Calico Critters from Mamoe...

Bay's Calico Critters. Aren't they cute? :)

Bay's monkey watch from Mamoe...

Peter...he looks so much like my dad here!


Ammah Grace and Prissy...

Bayley was such a good helper with dinner!

Emlyn with Prissy. Mamoe wanted me to be sure to get pictures of Prissy, but she moves so fast it's not easy!


We always read the Christmas Story on Christmas day. Peter had asked if he could read it this year. He did a great job!

Billy and the girls listening to the Christmas story...

Ammah Grace...Bay had straightened her hair with her new straightener, and I had put it up with the new hair things she got in her stocking. :)

Billy asked me to make donuts for breakfast on Christmas.

Bay with her new guitar. She was so excited!

Dad doing the dad thing...:-)

Gracie gave Bay a doll carseat for Christmas (one of her prized possessions). She wrapped it by herself and everything. She was so excited!

Bay with her monkey.

Gracie with her "curly haired bear." For years, Peter has collected reptiles/amphibians, Bayley has collected monkeys, and Emlyn has collected penguins. Ammah Grace came to me this year and said, "Mama, I'm going to collect bears!" I'm so glad. Finally someone to pass my bear collection on to. :) She specifically asked for a "curly haired bear, like the one at Mrs. Jodie's". Now...I didn't remember a curly haired bear at Mrs. Jodie's, but sure enough, Jodie said they have one. She helped me find this one for Ammah Grace. :)

Em with a few of her *many* penguins...

Peter with his snakes...

Ammah Grace with her "laptop". :) She loves it!

Peter got "spy stuff" from Vision Forum...very cool!

Princess Penguin with more of her penguins. :) This is Osbert...isn't he cute??

Dad and Darcy enjoying the festivities from the sofa on Christmas morning...

Bayley wanted three things...a straightener, a guitar, and a specific purse. She was very excited about her straightener. :)
Ammah Grace with her new phone.
Em's penguin watch. It's much prettier in person...shimmery and sparkly.
Peter with his Star Wars Lego. :)
Bay and her purse.
A new ornament this year, and one of my favorites...

Another new ornament this year...I love this, because "Joy" has in some ways been my Christmas theme this year.

Last year, in a burst of frugality and dreams of incredible creativity, we bought an end roll of newsprint to use for wrapping. I had grandiose ideas of the beautiful and creative packages I would create ( a la "The Homespun Heart" ...hers are so beautiful!!). Unfortunately, I never quite get that far, and I usually end up drawing or doodling on the packages instead. This provides great amusement for my children, as it is almost the only time all year that I actually try to draw. (I canNOT draw...I literally can't draw decent stick people! ;-)) So...they aren't the most artistic of packages, but they *are* becoming a tradition, and I'm afraid if I ever try to go back to *real* gift wrap, my children are going to be very disappointed. :)

Christmas Eve tradition...new blanket sleepers!

The kids gave their gifts to each other and Billy and I on Christmas Eve. They were *so* excited! Peter was really excited about finding a Padme figure for Emlyn.

Bayley made notebooks for Billy and Peter and I...they were really cute!

Peter gave Bayley the *cutest* LPS monkey!
Dad opening gifts from the kids on Christmas Eve...
Ammah Grace was so excited about the ring Bayley gave her...
The kids worked so hard wrapping and decorating their packages. Peter was so proud of himself because he had his gifts finished before I did!

I love this little tree! The tree itself was my tree when I was a little girl...it was our family tree the year I was in 3rd grade and we lived in a duplex while we were waiting for our house to be built. We didn't have room for anything else! After that, it was always my tree. :)
For the past few years, this has been the kids' tree. We were really late getting our tree up this year for a variety of reasons, and I didn't do a lot of decorating due to health issues. The kids knew that I was a bit anxious about not getting the tree up. On one of the days I felt worst, I went to bed for a few hours. While I was resting, the kids decorated their tree and set it up on the dining room table as a surprise. They kept their gifts for everyone under this little tree.
We did eventually get the *big* tree up, and it looks beautiful...but this was my favorite tree this year!

The kids after the Christmas Eve service.