Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Full Family Christmas

This was one of the best Christmases ever!   It was so nice to have everyone except Leslie (missed her very much!) in Virgnia with us.   We squeezed all 14 of us here in the house on Sturbridge Rd. - Laura, Kart, Aiden, Emma and Owen were in two of the bedrooms downstairs.   Natalie and Kara slept in the other bedroom downstairs.   Ryan and Dara upstairs in the "blue" bedroom, and Beth in the office.   Valerie arrived the day after Christmas, and she had the couch downstairs until another bedroom became available.

We  had some pretty great times together.   Here are some of the highlights:

1.   Making gingerbread houses and stables!

2.   Riding the Metro to D.C.  Laura, Kart, and kids, Beth, Ryan, Dara, and even baby Lillian, and I all took a trip to D.C. early one afternoon.   We rode the Metro to the Smithsonian, and enjoyed seeing the insect zoo, and an interesting forensic bone exhibit at the Natural History Museum.   In the American History Museum, we saw Julia Child's kitchen, and a demonstration on how to stage a sit in  Woolworth lunch counter style!   Then...more metro riding in search of cupcakes.   

 3.  Making, eating, and shopping for cupcakes!   Laura was on a mission during our D.C. trip to collect samples from three different cupcake shops, and taste test them when we got home to determine the best.   Sprinkles in Georgetown was the overall favorite.   They were all pretty good, but the cupcakes Laura made herself later were probably THE best. 

4. Christmas Eve dinner and program at Grandma and Grandpa's. After a delicious meal, we had a service of lessons and carols.   Kara played the piano, and the men read the scripture selections.  Julie and her family, as well as Karyn had come to visit from SC and TX.

5.   Taking silly pictures.

Natalie and Kara

With Aiden

6.  Taking a few normal pictures.

Natalie, Owen, and Kara
Natalie and Ella 
Karyn and Natalie
Laura, Ryan, Owen, Kara, Natalie
7.  Waiting for Santa to come.

8.  Seeing that he came.

9.  Opening gifts.  Some made us laugh.  Some made us cry.   Some were homemade.  Some were tasty.   Some were beautiful.   Some were fun.   Some were dangerous.   Some were silly.   All were given and received with love.

10.  Welcoming Valerie.   We were so happy she took time out of her crazy busy life to spend time with us.   She was full of energy and fun, and we all enjoyed spending time with her.

11.  Running.  It seems to be one of the major forms of exercise we enjoy.   It's easy, not too expensive and keeps us in shape.   Beth had a great time running in D.C. one morning.  

12.  Taking pictures.  On Christmas day, after church, our friend Channon Zabel took family pictures.  I will put my favorites of hers in a later blog post, but here are some out takes with my camera.   
Another fabulous photographer (our own Laura) took some sweet newborn pictures of Lillian.   

Kara and Dara

The Barnetts



Channon at work

The five siblings

The four girls

Sweet Baby Lillian

13. Hanging out with Grandpa. 

Those are just a few of the incredible times we had.   There were so many more that pictures didn't capture.   We laughed about many things. We feasted on delicious food, and sweet conversation.   We delighted in talents shown and shared.   We filled our hearts with poignant memories to be treasured whenever we think about the Christmas of 2011.   

Our Christmas Tree

This year, Kara helped me decorate for Christmas.  It's always kind of a pain to drag the Christmas storage boxes out from under the stairs, then upstairs, so I always appreciate help with that.  After the boxes are out, I take some of the doodads off the shelves in the living room to make room for the Christmas doodads, like nativities, candle holders, nutcrackers, music boxes, and nesting dolls.   We put together the artificial tree that we've had for about 12 years now.   We love it cause it's fairly tall and narrow.   It fits without getting too much in the way between the dining room and living room.  After putting the tree together comes the dreaded job (always mine) of testing to see if we have enough working lights to cover the tree. didn't.  So after I tried really hard to cover the tree with what we had (I don't like the lights to be sparse), I ran out to CVS to get one more strand.   After getting all the lights in place, the ornaments go on.  This year, Kara suggested we do more of a theme tree, since we usually just put on the whole ornament collection, so I decided to do crocheted snowflakes, a few crystal ornaments, red berries, and silver balls.  I think it looked kind of pretty.