a merry Christmas indeed.

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christmas food

christmas pjs | chalkboard wall

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mom + dad's house

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aina + caleb

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tree | snow | lightsI know. I know. We’re into the first week of 2013 and I’m still talking about  Christmas. Here’s the thing: Christmas isn’t a day or even a weekend for us; it’s a week and a half event. Because of Mark’s vacation from teaching, we’re fortunate enough to be able to pack up to see both sides of our families and when the stars align correctly, even dear friends who live in other parts of the state, country, or world. And there’s a lot of them, which means we spend 10 days or so strung together with delicious food and drinks and little sleep, gabbing with our sisters and brothers and parents and friends, and the kids soak up their long-anticipated time with cousins. So it feels necessary to revisit this group of days after returning home again, allowing my heart to swell with gratitude for all of the good gifts (family and friends) we have in our lives. These people have made our life sweeter in more ways than I can possibly articulate here. If you ever think: how can she do all of this? I don’t. Behind these pictures, someone else has come along to help with a meal, to create a lovely date-night, to watch the kids, or provide a special event or evening for us. I am only a part. So to all of you, locally and beyond, thank you for the many, many ways you love and take care of us. We’re so grateful for you.

Here are a few of the highlights from the 2012 Christmas season: homemade and plantable gifts from friends; annual Christmas PJ picture with the cousins; 5-hour roadtrip with Kristen and our 6 kids; SNOW; visit from Ben + Joy; Madeleine L’Engles’ poem Mary Speaks: from Ephesus; visit from Tiffany; paper snowflakes; night out with my sister, mother, and sister-in-laws; date night with Aina + Caleb; dinner with my entire family; indoor waterpark; time with mother-in-law; time with Mark’s grandmother and new husband; a long hike through the East Texas pines with the boys; lunch with Steven +Dora; The Hobbit; Prime Rib for Christmas at Bethany + Josh’s; Olive’s delighted scream when she opened her Dream Light; Blythe’s scream to have a doll with a dress like hers; the boys’ comment “I’m so excited I’m shaking” while putting together their new Helms Deep Lego set; coffee each morning at my parents’ kitchen table; watching It’s a Wonderful Life Christmas day. Because it is. And it’s good for my heart to list them.

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