I talked about Christmas back HERE, but I didn’t expand to the “big kids” Christmases and also some of my favorite gifts. And that it important to document as well!

It’s so interesting how we can go from this picture on the left to this picture on the right in what seems like, honestly and truthfully, a blink of an eye:

The first two all alone, to the last two all alone.

So strange to go from having all of our children snuggled in close, runny noses and whining and magic dancing in their eyes:

To a practically empty house on Christmas. Oh how I miss those days with every part of me.

But, it is good to see the “expansion” of Christmas as well.

This Christmas found Grace safely tucked in Austin, Texas for one of the most memorable Christmases of her life.

Her ward took extremely awesome care of her…dropped off all kinds of gifts. Those along with gifts from these sister missionary’s families made for a pretty beautiful Christmas morning.

They lugged all their mattresses in to sleep under the tree and the good people of Austin took the best care of them. Makes me want to take the missionaries serving here in the desert under my wing so much better. I am SO GRATEFUL for all those who have taken such good care of my girl.

Grace is fully in love with Texas and has proclaimed that she’d like to live in Austin when she has a family of her own some day.

She sent us these hand painted Books of Mormon, lined with her favorite scriptures and each with a beautiful hand-written note filled with love from her.

Oh I love her!

Elle, on another note, didn’t have the best lead-up to Christmas since this happened while snowboarding (on the left):

Oh poor girl! Made my heart just break for her. But luckily she got it all fixed up (on the right…can you believe that hardware??) That is a big story in and of itself because she had some insurance issues and those guys are pretty poor college students right now. It had a happy ending so that’s good. But man, not an adventure you really ask for…

Max and Abby enjoyed the winter wonderland up in Utah minus any broken hands, and spent some pretty beautiful time with Abby’s family:

Meanwhile back at home…

We were a “weary world rejoicing.”

My favorite part of Christmas…favorite gifts:

First of all, Claire gave us the most thoughtful thing. She compiled a video with everyone in the family telling their favorite growing-up Christmas memories.

Dave took pictures that I need to come back and put on here but oh I loved it so much and was touched that she thought of such a thoughtful gift.

My very favorite gift of Christmas was this Zoom call with the WHOLE family:

We were all just glowing with happiness to be “together” even though we couldn’t be “together.”

Technology is so awesome.

Of course, another favorite gift was this from Grace:

It’s the best gift to have your kids so happy on Christmas.

Such a gift that Max and Elle were so happy with their tremendously awesome in-laws too.

All Lucy asked for for Christmas was “dark lined paper” and “dark markers” so she could see well to write, and a Chatbook. Kind of broke my heart with sadness and also with happiness. I love that she doesn’t ask for much, but it broke my heart that it’s come to that. I try to make these kids a Chatbook with pictures from the year each year, and Lucy, specifically, adores them, but I was worried she wouldn’t be able to really see those little pictures any more. She said sure she could, and even if she couldn’t she could just read the writing. So we pulled out the one from last year to see how well she could see it and it turned out she really couldn’t. And couldn’t even see the little writing in it either.

So I stayed up a few nights until the wee hours of the morning putting together a bigger book for her:

And we wrote in big handwriting all the descriptions and I think that will work for a little while if that eyesight she has holds a little longer.

These big kids got to get together in Utah, and that was a gift for me too:

Thank you, Sarah for the pictures! Love to you!

This was another gift to me too: seeing that hand get all fixed up. I want to remember that she had to go to that surgery center all alone (Lar couldn’t go with her…which is fine, she’s independent and not afraid of things like this), but once again, I was grateful for technology so we could be texting and hearing how it all went.

Even as of a couple days ago her fingers are still a little bruised up, but so happy that thing is healing up safe and sound.

So grateful for good doctors and health professionals. And for a good friend who recommended some good ones to take care of that hand.

It’s so interesting how the “best” Christmas gifts change so much over the years, and things like health and love and eyesight and togetherness take on the most precious spots in your heart.

I had a tough time taking down Christmas this year.

Usually I’m ready to tear it all down before New Years. But this year I just let it stay. And stay (just took it down on Saturday). I was so grateful, more than ever before, for that symbol of Christmas twinkling in my family room all season long. It was barely hanging on by a thread (so many lights have gone out by this time), but I’m grateful it lit us through the season.

And with that, I bid goodbye to Christmas for a year.

It will be interesting to see where the world is a year from now. Bless that it can be filled with love and forgiveness and health and hugs and gathering by then!


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  1. So sorry about Wellesley’s hand! That was nasty! But she accepted all the inconvenience with a smile. Love that girl! And it is such a delight to see Grace so full of light! She is on fire! Can’t wait to see Lucy’s beautiful book “someday!”

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