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The Best Christmas Gift

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I love the month of December.  We have so many fun traditions that we all look forward to every year.  New Christmas music, visits to the tree farm, our annual holiday party and spending time with our families.  That is actually the BEST part!

This year we had ‘Christmas DDD’ first with Dean and Wanda and Deana the weekend before Christmas.  Due to an unfortunate leak in our living room we weren’t able to spend the night but we did get to stay all day and hang out.  Having an early Christmas is always the best for my girls because it is like a release valve.  Kate especially has a hard time waiting all the way until the big day so it is fun to get and enjoy some gifts.

I completely forgot to bring my big camera to their house so I had to make due with my iPhone.

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On Christmas Eve we started our night at church and then hustled over to my parents’ house  for ‘Torture Pie’ (Tortiere for you French Canadians out there) and to let the kids open gifts from my parents.  Another release valve.  Gotta love them!  We also got to open our pajamas from Mrs. Claus and the kids all snuggled in for the non-traditional reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas that my Dad does.

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Since my parents moved to a smaller home this year Christmas day happened at our house.  It started with the cousins sleeping together in the playroom.  We all thought for sure they would be up by 5am for sure.  At 6:30 all was still silent and I was getting antsy waiting for the party to start.  Turns out the kids were all actually awake but they were being nice to each other and waiting for it to get light out before they made any noise.  Sheesh!  In the Pacific NW at this time of year it doesn’t get light out until after 7:30.  Sure glad somebody giggled and got them all moving.  (And no, it wasn’t me!)

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The kids all had to wait at the top of the stairs for coffee to be poured, music to be started and lights to be turned on and then we let them loose to see what the fat guy in the red suit brought us.  My girls got a fully outfitted lap desk (with a compartment holding a keyboard for her iPad, iPod speaker, pens, paper clips and pads), a still camera and a video camera.  Santa was good to them!  (Can I just say that it is kind of nice that Mr. Fun and I finally get the credit for the Santa gifts now that everybody is ‘in the know’ around here?!?)

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It was fun to watch the girls open gifts from each other.  They were so thoughtful.  Jill and Ellie actually got each other the same thing…almost.  Jill got the earring version and Ellie got the necklace of a quote from their favorite book ‘The Fault in Our Stars’.

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The big gift we gave the girls this year was a trip to Hawaii.  We use earnings from my job to make repairs and do fun things.  Thank goodness I had a good year because we’ve done a lot of both this month!  We wrapped up some memory boxes for the girls with flip flops, leis and brochures for the resort we are going to.  It took them a few moments to figure it out but they were over the top excited.  (This picture is totally blurry because they were too excited to sit still!  I love it anyway.)  Even with all that this was not the best Christmas gift.

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Since my parents moved this year and since my Dad has had a lot of health problems lately my brother and sister and I decided not to get them STUFF, but to tell them how much we love them.  We found a fantastic wedding videographer and pitched our idea to him.  I will share more when I have a link I can share, but suffice it to say that he produced a video that surpassed all of our expectations.  We were all speechless and teary when we first saw it and we could hardly wait to share it with my parents.  We wrapped up up all sorts of movie snacks that they opened individually.  The confusion on their face was priceless as they thought we were really giving them popcorn and junior mints for Christmas.  We then handed them their DVD and started the movie.  (I did not get any still shots of them watching the movie because I did not want to jeopardize the moment and I was just too teary myself!)  We could tell how much they loved it by their reaction but I tell you the process of making this movie, talking about all our fun family memories and sharing all that we love about them and then sharing it with THEM was amazing.  We probably got more out if it than them.  Even with all that, though, this was not the best Christmas gift.

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The best Christmas gift this year had to be that my Dad’s health is on an upswing.  He had a brutal fall spending two weeks in the hospital in October and months on dialysis.  He was so sick that I wasn’t even sure we would have him for Christmas.   He never felt his health was in such dire shape but some of the conversations we had with his doctor did not leave us hopeful.  Dad is now off dialysis and back on chemo therapy.  This is a good sign because it means his body has recovered enough to get back to fighting off that cancer.  He’s got a spring in his step and a sparkle in his eye.  THIS is the best gift this year!

Onward and upward.  (This is how my Dad signs all of his health update emails.  Seems like the perfect note to end on!)

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