Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Ghosts" of Christmas Present, Celebrating 2009

Below are just a few of my favorite Christmas memories from 2009 which we were able to capture on film. We sincerely hope your Christmas was blessed with wonderful memories, as well.

Merry Christmas!

Baking...we did a lot of it! Above, JSS is making
a Chocolate Bundt Cake to take to his Sunday
School Christmas Party that night. (I made a second
that day to take to our neighborhood Christmas Party.)
This is our Christmas Tree 2.0, erected and decorated
on Monday, Dec. 21st, when we found it on sale
at Hobby Lobby 50% off. Our first tree, a live one,
was the worst we've had yet. It was brittle, missing a LOT
of needles (which were all underneath) and only one strand
of about 10 strands of light even lit up, not that we could plug
it in because of the extreme fire hazard it posed! We had
a WONDERFUL time decorating the new tree (pre-lit, yay!)
and were blessed all week with a LIT tree that did not catch fire*.
*always a good thing

Christmas Eve around noon it began to earnest!
NONE of us remember EVER having a white Christmas,
so were were hopeful it would stick. A few hours later and
we had a light dusting on the ground (above) that kept
gathering until after dark. By Christmas morning we had
our first ever white Christmas! What a precious memory!

AMS started a family tradition about 5-6 years ago of
making trail mix for everyone and us watching a
Christmas movie on Christmas Eve day. Here
are a couple of great shots of the tradition-planner
herself, enjoying ELF (with our LIT Christmas tree behind her).

Here is what our yard/house looked like on
Christmas morning! WAHOO!!!!
COS started the gift-giving the day after Christmas.
She had a very good idea of what she wanted to give everyone
and was so excited she wanted to pass out her gifts first, too.
Above, she is giving AMS a box full of Taylor Swift stuff.
Above, COS is enjoying the way she hid JDS's gift in
many layers inside the box. He had to dig for it.
Above, COS attacked her Dad with the enthusiasm
she's had penned up for WEEKS waiting for him to
open his harmonica/how-to book set!
Above, JDS opening his purple hair dryer. He borrows
mine almost daily and we thought he might could use
his own when he went off to college in the fall. He blessed
us by saying, "I thought it would make a good gift." Apparently,
he'd been thinking along the same lines. :)
Our sweet Peter, waiting patiently in the window for
an available box or bag to climb into while we open gifts.
JDS enjoying a moment of triumph when his Dad
opened the two DVD set of James Bond movies he gave him.

Ender enjoying the warm comfort of a too-tiny
box for his size while COS pets him.
Poor COS about 5 minutes after she realized
that Dad's Swiss Army Knife isn't something
to handle without care. Bless her heart...
JDS's utter bewilderment is what I love in the
above photo, just when he finally got the thing
out of the box, but has NO IDEA what it is!
(2" memory foam mattress topper for his new bed)
I love the above photo because of the perspective.
It certainly looks like Simon has big shoes to fill!
I also love the accompanying look of "wha...?"
on his face! In reality, they are shoes that fit him. :)
Above, AMS just realized what her "big gift" was...
Seasons 2-7 of Gilmore Girls!
COS just saw that her "big gift" was a new bike!

Below is a series of shots of JSS when he opened
his "big gift." He got a fish tank & and reptile cage.
Look at the sheer elation on his precious face as
he says, "YES!!!" He didn't even ask for this, we
just know he loves catching critters!!
It's starting to sink in what this means...
Still contemplating while Dad opens his "big gift"
in the back ground...
There it is! The SCREAM that just HAD to make it's
way out of his body, bursting our eardrums, of course,
but conveying the depth of his joy, nonetheless.
Below, JDS opening the belt JSS bought for him,
which closes with a Dodge Viper's seat belt clasp.
JSS watching in anticipation as Dad opens
the gift he bought for him...a new drill.
Below, COS talking to her G'ma on the phone
Christmas night, complete with a lot of
tatoos she received in her stocking this year.
Below, our Christmas feast, complete with
Aunt Angie and cousin Sara. :)
The girls wrote (lyrics & music) a song about our
White Christmas and performed it for us after dinner!
Sweet Sara showing her Mom the Muny she got from
us for Christmas. :)
Below, Simon trying to figure out why his sister & brother-
in-law would give him a framed photo of some
politicians for Christmas.
Just JSS being silly.
He's so cute!
COS opening her gift from Amanda &
She finally got it open! It took her literally about
5 minutes! It had a ton of packing tape on it, so much
that she used her TEETH to help her rip the box
apart! But the sweet triumph was worth it!

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Ghosts" of Christmas' Past, Misc. Photos

Simon, circa 1991
Birmingham, AL
Our second apartment
Grandpa reading a Christmas story to the little
kids Christmas Eve 2008
COS on Christmas morning 2008
the moment she realized she got the
doll house she fiercely wanted for her
Only Hearts Club dolls (Target)
JSS (2008) showing me the cut he received from
Dad's pocket knife while opening one of his gifts.
COS in 2002, so precious!
COS loving on her friend from India (Ria)
on Christmas night (2005-ish)
2004's Toga Party
JDS, AMS and JSS, circa 2001

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Ghosts" of Christmas' Past

This was our Christmas newsletter photo
for 2002. My, how the time flies...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Ghosts" of Christmas' Past, Christmas Trees

We buy our Christmas tree on Dec. 1st.
This particular year (2004), we visited
a tree farm for the first (and only) time.
We picked out our tree, took turns sawing
it down, hauled it to the car, etc. It was
quite an experience! Unfortunately, it
was one of the worst trees we've ever had!
To begin with, it was infested with ants!
It was brittle within two weeks, meaning
we could not even light it up without risk
of fire in the living room, not that there were
too many needles left on it by that point!

Needless to say, that tree is memorable!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Ghosts" of Christmas' Past, Crafting

This glass ornament is somehow frosted, leaving
our names ("Simon & Ericka") as the only clear
thing on them. It is a beautiful ornament lovingly
made for ALL of us (see below) by my sweet
sister-in-law, Amanda, in 2008.
Amanda makes home made ornaments
for each of us every year. The glass ones are
featured on our mantle this year, along with the
hand made stockings that Grandma Syrell made for all
of us over the years, all but COS's, which was made
by Simon's mom. She was born after G'ma Syrell
went to join our Jude (and many other loved ones)
in heaven, celebrating Christmas with Jesus.
COS (2007?) constructed this nativity from
a foam craft kit we bought for her.
I love the happy faces she drew on the
figures in her display, which also
came with a palm tree (not pictured).
JSS (2009) had some free time and decided
to make something with his hands.
A short while later, he came to show me
this snowman nativity ornament set
he had made out of styrofoam!
(I collect nativities, so this was
especially wonderful to me!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Ghosts" of Christmas' Past, Church Life

The kids have ALL been involved in the children's
choirs/productions throughout the years
that our churches have done. Above, JSS and COS
as a part of the bell & choir production in 2009.
(The singing is not JSS's favorite, but it *is* COS's!)
AMS as Mary on Christmas Eve. She wanted to be Mary
so badly, then discovered that Mary had no speaking
parts. She was very disappointed in that. :)
Our family has been honored on a few occations
to light the advent candles and say a few words
in the service since we began attending our "new"
church. Above, a year in which my back went out,
so a friend took photos for me. Simon also had his cell
phone on speaker in his coat pocket so that I was
there in "spirit" with them. I truly am blessed to be
so enveloped by people who love me! JSS introduced
our family (not very nervous in front of all
the people, either!), each of the kids lit a candle since
it was the 4th Sunday, Simon spoke and prayed.
AMS on a happier year when she was the
head angel, with LOTS of speaking lines. :)
JSS before COS was old enough to join him in
the choir. He does not have a good poker face.
The expression is priceless as he stands up
there doing something he most assuredly does
NOT want to do...sing!