So great to be with THREE of my siblings and their families for Christmas Eve!
My sister Shawni and family came directly from China to Utah on the 23rd and my brother Josh (who lives in Arizona and who we thought was doing Christmas elsewhere) decided to show up and suprise us so we were able to hang out with them and my parents all day on the 24th, sledding, playing in the snow, doing last minute shopping, catching up. Then at dinner time, we were joined by my brother Noah and family for a grand "Jerusalem Supper" and Nativity play.
Here's the story in photos (the best ones, of course, are courtesy of Shawni with her nice camera).
The kids were so excited to see snow at my parents' house at Park City since we didn't have any at all at our house. They headed right out with their cousins for big time fun in the snow.
Here's Max, Elle and Ashton heading out for some fun:
And here's Isaac and Grace in the typical mis-matched odd assortment of snow clothes my parents have on hand at their house:
Ashton played guitar and impressed his cousins by playing anything they requested:
Claire, Eliza and Lucy had big time fun together:
After lots of playing in the snow, we enjoyed our traditional "Jerusalem Supper" brought to new heights by my dear mom.
Ever since I was a little girl, it's somehow been my job to dress everyone up in something or other that looks sort of Bible-era-ish. So I brought my stock of stuff and did my best!
We ate figs and dates and grapes and pita bread and fish and goat cheese - foods they likely ate at the time of Christ - along with other Middle Eastern foods like falafel.
And here are Joseph's parents who, of course, had to be there to see the couple off to Bethlehem:
The kids did a great job staying in character and my dad, as always, helped steer the conversation in meaningful ways. It was a very holy and lovely dinner.
Then it was time to arrive in Bethlehem and see the Nativity played out.
Silas and cousin Lyla made a great Mary and Joseph (had to keep it fair by having two girls get a chance to play Mary at different parts of the evening). And Jared, as always, did a great job as the donkey.
Eliza kept all the little angels organized. Isaac took care of the kings. And Oliver was the head shepherd.
Baby Shelby was the star of the show for sure as baby Jesus - lots of adoring going on. And she played the part perfectly:
Then my mom told the kids all about the symbolism of the sand dollars we'd always had on our Christmas tree growing up - and she gave them each a sand dollar to keep (google it - beautiful stuff).
We got home and opened our traditional first present of PJ's and put them on:
Then the kids wrote their note to Santa and scrounged up some leftover banana pancakes to leave him as a treat since it was too late to make cookies (and, they reasoned, he's surely be sick of cookies when he got to our house and would appreciate something yummy but sort of healthy).
Then it was off to bed.
Jared woke up early because he was excited (and because he's just an early riser - can't help himself). Between him tiptoing around and the kids creaking around upstairs, we were both up before the kids officially woke us up with their singing on the stairs. And once I looked out the window, I got so excited!
Here's what I saw from our bedroom - a full-on winter wonderland with snow still falling like crazy!
Then the kids officially woke us up with their traditional singing on the stairs (accompanied by Ashton on guitar - their wake-up carols are sounding better every year!).
The kids showed us everything they got in their stockings:
Then we watched the snow fall for a while and admired the beautiful winter wonderland God had given us as a magical Christmas gift (it hadn't snowed really at all in December so this was so welcome and magical!).
The kids were nice about indulging my need to have us all listen to a bit of the music from the snow scene in the Nutcraker while we watched the snow fall - but they were so anxious to get downstairs!
Here's what each kid got from Santa:
We played with all our awesome new stuff for a while:
Then we had our traditional Eggs Benedict breakfast before jumping into more rounds of present opening.
And the snow kept falling:
Then we opened more presents:
New clothes are oh-so exciting (not) but the boys were very gracious and happy to try on their gifts for me.
The twins were really excited about these shirts that go with their music passion (and they've worn them like every day since receiving them - brief breaks for laundry):
One of my favorite parts of the day was the kids giving their carefully saved-up-for and lovingly selected gifts to each other.
The twins were SO excited about this game they found at the thrift shop for just $3 - it had a price tag on it for $20 - and they were sure Eliza would love it. They were right!
The kids got great gifts from their cousins (all the Loosli cousins draw names and give gifts to each other)
Then the kids got to open their presents from my parents.
And my parents opened their presents from me and Shawni (we decided to give them a bunch of our favorite games since they don't have many at their house and games are such a fun way to enjoy family time when we all come to visit!).
Then we played some music together (a tradition from when we were younger - fun for Eliza to be able to join in this year on her violin!)
So grateful for the chance to be with so many loved ones, for the gorgeous snow, for the abundance of love shown in presents from loved ones near and far and shown in laughter and togetherness, for the means to provide great food and good gifts.
Best Christmas ever!