This Christmas was an emotionally difficult one to say the least. Dane's absence was everywhere but at the same time we felt his spirit with us throughout the holiday, which was the greatest gift and greatest reminder of what this season is all about. Our Savior coming here to make it possible for each of us to return to Him and to have the opportunity to all be together as a family, never to be separated again. That is all possible through the precious gift Heavenly Father gave each of us when he sent his son down here to Earth.
We all tried to make this a special and good Christmas for everyone, especially for our kids. We were at the house and altogether for a long time, which was the best part for me (all the time we got to spend together). We (Trav and our girls) were there for seventeen days altogether and that time was so precious to me and filled with experiences that are such blessings and help sustain me now. While we were all together we pretty much stayed at the house talking, crying, reminiscing, going on walks to Dane's grave site, getting some last minute Christmas things done, and eating. I don't think my mom ever had to worry about preparing a meal because the ward and whole community was so amazing and brought us meals to keep us fully loaded throughout the rest of the month. I didn't start taking any pictures until Christmas Eve, here are some pictures of us eating a big Christmas Eve dinner.
The girls were SOOO excited and being on their best behavior so Santa would be sure to make it to grandma's house.
Corinne eating on grandma's lap
Mickell was loving herself some roast dinner!
Kendra and Camryn were working hard on a special Christmas gift they were making for their daddy.
Then we had my dad read Christmas stories that evening before opening presents, like we do every year.
I love how the girls were so into the stories!
Each of the girls picked out their Christmas Eve gifts and held them while grandpa read them stories
It must be a new way of trying to guess what is inside
Then it was time for the girls to open their gifts!
Corinne is getting so big and just walking around like such a big girl!
Next it was the boys turn to play. I don't understand it but every time the guys are there they are bound to start rough housing and wrestling. It must be that there is just too much testosterone in the room.
Then we put the girls to bed and Santa got to work setting up for the next morning.
Kaydence's gifts from Santa. Kaydence asked Santa for "Ro The Island Princess" and she must have been so good this year that Santa surprised her with a new bike too!
Marley stash from Santa. Although she was not willing to sit on Santa's lap this year he still got her a rocking horse and a princess barbie similar to her sisters.
We always draw names and this year Travis and I drew Kent and Kathleen, this is the package we made (Travis made the decoration it is held in, I made the baby boy leg warmers and necklace, the rest is just bullets and goodies).
Late into the night we played games, Wacky-6... well most of us. Kathleen and I were busy with preparations and my mom sacked out but wanted to stay with everyone even if it was just through osmosis.
My gorgeous sister on her laptop
These are the gifts to Camryn, Kendra, and Corinne, from Santa! When you have a pile like this you KNOW you've been good this year!
Marley and Kaydence's stockings filled to the brim!
Kendra's, Camryn's, and Corinne's stockings also filled to the point of overflowing!
All of us (Kent, Kathleen, Taylor, Amanda, Travis, me, Jonathan, Jess, and Mickell) had been working on getting my mom something VERY special this Christmas. Dane's birthstone is a diamond, seriously how fitting is that? So we wanted to get her something that she could always wear like a little piece of Dane she can always keep with her. So we got her this white gold necklace in the shape of a tear drop with a diamond in the middle. The chain is strong, white gold, and adjustable so she can wear it under her clothes when she wears other jewelry or up higher for all to see.
After everything was done we all went to bed. The girls were so excited to go see their presents the next morning that we had to try and contain them in the princess room until everyone was up and ready!
I knew Marley would be in love with her horsie!
Her stocking is almost as big as her!
I love that face, and all over a chocolate covered marshmallow.
Kaydence loved her bike, she said it was her FAVORITE present this year!
I had to make Marley open her presents because she just wanted to go through her stocking and eat all the candy! Even after she opened one gift I had to try to get her to come back over to open another but she was too busy playing with the gift she had already opened.
Marley was loving Kaydence's bike too!
I LOVE this picture of Marley giving her Uncle Taylor a kiss!
Kaydence getting her accessories on!
Corinne's cute green face from eating Christmas Tree Peeps
I was trying to add to the mood by adding the white edging on the pictures, so Christmas-y right?
Uncle Johnny and Aunt Jess got all the girls Amelia Bedilia books! I always loved those books when I was younger.
Kent is one proud papa, displaying the amazing art work his girls did for him!
We got my dad one of these for ice fishing.
We videoed my mom opening her necklace from each of us, it was so perfect and I think it was everyone's favorite part of Christmas morning. It really touched my mom.
Travis holding the football my parents got him
Then we went to celebrate Christmas with Grammy and Papa. What would Christmas Eve be without Grandpa singing and playing his guitar or ukulele?
Kaydence was singing with grandpa, it was so cute!
The girls love this tradition
Jo's Hello Kitty jammies
Kaydence's Dora jammies
Then the rest of us opened our Christmas Eve gifts
We got the most soft and fuzzie blankets with matching slippers
This may have been one of Travis's favorite gifts this year, he LOVES soft blankets (that must be where Kaydence gets it from :)
Kassidy got a surprise Christmas delivery that night from a really cool guy
I'm so glad Mariella was able to spend Christmas with us, she is one of the sweetest people on the planet.
Monte was especially loving the leopard slippers
The girls were ready for round two the next morning and emptied out their stockings for the second time.
We set up the Princess castle my mom got the girls the previous morning and that kept Marley pretty entertained for most of the morning.
Grammy got Marley the cutest boots EVER!
Kaydence had to change into her new outfit the moment she opened it! This girl loves clothes!
I made Kaydence this soft plush quilt for Christmas (to replace that old plush blanket that she has outgrown but wouldn't get rid of because of how soft it is)
I'm so glad she loved it so much! The monkey material on it is from Grandma Green so it was also from her great grandma Green
Our little guy also got a little something, it says, "if you think I'm handsome you should see my daddy". I love it!
I think the girls rotated between four sets of jammies that day, thy were loving them all!
Kaitlin got some of the cutest boots (two pairs of adorable boots, Kaitlin has such amazing taste she is always so fashionable and hot).
Kassidy's cute pants!
I love this picture! We (Travis, Kaitlin, Kass, Mariella, and Trav and I) got these two a little romantic get away treat. A night at the Black Swann Inn, gift certificates to dinner and the movies.
Travis is at least consistent on what he gets for Christmas, hunting gear camo style!
These two hot ladies after church!
Candy from my stocking for every meal of the day, PLEASE?!?!?!
Kaydence wanted Kaitlin to do her hair in a brad, don't ask me why she is looking so grumpy though
That afternoon these three crashed after our late lunch
We stayed in Blackfoot until New Years Eve. So that morning the guys went out and played racquetball (I don't think I could be worse at any sport in the universe than I am at this one, I am always running the opposite direction of the ball because I can never tell where it's going to go). Later we all went bowling!
I love this picture of grandpa helping Kaydence bowl!
My gorgeous mom holding our grumpy girl
Travis helping Marley do the granny style bowling
Marley was so excited she would just start galloping and dancing down the isle after she bowled!
My mom is the absolute cutest person to watch bowl! She does this cute little jump/skip before she lets the ball go
Cutest butt shot of these two (Kaydence and daddy) granny bowling
Travis trying to contain our girls and keep them out of the isle
This one is my favorite, he is telling Marley to stay out of the isle while holding Kaydence upside down.
Johnny was tearing it up... like he does at EVERYTHING!
Jess always presents her hubby with some tough competition though
The Levitt family was there too, this is Travis with Tyler Levitt. They are good buds from high school.
The final scores:
Belle (aka - Kaydence and Marley) - 73
Nicole - 82... yeah I got impressive skills
Travis - 140
Jonathan - 143
Jess - 108
Team mom and dad - 128
After pizza and ice cream we had to head home, GROUP HUG!!!
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that morning when the guys were playing racquetball Travis hit the ball really hard and it came back and nailed Jonathan in the eye and gave him a black eye.
Kissing my man, even if he tends to get a little too competitive at least he hasn't given me any battle wounds... yet
I am so crazy in love with this man!
It was a good Christmas this year, things will never be the same, I'll never be the same. But there is no greater blessing than being able to spend time with family and make memories and know that this happiness and these moments are only the beginning and that we will all be together forever because of the infinite sacrifice our Savior made for each of us.