There was a fine layer of ice pellets frozen on the window under all the frozen fog flakes that fell down on our van overnight.
The frost crystals on everything sure made it look like a winter wonderland.
We went to an amazing Christmas shop and tree lot
It was here that we got the kids' picture taken with Santa and I bought some seriously large candy canes for the trip back to Portland.
We switched drivers so I could take pictures
Portland doesn't have too many people riding horses so this sign was a novelty to me. There was one on each side of every little bridge as we headed into town.
I had Har stop so I could get out and take a picture of the river with the frosty trees along its banks.
The rest of the day
We spent the rest of the day doing little things here and there. The dads got the tree into a stand and it was strung with lights.
The cousins had a great time bathing in the super deep tub in the master bathroom. It was one of the highlights of the trip for Danika and Garrett. They want to visit again just to take a bath ;0)
The girls, Cherise and I had fun making paper crafts to decorate the kitchen. Cherise cut snowflakes while Danika, Genevieve and I made cut paper chains. It was during this time I holed up in the bedroom and drew names for our gift exchange. I do know who has my name but that's fine. Everyone else can be surprised. It was kind of fun this year to text message each kid and tell them whose name was drawn for them.
The tree all lit up and being admired by Little Miss Anabelle and another shot of it at night before we turned in.
Crafty and thrifty
Cherise gleaned pine cones, baked them to kill any critters then glittered them to put into a wreath and swag.
Both of them were made from evergreen clippings from their property.
Child friendly nativity
Garrett and Henry played for quite awhile with these figures. Though Garrett kept taking the angel off and putting the baby Jesus up on the roof. The angel was put behind the stable. It is a great set for kids of all ages to get familiar with some of the main people that made up that first Christmas.
This picture was sent to me by Cherise this past week. Henry had assembled every toy person in the house and a few extra critters to be a part of this group. He explained that "Everybody wants to see the baby Jesus."
There was so much for the kids to be playing with and they made the most of all of it. It's so great that Henry has many of the toys that were his dad's when he was little. Henry's love of legos has added to the collection and Wyatt was in Lego heaven. Garrett and Danika were constantly serving us tea and goodies from the play kitchen. Genevieve was all about building. Anabelle just went along with whatever the others were doing or went off on her own.
Breakfast was over and dinner prep was started
Harlan was taking notes or making notes or something like that. He's a planner.
All of the womenfolk donned their aprons to get started.
Garrett put on his version and was a builder guy.
Danika was a super helper in the kitchen. She peeled all but two of the potatoes. Cherise made an amazing fresh cranberry sauce with oranges and zest.
I went outside while everything was cooking and took some pictures of the frosty trees.
Dinner is served!
"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing."
Our attempts to get photos of us with the six grandkids didn't turn out the best so here is a picture of us with the granddaughters that were there. We must prepare those grandsons for next spring when we hope to have all ten grandchildren together for a photo session.
There will be cameras and pictures taken. They don't call me mommarazzi for nothing!
Thankful for helping hands from the guys
Cherise and I were dismissed from the kitchen while the guys did clean up.
In addition to the pumpkin pies that were brought out to enjoy, Cherise made this apple cranberry pie too. We had six very thankful children devouring their choice of desserts.
Anabelle would have been happy with a bowl of whipped cream. It was her favorite :0)
We would have loved for all 23 of us to be together for the holiday. But I've got to remind myself that we're in a season of life where things don't always work out the way we want.
Harlan and I are so thankful for each of our independent kids and those last two that have yet to fly the coop. There are many more gatherings to look forward to in the years ahead.