smiles from december

AD's jelly bean portrait

snow enough for sledding around

watching a friend's daughters' Christmas dance program

{my friend's daughters are younger, but this is not as blurry and gives a nice taste of that night}

making homemade gifts

watching 2 of our 3 perform in our church Christmas program (lots of smiles, maybe watery eyes, too)

sharing a potluck lunch with our church community 

surprise gifts in the mail

"Grandma" willing to play just about any game the kids imaged

listening to our niece and nephews play with a small crowd of other mini pianists at a local nursing home

{my sister's youngest waiting to play "Jingle Bells." although blurry, he dressed himself that morning, looked too cute, i couldn't resist.}

seeing H and cousins dance "This Time for Africa", couple dance to the Russian folk song "The Korobushka," and sign language to "It's a Wonderful World" with a full sanctuary of their classmates from weekly enrichment

full days with cousins over winter break
watching our niece hip hop across a stage as a mischievous elf
open-air ice skating with our children until sundown and Christmas lights twinkle in full glow
{AD experienced his first time on ice, AF experienced her first time ice skating with "no hands" (although here she gets her uncle's hand of support)}
{my brother-in-law and sister's antics in the background while AD behaves like a wet noodle}
mixing up Christmas Eve dinner with Mexican: tamales and enchiladas enjoyed this year
{post Christmas Eve service: my mom with the grandchildren}
the little ones making/giving each other gifts
a lightly-white Christmas morning
{on our way to see family}
giving and receiving
personal, homemade touches
{a hand-carved stamp print on a package from my sister with her son's silhouette}
cooking and visiting together in the kitchen
games (digital and board) and conversation

a doorway framed with reminders of dear souls in our lives
many daytime and bedtime stories (and losing one before the last word is read)

special requests for unusual, winter break sleeping arrangements
the raw, unclad good and beauty of winter