First the girls...
...then the boys.
Once all the pictures are taken and Dad says, 'Go!", everyone races off to change into their 'new clothes'.
Within minutes, we are gathered again in the living room. It was time to now sing Christmas Carols. All of us had a turn to pick their favorite.
Even Gramma and Papa picked their favorite Christmas Carol.
Afterwards, we all enjoyed the treat of eating some Christmas cookies.
Conversation and laughter filled the room!
While the children enjoyed candy canes,
Dad read to us Luke 2 from his Bible.
Another long standing tradition is to take a picture in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. We have been doing this for 26 years! These pictures of Christmas (as well as Easter) are in a little album on the table to the right of the fireplace for all to enjoy. It is a blessing to see our family grow and change over these many years.
Sometimes we have taken time to measure
the 'growth in stature' of our children.
This year was one of those years.
Garrison is still shorter than Dad but not for long...Dad is shrinking!
After prayers, hugs and kisses, the family goes to bed with lots of excitement for Christmas Day!
It will be the first Christmas our three older children will have been 'home' together in seven years!
CHRISTMAS DAY begins with the parents and grandparents enjoying a cup of coffee while talking about random things with a roaring fire.
Dad woke the children; who quickly joined us in the living room.
Mom and Dad give three gifts in the tradition of the 'wisemen'.
Something they need...a blanket for their bed
a book...(and later a new shirt).
Gramma and Papa's turn...
Time for breakfast.
Now for the shirts..
Meme and Granddad's gifts are next...
Each year the children put their monies together
to get Mom and Dad a gift...
...a coffeemaker and blender (from our new Costco store :-)
Garrison also blessed us...with a new toaster.
From Mom and Dad for the 'motorcycle rider'.
A bonus gift this year was an MP3 player (for SMI newsletter days :-)
Even Gertie and Betsy got presents...lots of chew-bones and treats.
The gift from Gramma and Papa (Katherine's parents)
to Grammy and Gramps!
The rest of the family arrives!
After greetings and a settling in the living room, the gifts of love continue...
From Grammy and Gramps to Jael...
Jerry Smith joined us for Christmas Day.
He is a friend of Josh and Garrison who attends our church.
A little lamb for Hattie from Grammy and Gramps.
Jael had the fun of opening it for her and giving it to their mommy's belly. :-)
Even the 'grandpets' got presents from Grammy and Gramps...
Pip got treats.
Marcus, Munch, and Marida got catnip mice.
From Josh and Jen...
a tin of cookies
a NOAA weather radio
home-making beer kit
a book (promptly taken to Grammy to be read)
scarf racks and scarf from Mom to Melinda...
metal owl from Mom to Jennifer...
a Marine Corps plaque
and a Duplo set for the baby.
Melinda and Justin gave....
Gramma and Papa gave...
Aunt Pam gave glass bowls from 'Great-Granddad's kitchen' full of candy
Our 'youngers' gave to their older siblings...
And last but not least...
'Sanford and Sons Woodworking' present our gifts to each family...
For Josh and Jen a trash can that Jael cannot knock over!
For Justin and Melinda, a coffee table that Justin can prop his feet up!
For Gramma and Papa, the long requested 'quilt holding end-table'!
The pre-dinner toast.
The dinner photo using J&M's new Gorilla tripod!
After dinner....games and guns and more games!
Sanford Dominoes using the new Sanford to Sanford Dominoes!!
The Lord gave us a wonderful gift Christmas evening...
we met for the first time our 4 J's through Skype!!!
To God be the glory great things he hath done; so loved he the world that he gave us his Son!
Happy New Year!
May your 2013 be blessed of the Lord as you do his will...
The Sanford Family