As a middle child,
I was blessed with the ability of remembering normally forgettable details of my childhood. 
For instance, I remember a certain Christmas when I was about ten years old that we spent at my grandparents house in Colorado. I remember, among other things, that Christmas I was so sick with Asthma and that was the year my Grandma stocked her refrigerator with cans of ginger ale, (that I wasn't so sure wasn't beer) and that we played Pong on the TV that dwarfed the kitchen table and it's plastic green pear tablecloth. And that was the year that my Elvis-look-a-like cousin Mark mistook me for a boy.

I think we could qualify for AwkwardFamilyPhotos ... don't you?

Yep, that was also the Christmas when I got a Cabbage Patch Doll at the same time, my same aged cousin got her first bra. I was so jealous. I had yet to own a bra for myself - and my social life at Rees Elementary was suffering because of it.

My older, tougher, extortionist sister Brooke "allowed me" to pay her to wear her bra when I became so desperate.

But that story needs a whole post all on it's own.
(I'll save it for her birthday)

This post is about This Christmas.

Some things will always be remembered.
This Christmas of 2011 will be remembered as the Christmas when...

There was not a trace of snow all month long. Christmas lists had to be altered.

This is the Christmas when... River held all her Christmas hopes and dreams in her second grade Christmas program. She had to be stopped from inviting everyone to attend...long distance friends, third cousins, complete strangers.
 Riv said it was fine that nobody came to her program, as long as I got it on film and lots of pictures so she could invite everyone over and show them the video.
Check and check.  Wade is to blame for these.

             This Christmas...the ward Santa (who I have no idea of his true identity)
apparently already knew me and my name. 
                     He said "Will someone tell Hilary to stop gabbing, and take the picture!"
                                                             yes sir!

This Christmas... Brett went on his first formal date.
We were all so thrilled that a girl actually had pity er, I mean asked Brett out. I wonder if it was awkward that we followed her out to the car thanking her, offering her money and promising that Brett didn't need to come home anytime soon.

This Christmas...was the Christmas that we decided to take ALL the kids out to the mall to shop for each other on the weekend before Christmas.
See that word in the upper left hand corner of this picture? lies I tell you...all lies!

Brett (not surprisingly) wasn't busy that night, (word must've got around) and was available to walk the mall with his ultra cool parents and six well behaved siblings.
                                                      That kid is livin a dream folks.
This Christmas...Kal knew exactly what his teenage sister wanted.
A gold and emerald gangster knuckle ring.
He couldn't be talked out of it.

This Christmas...with less than and hour before sunset,
we drove up Payson canyon to take a lovely family picture.
Grandma was the photographer.

Pretty darn good, eh.

She took payment in hugs and kisses and promises that we will all try to be better people.

This Christmas...we surrounded ourselves with really cool people on Christmas Eve.
...really cool people who pointed out how un-cool Lauren and I were for wearing
                                                         matching sweaters.

             Brett was sporting his Napoleon Dynamite pose,
 and taking a picture with a cute girl so he could UP his "ladies man" status.
                (even if the cute girl is his cousin) 

This one is for his wallet. oh yeah!

Some families have Santa visit on Christmas Eve... not us. This Christmas...
we had a rare sighting of the "Night Before Christmas mouse!" Take that Norman Rockwell! 

This Christmas during the Christmas Eve talent show it became painfully apparent to me,
 that me and my kids got nothin in the talent department.

        Unless you call re-enacting movie scenes from Nacho Libre talent.

This Christmas...we decided to for-go the usual hors d'oeuvres and lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner and make our own traditional Jerusalem feast.

            Without consulting any cultural or historical guides.
                                                    We just made it up as we went along.
I'm sure all the innkeepers in Bethlehem thousands of years ago
 were serving Tilapia, pickles, pineapple and cheese dip.

This year jammies and a new book were delivered right on time by Blinki, our house Elf.
I wonder when Blinki will figure out to also deliver children's NyQuil!   
Twas the Night before Christmas...

This Christmas... the children woke up bright and early at 7:00 a.m. on Christmas morning.  (just two hours after Dean and I went to bed.)
They were only allowed to open their homemade "Christmas Happy Meals"  
before it was time to get ready for church. 
Breakfast hot pockets Happy Meals.
Sounded like a good idea as I stood in the frozen food isle at Walmart. 
Lauren's smile translated into...
"really, replaced our Christmas morning sticky buns and omelets
with hot pockets and pop tarts? really mom? really?" 

The kids were so cooperative and excited when it was time to get ready for church.

This Christmas was...masculine

and uh heroic...

This Christmas was...sweet and This Christmas was...messy.
This Christmas was...old school.

This Christmas was...homemade.
 This Christmas was...exhausting.

                                            And This Christmas....smelled pretty good too!

This Christmas...the kids played the "lets see who can make mom cry first" game.
Oh, look! It's a new purse. How nice, unassuming and unsentimental.
Wait a minute, what is that inside the front pocket?
It appears to be a little notebook with a personalized poem about mom.  
Yup, there she goes.
Lauren high-fived Brett.  

And then Lauren made me cry a second time when I saw her playing with dolls.
The first time ever in her life.
I know what someone is getting for her birthday!

This Christmas evening spent at my parents was... entertaining!
The teenagers went from this...

To this!
something must've been in the punch~
This Christmas was...ALL ABOUT AFRICA!

African masks, African clothes, African lapas, African toys. 

My parents opened up their suitcases and poured out the lovely, handcrafted gifts.
Straight from the streets of Sierra Leone to our spoiled brats darlings. 

This Christmas...Dad enacted the new

                                           Even all the men received custom tailored shirts.

This Christmas...we enjoyed having mom and dad home for the Holidays.

This Christmas, River was the designated child to be throwing up on Christmas Day.
                                                             Way to take one for the team Riv.

This Christmas was....all about Africa AND Uncle Will! My little solider brother Willy and his cute girls came home for Christmas from Officer's Training in Ft. Benning Georgia. 
Will even treated all the grand kids to a tamed down version of Boot Camp.
 From the oldest boys, to the littlest 15 pound Lily, they all stood in attention,
              looking straight ahead while Will shouted at the top of his lungs.
"You think this is funny private? drop and give me twenty!!" 

I wish I could say that This Christmas Nativity was directed
                                                          with such precision as Will's boot camp.
       But it wasn't.
  Two Josephs, three Marys, an unwilling teenage Angel choir, sub-par costuming.
                                                            Not my best work.
 And that my friends, was THIS CHRISTMAS 2011.

                                                And so,
                                       to the top of his head...

                                                             to the top of his lungs...

                 Now 'stache away, 'stache away, 'stache away all!


The Aspirant said…
Great post. I was just wondering where all the pictures in my 7 mos pregnantness were? I loved Christmas as a kid and can't wait for my kids to love it too. Seeing the pictures of your family Christmas brought back all those great memories.
So, did Brett get lucky on his first date? If not, then he & I need to talk.

--Uncle Mike
Ali said…
Love every post!

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