CHRISTMAS 2011, Yakima, WA
SO. MUCH. FUN. We haven’t had two weeks of solid family time in years. Actually, make that, Never. This Christmas was the perfect opportunity for our family to have some real time together. Here are a few highlights:
GINGERBREAD HOUSES…from scratch
SLEDDING…lots of sledding
ZOO LIGHTS…Point Defiance Zoo
SEATTLE SCIENCE CENTER…worth every penny
CHRISTMAS EVE…program and pajamas
1. two treasured visits with Jes
2. a birthday party for six of the 14 grandkids (where are those pics?)
3. a visit to great-grandma and great-grandpa’s in Tacoma
4. four-wheeler rides
5. lunch and shopping with my favorite high school buddies
6. and last, but certainly not least, playing Santa to a family with eight children, whose dad lost his job two month previously. Adam even dressed up in a Santa suit for the occasion.
The whole Penning tribe pitched in so that we could not only provide Christmas dinner and presents for the children, but also, extra groceries, clothing, toys, books, gift cards for the parents, and new outfits for each child. For such a large family, it took the entire back of our Suburban and Papa Penning’s truck to carry it all. It was the sweetest and best highlight of the entire two weeks…watching our whole family work toward a common goal that reached past our differences and divisions, as we focused on something greater than ourselves….something that really matters.
As the four older girl cousins were helping me finish wrapping the gifts the day of the delivery I asked what their favorite part of planning for the family had been. Brooklynn said, “I am most excited to see the girls’ closets fill up with the clothes and things like I have.” The others chimed in saying they were sure the kids we had bought for didn’t have as much in their closets as we did and they were glad to share what they had so that someone else’s closet could be just as full. It made this mommy/auntie very proud of all our Tweens!
My other favorite moment was when Annie came in the living room with her brand new black leather church shoes and asked if she could give them to the three year old little girls (the family has twin girls). How could I refuse such a sweet and simple request. We wrapped up a couple of special things and Annie hand delivered them to the girls’ bed for them to open when they woke up. I think that will be one of Annie’s first real memories as she grows up, which makes me smile. I hope I can be more like that in my everyday living and doing.
Christmas was REALLY good this year! Christmas cards might not be sent out yet. My body may feel broken from the 17 hour drive. And my phone is lost somewhere between here and Ogden, but it was all worth it. And we’re home safe, looking anxiously into 2012. :)