Monday, January 2, 2012

{ Christmas 2011 }

This year, Mike and I were able to spend Christmas in Idaho with my side of the family.
I was excited.
I haven't spent Christmas with my family since 2008, when Mike and I were dating, and Mike has never been over for Christmas. Visions of the best Christmases past danced through my head:
lots of snow, falling softly at regular intervals
lots of sledding and inner-tubing on the hills outside Mom and Dad's house
caroling with their church, complete with haybales piled in trucks for the adventuresome to ride on
endless piles of delicious food
card games, board games, and laughing 'til my sides hurt
lots of time with family and friends I don't see often

Some of those things did happen, and they were lovely. We did go caroling, which was a blast. We were positively stuffed with scrumptious food, far more frequently than we ought to have eaten {I am convinced that my mother's love language is feeding people}. We spent lots of time with relatives and played card games to an extent that probably shocked Mike, coming as he does from a non-game-playing family. Other things didn't materialize--like, there was no snow. At all. For the entire eight days we were there. Unheard of!! I was so, so disappointed about that. Some attitude readjustment was definitely in order on that front. But other than the unseasonably warm weather, we had a great trip!

My brother Obediah and I decorated the Christmas tree

Mike did lots of target practice with my brothers Joe and Emery and my Dad.
One morning Joe, Mike, and my cousin Andrew went coyote hunting. They didn't get anything, but Mike spotted the only coyote they saw that day. Seriously, give boys some guns and they are happy for hours!

After paying no attention for some time, the horses decided they were interested in all the shooting that was going on

Joe looks a little worried...maybe he should try swinging, that always helps me feel better!

Beautiful view from the yard

And we played games. Oh, how we played games!! Scum, Phase 10, and rummy were the favorites. One night, my parents' friends Ralph and Sharon came over, and the eight of us played Phase 10...for hours. And hours. It was the game that never ended. Ralph sang "short people songs" to Sharon. Mom got slightly hysterical. I got completely confused and wasted one hand trying to get the phase I'd already gotten the time before. Finally, at 11:30pm, 5.5 hours after we started, Mike won. He snuck up from behind {after being stuck for many hands on phase 1 and phase 6} to win by both phases and points. It was so much fun, but we all pretty much fell into bed!

Obediah on one of his horses, Teko

One really special part of the week was getting to meet my brother Emery's fiancee, Becky. They are getting married in April, but because of how far apart we all live, we hadn't met her before. She's a sweet lady and they are so cute together!

Emery and one of several cool flashlights Becky gave him. A screwdriver head fits in the face of this one!

Joe used a plasma cutter to make this metal plaque for my dad. See the Caterpillar on top and "Steve's Shop" below? Cool!

Dad really enjoyed all the books we gave him about logging/timber/sawmilling in the Pacific Northwest.

Becky and her sister crocheted an afghan for Emery--I don't think I've ever seen him this delighted!

Since he was a butcher for several years, Joe was in charge of the prime rib roast we had for dinner.
It. Was. Fantastic. {And I'm not much of a meat-eater!}

Later on Christmas Day, while us kids were playing rummy, Dad and Mom decided to go on a walk. On their way outside, I couldn't help noticing that Dad was wearing...two belts.

Me: "Um, Dad, did you know you're wearing two belts?"
Dad: "Yup!"
Me: "Uhhhh...why?"
Dad: "One's to hold my pants up, one is for the gun!"

Since there had been a wolf kill a few miles away the night before, I guess I can't give him too much crap for that!

Emery napping with his new afghan and Zoe, Becky's dog

Sadly, this is the only decent photo I have of Emery and Becky together. It was hardly short of a miracle that she convinced him to ride a horse! Apparently Em's not much of a horse person nowadays...

One nice part about unseasonably warm weather was that we went on lots of walks. Sometimes just me and Mike, sometimes the two of us and Mom and Dad.

I really didn't take enough photos this trip. For example, one night there was a big get-together at my cousin's house, which involved lots of games and food and laughter and general craziness. I took one photo. And it's not great. See for yourself:

L-R: Audrey, Christy {my cousin, and auntie to all these little girls}, Emily, Obediah, and Kate

Gorgeous sunrise

The house where I grew up

While up on the farm, Joe built what I think is called a "crazy bike." It's basically a tricycle with two crazy wheels on the back. Because there are no flat, paved surfaces at my parents' house, he couldn't try it out 'til we went to town on the day we left. It is definitely a crazy bike. If only all the spinning and drifting didn't look like it would make me nauseous...

I'm so thankful for my family, the chance to spend a long chunk of time with them, and how graciously and eagerly they've integrated Mike right in. I'm also really grateful for how completely Mike has taken them as his family, and for all the time he took off of work so that we could spend Christmas with them. {In case you haven't figured it out already, Mike is amazing.} It was a wonderful week!

P.S. Mom, I didn't post any pictures of you because none of them were very flattering...and I know how you feel about pictures like that. ;-)


  1. Such a happy Christmas! So glad you enjoyed your time with family back on the farm :)

  2. This is a wonderful post! I bet your mom and dad were thrilled to have you all there.

  3. So fun to hear of your Christmas. It brings back such wonderful memories of hours spent there while we were growing up. So glad you had a great time.... even with no snow!

  4. What a fun Christmas you had! And wow, what a view! We love love LOVE Phase 10 and passed many hours playing it those 6 1/2 months I was on bed rest. Dale will never let me live down the fact, that I once was stuck on stupid phase 6 so long, that he completed ten.....