We were so excited when we found out that Derrick (Damon's brother) and his family were moving within a reasonable driving distance! Although Nashville is still quite a drive, it is a lot closer than Boise and a drive we can defiantly justify at Christmas time. For the past 5 years, we have been desperately missing our family over the holiday and that is honestly one of the main reasons why I want to move home! Being away from grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is hard and especially hard at Christmas time.
The thing I loved most about being with this awesome family over Christmas, was the example that they set for me and my family. I was completely shocked that not one of my adorable nieces or nephew ever once mentioned Santa, reindeer, presents or elves. When I would ask them if they were excited for Santa to come or what they wanted Santa to bring them, they would just shrug their shoulders and carry on with what they were doing. I quickly realized that Santa Clause was not the star of the show in this house and that these children were about to school me on the true meaning of Christmas! In their home, Jesus Christ and his birth are not set aside for the worldly Christmas views and traditions. On Christmas Eve, rather than fussing over the arrival of a big fat man coming through the chimney, there was a fuss over who would play Mary and baby Jesus in the nativity play. I was so impressed and thankful for their examples. Not just Derrick and Kara's, but the examples of their four children, all under the age of 10! They taught me that family traditions, no matter how fun or exciting, should never outshine the tradition of truly celebrating our Savior's birth. The correct way- with Chris Kringle on the back burner. Thanks Kara, Derrick, Chloe, Amelia, Lincoln, and Hannah- we had an awesome time in Nashville with Y'ALL and cant wait to come visit again!
|Yes, I realize out tree in leaning, DAMON.|
|Each of us have our very own wrapping paper. Madden loves knowing which presents are his!|
|I made the tree cones out of wrapping paper!|
|Smells like Christmas!|
|Christmas card mantle.|
|My favorite gift this year!|
|Our newly taken 2012 family pictures printed and framed.|
|We started a new tradition this year- The Twelve Nights before Christmas. Each night we would read about Christ, his life, His gospel and the atonement. It really helped keep the holiday in perspective.|
This year, Thanksgiving dinner was all up to me and me alone. I started early and finished late. I was exhausted after all was was ate and digesting. But I must say, I impressed myself this year. Although it was just the four of us, I still wanted all the traditional favorites and used some new recipes that turned out AMAZING (thank you melskitchencafe.com).
mini peppers with goat cheese and topped with buttered bread crumbs, Costco apple pie (my one and only cheat- can it get any better than costco pie?), DIY Martinellie's (club soda and apple juice consentrate), crackers with smocked cheese log/ cream cheese topped with tartar sauce, to snack on till dinner
our ity bity turkey- tons of herb butter under the skin and stuffed with lemons, fresh rosemary,thyme, and sage
super smooth potatoes with lots of butter and chives
homemade cranberry sauce and gravy made from turkey drippings
sweet potato casserole topped with marshmellows... yummmmm
green bean casserole, I made my own fried onions rather than using canned
stuffing- my favorite dish! so delish- I added sage sausage to the recipe
Finally! Damon realized the flash was not on!!
Damon's one contribution to the entire meal.
All day cooking, baking, cleaning, setting, timing, basting, mixing, cutting, decorating- all for a half hour of actual sitting and eating- maybe even 20 min. Lennox got more food on the floor than in his belly, Madden refused to eat anything other than the rolls and honey butter and Damon didn't even bring his plate to the sink afterward.
Despite all the hard work and the fact that we missed our family, Thanksgiving Day was awesome. I love to cook for my family, I love to spend time with my family and I love family traditions. I felt so blessed this year as I sat at our kitchen table filled with food and my little perfect, adorably handsome boys and hubby of 6 years! All you need really. I am going to try harder now until next Thanksgiving to have a grateful attitude everyday for all the amazing things God blesses me with.