Since we moved here to UT we have been able to go up to my parent's home in Richland, WA for Christmas. It is so nice to relax and hang out with family- and experience a dishwasher for a few weeks! My brother Luke was kind enough to donate his room for the duration of our visit- thank you, Luke! - so we had a room for all the junk of weeks-long travel.
Here we are in front of the Christmas tree in our Christmas Eve pajamas from Grandma and Grandpa Ekstrom. :) Eve looks a bit out of it but this was the best one.
December is a rather busy time of year for the Ekstroms- out of the 17 of the immediate family (my parents, bros & sises, in-laws, and kids) 9 are December babies. Yes, that's a lot of people born in one month! SO, on Christmas Eve when we are all together we have a mass birthday party for my dad, brothers Levi, Aaron and Luke, sisters Hannah and Hilary, sister-in-law Sarah, Isaac and nephew Eli.
This year we made a cake- ok, I made the cake because I wanted to make the same one I made for Patrick's birthday for everyone because it is GOOD- and we decided to make the candles say the sum total of everyones' years- which was 206. SO, here we go:
Impatient scoundrels salivating over the cake while waiting for the herd to gather.
All the present birthday children- minus Patrick and baby Mila.
Isaac opening a birthday present from my parents. Much concentration!
Esther helping clean up the wrapping paper mess.
The matching argyle birthday sweater people- and Sarah modeling her birthday apron!
Another Christmas Eve tradition is for my family to act out the Christmas story while someone narrates from the King James Bible account. Here is a picture of the whole cast- minus Patrick, who was the inkeeper.
Sarah, acting as Mary. . . . found a few shiny bulbs to decorate herself with hee hee. Holding the Baby "Jesus" played by my adorable little niece, Mila.
I am a wise man. . . .
My brother wiseman bearing a gift.
My father playing the last wise man. . . . he looks more like a hit man. . . . I have no idea what's in that present- better call the bomb squad before you open it, Mary!
Two adorable sheep that weren't very good at listening to their shepherds.
And finally, all the stockings in a row- waiting for Santa to come fill them!
Christmas morning aftermath.
Starting with Eve and her new herd of animals.
Ok, these pictures need explaining: the girls got a set of baby equipment and new dolls from Santa. My brother Aaron and I thought we should see if his little newborn Mila would fit into the presents. . . . .
And she did! It was so cute!
More aftermath- with my nephew Eli and Esther-loo.
This is the picture we took of me to send to my sister Hilary (on her mission in Netherlands) so she can see how fat I am getting- I must disclaim that I am puffing out a bit for dramatic effect! hee hee
AND finally, the last Christmas tradition- the making of the gingerbread houses!
Patrick's entry was a protestation against the commercialism of Christmas. The crazy face must be his depiction of the zeal of high artists. . . .
My brother Levi and his Pentagon-inspired creation.
Here's my father holding his beautiful creation- my personal favorite. I love the towers.
Isaac pointing happily to his creation.
Here's mine- a gingerbread man Christmas vacation at the beach. . . .
My brother Ben's lovely cabin in the woods- his tree had a terrible accident. . .
Sarah'svery traditional and adorable gingerbread creation. The street lights are my favorite part!
Mom and her pastry shop-looking creation.
Esther decorated hers all by herself!
I helped Eve with her structure then she went crazy with decorating her gingerbread castle!