Christmas past

so i'm dreadfully late with this post but it means that i'm almost caught up on everything that happened after we moved! Christmas this year was a whirlwind. we left the woods on a wednesday night after work & drove 6 hours down to chicago. maddie loves the car but has to be buckled in the backseat on long trips, otherwise she tries to sit in the lap of who ever is driving. our 55 pound lab definitely fancies herself a lapdog!

thursday i took full advantage of actually having stores around and did some shopping. some serious stocking up happened at joann's, michaels and hobby lobby! our macbook went in to get fixed and we visited my nana. that night i caught up with my best friends from high school and we sent brandon & another hubby on a man date. we had a wonderful evening together catching up over dinner and coffee; we even gave the boys enough time to see two movies. there was also some late night settlers fun with lynn & jon. we love us some settlers of catan!

friday (Christmas eve) i spent all day at my nana's house helping her get ready to host dinnner. we have spent Christmas eve at her house every year, my whole life, but this was the first year we were without this sweet man. 

{yep that's me & a stuffed cow. circa 1987?}
papa had been battling cancer for 5 years but was with us and "healthy" last year at Christmas. shortly after Christmas he contracted shingles. that was the beginning of the end and the months that followed were unimaginably difficult for all of us. he passed away on february 20. i'll be writing more about nana & papa and those few months soon but none of us were looking forward to celebrating this Christmas without him. there would be no one to cook the horrible oyster dish for, no one to force us to do every dish before presents were opened, no one to buy jam for, no one to take pictures as every gift was opened.we survived it. miss you papa & love you always!

at my parents house we spent a lot of time {as we always do} snuggled up watching old movies. my parents' dog, sadie, is not a big fan of maddie. they were forced to spend a weekend together when maddie was young and had no manners. their relationship has been rocky ever since! brandon seems to be able to mend their relationship- we call him the dog whisperer!

on Christmas morning my parents, sister, b & i gathered around the fire to open presents. every year we start by reading Luke 2 {which is wonderful} then my mom makes us sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and Hark the Herald Angels  before we are released to the presents!{not so wonderful- no one in my family can sing. at all.}stockings come first and are usually filled with chocolate and at least one Christmas ornament. i failed to take pictures of most of these festivities. partly because i was still sleepy & partly because we were dressed in all sorts of weird Christmas morning pajama ensembles :) 

the gift giving is not big or extravagant at our house, never has been, but the gifts we do give are very thoughtful. this year b and i both did the handmade thing. here he is modeling one of the hats i made him! {which i have since stolen & claimed for myself. great wife i know!} he works outside in the frigid weather every day so now he has a few new wool blends hats to keep him warm AND stylish!

look what my sweet hubby made me!!! this is from a tree that he actually cut down. then sliced up. and made into an awesome sign! he used the router/sign making machine at honeyrock. love, love, love. you'll be seeing it again soon in the tour of my studio!

it wasn't all handmade this year- my parents went to ireland and sweden for their 30th anniversary and brought back a few fantastic gifts! i received a new and gorgeous claddagh ring to replace the old silver one i've worn every day since high school. brandon got this schnazzy rugby jersey! doesn't it go well with his northwoods pajama pants? :) 

 and just in case you thought we forgot the pup on Christmas here she is enjoying her new bear, stanley. i found him in a box of my old stuffed animals and since i couldn't' remember where he came from {so he probably wasn't significant!} i passed him along to her! this picture is taken after she devoured the bone my parents gave her. lucky & spoiled little fuzz monster!

we stayed in illinois another day then flew to california on the 26th in preparation for our trip to maui on the 28th!!

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