So, we had kind of a major dilemma this year with our Christmas services and family celebrations. The difficulty was in trying to figure out how to coordinate everyone's schedules so that we could all be together if only briefly, and also keeping Grandma's worsening dementia in mind.
As always, our professional photo-bomber was on hand.
The together part was handled pretty easily and we ended up being able to worship and provide the music for the Christmas Eve Eve service, and also the Christmas Day service.
We decided to open most of the gifts after the Christmas Eve Eve service so as to keep Grandma from being excessively stimulated.
Benjamin looks thrilled with what he called his "transition year" present.
It was great to catch Christopher in this incredibly handsome candid pose :)
On Christmas Day we opened the gifts from Grandma after church. It was nice for her to get to see everyone open their presents. (At least that was our thought.)
Benjamin enjoys yet another "transition year" present.
Even when everyone only has one gift to open, we still seem to make quite a mess.
Jonathan got to enjoy Matthew being Matthew.
We made Grandma a memory photo album for Christmas this year. It has pictures of all her close family members with their names and ages to help her remember as long as possible. I guess we should have known she wasn't coping too well with all the noise and excitement when she kept asking me if the gift she was opening was candy. Obviously candy is her very favorite thing right now, but she did/does enjoy the photo book too.
We're not sure how to do things differently next year since she did end up getting quite upset. I guess it's just more trial and a lot of error--the story of my life :/
In the end, the important thing was to remember that our focus was our Savior's birth, and everything about that was perfect.
Christmas time brought some fun rehearsals at our house. It's so difficult to get everyone together at once now, but we still managed it for the Christmas Eve and Day services this year.
Helena got to take over the flute part of the service music this year so Emily could sing--that was fun to hear :)
One last rehearsal before church...we managed to stuff everyone in the same room even with the tree in there. It was an awkward arrangement, but no one got poked in the eye with a bow and nothing got broken. I did get a little teary though. This just doesn't happen much any more and there wasn't even any bickering.
So I took a month-long break during December to just breathe and it was good. December had a birthday for both Christopher (17), and Grandma (90). Matthew and Christopher both look like they're trying to figure out how they might just share the cake between the two of them :)
It's always nice to get a hug from your youngest brother :) Of course he might just be asking for more cake or be impatient for you to open your presents...
Christopher asked for a shirt with "stuff" on it. This is the one he got--hope it arrived fast enough :}
We had Grandma come to our house for the celebration. She did pretty well, but her dementia is worsening and any changes to her routine are really hard for her. The hardest part is probably the memory loss which is a real blow to her since that was always her strength.
After the celebration, the guys all got together for some string