There is nothing I love more than Christmas at home. Now, I would love for all the kids to be there. And the grandparents. And the siblings. And their families, but it’s home. I want to be home. While I miss everyone, so, so much. I do not miss the frantic driving across half the country to see everyone on CHRISTMAS DAY.

This year I was incredibly blessed to see all six of my kids, in one spot, at the same time. Nothing can take those magic days at Myrtle beach away from me. Inside I’m still glowing with joy. That, in October, was the best Christmas present ever. I will have those memories, those hugs, those smiles, for the rest of my life. That goes a very long way.

Every year Dave & I wrap the presents on Christmas Eve. Our boys are diggers. Ferrets. Detective Inspectors. Back in 1995, our first Christmas together, we learned that we hide to the presents outside of the house. Since then Dave has always stashed them in a closet at work, no matter where we go or where we are stationed.  That means every Christmas Eve is an all-night affair.

Luckily, Cole decided to help this  year. Mostly by ripping the paper & sticking tape in his fingers and hair, but he did help! He did wrap some presents and then shooed me out of the room. I was a little suspicious, but mostly grateful that I was getting to bed before dawn.

We had a wonderful late start, Dane didn’t get us up till after 08:00. Dave had the coffee waiting for me and everyone was all smiles. It was the first year Dane could contain himself enough to hand other people their presents and wait while they opened it. My baby is getting big. So big he even got his own, tiny, cell phone. Now he can play Pokemon Go with me…and call if he stops at the corner grocery store on the way home from school.  That way I won’t worry if he’s late, and he can pick up milk if we are out!

Tess, I think, had the best Christmas of her life. This is all her fault.  She asked for the Pokemon Sun & Moon game, when it came in Dave asked:

“Why did you buy this? She doesn’t have a DS!” I could’ve strangled the little sneak! Lucky for her I broke my toe, and there is no real snow, so our skiing trip was canceled and a DS was bought for her. I feel used. She’s beyond happy.  Not that the game or DS is her favorite present. Not by a long shot. My parents went overboard and got her 36, super expensive, double-sided, refillable, copic markers. She is over the moon happy. Since Christmas she’s been drawing or on her game. I’ve barely seen her except when she skips in my office, or the kitchen, to give me a hug. She’s been a very huggy, happy girl. I’m okay with that.

Cole got a phone too. Again. He’d just gotten one for his birthday in October, but he’d shattered it in November. I made him wait for Santa. He also got all the football gear, including extra pads (Cole & I both tend to break things, it must be genetic), for his adult German-American football league. I can’t believe he’s a grown-up! I mean, he’s big, but a grown-up?

He also was the pickle finder, and got the pickle present. In Germany it’s tradition to hang a pickle (glass ornament) in the tree. Whoever spots it gets the pickle present! I love the pickle present! It gives me an excuse to buy what I want, in this case the Star Trek Catan game, and then generously offer to play it with the winner of the pickle finding game.  Win-WIN!

The real winner this Christmas was me. While everyone got amazing presents, and all of mine brought a happy smile to my face, it wasn’t till the very end that I was surprised and brought to tears. Cole had saved up to buy me my very own brandnew laptop. I’ve always used Dave’s, Soren’s, my dads. I’ve long needed one of my own, it would make traveling & working away from home so much easier. When I unwrapped, I couldn’t stop the tears. I am still in shock, awe, disbelief, happiness and that Cole planned so long & so hard to surprise me. Cole! My baby. I think he might be a grown-up after all.


Our tree


Dane is very excited to get a phone!


Tess loves the big onsies!


Dane is super excited & every present is his favorite ♥


The best presents come from Grandparents.


She couldn’t stop crying. 36 copic markers! An artists dream come true ♥


…and grandparents gave Dane 200 nerf darts. Yay?


I have no idea why we are laughing, but Dane got a photo of us!


The “pickle” present. I think Cole knows I’m super happy LOL!


Being an adult = having all your own football gear. He’s very happy!


Being an adult = surprising your mom with her very own first brandnew laptop ♥