"On the 12th day of Christmas..." As I sit hear looking at the pretty lights and enjoying my Christmas tree I am thinking back at the last 12 days and what a fun filled Christmas it was. Dec 24 dawned with a sky beautifully painted with hues of pink, orange and yellow. With the truck packed full of luggage, food and gifts I was on my way. It was so good to see the kids again! We all were busy getting everything ready for our family Christmas eve celebration. David helped me make a pecan pie. The girls were getting all dressed up and I had fun creating pretty and unique hairdos for them all. Once everything was ready and all of us were there it was time to eat! The food was very yummy. We had some typical Colombian dishes like empanadas, bunuelos and tamales. After dinner Abby read us a Christmas story and then it was time to open all the gifts. Little Margie was so excited about that part! We got to bed pretty late...was it 2 or 3 am? Early Christmas morning I was woken up my Nino (the basset hound) whining outside wanting a walk so off we went for a brisk, cold walk. The kids got up later and opened up their stockings and we had a nice relaxing lazy day. Dec 26 we went shopping with all the kids, ate a delicious lunch at Famous Dave's BBQand came home and made 5 minute chocolate mug cakes. On Saturday the 27th I got up bright and early and drove to Yuma with Mom. We spent the day at Mary's (Donna's neighbour) making Mexican tamales. It was a first for me. We made over 200 tamales all together! At the end of the day we decided to bring Alyssa & Josh back to Imperial with us so they could spend the weekend with their cousins. Having the six kids together was a great time! From dancing and playing together to going on a road trip to a date farm in Thermal we had a blast! Monday night Aunt Grace and Uncle Jon arrived and the party began in earnest =) That night we put up the big camping tent right in the middle of the living room and the kids all had a slumber party together. Dec 30th was our "second Christmas" for those who weren't here on the 24th. We all met up in Yuma for a great meal (of our homemade tamales) and gift exchange. Grace brought all her photo equipment from work so everyone had fun posing and getting their picture taken in front of the tree. It was a great time of family, fun and lots of laughs. Dec 31 New Year's Eve... Donna, Greg, Alyssa, Josh, Mom and Frank spent a great evening together (eating more tamales) playing Mexican Train. We rang in the new year with a toast and prayer together. It's so good to share these special moments.
January 1st was another of those slow, lazy days. That evening we sent Donna and Greg off on a dinner & movie date and Mom & I stayed home with the kids. We made homemade pizza and watched the Phantom of the Opera. Love that movie! Friday evening I ran over to Frank's place to take him dinner. He was working in his truck for the last couple of days and was in the midst of putting it all back together again. On Saturday morning I had an appointment in town for a facial...mmm...very relaxing. That afternoon we all took off in my truck for a picnic and drive out to the desert. We drove for about an hour out in the middle of no where to Picacho Recreational Park. The landscape was beautiful and every mile we went and every ridge we drove was more amazing than the last. It makes you stop and think about what an amazing Creator we have! At the end of the road we enjoyed our picnic and took turns looking into the binoculars at the landscape and the birds all around us.Later that night we spent time eating and talking and enjoying each other's company late into the night (sorry for keeping you up so late!). Frank and I went to church the next morning and had a great time of worship, an encouraging sermon and communion. Sundays here are always bittersweet because it means that I have to say goodbye to everyone and make the long drive home. After a brief stop for lunch in Imperial to see the kids (and take a little nap) I was back on the road. This had definitely been one of the best Christmas holidays ever! I am so thankful for my wonderful family and friends! Click here for some pics... More pictures coming soon!