What the tree looked like before Carson came in.
Christmas came and went so fast, but I loved every second. Carson had such a blast opening all his gifts. We chose to open presents on Christmas Eve morning, since Christmas was on Sunday, and Elder James would be calling at 8 am, with church following directly after and parties throughout the day. It was so nice, because we were in no rush and had my parents and brother and sister over to watch Carson. He's still too young to understand who Santa is, but he caught onto opening the presents and knowing that there was something fun waiting for him underneath real quick. The cute little boy was overwhemled I think, by so many fun things to play with at the same time. He was just in awe! It was so darling. My parents gave him a tent with a tunnel, and that was definitely a big hit this year! he was so spoiled, and now we have to purchase some toy bins and figure out how to organize everything, because right now his room is a complete mess. Christmas is so much more fun when you have a child. The magic comes back to life :)
We were especially blessed this year to have our extended family in town. My Dad's siblings have always lived here in Utah, and we have been accustomed to seeing them at least monthly for family parties and other events for my whole life. But in June/July, they all ended up having to move, one to Texas and the other to Indiana, and have left a huge hole in our lives. It has been very hard and sad to not see them so often, but they were both able to come and stay with my parents for Christmas break. It was so emotional to have everyone together again on Christmas Eve, doing our cherished traditions and gathering together. I think I had tears streaming down my face 3 different times throughout the night, and I know I wasn't the only one. And on top of that, my mother's brother, who has been estranged from the family for 8 or 9 years, has recently come back into our lives, which we never ever thought would happen. He was also there for all our celebrations and get togethers, and I know that added to the emotions of gratefulness and love that was shared so strongly this Christmas. I remember looking around the room, and seeing every one, and feeling so incredibly blessed that we all have each other. We only wished we could have my Uncle Richard and Aunt Natasha and their girls from Hawaii, and then we would have been complete. My Grammie's presence was felt very strongly in the room that night as well, and we all missed her so much. But we know she is our guardian angel in Heaven, and we can't wait to see her again someday. I love this time of year, and feel so fortunate and blessed to be with all those I love and to have everything and everyone I have. I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas as well, and keep all these blessings and love in our hearts.