Family | Christmas 2017

January 14, 2018

It seems so long ago that Christmas happened! I think that's partially because a few days before, my niece got married!

She's only 5 years younger than I am and she's always felt more like a little sister than my niece. I was lucky enough to be able to be with her as her photographer for a good chunk of the day as she got ready and met with friends and loved ones at the reception.

Having a wedding before Christmas is a great way to realign yourself to what really matters at Christmas-time, and it made a great excuse for our family to get together to celebrate that. I was so glad that even though it was a Stange year for Christmas, we were able to house hop from my family function to Andrew's. Twice the family, twice the food, right? ;)

The highlight of Christmas for me this year was that on Christmas Eve at my sister Becky's house, Chelsea and Alexa stood together, accompanied by Becky, and sang Jingle Bells in front of the whole family. It was the best gift they could have given me and I feel so much pride in Chelsea, especially, who has always had a little bit of stage fright for doing something that scared her and being so brave.

Alexa was the first one up on Christmas morning and, even though we told her to wait, she went back and forth multiple times to see what Santa left for her in her stocking. How do you stifle a child's curiosity? and I'm sure that hearing her first-hand account was every bit as sweet and wonderful as seeing it myself. We made her promise not to tell Chelsea anything as soon as she woke up, though!

I tried to stretch out the morning as long as I possibly could because it always seems like it goes by too fast! I required that everyone help make, eat, and clean up breakfast, and then I told them that they all had to get dressed before they could open presents. The kids were actually okay with it, since they were already preoccupied with their stocking presents. It was Andrew who got a little impatient with my morning routine.

The best part about Christmas day might have been when the girl's swapped gifts. Both were so excited for the other to open the present that they chose out, and the hugs were enough to make this mama's heart turn into a puddle on the floor.

OR. It might have been how excited Alexa got after every single present. Even clothes! And how she ran back to her room after opening one gift to get changed into it immediately!

OR. Maybe it was Barrett, in his new R2-D2 socks trying to climb on top of the trampoline box and playing with the tie fighter Lego that Andrew got from his sister (who is probably the best gift-giver of anyone that I know).

Of course Andrew and I got wonderful gifts, too! My gift came early this year in the form of a new camera (a gift that I have used MULTIPLE times, obviously) and I managed to surprise Andrew with some car tools that his dad told me to get for him. He seemed pretty excited about it, so I count that as a win!

We finished up opening presents and played with them for a bit (my brother got us a parachute, among other things!) then headed to Andrew's grandma's for some sledding and then Christmas dinner. It's so funny to think about how much Alexa hated the snow last year but now is always the first one out in it! People really do change!

Oh how I love this family of mine, and how I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, who was born so long ago and lived a perfect life, then suffered for my sins in Gethsemane, and eventually died for me as well. How grateful I am that he was born and how grateful I am that my family can be together forever because of Him. God truly is the best gift-giver!


Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Chandler, Arizona and surrounding cities. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

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