The Alston Christmas was nothing short of eventful this year! Christmas eve started off as always with a combined Alston/Joyner MexItalian feast. The food was SO amazing. I feel like I say this every year, but there really is nothing better than ceasar salad and ravioli with spanish rice, beans and tamales. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the food because we were too busy eating :) Jon also made a homemade butterscotch bread pudding for dessert. So delish!
Beth and I played a flute duet of "What Child Is This?" to start off the Christmas program after we ate. Hopefully the video will load, in which case you can watch it here:
The children all dressed up and acted out the Nativity story as narrated by Allen Norton. It was so cute! Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of that part.
Haley serenaded everyone with her recorder skills:
And then the partying started!
Jake, Morgan and Jon Joyner sang a rad version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
And Jon also led everyone in a rowdy group sing-a-long of Adam Sandler's Hannukah song
There ended up being about 40 of us there with parents, children and grandchildren all together.
After the music died down, Beth read The Night Before Christmas to all the kids. And who do you think showed up at the end??? SANTA! (Sadly, I didn't get pictures of this either. Santa was very camera shy this year.)
It was probably one of the best Christmas Eve's I can ever remember :) Good food, good friends, lots of laughs. The testimonies of the Savior and the spirit felt was so awesome, and it was just so great to look around and feel like everyone there was our family!
Christmas morning I woke up around 7. Jon had already been up and was ready to get a fire going. We opened stockings and made homemade apple cinnamon coffee cake before church :)
Margo couldn't wait to dig into her doggie cookies from Santa!
Jon LOVES his pomegranates!
Mint chocolate foil bells! I always loved getting these as a kid. You can tell that I just woke up, look at all the hair in my face! haha, I didn't even notice :)
Margo got to open her present first. She has gotten pretty good at tearing up paper!
It's a... It's a...
Striped sock monkey! She loves this thing :)
Daddy and Margo with her new toy!
(She really was not excited for this picture, she just wanted to play! haha)
Jon got a fantastic new striped orange and teal tie from me as well as an Epic Mealtime BACON STRIPS shirt from Margo. Ah, bacon.
Jon got me a fantastic new scarf! It's so cozy :) Handmade by a lady who sells her handknits through a small art gallery in Sacramento. Well done, Jon!
Christmas church services were AMAZING this year! I wish I'd gotten a picture of us in our church clothes, but I was too cold after church and changed right back into my pajamas! The primary children sang two songs as well as the ward choir singing and the congregation. It was a very music filled day - my favorite! We are blessed with so much musical talent in our ward. Brother Scott Seamons sang a solo arrangement of "O Holy Night" and it was absolutely stunning. I was so touched. That was probably my favorite part of the day! He and his wife gave brief talks also. It was so nice to have simple sacrament meeting services centered on our Savior. It really made Christmas a nice balance for me. Too often we forget on Christmas day to talk about what Christmas really is about. Having church made Christmas morning really humble.
We headed to my parent's house for breakfast with Margo after church.
Jon was very excited about getting new tires for the Explorer:
Me with my new scarf:
My dad with Margo:
(literally 30 seconds before she threw up all over his leg.)
My mom with her new Corningware baking dish!
Michelle all dolled up for church:
She made her own poinsetta hair clippies with supplies from my Beverly's :) So crafty.
Jon and I were thoroughly spoiled this year and I felt so blessed! My mom even got me this bracelet making loom :) I love that it's all pink and purple. It makes me feel like I'm 6 years old... basically how I feel all the time anyways. I made a lime green and purple friendship bracelet for my bestie, Breanna! Later in the day we got to visit with her and Ben. She got me a fantastic vinyl tile that says "I loved you too much to just be your friend, so God let me be your Sister" awww :)
Mom, me and Michelle by the Christmas tree:
In the afternoon we went to Jon's parent's house and opened presents with them and had dinner. The food was delicious! One of my favorite gifts was from Jon's mom. She had put together a family history book for all of us on Ancestry.com which has pictures, information and census records for the past 5 generations. Totally cool! My sister-in-law Jackee also got us a beautiful set of picture frames that have the temple and The Family Proclamation in them. I can't wait to hang them up!
Unfortunately we didn't get ANY pictures at Jon's parent's house. Jon's dad took so many I just figured I would bum some off of him, but he's a little slow with uploading them to Facebook. ha! ;) Ah well, it seems like I always miss some pictures during the holidays. At least the memories are there.
Also, I tried to be more crafty this Christmas with presents. I made a cookie jar for my in-law's dog Shasta (which I forgot to take pictures of...) and I also made these earrings for my grandma! They are angels (she loves angels!) At least I remembered to get a picture of these :)
I am so grateful for the wonderful Christmas we had this year and the time we were able to spend with family and friends. It was definitely one of the most touching Christmases I've had in a long time. As Beth would say, it was "tender". Thank you to everyone for making it awesome!
Oh, and I have been really behind on sending out Christmas cards this year, so if you haven't gotten yours yet, don't worry. It's probably just in the mail :)
Stay tuned for New Year's and our upcoming theme of 2012!