So Christmas without my mom felt strange. Not right. But even though life has dealt us a heartbreaking blow - we must go on. We have siblings, kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors and, most importantly, a father to help us. And so this Christmas was still magical - in its own way.
My dad wanted to host Christmas Eve - as usual (which we technically hold on the 23rd). He put up many of the traditional decorations and made the house feel like home. And we even had a new member of the family to make this Christmas special.
Oakley is a special needs dog that has been with my dad for a couple of weeks. She has a deformed paw that makes her a little less mobile and she is several years old - but she is about the sweetest dog ever! Dad named her after his home town in Idaho.
And she is adored by all (and is amazingly tolerant of the affection she receives from the grandkids).
She is especially loved by Allie.
Poor Bri has a broken heel bone.
We decided to switch things up a bit and have chicken enchiladas for our Christmas dinner.
At countless family, neighborhood, and company gatherings my father has stood in this exact spot to welcome guests and to give directions for the evening...
After dinner Tess read one of my mom's favorite Christmas stories - The Little Match Girl. We all cried.
Then we had our traditional nativity.
As Oakley looked on.
We opened cousin and sibling gifts.
Kip gave Wes a late birthday present - a camo Snuggie!
I made a book of the transcript, program and photos from my mom's funeral for my dad and siblings . That also brought many tears.
The kids decided to take Oakley for a late night walk.
Dad in the new down coat we gave him and Wes in his Snuggie.
We all agree with my dad when he says, "Janet would have loved this dog!"
Roasting marshmallows is always a favorite at Papa's house.
Worn to a frazzle...as my mom would say.