MERRY CHRISTMAS MORNING.

Friday, January 22, 2016
Christmas morning 2015 was as happy as I hoped it would be. The girls didn't get up crazy early (we'll take a 7:30 Cmas morning wake-up call for as long as we can - it's a fleeting gift, I know), but when they did, we were off to the races. Olivia ran into our room, "MOM. Can I go wake up Gwama and Gwompa??" (my parents and sister slept in our friend's apartment just next door to us while the fam was here. Yes, it was an amazing set-up) - "Because MOM. It's Kwismas Morning!"

Then it was, "Nicky! Nicky! Wake up down there - it's Kwismas Moooorning!" (my little brother slept on our living room couch while the fam was here. Bless you, Nick). To spare Olivia from seeing Santa's presents without that grand, Christmas-morning-staircase-decent to Santa's presents in the living room (tradition!), we called my parents and Elise, they came over, and voila. The giving and receiving began!

A few photos of Olivia's presents to her people below. The ten minutes it took to deliver her hand-made gifts and open them up were the grandest of the whole day for me. I was so happy/grateful/relieved to see Olivia take a glance at her Santa presents that were set out, and then literally run to the tree and say, "Okay guys, time to give you your pwesents. Here, Gwomp, this one's for you!" I worked all season long to teach her that Christmas was really about giving, not getting, so to see her determined to give that morning  -- there was utter joy in Jeni's world! 
 Treasure boxes for Dad, Gwompa, and Nick above. Coloring books for Elise and Gwama below.
Actually, I think we'll really have to teach the giving aspect of Christmas this coming year. As much as Olivia was a super gifter, the whole receiving gifts thing definitely sung to her soul (the play dough hair salon kit from Aunt Elise was a fave). But that's great! You know, receiving gifts graciously is an art, too, one that children naturally master. Everything, from everyone, is amazing. I admire little ones for being so good (oh, in so many ways)!
Now Miss Claire Bear, hahah, she was a crazy little thing with the few new toys around. Each girl got three things from Santa - one book and two toys - so really, not much, but you could just see in Claire's eyes this excitement for all the new. I loved it.
After we did all the presents Santa + family gifts, we all enjoyed the BEST present of the year: a phone call with our sweet, sweet Sister Kimbee! My little sister - gosh, I'm tearing up thinking about her - she is a strong little girl. She has been serving a mission for our church for 1.5 years all over Estonia (What the heck, Estonia?? I know, I know. Estonia is a really beautiful, really cold country in the Baltics near Finland and Russia). I think of my beautiful, smiling little sister with all her Gubler grit, burning testimony, and sheer endurance in that cold trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I can't help but first, tear up (duh) and then burst with utter admiration. Very few are willing to serve that like she has served. Kimberlee is a hero in my eyes.
And isn't she darling? :) Can't wait for that baby girl to come home (March 3 - that'll be the day)!! I will miss the strength she has given me via her weekly emails home of pure faith and testimony, though. We all will.

The rest of the day was spent playing. And eating, but mostly playing. Alllll together. Food, fun, and my precious family - three of my very favorite things. Loved this Christmas 2015! 

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