December 23, 2012

Extended Celebrations

Christmas is a time for gathering with extended family and sharing traditions that define our family's holidays and remind us of our heritage.  And, of course, it's a time for eating obscene amounts of delicious food.  We are blessed to be a part of two wonderful families who make efforts to come together at this special time of year.

On  the Saturday before Christmas, we traveled to Farr West, Utah to be with my family.  Jenny was gracious to host us in her home and even made arrangements for us to have a family photo shoot.  It was especially important that our "family orchard" get an updated photograph since this will be the last time we will all be assembled for quite a while.  Three children of my siblings will be serving full-time missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the months to come, thus beginning a trend that will be followed with overlapping of departures and returns of many cousin missionaries for years to come.  It made this gathering of singular importance.

We kicked off the festivities with dip party foods. Once everyone had something to eat, we gathered up and headed to our photo shoot location.  Jenny had a neighbor who was willing to allow us to use their red barn and sheds as a backdrop for pictures.

Once we took enough pictures to muster a smile out of Garrett, we headed back to the house for some planned activities.  We watched The Nativity, followed by a sharing of testimonies from Jessica, Riley, and Braxton, the soon-to-be missionaries.  The "Grab Bag" was held and we had family gift exchanges. 

It was a perfectly enjoyable time.

 Garrett was pretty stoked to get a can of Pringles in the "Grab Bag."

On the very following Sunday, we had a chance to meet together with Jason's family.  We started the evening off much like the night before--with delicious food.  After our meal, we played a game where we guessed the phrases from assorted Christmas carols.  We were then challenged to find all of Grandpa Park's hidden chocolate mice.

Once all the mice were found (and some consumed), we participated in a family talent show where our children sang Spongebob's song, Don't Be a Jerk.  It's Christmas, and I sang Kenneth Cope's Miracle From Heaven.  

Once again, we had a perfectly enjoyable time.

 Can you spot the chocolate mouse in the yellow boxcar?

 Garrett was pretty stoked to get a glimpse of the little vermin.

He was also pretty excited to eat it. 
 (Now, if only we could get him as excited to take a family photo.)

This post authored by Amber

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