Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Christmas in Arizona with glimpses from the Eyres Across the Earth

I'm very late in posting about Christmas for a good reason!  We've been with kids or had kids with us all but three days from December 5-January 5!  In addition, I am working on a new computer that requires a whole new system for posting blogs!  It's tedious but I'm hoping that it will get easier with time! At least I have spell check which is a relief for both reader and writer!

When we left our front door in Park City for Arizona I had to hang on to the car all the way around to the passenger side to keep from face-planting in the snow and ice from the recent storm. It was one degree Fahrenheit!

Which made the Arizona sun feel like the heated blanket they give you at the hospital right after you've given birth! Winter immediately turned into a gorgeous balmy autumn with golden leaves around every corner and the temperature in the high 60's. Heaven!

The hustle and bustle the day we arrived was a delight as kids were preparing for final school parties and writing thank you notes for teachers. Lucy's, as always wrote stellar notes to her teachers complete with her signature artwork. That girl works hard on not only making them artistic but making them meaningful! 

Here's just a sample of what's inside of these lovely notes: 

There were a gazillion festive Christmas Cards, decking the kitchen. This was a favorite. No idea how this family pulled this off: 

Shawni and Dave treated us to a performance of A Christmas Carol at the Hale Theatre the first night we were there and to top that off, two days later we got to go to a matinee of The Phoenix Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. I loved it!  I think it was the best I've ever seen! The girls loved ti too...especially Lucy! 

While we were there we got Face Time calls from a very special Joy School in NYC.  Julie was teaching those cute kids in central Manhattan and this smart mom decided to call all the kids' Grandparents to give them a little Joy instead of trying to get these kids to a Senior Living Center via public transit. Great idea! There's a cute little boy standing on his head on the couch just out of sight next to Zara! 

It was such a pleasure to be with the Pothiers this year for the Children for Children Concert, a tradition we started when our kids were little years ago to help children in need. The kids organized and ran the show which consisted of kids sharing their talents and parents donating to a great cause. This year the fund raiser was to help refugees from Afghanistan  in a specific camp in Greece where Saydi's darling friend Liz Edwards and her family had spent the summer. The kids told stories of the families in need there. Such a great project! These kids hearts were in it! Claire did a great job of organizing and conducting and their neighbors' (the Daltons) kids helped organize and host the event this year.  

The final tallie was over $3000 for these desperate families. The kids were pretty excited! It's so good to know that the money is going into the hands of people we know, who will use it well to get people out tents and into a shelter. 

So much happened in six days that it's impossible to capture it all but here are just a few snippets of the hoopla surrounding this grand Christmas season:

Beautiful lights on the Temple Grounds in Mesa.

And nativity scenes from all over the world:

We felt so lucky to be able to serve lunch at the Homeless Shelter in Downtown Phoenix on Christmas Eve!

When it got dark we lighted the candles and had our traditional Jerusalem Supper (which we should have called The Nazareth Supper since it's a reenactment of what that last supper must have been like before Mary and Joseph began their journey to Bethlehem.  Everyone chose and name and was in character as we thought about the even that was about to happen!


Followed by a beautiful reenactment of the Nativity scene from Luke 2.

It was such a joy to see the girls give their gifts to their siblings and parents before going to bed! Such sweet, heartfelt and thoughtful gifts!

And the traditional Christmas Eve pajamas were opened and dawned before the kids went to bed.

It's a Pothier tradition to watch "A Christmas Story" an all-time favorite classic Christmas movie while they wrap and assemble final gifts far into the morning.

One of the biggest surprised the next morning was.....
MAX...in cardboard!  The girls were over the moon and hugged him all morning!
He watched them open the gifts he had sent from China.  That smile never left his face!

Lots of joy in opening presents I must say. Note the bicycle built for two behind them there, since it's getting a bit scary for Lucy on to go on her own. Such a great gift!

And there was a plethora of other thoughtful gifts. Elle made this beautiful book about Hawaii for her parents! The picture on the right shows her home in Hawaii and Max's home in Taiwan!

There are so many pictures that I had to pick just one to represent the joy on that Christmas morning! The gifts were written as well as purchased or made. Here's Claire's sweet note to her mom. To die for!

It was great to have Josh with us, who got a housewarming gift for his newly bought house!  This guy is simply amazing!  He spent most of his time setting up a computer for Rick and making Rick's old computer into mine. What a guy!

I could go on forever!  For simply spectacular pictures check out Shawni's blog at 71toes.com. The biggest surprise of the day hasn't been announced yet so I'll save that for Shawni. 

We had our traditional Eggs Benedict after church and then headed for the airport so that we could spend a few hours with our Utah family, the Looslis before Christmas was over. But alas! We waited at the airport for 5 1/2 hours for our plane which was in SLC and couldn't get out of the airport because of a huge snow storm!  It wasn't  all that bad because we had so much to catch up on! But we didn't make it to the Looslis until the next day!

Before I close, here's a glimpse of what was going with our other families who are spread across the world during that wonderful Christmas season:  

Just before Christmas Tal took his little daughter to London to see Moses and to get some Christmas gifts during a mega Daddy Date. These two cousins got reacquainted in a hurry! 

When they got back it was fun to skype with them to see the homemade candles for their Jerusalem Supper, which was about to take place in Switzerland. 

Here are Ian and Charity and baby Moses on their first Christmas in London:

They aren't the only ones who went to London!  Aja and Jonah loaded up their five kids and flew away to London on Christmas Eve. Aja's mom and step-dad are running the YSA program in Hyde Park so it was a double family party for them.... Aja's family in South Kensington and Jonah's family with Charity, Ian and Moses near Trafalgar Square. Here are the big three together....Jo (Jonah), Po (Poem...Jonah's daughter) and Mo (Moses). Fun times across the Pond! 

Here are Saydi and Jeff and their kids, friends and neighbors enjoying their last Jerusalem Supper in their sweet little house in Boston. They are moving to CA on January 2nd for six months and then possibly coming back to New England but not to this cozy little home of eleven years! 

Look at these sweet little friends. So darling! 

And cute Charlie with a broken arm a couple of days later after falling on roller skates at a birthday party

Another example of how things don't always come up roses in Eyrealm: here are the Looslis spending Christmas Eve in an unexpected place! Silas was attacked by his appendics on the morning of Christmas Eve and went into emergency surgery! That's a Christmas they won't soon forget! 

Here's Eli and Julie's festive apartment in The Big Apple...

 And their pizzazy almost four-year-old Zara glorying in her spectacular Christmas bed....

This exciting call from the farthest away....Taiwan....happened just as we were in the air on the way home from AZ. Max had an hour being the star of their living room! Those great parents and sisters were all thrilled to talk with this beloved son and brother for an hour!  So fun to see him on the big screen with an enthralled audience. 

And finally, here is our sweet family of eight enjoying their Jerusalem Supper in Orange County

With an absolutely perfect person to play the part of baby Jesus...their sweet new baby Faith. Appropriately named!

What a huge blessing to have been with the Pothiers this year and to have all these delightful families dropped down from heaven to Richard and I! We love and appreciate each one who have made our family so full of Joy during this blessed Christmas season! 


charity eyre wright said...

that last pic of n&k kids is spectacular!
love you mom!!
how did i miss that post-childbirth warm blanket?!?

Tena said...

U.K. "austerity measures"? Probably nobody expected your baby to pop out like he did and there are no heated blankets in the O.R. You definitely deserved a warm blanket after the harrowing experience you had! Those blankets are heavenly...Next time.

I just love watching your family continue to grow and pass on traditions.

Anonymous said...

You might want to look into "grammar check" too.

Shawni said...

Love you Mom! And missing you so much right now! It was so fun to be with you at Christmas. Sending love to you too, Maria! :)