we call this family.

This was our twentieth year having a Christmas celebration with the Atkins family. When we were younger we used to do crafts, and one year Laura made us princess tiaras and little baton twirl wands. We decorated cookies, we sang songs, we played games. This is still one of my favorite ornaments to date; it's a cookie cutter that we rolled in glue and then rolled in cinnamon, and we made it at one of our Christmas parties together:

Now it's a little less structured, though the chaos and loudness stays the same. We had a great time in Bellingham hanging out with our favorite clan!

I don't know what mom was talking about but obviously it was shocking and hilarious.

This is my sister Becca and her beau, Austin. That's the Christmas sweater she got him; mysteriously close to Harry Potter colors, don't you think? ;) [resemblance is intentional].

These are my two best, oldest friends, Lael and Lynsey. These are the girls with whom played dress-up, had the most sleep-overs, daydreamed about celebrity crushes, first wore makeup, I learned how to straighten my hair, memorized -and choreographed dances to- Backstreet Boys and Nsync songs, pulled my first all-nighters, are the first to know about new crushes or heartaches, knew [know] my deepest, darkest secrets, hopes, and embarrassing moments. We had similar haircuts, glasses, favorite stores, sports.. the list goes on. They are so special to me!

And here are a few shots from Christmas Eve at my dad's parents' house. We were missing, again, my dad's sister Mona's family, who are spending their Christmas in Europe with Tim's family (jeaaaalouuuss), and my dad's brother Mike's family. Next Christmas is already planned to be a big blowout of all the Janz's together, and I can hardly wait.

This is Mary, my mom's sister [whom we call Mimi], and Edwin, my DAD's Grandpa. He's 94, and sharp as a tack. He was telling me about when they used to visit both his parents and is in-laws on Christmas Eve, going from Swift Current, Saskatchewan to Main Centre by bus, and then from there they took a horse-drawn sleigh to Herbert! Apparently it's not as wonderful and magical as they make it out to be in the songs - my grandpa remembers clinging on to the rock they had heated on the stove and being covered in horse blankets and still shivering. Those were the days...

Papa got lotion, a peppermint shaped bath bomb and a face cloth for his white elephant gift. His face says it all!

Ty and Grayson used to live in the same house as us. They were my buddies since the beginning! We played everything from Star Wars to "Bats" to Zorro to animals to tag to hide and seek... the list goes on. My grandparents used to have this great sectional that had really awesome stiff, velvet blue cushions that were perfect for making forts - mostly that looked like Stonehenge  structures. Grandma reminisced about one particular Christmas where they all of a sudden saw water leaking from the kitchen ceiling, and when they put two-and-two together, ran upstairs to find the three of us inch deep in water, jacuzzi tub overflowing and Ty pretending the shower-head hose was a fire hose. I thought it spoke greatly of their character to be laughing about it, even if it did happen almost twenty years ago.

I hope you've had a restful, peaceful holiday surrounded by people you love too.


Posted on December 27, 2011 and filed under from jess-.