Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014...A Christmas To Remember

Merry Christmas 2014....We are missing Poland this Christmas season, but we are grateful we could be with our children once again.
 Mark and I had Christmas with our children in 2010 (before our days in Poland)...4 years ago!
We returned to the US in November and were looking forward to gathering with Jamie, Caroline, Melissa and Lance once again.
"I'll be home for Christmas" had greater significance for us as Mark and I came home from Poland in November,  Melissa and Lance flew in from Utah...34 weeks pregnant, and Mark flew in from 
Equatorial Guinea, Africa (just 2 days before Christmas). 
Gathering in our little 2 bedroom apartment in the Galleria area of Houston for almost a week...
 made a good place for family connections and memories.
I enjoyed traveling up to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport...waiting for Melissa and Lance...Dec. 22.
Mark was to have arrived also...but his flight from Africa was delayed by a day. 
Jamie and Caroline joined us as we celebrated our "almost" complete family gathering at Pappasitos...a great Mexican restaurant close by. 
The last time we had all been together was during Melissa and Lance's wedding a year ago...so our family gathering was quite important and memorable for each of us.

We enjoyed celebrating being together once again and Lance's Birthday at the same time.
Happy Birthday Lance (Dec. 21)
Celebrating together was simply delightful!
Our temporary apartment on McCue Road was just down the street from the lovely Galleria Mall...so the next day (prior to Mark coming home) we walked to the mall and enjoyed lunch and a bit of pre-Christmas shopping together. 
Lunch time at La Madeleine French Café in the Galleria
I love time with these great young adults....I love that we can all be together once again!
Besides Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations...we enjoyed baking, going to movies, making puzzles, watching movies at home, playing games, eating, eating...and enjoying any time together.
We had great connections during our Christmas days!

Christmas sugar cookies....baking, icing and eating together.
Even in a small apartment, baking cookies can be fun...and eating them even better!
Making puzzles....finding ways to enjoy family traditions even in small places.

Christmas Eve...2014
 Over to Brian and Diana's home...along with their children and their families to enjoy Christmas Eve together. 
We have missed being a part of the Proffit/Pickett Christmas Eve celebrations over the past few years. so we looked forward to this evening. 

We missed Jamie and Caroline though...Caroline caught a "bad bug" and would be out of the celebrating mode for a number of days. 

Mark arrived home just in time to do a little Christmas shopping and wrapping...good thing he only had to take care of one person in the family :)
Christmas Eve at the Proffits...2014
Jennifer Proffit Christ and Melissa....our Melissa makes a beautiful pregnant little Mommy!
Tim and Laura ..and their little Trevor. They surprised Diana during the evening...arriving on Christmas Eve from Kansas!
Danny is helping little Declan get ready for the Nativity story.
Shepherds, angels, and wise men gathering...
We enjoy listening, reading and acting out the Nativity Story together.
Lance was invited to be one of the wise men in the Nativity Story...he was welcomed to a favorite Pickett/Proffit Christmas tradition. 
Gayla and Diana are both grandmas...they gathered together with all of their grandchildren!
They are delightful children...happy and full of lots of energy on the night before Christmas!

Christmas Day...December 25, 2014
Stockings are gathered....
A quiet morning....
Though purchased in the US...our little Polish Santa brings Poland a little closer to us here in Houston.
A day to remember....we spent part of Christmas morning and evening opening presents. We (including Jamie) traveled to Pearland to visit and eat with our friends the Lauritzens.  Caroline was still sick, (she stayed home and rested) and joined us at our apartment later for opening presents.
Caroline came for opening presents...Merry Christmas Jamie and Caroline!
We were so glad Caroline how a little more energy than yesterday..so glad we could all be together.
It was wonderful having Melissa and Lance join us...they just celebrated their first wedding anniversary...and now 34 weeks pregnant...with their baby due in February!
Mark and I are cherishing our time together...his travels to Africa bring many weeks of separation, so our time together is so important!
We love our Christmas stocking surprises...
Christmas morning...sharing time together
I love my Polish ornaments....what a surprise when I found them tucked away in part of our air shipment! 
After a wonderful dinner and conversations in Pearland, we walked around the Lauritzen's neighborhood park. 
It was a mild Christmas Day....so different than the cold days in Poland.
I miss walking the parks in Poland...but finding green space in Texas was most enjoyable...especially walking with family on this Christmas Day.
Caroline stayed home and rested....then we gathered at our home once again...for more present surprises. Thanks to Jamie for passing out our fun gifts.
Merry Christmas memories....2014
This will be a Christmas to remember...gathering together in our little apartment ....
Both Lance and Caroline enjoy making "home-made" cinnamon rolls...we enjoyed Lance's cinnamon rolls first.
The smell throughout our little apartment was wonderful!
Simply sweet and delicious!
We spent the day after Christmas with the Proffits again....eating lunch at Peter Piper's Pizza...food, games, fun and time together.

We gathered at the Proffit home...and watched home-made movies of when Laura, Jennifer, Melissa and Jamie were little.
Cherishing the 4 friends and their rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". 
Our families have grown and changed over the years....but the Picketts and Proffits will be cherished friends...always!
Laura, Jennifer, Jamie and Melissa....2014
Forever friends....1990
and in 2014....
The Christ Family...Jennifer, Danny, Juliette and Declan
The Picketts and Hacketts...Lance, Melissa, me, Mark, Caroline and Jamie.
We were so glad Caroline was feeling better so she could enjoy some Pickett/Proffit holiday time together. 

Family Days together....continued
Puzzle making....
Success....except for one missing piece...which wasn't discovered until Mark and I moved out of the apartment...almost 2 weeks later!
Enjoyed watching movies...."Annie", "Unbroken" and "Into the Woods".

Walking around the Galleria...with the massive 55 foot Christmas Tree in the background. This tree had over 450,00 twinkling lights, 1,000 branches, and it took over 13 hours and 50+ men and women to put it all together! 
Once Caroline was feeling better, she made her delicious cinnamon rolls...the aroma in our little apartment was wonderful!
Our last night together....dinner at the Taste of Texas...wonderful restaurant, food and conversations.
Family Home Evening in our little apartment. Saying goodbyes and giving family hugs. Jamie and Caroline returned to their apartment (5 minute drive away)....and
Melissa and Lance returned to Salt Lake City the following afternoon... Tuesday, Dec. 30.
We said our "good byes" and gave hugs...knowing that we would gather again in February ready to welcome little boy Hackett into our family!
The 2014 Christmas holidays were good...welcoming our children...Melissa, Lance, Jamie and Caroline.... into our home and hearts again. 
We have cherished these moments together!