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Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas Joys!

All of our children came home for Christmas!  Even the ones with small babies.  Even the ones from California that don't believe in cold!


All of us together again!  It was a glorious, wonderful thing!  There are 13 of us now!!!  How did that happen?!!?


We, the grandparents of FOUR grandsons, were in 7th Heaven!


There was time spent eating and chatting with Pa Pa.


This little Kewpie Doll LOVES his Pa Pa!


Rachael got out her favorite books and read them...

...and read them!


There was cookie decorating!


And sister bonding time.


And frosting and sprinkles everywhere time!



There were sassy faces....


And grumpy faces

And silly faces of all sorts!





 Some of which were left on my phone as my background wallpaper!  So I wouldn't forget to love on them every time I picked up my phone!


There were lovely moments making friends with the newest nephew.


Sweet Baby George!


The newest little elf in our house!


 Who also had his blessing day while they were here!!!


There were silly moments where the Fritz dog became one of the newest nephews, too!


And silly mornings where Andi made sure Sam's French Toast got sprinkles on it...


Charlie wanted sprinkles, too.



There was ice skating basketball!  The whole court was frozen over---and the net frozen, too--but it didn't stop these die-hards!


Pa Pa told interesting stories and kept everyone's attention!


But the best story of all was told on Christmas Eve---when Pa Pa read the story of Baboushka and the Three Kings!  As soon as he was done reading, Baboushka really knocked on our door and came out of the frozen tundra asking, "Have YOU seen The Child?!"  She brought a basket of small gifts for everyone.  (My favorite role ever!  And the grandsons didn't recognize me!)  It was a magical night!


Then everyone could unwrap one particular present...embroidered pillowcases for all!  Sewn with love by me!






The smiles on everyone's faces was definitely my favorite thing!


All the little elves in the house got matching pajamas!  They were as cuddly as could be!
 




After Christmas, we took a trip downtown to Ingebretsen's!  A delightful Swedish store in Minneapolis.


They sell all sorts of Swedish and Scandinavian things and in the back, they have a butcher shop where we would buy lutefisk to try later! 


Sam and Andi had just read about this candelabra that is lit at Christmas time in the windows to light the way for the ancestors....



We all ate lunch at the 5-8 club and tried the Minnesota world famous "Juicy Lucy" hamburgers!  Then we took a drive down Summit Avenue in St. Paul to look at all the old mansions.


Then it was on to the American Swedish Institute---a Swedish museum located in the Turnblad Mansion in Minneapolis.  Mr. Turnblad was a Swedish immigrant who made his fortune in the newspaper business.


It was delightful to tour each room that was decorated according to the Christmas customs of each Scandinavian country.  And to know that we've incorporated some of them into our family!  There was an added bonus room decorated with Russian Christmas things.  We took the tour and thoroughly enjoyed it!  In the very top of the mansion, there was a room dedicated to spinning and weaving.  My favorite!


But the favorite of everyone else was the Swedish Dala horse riding machine!



A quarter a ride and off they went!


It was a lovely, lovely day!


Followed by a dinner of lutefisk!  A Minnesotan lye fish jello tradition!  It was only tried by the bravest of us Vikings!


Later, there would be sledding!






And snow angels!


Followed by more time spent in the sauna!


All week we warmed up in the evenings by going in the sauna.


This little boy LOVED the sauna challenge game and would play it every night!  It involved challenging someone to go out into the night cold and do some cold and miserable task before warming back up in the sauna.  Charlie loved being the person to verify that the challenge had been completed!  (Think licking the mailbox, making snow angels in your bathing suit, or other such nonsense!)  He also came up with a few fun challenges himself!


 Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

It was a perfect Christmas!