The Christmas Dayzzzz 2015



Christmas is my favorite holiday. There is so much to celebrate. I love to focus on family, giving gifts, random acts of kindness, goodness in general, and of course the birth of Jesus Christ.

Last year I did not do well with taking pictures at Christmastime. I didn't even post about it. I regret that now, because people have changed so much in the past 12 months. I want to keep feeling the emotions we felt then and remember how young they were back then. I believe there's a balance in "living the moment" and "over-photographing" each minute. Last year, I think I was a little "too" in the moment, because I'm missing pictures of people and stories that I want to remember, but I can't.

It's hard being a mortal with a shoddy memory. :)

But this year was different. My camera was out a lot more. Somehow waving those lenses around at people's faces helped me be more deliberate in living the moment. I wasn't about to create a deceptive photograph that insinuated happiness. No, I wanted those photographs to be real. To make those pictures real, I needed to help create that atmosphere of real happiness. Make Christmas a real joy to the family. Of course, I actually didn't have that much work to do in making Christmas "a real joy". :) My family is great, and their natural humors already bring that desired happiness. Not to mention Christmas is just a happy season on its own.

I found a fairly good balance between living in the moment and capturing it on camera. I had a simple rule: 2 seconds per picture. As a photographer, I want the photos to come out looking nice. So I had 2 seconds to change my angle or lighting or whatever. The catch, though, was that I wasn't posing people. I even primarily focused on candid shots, so I wouldn't disturb the moment. As consequence, the photos didn't come out perfectly framed. And I love it for it. :)

Christmas Eve

Do you guys remember Tobi, the Kitten of Darkness? We now call her "Tubby Tobi" as a direct reference to her massive belly.

Our tradition each Christmas Eve is to spend it with my grandma on my dad's side. Love that family.

In case you can't tell, my sisters are posing with a selfie stick (with a skittles box as a mock cellphone). These are their "ugly" faces. (My sisters are babes.)

Although babes they may be, they're struggle with posing for the camera ;)

I have no boy cousins on this side of the family #warpedgenetics. This is all of us, minus one of my sisters who was called into work on Christmas Eve. :(

"Naturally Flavored Santa" tastes like Peppermint Cream.
No wonder he's chubby.

Christmas Day
Baby Arrow is at the blessed time of childhood where Christmas morning isn't until at least 8 in the morning. Which is fantastic.

She's still not sure what presents are for, but dang it she's adorable.

"So now what, Mama?"

I have to spotlight Taylor a little bit here. (But you'll have to forgive this slew of pictures of me). He is amazing at giving presents. 

It started with a treasure hunt, as started by these little slips of paper.

Eventually I figured out there was a present hiding in one of our rooms.

Although it wasn't finished yet, Taylor had been/ has been working on building me a desk. I lost mine when we were first married (it was a massive slab of wood that wouldn't fit into our newlywed apartment), and I've been sorely missing having my own "space" to do my projects.

This is the face of complete surprise and joy.

Okay, maybe more surprise than joy in this photo, but I am super excited about it. :)

For Christmas, my parents and I swapped letters to each other. This is a candid photo of my dad reading his letter from me. An unimportant photo to you, my dear reader, but it sure makes me happy to look back on:)

For the past couple of years, my siblings and I have swapped names for Christmas. It took us way too many years to figure this out, but it makes Christmas so much less stressful, especially as a married person who has a billion in laws all younger than myself.

Taylor was given a new shirt from my sister. This boy never shops for himself, so Christmas present of clothing are imperative to his wardrobe.

My other sister gave me matroshki (Russian nesting dolls) cookie cutters. Which is so darn creative I just can't even-

I was especially excited about this present for my sister. It was a last minute idea that took a lot of work (including driving to multiple Walmarts to find a photo center that wasn't broken down and tears while driving because #stress).

But it came out so beautifully that it was so worth all the work into it.

A lot of credit goes to those who helped me out. I sent out a huge facebook message to my sister's friends and our family, asking for memories, photos, and unique sayings about my sister. So many people sent so many loving things. It was so sweet to see what a great impact my sister has on so many people.

Both of my sisters (who are very close in age) really got into this gift.

And one more picture of Taylor and one of his gifts...

There are the type of people who claim to love nerdy things, but don't really own/do anything about said nerdy product.

Then there are people like my husband who still play gameboys and pokemon games and tote around pokemon lunch boxes.

Those people are pretty cool. :)

Christmas Day evening has never had a schedule for me growing up. This year, when I realized there was nothing to do that night, I took advantage to host my first Christmas dinner.

This was one of those 2-second-live-in-this-moment pictures, but I really needed to capture that meal I did for the first time. It makes me feel all domestic and awesome and stuff.

Wow, did you survive all those pictures? :)

I was spoiled by my family and friends. And truly I am spoiled by my Heavenly Father, who gave me my favorite gift of peace that I felt throughout the Christmas Day. 

God is good, friends. :)

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