Unfortunately, the big girls were still in school and so playing was left for the afternoons, but it was still a fun time for all! Here are a few pics of our Christmas and opening gifts!
Waiting so patiently!
Lyla's Bible from Grandma Connie
Books from the big cousins
Grandma Connie took us to her work, Fresno Pacific University, to meet some of her friends! They see all these kiddos in pictures, and so she wanted to show them in real life. Um, they are much more peaceful in pictures! Ha! We then headed to Charlotte's Coffee Corner! FPU is where my two worlds collide. Grandma Connie works there now and it is where I attended college (and my dad, and my mom and my three sisters, and one cousin...well, you get the idea!) And Charlotte's just might be named after another special Grandma that we know! ;)
As an added bonus we had professional pictures taken of our whole family, what a treat! We got all coordinated and headed to Woodward park. I was very pleased with how things turned out and these are just 3 of my favs!
The whole clan
I couldn't resist this picture! I hope that someday I am lucky enough to have 2 sons, one for each cheek!
I can't finish this post without remembering our 2011 McNeely Christmas. We were fresh off the heels of a not so hopeful cancer diagnosis, and a few weeks shy of hearing good news about bringing Lyla home. It was a sad, desperate time. But during our visit last year we all knew we had been given a gift. Ross, who had been in bed unable to get up much the few weeks prior, was up climbing, fixing and tinkering around like he loved to do. Joy, God gave us all moments of pure joy during that week. None of us wanted to be believe that it would be the last Christmas with Ross, but somewhere, deep inside, we couldn't bury that thought, so we savored every moment.
Ross was certainly missed this Christmas, and is missed every day. There were a few times, as I headed into his garage, I had to hold back tears. I knew, that as much as I wanted to see Ross as I entered that garage, he wouldn't be there. Maybe because we just aren't in that house very often, or maybe because I am slow when it comes to dealing with loss, but it felt like he would walk in any minute.
Then there is Lyla, Christmas time was SO exciting for her. Everything was new, and so many times she would remind us that she had never had a Christmas before and this was her first one. That alone brought so much joy to me!!! See, God provided again, some joy, this time through the eyes of a child's first Christmas!
As we took our new family pictures, with Lyla, but without Papa, it was hard not to remember that we are not promised one single day. We are in this life for such a brief moment, and no one has any idea when their "moment" will be over. So I found joy in the day, in the bright sun, in the giggles between cousins and siblings. Much like last year when we found joy in sharing one more Christmas with an incredible man!
Merry Christmas from the McNeelys!