A Merry Christmas on the Farm

Late last night after our beautiful Christmas Eve gathering, we stuck around the farm to clean up. We then came home from Christy’s grandparent’s farmhouse to Christy’s mother’s farmhouse. Are you keeping these farmhouses straight? Let’s call the house where The Travel Bags are staying “Grandma’s house,” and let’s call her grandparent’s house “the farm.” Get it? Got it! Good.

We opened Christmas Eve PJs before shuffling all the tired, excited children off to bed.

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That way, everyone looked cute as a button for this moment:

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Okay, that’s funny, because they’re not looking cute. They’re looking impatient. That’s because every Christmas their crazy mama makes them stand there and wait while she gets her camera and takes their picture, and they all make that “I can’t stand here and wait anymore, Crazy Mama” face.And then Crazy Mama says, “The faster you give me a nice picture, the faster you get to dig into your stockings,” and they all do this:

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Christmas  morning was such fun at Grandma’s house! The fire was roaring, the dog’s were dozing, the cookie platter was full for breakfast, and everyone was generally merry!

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Because looking at other people’s Christmas pictures is generally boring, we’ll limit it to a few favorites. On second thought, nobody is forcing you to read this, and we do keep it largely for our own memories so…never mind, we shall post pictures to our hearts’ content!

To make it more fun for you, you can go on a scavenger hunt and scour the photos to see how many of our children’s gifts can be used as weapons. Personally, I’m thinking the purple unicorn is pretty scary.

Ellie is not allowed to eat the morsel she’s checking out from Rebecca’s stocking. We found her on a few occasions with a stray truffle stuffed in her mouth. Fortunately, she spits them out after a short time…and mushes them into things.

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Even Grandma had a stocking.

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Let the present opening begin!

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Shake shake.

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Marissa being thoughtful and merry.

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Bean being Bean.

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Emily being…normal for a change.

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She’s very serious about this gift…whatever it is!

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Sisters. Grin.

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Here’s Bean’s favorite gift, a spy glass from Grandma.

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Ellie went nuts over this book from Grandma because…

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it had a picture of her and her daddy on the cover.

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See Daddy!

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Grandma gave Marissa knife—a wood carving knife, that is.

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The best gifts.

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Since Bean wouldn’t voluntarily get involved in the hugging action, the girls “accidentally” made her a casualty of the hug. Bean sandwich!

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Bear in mind that when you live in a trailer, stuff is the enemy. We have very serious weight and space limitations. The space limitations are a mere matter of physics, but the weight limitations may need some explaining.

The van is rated to tow only a certain amount of weight. We have to take into consideration the weight of the trailer, its contents, the van, its contents (including seats), passengers, the dog, food, and fresh and not-so-pleasantly-fresh tanks. Legally, if we are overweight and have an accident in which someone else is injured, we are in some deep trouble. Also, we already bought a new transmission last year to the tune of $4200, and we don’t want to do that again.

So…the kids’ Christmas lists this year looked like this:

  • anything edible
  • anything useful
  • nothing big

That’s why you’ll notice flat, light, edible, or compact gifts in these pictures.

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That’s also why toys like this portable, squishy barn are ideal.

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Ellie loved her barn and gave Marissa a great big hug and “Dant do!” for it…even though the barn was from Grandma.

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Grandma got her hug and “Dant do!” too.

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And that was before she discovered all the extra little critters living inside her barn,

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critters which she promptly shared with Hannah.

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Pretty much all this boy asked for were Legos, guns, and a cowboy hat.

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The cowboy hat was too expensive—sorry Cowboy—but we did manage to sneak some Legos in there.

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Ellie promptly confiscated Marissa’s new scarf.

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A Bear Grylls survival bandana from Hannah, perfect for when we’re in the wild west on our long hiking adventures.

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Maybe he should wear it in concert.

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One of our all-time favorite children’s  books is Prayer for a Child, by Rachel Field, with touching illustrations by Elizabeth Orton Jones. Our copy is in storage, because it’s huge. We gave Ellie this little one so she didn’t miss out on it while she was small. A treasure!

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A book about how to cut hair, because that’s what she wants to do. Look out world!

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We gave Grandma lame gifts—things we thought she needed for her kitchen after we had been cooking there for six weeks. The thing is, she probably doesn’t need them…we do.

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Enough Christmas for me. Time to chill.

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Homemade slippers from Steve’s mom to keep tootsies cozy.

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Oooo, ballet slippers to wear with that beautiful thrift store dress in the background. A happy little princess.

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Where did you hide the chocolate?

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This was supposed to be homemade vanilla, but the beans didn’t arrive in time. Grandma  is not a lush.

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Emily received a real hair cutting scissors. Elijah looks nervous.

This is right about the time Steve said, “Marissa got a knife, Hannah got a knife, Emily got sharp impaling scissors. Where’s the gun?!”

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And then this boy…

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opened this gift from Grandma

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and we all laughed heartily!

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More dangerous than any weapon is a two-year-old with a harmonica.

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Look-it that! Bean emoted.

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Bean’s saying, “Wow! Cowboy boots!” and Marissa is saying, “I want to cut wood. The floor is wood. Hmmm.”

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Hannah’s new pen is mightier than the gun or the scissors.

Marissa is thinking, “That pen is wooden. I could cut that pen.”

The pen is mightier than the carving knife, too, Marissa.

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Grandma even gave the dogs some Christmas love.

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Later we headed back over to the farm for Christmas dinner prepared entirely by Christy’s Uncle John.

All we brought were the place setting “nametags.”

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They were hard to read, but they sure were tasty, as evidenced by “Ana” which used to be “Eliana.”

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Family!

The patriarch and matriarch, who raised their family in God’s light and who have seen the blessings of several generations serving the Lord. It’s a beautiful thing.

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Steve and Great Uncle Herbie chatting.

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Christy’s mother, seeeeester-in-law/friend, and bother brother.

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The niecelings.

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Marissa clearing places.

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Uncle Herbie and the girls. This family has kind eyes.

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Brothers.

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We gave Great Grandpa and Great Grandma stockings, too, because they’ve never had one before!

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What do you have there, Great Grandpa?

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Help yourself, Kiddo.

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Don’t mind if I do.IMG_1981

This one’s all gone, Kid. What should we do?

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Open another one!

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And so they did.

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Since the cousins weren’t there for Christmas Eve, they opened their gifts today. This Ford racing jacket from…

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the Ford lover to…

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the Ford lover…

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was a huge hit!

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This paper doll book of Ronald Reagan for Great Grandma from the cousins was also a huge hit…

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‘cuz who doesn’t love Reagan in his tighty-whiteys!

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A couple songs by our talented nephew…

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and one by the littlest Travel Bag.

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We stayed and cleaned up, and then…

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the night was over.

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But Christmas wasn’t over!

The next day there is yet another Christmas back at Grandma’s house where the cousins are now staying as well.

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The Bayes spoil Grandma better than The Travel Bags.

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It’s a houseful of Christmas cheer!

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Today little Ellie is sporting the dress her Grandma Paula made for Hannah, now 17. It’s been through six girls now!

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The matching niecelings again.

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More gifts.

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Salt and Pepper.

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The challenge of the day—getting the figurine back in its box.

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Scott and Karen.

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A prank gift for Steve. He was really excited about the possibility of being able to wear a screen holder on his arm at all times.

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It’s so fluffyyyyy!

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Oh no! The Knock Knock Book for Kids. [Affiliate link.] on’t you know we’re in the van with this child for hours at a time? Wink.

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Hannah Banana-Grams.IMG_2050

The not-so-big box o’ gifts from The Travel Bags.

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Just dive right on in there, Ellie.

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We also gave them a box that we packaged up three years ago, but didn’t mail due to cost. We had no idea what was in it. That’s how we roll.

Back to the farm.

As long as any of us can remember, this has been the winter décor on the front porch, with different babies, of course.

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Hey, Mama, look at these big beautiful icicles!

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Oops.

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We’re here to visit these fabulous people, Christy’s cousins.

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We stuck around to clean up, and then—whew! We went to bed back at Grandma’s house. We Travel Bags aren’t used to this much excitement, having had Christmas alone in Nevada for 13 years.

I want to share this one thing, and then this post is history, because, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of looking at pictures of people opening presents.

We have a tradition of setting up a beautiful little Victorian tree, besides our other family trees. A different family member has the honor of setting up the tree each year, and nobody else is allowed to “perfect” it in any way. We brought our decorations for that tree and our nativity along from Nevada and stored them at Grandma’s.

Rebecca, age five, was the youngest member ever to have the honor. She did a great job.

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And every year we set up our Fontanini nativity under the Victorian tree. That changes several times a day, and grows each year as Christy’s mother adds to it as Christy’s traditional Christmas present.

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Merry Christmas! While we celebrate Christmas and the Christ year-round, this post has finally reached the end. Let’s wrap it up.

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That little pun was my Christmas gift to you. You are so welcome.

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