Christmas 2020:Twinkling lights, Treats & Movie, Ping Pong Table, and a Blessing

 We did two socially distanced Christmas excursions. First, we went to see the lights around the Washington DC temple.  We heard that the line was really long and some people had had to wait for 2 hours. We decided to go on a Tuesday and arrived an hour early. We were still the 15th car in line. More cars were lined up behind us in the Stake Center parking lot, but then amazingly, they opened early and let us start driving through around 5:15pm, only 15 minutes after we arrived. 
We brought artisan bread and cheeses, smoked salmon, olives, and fruits to eat in the car while we were waiting, but ended up eating it during the drive home. 

On Wednesday night we went to see the animated light show at our local State Park.  
It has not changed much since we went last, about 5 years ago. They added some cool new lights on the lake, with fish and mermaids diving into the water. And a light show of the Frog Prince that I thought was pretty cute. 
I sewed new flannel and fleece jammie pants for all the kids and a flannel nightgown for big sister A (per her special request). They opened them on Christmas Eve (Thursday night). 
Big sister A and I prepared the snack platters for our annual Christmas Eve feast and movie. One platter was all desserts:
The other was the "healthy" snacks. 

On top of all that we also had to have the kids favorite Christmas Eve junk foods, taquitoes and bagel bites.  Hubby and I enjoyed shrimp cocktails. 

Enjoying our feast and watching "Home Alone"
Christmas morning.
Brother S found the pattern for this stuffed monster in the "Wee Wonderfuls" craft book and has been trying to get someone to make it or help make it for over a year.  Big sister A tried and I did not give it too much thought, until it kept coming up.  I figured after a year of asking for Koji it was finally time that I buckle down and get it made.  He is made entirely of scrap denim and fleece that were close at hand in my sewing bin. 
Baby A opened his first Christmas present, a woodburned sign from Brother M, with a lot of help from his siblings. 

Per usual, taking his cues from the the big kids. 
Miss L was pleased to receive a unicorn coat. 
Big sister A made cute little peg people for each person in the family. Hubby's is my favorite. So accurate. 

Hubby spent a lot of time on Christmas Eve day tidying the basement -- it really needed a good dusting and vacuuming post-chick brooding. The kids told us later that they thought it was a little odd that Daddy was doing so much cleaning, but didn't think anything beyond that. After the feast and movie, Daddy pulled the table out of the box and got it all set up. 
The last present we let the kids open Christmas morning was the package with ping pong paddles and balls.  They said, "oh this will be fun... It's just too bad we don't have a table to play it on."  Long pause while Daddy and I laughed. "Well... Why don't you look in the basement?" And then a big scramble of kids running downstairs.  It was a fabulous Christmas surprise. And it's been a lot of fun so far. 

We have gotten in the habit of doing activities instead of presents, but that has been hard with the covid quarantines. We decided that this would be a good Christmas activity and be years of fun for the family and friends. 

Baby A had his baby blessing the Sunday after Christmas - December 27th. 

I tried to take some pictures of how cute he looked with the "good" camera. Obviously, still don't know what I'm doing, but it was better than my phone. 
For Baby A's blessing we invited all the siblings and cousins to a virtual sacrament meeting. We had the blessing first and then one cousin from each family gave a little talk based on the "Come Follow Me" lesson from that week.  It was wonderful.  It would be lovely to do that more often. The kids keep asking when we are going to do it again.  It was really fun to have a lot of the cousins all together in one zoom call.