The guiding thought is: "This time of year is often seen as one of reflection, so why not spend a few moments reflecting on your life so far and share eleven memories that occurred at some point during the various twelve days of Christmas you’ve lived through so far."
I looked back on photos I've taken throughout the years and put them in order by the December date (not the date of the year).
December 25, 2010 - Olivia, who is 7 years old, is being watched by Lucy. Every year, Olivia wakes up early on Christmas Day; and she and I open the gifts in our stockings. Often times, the pets are right by us curious as to what is in the wrapped packages.
December 26, 2011 - The girls enjoyed playing with their new toys and doing the hands-on activities of science kits they received. Here Olivia is using a hammer and chisel to reveal gems. Even though she was wearing glasses, she put the safety glasses on "just in case" something happened.
December 27, 2009 - Belated Christmas Dinner. There was a major snowstorm on Christmas Eve and morning that prevented us from leaving our farm on Christmas Day 2009. We spent the day shoveling out on the 25th and 26th; and Sophia, Olivia, and I were able to spend a nice belated Christmas with my parents and brother.
December 28, 2014 - Olivia decided it was time to cut her hair. Off came more than eight inches which was donated to Children with Hair Loss.
December 29, 2015 - Our 4-H club did a special multi-week program at the nursing home where the girls and I volunteer. The picture below is of Emily - who was 98 years old. She was an accomplished sewer and teacher. It was a joy to know her, and she always had a good story to share about her life. We learned so much from her during the time we knew her. She died on October 17, 2016. It was a loss for us all.
December 30, 2008 - Sophia's 8th Birthday. She wanted to be surprised about what her birthday cake looked like. So, in addition it to be hidden during the day, she wanted to be blindfolded as it came out. I'm not sure what we used for a blindfold...a napkin? A placemat? A piece of fabric? At any rate, it looks like we tied it with twine.
She had her favorite unicorn mug . The placemats we were using were actually napkins my mom made when she and my dad visited us when we were living in Charlotte, North Carolina.
There were fabric mills or outlets that we visited. You could purchase fabric quite inexpensively. It was fun to pick a bunch out and then have my mom (who enjoyed sewing) create tablecloths and matching napkins for our first apartment/home.
Little did I know that the following day, I would be called by the nursing home to come in to visit. It looked like my dad was not doing well and wouldn't make it through the evening. It ended up that I stayed there for 3 1/2 more days until he died.
Seeing the eagle reminded me of one of my parents' favorite songs at church (On Eagle's Wings) and one of the songs we played at their 25th wedding anniversary (Wind Beneath My Wings).
January 1, 2013 - Annual Chinese dinner on New Year's Day at our favorite Chinese restaurant. We have gone out to eat at a Chinese restaurant on January 1st since we lived in San Francisco. It became a tradition that we have done each year since then (with the exception of 2012 when I was at the nursing home with my dad).
One of the things we encourage one another to do is to try one new thing that we haven't eaten before....or at least haven't eaten at that particular restaurant.
January 2, 2012 - My dad was dying on this day in 2012. I was by his bedside from January 1st through January 5th when he died. Family members and friends visited during this time period. We were with him around the clock to make sure he received the care he needed and that he was not alone.
January 3, 2011 - Crafting after New Year's Day. There's some time to relax and take it easy the first week of January. One year we made beeswax ornaments to hang in the window. They smelled so good and the sun illuminated the patterns of the ornaments which was beautiful to see each day...especially during cold winter days.
January 4, 2011. One of many meals that the girls ate at the granite table. It was a lower table so that Olivia's feet could reach the floor. It also was a suitable table at the time because we had dogs who were respectful of the food on the table and didn't try to take some for themselves.
When Olivia grew taller and we got a dog who was a bit too curious around meal time, we switched to the wood table.
I'm not sure why I took this picture. Perhaps it was because one of the girls made a new recipe for a homeschool project.
At any rate, it documents an ordinary day in our lives. Sometimes those ordinary days are just as enjoyable as the special days. It gives us time to connect as a family and relax.