Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Monday, December 26, 2016

Day 358: Merry Christmas Eve!

I was so excited for today, that I really had a very hard time going to sleep and staying asleep.  My heart was racing a bit, too, so I was trying to figure out what I ate/didn't eat or what medications I took, but I couldn't think of anything.  Today was Christmas with the J12!  We are the J2 (Gary and Leah), the J4 (Aaron, Shauna, Everly, and Nora), and the J6, (Jared, Melinda, Benaiah, Justin, Keturah, and Abishai).  At least for now.  No, no one is pregnant, but you never know, lol!

We had just a few hrs to get all our Christmas present opening done before Benaiah and Gary had to be at church for all 4 Christmas Eve services.  There won't be church tomorrow at Indian Creek, so they just took those two services and added them to Saturday's schedule.  After they took off, the rest of us cleaned up, gathered up the mounds of gifts into piles, and then started opening some of them to look at and figure out and build.  Because, you know, with the Johnson's, Christmas is spelled L-E-G-O!  Bwahahahaha!

We feasted on some yummy brunch stuff, coconut Happy Birthday Jesus cake, and other assorted sweets.  We didn't have time for the usual game of Scrabble or The "Board" Game, but that's ok.  We were just happy to have some time altogether.  It only happens twice a year.  And it never feels like enough time.  But at least we get time together and we don't fight.  I mean, we might disagree about little things, but we don't disagree about God and politics and all that such stuff.  Plus, none of us are crazy, like "Crazy Aunt Sally" kind of crazy."  Lol.  We have some fun, of course, and have some traditions, but we'll save those explanations for the pictures below.

It will be hard to cull the amount of photos from today, especially since I didn't take most of them!  Shauna hijacked the camera on me!  Actually, I was quite happy to just observe and sit down, because it went be all too fast.  Everyone participated in being Santa.  Everybody opened gifts, including Abishai, although once he opened the first gift of cars, he was very content to just play.

FYI: What you are about to scroll through is about 50 out of the 312 photos that Shauna (mostly) took using my camera!  Yes, Mrs. Photojournalist worked some magic!  And most of the pictures were taken within a 3 hr time span!  Yikes!  Trigger happy girl!

Also, FYI, I didn't share every gift everyone got because there's 12 of us and that's a lot of gift giving.  God has blessed our family financially, partly because we have been faithful with what He's given us, carefully following Gary and Leah's example of how to tithe first, save second, not go into debt, and spend wisely.  Therefore, yes, our family tends to give and receive bigger gifts.  Some of us had to be very creative in our gift giving based on our income level.  I say this because there have been some posts on Facebook lately that say we should share about how much we give and receive at Christmas because so many don't give and receive much.  I have decided to share some of our earthly wealth because this blog is somewhat of a scrapbook for my kids, not just something to share with the world.  I want my kids to know that we have been incredibly blessed over this past year and how our actions have played a part in it.  Feel free to not go through every picture because there are so many.  I won't know nor will I be offended.   All the smiles and screams of delight are genuine.  All the love and thoughts that go into each gift are real.  And it was such a joy to be a family of 12 celebrating the birth of Christ together yesterday.  As Justin (yes, Justin) shared a verse that he has memorized for Bible Bowl yesterday with all of us, he quoted from the Ten Commandments about making idols and that an idol is not just something made out of metal but can be an obsession over physical objects like Legos or Barbies or computers, etc.  He also shared the Ten Commandment about not being jealous for your neighbor's things.  I'm so grateful my kids do understanding the true meaning of Christmas, but can also enjoy the delights of a new "shiny" object.  Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus!  Coconut cake!
21 candles for Jesus, for 21 centuries since His birth!


The kids had a plan of how they were going to play Santa and give out gifts, but the plan fell apart quickly.

Socks spent the morning right in the middle of the living room with people walking over and around him while he snoozed.

Christmas Eve brunch, the kids' table!

She got her Steak and Shake Fry Girl!  You can win it through a game at Steak and Shake or buy it off of Amazon.com.  She was so excited and talked about Fry Girl a lot!

Daddy said, "Where are the screws to permanently attach the earbuds to his ear?"  Yes, this kid is plugged in alot.

Since Shauna grabbed my camera from me, I actually got in a few of the pictures.  Inside Out is one of my new favorite movies!

Brothers, another year older, a few more eye wrinkles and laugh lines.  Another year of maturity.

Abishai's first gift of the day.  He opened it, and didn't want to open anything else because he was content with it.

He must have been watching us open gifts over the past year because he knew exactly what to do!  He also handed the torn wrapping paper to another person to put in the trash bag.

Bakery for the girl who loves sweets!

The flurry of activity and blurred wrapping paper tells you how excited Keturah was to get the one and only set she has wanted all year.

She jumped up and down and screamed.  The 4 middle grandkids all made plans as to how they were going to scream or be excited if they got this or that gift.  Keturah has made a space on her bureau for this Grand Hotel Lego set about 4 months ago.  It's 1,500 pieces!  Crazy!

Everly's most wanted gift, a beautiful white and pink watch!  Plus these two are wearing shirts that have their dance studio logo on it, Devoted Dance Academy.

The ONE set Justin really wanted - the Tie Fighter from Star Wars 7.

Benaiah asked for a new Bible, in the NASB version for school.  Grandpa got a beautiful Bible and got his name put on it.

Benaiah is starting his collection of different versions of the Bible just like his Dad.

Although this is a side view, I like how you can see Shauna's beautiful smile here.  And yes, Uncle Aaron hasn't shaved his mustache all week.

Abishai was content with his first gift because it was a bunch of new cars!

The Big Boys/Brothers like to play tricks on each other regarding their gifts for one another.  Last year, Aaron put nutella on toilet paper making it look like poo.  Yup.  But most of the time it's just wrapped weird with leftover gift wrap or envelopes from mail or receipt.  This year, Jared put a cinder block in a box, and then put the duct tape wallets that were the real present in the cinder block holes.

I love their nicknames!  "Burns" is a nickname of Aaron's from high school.  And Jared's been "Herodytus" for 18 years or so.

Lining up cars next to Grandpa's Lazy Boy chair.

Label maker!

What a beautiful smile on my sweet husband, Jared.  Check out those laugh lines around his eyes!  So handsome!

A new book about "A Christmas Story" with lots of facts about the movie.  It will be passed around to a couple of family members as well.

Grandpa gave Grandpa a new travel jewelry holder.  Pretty.

Super excited about her cupcake watch!

Oh my goodness, that smile on his face!  That's my boy!

Everly also got the Grand Hotel!

A neon green (his favorite color) boombox!  Now he and Keturah won't argue about who gets to use Keturah's boombox.  Now Justin can listen to his own music or the radio or listen to audiobooks.

Poor baby dog in the middle of it all.

Aaron also grabbed the camera, and this was a selfie for Nora.

Grandpa's been dethroned.  Abishai is nesting with all his cars in Grandpa's chiar.

Uncle Aaron giving Abishai a pep talk and Socks making a soft, warm back rest.

Nora begged to get this particular stuffed animal so she was super excited to get it!

Yes!  All the kids like to ride on anything with wheels!

A homemade gift from us to the girls plus mugs they can paint on their own!

Suspend Junior, a game we play at co op that we like.

Doctor Who bookends, plus a journal with arrows on it from Aaron's family.

Nice glare, Aaron, but Jared does it better.

Nora and Justin came up with this idea of drawing our whole family on a piece of paper and putting all our names on it.  I love their creative processes!

New shoes!  He might not have pants on (as usual), but he wants to try out his new shoes and go somewhere!

Reading from her new Moana playset.

I'm ready to go, people!

I asked for this particular Bible because I saw it a women's event in October.  I love how pretty the pages are.  There are verses on the page edges you can color, plus lots of room for notes.  I wanted this Bible because I want a fresh start this coming here.  It's a new year, and a new chapter in our life.

Aunt Shauna saw this idea on pinterest and put it into action.  Use toilet paper rolls and put them in a shoebox so that you can organize matchbox cars in it.

Nice one, Ev! Lol!

Uncle Aaron sent Grandpa on a scavenger hunt to find a big gift that you can't wrap.



It's a flower box Aaron made for his Dad!  Plus a tree from down south!

I think it was about 40 degrees F outside and drizzly, but my Canadian boy found it ok to be out with out pants and shoes.  He did say, "Cold" though.

Grandpa had a fun game for Benaiah's big gift - unscramble the letters to spell out the gift.  The middle 4 helped color the letters.

It spells SCS Tuitikon - i.e. Grandpa and Grandpa are going to pay for the next semester of school at Southside Christian School.  Benaiah actually cried when he received the gift.  He's been worried about how we were going to pay for it.  I wasn't worried now that Jared has a permanent 40 hr a week job.  It was a very tender moment.

Picture time for Grandpa and Grandma!

Aw, maybe best friends, but at least great friends.

Shauna picked up the gun and I had to get a pic.

Jared really wasn't supposed to be in the picture but he was helping Abishai.  And yes, Benaiah was using his "derp" face.  Ugh.

Aunt Shauna found these really cool chocolate cars and added them to the toilet paper roll box.  Abishai was loving the chocolate!  He asked for a plate to put his car on, too.  He asks for "bowls" all the time for his food.  He likes to be neat and clean.

The girls getting creative with Everly's new art stuff.

These two hang out a lot together.  Maybe because they are 2nd kids in their family's birth order.  Justin was helping Nora with her Lego set.  She diligently worked on it for 2 hrs.

Love the look of concentration.

Shauna gave Rock Band a try, fun!

Aw, look at all those kids!  Look how long their legs look!  They are growing up fast.

These two hang out a lot, too.  Everly is a firstborn and Keturah is the first (and only) girl, so I bet they have similar personalities.

Uncle Jared talking with the kids.
And then we all went to church and stayed in service together, sort of.  Abishai had a runny nose so he sat with us instead of going to nursery.  But all he wanted to do was run up to the stage to get to Grandpa.  Whoops!

Phew, that's a lot of pictures and captions!  Lots of love around the table.  Praise the Lord.

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