I decided to share some of my memories.
This was the last Christmas that my family spent together with my parents having no grandchildren and no children-in-law. We spent the beginning of Christmas break helping my parents move into their new house. I was already dating Jeff, and things were looking serious. In fact, during Christmas break, Jeff met my family in Indiana, and I went down to Cincinnati and met his family. Actual Christmas day was spent with just the six Bolings in Michigan.
This was my first married Christmas. It was also spent in Michigan with all of my family as well as some Roses, because just three days after Christmas, my sister got married in Illinois! A new brother-in-law was a pretty great present!
This Christmas was spent with Jeff's family on a Caribbean cruise. Due to church missionary service, it was the first Christmas in six years that Laurie and Daryl had all of their sons together. (Jeff obviously missed the memo about wearing a black suit.) Spending Christmas on the beach reminded me of my Brazil Christmases! It was really wonderful to have all of the Colletts together with no distractions other than enjoying tropical paradises together. (And I am ashamed to admit that this is a scan of a professional print. I don't know how you go about compensating the photographer for the picture this many years later.)
The Boling family grew a lot since we last spent Christmas together! By now, all of Vickie and Phil's children were married. Amy (and Devin) and Peter (and Mindee) had their first children, and Dan's wife Rachel and I were both pregnant with our firsts. We all gathered together in Indiana, this time at Pete and Mindee's lovely home. We were lucky enough to have Jeannie with us (Rachel's twin sister). Jeannie has been adopted by all of the Boling grandchildren as an aunt. We always love having her join us.
This was our first Christmas as parents. It was spent in Cincinnati with Jeff's family, and by this Christmas we were done with school and living with Jeff's parents. Jeff had just started his first post-college job the month prior. From here on out, I failed at getting pictures of the large family groups and seem to only get pictures of my growing family.
I did not get a picture of everyone who spent this Christmas together, but we were able to spend it with both my family and Jeff's family. The week leading up to Christmas found us up at Wisconsin Dells with my parents, my maternal grandfather, my paternal grandmother, my sister and my sister's family. (Sadly neither of my brothers and their families could come due to work obligations.) It was a wonderful week, though, with lots of snow and fun winter activities at the resort.
Then the week right after Christmas found us back in Cincinnati celebrating with all of Jeff's family. All of the brothers were there, as well as Jason's wife Amy and Ryan's then-girlfriend-now-wife Cyanne.
You may be able to notice in the family picture with Jill, Jeff, and I, but I am pregnant with Danny this Christmas. Little did I know then that he was planning on coming only two short weeks later!
This Christmas was spent in Cincinnati with Jeff's family. It was Danny's first Christmas. Fun activities included having my mother come down and visit, as well as having Laurie take the children and me to the Newport Aquarium. Shortly after Christmas, Jeff, the children, and I drove out to Virginia to spend time with our good friends, the Bellows, and see how the DC area celebrated Christmas and the New Year. We had no idea then that just fourteen months later would find us moving there!
This one is a bit blurry, but perhaps I'll get a better picture on actual Christmas day. For the third Christmas now, I find myself pregnant on Christmas. We will be in Cincinnati again this year. Before the life altering decision to uproot our family and move to Virginia, we had talked about going up to Michigan to spend it with my family, but now there is just too much to be done. (We are planning on listing our home in the middle of January, Alice is due in February, and Jeff begins his new job in March.) My dad is driving down tomorrow and will spend a week helping us, so I will get to see him at least. And I'm sure I'll see my mom after the baby comes.
Here is another picture of the beautiful Christmas dresses that my mother-in-law Laurie made for me and Jill. (You can't see it, but Jill's has a big bow in the back made from the same gold fabric as my top and our ruffles. Her dress is also lined with taffeta (tulle? something fluffy . . .) under the skirt. Laurie is very talented! Jill LOVES her dress.
And Laurie did purchase the rights to these next photos, so I can include them without feeling guilty! The first one is from 2009. Enjoy. :)
And here is my annual recap of the year!
The biggest surprise of 2012 was the unexpected job offer Jeff received in October. He begins his new job in March as a contractor for the Department of State, specifically in Overseas Building Operations.
The greatest joy of 2012 is Mimi’s current pregnancy. We expect to welcome Alice Grace Collett into our family sometime near the end of February. Jill is very excited to have a little sister; it’s hard to determine whether Danny is excited or not.
Sometime between or around those two major life events, we will move from our beloved Cincinnati to somewhere in Virginia, near Washington DC.
Highlights of the year were two family reunions: The Colletts gathered in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and the Bolings gathered in Boyne City, Michigan. Both were fun resort towns surrounded by beautiful scenery and full of activities for us all to do.
Memorable events this year for Jill (3½) and Daniel (1¾) were most likely their swimming and gymnastics lessons. Jill loves Minnie Mouse, playing mommy, and building couch forts. Danny loves Mickey Mouse, making noise, and throwing toys. They’re both a delight—and occasionally a frustration—as only toddlers and preschoolers can be.
Merry Christmas from the Colletts!