On Christmas Eve, we drove about an hour away from Belvidere, IL to Skokie, IL to visit the Lawrence family, which consists of Uncle Brent, Auntie Lala, Jamie, and Rylie. Skokie was also where I lived before my parents decided to move us to Upstate New York.
As we rang the doorbell, we were greeted by a very surprised and excited Jamie. She screamed, and jumped up and down, and gave us big hugs.
Then there was sweet Rylie, who did the same, but could not believe that we were actually there! Throughout the entire day she continued to talk about how surprised she was, and how she was so happy that we were visiting.
Rylie also loved photo-bombing all my pictures. 🙂
Naturally, I had to take pictures with my camera. Auntie Lala was just as thrilled about my new gift, and may have tried to commandeer it. 😉 It’s completely understandable. I still can’t believe how beautiful each picture turned out.
The Lawrences took us out for an amazing Christmas Eve dinner (Caleb is still raving about the Prime Rib), and then we went back to their cozy home to eat a delicious homemade apple pie, mini cannolis, and Italian cookies.
They opened the presents that were in their stockings, and gave Caleb and I a gift bag filled with goodies & warm socks. We were also given the game Blokus….which is actually one of my least favorite games, but I am willing to be open minded and play at least once. 😉
Auntie Lala had this beautiful tea pot, and gave it to me as well! I can’t wait to find the perfect place for it in our apartment.
Caleb and I had such a wonderful time with the Lawrence family, and the only thing that made leaving easier was the fact that we were going to see them again on Christmas Day.
Christmas morning came & we were awoken by the sound of little feet, and loud whispers. The cousins were so excited when Caleb and I finally emerged from our room.
Caleb got a Seahawks shirt. I love his face in this picture. Heck, I always love his face. But in this picture particularly.
That afternoon, the rest of my family came over for a very Italian Christmas dinner. We had a roast, lasagna, and for desert, cannolis and Italian cookies. There may have been a fight over Auntie Lala’s Pignoli Cookies.
My sweet cousin Isabella.
Jamie, Raquel, & Rylie.
They’re all beautiful, but the best part is Joy picking her nose.
Caleb had a cookie in his mouth.
Emily brought out her trumpet, and played us a few Christmas tunes.
THIS picture is my favorite. Joy loves Caleb, and finally stopped running around to cuddle with him for a quick picture.
“You’re the bacon to my eggs.”
At the end of the night, no one was ready to say goodbye, but as you can see, Joy was ready for everyone to leave.
This morning, we took our time drinking coffee, eating Christmas leftovers, and spending time on the couch telling stories. We spent five days in Illinois, but it feels like a blur.
It was hard to say goodbye, but as we started the next leg of our Christmas journey, I was filled with thankfulness. It’s so easy to take family for granted, but it is a beautiful thing when you can make every moment intentional. Hours were not wasted in Belvidere, but memories were made, and I had an amazing camera to capture each and every one. Caleb and I were blessed to be surrounded by cousins, and aunts, and uncles, and even though we were far away from both sets of parents, loneliness was foreign to us.
Even though it would be easy to drive back to Illinois & pretend that we never left, I’m so excited to see what the next few weeks have for us.
I hope you had a great Christmas!