The Twelve Days of Christmas –Day Eight — Welcoming 2012

After  a busy time around Annapolis the day before, December 31st started slowly with a little Grandpa time. The tent, set up in the basement, made for great peek-a-boo games.

Perhaps these normal mornings made me happiest. I sensed grace from the God of all the universe as he allowed us to just laugh or play with the girls. The everyday interactions hung in the air like sweet incense, a treat made richer because we don’t have these encounters all the time!

Soon, however, Becky, Stacey, and Grandma thought we needed a photo shoot day!  Why not have everyone dress in Christmas outfits and have the girls sit with Santa Grandpa as the focal point? They know this Santa so we would not have the fears and tears associated with a mall Santa. Simple, right?

Still again, think “herding cats” !

Suddenly we needed to iron guys’ shirts, get these warm weather little girls into shoes, get Dave into his very HOT Santa suit, empty the wicker sleigh centered in front of the fireplace, set up the tripod, get the lighting right, and get nine non-blinking people to look at the camera at the same moment. Get the picture?

To help Bryan adjust the light settings on his camera, Brent jumped in — and we all laughed over the pose he struck!

Dave then slipped the sleigh into  place.

As if on cue, Taylor Faith got in, 

settled her new baby doll,

and began making preparations!


After many, many photos, I can say that the funniest photos would have been of the five adults NOT in the picture.

The antics we went through to get the girls to all “smile and look this way,” represented a herculean effort! We danced, sang, waved toys, clapped our hands, played peek-a-boo.

If you’ve ever tried to get a group photo with children or animals all looking good, you can identify!

Undaunted, however, we decided to try outdoor shots. First we’d take each family and follow that with a group photo. What were we thinking?

Brent and Santa


Maybe we thought about the funny set-up shots that come first!

Once Bryan stopped laughing, he could level the tripod and figure out a way to get all nine of us in the photo!

Maybe we should start by taking each family and then work up  to the nine of us!

Austyn Grace, Brent, Becky, Taylor Faith



Bryan, Stacey and Kelsey




Flo and Santa Dave

The Wolfe Clan




















Time to change clothes again and go for a hike at Swallow Falls.

The nasty weather meant we only hiked to Muddy Creek Falls.

Brent & Family at Swallow Falls


Becky and Brent, as well as the girls, managed smiles, but the spray from the falls got everyone wet and muddy.

This Grandma did not venture down the trail, but Kelsey could see me up above and she made my day when she waved.

Bryan & Family at Swallow Falls

Thanks to all rain we’ve had, the falls thundered!

AG and Grandpa


Damp and cold, the girls got strapped into their car seats, Grandma dried their clothes using the car’s heater, and we headed to The Hen House for our 6 PM dinner reservations. After a fabulous meal, we came home to welcome in 2012!



HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!     All this off sparkling cider!

Dave and Flo

Kelsey still prefers milk as her celebratory drink!

Dave & Flo with the Grands







I went to bed with a full heart, thanking the Lord for every moment we’ d had together as a family, but knowing that we’d be going our separate ways on January 1st.


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