mr. lesley and i spent our first christmas together in michigan this year.
it was so great being together watching christmas movies, eating way too many cookies, going to church on christmas eve, opening presents on christmas morning, and spending the day like a regular ole member of his family.
it felt normal and yet very special, which to me is pretty much perfect.
on christmas eve we ate an amazing meal of beef welligton (doesn't that just sound so fancy?) with all the fixings, put on our fancy church clothes, and away we went to sing christmas carols and remember the true reason for all the festivities.
we woke up early on christmas morning to open our presents with mr. lesley's uncle bruce who was visiting from virginia...
(mr. lesley's parents are so thoughtful and bought me too many presents)
we sat down to another delicious meal...
and then it was time to get ready and hit the road to plymouth to join the rest of the family.
mr. lesley and his cousins always play football on christmas day, and, as usual, mr. lesley's team dominated.
sorry sean, mitch, and roy!
aren't they the most adorable group of cousins you've ever seen?
and that guy with the pants under his shorts...what a hottie!
a football game is never complete without some tebow action.
before sitting down to dinner, we opened more presents.
sir winston was even included in the fun.
that little bust is going on my bookshelf asap.
and yes, i am getting sir winston a spectacle as soon as he gets back from prison:)
i was blessed too with even more gifts from his amazing family.
everyone loved watching little jaxon open his presents, and mr. lesley's cousin sean was the life of the party with his picture frame gifts.
let's just say the picture included with the note he gave me wasn't exactly the most flattering of mr. lesley.
we may be revoking his best man status, just sayin'.
after we opened some of the presents, all the ladies filed into the kitchen to put the final touches on the meal.
(and try to get that dang gravy just right.)
even though i was just the photographer, they let me put on an apron and look domestic with the rest of them.
after yet another amazing meal, it was time for the white elephant exchange.
this family really knows how to have a good time.
the ridiculousness knew no bounds this year.
to close the night, we had to toast to their grandpa george...
share memories of those who have passed this last year...
and finish it off with some group shots.
2011 was full of extreme difficulty for this family, and yet they were still able to celebrate.
i'm just honored they let me join in on the fun.
i hope you were able to feel the same kind of love wherever you spent your christmas this year.