Sunday, December 31, 2023


 Merry Christmas! We had an amazing Christmas break filled with lots of family time, games, movies, and travel.  We started our Christmas with a weekend at home, spending both the 24th and the 25th here in Apple Valley.  We spent the 26th-28th in Woodbury and the 29th-31st in Fergus Falls.  We welcomed in the new year back in Apple Valley with a day of relaxing.  Here are some pictures....

Christmas Eve

Because Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, our church had their annual candlelight service during their 10am service rather than holding a 4pm service.  That freed up our afternoon to go hiking at Alimagnet for the afternoon and then come back home for our big dinner of smoked brisket, potatoes, and more.  We wrapped up the night with our annual gingerbread (graham cracker) house building and new jammies!

Christmas Day

We loved spending time together on Christmas Day!  Often our Christmas Day afternoon is spent preparing to leave town to see family, and it was such a treat to be able to relax and just be together!  We started the morning by sleeping in, and then enjoyed a leisurely morning of reading the Christmas story, opening stockings, exchanging gifts, and eating brunch.  The rest of the day was filled with card games, reading, leftover Brisket, and watching Miracle on 34th Street as a family. It was perfect.

In their stockings, the kiddos opened money for their compassion kid, WWJD bracelets, new googles, post-it notes, and our family experience gift - an Escape Room.

Each year the kids get so excited to pick out gifts for each other and for us.  It is hard to tell if they are more excited to open the gifts they picked out for their siblings or watch their siblings open the gifts they picked out for them.  It is sweet to watch them enjoy giving.

Paul and I don't usually do gifts for each other but I surprised him with a Gunflint Lodge glass he liked when we spent the weekend there together this past fall :)

Then we moved into the gifts mom and dad bought.  Each kid opened 6 gifts.

Gift #1 was new wall calendars.  Larkyn got puppies, Colton got Sports Trivia, and Summer got "This day in history".

Gift #2 was books.  All of our kids LOVE to read, and they each got age appropriate books from a new-to-them Christian series.

Gift #3 was a new game. Summer got the game Password, Colton got Water Works card game, and Larkyn got Dutch Blitz.  We played all of them over Christmas break!

Gift #4 was some kind of media.  Larkyn opened a Britt Nicole CD, Colton got the Mario DVD, and Summer had a new Christmas DVD she had wanted to watch.

Gifts #4 and #5 were chosen with each kid in mind.  Larkyn opened a sewing animal keychain kit and a Barbie make-up artist book.  Colton got e-rings and a drum key for his drum set and new Pokemon cards.   Summer got several types of cute notecards and a madib book. 

The afternoon was spent relaxing and playing and reading!

We made homemade pretzels at the kids request and the helped roll them into fun shapes.

We all enjoyed relaxing together that evening to watch Miracle on 34th street.  It was a perfect day!

Kirkwood Christmas

We all loved spending time in Woodbury for Kirkwood Christmas!  We had a fancy meal of Grandpa's manicotti for Christmas dinner, and then the kids opened matching jammies from Grandma. The next morning we exchanged gifts and had a fun afternoon of playing outside, playing games, and ordering pizza.  Along with great food and fun cousin time, we enjoyed the change to all hang out and be together!

Summer loved her cute new suitcase and sleeping bag and was so excited about the money towards buying a well for those that need clean water (her request).

Colton has literally lived in his new MN Loons sweatshirt (I think he has worn it every day since he opened it) and t-shirt and was so excited about his new soccer video game.

Larkyn loved her new fun markers, fanny pack, and certificate for two gymnastics private lessons to work on her handsprings!

It was weird having a green/warm Christmas but we took advantage of it and played outside!

The kids homemade gift for family this year was soap carvings.  

They also made potholders for the grandparents.

Teddy and Charlie got a bubble hockey game that was a hit for big and little kids alike!

We are so grateful for such sweet time with family!

Tommerdahl Christmas

We had such a fun time with Grandma and Grandpa T this Christmas including LOTS of delicious food, tons of games and laughs, and time with extended family. 

The day we arrived in Fergus was a sunny calm day in the 30's and we played a family game of Kuub, remarking often how strange it was to be outside playing a yard game at Christmas in MN!

We had a delicious dinner fondue dinner.  Larkyn loves it when Grandma lets her help make the food into artwork!

Grandpa smoked bacon wrapped pheasant kabobs!

We were so excited for our all family Escape Room and got out with 13 min to spare.

The kids were blessed with such generous and thoughtful gifts....and loved giving away their homemade gifts.

An especially fun gift was Colton's set of ping pong balls for creating homemade challenges, bouncing the ball across various homemade obstacle courses.  He and Grandpa spent a lot of time playing with these!

Larkyn was ecstatic about her new gymnastics leotard and IGM sweatshirt and lived in both while we were there!

Summer was so excited to receive so many new books and spent much of the weekend cuddled up with Dotson, reading!

On Saturday evening Paul's Uncle's family came over for dinner and a fun ping pong ball present gift exchange game!

The funniest gift of all was that Grandpa and Colton got coal in their stockings haha!  It was actually soap but we all got a good laugh!

We are beyond blessed to have such amazing family and to get so much time to be able to spend together.  Thank you, Lord.


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