We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, or time to gather with friends and family during the many winter celebrations that celebrate the triumph of light over the darkness.



McGaugh family Christmas, on December 21st



The McGaugh brothers: Bill, Chet, Seth, and Patrick



Christmas Eve morning: K and E hear a story about panettone, eat panettone, and receive their annual ornaments. This year Katie received a lamppost engraved with her name to commemorate our reading of The Chronicles of Narnia; Eric got a Winnie-the-Pooh riding a rocking horse.



Christmas Eve morning: preparing our reindeer food to scatter on the lawn before leaving for dinner



Christmas Eve: festive family photo attempt, take #1



Festive family photo, take #2



Katie and Eric before dinner at The Ritz in Newport Beach



(A little out of order) Christmas morning at my mom and dad’s house. The stockings were fun! My dad gave us a book on the secret life of seeds with beautiful magnified pictures of seeds—so neat! My mom gave us za’atar (one of my favorite spices, though a challenge to find in the store—but Williams-Sonoma carries it) as well as Vietnamese cinnamon. LOVE my good spices!



Beautiful cousins: Violet and Katie during Christmas Eve dinner



Katie chose the classic Christmas goose with lingonberry sauce, sweet and sour red cabbage, and mashed potatoes. I chose the same! She ate almost all of my goose last year, so we knew what to do this year!



Christmas morning at mom and dad’s.



Opening an amazing present from my sister-in-law: a literary places sign post for the yard! Each sign (to be affixed to a large pole) points to somewhere different: Green Gables, Thornfield Hall, Mr. McGregor’s Garden, the Shire, Hogwarts, etc. She made one for all of our favorite literary places. This present is so meaningful to me! After I get it put up in the yard, there will be more pictures. Amazing gift of time, care, and effort!



Walking back to the table with Eric on Christmas Eve after he greeted the carolers.



Christmas dinner at Nana’s house! After dinner, the kiddos bathed in sugar plum fairy bubbles (thanks, Erin!!!!) in Nana’s tub, and put on their jammies for special Nana Christmas cuddles. Memories.

with eric


A favorite, special moment on Christmas Day…didn’t know Bill was taking this picture at the time, and so glad he did. Eric and I were having a sweet moment putting our heads together and expressing our love. I was telling him how much I love him and was breathing that child’s essence right in… In a day full of blessings, this moment is pressed forever to my heart.



The holly and the ivy on Christmas Eve. (I cropped off my head because my eyes were closed, but Katie looks cute)!



My mom makes a most delicious Christmas breakfast every year!



Eric received a toy chainsaw from Amie-Nani and Boppa this year. He carried it around all day and trimmed Nana’s hedges. 😉



Playing with a soft football with the cousins at Nana’s house!

sanchez family


And the day before Christmas Eve, we had a very special visit from one of my favorite people—Erin Sanchez—and her parents and her boyfriend Erik. They gifted us with absolutely delicious cookies, which we proceeded to gobble! Of all the many people for which I am thankful, the Sanchez family (including Erin’s sister Lauren and brother Patrick) are especially dear to me. Such a good, solid, decent group of people who love each other… And as Erin’s mom Linda said, the best gifts at Christmas are the gifts of making time for one another. Such a treat to see them! And congratulations to Erin for her recent placement as a DOU nurse at Huntington Hospital!

I usually “take Christmas down” either the 26th or the 27th, but I am finding myself slow to get to it this year. We’ve been playing with our new toys and cuddling. As sad as I always am the few days before Christmas that it will all end soon, usually a switch flips on Christmas night and I am so ready to reorganize my house. I guess I just feel like clinging on to the Christmas magic a little longer this year before it ends…