This year we loaded up the kids and headed to South Dakota to spend Christmas with my extended family. It is the first time in over 15 years that I’ve been back at Christmas time. Mom and Dad and Derek and Hannah and their kids all went too. That meant that there was no room for us in the inn! Just kidding. . , Mom and Dad stayed at Grandma Johnson’s house, Derek and Hannah stayed with my cousin Joe and his family, and Mark and I and the kids stayed at our “home away from home” — Jared and LaDawn’s upstairs guest suite!

Due to threatening weather, we got started a day early which meant that we had LOTS of time (probably more than LaDawn had planned on) to hang out with the Nesje’s. Jared and Dawnie kept us entertained with their spiteful comments about their dog Ringo, our kids taught their kids how to play pterodactyl,

and LaDawn kept Mark FULL of Christmas candy! Seriously, I think we made more candy 3 or 4 times in the 3 days we were there!

Carol and Jane


Halsey & Gracie (reading Dear Girle, Grandpa Harris’ love letters to Grandma Grace)

Aunt Helene and Derek

Me with Aunt Debb

Joe holding Jett (Dave Sanderson’s son) and Rylan

Mom and Gram

Dad and Mom

Jenna, Ryan, Nick, & Scott

Uncle Randy, Mark & Uncle Russ

On Christmas Even, it was really fun to take part in our traditional Nelson/Johnson Christmas Eve celebration. It was kind of weird to be one of the adults, not one of the kids at this party. MY KIDS were the kids!

Aftewards, Mark and I and Derek and Hannah all took our kids out to experience the Christmas Lanes we remember as kids:  Churchill, Reinder Lane and Candy Cane Lane.  Well, that was a giant FAIL.  Let’s just suffice it to say that they “ain’t what they used to be.”

However, Falls Park was BEAUTIFUL (in spite of being FREEZING cold!)

Dildays at Falls Park
Salmonsons at the Falls

We enjoyed Christmas morning with Nesjes and watched Jonah and Jack open their Santa presents.  There were lots of photo ops before we said our goodbyes.  (unfortunately, some of the photos won’t rotate . . . what’s up with that BLOGGER???)

Then it was off to Johnny Carino’s for the big Johnson Christmas Feast.  More on that in the next post . . .