and visions of sugar plums danced in their heads

There are few things in the world that are as beautiful as children at Christmas. Always an important holiday for my family, Christmas holidays were responsible for some of the best memories of my childhood, and I treasure every year that I get to spend with my cousins, watching the magic unfold. In my family, we open all of our presents from each other on Christmas Eve, after dinner, and then on Christmas morning, Santa comes for the kids. I admit, I still got a stocking on Christmas morning until I graduated from high school. I guess my grandparents didn't want to let go, since I was their only grandchild for the first 13 years of my life. Now, my grandparents are gone, but the family traditions live on. For Christmas 2007, my mom and I drove through a blizzard to her brother's house in St. Paul, Minnesota. I was still feeling awkward with my camera indoors, but I did get some nice shots of the kids. I have no idea how to remove red-eye effectively, though, so until I have time to play around with that a little more, some of these photos have red-eye. Next Christmas, the kids are opening their presents in a well-lit room if I have to bring in the floodlights myself.

Aunt Vickie & Dani

The camera settings when I took this photo were a huge mistake, but I love the expressions on their faces so much that I played with it until I salvaged something nearly decent. It could still use some editing, but I'm just glad I managed to get something out of the image at all. I don't even remember what was so funny, but that's my Aunt Vickie, one of my favourite people in the world, with her youngest daughter, Danielle (age 6). Originally - 1/160, f/1.8, ISO 800.


Bradley, age 10, is one of the most chillaxed kids I have ever known. My parents and I gave him this Devin Hester jersey, and all he said was, "Coooool." My mom was worried that she should have just gotten him a Vikings jersey, but he already has one of those, and she thought the Bears touch was neat, since it was coming from us - plus he really does think Hester is the bomb. Then he wore the jersey for two days straight, so I guess he kind of loved it after all. 1/160, f/1.8, ISO 800.


I have never before seen someone so excited about a set of cleaning supplies (toy supplies or not), but that's Danielle for you. And unlike her brother, she's always going to tell you exactly what she thinks about things. She's so silly. 1/160, f/1.8, ISO 800.


My mom and I gave Kristin, age 8, her third (third!) American Girl doll. If you're not up on your AGs, this is Addy. When I was 10, after saving my allowance for two solid years, I bought my first American Girl doll - Addy. So I was really excited that my li'l cuz wanted the same one. If she were here, little-miss-detail-oriented would want me to tell you that she made sure that Addy's eyes were looking at the camera, as well as hers. 1/100, f/1.8, ISO 800.

Next: kids! sledding!

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