My family got the best Christmas present this year! My brother, Kyle, got to come home on leave for 2 weeks! I’ve seen him for 3 hours in the last year, so needless to say it was a long time coming. I still can’t believe he’s here in the flesh. And I’m even more excited that after his two weeks here, my whole family is flying back to Florida with him for his Navy EOD graduation. Yeah, “proud” is an understatement. Looking at how that kid has grown into such a Godly man who serves his country well literally brings me to tears. But we’ll try and keep those to a minimum for now since his ceremony is going to make me absolutely lose it.

Every Christmas Eve (this year it was the eve of Christmas eve) we have a sibling (and spouses) sleepover so the 6 of us all stay at our house and we stay up late making dinner, playing games, boys smoking pipes, and laughing all night long, until one by one we fall asleep, generally Chris being the first one to go. HAHA. Sorry Chris. Then we all wake up in the morning and head to my parents little house on the side of a hill in Crest. For some reason San Diego always decides to be anywhere between 75 and 90 degrees around Christmas. I mean I’m not complaining but my wish for a white Christmas is literally impossible here ;)

My parents have eight acres and no neighbors so growing up there was no short of fun to be had. Justin and I let Milo run around the property and it was adorable watching him chase sticks and dig in the dirt. Instead of a big Christmas dinner, we opted for a brunch and mom made our special sweet potato pancakes. When we were on my sister, Emily’s, Make-A-Wish trip we had breakfast at one of the restaurants at Walt Disney World and they served these AMAZING sweet potato pancakes. My mom asked if they give out their recipe and sure enough, they sent us a letter in the mail on fancy letterhead with their famous recipe. Having those pancakes yesterday was such a sweet way to remember Emily this Christmas.

The sunset was unreal on our drive home. There’s something about San Diego sunsets in December, somehow they are far better than any other month of the year. I made Justin pull over so we could grab a couple of pictures really quick. I can’t even handle all the gorgeous golden goodness. One of my favorite parts of Christmas Eve is our church’s (New Community Church of Vista) Christmas Eve service (which we got to photograph this year). I love getting to worship as one body and try and wrap my mind around the concept that Heaven literally invaded earth and God sent a Savior and Redeemer that we may be sons and daughters of the Most High. That is truly the most treasured gift we will ever receive.

Look at that good looking clan, we’re all coordinating and it wasn’t even planned. The Lord knew I wanted a good family picture since Kyle isn’t here often. I woke up that day and walked downstairs and Sarah was practically wearing the same thing as me. We’re obviously sisters.

cheney christmas-23cheney christmas-24cheney christmas-2cheney christmas-1cheney christmas-3cheney christmas-5cheney christmas-4cheney christmas-6cheney christmas-7cheney christmas-8cheney christmas-9cheney christmas-10cheney christmas-12cheney christmas-11cheney christmas-13cheney christmas-14cheney christmas-15cheney christmas-16cheney christmas-17cheney christmas-18cheney christmas-19cheney christmas-20cheney christmas-21cheney christmas-25cheney christmas-26cheney christmas-28cheney christmas-29cheney christmas-30cheney christmas-31cheney christmas-32cheney christmas-35cheney christmas-33cheney christmas-36cheney christmas-38cheney christmas-37cheney christmas-39cheney christmas-40cheney christmas-41cheney christmas-42cheney christmas-43cheney christmas-50cheney christmas-45cheney christmas-46cheney christmas-47cheney christmas-49cheney christmas-51cheney christmas-52NCCOV-Christmas Eve-1NCCOV-Christmas Eve-3photo