Okay, so we did not have a marathon, but sometimes it felt like it. We started our holiday week off on Christmas Eve. This year we celebrated with Randy's family first a great lunch, family time, lots of talking and laughing, and presents for everyone. We had a great time. My kids were wired by the time we left (they did not get naps at all). Grandma made fantasticly warm sweaters for all 3 of her grandsons. What a treasure these are!
We made a swift departure at 6 so that we could get home in time to throw the dog in the door and head to church for a beautiful candlelight service. We really enjoyed the time of re-centering with our church family at Heartland. Thank you to the pastoral team for putting this together.
After service, we spent time celebrating with some friends. We chatted and laughed and ate snacks. We stayed too late but it did not matter, the fellowship was fantastic.
Christmas morning was a fun time with just us and our boys. We started by reading a book about the birth of Jesus. Then relaxed by the tree while our boys enjoyed opening presents. They each got 1 from us, and several through the generosity of a couple of wonderful women. Crackers does not care yet about unwrapping paper, but he did enjoy his presents (and mama loves that they got some clothes along with their toys). Monkey opened gifts with fervor - until he got to a toy that he could not resist playing with for a while. It was so much fun to watch them.
We had planned to go to my aunt's house for a late Christmas lunch. Once we got done with gifts, we decided that we really needed to let the boys relax a bit instead of throwing them in the car for a long drive and a late night. So we decided we would have lunch with Nana and Poppy. We visited with them for a while and went out to lunch, kind of a nice change on Christmas, to Yip's Chopstick House. After a delicious lunch that we did not have to cook or clean after, we relaxed and visited for about another hour, then headed home.
Our "next Christmas" was on Wednesday the 29th. The boys got to play at the McDonalds play land with their cousins for a while in the afternoon. Then we headed back to my parent's house for Christmas with Nana and Poppy, along with the Big K family. Poppy made meatloaf for dinner. Toward the end of dinner, little Bugs, my nephew, asked "When are we going to open presents?" When Nana told him we would do that right after we finish eating, he said. "I'm going to eat for another hour." The kids LOVED their gifts. We had a great time with the family. Monkey was so exhausted after this fun day, that he did not argue about bed time. Poor Crackers had a hard time sleeping.
New Year's Eve included lunch with a friend, a visit with Big Red, our former foster son, and a late night party with cousins and some long time friends. We had an amazing time. The kids stayed up as late as they
could (Monkey made it until about 11, and Crackers until nearly 1).
We woke up late on New Year's morning (I woke up at 6:30 and didn't wake up the Big K family until 7:30, oops). Off to the Elkhart Conservation Club for a quick Christmas party with my dad's brothers and sisters (and a few of their kids), followed by the annual Billey Reunion - this was year 65 at the same place, on New Year's Day. There was no snow, so no sledding. We played games, sat by the fire, ate and ate and ate, chatted, caught up, chased children, went for a hike, kissed the great aunts, shared in an auction. Whew. By 4 I was ready to crash. We gathered our troops, packed the van, and headed home so that Randy could get up for work at 4:30 this morning.
And why am I not at church? I wanted to be. I should be, but we have 1 car and it requires waking my boys up at 5 and driving with them for an hour and a half - which means less sleep and more gas used. We're tired and need to just relax a while so that we can be healthy and rejuvenate.I think maybe next year we'll celebrate the birth of Christ on some other day.. maybe in August so it doesn't get eaten up by Christmas.