Wow - what a week! Standby for the lengthiest of posts - we have had a fabulous Christmas season this year - laden with more blessings than we can possibly count!
It all started December 22nd - when the boys did their traditional sleep under the Christmas Tree. Every year, we drag out the air mattress, and Matt and the boys sleep under the twinkling lights of the trees - they tell stories, and Christmas wishes, and fall asleep dreaming of the magic of Christmas.
Then, the air starts to leak out of the airbed, and life doesn't seem so magical to the biggest guy on the mattress - so he humbly crawled back into our bed around 4:00 am, thinking no one would be the wiser. He forgot he was sleeping by Colton - the fact that he dared leave the sacred mattress on "Sleep Under the Tree Night" was the first thing Colton brought up when he woke the next morning.
We went to a fabulous service at church on Sunday, then headed to my parent's house for my family's Christmas celebration. Dad was hip-deep in the middle of doughnut making when we got there, and we were all salivating at the thought of fresh doughnuts. It took just a tad longer than my dad either remembered or anticipated, so we had fresh doughnuts at about 4:00 pm - but, oh what a way to ruin dinner. They were fabulous! The kids spent the afternoon sledding and 4-wheeling with Judd and Matt, and came back exhausted, freezing, and all-smiles just as it was getting dark.
On Christmas Eve day, most of us slept in - extept my hard-working brother got up at 5:00 because he had to work that day - thanks for being quiet on your way out, Juddy! Once the lazy ones got up and around, we made a couple batches of crepes, ate leftover doughnuts and sticky buns - and so the feasting began. We had so many munchies and crunchies - oh, sweet, full tummy bliss! We tried a couple new dips - one was a hit, one was a miss. The Reuben Dip from the crock pot cookbook will never, ever stink up my kitchen that way again. The Mississippi Sin Dip, a la Big Mama was so fabulous that we had it two days later at Matt's family gathering. It was a great time of food, presents, visiting, and family. The cousins were unfathomably nice to each other the entire day - this may have had something to do with the Wii, but whatever it was, it worked. Theresa took the kids carolling, and at the end of their stint they carolled our house - it was so fun to see them singing in a big group of people! What a fun, fun time. We didn't leave for home until about 11:00.
INSERT - Jake came, too! He had much fun playing with his new doggie cousin, Raleigh. We had driven the truck so that we could bring the 4-wheeler, so there was plenty of room for our favorite, four-legged friend.
We got home at 1:00 - and Santa was TIRED, TIRED, TIRED. There was still Santa wrapping to do, stockings to fill, etc. Thankfully, the boys were exhausted, and slept in Christmas morning until about 9:30!!!! Can you believe that? Who ever heard of kids sleeping that late on Christmas morning? I guess that's our reward for giving them a day chalked-full of fun on Christmas Eve!
We had a wonderful day as a family, playing with all of our Christmas toys. We had waffles with Matt's new "hotel style" waffle maker, and the Guitar Hero showdowns were quick to start. Colton drove the tracks off his track-hoe, scooping up all kinds of paper, packing peanuts, and strewn about cardboard. We left late in the day for Verna's house, and arrived in time to have a late spaghetti dinner before we opened more presents. One of Verna's presents was kind of an emotional one, which Matt had predicted might make her cry - and because of this prediction, we get one of Colton's more memorable quotes (from Shrek the Halls) . . .
"Christmas ain't Christmas 'til somebody cries!" Oh, if you could've seen his face when he busted out with this one - what a cutie!
The 26th is traditionally Matt's family's gathering - it works well, because usually everyone is done with their other family obligations and can attend. It was another fun evening of family, food, fun, visiting, presents, etc. This is where we usually take our annual family Christmas picture, and make sure we get a picture with Matt's Granny. I had a bit of a slip-up this year, and will forever be reminded by the cousins of my inability to curb my extreme potty mouth. I had the audacity to say the "S" word in Granny's house - yikes!!! I'm sure I'll live it down in a decade or two. It was great to see everyone, and to participate in activities that have been traditions in Matt's family for decades. My favorite is when everyone gathers in the living room, and Matt's uncle Sam reads the Christmas story from the book of Luke (goes well with the previously mentioned potty-mouthed side of me, doesn't it?) - there's just something magical about the words and the story - it stirs even the hardest of hearts - Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without it!
We headed home the next morning - overflowing - our stomachs, our hearts, our car. It was a fabulous couple of days. Again, we had taken Jake with us - but this time we had the car. The drive there wasn't so bad - everyone was still exhausted from the late Christmas Eve night, so all three backseaters (the boys & Jake) slept most of the way to Yakima. The way back was a different story - it was mid-day, no one was tired, and Jake was not content to lay on the floor of the very cramped car. We stopped at a rest are to re-arrange, but to no avail - a growing Great Dane cross can find no comfort in the back seat of a compact car, with two boys taking up most of the room. I'm certain he's made his last car trip. But, the cramped, eventful ride did make a great opening for Colton's next most memorable Christmas quote . . .
"Daddy? I wish we had a Chihuahua!"