Really - there are pictures waiting to come. We had a wonderful Christmas. We did it a little backwards though. We woke up on Dec. 24th and let our kids open their presents that morning. Then we delivered treats to the neighbors, and came back home to get ready for our traditional Jerusalem supper.
Of all of our family traditions - this is my favorite. It just isn't Christmas without it. The missionaries from our church joined us for dinner, and we roped them into acting out the nativity story with us, and singing carols around the piano just before bed. The girls opened their traditional Christmas eve gift of pj's and then we went to bed. It was so great doing it backwards like that...I was surprised that we enjoyed it so much.
We woke up early the next morning and the kids got to explore their stockings, and then we bundled into the car for a LONG drive.
We stopped off at our cousin's house and broke for breakfast and a potty break there. Then continued on our merry way. (Thank HEAVEN for books on tape and audio books that are free to download from the library. They keep us sane on our long car trips).
We stopped and saw my husband's parents and brother's family (they were all together) and dropped off some family Christmas gifts.
We then headed to my neck of the woods and we were able to see some of both sides of my family since they both had get togethers that over lapped that evening.
I just have to clarify. Yes, we were in town for most of the week, but my husband was doing some intensive work which consisted of me dropping him off at 8:00 am. Getting everyone going for the day, picking him up around 10:30, him playing with the kids while I practiced the organ at the church and then trying to spend a few family moments together before I had to drop him off again two hours later, and pick him back up again two hours after that. It was a 6-8 hour deal every day and I did an awful lot of running around back and forth. So...while it appeared to be a vacation - I wish it had been! There were so many things I wanted to do while there, but just couldn't figure out how to work it in feasibly.
It was really great for my husband though, and we are excited about that part of it. We decided as a family that it was important and could be a good thing, even if it meant that our kids would spend their Christmas vacation not at home playing with their friends as they'd hoped. It was.
We briefly saw a little bit of my husband's family, and hoped to spend more time in the evenings with them, but the weather didn't seem to be in agreement. We got caught in one storm that turned a 30 minute drive into a white knuckle 1.40 hr. drive...that sort of squelched our excitement about evening family visits in bad weather. Thursday our daughter woke up sick, and the rest of us had a little stomach bug (or too much sugar, little sleep, out of our element and off of our schedule weird bug) that day too. Thursday wasn't our favorite day. We'd planned to head home on Thursday or visit family, but due to the weather and other elements, we prolonged our return.
Friday came, and I'd planned to leave after my husband finished that afternoon for an evening drive. He surprised us all by finishing up earlier than expected and so we pulled the semi-dry clothes from the dryer and headed home. (BTW - the semi dry clothes were covered by ice crystals when we got home).
While on our way, our cousin called (they wanted come to our place to go sledding the next day). He didn't know we weren't home yet, and invited us to stop on our way home and break our trip with them.
We spent New Year's Eve with them, and headed home New Year's day. Which was a very good thing (but we didn't know it at the time) because the roads between his house and ours were pretty darn yucky. The 0* and below weather had completely frozen the snow and ice to the road, and some parts of our drive back were worse than we'd ever seen them. We were glad to navigate them in the morning rather than late at night in the dark.
Our girls were so happy to be home. Back in their element, with chores and cleaning to do. Okay, maybe not that, but they were very happy to be back home.
Back to life as we know it.
8 hours ago