Christmas, till we meet again.

This Christmas was sweet. Here are some quick photo moments the week leading up to Christmas.

We got to spend the Thursday evening before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo Lights with our friends, the Woods (and his brother’s family). The kids were so excited. We went early to see all the animals, so by the time it was dark enough for the lights to turn on, it didn’t take our kids long to wear out. We saw most of the lights, enjoyed some snow suds, the carousel one more time and headed home.

The Woods also joined us for Christmas Eve along with a few neighborhood friends (and their kids). We had 21 kids, 31 people. It was a houseful! I was only slightly anxious that it was going to be a mad house… I mean, given the number of kids that were going to be there, I expected it to be a mad house, so when it wasn’t near as crazy as I expected I was pleasantly surprised. I even had a chance to chat with the adults, a rare occurrence when kids are involved. We kept the meal simple, everyone bring your favorite appetizer and dessert. Well we had an abundance of both. I ended up bagging half a dozen cookies for half a dozen people to hand out at church the next day. It was a good Christmas activity and it helped alleviate some of the large amount of sweets that still burden my kitchen counter… and eventually my hips.

Christmas morning was fun and enjoyable, minus Harvey’s temper tantrums because despite getting him exactly what he had wanted at the store, all he wanted was Maverick’s dinosaur. We kept Christmas simple this year. The kids have a lot of toys already and I wanted to encourage some of their hobbies, so they got a toy from Santa and a toy from mom and dad, the rest of their gifts were things they could do or learn. Max and Beverly loved that. Maverick was a little disappointed he only had two new toys, but we’re working with him on recognizing all he has instead of all he wants, or he’ll never truly be happy. Something I had to learn the hard way. Max LOVED his new vegetable chopper. He’s really gotten into cooking lately and takes every opportunity to learn from me when I feel I have the extra time (and patience) to teach him. He is independent in making eggs, pancakes, quesadillas, and more. But he’s also a great sous chef with minimal direction. Andy got a lot of useful gifts as well, along with a fancy pen and a toy millennium falcon… he loves Star Wars and I couldn’t resist. He spoiled me with some bracelets, shoes, art supplies, a new mirror that he even installed to my wall that very day, and more.

One of the best Christmas presents I received this year was having my parents fly out right after Christmas to visit us. We traveled to Charleston with them and saw the aircraft carrier there along with Fort Sumter. I got to visit Fort Sumter with some girlfriends for Mother’s Day, but it was really fun to be able to teach my kids about the civil war, the slaves who had built that very fort, their finger prints still embedded in the brick. It is humbling to see them and realize that they are probably the builders of a lot of the first states. In the evening we met up with the Acrees (and Rouses). Rachel Rouse and her parents, the Acrees were childhood friends. Seeing them brought a flood of memories. Annie Acree doesn’t look like she’s aged a day. And hearing Rachel’s voice sounded so familiar, but I had long forgotten what it sounded like. The Rouses daughters are darling and so social! I hope that my children will be that interested in my childhood friends if we ever get to meet up!

With the trip to Charleston, the trip with my parents flew by, but we still managed to play Neanderthal Poetry, catch up with long car rides, and my mom even played Warcraft with me and my siblings and another game that my family has gotten in to: Valorant. It was so fun to take the time to teach her, laugh with her, and build some memories. As Andy said, she was a really good sport for not only trying it, but being the one to suggest it. Gaming is not her thing, unless it is a game of cards or a game of words.

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