Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Wrap Up

Christmas Eve we woke up and headed to Cracker Barrel.  Fred and I started this tradition when we were dating and we attended 7 (Yes, literally 7.) Christmas celebrations.  We figured that no matter where our Christmas celebration found us we could always locate a Cracker Barrel.  The boys are very thankful for this tradition.  Since a little stomach virus seemed to plague our house appetites were a little suppressed.  It didn't matter.  We still had a blast as a family.

After breakfast we came home to get ready for Christmas.  Mimi and Tee came in some time that afternoon and the celebrations began!  We attended Christmas Eve services at church and it was a beautiful time of celebration.  Before we left for that service we noticed Jack had fever.  Throughout Christmas (only at night) he would randomly run fever.  Weird.
We came home and got in bed at a pretty good hour.  We told the boys they couldn't get up before 5:30 am.  I think the picture below was taken at 5:37 am.  Each year we play some kind of game before we open presents.  The boys love it...not really, but Fred and I get a good laugh.  Each boy has their own wrapping paper, but the kicker is that they don't know whose is whose.  That's where the game comes in.  Last year they went on a scavenger hunt.  This year we played a game where they rolled two die to get a seven.  When they got a seven (6 and 1, 5 and 2, 3 and 4) they had to put on a scarf, hat and Fred's jacket.  If they could do that before the next brother rolled a seven they could open the present.  What they didn't know was it was a present, inside a present, inside a present, inside a present.  Jack was the first one to open the present.  He stood up (at 5:42 am) ,pointed at his brothers and shouted, "Suckers!"  Feel the Christmas love.  Then he quickly realized it just lead to another present.  They had to play again and again until they got to the last box that contained envelopes with a sample of their wrapping paper.  Good times.  For the rest of the day they would ask if we had to roll dice to do this.  Ha!
 My mom always takes the boys shopping to buy gifts for their brothers and us.  They all have a really good time together.  While she was shopping with Jack he had picked out everything, but then he asked if he could get a card.  She didn't know why, but below is what he did with it.  He took his own money and put it in the card.  How sweet is that?  I think it might be the sweetest, most thoughtful thing he's ever done.
We laid around most of the day and then headed to Fred and Renee's house for Christmas.  Friday morning we headed to Jackson to celebrate with my brother and our parents and then my mother's family.  It was really a good time!  Fred celebrated with my grandmother's boiled custard.
My brother didn't come in until Saturday morning so mom encouraged Fred and I to go out on a date.  She really twisted my arm.  Not really.  We were out the door before she got the words out of her mouth!!  We had a funeral visitation to go to and then headed to dinner at Outback since we had a gift card.  I do love an Outback special with macaroni and cheese and a chopped salad.  Honestly, it's perfection for a chain restaurant.  While we were out the boys enjoyed a little time at Sky Zone.  Win win for everyone involved!
Our cousins finally arrived!  Yeah!!
 Later Saturday we headed to Mun and Janice's house.  Here's Mun, my 89 year old grandmother, with all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren...minus two.  Is that not a sweet picture?!?
Here's my family with Mun and her boiled custard.  I think it's one of Fred's favorite traditions.
 Here's the entire crew...minus a few.  It's a really big group.  Goodness it's a wild time!!
 After the celebration was over Fred and I headed back to Bartlett while the boys stayed to visit a little longer.  We went to church that morning (I was late.  Maybe it's not the boys that always make me late?!?), but that night I played hookie...shhhhh.  When my Christmas decorations go up I start anticipating taking them down.  I look forward to it.  I clean out every box.  I organize it all and it really brings me great joy.  This is what my living room looked like mid take down.  Yes, the tree is gone.  Yes, I drug the 9 foot tree out of the house by myself.  Whew.
 And after...
It's all put up and organized neatly in a closet.  It really is the best feeling.
 Monday morning we loaded up and headed to Paris for a sweet friend's retirement reception.  We visited a few friends while we were there.  It was really a sweet time.  The boys told me it was better than Christmas (I'm still trying to decide if I should be offended or not!).
Andrew is here with his partner in crime.  They are two peas in a pod.  I love these guys.  Every time I look at these pictures I get a lump in my throat.
 The look on Jack's face...he could not contain his excitement.  Ahhh, Dairy Delight how we love/miss you!
 Sweet friends...
We were blessed with a great Christmas.  We made many memories and spent lots of time together.  I love this family God has given me.  With all the running around and all the craziness there really is nothing better than Emmanuel being born.  Emmanuel...God with there any better reason to celebrate December 25th and all year long?!?

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