K so with the passing of my Dad, I haven't done much blogging at all. But now that life should be getting back to normal with none of the holiday parties to contend with I might find some time. LOL. So we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas at my sister-in-law's and Douglas's Brother's in Ft. Worth. His parents were there as well, so it was quite the group. John loved going up and down their stairs. He has become the big climber. I can't even leave little step stools out, but I digress. I have to say that Douglas's and his Mom's warnings of how many presents there were, were right. LOL! It took the kids all morning to get through unwrapping and they started early! As a matter of fact I don't think my older boys have ever awaken at 4:00am because they were so wired to do Christmas. I think it's been years since I've seen that much excitement. I wonder if Lil Red be that wired? Anyways it was so much fun. I really enjoyed myself. We arrived in time for Christmas Eve dinner which included some of my Sister-in-law's family, so it was a huge event and had plenty of yummy food. Including fudge made by both my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law. Talk about the right kind of comfort food!Oh my which kind will I eat first? And boy did I ever eat that fudge! Shame on me, lol! I loved my Sister-in-law's tradition of writing down something your thankful for before opening a gift. They have a book that they keep everything in. I was wondering if they saved it and read it on Thanksgiving or did she just keep it where it was available to peruse? We played games and went to visit Douglas's sister who also lives in Ft. Worth. We left the day after Christmas to make it back to pick up my older boys from their Dad. We then proceeded to have an extended gift giving Christmas. My older sister and her large group of 7 children and husband had been on the way down to surprise everyone for Christmas. They had quite the harrowing journey from Idaho through the snow and bad weather. What you have to understand is that they haven't been back for a visit since they moved there approximately 5 years ago. So it was a very big deal. Well, there family had had gifts sent to there family from Santa Clause and these presents had been packed to bring down to open on Christmas. Since these gifts came from other sources my sister and her husband had no idea what was in the packages. Since their visit was a surprise to me, I had already planned to have Christmas present opening at my parents house the day after Christmas when I picked up the boys. And you have to understand that I am a planner. I like to have some sort of structure to our trips, so that I feel that we didn't waste the time ending up doing nothing. But that's me :)
So when I got to my parents house, not only was everyone gone except my younger brother, because my older sister's family was being sealed to their adopted nephew, but two of the boys presents had been opened and claimed because I had labeled them From:Santa, To:the family. LOLLLLLLLLL! That's what I get for labeling that way even though the boys don't believe in Santa anymore. In my defense, that is the way I distinguish between what is for the whole family and what is for an individual :P So the boys were just told that those had been there gifts as well because I just didn't feel like re wrapping :) Then they opened certain gifts that were meaningful only to our family. And then as other people came home they opened the gifts from them and gave the gifts that were to that family. My older sister ended up spending the night at her Father-in-laws that night because with us staying there they felt there wasn't enough room. So the boys gave their gifts to that part of the family the next day after the funeral. And then in all of this broken up Christmas we forgot to do stockings, so I just gave them to them when we got home after church on Sunday. The funny thing is that even with all the weirdness of my Dad dying 2 days prior to Christmas and doing gift exchanging and giving in sporadic parts, even continuing after Christmas.....It is one of the best Christmas's that I remember. I had managed to surprise my husband with a fixed garage and the boys and I followed through with a commitment to get it cleaned and organized before the end of the break. It is very hard to surprise my husband ;)
The boys were very grateful and excited about all their gifts and didn't complain about the lack of expensive gifts. But most of all we were constantly surrounded by family. And we saw so many throughout the holidays. There was also the gift of my Dad's missionary coming to his funeral. Wayne, lives in Utah, but when he found out about Dad's death he felt he should be there. He shared the story of events leading up to his going on a mission and then being able to convert my Dad. It was story that I think my whole family appreciated during this trial of our faith, to show that Heavenly Father has been watching out for our family for a long time. During the holidays I had many special moments, in which I reflected and called and shared with my Dad, memories that I had of him influencing my life for good. We also had the opportunity to surprise my Mom and Dad by caroling at their house and bringing them treats. It was a long drive for a Monday night that was still a school night and Amadeus gave up his band concert, but
I was so glad we did. It was the last time that my kids and I saw my Dad alive. And I could tell that our visit made him happy. He really enjoyed watching Lil Red's antics. And Amadeus played his trumpet a little and Dad did his best to sing along with us the Christmas carols. I think that was Christmas day for me. It certainly was the highlight of my holidays, and I'm grateful to my younger sister and her husband for being flexible with their Monday night and going with us, and also for my husband for uncomplainingly driving that long distance after a hard day of work. He is so great during times of stress and trial. So anyways, the pics above are from the Christmas Holidays and hopefully I'll get to New Year's tomorrow. Quick note, I don't have a great deal of pics from Christmas. My memory card was full and I didn't have a new one. Also BIG news! John started walking as of right before Christmas. He had been taking two steps here and three steps there, but seeing all his cousins walking around and trying to get away from my Little brother's new puppy, well...he decided he better start walking! Also in case you didn't hear, we had a bit of snow down here the week before Christmas. Isaac took the picture of the car. It was just enough snow to be pretty and leave a light dusting. I must say that the Christmas lights looked beautiful with the snow falling around them. Usually are snows are in late January or in February so that is something I've never seen before. I definitely count it as a blessing this year.