January 4, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Geoff and I enjoyed a great Christmas season! We were able to do Breakfast with Santa at the church building which was really fun, but took a lot of prep time! We decorated the auditorium this year so had a lot more space...and decorating! I really enjoyed working together with Geoff. I grew up doing this with my parents in charge, and it's so fun to make it our own a little bit in the Legacy Version, as my dad calls it. :)  On December 17 we had a fun day of breakfast, Santa's Workshop, Mrs. Claus, and of course - SANTA!
My parents brought Santa and Mrs. Claus again this year and everyone loved them. Mrs. Claus even made it into the newspaper! We collected lots of toys through the toy drive and enjoyed lots of happy kids which made all the hours of planning and decorating more than worth it.
Since Christmas fell on a Sunday, and we would not be home that day, Geoff and I decided to move the Christmas events a day early.  I almost had to print out a false calender to justify it with myself...but managed to find enough imagination to make it right. Geoff asked what time he was allowed to wake up Christmas morning, and referenced some ridiculous notion of not before 4 a.m. No kidding. Why on earth would we be waking up before such an hour - my plan was to get to sleep at least by then. He wasn't kidding. At 4:07 a.m. "Christmas" morning Geoff was up.  After coffee and lots of pleading his excitement finally got me up. I was not thrilled about being awake right then, but I adore his joy and excitement, so I got over it pretty quick. He wrapped all my presents with great effort, putting ribbons and everything on...it was so sweet...I love pretty packages.
We had so much fun opening the stockings we filled for each other, and Geoff was very generous to be ultra excited about every item of clothing he got for Christmas. His only real fun gift, Vibram five fingers, didn't fit. Poor guy. His birthday will be more fun, but he had a blast anyway! I got a new DSLR Camera for Christmas which was pretty exciting. I am fairly certain I've taken over 4,000 pictures in the last week and a half. Reyah got a new frisbee which has been great for photo practice! We had fun visiting people in the church later that day, and took several some homemade Baklava which I really enjoyed making. That evening we went to some dear friends house, the Shero's, for some great food, fellowship, and games. It was a great day.

Christmas came again on Sunday! We served breakfast refreshments at the back of the auditorium on Christmas morning and it was my favorite Sunday ever at the church! Lots of visitors, all obviously excited by the hospitality, and a wonderful time of worship made for a great morning.

We headed to Geoff's parents house immediately after service and had a great time seeing everyone for a couple days. Geoff's grandma and uncle even came down for a bit, and of course we got a family photo (Geoff's dad not in this one though). Geoff has quite a few siblings, so we (thankfully) draw names at Christmas for gifts, and Geoff's dad drew my name which I thought was pretty fun. I got a great camera case!
One of the best things we got to do was to go look at the horses that the children's home has. They. Are. Gorgeous. I could have stayed there all week, just staring at them. Reyah was very curious about these gentle giants and was equally intimidated! She would approach with a wagging tale, and a pitiful whimper that I'm sure would have translated, "Please let me sniff you, but please, please don't step on me!"

We really enjoyed our time with family, making graham cracker gingerbread houses, playing games, and of course enjoying Geoff's sisters kids. Ruby is just so much fun, and way too smart for her own good (seems to run in the family), and I loved being with her over the weekend. My only nephew, Stephen, is pretty wonderful too...his smile just completely melts my heart.

We headed back to Early late Monday night, caught up with stuff there, and left Wednesday night after service for Pittenger Christmas in Belton.
My dad, of course, went all out on decorating in the yard, and my mom went all out on the inside of the house. It was so refreshing to spend time with them, and to enjoy all the festive Christmas activities. For our first gift of Christmas, matching pajamas made an appearance again this year!  We agreed not to post those pics on facebook...but this is not on facebook...this is my blog...so it's officially okay. :) That, and I have withheld the more embarrassing ones...these of the boys are just cute.

For sibling gifts this year, which my parents also participated in, we decided to give a donation to a charity of choice, and present it in a unique way. It was great to see how everyone gave such incredibly thoughtful gifts, so many of them so well suited for the passions of those the gift was in honor of.  For example, my sister and her husband donated to the March of Dimes in honor of my brother and his wife. That one brought tears to everyone as we watched their beautiful girls, once tiny and premature, run with joy and energy around the living room.
We had a lot of fun events, and my parents went overboard in the best of ways on creativity with their giving and made it a lot of fun for all of us. Instead of just a clothing gift card, we got ugly, ugly, shirts from good will....and then found the gift card under that. Very shocking till we figured out the method to the madness. When Geoff opened a VHS tape with Richard Simmons on the front we were REALLY getting concerned....but thankfully there was a movie gift card with that as well.
Don't even ask about the Spam, canned oysters, or sardines...eeeeeewwwwww. One of our last big events together was building gingerbread houses. We do that with Geoff's family but it was a first for mine, and Geoff and I had a lot of fun building a home together (insert romantic "awwwww"). :)

Reyah had a great Christmas too!
We had a fantastic week and I could write a book on every part of it but wanted to at least fill you in on some of the pieces. I was so thankful for every moment with family, and soaked it up more than I probably ever have before. For some reason this year, more than any other, the unique gift being able to experience joy and love at this time of the year was overwhelming to me. I feel so blessed and thankful to have been surrounded by such love. I know there are people on earth who may not find so much love or encouragement in their entire lives as we did in one week. I am so thankful for our families, and friends.

Now I must go, I have a date with the gym. We haven't seen each other since after the half marathon. I've been cheating on it with lots of yummy holiday foods! I have a feeling payback is coming...

1 comment:

Sheila said...

You and your new camera take some amazing pictures! So fun to see the over-the-topness at your parents just as you described. You're such a blessing to us Jamie! Love you!