Friday, January 01, 2016

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

We just got back from a wonderful visit in Ohio!  The kids and I left 2 Saturdays ago, and we got in early enough to go to Amy's son Zach's basketball game.  Except for the one ref making bad calls from half court about plays happening under the basket, we had a really fun time!
We had great seats too.  The little boys were enthralled until halftime, and after that, they ran around and played with some other kids behind our bleachers.  It was a perfect set-up!  Amy and I got to visit a little bit, which was fun.
The next day we went to Amy's church, and then the boys and I worked on a 1000 piece puzzle while we waited for Uncle Dan, Aunt Melinda, and the girls to come in from TX.  It was a tough puzzle, with lots of different shades of blue, so we were busy.  We actually almost finished it that night, and we did finish it the next day!  We were so happy to see Dan and Melinda around 11:30--that's a long day's drive, and they did it all in one day!

The next few days I was busy running various people around at separate times to buy presents for each other.  Usually Bob does all the running around, but we just had no extra time before we left this year.  I am more appreciative of what he does now, though, because that was exhausting!  It's fun to see what the kids pick out for each other.  There were several dollar stores and regular stores with dollar bins that were different from what we have around us here in VA, so that was different and fun too.

The girls were able to go to a children's museum in Columbus, which was tons of fun (no one was brave enough to ride the highwire unicycle, though), and I was able to go out to lunch with Amy, as well as spend an afternoon over at her house with the older boys.  And we all went to Youngs one night for dinner and ice cream, of course!  Then Wednesday night Bob flew in to join the fun.  In August, he had driven out with us for a weekend so he could visit with Aunt Claire and Uncle Jim, and then he flew back to go to work.  But because Bob was thinking ahead, he bought a round-trip ticket, with the second leg being to come back to Ohio Dec. 23.  Pretty smart!
Christmas Eve we went to the candlelight service, where at the end the chaplain slowed down Silent Night to an absolute dirge-like pace, and we all worried that one of the younger kids was going to set someone's hair on fire with their candle.  Fortunately, the only casualty was Faith getting some wax dripped on her hand.  Whew!  We got a nice picture of all of us at the end, though.

Christmas was a beautiful day, weather-wise. We couldn't believe Ohio could be so downright pleasant in December!  I really wished I had packed short-sleeved shirts for the visit.  After cinnamon rolls and egg casseroles, we opened presents (took forever!), and then we left Grandma and Grandpa at home for a little peace and quiet while we took everyone else to the park.  Poor Drew was dealing with a cold that others had as well, and he had a rougher time at the park.  As soon as we got there, he ran to a swing, climbed up on his knees--and promptly face-planted down in the mud on the other side.  After we got him cleaned up, he played for a bit--until he slipped on one of the yellow climbing things in the picture below, cutting his lip, which bled for a while.  
On our way home, he tripped, and after that, Nathan came to the rescue and carried him.  Poor guy!  He actually ran a fever that night, so I had to run to Walgreens, the only store open on Christmas, to get him some children's motrin, since someone I didn't have any in my bag.  Fortunately, he was better the next day, although the cold did travel through a lot of the other kids.  Verity, especially, was a big snot bucket pretty much the entire time.  It turns out that was not just because of her cold--she also had been busy teething in all 4 of her one year molars.  The 4th one just cut through, so she is now being a less crabby than she was in Ohio.
We certainly filled up the table all week long!  Grandma and Grandpa had to put this auxilliary table in their entry way, plus a little folding kids table over to the left of the main table.  It was so fun to all be together!
After Christmas, Bob, Dan, and the older boys played a lot of Axis and Allies, which was Nathan' gift to his brothers.  The girls got to go to another children's museum as well with Dan and Melinda, and I got to meet another friend, Marie, at Chick-Fil-A one afternoon, where we talked and Micah and Drew got to play with her little boy in the play area.  Bob, Grandpa, and Dan took the kids bowling too!
We also made and decorated sugar cookies.  It was much less stressful to do it after Christmas was technically over!  This is a really fun tradition, although I am sure Grandma and Grandpa will be vacuuming up stray sprinkles for months to come.
Then on Monday, all the girls, including Grandma, Melinda, and me, went to Mimi's for a special breakfast, and then we headed over to Claire's to get ears pierced!  Anna, Emily, and Grace had been talking about taking the big step since the summer.  Anna volunteered to be first, and she did great, as did Emily who went next.  Grace was very apprehensive, and I was secretly wondering if she wouldn't chicken out, which I told her was perfectly fine to do, since no one cares one whit whether or not you have your ears pierced.  But the girl was really good with her.  She let Grace pick out her sticker first (which said, "I got my ears pierced today at Claire's"), and the Grace put it on, so the girl said, "Well, you have to do it now!"  And then she just did it!  Grace held her face in her hands and cried silent tears for the second ear, and afterward for a few minutes, but she recovered to take this picture.  All 3 girls have been so responsible about cleaning their piercings, and I think it was such a neat thing to do together!  Memories!
All too soon it was time to go.  After cramming all the presents into the van along with all our other junk, we made it back home Wednesday.  Thursday we attempted to get the house back in order, or at least find places for everything new, and then we headed over to the L's house for the annual party.  There was a good turnout, with lots of good food, and we were so happy to see Tim and Amy again, back in town to spend New Year's Eve with family (our Bible study!).
2015 was a good year, and we look forward to what the Lord will do in 2016!  As we watch our country turn farther and farther from Him, it will be more and more challenging to keep our eyes focused on Him.  Hopefully it will be a year where we all grow closer to the Lord, and more like Him.  May we shine the light of Christ in this dark world!  Happy New Year!

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