Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Holidays 2010

To say that our winter holidays were great this year would be a vast understatement. I enjoyed this year's Christmas and New Year more than I have any in recent memory. The Winter Break from school began with a three-day pajama-wearing-chick-flick-watching-book-reading love fest while Darrell and Joshua visited the in-laws. I don't think I showered the entire time they were gone. I slept when Caleb slept (at least 12-15 hours each day) and I ate junk the whole time. It was wonderful.

My parents and my sister spent the night with us on Christmas Eve. What is it about having your whole family under one roof that brings a feeling of contentment and "all-is-right-with-the-world"? After an inspiring Christmas Eve at 12 Stone, we opened presents (as is our family tradition).

Joshua was "into" Christmas this year in a way that made his excitement in past years pale in comparison. He not only enjoyed tearing into his presents, he got to "help" Caleb with his, too. Of course, Caleb was not in the least bit interested in the contents of his gifts; he was perfectly content to play with the wrapping paper and crawl into the boxes.

After everyone was asleep, I got to "play Santa" and put out the Santa gifts. This was our first year actually being in our house on Christmas Eve (I know, sad, isn't it?), so we haven't really done the whole Santa thing before. On Christmas morning, I heard Joshua's feet hit the floor and as he rounded the corner to come down the stairs he yelled, "C'mon Aunt Amanda! Santa's been here, Santa's been here!" And then he saw the Lego Rescue Fire station, the item he had asked for literally for months, sitting in front of the fire place. I never really understood the joy of watching your kids on Christmas morning... until this year. Joshua was thrilled beyond words and I was all choked up with the joy of the season.

As a side note, this was my first year buying items for our stockings. I'm afraid frugality won out over creativity, and "Santa" provided everyone with an assortment of personal hygiene products. I know, pretty lame.

Grandpa made his famous pancakes for breakfast and then sacrificially set to work building Joshua's fire station (unfortunately, Darrell had to work on Christmas morning and missed the "building" portion of the Christmas holiday). After lunch, Joshua went home with Grandma and Grandpa, leaving Mommy and Daddy a relatively quiet house for the evening.

The day after Christmas, Amanda and I drove to Gatlinburg to meet up with our parents and extended family. Darrell stayed home with Caleb and had his manly version of "pajama love fest." (I was very sorry to miss three days of HGTV, SpeedVision, and Star Wars.... not). Driving was a little dicey thanks to the Christmas Day snow, but it made for a beautiful trip to the Smokies.
We spent three days talking, laughing, shopping, lounging, and eating. A great time was had by all.

After returning home, we still had several days before going back to work, which were spent washing clothes, cleaning house, and generally laying around being bums. And by the time my neighbors were ringing in the new year (we have small children, we don't "ring in the new year"), I was rested, relaxed, and ready to face the challenges of 2011.

All in all, this holiday season might be one of my all-time favorites. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us next year. 2010 was hard and I can't say I'm sad to see it go. But the trials of this year have served to bring me to a greater awareness of God's provision, grace, and mercy. And for that, I am grateful beyond measure.

Wishing you and yours all the best in 2011!

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