Okay, now everyone with me, take a deep breath - Aaaahh...it's over! :D Christmas festivities came to a close tonight with the celebration in Walnut Grove. It's been a wonderful Christmas season. Quite out of the ordinary, all around. Let me give you a little run down of the last week...
We started out on the 20th with Kelly's folks and brother's group. It was a quiet and peaceful evening. The kids of course opened their presents, and we adults enjoyed watching them play and share together. We usually spend Christmas Eve with the Quinn's, but Tiffany was scheduled for induction on the 23rd. We wanted her to enjoy the night, and not make the kids wait till after the baby got here.
I went to get my nieces, Molly and Emmalea, Tuesday night. They were going to stay with us while Mommy and Daddy went to get the baby from the hospital. ;) It's the first time I've kept Emma Lou, and she did great. She and Caleb are very close, but fight pretty good at times. They both like to be in charge! Mommy delivered HAILEY ANNE QUINN Wednesday evening, and came home late Christmas Eve. We had had a very busy week by this point, and Kelly made the decision that we were staying home for the evening - bypassing the Christmas Eve Service at Evergreen. I was very disappointed, but ended up having a great night with just Kelly and the kids. We had Santa arrive a little earlier this year with our family gift, and we played our new Wii on our new big screen tv all evening! YAY!! We ended the night with the Christmas story from Luke, and tucked the kids in so Santa would be able to bring the rest of their things. I know, lucky ducks, right? Two deliveries from Santa in one night?!? Well, there are perks when HoHo is your uncle! ;D
Christmas morning dawned earlier than it ever had in our children's lives. Kelly and I made the mistake this year of commenting on the fact that our kids always slept in on Christmas morning. We told them we could remember waking our parents up before the sun came up and beg to start opening presents. Well, they thought it sounded great, and they were on our bed at 5 AM!! (Stupid, stupid, stupid Mom and Dad!!) I got up with them and let them open their stockings. We couldn't get Kelly up for that round, so I begged off and went back to bed. They had plenty of new things to play with, and they let me go back to sleep till about 8. We then all got up and had a great time opening and giving gifts.
We did not get to see my extended Craker side this year, only the second time in my entire life that that has happened. I thought I would be sad, and I was - a little. However, the day turned out to be great. My parents and sister Ariel and her clan came out to play the Wii at our house, and it was a lot of fun. We laughed till we hurt! Even Paige and Caleb got in on the action - hysterical!! If you ever need a good laugh, put two toddlers on a Wii balance board and listen to all the adults and kids yell, "Left! Left! No, your other left!!" I should remind you that Paige is 3 and Caleb is 1 - they barely know their body parts, let alone their left from right! LOL!
Yesterday, we celebrated with Kelly's mom's family in Branson. Nearly everyone was in attendance, so it was quite a group. Even my 3 day old niece, HAILEY ANNE, made her debut, making the Hartzell clan number 39! We met Kelly's cousin Stacey's boyfriend Kyle for the first time, and I don't THINK we scared him off...we'll just have to wait and see! :) My M-I-L and her siblings offered to watch all their grandkids so us cousins could go out and have some fun. We went out for a while, but ended up at Matt and Angel's house to play cards and catch up in a quieter environment. It's so fun to see how this group has changed. Some of the cousins weren't even in their teens when I came into the family. Now they are grown men and women with their own lives, starting families and serving our country. I'm so blessed to have this family. We joke, we fight, we love each other fiercely. As Kyle said last night as a newcomer - "You guys are tight." He has no idea, yet!
Mom and Dad/Meemaw and Papa's house was today. Gma and Gpa (my mom's parents) were there, as well as us 3 sisters and our families. All except my beautiful nieces Allison and Madison, who are in Idaho with their Dad. They are always missed. It was a great day, and we started making plans for New Year's Eve - can you believe it's only 4 more days till 2010? I am in amazement at how fast this year has gone.
It's been great, but I'm pooped. I'm ready to join Santa to "settle in for a long winter's nap". Merry Christmas, everyone! May God bless you in the new year!