Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas 2011

From the moment we arrived in August, we all looked forward to Christmas.  AK looked forward to seeing her favorite friend and her cousins again, and I looked forward to Target.  Within 24 hours of our arrival in Atlanta, we were off to accomplish some of those goals.

We drove to Charlotte for a round of dental visits and to check on our house there.  We were lucky enough to visit with some friends over dinner who also graciously entertained AK and B3 when Ben and I visited their dentist.  The squeals and giggles and laughs from the kids made our trip north worthwhile;  both the girls and the boys enjoyed their playtime together, and I enjoyed catching up with a friend, too!

AK handled the dental visit like a pro; B3 survived but proved to be a tough customer.  At his age, AK popped her mouth open for a complete and thorough exam and cleaning. B3, on the other hand, is no follower of sibling trends.  Not even the fancy new Lightening McQueen toothbrush was enough to get him to open up.  He has teeth; we've seen them and brushed them.  The dentist just had to take our word for it.  Oh well. Maybe next time.

Perhaps he wasn't all that interested in the dentist because he'd been up for hours by the time his 8:00 am appointment rolled around. I think he was up around 3; I was shopping at Wal Mart by 4:30.  There's not a 24 hour Target, so I settled for an hour alone in Wal Mart. It did not compare to the greatness of Target, but it was definitely better than nothing.  And, at 5 AM, it's fairly empty.

When I reviewed the pictures I took when we were in Georgia, I realize dthat there really weren't that many.  I spent a lot of time watching and listening tokids play and not so much time trying to take pictures.  I admit, it was actually quite nice!  I do, however, wish I had a picture of B3 camped out by the front living room window watching for his cousin's car to come down the drive.  He sat there for most of a morning saying, "Emma!  Come on Emma!"  Needless to say, both he and AK were thrilled when she arrived  AK was especially excited to discover they both had on Christmas cookie shirts.  She was bewildered, and not until I told her that her Aunt Alicia had orchestrated the match did she understand how such magic could happen. 

A highlight of the trip was our First Annual Christmas Eve Bonfire.  You might remember AK's artistic rendition of her Memory of America.  In honor of that memory, and because boys (of all ages) like to burn things, and because we can't buy decent hot dogs in Singapore, we spent part of Christmas eve in the yard gathered around  a fire.  And, if you're thinking right now, "there is no such thing as a decent hot dog", I am in agreement for about 360.5 days a year.
 The kids all had a ball, and B3 had a more than a little quality time with his old friend, Daisy.

The kids picked up lots and lots of sticks.  Even the sticks that PaPa had strategically placed in the ditch for erosion control. Oops. 

We tried and tried to get decent pictures of these three cousins together. 

We failed. Perhaps the subconscious decision to keep the camera put away was a good one.

After our bonfire, we headed to church (some of us likely still smelling of smoke and dogs) for the Christmas Eve service. B3 and I stayed long enough for him to excitedly (and loudly) announce "That's PaPa!" from the balcony as PaPa started to speak.  After that, it was all over for him.   We spent the rest of the hour counting cars and playing with trucks in the playground.  Afterwards, our family served a delicious Christmas dinner to several women who were a part of a residential recovery center that my Parents work closely with.  Our three elves were there, too!

(finally - a decent picture!)

Then, it was time for special Christmas pajamas...
and time for the mandatory someone-throwing-up-scene which is as much a part of our family gatherings as red velvet cake and Grandma's rolls.  This time, Uncle Stephen was the lucky recipient of B3's sickness.  Joy.

Speaking of Grandma's rolls, the girls got to help make them.  It's a rite of passage; I know we have photos just like this one of our generation helping Grandma make her rolls.

Christmas morning started with these three wondering what was under the tree.

It was a fun time of discovering Percy Choo Choo trains and Barbies and lots of other goodies.

The day after Christmas found us in the mountains celebrating with the McCraney and Marion families.  After our fun there ended, I realized that I never removed the camera from its case.  Regardless, there are many memories of squeals of laughter, stomps through the woods, and lots of fun. 

We're thankful for the family members who arranged their schedules so that we didn't have to drive all over the state to make visits.  It was so nice to stay more or less in one place but still see so many family members!

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