Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christmas Celebrations 2, 3, and 4

I was so excited as ideas for my last post started coming to me that I completely skipped over the rest of our holiday celebration recaps. I know, the holidays are behind us (a few weeks already) and you are sooo disappointed. But, my blog also serves as a way for my family to look back so I am going to put it all out there anyway:) Please beware that this post is long but is full of great memories for my boys.

Christmas  #2- Tim's Mom

The weekend before Christmas we headed back to our hometown. Saturday evening was our second Christmas celebration, celebrating with Tim's mom. It was a nice, quiet (well, as quiet as it can be with three boys in the house) evening at her house with a wonderful meal followed by opening some gifts. It was wonderful to be able to have this time with her!

Sunday morning Tim and I got up and headed out for a quick run to try to maintain some sort of balance with all of the extra holiday goodies that we had been and would be enjoying.

After getting cleaned up and taking a family selfie with Uncle's new selfie stick, we were off to Christmas celebration #3, Grandma Betty's.

Celebrations at Grandma Betty's always = a full house which also equates to lots of shoes in the entry way of her farm house.

This isn't even half of the shoes :)

It can be hard to fit in sometimes but I love that we still get together with this extended family-Grandma, her kids (5 + 4 spouses), grandkids (10 + 8 spouses/significant others), and great-grandkids (13). I think this Christmas we were only missing 4 people from that group. I grew up very close to my grandma, my aunts, my uncle and all of my cousins so it is wonderful to maintain contact several times during the year for holidays. It is also fun to see my cousins (I am the oldest so I often helped take care of those younger ones) taking care of their own families now. Time sure flies!

While the food was finishing up and everyone was still gathering at the farm the kids we off and playing. After a wonderful meal, with WAY too much food, it was off to the basement for generation BINGO. Grandma Betty is known as BINGO Betty and loves her BINGO so it started with her playing a round with the "great-grands". The next round was with the "grands" followed by a round with the "kids" and any spouse/significant other who had not had a chance to participate. In the end everyone won a lottery ticket. It was so much fun to see Grandma Betty in her glory with each of the generations!

Generations BINGO with BINGO Betty
 Once everyone had their chance to play BINGO it was onto the gifts. As always we started with the littlest and worked our way up. You can bet this took some time but it was so much fun to see those little ones getting so excited.

family selfie while opening gifts

Four generation selfie- Grandma, Mom, Aidan and myself
There may or may not have been some wrapping paper ball wars following the opening of the gifts.

I have vowed to myself to make sure and get family pictures during events like this because you just never know. One of my cousin's wives lost her dad in early December, the day after they celebrated one of her kids birthdays, and they cherish those last pictures. Seeing/hearing that has really made me think... you just never know! Cherish every moment!

After helping clean up it was time to head back to town where we were meeting up with Tim's brother who was just getting into town from Virginia. This was going to be our only chance to visit with them while they were back in Iowa so we met up for pizza and visited for the evening before we had to head for home.

We had a few days of work (Monday and Tuesday for me, Monday - Wednesday for Tim) before heading out for our final Christmas celebration. Tuesday night once I was home from work we were able to squeeze in our traditional trip to Rotary Lights.

I am so glad that we were able to get to the park to see the lights. It is always one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me.

Wednesday was a mad scramble to finish laundry and pack. Oh, and don't forget to make some Christmas cookies!

 Once Tim got home we loaded up the car (with very little room to spare) and headed back to Iowa for the night. This helps to shorten the next days trip by nearly 2 hours.

Christmas #4- Missouri with my dad

We arrived to my dad's around 1:30 on Christmas Eve and it wasn't long and the boys were down on the dock fishing. I spent some time catching up with my step-mom and step-sister while we all waited for my step-brother to arrive. He was also making the drive from Wisconsin but didn't want to leave early enough to follow us. Once he was there we had dinner and then the boys got to open their gifts from us. We spent the rest of the evening playing games and catching up.

Christmas morning proved that Santa could find us even in Missouri. Papa even filled us in that Santa had called the night before to ask his address because he knew we were there but wasn't positive he had the right house. Santa was good to the whole family! I already shared a bit about our day in my Merry Christmas post but here are a few more pictures from the day.

gifts, gifts, and more gifts- we were definitely blessed!
figuring out those gifts while spending time with family

Family pictures

ending the night with some games- Pie Face anyone?
We definitely had a very blessed and memorable Christmas! Who would have thought we would spend Christmas day outside without coats, the boys getting to fish, going on Kabota rides, and flipping whipped cream in our faces on purpose?!?

Before leaving for Missouri I had a friend comment about all of our Christmas celebrations and the traveling that went along with them. She was a bit surprised by it all. When you live where nobody else from your family lives that is the reality. Traveling to see our families is our reality and it gets magnified during the holiday season when we are trying to fit everyone in. I want my boys to make their family a priority as they get older and I want them to know their extended family so it is priority that I make in our lives to spend time with everyone. The past month was crazy but it was a good crazy and many wonderful memories were made!

Our trip to Missouri didn't end there but the rest will come in the next post.

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