Jan 29, 2015

Christmas in North Carolina

I am determined to get my remaining Christmas 2014 post up before February 2015.

BOOM.

We rolled into Winston-Salem before suppertime on Christmas Eve, and we immediately turned Grayson's sister's house into a complete zoo.

I'd love to tell you that when we enter a private home, there is essentially no change to either the decibel level or general cleanliness of said home. BUT THAT WOULD BE A LIE.

We are a force of nature that will not be denied.

As much as the kids would love to have slept there (on couches, on cots, in beds, UNDER beds, WHEREVER), we were staying around the corner at Grayson's dad's condo. So as the night wore on, I pulled out the kids' brand-new Christmas Eve PJs (an annual tradition), took their picture in front of one of Debbie's 32 decorated trees, and then we headed over to Rudy's to turn in for the night.


On Christmas morning, we got back to Debbie and Gerry's house as early as we could manage. (It wasn't THAT early.) (But it was before 9:00, so that's early in my book.)

Please feel free to Pin the image below. This is how I presented our kids' Christmas gifts. Giant red stockings with an unwrapped T-shirt folded on top of each one.

 
Look. Envy doesn't become you. Next year just plan better and YOU TOO CAN IMPRESS YOUR FAMILY WITH THIS AMAZING GIFT PRESENTATION.

The first thing Amelia pulled out of her stocking was her Minnie Mouse sunglasses. She liked them a little bit.


Nathaniel found something to eat in his stocking right away. Pretty sure it was a bag of mint chocolate Dove candies. Pretty sure he polished them off within 30 minutes.


Next, Amelia pulled out her "Fwozen umbwella"!


It wasn't at all problematic that she wanted to walk around with it fully extended for the next four hours in a room full of 13 people and approximately 492 gifts. Didn't get in the way at all.


After the Frozen umbrella ruined Christmas we finished opening gifts, we went out to the rehab center where Rudy (Grayson's dad) has been recovering from a fall he took recently. (He's home now.) (It's practically February now, if you haven't heard.)

The kids were so happy to get to see him, and each of them climbed up on his bed to give him big hugs. He didn't hate it.



Did we take the kids out there in their PJs? Sure. Christmas Day. Figured no one would care. And if they did, they forgot about it as we walked through the halls with Jake wishing everyone "Mewwy Kwissmuss!" as we passed by. BLESS.





After a nice visit with Rudy, we headed back to Debbie and Gerry's house for the kids to spend Quality Time with each other.



There was Quality Time happening ALL OVER THE PLACE.


One of my favorite moments of the day was finding Abby and Amelia playing in the guest bedroom together.



And Jonah came in to play, too!



(Do you know our sweet grand-nephew Jonah? If you're new here, Jonah has Epidermolysis Bullosa, and you can learn more about Jonah and EB on his mom Patrice's blog here.)


I think I neglected to mention that in Grayson's family, Christmas MORNING is reserved for stockings. Christmas AFTERNOON is saved for wrapped gifts. So after lunch, we started up again.


(And that tan blur back there by Jonah? That's G. He's also Matt and Patrice's and has been for two years, but it's not official yet so I have to blur his face for a little while longer.)


This part lasted a few more hours, because they like to open one gift per person at a time, going from youngest to oldest or something like that. Quite frankly, we're lucky we finished before I started writing this blog post.



Debbie got me the most perfect tote bag OF ALL TIME.


And the kids wandered off at some point to play the HeadBandz game we'd gotten for Will ... they seemed to really enjoy it.









The night after Christmas, we all went out for pizza in neighboring High Point, where Heather and Adam live. Here are all the cousins on Heather and Adam's front porch -- and yes, this is the best out of about 30 that I took. RIDONK.


It was great to sit and chat with everyone for a few hours while the kids ran around outside, playing Capture the Flag or something -- WHAT MATTERS IS THAT THEY WEREN'T INSIDE.

Heather and Adam.


Todd and Keila.


Kim and Tiffany.


Chris and me.


Pam and Grayson.


Patsy, Gerry and Debbie.


Gary, Andrew and Bill.


It's actually pretty cruel of me to show you these tiny glimpses of Heather's house. You guys would LOVE it. I should've arranged with her to go over early and take pictures of it from top to bottom.

Maybe next year!


Jan 28, 2015

Christmas Adam 2014

The very best thing about me is how I blog things so far in arrears that you've likely forgotten that I haven't blogged about them yet.
You're familiar with Christmas Adam, no? The day before Christmas Eve.

Well, we drove up to Waynesville, N.C., on Christmas Adam, arriving around 10:00 that night. My sister was also arriving that evening, flying into Asheville, and was scheduled to land around 9:15. Unfortunately, bad weather (it had rained on us all the way from Birmingham!) delayed her arrival by over an hour, so she didn't get to Waynesville until about an hour after we did.

And THEN the kids were insistent that we just HAD to go ahead and open Christmas gifts that night! We tried to talk them out of it and Amelia gave us this face.


So we acquiesced.


I mean, who doesn't want to open Christmas presents after working a half day and then driving eight hours in the rain? Starting at 11 p.m.?

ONLY RIDICULOUS, MEAN PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO, said our children.


Since Waynesville was just a stopover on our way to Winston-Salem for the rest of the holiday, and we were to leave the next day, we decided to just bite the bullet. I mean, once a little girl has spied Anna and Elsa under the tree, all hope of sleep is lost.


Watching the kids open their gifts from my parents was so much fun.


They didn't know it, but they'd each gotten an iPad Mini.


I think they were a little concerned because they each only had one box to open.


But once they opened them ...


And the realization hit them ...


There was much rejoicing!



{This is a 6th-grader rejoicing.} {DON'T YOU ALL WANT ONE?}



They were totally shocked and so grateful.


Amelia even got her own.


Of course, if you've been around her at all, you know that she's as much of a pro with Apple products as the boys are, so she would've been CRUSHED if she'd been left out.


She plays her own music, videos and even knows shortcuts like how to double-tap the Home button to access her open apps more quickly. GIRLFRIEND KNOWS APPLE.



They also each got a generous iTunes gift card from my sister, which was also a huge hit.



Sorry these pictures are blurry, but A) moving fast and B) AFTER MIDNIGHT.




By the way, if you ever want to see someone get excited about something, invite Jake to participate.


That child is 100-percent vein-popping excited about whatever you've got to offer. It's very emotionally rewarding.




The boys are responsible for their own iTunes purchases, but I handle Amelia's at this point, so she didn't get a gift card. Sarah Ellen got something else for her. It came in a Big Box, which was Very Exciting to open.


"REE-PUN-SILL INT MAX-EE-MUSS!"


Sarah Ellen earned a leaping, FLYING hug for that one.




We loaded the gift cards into iTunes and set the iPads up to charge overnight, then finally went to bed sometime around 1:00. A long day that culminated in a fun evening, and I know the kids went to sleep dreaming of iPurchases soon to be made.

The next morning, I slept in and apparently Pop read Amelia one of her new books. (When I downloaded my pictures, this was on my camera. Very cute.)


Also? Somebody had taken pictures of the low clouds over the Smokies off the back deck on Christmas Eve morning. Not a bad view!




Once I'd dragged myself out of bed, we loaded up the van and drove over to The Blue Rooster for lunch. Let me just tell you, that restaurant is in a strip mall and you could easily miss it, but it may be my favorite place we've ever eaten in Waynesville (technically it's in nearby Clyde). If you ever visit, EAT AT THE BLUE ROOSTER.

Here's what you need to know about it: SKILLET-FRIED CHICKEN AND CORNBREAD.

If we're lucky, I'll be back before the end of the week to tell you about Actual Christmas.
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