As with most families with large and chopped up extended families, we had a lot of rounds to make this year. I reckon this makes it fun as it gives me an excuse to truly rock out to the Christmas tunes for an extended period of time. As always, it ended up being a very wonderful love and family-filled month. Christmas began in St. Peter on the 10th and will end this Friday the 30th. We spent the Friday before Christmas Eve with my extended family in Stillwater, having a less traditional lasagna feed and gift exchange. Oh boy! This was even more splendid considering that little Haze has not reacted from me eating dairy in the past 2 weeks, and hence it has returned to my diet in full force. HELLO CHEESE! I can't believe I went 9 months without you. Apparently my body forgot how to digest it during this time, forcing me to reduce it to a minimal to moderate intake from here on out. Live and learn.
Christmas eve morning was brunch at my dad's - our traditional cheesy scrambled eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns, and mimosas, followed by a large pile of presents and smiling children. It ended, naturally, with tired, crying children of all ages. It never ceases to amaze me how this little family of my dad with 3 daughters has turned into a full fledged familial party. Rock on! That night was another tradition for my other family - my mom, brother, and their significant others - dinner at the glorious Red Lobster on Christmas eve. This tradition began 21 years ago, believe it or not. This is where the dairy binge truly took off - clogging these ol' pipes RIGHT up. It did not disappoint at the time, but cheddar biscuits, blue cheese dressing on a salad, and crab Alfredo proved to be the perfect storm. I'm still not sure if I regret the decision. At this point we had had 3 Christmases in 24 hours - and as wonderful as it is seeing family and having the opportunity to enjoy the holiday with them - I know we are SO blessed and would never complain about having a lot of people to love - we were flat out zonked by Saturday night. Christmas day was a day to recuperate and focus on the real meaning and how blessed we truly are. This was the first Christmas that I can remember not having a larger family celebration on the day. Hazel, C.J., and I slept in (Ha! Obviously that's a joke.), opened gifts from Santa, made a nice breakfast, and then went to church. After church Hazel took a long nap, and Ceej and I played a game of Scrabble and watched the Christmas Story. P.S. - Did you know this movie was on repeatedly for 24 hours on Christmas day? I mean, seriously, that is some fame. Anyway, it was a perfect day and I have zero complaints. Well, besides the fact that I did all the shopping this year which meant that C.J. didn't get me anything. NOT A THING - not even a card and ornament which we've done every year for the past 10 years - because he "ran out of time". I was over it by the night before and how I managed to refrain from being passive aggressive and crabby all day is beyond me.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you felt as blessed as you are!
After being crazy in love for a decade, we officially became a family on May 23, 2009. We are thrilled to be married and enjoying this exciting time in our lives! Ceej worked as a Journeyman plumber and is now bidding jobs for a local plumbing company, and Em graduated from UW-Madison in December of 2008 and is in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Minnesota to be completed in the Fall of 2011. Our sweet baby Hazel Leann arrived April 1, 2011 (no foolin'!) and is the biggest joy and blessing we didn't know we needed. Life isn't perfect, but it sure is wonderful - We're truly enjoying every new second of God's awesome plan for our lives!
Pictures credit to Forever Photography (family/baby) and McManigal Photography (wedding).