For the first time since Hannah and Jason wedding in May the whole clan was together. We wanted to have a relaxing time and yet had certain things we wanted to happen. I like to have the meals planned and food purchased, and I had a list of events to suggest for our time. We all enjoy games so we knew when the kids went down each night we would try some new game.
Alison, Justin and the kids arrived from College Station on Monday, Dec 27th in the early afternoon. Hannah and Jason arrived later in the evening, but still in time for a late dinner. The kids were already in bed and so we sat up and visited for a bit. The following day we all headed out to the Jump Around "inside park" on Tuesday morning. If you can imagine LOTS of JOY JUMPS, tunnels to crawl through, slides to come down -- you have pictured it right. Afterwards we headed to the house and enjoyed some time relaxing while the kids napped. When the kids woke up we had the traditional opening of presents and it was a GRAND affair! I have thought about the word "celebrate" more this Christmas than any other. Daniel and I read the Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren out loud to one another and we decided to start a new tradition. A celebration party in honor of Jesus. It was a time of laughter and enjoyment as we are so thankful for the birth of Jesus - that God came to be with us through His Son, that God is for us and and that God loves us. That is certainly much to celebrate. We had some games that the kids enjoyed - Corban is very fond of music and dancing and we had a relay game that Cailyn participated in with us. The adults enjoyed the balloon game the most!! We had balloons all over the house even after Hannah and Jason left on January 1st!!
Corban with his new Black and Decker tools.
Cailyn twirling around in her new gown!!
We tried our expanded version of Settlers of Catan and it was great. If I remember correctly Justin won!! The next night we played speed scrabble and on New Year's Eve we brought out Scattergories. Having six making their own list for that game brought quite the variety of answers and some interesting conversation - I"ll just leave it at that!! Our New Year's Eve also included Alison's famous twice baked potatoes and a wonderful fire with smores in the backyard before the kids went down.
Daniel had given the guys a combined gift of a round of golf and a 60 golf ball bag - they went out on Wednesday morning to try it out. Of course Daniel was one week away from having back surgery!! Justin reported Daniel still shut them out. I think it was more about fun and "male bonding" than the score. It was Daniel's treat to himself to do this with the guys. Meanwhile the girls (and Corban) went to downtown Abilene and had a great walk and picnic at the park across the street from the Grace Museum, the location of Hannah and Jason's wedding. It was a beautiful day. Naps were had by many when the park and golf were over.
When the girls were growing up one of their favorite things to do was make donut holes and so Hannah got Jason in the kitchen and Alison helped a bit too (mainly by eating, hahaha) We sent Alison and Justin to the store for milk and pretended to eat the donuts while they were gone. We played a bit of Wii that night and enjoyed one of Jason's favorite movies - The 13th Warrior.
Alison bought a ginger bread house kit to do while we were all together. It took all that could help!! Cailyn and Corban mainly enjoyed putting the candy both in their in mouth and on the house. It was a fun time!! We headed out to the park on New Year's Eve day and played Bocce Ball and had a picnic that ended with feeding the ducks!! The weather was wonderful the whole time we were all together.
My heart is full as I know that we were not scheduled to see the girls and their families!! Couldn't have enjoyed it more!! Daniel and I are so blessed. One last thing I will tell about is our blessing time. We verbally blessed the girls and their husbands and they each blessed one another. We had communion together and enjoyed some conversation about how we had grown in our experience of taking communion.
I keep thinking of one more thing. We stole an idea from the Mills family here in Abilene. We had a jar of money that we put on the kitchen table the last morning we were together. There was a piece of paper for the girls and their husbands to make a guess. The understanding was that the person closest to the correct amount would claim the money. Each of them put their number down and we were witness to how Justin chose his number. He told Cailyn to pick a number from 1-9 and after hesitating he put that number last. He continued to give her a range 1-8, 1-7 and last of all 1-6. She picked each number and he wrote them in order starting from the end of the number. When we sat to find out who would receive the money we asked them how they chose their number. We all laughed at what Justin had done. But the joke was on everyone else. Cailyn had picked a number 34 cents from the exact amount. So we told Justin he had to take some of the coins out to the mall and let her ride on the riding toys.
God is our giver of gifts and His gift of our family gathering was wonderful!! Not to be forgotten for a long time!!
PS...Hannah and Jason had so much to take back they ended up mailing a good size box back instead of taking another suitcase!! That is one gifted couple!! Now Alison and Justin are in the process of packing up all of their gifts and purchases to head to their home in Lima -- lots of packing going on round here!!
Well, I had meant to get this out earlier this week but as I post this, lima kids are in the air...a new chapter!!
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