We had a wonderful, blessed Christmas and are now enjoying a relaxing weekend.
My extended family meets together on Christmas Eve at "the farm", which is the area where two of my brothers, my dad and his wife and my uncle and aunt live and where my grandparents used to live before they passed away. It takes us about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive there from where we live. There are other family members who live further away, however they were all staying with relatives nearby so we had the furthest drive on Christmas Eve this year.
We had planned our get together for around noon time however, after listening to the weather forecast multiple times, I started calling family members first thing on Christmas Eve morning, asking if we might move up our start time to around 10ish. Fortunately we were able to contact everyone and make it work out because the bad weather was going to moving into our area sometime between noon and 3ish, according to the forecast. The day before Christmas Eve, we were enjoying 60 degree weather:). Huge change from one day to the next.
We had a wonderful time seeing the whole family, enjoying the holiday feast that my sister and others put together. My sister always makes her homemade lasagna and it is absolutely awesome. One of the nieces read the accounting of the birth of Christ from the Bible and then it was time to open the gifts. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we headed back towards home around 1ish.
It is a good thing we did not wait any longer because the last 20 to 30 minutes of our drive was in sleet and the closer we got to home, the worse it got, until the point where we were having to drive very slowly because it was so icy. The road that leads to our subdivision is one that has not yet been widened and it is a small, windy, uphill two lane road to get to our home, regardless of which direction you are coming from. Our subdivision is at the top of a hill. There was already a car off in the ditch on that road and a fire truck blocking one lane of the traffic so we ended up having to turn around and go around to come in from the other direction. We were very glad to finally get home and we were surprised that we made it up our driveway without any issues.
Later that night I heard on the news that they had closed all of the major highways around us. It was a pretty treacherous blizzard, one of the worst in our state's history....but was it ever beautiful! Once we were home, we could really enjoy it. We all enjoyed watching it turn into snow and it was really windy so it was blowing all over the place. It was very pretty to watch and we ended up getting about 8 inches in our neck of the woods, although with it being so windy, it is much deeper in places and you can see the grass poking through in other places.
We had a lovely Christmas present opening together the next morning. I spent a good deal of the mid-morning preparing our Christmas dinner (my first real holiday meal!) and the husband spent about three hours outside, shoveling the driveway. We invited friends to come over to join us for Christmas dinner around 2:00 so we had preparations. The boys enjoyed their new toys while we worked and everything came together quite nicely, although I did have to call my mom a couple of times to ask her how to do some things. I made the traditional ham, mashed potatoes, corn, deviled eggs and salad and my friend brought a wonderful green bean casserole. I also made a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and we let all the kids gather round and decorate it and put on the candles. We all sang happy birthday to Jesus and the kids blew out the candles and then we all had cake. It really was a lovely get together and I was very pleased (and very very thankful) that everything came out so well. The food was great and the company was even better and my friend and I ended up wondering why we had not had our families together more often....and promised to do so in the future.
She is a good friend of mine and we have spent a lot of time together, off and on, over the past year or two. She has twin girls who are 5 years old and she has a new baby girl who is 7 weeks old. They go to our church and her husband sings in the choir and has an amazing voice. They only live about a mile from us (as the bird flies, as they say:) and we used to have play dates a lot with the kids, when our boys were 3 and her girls were 4. Now her girls are in school and she has the baby so it had been a while since we had gotten together.
Today I have been reorganizing things, getting rid of more toys that have been out grown or are no longer played with and organizing new toys. The boys have been playing upstairs yesterday and today and they seem to be doing pretty well with it now, which is nice. It gives them a lot more space to run around and there is carpet up there, which is good for certain kinds of play.
Earlier the dad took the boys outside to play in the snow. They wanted to go out so badly yesterday but we just did not have time, with everything we had to do. Plus the wind was really gusting yesterday and the wind chill factor was in the single digits so I don't think they would have enjoyed it much or lasted very long.
We normally get so little snow in these parts and it usually melts so fast that we do not usually spend the money to buy snow boots or snow suits for the boys. So getting them ready to play in the snow was a big task. They each wore two pairs of sweat pants and a T-shirt underneath a sweat shirt. The only shoes they could really wear were their good shoes that they wear for church, which are leather (kind of like dock siders but they lace up). Their sneakers are wearing out and I need to get them a new pair but I knew they would not be as warm as their leather shoes. So, after putting on their leather shoes, we had them step each foot into a large ziploc bag and we used duct tape to seal it to their sweat pants. We also put some duct tape on the bottom to give them a bit more traction. By the time we were done, they kind of looked like they were wearing boots, duct tape boots:)! It was pretty funny and very effective. We also tucked their sweat shirts into their sweat pants and put some duct tape around their waist to make sure they didn't get snow up their shirts or down their pants while making snow angels. Then we put their coats, hats and mittens on. We tucked their mittens into their coat sleeves and put duct tape around them so their mittens would not fall off (they fall off very easily, for some reason). Then they went out and had a great time!
When they came back in, their outer layer of sweat pants were soaked and their inner layer was also wet around their knees. The rest of them, including their shoes and their pants where the duct tape was (just below their knees) were perfectly dry. All the duct tape held perfectly. It was really quite impressive:). They had an amazing time and probably would have stayed out longer, if the dad had been willing. They made snow angels and enjoyed walking through the snow drifts and getting in their snow filled sand box. They were all over the place and they loved rolling around in the snow. It was very cute to watch and the dad got some good pics so I will post some later.
When they came inside, we read some stories, including one that was all about how castles were built, which we all enjoyed. And then it was time for quiet time...which is almost over and then it will be time for a movie.
This is long enough (too long) so I better say good bye for now. I hope your Christmas was blessed.