Well, the holiday season is upon us...
Wait: I'm a little behind, aren't I? Let's try again:
Well, the holiday season is suddenly over, and much to my chagrin, I've not told you ANYTHING about ours!
Quell the sudden rush of angst and anticipation: it was a wonderful Christmas and New Years! We had a fantastic few weeks. It was pretty travel intensive, but it turned out to be one of the most relaxing vacations we've ever had.
We spent the Christmas holiday with Shawna's family over at the Central Coast (what a place to spend Christmas, huh?). And--OH! Before I forget, I want to say how thankful I am for my wonderful brother-in-law, Casey. He is always so gracious in allowing us to stay at his home when we visit--and he NEVER let's me forget it! ;-)
Seriously, we really enjoyed our time with Shawna's family. It was one of the best Christmases we've had since we've been married. Lex and Gentry are to that age where they really appreciate being with the family; it seems that they can't get enough! And we've grown very close, it seems, to the family as we've grown older and had children. We had a truly great time. The best thing about our Christmas was the non-traditional Christmas dinner. Sarah (Shawna's sister) cooked her world famous meatloaf (at my request)! Casey wasn't too excited; he'd argued for prime rib (that's what we typically do), but I (for once) won! It was wonderful! Thank you, Sarah! You made MY holiday!
And then it was off to see my side of the family at Camp Arizona. Aunt Ruth and Uncle Greg have been hosting the family gathering every year for the last 8 years, and we've never made it. We weren't planning on going this year either, much to everyone's disappointment. This year EVERYONE was going--even Poppy and Grandma Joyce; we were the only ones who were skipping. Unbeknownst to all (including me, until Christmas) Shawna decided we were going to head out and surprise everyone. So we drove over on Saturday evening, stayed at Ruth and Greg's that night, and surprised Mom and Dad, Deanna and Shane and Tay and Trevin at church on Sunday morning. It was worth it just to see the look on Mom's face (and the tears, I think, in Dad's eye).
And, of course, the endless "thank you for coming's" from Poppy (who, contrary to his typically optimistic nature, kept insisting that this was going to be his "last time to be with his whole family"; how depressing, huh?).
At any rate, we stayed for a very warm and relaxing week. Shawna got to shop; Greg got to unload eight years worth of good-natured (I think) verbal abuse on me; Lex and Gentry got to spend time with all the grandparents, aunts and uncles--as well as Tay and Trevin, Michael and Ashtyn; and we ALL got to spend good quality time with the new family additions--Erica and Caden (both beautiful kids; polar opposites in virtually every way, but incredible kids).
My only regret is that Mother waited until after we left to make her famed rice pudding (she's got some making up to do). On the other hand, I did get to eat some of Grandma Ruth's renowned Texas Sheet Cake, thanks to Aunt Ruth's careful handling of the super top secret recipe (which Grandma apparently handed off in a super top secret ceremony just before her passing).
Between the sheetcake, the family all together for the first time in years, and the late nights playing dominos, it almost felt like holidays past over on Boyd Drive in Kerman. It felt the way a holiday is supposed to feel, I think: more about family and time spent with those you love than about gifts, traveling frantically about the country, and fretting over overdone meals.
So, here's a very heartfelt thank you from Shawna and me, Alexis and Gentry to ALL of our extended family--on the Mohler/Johnson/Corella/Lokey side, AND on the Baglin/Green/Eccles/Amundson/Weidner/Teel/Freeman side: you all made this holiday season the best we've ever had. We love you all deeply, and thank God for you regularly!
Here's to a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year!
Oh; I almost forgot: how were your Christmas and New Years?