One Christmas down.......one more to go! Last weekend we traveled to my parents' home in Luverne MN to celebrate Christmas with "the fam"! We, meaning Vince & I and our kids, and my mom. We stayed in a hotel Friday and Saturday nights (3 separate rooms, thank you!) It was awesome! My sister Donna was home from Las Vegas, where she has been living for almost 3 years, along with two of her three kids, Justin & Stephanie, who have migrated there so far - I hear Brandon will be following shortly =) It was so awesome seeing them, and hard to say goodbye at the end of the weekend. Lots of tears. Once you open the floodgates with me, it just keeps going...But in between the greetings and the goodbyes we had a great time! My brother Alan and his fam live in Sioux Falls SD, and even tho it's much closer than Vegas we don't see eachother all that often, so it was great to see him and Robin, and my nieces Alli & Sarah!
Vince's kids hadn't met anyone from my family yet, except for my parents, so it was an exciting and anticipated time for everyone. Hope, being the shy little girl that she is (NOT!) didn't waste any time. She made her grand entrance while the rest of us were still emerging from the van. I'm told that she walked right in my dad's house, walked up to my sister Donna and said "Are you aunt Donna?" When she answered yes with a smile, Hope opened her arms wide and declared "I'm Hope!" and gave her a huge hug! Ok, awkward introductions over! From that point on, she kept everyone entertained and engaged. My niece Stephanie let her take over her digital camera all afternoon, so there is a variety of interesting pictures on there (hundreds in fact). Mostly close ups of people's faces (and I do mean CLOSE ups!). And she also took a video of her feet walking through the house =)
After lunch and gift opening, Dad & Kathy surprised us with a slide show of old family pictures of us kids growing up. How fun (and kinda embarassing) that was! We played games the rest of the afternoon & evening, and then went back to the hotel to have our own family Christmas with the kids. We brought along some of our gifts for eachother so that we could open them with my boys, as they were going to spend most of Christmas Eve and Christmas day with their dad (don't get me started). It was a late night and an early Sunday morning, as we gathered again at Dad & Kathy's to have breakfast before Donna & kids flew back to Nevada. Like I said, it was hard to say goodbye this time. Especially since my sister & her fiance have recently broke up and I'm worried about her being alone and so far from home. But God is taking care of her & she knows that we will be there in a moment's notice if she needs us....in fact Vince has promised to take me down there sometime this spring (yay!)....otherwise we wouldn't see eachother until the wedding, which by the way we have set a date!!! JUNE 28, 2008!!! Christine, we have "eights" now too =)
So, after that we traveled to Worthington to have lunch with my grandma, aunts & uncles and cousin, and then a visit to our very good friends' farm where Hope and Kyle visited with the animals (llama, goat, horses, donkey, chickens....) and Hopie got her first horse ride! Awesome time! That is until we got word that there was a blizzard going on back home....and Brittany & Trevor had gone on before us to get home sooner. After lots of phone calling and weather checking, we had them pull off in Rochester and spend the night in a hotel, while the rest of us stayed at a friend's house in Worthington (who just happen to have a hot tub - ooooh, the hardship!!!) So........we were finally on the road back home on Monday. We stopped at my house just long enough to repack and drop off the boys to their dad's and my mom to her home, and then it was off again to Baraboo. Vince had to be home in time to sing for the 4:00 and 5:30 Christmas eve services. I was a couple hours behind them, but I got there just - and I do mean JUST in time! It was just like in a movie......I walked into the church just as he started singing "Oh Holy Night". It was breathtaking! Absolutely stunning. It gave me chills of awe and a tear of pride to see my man up there and hear his gorgeous voice singing my very favorite Christmas song of all time. Sigh.
Christmas morning came early, with the kids waking us up around 8:00 to open presents! Nick and Kyle were dearly missed, but it was a joy to partake in my first Christmas with Vince & kids ~ the first of many =) How thankful we are for each of our beautiful children, for eachother, and for our Savior.......whom this holiday is about!
But Christmas isn't over yet for our family........this weekend promises to be just as special as we travel to Iowa to celebrate Christmas with Vince's family!!