We had an excellent Christmas this year.
The festivities began, as usual, with visiting Grandpa Mike's the Saturday before Christmas. We had a good time, but it got a little tense towards the end when a debate turned not-so-friendly. Thankfully, there are no hard feelings.
Then on Christmas Eve, we got together at Uncle Jason's. We had plenty of food and conversation before we opened up the presents. Because there are so many grandkids, this year the older ones participated in a Secret Santa gift swap. Then the fun of annual White Elephant gifts began. We had rusty horse shoes, an enormous tacky Christmas sweater, a Left Behind tape, and a Fez among the gifts. During a lull in the conversation, it was decided that we would have some singing. So Uncle Jason brought out a speaker, hooked it up to an iPad, and then used karaoke on youtube for the lyrics. I sang first, doing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." We also heard "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," and then a hilarious and memorable performance of "Jingle Bell Rock" by Uncle Josh (he's quite the performer, and everyone was nearly crying by the end of it). After several hours of fun, we then went home. Mandy and Ben followed us, and they spent the night with us, wanting to open presents with us and spend Christmas Day with us.
On Christmas morning, I again was reluctantly dragged out of my bed by Mandy so that we could open presents. I was pleased with the gifts that I bought everyone and am very happy with what I received, which included some history books (perfect for a geek like me), musical CDs, and clothes. Then Ben's mom Kelly arrived, and we had breakfast. I had my own Udi's gluten-free cinnamon roll and a crust-free sausage quiche while Mom made homemade cinnamon rolls with bacon (she got the idea from a guy at church) and normal quiche. After breakfast, we opened Kelly's presents and then settled in for a nice, relaxing Christmas day. This included games on the Wii, Boggle, a movie quote game, plenty of food, a British version of monopoly (complete with British accents and some rather intense competition from Ben and Kelly), a game of Sorry, some napping, a movie, and plenty of chocolate (which someone later learned was not a good idea). It was a good day, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
The day afterwards, Ben and Mandy came back down and spent the entire day with us again. In fact, there were quite a few days where they would come over and hang out for several hours. We enjoyed being with them, and we're thankful that they enjoy being with us.
After Christmas, Dad decided to replace the tile in our kitchen. This meant removing the fridge, the dishwasher, and the stove all out of their positions and being unable to use the dishwasher or the stove for a few days. It was tricky, but we managed it. Mom even showed off her skills by making fish tacos and slaw without using the stove or oven. Our new tile is gorgeous, and Dad did a good job on it. We also replaced our dishwasher with a new one, which is far quieter than our previous one (which sounded like a rocket about to take off and which forced us to turn up the TV really loud just to be able to hear anything).
Now Christmas has ended, and we are more or less back on a normal schedule. I started school back this week and am taking three classes: World History 2, a Medieval class, and a Modern European history. It is strange to be in two upper-level classes where I don't know anyone but everyone seems to know each other, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It is nice, though, because this semester three people from church are attending and I see two of them whenever I go to class (our first classes of the day are right next to each other). I'm looking forward to more of the classes, especially the Medieval one.
Oh, and a brief note. This week we saw the coldest weather in Georgia for several years. The temperature dropped to a high of twenty five degrees with a low in the single-digits (we were all bundled up inside the house. Mom made a box for Jayne and Pooky outside, which both really liked). Yeah, brr.... but we made it. Forty-five degrees, which is normal, feels balmy after the temps earlier this week. On the plus side, the cold killed the bugs, so hopefully summer will be relatively bug-free (at least, as much as the South can be).
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