Surviving Christmas

The tree aglow on
Christmas morning
We made it through another Christmas holiday. As I sit in the relative dark with just the lights of the Christmas tree, fireplace mantle, and candles to light the room, I think about how much I'll miss the soft lights and decorations a week from now. As much as I usually sort of dread Christmas with all its overblown hoopla, I have to admit that Christmas found me once again on Christmas eve at our church service. It's probably the singing of all the familiar hymns and the beautiful music of the service that got me, but I finally felt it. It's a daily challenge to try to live more in the present, and I felt so blessed to be there with my family, safe and sound, after the terrible events earlier in the day. I couldn't help but think of those families, suddenly without their loved ones, on what was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of the year.

Our Christmas eve was very low key. After church the kids made popcorn and I prepared for the morning's Shiao family breakfast. Gone are the days when I shoo the kids to bed so I can fill stockings and put the finishing touches on the morning's surprises. I headed up to bed before them, but admittedly they we're too far behind!

The next morning Mark and I got up and did our "chores"(took the dog out, shoveled after a fresh snow), and finally woke the kids up around 7:15 so we could get moving with the festivities as I needed to get breakfast ready on time. It sounds kind of rushed, but it wasn't and we had a leisurely time opening our presents. Mom Shiao, Lena and Ken, and Nara and Jim arrived around 9:30, and we had a great breakfast with lots of laughter! After opening presents everyone relaxed for a while then headed out for the continuation of their celebrations. After showers all around, we got ready to head out to Grandma Pat's and off we went. We picked up Pat and Nic on the way as they were spending the afternoon with us. As always, it was a fun celebration with great food and great gifts. By late afternoon, it was obvious that we were fading, all really tired. Last night was very low key and we all turned in early (which is a relative term depending on the family member).

So, another year has come and gone. We don't have a lot planned for this week off, but there is apparently a huge snowstorm headed our way. YAY!

Just lovely
Helping Dad open his presents
Cam's gift to sister
New Toy!
Modeling Cam's Beardo
Getting ready for breakfast

Look at that bounty!
The Shiaos-Bakers-Cookes-Bennetts!


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