After much excitement and a bit of waiting, my new laptop has arrived! It was also an exciting morning as our Christmas box from my in-laws arrived so Branden and I felt a bit like kids on Christmas morning today! We also got our first Christmas card in the mail. It was from my grandparents which was sweet. I have always been close to them and it's always hard this time of year to be away from them. From the time I was born, every year my family would have Christmas Eve dinner with my grandparents and dad's family, go to the Christmas Eve service at their church, and then spend the night at their house so we could have Christmas morning with them. Since my sis and I were the youngest of their grandkids, they loved getting to continue the fun of having Christmas with little ones. We always had so much fun and Grandma and Grandpa loved to sit back and see Katie and me get all excited over our toys. We had the year when I was 3 that we got our kittens, then a bit later we had the year where we got our baby buggies, and then a little later we had the year that Katie and I confused all the adults by eating the cookies and drinking the milk before they did...so much fun and so many memories. I spent Christmas Eve night at their house every year until I was 22 and at that age, I lived only 2 houses down from them but still walked over to keep up the tradition.
After Christmas morning at Grandma and Grandpa's house, we would then drive over to my mom's side of the family to enjoy more presents, food, and fun with my Granny, Aunt, Uncles, and cousins. We were quite close to both sides of my parent's families, especially since most of them lived in the same area, and I feel very blessed for that. Now we are all grown up and have a slew of little ones taking up the next generation. My grandparents on my dad's side have (if I am counting right) 24 great grand kids and Granny on my mom's side has 6. We are a bit more spread out now but we still have a deep connection filled with lots of great memories.
Fun with some cousins: (from left to right) Me, Bonny (our Irish Setter), Colby, Katie, Jennie
This will be my second Christmas in a row being away from family which is a bit tough since I do miss them a lot and we had such a great tradition of being together at Christmas. Branden and I won't be alone though. We will be spending Christmas with friends and their families so we do feel very blessed this Christmas as we did last Christmas when a friend from the US stayed with us. As some of you may have figured out by now, I love Christmas music and one of my favorite Christmas albums is Third Day's Christmas Offerings. There is one song at the end of the CD though that manages to make me cry EVERY TIME I hear it! It's about adoption but it always makes me think of how my parents must be feeling to not have me or my sis home for Christmas and so I can't help but lose it knowing how much they miss us. Dang! I can't even write about it without losing it!
Anyway, I do feel very blessed this year, especially now since I'm sitting on my bed, surrounded by blessings bestowed on me by such wonderful people and the mail service didn't dropkick through my front door! It's been a tough year for Branden and me but we have grown so much, made such wonderful new friends, and seen miracle after miracle and blessing after blessing. If you get to be with your family for Christmas this year, give them some extra hugs. There are a lot of us out there who wish we could simply do that on Christmas day.
Oh, and if anyone thinks that I have turned into a Country Music lover, I will chuck a candy cane at you because Third Day isn't actually a country band (they can just get a bit twangy every once in a while!).