Saturday, January 26, 2013

Catching Up - Christmas

We spent Christmas (as usual) in Texas with family.  We got there a few days before the festivities, so we got the chance to go see GGma in her little apartment.

Maggie, Suzy, GGma, and Gracie smile for the camera

It was nice to spend some time with GGma by ourselves, simply because it's easier for her to hear us when there aren't competing noises in the room.  Maggie brought her violin, and I brought my piano music, but GGma preferred a private violin recital in the privacy and warmth of her room.  (The piano is in the comparatively frigid common room - must be at least 78 in there.)

The next day I finally got the chance to make some cookies, although they were technically not "Christmas" cookies - just Chocolate White Chocolate Chip cookies made with hazelnut cocoa.  Yum-o-licious!  We ate them at Christmas, so that was Christmasy enough!

Unfortunately, that day I got the gift that keeps on giving - some type of viral infection.  Not sure where I picked it up, but my throat was on fire for Christmas Eve and Christmas.  At first I was sure it was strep, but since there was no clinic open in town, I just suffered through, and figured I'd get a culture done the day after Christmas.  Luckily, by then the soreness was gone - so no strep, yea! 

Cousins from Grandmas side of the family
Gracie The Red-Nosed Grandkid!
Papaw The Red-Nosed Grandapa!

Christmas Eve was at Grandma's house, so after we played with all the cousins from that side of the family the kids headed to bed, and Santa began his visit.  Our girls had opened their gifts from us before we left - Since we brought the dog this year, we had to conserve our packing space in the van, so we left Gracie's ice skates at home, and Maggie packed in her present - a new suitcase!  Just out of curiosity, how many of you wanted luggage when you were twelve? 

Jerry and Oreo in her new jingle bell collar
Watching Santa's other helpers assemble a Barbie townhouse and a Hotwheels racetrack made me glad we are past that stage, but boy, I love seeing the excitement for those gifts on Christmas morning!  The other challenge is that the things that pre-teens / teens want are pricey!  Santa used to go for quantity, but now Santa has to be a smart shopper!

 Christmas after brunch we headed over to Mimi and Pepaw's house, where we got to have a relaxing afternoon.  Aaron and Paul arrived and we got to hear about their rather exciting trip to Texas - one of their bags fell out of their airport shuttle and got hit on the way to the airport!  Yikes!  Luckily nothing was lost that was irreplaceable.  

The next evening Jerry's half-brother and some of his family came over and we all headed to a restaurant for dinner and then back home for a gift exchange.  Since we've only known the O'Connor side of the family since this summer, we had a fun time getting to know everyone a little better.  

Suzy, Terry, Gracie, Michelle, Katelyn, Gerald, Maggie, Jerry Sr., Mary Jo, Jerry, Aaron, and Paul
For our gift exchange we were supposed to bring a $25 gift, and I racked my brains to think of something that would get those competitive present-stealing members of the family excited.  Here's what I came up with: 

It's a bouquet of gift cards!  I had a theme too - can you guess what it was?  The cards were from Sonic, Freddie's Frozen Custard, Baskin Robbins, Braum's and Coldstone Creamery.  If you guessed ice cream, you think like I do!  It did get stolen the maximum number of times, so I suppose it was a success.
The next day we headed to Granddad's and Nana's house,  where the fabulous four were reunited: 

Unfortunately, by now, Jerry was feeling not so hot, but at least at Grandad and Nana's it easy to get away upstairs and rest. 

Grandaddy and Nana
We spent the next few days visiting with extended family from both Dad and Terri's sides of the family. We ate way, way, way to much, and had fun playing games and (for Amy and I) working on scrapbooks.  I didn't realize until it was time to leave that the girls did not go out to see the goats even once while we were there.  It was pretty cold and muddy, thanks to a Christmas Eve thunderstorm that everyone was very thankful for - the drought here is still quite severe.

Jamie, Randy, and Uncle James
It was a whirlwind trip, with two nights at each household, but it was good.  Even though we moved around quite a bit, we still had quality time to visit, which is what we enjoy the most.  We headed back to Oklahoma the Saturday after Christmas, which meant we had a whole week to rest and relax before the girls headed back to school and Jerry headed back to work.  It was a good end to a good year!

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