Right after I posted last week's update I realized I did not include that Logan and Haleigh came by Saturday morning so they could open their presents from us before they left to spend Christmas with their dads. Last year and this year Logan asked for money since a lot of "stuff" he wants is a little more than this Nana and Papa can spend. I hate just giving him money. He had mentioned he would like to have a trash can for his room, so I found a $1 trash can at the Dollar Store. I wadded up 50 $1 bills along with thousands of dollars worth of play money in the trash can. He had to search for his present, and believe it or not, he found every last one of those $ bills. Haleigh has looked and looked for the classic Converse hightop sneakers in black and white but they the price was too high so she had not purchased any. I was able to order these on sale online through Khol's and they were within Santa Clause Peine's price range. She was quite happy to get her "Chucks".
This Sunday morning started early as Dean and I had to be at the Community Center to set up tables and chairs for our "Blackledge" Christmas. Crystal and Lonie helped us get that done and then I got my rolls ready and left them to raise so I didn't have to bring them back in the cold weather later.
When we were kids we always had our Christmas Eve at my dad's parents house (thus the Blackledge Christmas name). A few years ago we decided to forgo Christmas Eve and begin holding it the Sunday before Christmas at 1:00 pm. With some of our kids moving away, making for late night trips back home and some working on Saturday's this is the only way we had a chance of getting most of them here. It has worked pretty good. I miss those Christmas Eve gatherings though. There is just something special about it being "The Night Before Christmas". Old traditions die hard!
We had a great turnout for dinner. Most of our families were able to attend. Now that both of our parents have passed we have included my mom's sister Betty and her daughter Barbara, as well as our step-dad Larry and his wife Verna.
I think everyone enjoyed themselves and all of the little cousins had a good time visiting together as well. It's fun to watch the kids playing and enjoying their time with their cousins. It's one of the things I enjoyed most about holidays - getting to spend time with some of my very best friends growing up - my cousins. I loved all of my cousins on every side of our family and always looked forward to seeing them! I hope our kids feel the same way.
Monday and Tuesday was spent preparing for Matt, Megan and Josh's arrival. Their flight landed in Wichita on Saturday afternoon and they are staying with Jarred and Andrea until we pick them up on Wednesday, when we will bring them back here until the 28th. Matt loves chicken and noodles so I made noodles one evening and froze them for later in the week. I also made lists of what food needed to be cooked and what time everything needed to be put in the oven on the 25th and 26th as many of the kids and grandkids would be coming and going. Having a detailed list helps free me up to spend as much time with them as possible and not be such a nervous nellie worrying about everything. We had our big meal with the chicken and noodles and fixings Christmas Day at 2 and only Heath & Marc's families were unable to be here for that. We played a really fun game - each person wrote down two different phrases. There were two players at a time, each setting in chairs facing each other. One person wears headphones with music playing and also holding the headphones close to their ear so they cannot hear what the other person is saying. The person with the headphones has to try and read the other person's lips as they say the words of the phrase they picked. We laughed and laughed. I think there was one person who got the entire answer right and a few got parts of the phrase. Some never even got close. Later in the evening Matt, Jarred and Dean went to Parsons to see Star Wars. Andrea, Megan, Misti, Chuck and I visited here at the house.
Jarred, Andrea and Emerson stayed over on Christmas night, along with Matt and his family. Everyone else will be here at 9 the Saturday morning. We had a breakfast casserole (thanks Marc & Jen), with blueberry muffins and juice for breakfast. They must have been famished because there was hardly a bite left. Of course the grandkids were anxious to open presents so at about 10 or so we all gathered in the living room for the moment they all look forward to. I have to say none of them really asked about opening them but you could tell by their actions and peeking at the packages they were anxious to dig in. They were all so well behaved and I was very proud of each of them. They are growing up into wonderful young people.
The first year or so after Dean and I got married we made a new rule for our family at Christmas. I noticed that once we handed out presents on Christmas morning when our kids were all still at home that the presents were open within 10-15 minutes. It made the time we spent picking them out and wrapping them seem so futile. We wanted to have the pleasure of watching each child open every gift, so we now start with the youngest and watch each person open their gift for all to see. I like this for not only the reason stated but also because it gives the opportunity to make sure they know who the gift came from and for them to thank the giver. When everyone goes at once this often gets overlooked. Since the adult children draw names between each other and all of the grandchildren draw names between each other there are gifts besides those from "Nana and Papa". It does take a while with our bunch and as usual about an hour and a half after all presents were opened, boxes and paper picked up and carried out, it was time to put a few things in the oven before we had lunch. It kept everyone busy. It's a special thing that I truly enjoy and I hope the rest of the family does as well.
After lunch of ham and several dips (corn dip, spinach & artichoke, and sausage/cheese) and chips, the older kids played a game at the kitchen table, while the adults played a game in the living room. The toddlers and our baby granddaughter played in the living room where we could keep an eye on them. Most of the adults played a couple of games of Catch Phrase which we always seem to get out when we are all together.
As a grandma and grandpa we were very pleased to see the grandkids so happy with the gifts they received. It made all the preparation worth it to see their smiles!
Sunday was spent watching the Chiefs beat the Browns as the weather in the midwest started building into a pretty nasty winter storm. Fortunatelly for us here in Oswego it wasn't too bad, while we had quite a bit of rain, there was no damage. Our neighbors to the east in Missouri did not fare so well, as well as many to the south in Oklahoma and Texas. Our prayers go out to them as they deal with the devastation of flooding and tornadoes.
Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family but most importantly it is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, who as an adult died to save us from our sins. A more wonderful gift could not be given to the children of God.
Our hope is that you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a very Happy New Year!