Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Christmas day.....finally

Apparently I like to make the season last....  I'm blogging about Christmas day a month late and our Christmas decorations are still all up.  Well, the decorations are still up because I wasn't able to take them down until now..... and now I am so far behind that I need to catch up on other things first. I love Christmas decorations, but this is a little ridiculous!
Okay - Christmas day!  It was fabulous.  There is something so wonderful about Christmas morning.  The enthusiasm of the kids is a huge part of that, but even without that, there always seems to be a newness or freshness or something.  I think God blesses with an inner reminder of His amazing Good gift and a day filled with celebrating that.
This year Santa brought Wii rock band, High School Musical sing-along and a Madagascar driving game.  Santa thought ahead to purchase games from our dear friends who left.  We'd trade in these games in a heartbeat to get them back here instead, but since that wasn't an option they gave us, we're pretty happy with the games!

Then it was time for the long awaited gifts from Grandpa and Grandma Rose.  Grandma (my mom) brought it with her in November, so it was sitting under the tree tempting the kids (and certain adults!) for a long time.  It did not disappoint!!  Lucy was instructed to be the opener of the box.

Inside was a bag for each child.

There was an awful lot of excitement over gifts, let me tell you!!  Then the kids were relegated to opening gifts from their parents.  Perhaps we should have started with these.  Okay, okay - they liked our gifts too.  Cade got a Lego train set, Mia received some art stuff, Maddy - some Vans and a sweatshirt and Lucy got clothes for her dolls and a Barbie house (also from our friends who left).

The three younger kids all opened their stockings long before Eric and I were up.  Maddy, since she dwells in more humane hours like we do, dug through her stocking later as well.  They all got a jar of Nutella, a chocolate "lollipop", *******

Homemade eggnog (with coke!), cinnamon buns and breakfast casserole for brunch.

Then it was time to get ready for the grand Christmas celebration.  Our group was a little smaller this year - but not much.  We had five families and some singles (including some of the Casa G boys) over.....with another 34 pound turkey!
As per tradition (is two years in a row a tradition?), Jake carved the beast.  Someone else will have to take over next year as these wonderful friends are leaving this summer....  but I don't want to talk about that right now.

Another round of the crazy unwrapping game.... first for the kids and later the adults.

Eric had to aid in the process a little - he used a little too much tape!
Mia ended up winning the grand prize - a large bag of Sour Patch Kids.... highly valued by gringos!  Not sure if it was okay for our kid to win, but hey, she didn't have any advantage!
We got the guys (Casa G) involved in the adult round.  They livened things up for the all-too-considerate-and-kind crowd!

Marlo didn't get a chance (ie: didn't roll a six) for almost the entire game.  Then she got two in a row near the end and wound up with the prize.  None of the work and all the glory!
I just can't say it enough... while the holidays are particularly hard in terms of missing family and friends, we are abundantly blessed to have so many wonderful friends to share the season with.  We are so thankful!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

off for a little r & r

Even though Christmas is still not blogged about,  we need something a little more recent just to break up my days.  It actually isn't that recent, but since it is the last momentous thing for the last two and a half weeks - since I've been laying in bed try to heal my back - it is recent in my memory!
But first - my birthday.
This is the birthday candle Maddy lit for me in the evening.  She even sang happy birthday.  That was about it for my birthday celebrations but that was completely okay with me.  We were busy getting ready for a much needed and well deserved trip to.......
the BEACH!
 Ah!  It was grand.  After a very full few months it was so, so good to get away.  So good.  I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", did my bible study, talked with Eric and friends, watched my kooky kids.  Loved every minute of it.
In order to save some cash, Eric and Cade camped (as in tented) nearby while the girls and I had the hotel room.  The place we stayed at had only been open for one week before us, so it was also kind of fun to be in such a new, beautiful place..  And because they are new, their prices aren't ridiculous, like everything else here is getting.  Despite the look on Cade's face, he really did enjoy camping with Daddy!
Drinks by the pool.... another ah! moment.  Although I was too cheap to do it for myself, Marlo and I did let the girls split a piƱa colada (virgin, of course!).  But at $5 a pop. I wasn't about to do it.  Looking back - I should have.  Sometimes my frugality really gets to be a problem....
 We played musical beds, switching who slept with whom.  One night, against their wishes, Lucy and Mia were made to share a bed.  An hour later, after a little spat about it, they were snuggled up together.  It was pretty darn cute - and ironic, and hilarious, and I still haven't shown them this picture.....
 Taking pictures at the beach is a love - hate thing for me.  I could take about a million but I hate having my camera out there for fear of sand, salt water and nasty thieves.  It just has to be done though - the beach has got to be one of the best places for pictures.  The kids even cooperated - for a little while.

(note: no Cade was not crying, nor is he on drugs.....  that is what a lot of salt water, sun and chlorine water will do to this guy)

That night we had an amazing sunset.  I haven't seen too many amazing beach sunsets in my life, but  this one was spectacular.

New years eve we had planned to do fire works.  In this country, fireworks are a dime a dozen (figuratively speaking - realistically speaking they are about $15 a dozen, depending on what you get, of course!).  People shoot off fireworks way more often than I shoot off my mouth.  Not as often as Lucy sho...... we'll just stop right there.  Anyway, we didn't buy an old man to burn but we did buy King Tut's Curse (it was kinda lame - apparently his curse wasn't too dramatic).
 Back to new years eve... it got too late, the kids got too grumpy (which means the parents got even grumpier), so we postponed it for a night.  We invited some of the other guests at the hotel to join us for the dazzling show, but no one did.  After all was said and done, I'm glad they didn't.  We don't need anyone saying "sheesh, those gringos sure are lame with their fireworks".
 Since we didn't burn an old man, Marlo jumped over some little fizzy fireworky thing instead.
 The roman candles were the coolest.  We didn't fight with them like the boys did last year - we just had all the kids line up like little soldiers and fire them off towards the ocean.

 We did have a few pretty explosions....

 Back to the beach and daylight.

New years day Lucy was out boogie boarding.  She got bounced by a wave and the board bumped her in the mouth and knocked her loose tooth out.  She looked down on the board, and FOUND IT!  Yes, even though there was water sloshing all over around her, her tooth was on the board!  Here she is running to tell me about it....

 Crazy.  Speaking of crazy.....

 Watch out, she is looking a little physco in this next picture - look at those crazy eyes! 

Moving on from my little looney Lucy...  Cade did a little surfing.  I missed it with the camera, but he likes to show off and do the Macarena on the surf board.

The kids had a lot of fun at the pool as well.  This place has a pretty cool swimming area.  They had the Jensens to play and swim with, and then other friends, the Luginbills came the day before we left, so there were even more friends.

 Night swimming was one of the highlights for the kids.  There is something awfully fun about swimming after dark.  They played a lot of the stick game - someone has a little piece of stick and while everyone is outside of the pool with their backs turned, they lay the stick somewhere at the bottom of the pool.  Everyone turns around and tries to be the first to spot the stick (as it slowly rises to the top) - then they jump in and try to grab it.  It usually just ends in splashing chaos trying to move the stick away from the person who first saw it....  The person who ends up with the stick is the next to hide it.
Well, that beach trip is over and I feel ready for another one.  Not that I need any more rest, but I could use the social time.  It was from driving home from the beach that I messed my back up so badly.  Going over these pictures and writing it up, makes me realize that it still was worth it.  I love to be with great friends and my wonderful family.