Our Christmas in Dubuque was delayed by a few weeks, thanks mostly to our little bout of sickness in Spahnville. We didn't want to spread the love to our extended family and well, honestly, I really was not capable of venturing too far from my bed for the better part of that weekend. So finally, after the Christmas trees had been taken down, and the decorations boxed up, we were healthy enough to travel over to Dubuque to celebrate. And isn't it funny how putting together the same ingredients on a different day still feels just like Christmas? Because it did. It was relaxing and fun and wonderful all at the same time.
Perhaps my favorite part about traveling to my sister-in-law's house (and brother-in-law's too...) is that things are so relaxed. I've known Sherry for almost thirteen years and I've really come to realize that it seems to take a lot to rattle this woman. She prepares meals, hosts our gatherings, and shares her home with us, all without getting too worked up about things. Sometimes we all are on-pointe and our side dishes fit in the oven, our dinner rolls are perfectly warmed, and we all bring a different bottle of wine to share. Other times, the ham is done before we even start the sweet potatoes, we completely forget about dinner rolls, everyone brings the same red wine (but nobody really complains about that), and the kids insist on only eating gummy bears for supper. And yet, things just roll along. Nobody is flustered, nobody is upset, nobody is tense... we just hang out, sip our vino, and enjoy the time together.
And enjoy our time together we did!
As soon as Grandma Carol walked through the door, Anna was ready to tear into her present. (And she really hasn't gotten off it in the past three weeks...much thanks to her daddy, who l-o-v-e-s driving her around the living room at break neck speeds while she squeals with delight.
Eventually, she tired of her ride long enough for everyone to eat a meal (which was delicious) and then move on to more presents. (I apologize for the lack of photos-- I guess we were all a little wrapped up in the moment this time)
And oh, look at that 5 year old's smile- how couldn't we be wrapped up in that?
Sister stole a few snuggles with her brother in the midst of all the unwrapping. Doesn't look like he was complaining one little bit...
Have I mentioned how much Anna loves to put things over her head ? (blankets, t-shirts, Dad's clean boxer shorts....) So here is Grandma and a walking blanket...
Oh, and this matchbox car hauler can carry "50 plus cars, Mom!" And even though he received this toy weeks ago, it still is incredibly distracting in the morning. (But I kind of love that)
As always, I feel so grateful that we are are able to spend this time together. I guess that goes without saying, but I also feel compelled to mention it. Although moments and days go by, I often find myself stopping and just noting how lucky we are to have our health, to have our needs (and many wants) met, and especially to have each other.