we did our annual ‘tour o the south’ for christmas again this year. the huge difference this year was that Chuck was given Christmas Eve off since he didn’t have a direct role in the services. this was the first Christmas Eve in years that we were able to spend as a complete family (usually my parents drive up a few days before christmas, then mama drives me and the boys back to her house, and daddy and chuck make the 13 hour drive on christmas eve after the services). this year we left home on december 22nd and will return home on january 3rd. we started out in rome, ga this year. we went to the mall and let the boys try bungee jumping, ate at the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, then opened presents on christmas eve morning with Mimi, Pawpaw, and Mawmaw (chuck’s grandmother) & then drove to rutherfordton, n. carolina to get ready for Santa at Gram & Grandpap’s house. after 4 1/2 days there, we drove back to Rome for a week with Mimi & Pawpaw.
i think i will always miss having Christmas at my Meem & Pap’s house. we used to get together with my grandparents, great grandmother, 6 aunts, 6 uncles, 6 cousins (and their spouses and kids) for Christmas Eve dinner and gift extravaganza. most of us would spend the night filling the bedrooms, couches, and most of the extra floor space. the next morning, we would wake to see what Santa had brought in a blur of excitement. the Biscuit Maker (my Papaw) would whip up some biscuits and Meem would work on various other breakfast foods. we would eat and hang out all day. the last few years, the adults would go see a movie Christmas night while Meem & Pap watched the babies. since my Meemaw left us for Heaven in March of 2001, Christmas has never been the same. after she died, the 4 sisters started doing their own thing for Christmas. i miss it. i miss my extended family. i really do.
we have started some of our own family traditions at Mama & Daddy’s house. we make cookies for Santa (and us) on Christmas Eve, eat dinner at Chili’s (the only open restaurant in town), spread ‘Reindeer Food’ on the front lawn, etc. josh, nikki, and eli arrive in time for dinner on Christmas Night. we open gifts with them after dinner and birthday cake for Jesus. we also have a hotdog & s’mores cookout at the firepit one night. and (can’t forget) we have our round of photo sessions throughout the visit. this year, the boys got to pick suckers off the sucker tree everytime they were good in a photo session. the promise of a sucker helped them focus on getting a good picture! i have posted a slideshow of some of the images below. most of them are from my camera, but i included some of the ones that nikki (the professional) took as well. the pics will be interesting next year as we’ll be adding two 6 month olds to the gang and I CAN’T WAIT!
the first slideshow is from our time in Rome for Christmas & New Years Eve:
this second slideshow is from our time in N.Carolina: