Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What a blessed Christmas.

We didn't get all the Advent activities accomplished...not even half of them.  The house wasn't perfectly clean and decorated.  I still have some presents to wrap, since we still have some family members to "do Christmas" with this week.  And don't even ask me about all the clothes sitting in piles to be folded and put away.  The living room is tidied up (because my OCD just couldn't handle the clutter anymore), but there are still some presents to find homes for.  The garage is an absolute disaster of wrapping supplies, decoration boxes, empty cardboard boxes, and other such things.

But this has been, by far, one of the most enjoyable Christmases that I can remember.

Perhaps it was the fact that I gave myself permission to not have everything perfect.  Maybe it was that we decided to not fill the days with driving to/from a ton of different activities/gatherings.  Or it could be that both Nathan and I are more aware than ever of just how we have been blessed by the journey of the man who was born over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem.

We had an early Christmas celebration with Kate, Eliot, and James on the 13th.  They spent the night on their way up to the San Juan Island, and we had a pot roast dinner, opened presents, and battled getting the boys to bed for over 3 hours.  That was, by far, the most stressful event of the entire holiday season, simply because we wanted to enjoy some time with Kate and Eliot before I had to go to work and the boys just weren't cooperating.  But we made the best of a frustrating situation.

On the weekend before Christmas, my parents took the boys overnight while Nathan and I headed to Portland for a date night.  We are so incredibly lucky to have grandparents that are so willing and even eager to take the boys so that we can take the time to reconnect as a married couple.  I strongly believe that is very important, especially with me working shift work.  We had planned on going beer tasting at five different small breweries on the east side of Portland; we made it to two breweries and an amazing BBQ place before exhaustion and full tummies chased us back to the hotel room to collapse.  It was a great day, full of good beer and lots of laughs.

On Christmas Eve, the four of us and my parents traveled up to my grandparent's house in Welches for the day.  The Nichols clan (my aunt, uncle, two cousins, and cousin's wife) were all going to be there; it was the first time we were all going to be in one place since before the boys were born, so I was really excited about spending that time together.  It was also the first time that my uncle and one of my cousins had ever met the boys...what an event!  

The Nichols didn't get there until later in the evening, so we had a chance to spend a quiet afternoon with my grandparents.  It was much more relaxing than I expected it to be, seeing as how it was the boys' first time to their great grandparent's house, and I was so thankful to have the chance to enjoy that family time in the house I grew up celebrating Christmas in.  After losing Nathan's grandma this year, I have been reminded of just how blessed we are that my dad's parents are still so healthy.

We didn't leave Welches until almost 10 pm, not arriving home until after 11:00.  The boys slept the entire way home, and were back asleep within about 5 min of crawling into bed.  I wasn't far behind.  My parents arrived at our house at around 7:30 am, wanting to be there to do stockings when the boys woke up...the boys, on the other hand, slept until almost 8:30.  We didn't complain, since this allowed us to get the coffee flowing through our veins after the previous late night.

After stockings and some presents, we had a relaxed breakfast, finished opening presents, played for a little bit, had lunch, and all laid down for a nap.  Now THAT is how you do Christmas, lol!  Nathan's dad got to our house and commenced cooking the prime rib he brought.  Wow, does that man spoil us, it was delicious!  The evening was filled with good food, good wine, and great company.  It was so laid bck, with absolutely no stress to be had.  Once again, we were reminded of exactly how blessed we have been.

I leave you now with some photos and many wishes for blessings upon your family in the coming year!

The Labunski family at the Janzen Tree Farm, getting our Christmas Tree.  The farm is owned by friends of ours from church, and is a great place!

Nathan wearing the Dino Tail that Auntie Kate made for the boys for Christmas.  This may or may not have been after a large glass of bourbon stout.

Bath time for all three cousins!

Bedtime story after opening presents with Auntie Kate, Uncle Eliot, and Cousin James.

Date night at Hair of the Dog brewery in Portland.

Hair of the Dog tasting flight....mmmmmm.

Tasting flight at Lucky Lab brewery.

Amazing food at Russell St BBQ.  Best pulled pork sandwich I've EVER had!

Mt. Hood on the drive up to Great Nana and Grandpa Morgan's house.

The boys showing off their goodies from "Aunt" Kathy.  They made out like bandits!

The annual Christmas Day photo of Papa napping with his mouth open!

I love my boys!  On Christmas night.

Future OSU football stars.  Go Beavs!  (Levi left, Asher right)