Monday, February 8, 2016

"Peace on earth and mercy mild"

+JMJ+

I mentioned previously that 2015 was a year in which we had plans to spend Christmas with my husband's family, but as it happened we actually spent time with both of our families (and only had to travel once)! Win-win.

Since my sister and her husband have a house down the road from us, my mom and younger sister came to stay with them and we got to see them a good deal before and after our trip to Ohio.

Once my mom and younger sister arrived we spent the final days of Advent trying to get all of our family together as much as possible. We took turns with my sis hosting family dinners in our homes, my sister and her husband hosted an Advent party, and before you know it all 11 of us were ringing in Christ's birthday at a vigil Mass on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
My boys and their cousins with my mom/their Grammie
Peter with my little sister/his Godmother and the stocking my older sis made him

Christmas morning we opened stockings at our respective homes, then we piled our kids and gifts into the car and joined all my family for a morning of opening presents at my sister's place.



Considering that 5 out of the 11 people present were 5 years old or younger I would say that the morning actually went really smoothly! We got all the gifts opened and the children had a good amount of time to play together before Michael and I needed to get home, shower, eat a quick lunch, and high-tail it to the airport for our early afternoon Christmas day flight (we're crazy, I know).

My mother-in-law picked us up at the airport where I frantically (but safely) installed the new convertible car seat we purchased for my in-laws' house. Then we met up with almost all of my husband's family (his grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and immediate family) for a BIG Christmas dinner...Asian-style (which I must admit is FAR more enjoyable when you're not pregnant and totally averse to all kinds of seafood smells like I have been every other year).

The next 4 days basically looked like this...

Photo credit goes entirely to my sister-in-law on this one!
The boys with their Nai Nai and Ye Ye

...because my husband and I are the only ones in his generation that are married with children at this point in time. Those boys were loved and doted on like you wouldn't believe! I mean, just look at them (says their totally unbiased mother....)!



Being back in the Midwest was a breath of much-needed fresh air for Michael and me and I'm so grateful we had that time to see everyone. It's never easy traveling with young children and I'd be lying if I said every moment of each day in Ohio was smooth sailing (poor Peter's sleep was so thrown off!)...but all the sweet memories make the challenges worth it in the end.

And I think Gabriel only asked for his new "red guitar" (a Christmas gift from St. Nicholas pictured above) about 7 times - so I had to keep explaining that we didn't bring it to Ohio on the plane and it was waiting for him back in the Boston area. He really likes green and red right now, so when we spotted this "big green guitar!" before departing the Cleveland airport he was SO EXCITED (and beyond ready to get his hands back on his red guitar at home).


Upon returning from Ohio we had a few more days before my mom and younger sister left, so I don't remember all the details but I know we tried to visit with them while we could. New Year's Eve was particularly memorable because we hosted everyone for an evening of playing games and watching the ball drop at midnight. Michael and I even broke out our crystal wedding glasses (a precious keepsake gift from my mom) for our midnight toast!


Throughout my childhood we typically spent NYE playing board games with some close family friends before watching the ball drop, so it was really nice to be with my sisters (and our husbands and kids) and my mom doing something similar. 

It's not always easy to gather my family at this stage in our lives (especially considering how many far-away places Michael and I have lived in recent years), nor is it simple to get to Ohio from Boston with our young children...yet we achieved both this Christmas season! For this I am sincerely grateful. 

God is good. All the time (but especially during His birthday season). ;)

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And because the super stylish Sarah requested I link-up with her Christmas outfits post I'm adding my piece about, oh...6 weeks later? Head over to Sarah's if you're interested in seeing what others wore to celebrate Christmas!

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
With angelic host proclaim
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
-Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

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