Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas has come and gone.  In Texas, at least for us, it was the calm before the storm.  The Dallas area had devastating tornadoes last night, one of which contained 200 mph winds, that left eleven people dead and massive property damage that has not yet been fully assessed.  Though the tornado sirens sounded for us and we had a plan for taking shelter, we never moved from our positions  in front of the TV where we were watching the storm's movement, to our secure place in the hall.   Many people in DFW were not as fortunate as we were.  This kind of  loss is heartbreaking anytime, but perhaps even more so at this time of year when happiness and joy should prevail.

Christmas Day in Dallas was marked by temperatures in the high 70's.  There was no cozy family gathering around the fire for us.  In fact, we spent almost the entire day outside on the patio.  It was beautiful...and stress free!  We did not have a formal sit-down-at-the-table meal this year.  Brooke made her traditional Christmas morning cinnamon rolls and the coffee was free flowing.  We all grabbed a mug of coffee and paper plate with a cinnamon roll (or two) and made our way outside.  This was followed by self serve line that included an egg casserole and bacon.  We ate what we wanted when we wanted it.  I loved the relaxed, unstructured nature of our day.  Everyone could read their instruction manuals, program their electronics, play their games, and finish their chapters without being interrupted by a formal "dinner bell."

I need to remember this low stress approach to Christmas Day for next year...and pray again for the unseasonably warm temperatures.  Don't get me wrong, I love a white Christmas, but the out of the ordinary weather helped make our out of the ordinary celebration feel right this year.

Once my semester ended on December 17th, I was able to truly relax.  I knew that I was stressed at the end of the semester, but I don't think that I realized just how much.  A huge weight was lifted.  With some truly "free" time I was able to enjoy wrapping gifts, some last minute decorating, a little cooking, and fun with my two and four-legged family members...and our "bestest" friends.

I love this ornament given to us by one of the members of our "tribe."

A few images leading up to Christmas.

Oh, and did I mention between school ending on the 17th and Christmas we also celebrated the birthdays of Offsprings No. 1 and No.2?  Good times!

Offspring No. 1 - age 26

Offspring No. 2 - age 23

After singing the late night Christmas Eve service, we have this crazy tradition of going to Waffle House just down the road from our house.  I'm not sure how or why this tradition got started, but we've done it for at least five years and I look forward to it no matter how tired I may be at 1am on Christmas morning.  It is interesting to people watch at a sit down restaurant that is open in the middle of the night on Christmas.  There are travelers trying to get to family before morning, families for whom this may be their Christmas meal, and people who are a party of one who may be lonely and want to be among others.  In addition to scrambled eggs with cheese and hash browns, part of our Waffle House tradition is to share the love and hospitality of Christmas with our fellow patrons and the staff at our local Waffle House.  This is one of my favorite family traditions.

Christmas morning began with the littlest among us, all decked out in her Christmas PJ's, opening her gifts first.  Piper's four-legged brother and sister followed right along.  They all played while we waited for all of the humans to gather.

I put my camera down during the gift exchange.  You'll just have to believe me when I say that everyone did great both in the giving and receiving!

Here are a few shots of our relaxed Christmas afternoon.

Holiday cheers to each of you from each of us!