Josh and I kicked off Christmas proper by spending Christmas eve wrapping presents together and listening to Christmas music at home. It was a bit of a nail-biter as I was still waiting for ONE more package to arrive. Thankfully it did, around mid-day, and I then could breathe a little easier. Once all the presents were wrapped, we just sat down and took some time to snuggle together and chat. A little later we drove up to my mom's for coffee and cookies with my siblings and some aunts and uncles.
On Christmas morning we woke up early because we had a busy day scheduled. We first opened presents together. Neither of us bought a lot of stuff (actually we had the exact same number of presents under the tree!), but we had chosen really good stuff. Best of all was the Canon digital Rebel xsi that Josh gave me! I had no idea that was even a consideration for this Christmas, but it's the camera of my dreams. My jaw hit the floor when I opened that one :) Then it was off to the Becks' for a big breakfast and more present opening. We had a good time there. Around 1:00 we packed it up and headed to Towson to visit my dad and bring him some goodies. He was in good spirits and started munching on the holiday trail mix I'd brought him right away. It's amazing that even though it's sad and depressing to be in the hospital at Christmas time, the truth is, I've spent more time with my dad this past month than I have since he and my mom divorced almost 20 years ago. This whole event has really brought us a lot closer to him and given us a lot of time to talk to him and build a relationship through helping him that we wouldn't have had otherwise. As tragic as it was for it all to happen, it has truly turned out to be a blessing for all of us. Amberly and Ben arrived there shortly after Josh and I, and they stayed a little later as well. I felt compelled to get to my mom's and help her out since the three of us all spend most of Christmas morning with our in-laws. I feel bad that our own mom is at home by herself preparing a great big dinner for all of us while we're spending time with other people. So Josh and I got there and helped get a few things together before it was dinner time. We all sat down together and ate, and then the kids started begging to open their presents - of course :) So we let them dig in first and snapped a few million pictures. Then we just kind of dug in ourselves without much rhyme or reason. It was fun. The gift of the night was without a doubt this gigantic Nerf gun that Amberly bought for Ben. Everyone wanted turns playing with it, shooting each other, shooting Evan's "Little People", and startling the pets. It was a hoot :)
On Friday I visited my dad in the morning and then we went down to D.C. with Nathan, Erin and Jennie. We walked around the American History Museum for a while, then went to dinner at the Hard Rock and finally made our way over to the National Christmas Tree. It was a good time. The weather was nice - very chilly but not unbearably cold. In the past Nathan and Erin have always gone to see the tree, and this year they invited all of the Beck kids to join them. I thought that was a fun thing since the Beck kids don't all get to hang out together very often. They're pretty scattered with Jennie and Connor in the Towson/Timonium area, Nathan in Germantown and Josh here in Columbia. Everyone is at least 30+ minutes apart from one another.
That's about it for our Christmas activities. Before I wrap this up though, I thought I would share a couple of things I learned this Christmas.
- Christmas is, in fact, the most perfectly romantic time of year for a wedding (learned not just from the example of my own wedding, but the Herdmans' wedding last weekend)!
- Nothing ruins a holiday manicure better than Scotch tape.
- Don't trust your neighbors when it comes to UPS deliveries.
- If you don't have it, Yankee makes a candle so you can pretend you do. In my house that was Christmas cookies and a live tree :)
- Everything happens for a reason, and even something that seems devastating can turn out to be a great blessing!
I hope everyone had a SPLENDID Christmas also and that a healthy and happy New Year lies ahead!