Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas in Coburg, Part 4 - The Final Chapter, Christmas Day and The Day After

After we arrived home from mass, we changed our clothes and headed outdoors, where the sun was shining! It was a beautiful Christmas Day, full of sunshine, love and laughter. And also a lot of really good food, hats and Star Wars.
Uncle Shawn was teaching the two basketballers some moves. He enlisted Brailey to help pass the ball to him, and then he passed it to either Lexi or Britt. However, after a bit, it became apparent that Lexi was a really good teacher, and Shawn was happy to discover that she has been learning and listening to her coaches, and she began to help and teach Britt herself. Nice!
While they were playing, we all stood around the fire Brady built us. It was sunny, but quite chilly (unless you were playing basketball). The fire felt great!
Brady went through his hats earlier in the week, of which he has a LOT (the man has a hat addiction, I swear!), and before long, he was in full salesman mode and had the hats lined up on the bench for Shawn, Papa, Grandma and Lexi to choose from. The ones they didn't take are going to Goodwill. (I myself found a couple in the pile that were mine and I was not quite ready to part with, ironically!) Below, Shawn found a Nike Gonzaga hat. There were some real treasures in there, for sure!
Lexi had to take a break from basketball to see if there was anything she couldn't live without, and wouldn't you know, she found a couple she liked!  
And then we moved into the house for the cooking of our Christmas dinner, which was so delicious we are all still stuffed full from it! Half of us enjoyed oysters (YUMMY!) and half of us enjoyed a Christmas ham. There was a bit of dancing and cheerleading during the cooking.
These pom poms rarely made it out of Brailey's hands. She is totally in love with them! She was thrilled that Lexi is considering cheer for next fall. I think they were inspecting the oysters, below.
Britt played a fun trick on his uncle and Grandpa, which Brady helped him pull off. Britt has had "fake" lottery tickets he found at the Dollar Store two or three years ago and has been saving. They are all winners! Uncle Shawn and Papa were astounded and amazed that they had won! They were trying to give the tickets back to Britt, and fell hook line and sinker, truly. Until they read the back of the tickets, which read, "OFFICIAL GAME RULES: Winning prizes of $1, $5, $25, and $50 may be claimed wherever lottery tickets are sold. Winning tickets of $100 or more must be sent by mail or in person to the Money Fairy, 123 NoWhere Drive, in Make-Believe Land. Valid only in your dreams. Any resemblance to a real or implied lottery ticket is what makes it fun. THIS TICKET IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. Thanks for being a good sport. ODDS OF WINING: 0 IN 10,000." There was a lot of laughter and fun surrounding this little prank!
I had taken a couple of pictures of Lexi, I THOUGHT, in a some of our fun cowboy hats. However, apparently my battery was dead from so many pictures, and I guess they didn't actually take. But every year of their lives, I have given Lexi and Lanie an ornament for Christmas, and so it was ironic that Lexi's ornament was a little purple cowboy hat, this year. She said, "Well, I got my hat!" Adorable!
Brailey and Grandma, surrounded by the pugs. Grandma could hardly move to open her gifts!
And more hats! Little did we know they had hats for the kids when we were letting them go through Brady's giveaway pile. Thank goodness we got rid of some! Both Brailey and Britt were thrilled with their new hats. More fun!

Britt got some camo gear and another nutcracker! He loves his nutcrackers. This one is so super cute! 
After food and presents, Britt and Lexi played hoops, Lexi and Bray roped the dummy, and then more basketball was played well into the darkness. Brailey came inside, but Britt and Lexi played and played and played. Finally, we had to bring them in so Britt and Uncle Shawn could go to the new Star Wars movie. They are both huge fans and they had a fantastic time! We were shocked by how many shows were still sold out and all the cars in the parking lot. I meant to get a picture of them at the theater, but I had to just drop them off. It turned out perfectly, though, because they got to see the 3D show, which I'm sure made it all the more amazing. Shawn said he jumped in his seat a few times and he felt like he could reach out and touch the ship. So cool! It was his first 3D movie experience. We are so happy he and Britt got to go together! When I got home from dropping them off, the girls were sitting like this. They had done each other's nails and were watching a funny movie and Brailey was braiding and rebraiding Lexi's hair. It was darling! I love how Lexi was able to hang out with both of her cousins in different ways.
And then the sad day when they had to go home... It wasn't nearly enough time. Apparently, Lexi is not a morning person. We didn't know this and started talking to her - once she woke up, she was good with all our jibber jabber. The three cousins enjoyed a nice cup of hot chocolate before breakfast.
We were so stuffed full from our delicious feast Grandma cooked us the day before we couldn't even manage to fit in pie! Sooooo, we had it for breakfast the day after. Why not?! We had bacon, pie, eggs and Christmas rolls. YUMMY!
Our picture a sweet lady took for us at the church after Christmas mass did not turn out at all. I should have taken my selfie stick! Thankfully, I used it to get this fantastic picture at home. If only Lanie were in the picture, too, it would have been perfect, but she was in all of our hearts, so technically, she was there with us. My dad NEVER smiles for pictures, so this was a great shot! You may be able to tell we were having a good time. Happiness galore!
Our time together was way too short, but perfect in every way. We are grateful to our toes that we had a special Christmas with my family. It is a time we will never forget and will always treasure, and it is hopefully a building block for more to come. Because truly, family is everything! 
It was hard to see them go, and we were all a bit sad. Luckily, we hadn't even had time to open our stockings, yet, and so we kept our minds off of them leaving by doing that last little tradition. It was wonderful to see that the kids appreciated their gifts, but they weren't really even thinking about them. We all were just happy to be together and to celebrate Jesus as a family. We sang Happy Birthday to Him after we said our blessing before we ate breakfast on Christmas Day, as that is our tradition, and Shawn said, "That's what today is really all about, isn't it?" And yes, it is. It is about Jesus and His family and families being together to celebrate the gift of life.

The two hams, above, in their new hats from Brailey and Britt reading, below. He can't stop reading books that he loves, and he read this one he got in his stocking in about an hour or two, I think. These are the days, I tell you! These are the blessed, merry days! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas in Coburg, Part 3: Christmas Day and the Traditional Family Photo

Always on Christmas morning we have our traditional "Christmas Rolls." This tradition was started by my mother and has carried on with my own little family every single year. They are so delicious, we always wonder why we don't have them more often. But then they might not be so special and yummy, right? We paired them with some bacon and eggs on this Christmas morning. We decided to attend the Christmas Day mass, this year, a first for the B's. It has always been our tradition to attend the Christmas Eve mass and to take our traditional family picture beforehand. This year, blessed be, we were able to get many family pictures! Everyone was a good sport about it, too, which made the entire experience a lovely memory. We have a lot of photographers in this family, it seems. My mother, husband, daughter, niece, brother, and myself. The only two who didn't take pictures were my dad and son!
Serious morning conversations. With a lot of laughter, as well! I must have been too busy eating to capture the laughter. Trust me, there was plenty of it!
Oh how I wish Lanie were in these pictures... Next year, right? 
 Grandparents and grandchildren.
The very short Beloved Grandmother. 
 Our traditional family photo, taken by Shawn and Lexi. This photo required teamwork.
Above, a darling candid, and below, Brady put this "little" hat (a store dealer gave to him and we use it for decoration) on Papa. It looks darling on him, doesn't it?!
 Worthy of several pictures, in fact.
Our picture with the self-timing feature. It was a little tricky, but we did it!
And a nice family photo. Our family ties have been strained and stretched over the past decade, but they are still in tact.
Blood is thicker than water, and the truth shall set you free! MERRY CHRISTMAS! (Below, the two pugs, Bucky and Rosin, watching all the photography and thinking about what crazy people we are.)
We had a wonderful surprise after we arrived at mass - Father David needed Britt to serve as an altar boy! This was an honor and blessing for our family. It was great for Grandma and Papa to get to see him as an altar boy, and Uncle Shawn was very impressed, as well. Britt did an amazing job! It was a special mass. Sadly, our family picture didn't turn out, but we got a great one at home, so all is well on the picture front, and we will hold this special mass in our hearts forever, even without a perfect picture to remind us of it. Stay tuned for a gynormous blog post and final chapter on our amazing family Christmas experience!

Bullies Beware

I wrote this a couple of months ago. I wasn't going to post it, because it is very, very personal. Most of the time, writing is my th...