What a beautiful, peaceful time of the year!! Surrounded by friends and family, with nothing but peace and joy and love everywhere. Wait a minute, can that be true?
We weren't exactly surrounded by friends and family. Here we are in Arkansas so friends are largely missing. We were surrounded by Christmas cards from friends and loved reading those and catching up on what we have missed during the past year. And family - the truth is not everyone could be with us. We were so happy to have Craig, Chris, Sean and Marc with us. We laughed and talked and played games and ate and loved every minute of being together. We missed so much having Matt and Rhett and Adrianne and Kate, Brooke, and Campbell here. Can it be a wonderful time and a little empty at the same time?
And what about peace joy and love everywhere? Well with 4 big men added to the house, peace isn't exactly what we were feeling. But as Craig would say, "that's okay!" Peace was replaced with energy, fun, wrestling, teasing, and noise and it was so great!! I loved it. Joy - well, there was so much joy. The joy I felt picking up Chris in Tulsa and having him all to myself for a couple of days, dad was gone on business. I took Bear with me and he did his usual howl/bark thing when he saw Chris and then literally danced around with excitement. The next arrival was Morgan and I have to admit, she adds a wonderful sparkle and energy. This time it was Chris who was dancing with excitement. I didn't go to the airport with him so I'm not sure if he did the howl/bark thing that Bear is known for. That might be more than a little embarrassing!! I might add that it was the trip from you know where for Morgan - a combination of ticket problems, and flight delays kept her from arriving in Tulsa until well after midnight. What a trooper!!
Then on Sunday, much to my total surprise, Craig arrived - he told me he wasn't going to leave Provo until Monday. The doorbell rang and I, thinking it was our home teachers, casually opened the door to find a sunglassed guy in a red turtleneck and a skimpy and ugly white sweater serenading me with his guitar. (His choice for the ugly sweater contest in his Provo Ward.) What a joy to see him. He hadn't told me he was leaving early to spare me from worry. Again Bear danced with joy and I hugged and hugged Craig. He was able to trick his dad a little later. Although he had driven straight through he managed to stay up until around midnight playing games and entertaining us with his sense of humor and musical talent.
On Monday we were sad to bid Morgan goodbye although I'm sure her family was anxiously awaiting her arrival. Luckily her flight to Minnesota was better than her previous flight to Tulsa! That is when I realized just how much sparkle she brought with her. And I'm already thinking about how the girl/boy ratio is going to gradually even out. Now that's something to look forward to!!
And then Tuesday brought Sean, Marc, and Padrick, Sean's dog. The weather wasn't good leaving Minnesota, snow and slick roads but they were traveling south so things only got better. They were tired but we were excited when they finally pulled into the driveway. At least all of us were excited except Bear, he doesn't play well with others and has problems sharing. He and Pad settled into an uncomfortable truce with only periodic growls, nips, and challenges from either of them. Finally the festivities could begin.
So we ate, and laughed, and played games, and entertained our friend Bihn Trahn and Sister Lemmon and Sister Stiles. We told the Christmas story and sang carols. We opened the traditional one gift on Christmas eve, surprise pj pants, and had our traditional cold cut buffet. Sean woke us all up on Christmas morning. Santa had indeed come. We opened gifts, ate more, and then later ate even more, played more games, and watched White Christmas. And yes there was love everywhere!!