Monday, January 11, 2010

An Old Fashion Family Christmas

I do not even remember the last time my whole family celebrated Christmas together. What a joy to be surrounded by my parents, siblings, nephew, and nieces. Everyone arrived on Christmas Eve and we visited at Debbie's house until dinner time. We figured it was easier to go to a restaurant than it was to make Deb cook two days in a row. I made reservations for 18 people at Tahoe Joe's. Picking the restaurant was not an easy feat. So many places were closed or closing early for Christmas Eve. So we settled on Tahoe Joe's and what a great place. I had never been to one before and the food was fabulous. Thank goodness it is not a quiet restaurant because there was no chance of keeping the volume low with our group. We talked, laughed, drank a little and had a fun time just being together.

Christmas morning we all trickled into Debbie's house by 9 or 10. Laurie's daughters had received their presents and stockings from Santa and were busy playing with them. My boys didn't have many presents to open since we decided Disneyland was going to be their present. They were very good though just sitting by and watching everyone else enjoy opening their gifts. Christmas always makes me laugh. There is so much planning, decorating and wrapping with Christmas yet, in a matter of minutes it is over. All the kids seemed to be very pleased with the toys they got. After the present pandemonium I got to enjoy my favorite part of Christmas day. Visiting with everyone and playing with the new toys. The weather on Christmas day was amazing. Although it was cool the sun was shining and the kids got to go outside with their new roller blades and play. Brian took many of the guys out to do some Geocaching before we had dinner. He said he wanted to get the boys out of every ones way, but I think he will use just about any excuse to go Geocaching.

Debbie made us an unbelievable dinner. We had turkey and ham and all the fixings. We all ate to our hearts content and then some! Debbie is a great cook, but I do have to say she outdid herself on this meal. It was all perfect. Being just the four of us in Germany I do not cook like this ever. So to be able to enjoy all the delicious food was wonderful.

After dinner we all vegged out and watched television. Brian taught the boys how to play spades and they loved that. It was bittersweet though. I knew Mike and his family would be leaving the next day and the rest of us would follow the day after that.

Goodbyes really stink. Saturday after Christmas Mike and his family headed back home, so we all said our goodbyes. Sunday was even worse. After staying with Debbie for two weeks it was time to make the long 12 hour drive back up to Oregon. I had to say goodbye to Laurie and her family and then Debbie and my niece's.

I dreaded the drive back to Oregon for many reasons. The weather predicted rain and I did not look forward to that. Also the Sunday after a holiday, I feared traffic would be terrible. Then of course there was the fact it was a 12 hour drive, and also knowing we were getting on a plane back to Germany just a few days later. I have to say though the weather was not bad at all and the traffic was surprisingly light. All in all it wasn't a bad drive.

We were in Oregon for the next two days and of course Brian hit one last Geocache, and then we headed back to Germany. It was a fabulous vacation. Time away and time with family. The perfect blend! I hope we can do it again very soon.

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