While most everyone got up this morning to see what Santa had put under their tree, we spent most of the day driving home. We celebrated Christmas a day early - on Christmas Eve - this year, with my mother, both of our sons, our daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. The whole family gathered at my Mom's house, in Carlsbad, NM, and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect Christmas.
Seeing my mom hustling and bustling around the house (although we kept telling her to sit down and let us take care of things) reminded us of how far she has come since her fall last spring, and made me thankful for God's healing hand. A year ago Tim had just accepted a new job and wasn't able to celebrate Christmas, with the rest of the family, at Chris and Kelsey's home. But this year he was with us, and it was such fun seeing him in his "Uncle Tim" role, with Sweetpea. Chris is well-settled into his new job, and seems to be doing well and enjoying the challenges. Whenever we are together, I thank God for the man he has become - a faithful Christian, a loving husband, and a wise and adoring father. Being with Kelsey this week only confirmed, once again, her special place in our family. I never tire of seeing how much she enjoys being Sweetpea's mama. And having Dan by my side to share in all of this family time made it . . . well . . . perfect!
Sweetpea was the center of attention, of course, for the fun of Christmas morning is best seen in the eyes of a child. Here are a few pictures of all of that fun.
Before we started opening presents, Sweetpea found Grandpa's hat and insisted on wearing it for the first half-hour or so.
She was such a sweet and thoughtful "Santa's helper," happy to deliver presents to others before she began opening some herself.
At last, though, it was time to tear into some of her own presents.
Grandpa and Grandma gave her a tent and tube set, which she found to be great fun.
Inside one of the tubes.
And Uncle Tim stood her up, inside one of the tubes. She loved that!
A little later in the day Sweetpea and I went for a walk, down by the river. She took along this paper towel tube, so she could watch for birds. We stopped in this picnic shelter for a few minutes.
"I see you, Grandma!"
Before we sat down to Christmas dinner, Sweetpea got all dressed up in her pretty, red velvet Christmas dress (which Nanny had given her for her birthday).
The end of the day, and Sweetpea lost the battle with the Sandman.
We ended up driving home today, instead of tomorrow, as we had originally planned, due to some threatening weather reports for the Clines Corners area. Although driving home today let us avoid the snow and ice, we did have to fight some terrible winds all the way from south of Roswell to Clines Corners. Several times we couldn't avoid hitting tumbleweeds, but Dan (in the spirit of It's a Wonderful Life) assured me that, "Every time you hit a tumbleweed, an angel gets it's wings." I didn't know that!