A Celebratory December

It’s been a great December. Despite all our worries and stressing with lists of things to do and buy, places to go, people to see, and today’s gloomy weather, it’s been a great month.

And December turned out to be all about celebrations. We first celebrated the marriage of two friends as they joined their families together. We felt truly honored and happy to be there to celebrate with them. We wish them many years of bliss.

DSC_0571
Our good friends Thomas and Farren tied the knot!

The following day my company held its annual Christmas party where we again celebrated another year of success. We partied until they were practically shutting the place down and kicking us out. Great times. Maybe a little too great. The next day I had yet another small celebration to attend and the prospect of getting up and driving two hours there and then two hours home was enough to give me a headache (or maybe that’s not what was causing the headache?). Actually, I was more than happy to meet my friends Pam and Nona to celebrate Pam’s birthday. I’m always happy to see them and wish we could see each other more often. Next it will be Nona’s birthday that will bring us together again.

Doug and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary this week and, following in a tradition started last year, we went down to Newport News to spend the weekend with Doug’s cousin Lisha and her husband Steve. We had a blast sitting around their dining room table having drinks and snacks, and after some half-hearted resistance, a rousing game of Christmas Trivia that Doug and I somehow managed to win! Yay us! But the real excitement of the day came from Sarah (Doug’s daughter) and Joe, who stopped in on their way up from North Carolina, and announced their engagement. We are so excited and happy for them. Although this is just another sign that we’re not getting any younger, now that the first of our children is getting married.

engagement
Sarah and Joe got engaged!

Although I think we are not there all the way yet, I think our families are becoming closer and more fully integrated. By virtue of the stages and ages each of our kids were wen Doug and I got married two years ago, we know that it’s possible that all five of them won’t ever be very close. Some of them only see each other once or twice a year and in the last three and half years we’ve only had all five in the same place at the same time just a handful of times, including our wedding and reception which count for two of those occasions. And that’s OK I guess. As long as they don’t feel like strangers to each other when their paths do meet. I want them to be comfortable and relaxed around each other. For Jeremy that’s not a problem. As the youngest he gets to spend the most time with the others and his personality is so outgoing that he doesn’t seem to have any problems finding his way and common ground with each of his siblings.

Although we were missing the oldest (Kyle, in Philadelphia) and the youngest (Jeremy, spending it with his dad), Christmas Eve was a great step in this direction. We spent it with Sarah and Joe, Matthew, Allyson and her boyfriend Arby, and even Doug’s first wife (and his children’s mother) and her husband Dave. We had a great time telling stories (mostly of the crazy things Doug’s kids did when they were little) and Beth even caught herself on fire! (Now don’t misunderstand me here – I had nothing to do with the fire and wish no harm on Beth!)

flutes
Their first gift as an engaged couple, toasting flutes. (See the tea lights? A little bit after this picture was taken Beth reached across the table for some cheese…right over the tea lights. Thank goodness Sarah was paying attention and put her out!)

One of the best presents I got this year was from Allyson, who was happy to announce that she’s been prescription-free for two months. It’s a long and painful story, and I am just so happy to know that she can now function and live her life without depending on any assistance from any pills or chemicals. I’m so proud of her.

Arby and Allyson
Allyson and her boyfriend Arby

And speaking of gifts, it wouldn’t be Christmas without an addition to the “collectibles” we have come to expect from Matt. Here’s the latest:

baby james
Doug’s (gag) present from Matthew, from the Little Gentlemen Series.

And this is what he made for me – so cool!

Othon
My gift from Matthew: re-purposed pallet boards and personalized just for me.
coupon
It may be hard to tell, but he was actually happy to find something in new wallet that he can put toward his new custom shoes fund.
JD
Our gift from Allyson. Our children know us so well!
model cars
Working on his new model cars.

Today has been the quietest day in a very long time. I’ve been home alone and the only sounds have been the wind and rain outside (so happy not to have to go out there today), the sounds of the washer and dryer, and the sound of my fingers tapping on the keyboard (and of course the ringing in my ears which is always present but seems so much louder on days like this). Perfect day to finish the puzzle we started yesterday.

Puzzle
Making progress on the puzzle.
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