Christmas 2012

It is absolutely no small feat getting this family of nine packed up and ready to hit the road!

Thankfully, a lot of my older children are able to contribute now.

I just give them an estimate of how many pants, shirts, socks, underwear, and PJs to pack- and they go to work.

Each child normally packs one duffel bag full of clothes and one backpack filled with things they want to bring along for the car ride (books, toys, iPods, etc).

I pack for myself and the three youngest. I decided my four year old wasn’t quite ready, after inspecting her bag to find- one princess dress and miscellaneous toys to last her the week. ;)


This is our 12 passeger van. Wow, I just realized I never named the poor guy.  I will have to work on that.  It looks a bit like Sears just arrived for a service call (whenever I spy it in the driveway) but this vehicle has been very good to us. The main drawback is- that it doesn’t have a whole lot of cargo space.  Makes packing up a challenge.

Your husband’s back going all tweaky, from the new memory foam topper, also makes packing a challenge. ;)

The kids and I got the job done though! Just barely.

The tricky part about making the trip North, is always the timing of when to leave, so as to avoid major metropolitan areas at rush hour. We left 2:00ish in the afternoon, and it worked out fabulously.

We drove the first six hours before breaking for dinner at Chick-Fil-A.


We then continued driving straight on through, arriving at my parent’s house about 2:30 AM.  Bless my mom, who was able to greet us with a smile, even at this ungodly hour.  We dragged a bunch of stuff inside, set up some beds, and were able to get some shut-eye before sunrise.


You can’t help but feel all Christmassy when you walk into my parent’s house…




everything always looks so wonderfully festive.

I don’t have any pictures, but somehow the sibling crowd managed to escape that following night for dinner at a yummy Asian place called Feng.  My mom stayed behind to watch 10 rowdy grandchildren and look after my dad.  It was all Auntie Di’s idea.  And when she gets an idea….things happen.  It was really fun because we never get a quiet moment like that to chat.  Thanks, Mom!

The next day was Christmas Eve.  Food preparations and gift wrapping filled the beginning of the day.  I made ‘Snow Pudding’ for the first time, which is a light, lemon-flavored gelatin covered with warm vanilla custard sauce.  It has been served for dessert on Christmas at my house since I can remember.  It is my dad’s favorite.

Christmas Eve was a “quiet” gathering of just our family and my parents.  We had a delicious salmon dinner in the formal dining room.




The best part came afterwards, when my mom and I took all the kids on a little walk through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.  They had a blast!


My amazing hubby cleaned up all the dishes and put away the food while we were gone.  Where did I find this guy?  He rocks!

And so it was time for ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ cake…


All of my rosy-cheeked children were ready to sing…



Just look at those precious faces…



We tucked all the kiddos into bed on Christmas Eve just as big, fat snowflakes began to fall from the sky.  It looked like we might just have a white Christmas after all.

Duff and I were a little nervous going to bed that night knowing all we had to give our kids come morning was a puzzle.

Would expectations be crushed?  Would they be completely disappointed?

I guess we were so preoccupied about changing things up, that we made a major rookie mistake- we failed to negotiate a wake-up time for Christmas morning.  Consequenty, we were ambushed by 7 exceedingly excited children before 6 AM. :)

We had them wait a good 45 minutes before staggering downstairs to the coffee maker and peeking outside at a beautiful dusting of the white stuff.



Happy Birthday, Jesus!  Thank you for laying down your life, lifting us from the fall, and making us white as snow!


Present time!

My four oldest children did the sweetest thing this year.  They took money from their savings and used it to buy little gifts for each other and their younger siblings.  It was sooo much fun helping them select gifts they could afford, teaching them how to wrap, and observing the joy they experienced from giving.

Christmas Tree




Look at that smile… his sister bought him a Nerf gun!



The puzzle from Duff and I came last…


We weren’t sure they would see it through to the end…


with the snow beckoning to all from outside.


They completed just enough, of the over 200 piece puzzle, to unlock the mystery before heading out to build snowmen.

The puzzle completed a picture of a house we rented in the mountains of Tennessee for a special family getaway.  The jury’s still split on whether this was a cool gift or not.







They stayed outside until the cousins started arriving and it was time for Christmas breakfast!



After presents with the cousins, we changed out of our PJs and headed over to Uncle Kev and Auntie Diana’s for some prime rib Christmas dinner.  It was yummy!  I didn’t even have room for dessert. Skipping dessert?  Who does that?!


The following night a bunch more snow fell and the cousins had a blast come morning!


Well except for Makinley, who was stricken with the bubonic plague of 2012.  Duff also spent the day in bed with back problems, and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to mobilize the troops for our trip to Boston the following day.

But we made it!


It was so much fun to see the Boston crew!  We ate delicious food, drank yummy drinks, and watched some amazing fashion shows throughout our stay.  It was our first visit to the new Fergy crib, and boy was it nice!


We had a quick impromptu birthday celebration for Kin, back in CT, before hitting the road and heading home to Carolina.


The weather made things rough going for the first four hours.


I just sat sipping a pumpkin latte to calm my nerves and watched my manly man navigate the treacherous roads.

I ate maddeningly addictive kettle corn which I considered throwing out the window multiple times.

I marveled over how every nook and cranny of our van was completely crammed full.

I tweeted.

Duff shared that I was an awesome passenger and I wasn’t sure how to take that.  Somehow I don’t think he appreciated my comments regarding windshield visibility.

Anywhooo, we finally made it home….where I immediately began my struggle with re-entry into ordinary, everyday life as we know it.

But life is good, and I adjusted!

Speak Your Mind