The Arrival through Christmas Eve

Poppi and Nani came to Minnesota in hopes of a white Christmas and special time with the Grand-Things.  They for sure experienced the latter, the first, not so much.  Apparently we have been breaking some records around these parts with the "warm" weather.  So all of our hopes were a bit crushed with no snow on the ground for Christmas day but we made the most of our time together for sure.

It began with a late night arrival bringing an early morning and a full day following.  The elves had some last minute shopping to do, both grocery and presents.  Things had planned a heart attack lunch for Poppi and Nani at Lions Tap, a local burger joint.  Seems they don't get much of that with Husband Jared and I but they knew Poppi couldn't refuse.  Poppi and Thing 4 had some creating to do, a white chocolate bark with pretzels and peanuts.  It tasted mighty good.  I enjoyed seeing them in the kitchen together.

  The next day brought more preparing and shopping and cooking and baking.  All the duties I love.  And beings that Poppi and Nani were with us made it even better.  The Things were off school and Husband Jared home from work and my heart was full.  We went to an early showing of "We Bought a Zoo" and I cried my eyes out.  What a story.  On our way out of the movie as I surveyed our family it hit me that my Things were growing up.  Have you ever had one of those moments?  To my right the eldest Thing towered over me, the littlest Thing was soon to be 10 years old and inbetween stunningly beautiful Things inside and out tugged at my heart.  Then the tears came and all I could do was hug my Dad.  There weren't words.  Embarrassing.  So I tried with no success to persuade the Things into a photo with Santa just like the old days.  Maybe next year I was told.  Following my break down we split up for some guy and girl separate shopping and then met back home to decompress and enjoy some down time.  Thankfully.  A full day.

 Nani and Me in the Kitchen

 The Boys playing CuPonk

 Nani and Thing 1, cooking of course!

We woke on Christmas Eve morn to sunshine and a breathtaking winters day so we headed out for a hike at the bluffs.  Since we're not a family to pass a photo opp we set the camera up on the bridge and we posed pretty, even Polo.  On our walk we collected twigs for a project that was assigned in our Jesse Tree readings.  After our hike we created our crosses and got ready for church.  I was so looking forward to worship time at Grace with our family.  It was a beautiful service and afterward the celebration continued at home. We ate a delicious Italian feast prepared by Nani, enjoyed sweets and hot cocoa, sprinkled the front lawn with reindeer food, wrote Santa a letter and played a rousing game of Catch Phrase, complete with antics and drama that did not dissappoint.  The Things were tucked in snuggly with dreams of Christmas morning dancing in their sweet little heads.  Or not.  Either way they were asleep, altogether in the big Things' bedroom, a family sleep over.  What a sight.  Then us grown ups watched Christmas Vacation and shared some laughs and then crawled to our beds with a few hours to spare before the early wake up call we would be receiving. 

 Family Hike at the creek

Our twig crosses, tied with red ribbon to remind us of the best gift of all, Jesus

 Thing 3's sewing lesson

 The Familia

 Poppi and Nani and the Things

 The six of us, Polo too

 Ready for Christmas Eve dinner

Hot chocolate and waiting for the first present

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