Thanks for all of your kind comments on my last post, in which I told of the chaos that was my life the last week before Christmas week. I was really tired when it was all over, but it was all fun and all went well. The class party was great - we squashed into our house, but had a great time. Someone took a couple of pictures --
The cantata went so well - what a blessing to be able to sing such beautiful music with people we enjoy being with so much. The Lord touched my soul as I sang the story of Christ's birth.
I am so blessed to be part of two wonderful families - both DC and I grew up as the eldest child in a pastor's home. My family was, and is, larger. My side of the family consists of 52 people, his side numbers 35.
Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma turned 90 in October. Those of us who live here (15, I believe) celebrated with her at that time. The remainder, minus one family of 4 (16 in all), made the long trek by minivan caravan from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to celebrate Christmas and Grandma's birthday belatedly.
Each family who lives here hosted 4 people for the week. My SIL did a marvelous job of organizing the event. She shopped in bulk and delivered copious amounts of food to each host home, plus quite a few inflatable beds. She also bought all of the food and other necessities for the evening meals, and the cost of everything was divvied up among all of us.
Our four guests were really easy to have around. Their kids were fun and well behaved. The chaos was quite organized. Kristen ended up with 11 at her house. Kev and Sema split the time with another cousin and his wife.
We had really cold weather the entire time they were here - but they really enjoyed it. They went sledding, hiking, cross country skiing - most of the visitors plus DC and a few others from around here. I love the look of really frosty trees - but give me a nice warm house, thank you very much! As soon as they left, the cold went away - it was 60 today - crazy!
The travelers arrived around 10:00 Sunday night, the 20th. Monday was low key with everyone kind of catching up and resting. That evening was the big party. Each evening's meal was served and cleaned up by designated families. We were blessed to have the use of our church's gym every night. It was so great because there was room for everyone, there was basketball, ping pong, and lots of room for the kids to run around and play (keeping out of the way of the basketballs, hopefully! - unless you wanted to put one under your shirt!)
There is also a very fast commercial dishwasher, which was a real blessing. I have to say right now that we had WAY too much food! But all easy to get ready and good to eat.
Grandma's cake could have set off the fire alarm!
Care Bear didn't feel very well that night, so she took one of the afghans Great Aunt G brought along and set up a movie on the little travel DVD player - she was soon joined by several second cousins and her sister.
Aunt/Cousin K, who loves being with the little ones, was a huge help -- she even stayed at Kristen's house (I guess that means she had 12) to help corral all the kiddoes in the mornings and at bedtime.
I didn't get any pictures of this, but after the dinner and birthday cake was consumed, we gathered around the tree (which our church's youth group had decorated with popcorn, cranberries, and other vintage items, not knowing they were going to provide our family's tree for the week), sitting in a circle and telling stories about Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma and what she had meant to us. It was a special time.
When the brave, athletic ones went cross-country skiing on Wednesday, the rest of us ended up with a preschool amount of kids for the day! My idea was to take them all to library story time, which the girls and I do every week. We were the greatest percentage of the crowd that day -- Care Bear is the one on the stool with the Santa hat on - she always likes to sit right there, ready to do the craft, right by the story lady.
While we were at story time, Great Aunt G was fixing lunch for them --
When there are that many people together, it is hard to have really intense, meaningful conversations. But it was fun to watch and listen --
Before I write again it will be 2009, I am quite sure. By that time we'll have transported Kev and Sema to the airport for their big adventure to Mombassa, Kenya on the continent of Africa. Please pray for their trip, for health, and for blessed times with family far, far away!
Stay Tuned for Part II (I can't get rid of this underlining!)