Thursday, January 12, 2023

December 2022


We kicked off the month by ice skating with my mom in downtown Murray. They had a big Christmas event that was really neat. The boys and I loved the ice skating SO MUCH, and Abe, in true Abe fashion, was unusually good at it unusually quickly. That kid is so athletic. The girls and mom didn't love it so much, but after the ice skating Josh took the boys home and we gals wandered around downtown for a while enjoying the other things there were to do.

We left the next morning to head to Bat Cave, North Carolina, just outside of Asheville. We got to spend some time with old friends from seminary days and their sweet family, and Josh preached at their church that Sunday. Then we drove from there on down to Orlando to spend the week with Josh's family and enjoy our Christmas presents: two days at Disney World!

We spent one day at Hollywood Studios and one day at Magic Kingdom, and it was amazing. We did everything we wanted to do thanks to low crowds and Jude's disability access pass, which allowed us to wait for each ride outside of the line and come back when it was time to ride.

We eventually had to say our first goodbyes to Josh's sister and family and head back to Kentucky. It's been sweet to get to spend so much time with them and get to know our two nieces/cousins who we'd never met.

The day after we returned to Kentucky, JJ was a drummer in the Christmas performance at church. Abraham was supposed to sing, too, but he got cold feet at the last minute. 

That same day was also Taylah's birthday! It worked out perfectly that the grandparents all came to see JJ at church and then came to our house to celebrate her birthday afterward. It's crazy that we now have THREE teenagers in our house!

We celebrated Christmas with my mom's side of the family a little early. Mom is one of 10 siblings (9 girls and 1 boy), and half of them were able to make it to the party along with a generous smattering of cousins and our kids. It was a great time.

I drove up to my hometown of Marion, Kentucky to see my sister sworn in as the new mayor! We're all so proud of her! I also learned something funny about my state that night, which is that in Kentucky every elected official has to swear in like 4 different ways that they have never taken part in a duel. Ha!

We all took Josh's Papaw out for lunch at his favorite restaurant, The Four Seasons. The kids were all good and it was a really special time to get to spend with him. He's had a lot of health troubles the last few years, but he's getting around so well now.

On Christmas Eve, Josh's mom fixed a Polish Christmas dinner (and I had the VeggieTales 8 Polish Foods of Christmas song stuck in my head all night). Her mom's parents were Polish from Lithuania, and Mamaw was teaching us the Polish phrases that she remembers from her parents. It was delicious and a good time with family.

We took our annual Christmas Eve picture before bed, and I shared this story with this picture on social media, but I want to have it here too: We have taken Christmas Eve pajama pictures in front of a tree since 2014. But tonight Jude absolutely (and wordlessly) insisted that we take this one in front of the fireplace instead. He refused to sit in front of the tree, and instead firmly planted himself in that spot until we relented and his siblings moved. We tried to take this one and then move to in front of the tree, but he again refused. He’s a funny dude who knows what he wants and is pretty good at getting his point across even without words. I like how his idea turned out. 

On Christmas Day, we had the grandparents over for opening stockings and a big breakfast. Then we all went to church together and went to Josh's parents' house for lunch afterward. After lunch Josh and his dad took the kids out sledding behind the 4-wheeler for as long as they could stand the cold. They all had some much fun, and Jude would have never come in if it was up to him!

A few days after Christmas, we had a gathering with some of Josh's dad's side of the family. It was a fun time. I hardly took any pictures, but the kids had a blast playing with their cousin.

And we ended the year the same way we've been ending our years since 2014: by moving our mattresses to the living room and having a jump/dance party for a while before settling down to watch a movie and sleep together in the living room. It's such a sweet tradition. We never stay up until midnight, and it's never the best night of sleep for me (I'm a light sleeper anyway), but I love it.

Looking back, it's been a crazy month and an even crazier year. So much has happened that my brain can hardly comprehend it all. We are feeling all the feelings about going back to Malawi in January, but we can honestly say that we've truly made the most of our time in the US!

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