Ahhh, we are home. Holiday travels are complete at last. I LOVE visiting with family and all of the sweet memories that are made, but there is something so refreshing about finally being back in our own home and knowing that all of the packing and unpacking is finished for awhile. This Christmas we kept up quite a busy schedule:
Saturday & Sunday (12/18-19): Christmas at the Lawson farm w/ Heather & Kyle
Monday (12/20): Work, Heather's graduation party
Tuesday(12/21): babysit Lilly, finish Christmas present wrapping
Wednesday(12/22): Silver Dollar City w/ my mom & sister
Thursday (12/23): Um, ended up being a mostly relaxing day - Josh had a long day at work though, with rehearsals for Christmas day service.
Friday (12/24): Quick trip to Branson for Christmas Eve lunch with the Lay family - Liam got to meet 5 cousins and one uncle he hadn't met yet - lots of fun! Then dinner at my parents & stockings, home for Liam's gifts from Josh & I.
Saturday (12/25): Christmas day with my family (+ the fun additions of my aunt Pam and our friend Marie).
Sunday-Tuesday (12/26-28): trip to St. Louis to visit with the Chappeau/Harnagel side of the family and to finish emptying out my grandmother's house (she died 3 years ago and the house just finally sold).
So, that's probably tedious to read, but I want to remember all that we did Liam's first Christmas. Ten days of celebration has been wonderful, but I'm ready for some down time! So, we've been home two hours, baby has been sleeping since we walked in the door, we are completely unpacked, first load of laundry done, gifts mostly put away: serenity.
Anyway, I fell a bit behind with reverb because of all the travels. So, here we go (prompt from the 28th): Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?
Bagels, cream cheese & lox at my Great-Aunt Ruth's house. Every Christmas my mom's siblings and their children (the Chappeaus) and my mom's cousins (the Harnagels - Ralph & Ruth's children) and their children gather for a giant meal at Ralph & Ruth's house. Usually it is a day or two after Christmas ... when my grandma Gert was still living her children & grandchildren would spend Christmas day with her, while Ralph & Ruth's kids/grandkids would spend Christmas day with them. Then the next day, before everyone left to go home, we would all gather together. When my grandmother passed away I was sad, of course, that we would no longer have her with us in this life; but I was also sad and fearful that losing her meant we would lose our connection to the Harnagel side of the family.
Gratefully, this has not happened. We no longer spend Christmas day in St. Louis, and every other Christmas Josh and I are with his family instead of mine; but my family has maintained the tradition of gathering with the extended family as much as possible. This year was exceptionally special. All of the distant family from California, Alabama, and Nebraska were able to make the trip in to join the Missouri and Arkansas representatives. Liam loved meeting all of the greats and great-greats and seconds and thirds that he hadn't met before, and I loved watching him get cuddled and kissed to pieces.
Oh, the bagels and lox are part of the tradition. Ruth serves them as the appetizer every year - they touch my soul because whenever I taste bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon paired with a good glass of wine, my heart feels the comfort of our loving family.