25 December 2015

The Thrill of Hope

Pre-Christmas with some of the cousins!
The Christmas season has been in full swing since the day after Thanksgiving. We've had our fill of Christmas parties, concerts, gatherings, food, music and lights. However, every year, we count down the days until we can make the trek to visit family and friends during the break.
Evelyn's school concert.
 Before we left though, we had some business to take care of. While pregnant, Jack helped me out with the horses a bit and trained Dancer for me while I was too great with child to ride. For the most part, she was good, but once in a while, she got a wild gleam in her eye and took Jack for a gallop. His meniscus paid a small price and right before we left on vacation, he had a small tear repaired. He's been basically an invalid ever since. And loving every minute of it.
I get to play nurse!
The drive from Indiana to Nebraska can be long and arduous. With four kids, a temporarily disabled husband and a dog, it can be a lot of work for me. We left in the wee hours of the morning, saying a prayer that everything would go well and sped off, hoping no one would complain.
Enjoying a beautiful sunrise.
 We didn't even make it past Evelyn's school before Kate asked if we were there yet.
We brought Hannibal with us in the car.
In all seriousness, the trip couldn't have gone better. We watched movies, everyone napped, snacked and played with their sticker books.
LOTS and LOTS of stickers.
Kate, the Picasso dog.
By the time we made it to The Promised Land (a.k.a. Nebraska), hardly anyone had whined about the distance. It was a Christmas miracle.
The light at the end of the tunnel!
Once we arrived, there were plenty of challenges still to face: taking care of Gimpy Jack meant I had to meet his every whim, from fetching his pills and ice packs in the middle of the night to bringing him breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed (I told you he liked it!), there were meltdowns, spit up, fights, overeating, staying up too late, crying, dog bites, racing around town to see family and friends, guilt about not being able to see everyone, an unfortunate chicken murder, my mother having to work out of town ON Christmas (boo!), among other trying experiences that come with the holidays. But, those pale in comparison to all the fun of Christmas.
Great-grandma Deaton meeting Henry.
 Great-grandmas met great-grandbabies.
I got to hold Tuck the Genius and Henry, the Coolest Baby Ever.
Aunts meeting nephews.
Such a Happy Henry!
Baby blessings.
 Naps!
Naps!
Jenny and Henry!
And MORE naps!
Star Wars...in love seat recliners!
Games with family.
Balloon animals!
Learning the "old lady arts" from grandma.
Nothing says Christmas like hamburgers and hot dogs!
Grilling out just a few days before Christmas??? You betcha!
Another Christmas miracle.
And still getting a white Christmas??? You betcha!
Driving around to see Christmas lights.
The season has been very good to us and we've enjoyed it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, the bloody, and the beautiful. Most importantly, we've been reminded of "the thrill of hope" because of the babe born in Bethlehem and the peace and hope He brings to the world.

Merry Christmas to all!

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