Seems it's time for my monthly post as today is January 7th and my last was on December 8! :) I'm hopeless. As I'm reading other blogs, I think about updating mine and it never goes much farther than that.
We had a great December. Landon arrived home from school on Wednesday, December 12. We had two more days of school and then were off for the next three weeks. It was wonderful. It's been many years since we've taken three weeks off at Christmas; we just haven't had the time. This year, we had finished 18 weeks of curriculum, half of our subjects that take the longest, by December 14. We'll finish up the year in mid-May depending on how much time we take off this spring.
On Saturday, December 15, we headed to Busch Gardens' Christmas Town for our annual Meahl Family Christmas Event. It was the 8th year in a row we've done something together rather than exchanging gifts, and we always have a great time. Chase and my niece convinced me to ride a crazy roller coaster with them. I can't believe I survived. I always loved roller coasters, but I'm getting older. What can I say?
Sunday, the 16th, was my 50th birthday. I was NOT looking forward to it. We went to Carrabba's for dinner. I was so thrilled to have our friends, the Spiddles, join us. Landon and Chase gave me a really neat gift. On the way home from school (Orlando), he went by The Cheesecake Factory and bought me two pieces of cheesecake. They froze them until Sunday! That was so thoughtful. They also gave me two poinsettias. I always want poinsettias but can never justify the expense of buying some. I'm still enjoying them. :) Greg tried to buy me Christmas dishes which I had asked for. It's almost impossible for him to buy me anything. Luckily, I found the Pfaltzgraff Winterberry pattern at Belk for 70% off the day after Christmas. I also had a coupon of some sort with me. I got a much nicer set of dishes for less than he paid for some that were red on the inside and white on the outside or vice versa - not my idea of Christmas dishes.
We celebrated Christmas Eve with candlelight service and dinner out at the Ocean Buffet. It's the second year we've eaten there, and we really like it. The kids always open one "wintery" gift on Christmas Eve (fleece blankets or mittens or warm pajamas). This year they all got long-sleeved shirts purchased at Old Navy on Black Friday.
Everyone agreed to get up before 10:00am on Christmas day. Teenagers! So, we had homemade cinnamon rolls, did the center candle of our Advent wreath, and began opening presents. Landon was so excited to see how everyone liked what he gave them. He really went all out this year. We gave three gifts a piece to the kids - one major gift and two smaller ones. Landon's major gift was a Kindle (the lowest-priced model that's simply an e-reader), Gerren's was a luggage set (same thing Landon got his senior year Christmas), Chase's was a set of telescopic binoculars for looking at the stars, and Carys' was a Leapster 2 (which you really can't call a major gift since I got it for $20 on Black Friday!). Everyone liked their gifts, though Carys needs more games for hers to really enjoy it. Her birthday is 1/17, so I foresee games in her future. :)
|The traditional Christmas morning photo|
Landon gave Greg a Kindle Fire. He broke the iTouch I bought him a year or so ago by sitting on it in his back pocket. So, Landon figured at least he couldn't sit on this one. Our only dilemma is trying to convert the albums we bought on iTunes to mp3s. The newer ones are convertible, but the older ones aren't. I need to put that on my to-do list. Greg bought me a purse I hated, but I found one I liked a day or so after Christmas and bought it. The kids bought me a pair of FitFlop clogs which I really wanted, but I didn't like the style, they were too expensive and they were too small. I also found a different pair I liked a day or so later and Landon order those (he actually saved money)! See, I'm awful to buy anything for. I need to make a Wish List on Amazon.com like my friend Kristine does.
|A Doctor Who shirt from Landon to Gerren|
|Carys was so thrilled to hand out her gifts|
|"Girl" Legos from Landon to Carys|
|A My Little Pony calendar from Mom & Dad|
|Gerren needed new running shoes....these were too small!|
|Leapster 2 from Mom & Dad|
|Landon bought Chase a messenger bag from some anime' they watch|
|Luggage for Christmas your senior year in high school may become a traditional gift!|
|Playing with the Legos now that they're put together|
After a dinner of steak, baked potatoes and salad, we headed to the movies to see The Hobbit. We enjoyed it even though it didn't get very good reviews. When we got home, we had dessert - cranberry cheesecake - and opened stockings as usual. Everyone loved what they got in their stockings which included ear buds and iTunes gift cards. My stocking had caramel creams (which I love) in it. That was all. Caramel Creams. Certainly a disappointment. It's hard for someone whose love language is gift giving to live in a family where almost no one else's love language is gift giving. Sigh.
We had a great New Year's Eve of game playing and appetizer-type foods at home with our family. Everyone made it until midnight, even Carys. New Year's Day we had a turkey I bought on sale near Thanksgiving for dinner, then Landon took Chase and me to see Les Miserables. I really liked it, though I didn't cry for the whole three hours as I've heard of people doing. (Landon says I may not have a soul.) :)
We're back to school now and looking forward to all the spring holds, including Gerren's graduation from high school entrance into the Air Force. Maybe I'll update more frequently. Yeah, right!