Monday, December 31, 2007

Our First Christmas

(more photos coming...)

Christmas (closely followed by Halloween) has always been my favorite holiday. I am a true Martha Stewart when it comes to preparing for the big day. I LOVE decorating, baking, wrapping presents, and just enjoying the the thrills of the season. This year was extra special for me because I got to share it with my new husband. I felt like such a grown up!

With both Ben's family and mine living so far away, December's calendar quickly fills up with travel arrangements. This year we went to South Carolina in the middle of the month to spend some time with the good ol' Grizzle clan. While there we celebrated the holiday with a big bash at Ben's uncle house where we played games, exchanged presents and of course ate lots of delicious goodies! Ben's family also gave me a tour of their hometown. I got to see where Ben grew up, Mr. & Mrs. Grizzles' first home, and Grizzle Street!

Old Traditions & New!
December 22nd we left for the great state of Ohio. We made the grand venture with our only child (Marley the cat) in tow. Of course sedation was needed to get him in the car, but it was actually pretty fun - the sedative made him a little more cuddly! He roamed around the car for awhile before deciding on a resting spot. I think he liked being Ben's copilot!

Saturday night we attended my Dad's family's annual Christmas party at my Great-Grandmother Angel's house. Sixty-three other people joined us! It was a lot of fun and good to visit with family members I would otherwise never get to see! There were several new faces with marriages and babies adding more and more folks to our family every year.

It is a tradition for my family to go to my paternal grandparents house for Christmas Eve. We eat dinner, open presents, watch It's a Wonderful Life and track Santa together!

As a new tradition (second year and counting) Ben and I exchange ONE present when we get home from this gathering. It is always a new pair of pajamas to wear to bed that night and to open presents in the next day! We tried to get them to match this year. They were close...but next year we will do better!

Since we got to open a present early, I thought it only fair to give Mom and Dad one of theirs early too. I framed some special photos for them. There is one of me with each of them when I was a baby and then with each of them on my wedding day. Of course, it made my mom cry - Mission Accomplished!
Christmas Day was very different for us this year. Last January 7 my Grandma Jo passed away. It was very unexpected and a hard time for my family. In years past we would wake up Christmas morning, open presents and then travel about 2 and a half hours north to my Grandma Jo's to spend the rest of the day with her and my mom's family. It was very different this year not getting to do that. But with a new member in our family (Ben, of course) we decided to start a new tradition of staying home and cooking dinner with my parents. It turned out quite nicely and we look forward to many more years of it!

My Mother's birthday is December 30th so we stayed in Ohio long enough to celebrate with her! My sister's boyfriend, Clay, even flew up from Florida to join in on the fun! We played Friends: Scene It!, Cranium and went Outlet shopping! In honor of her birthday, my mom bought each of us a present! Good deal, huh? I think this should be a new tradition as well!

We arrived home late Sunday night with a car full of dirty laundry, loads of presents and a sedated cat. It is good to be back in Birmingham, but it's true what they say, "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays!"

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