Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

We packed the car and headed to SC on Friday the 21st after Hughes got out of school.  Apparently, every other person thought that was a great time to leave or travel through DC also.  It took us an hour to go 14 miles but we persevered and finally pulled into St. Matthews around 1am.  Even though David says he will never do that again, I did like having an extra whole day in St. Matthews and he made the most of it by going shopping for yours truly.  

Saturday was spent grocery shopping and running errands.  On Sunday, we had the Wimberly dinner in Sumter.  It was great to see cousins and family that we rarely see and the boys each got a gift so that was a plus in their book.  

On Christmas Eve we had a family dinner at Mom's and celebrated Bull's (no I didn't type that wrong, my boys call Bill - Bull) birthday.  We hit church where Collins acted like we served him a Red Bull and David had to take him out.  Hughes' burnt Banks with dripping wax during Silent Night and we all made it home safe and sound.  Well, safe and sound until Collins got out of the car and face planted in a  mud puddle.  Hence the diaper shots while opening a few presents.  Not to mention Charlie pulling the bowl of collards onto the floor, breaking the bowl and making a gigantic mess.  Or dare mention David tracking Suzie's uh-oh all over the house.  Eventful Christmas Eve

Stay classy, my friends.

Hughes loved Suzie.

Bull giving thumbs up to his birthday cake.

Banks very excited about his Wii football game.  David is now hoping this gets him off of his iPad.

Christmas Eve night after opening presents and getting ready to hit the sack.  Hughes was pretty pumped about Battleship.  Collins enjoyed playing with the remote control cars.  They all loved the air hockey table that BecBec got them (parents included)  

Anna Banks and Emma scared them half to death about Santa not stopping if children were still awake and before we knew it the boys were in the bed going to sleep.

While they slept, Santa visited and he left lots of surprises.

It was a Disney Christmas for Collins - Mickey Mouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and all sorts of other goodies.

Banks got golf clubs and practice balls.

Hughes got a bow and arrow.

And all three boys got a teepee tent with a castle and knight accessories.

I was so nervous that the boys would go downstairs without waking us up.  I was up bright and early with Collins and we waited in the kitchen.  Thankfully, Collins had no idea what was lurking right in the next room.  I finally woke the boys up at 7am because I knew Bull was going to stop by on his way to work.

Suzie was excited, too.  She was hoping for bones.

Annual before-Santa picture.  Collins wasn't feeling it.

We spent the rest of the morning opening boxes, assembling, searching for pieces, reading instructions, etc.  Thanks to Mom for taking over camera duty and proof that I was there on Christmas morning.  Unfortunately that means that she's not in any pictures.

Oh, and crazy Santa put the basketball goal in the dining room.  He must have remembered at the last minute once the boys were awake and snuck it in.  Nevertheless, the boys love it.

BecBec with all of her grandchildren.
Bryce, Collins, Anna Banks, Hughes, Lucius, BecBec, Banks and Emma

On Christmas afternoon, we packed up and headed to York for two days.  I have no pictures but I'm hoping that I can snag some of Deyna's.  The boys got more great things - New England Patriots football helmet and jersey, Snap Circuits, sleds, coats, etc.  We came home on Thursday with a few hours to spare before the stomach bug hit David.    We've been laying low since then.

2013 has brought a lot of change - Dad, graduating, moving, new job.  It has been full of emotion but I know that Dad was with us the entire way and he would have loved to been there on Christmas morning watching the boys squeal with excitement.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wreaths Across America

On Saturday morning we met Hughes' Cub Scout troop to head down to Arlington to help distribute Christmas wreaths.  It was amazing.  Last year Wreaths Across America made 90,000 wreaths.  This year they made 140,000.  They say they need about 200,000 to be able to decorate every grave.  It was quite beautiful seeing volunteers of all ages come to pay their respect our country's heroes.  To be buried at Arlington you have to be a career military or killed while serving.  

Robert E. Lee's house is at the top of the hill.  You can see the flag at half mast from Friday's school shooting.  

There is a big parade of the volunteer trucks driving into Arlington.  They each have a designated section and at a certain time they start unloading the boxes which are filled with wreaths.  They also gave out hats to all the school children.

Troop hug

Our first soldier that we honored.

On the back of every wreath was this quote that they ask for you to say.  

After taking a rest, we went on a hunt to find my uncle's brother's grave.  It was quite a hunt but we finally found Paul's marker and were happy to lay another Christmas wreath.

Some graves you will notice don't have wreaths.  They asked to only lay the wreaths on the graves with the Christian symbol.  If a grave had the Star of David or crescent symbol then they asked for you to skip it.  This was asked of them by the Jewish and Muslim faiths.

We had one more wreath to lay and we wanted to honor our neighbor's wife.  Before we moved to DC, our neighbor, Mr. Gene, lost his wife.  She died in her sleep completely unexpected.  We love Mr. Gene and he has been wonderful to our boys.  We set out to find where Mrs. Lynn was interred on the Niche Wall.

Right when we were walking up (about 3 hours after I emailed Mr. Gene for the location of Mrs. Lynn) Mr. Gene was walking up.  God's timing is always perfect.

It was a very memorable day and I hope that we do it again next year.  Quite amazing.