Christmas has finally come, and more quickly, gone. This year found us making several pit stops leading up to Christmas as we went to visit some of our close friends as well as Brinn’s family.
Our first holiday stop took us to the Allens’. Jack and Connie are an amazing couple who inspire me every day, and their daughter, Betsy, is a close friend from undergrad. She and I were fellow English majors, and survived the horrors of upper division Spanish together. The Allens are one of my favorite families on the planet. In fact, this year Jack and Connie shared some valuable marital advice with Brinn and I, which we appreciate greatly.
While we were busy chatting and catching up on life events, Ian had a great time scooting around Connie’s living room. We don’t have one stitch of carpet in our house, so when Ian gets a chance to play on carpet or rug, he takes full advantage of the gripiness.
Fortunately Ian seems to be as fond of the Allens as Brinn and I, so I believe stopping by their home will forever be one of our family Christmas traditions.After leaving the Allens’, we continued traveling south to visit the Andersons. David and Ann are practically Brinn’s second parents. He grew up in the house across the street from their house, and is the same age as their son, Paul. Brinn and Paul were thick as thieves as children, and spent as much time in each others’ houses as they did in their own. The Andersons included Brinn in family trips, and also taught him how to kayak. Even though everyone’s all grown up now, and no one lives on Forest Lane now, Brinn is still just as close with the Andersons and we still kayak with them often. The Andersons’ daughter, Amy, also had a baby boy this year. Charlie was born in March, so he’s about 2 months older than Ian.
While we visited with David, Ann, and Ami, Charlie and Ian got to know each other. I didn’t think that such little boys would interact much with one another, but Ian paid close attention to everything Charlie did, and was soon banging wooden spoons on pots right along with Charlie. Later on in the evening, Ian even attempted to pull himself up to a standing position like he’d seen Charlie doing. Ian, of course, couldn’t make it up all the way, but he understands the concept now. I see lots of summer weekends for Ian and Charlie playing together.
Our last stop the Saturday before Christmas was by Brinn’s sister’s house. Copper is a doctor in Chattanooga, and lives just outside. Brinn’s Aunt Sharon and Uncle Charlie came up from Atlanta to have dinner with the family. Ian got to play with his older cousins, Hannah-Kate and Jackson, and never went without a pair of arms reaching to cuddle him. His Grand Bobbie and Aunt Copper gave him all kind of fun new presents, including books, toys, and even clothes.
While we were visiting at Copper’s, Chaco made herself right at home as well 😉
On Sunday, we had a short day to get caught up on a few things at home, and had a visit from my cousin, Benjamin. In the south, cousins are like siblings, and we don’t differentiate between first cousins, second cousins, etc. I think Benjamin’s my third cousin but all that math involved with first removed and so on confuses the heck out of me. Ultimately none of that matters, because the bottom line is Benjamin is family and we’re close. We spent a ton of our childhoods in each others’ homes, and stayed in touch after moving away to college. Now we’re all grown up with real jobs and we still talk regularly.
Ian and I had another visit from my extended family over the break as well. Kristine stopped by for an evening on her drive back to Chicago land to visit her parents and siblings for Christmas. While she was here, she went through Ian’s entire evening routine:
1. Lots of playing
1.A. Unwrapping Christmas presents
2. A bath
3. A bottle
Kristine also made Mogwai and Chaco scarves for Christmas.
then Monday we were back on the road again to visit Grandma and Aunt Connie.
Tuesday we were up before dawn to get over to the ranch to celebrate Christmas with the kids. While we were there, Ian had a huge milestone and took his first scoots forward as a crawling baby! I now have a mobile man on my hands.
After breakfast with the boys, Brinn, Ian, and I came home to open presents together and get ready for Daddy and Preston to come up for the day.
What a whirlwind of a season!