No, It’s not that type of hangover. In addition to the sugar, meat, and drink overindulgences, I’ve started (as of this morning) another one of my infamous caffeine purges. I used to do this much more frequently when I didn’t have a child, and it has been more than two years since my last one.
The real cost isn’t born by me, but by those around me. This has played a major part in the long interlude since my last caffeine break. It seems my wife doesn’t want to be around me on the first day (and I don’t blame her) so she issued an edict saying that the next time I start has to be when I’m away.
Technically, I am away. We’re at the Stanley Compound in Alabama. The day after Christmas is quiet, as our girl has gone over to play with her cousins and my parents are at the hospital all day. So that leaves Kymberlee and I alone in a large house without any responsibilities. Plenty of space for me to be irrational, short-tempered, and mean away from anyone I love. I just pity our poor dog Doodle who is the only living creature that can put up with me. Dogs are truly man’s best friends.
But enough about caffeine withdrawal stories. This is the time of year for Love and Family. Our Christmas started out early in the morning in our new home when Evie was happy to see that Santa took a bite of cookie when he delivered some presents and filled our stockings.
We then got into our trusted steed and vaulted South to the fabled Cousinland. Doodle and Evie were happy travelers in their Christmas regalia!
The Alabamians were very gracious in delaying their Christmas gift opening ceremony until the Northerners arrived. Of course, they managed to entertain themselves.
As for us, going from a household of three to a compound of 20+ is always tough, but the fireplace mantel at Grandma and Grandpa’s house says it all!
They just pray every year that Santa doesn’t bring heavy stocking stuffers. Otherwise the mantel would need some serious repair!
As for the bigger business part of the house, sometimes a photo just doesn’t do justice to 20+ folks in one room with presents for all. But I tried.
After the carnage is over, it’s now time for the annual ritual of playing with the gifts until Christmas Dinner is served. Needless to say, creativity never seems to be missing in this family.
Never mind the shenanigans that weren’t caught with a camera.
After everyone’s bellies were full and sugar had been mainlined, we gathered for the traditional family shot.
All lined up and orderly, it’s hard to imagine what life is normally like around here. But we’ll still look at this years later and remember why two of the girls were in PJs, which nephew was the most obnoxious, and how the family grew yet again as an outward sign of the love and grace that exists within this extended family. Thanks Mom & Dad!