Christmas itself- and the days leading up to it- were honestly quite superb. There was some stress when my dad put me in charge of part of his Christmas shopping (read: all of his Christmas shopping), and when, on account of he waited until the week of Christmas (yep.), I couldn't find some of the things requested by some of the people on his list (read: any of this things requested by any of the people on his list), and because I didn't want my family to suffer experience some of the horrible interesting gifts he sometimes selects (once, everyone in the family- I mean everyone- got one of those plastic animated aquariums that shows a rolling montage of the same fish when you plug it in), I scoured every store in central Alabama and came out alright. At least, I wore one smug smile when everyone ripped open the gifts and shrieked with genuine pleasure, instead of immediately trying to hide their true feelings about said "aquariums." But other than those action-packed three days with more shopping than any one only-sort-of-into-it shopper like myself can endure, things went smoothly.
We went to my dad's for Christmas Eve, and although Dad and I had to trek through Prattville (in the rain, no less) for the perfect charcoal grill so that the hamburgers would be Christmas-Eve-appropriate and that we had to go buy all of the meat/toppings/sides for said hamburgers (I know what you're thinking and I agree: Dad's New Year's Resolution should be preparing ahead of time, aye?), everything came together and worked out just fine. And plus, there were all those genuine smiles to light up the afternoon. Later, we went to the Christmas Eve service at church, where I got to watch one leopard-clad shepherd journey across the sanctuary to pay a visit to baby Jesus.
On Christmas morning, we slept until 8 o'clock (!). I don't know about you guys, but when I was a youngun, I seldom made it past, I don't know, 4:37 a.m., and I then sneaked into my big sister's bedroom and pestered her until she begged Mom and Dad to let me come down between the five and six o'clock hours. Anyway, Hailee woke up first and got me up, and we went in to wake up Taylor, who honestly wasn't all that pumped about deserting dreamland for Santa Claus, but he sure perked up after he saw the living room. It was a really lovely Christmas, and I can say that I honestly can't think of a single thing that I wanted and didn't get.
Moving right along (we're hurtling through this break!), to the day after Christmas, which is, folks, when the true fun began. Baby Jesus? A tree overflowing with nifty striped packages that have your name stickered to them? So many haystacks that your stomach starts to sound like Mr. Ed? Nope. Doesn't even compare to a family vacation. (Ahem, just kidding about the Baby Jesus part.) We headed out at 7 o'clock on Saturday morning.
Oh wait, you don't believe me? That's because it's not true. Chris, Lori, Hailee, and Taylor did indeed pull out of the driveway at an ungodly-for-the-day-after-Christmas hour, but not I. Oh no, people. I was riding with my sister, Laine. And who else should be riding with her besides a brand-new teenager, a toddler, and a dog? I'm guessing all of you are feeling jealous right about now and wishing you'd signed up for such a tantalizing trip. After several (and I mean several!) just-short-of-disaster kinks set us back three and a half (THREE AND A HALF.) hours behind schedule, we got on the road for a super duper eight-hour drive. Ah, Internet. Wish you could have been there, every single one of you. Really, though, it wasn't as bad as it sounds, if you don't count the brand-new teenager or the time we locked the keys in the trunk at the gas station or the time a book flew out the window.
When we arrived, we were met with more gifts and dinner and lots of welcoming faces. It was worth it. We hung out at a condo that seemed nice, but also offered us a few roaches new friends, and did things like watch Twilight for the 32nd time and put raw hamburgers on a grill that hasn't worked since 2002 (and then take raw hamburgers off said grill and instead "broil" them) and give cooties (Not me. I didn't give any cooties. I got some, though.)*
We came back today, after two days, and it really was some good quality family togetherness (you can't get more together than in a car. Unless, of course, you're not in a SUV, but are truly in a car.) The holiday proved to be low on stress and drama and high on happiness and excitement and haystacks, which is how I like it. I could've gone for some brownies at some point, but I didn't want to push my luck.
*I tried uploading pictures at this point to give you some cootie visuals, but, alas, Schnathan the computer wasn't going for it. I'll try again later if I find some patience lying around.