I woke up this morning on a beach in Florida. My family is celebrating Christmas/New Year’s here. My grandmother (and her husband of 12+ years) live here. So, all of the living children and their children have descended in order to reconnect and celebrate the holiday. The first thing I wanted to do though this morning was update you on the past few days while I still remember them.

Thursday, Dec 22, I started the day at Hayley’s parents house. We woke up late, enjoyed a quiet breakfast and then went to Vickie’s for a visit around noon. Don let us in and we chatted with him for a bit before going back to Vickie. When we did, we found how very thin she is. Not eating has truly taken a toll on her body and she is very physically weak. We brought our cat Gandalf with us and she really seemed to connect with him and come alive as we played with him. Truly, she is a wonderful friend and I miss her often.
The nurse came and we left the room while she was there. Hayley and I found a Sudoku puzzle untouched and solved it, which set us on a sudoku frenzy where we downloaded apps and played several games competing with one another for speed and accuracy. Finally the nurse let and we went back to Vickie’s room again. We caught up on her life and shared about ours and exchanged gifts. Vickie’s sister, Linda, also arrived and visited with us -as did Andrea. Eventually conversation waned and we said our goodbyes and departed.

On the way back, we stopped and bought some last minute Christmas gifts for my family. Once we finally arrived, we packed up and left for Peama and Grandaddy’s (since we would miss their Christmas Day celebrations). Katie and Jason another two boys came with us -we actually rode in their car- and we caught up, enjoyed a really nice meal, exchanged gifts and played with toys before departing for the evening.

Friday, Dec 23, we started the day just like the one before, but after sleeping in and a quiet breakfast we packed to go to North Carolina where Nana lives on the same land as her son, Randy, and his family. We travelled to North Carolina and there celebrated Christmas with Nana and Mama. We also helped to set up the house for the remainder of the family’s impending visit on Christmas Eve. However, we were set to leave before they arrived – around 11:45 AM on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, Dec 24, Hayley and I woke up in North Carolina and did leave around 11:45. That put us back in Tennessee by 2:00 with 3 hours to unpack, clean, repack and prepare for Christmas Eve services at the church. Blessedly, we succeeded and even got an oil change. The service went well and we left shortly after for Georgia where we picked up a last minute addition to our trip from the storage unit and returned for sleep at Hayley’s parents’ house. We saw them and traded stories of the day and packed vehicles full of presents and then went to bed.

Sunday, Dec 25, we were very glad to have packed the presents the previous night since we drove them over to Katie and Jason’s for breakfast, Christmas story reading, and gift exchanging. Alex and Jen showed up and it was cool to realize that next year, two new nieces will be with us as both Katie and Jen are pregnant. The morning went well and was socially and emotionally rewarding. And Hayley and I departed for Florida around 11:30. 8 hours of driving later, we arrived just in time for gift exchange with my family. We all helped to pack each other’s stockings and it went really well. After gift exchange, we played card games and turned in for the night.

I woke up this morning on a beach in Florida. My family is celebrating Christmas/New Year’s here.

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