Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Family Christmas

After a Thanksgiving that tended to extremes (a lot of fun when it could be, and downright terrible later), we were apparently in need of a relaxing and entertaining Christmas. 

Good news: we got it.

It started with a sibling night. We descended on Shorty & Miss M's place for an evening of games and jerk chicken. [You know that's right.]

And then the climbing. Shorty has a climbing cave in his basement and it's awesome.

Oh yeah -- and some Pokemon hunting, leading us to explore Highmore a bit.

Highmore is like most small towns I've seen -- everything is walking distance and people are fairly friendly, but if you're unfamiliar folks stare at you in the grocery store.

C'est la vie.

The 'rents appeared the next day, which was all about food, church, and cat toys. There was no shortage of any of that, either -- none of us are capable of appearing empty-handed, Shorty had three Christmas Eve services to do, and there were two cats present that like things with feathers. (I took more cat pictures than anything else. Except maybe food.) Sprinkled in that were walks to the nearby Pokestops, a few more games, and some craft beer indulgences.

And more climbing.

Yes. He is hanging off the ceiling.

Christmas morning was a bit more involved.

As many of you were no doubt aware, there was a rather large storm in South Dakota on Christmas. Up to a foot of snow in the west, thunderstorms in the east, ice all over the place, and an interstate that closed for a couple hundred miles. For us, this meant Shorty called off church Sunday morning and we hunkered down and hoped the power stayed on.

And a few of us ended up staying an extra night.

Still, things proceeded. Breakfast.

And presents.

And more games.

And more cat pictures.

As we get older, it's been interesting to see how things shift. It now takes us a full two hours to open all the presents instead of the eight-minute dash we had as kids. The food has evolved to include more dishes, and we each have our own thing. The games we play are more varied and interesting. Most of all, though, the conversation is far more ... grown up. Jobs. Politics. Our cholesterol. [No, seriously, that's a rather involved topic in our family.] My brother's baby obsession. And okay, it's also peppered with very specific pop culture references and TV quotes, to a degree that my siblings-in-law may consider excessive.

All in all, I'd consider it an improvement. This is one case where getting older has brought more joy, not less. 

It's also becoming more rare, as would be expected. My siblings both have other families that come into play; this year worked out because my brother had to work (as did his father-in-law) and we could all converge on his house. Next year? Well, it seems unlikely that we can make that work twice in a row.

Maybe that means next year I should take that cruise I've threatened to take ... After the snow and bitter cold, something tropical sounds wonderful.

So they boarded up the building. And filled it with bees.

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