Sunday, December 29, 2013

Family Christmas

For spending an entire week with my family, I sure don't have a lot of pictures of them to show for it!  Hopefully my brother Mark will send me some of his -- he took some family ones on our last day together.

It was a huge blessing this year to have my entire family come together for Christmas.  We rented a house in San Antonio and it was fun to spend time together and explore a city I don't know much about.

What was most fun though was seeing family -- including this one whom I had never met!!  Seven months old -- baby Grey was a big hit with the girls.  They loved on him quite a bit.

 Liam was also lots of fun.  He's just a few months younger than Abby and quite possibly talks more than she does.  And that's saying something!  He is also quite adept at rationalizing things to get his way, or try to get his way.  He and Abby struggled over toys after Christmas but I thought all of the kids got along fairly well for the time we were there. 

After our arrival Sunday night, we did some exploring of San Antonio on Monday.  Of course we had to see the Alamo . . . 

There's Liam's face!

It did get chilly later but started out pretty nice and Megan refused to wear a jacket of course.


Once it got dark we headed down to the Riverwalk.  My camera of course cannot do it justice but there are colorful, twinkling lights dangling through all the trees.  It was very pretty. 

Awww, the love.

Christmas Eve I took the girls (and Grandma and Grandpa and Denise and Liam) to see Frozen.  They loved it!  And I think it was Megan's first movie theater experience where she wasn't freaked out just by walking into a dark theater.  Maybe we've made progress and conquered that hurdle!

After a Whittacre family traditional dinner of tacos (enhanced by tamales, yum!), we tried to reenact the Nativity -- a Gasser family tradition.  Megan would not participate though so a reenactment with 4 kids that are aged 3 and under is pretty quick.

Liam played Joseph and ran a lot faster than the Grandpa donkey. 

William was a shepherd. 

Abby got to be Mary. 

Grandpa was the donkey of course.

Grey was baby Jesus who never got to be held because quite frankly the rest of us were positive that "Mary" would drop him. 

Megan being an avid watcher.

So afterwards we watched the Nativity as well as Mr. Kruger's Christmas.  I do love that movie although I have to laugh at some of the cheesiness of it as well. 

I've come to realize that I do not take good pictures and never get good ones of Christmas morning but at least I've documented the fact!
The girls always go straight for the stockings, I think because we have them put them out so they know that they'll be stuffed full. 

But once we reminded them that Santa did also leave presents, they were ready to go!  Abby was very excited -- all my pictures of her are blurry because of the jumping. 

What's the point in documenting presents?  But we had a good time opening them -- we let the kids go first and then the adults sat around an talked and opened presents while they played with their toys.  I really liked spending that time with my brothers and their wives and my parents.  Plus I already knew what I was getting (I pretty much bought all my own presents!) so I didn't have a lot to be surprised about!!

William did get a lawn mower from my parents and it has been the best thing ever except for the fact that I think the batteries are running low and it perpetually stays on.  At least I hope it's just the batteries . . . 

The day after we went to the Japanese Tea Gardens, rode a miniature train, and had lunch at a great restaurant that does Mexican street style dishes.  It was cold but so worth being outside and exploring.

And then the plague set in.  I managed to stay healthy for a whole week before Christmas while Megan missed 5 days of school and she and Abby and Chopper suffered.  Well it came to get me after all and got me hard.  It's been awful -- some horrific cross between the flu and a nasty cold.  My back hurts from all the coughing.  But I did spend one more day with my parents seeing the San Fernando Cathedral and the Mexican Market downtown and Chopper took the girls to the children's museum. 

We got home late late last night and the girls saw their dollhouse.  Megan was up first things this morning arranging furniture and then dragged me in to show me all the little details -- look mommy at the toilet paper!  And the tiny books and the cookies!  And there's a bathtub and a sewing room!  

She's been so excited about it and sooooo possessive.  Granted, Abby's not as interested but every time Abby moves something out of place, Megan fixes it.  She does have a few little Sophia the First dolls that are the prefect size but I think she's mostly running imaginary stories in her head.  It's fun to watch. 

Oh, cute one of Jeff and Grey. 

I'm hoping for more pictures of the whole family but this is what you get.

I'm really grateful for all my family who were so willing to travel to be together this Christmas with us.  I feel buoyed up by their love and support and since I know it will be a long time before we have time all together again, especially touched by their willingness to do it at Christmas.

I only lost it twice!  Once talking to my mom (because who doesn't cry when you're talking to your mom about your trials!) and once watching Chopper play with Grey.  I couldn't help but hope I see that with our son.  Anyway.  It was an awesome awesome Christmas though and I'm grateful for a family who enjoys spending time together.

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