Christmas

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…wherein we delay the traditional Holiday meal until the day after Christmas.

Dinner Selfie

In addition to the ham and other staples, we have our traditional Christmas crackers…

Dinner plates

which despite the boys’ impatience we enjoyed AFTER dinner.

Christmas Crackers Christmas Crackers

The Christmas Cracker King…

Christmas Crackers

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The famous ‘Red Ryder’ BB gun is a lever-action air rifle first manufactured by Daisy Outdoor Products in 1938. Named after the comic strip cowboy Red Ryder it was prominently featured in the 1983 film, A Christmas Story, as the Holiday obsession of a young boy named Ralphie. Ralphie’s mom was convinced he would ‘shoot his eye out’ so she would demur every time he brought it up. Anyway, Alex and Adam now join Ralphie and a long line of little boys (and girls, I’m sure) that claim ownership of this historic piece of Americana.

This afternoon, we hiked into the woods and set-up a couple of targets. After learning how to properly load and fire the rifle and taking the proper safety precautions, we’re ready…

Shooting the Red Ryder

Not bad!

Target

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Well, the boys were up at 5:00 a.m. and a few minutes later they were at the side of the bed informing me that Santa had indeed visited them while they slept. This was a great relief for Adam because he was almost certain he was on the naughty list. Anyway, everyone else was still snoozing, so I started some coffee and the boys brought their stockings to the front of the tree…

Boys with their stockings

Fortunately, Santa had left the boys enough in their stockings to keep them occupied until the coffee was done and everyone was up. Then, we passed-out the presents and they went to town…

Opening presents

Opening presents

My favorite presents every year are the one’s the boys’ buy at their school’s Christmas shop…

Opening presents Opening presents

After the gifts were opened and the wrapping paper, boxes, and other packaging were cleared-out, we retired to the kitchen for breakfast, which included Cindy’s specialty, reindeer pancakes, for the boys…

Reindeer Pancakes

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Nana and Pop wanted to wait until the boys arrived to put-up the Christmas tree. But first, we have to cut down the tree, which means a visit to the tree farm. Once there, the boys are given a mission: Locate the Christmas tree…

Christmas Tree

Finally, among the hundreds of trees lining these hills, we find the perfect tree…

Christmas Tree

And with the pull of the cord and a quick swipe with the chainsaw, Pop cuts down our Christmas tree. The boys are pretty proud of themselves

Christmas Tree

Now, we’re gonna meet Mom and Nana for breakfast! Then Mom and Nana can decorate the tree 😉

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There’s a song by Kenny Loggins called, ‘Celebrate me Home’. It’s about a man (Kenny, I suppose) who returns home for the Holidays to be among his friends. They play music and sing. For the man, the music recalls memories of home when he’s away. Kenny sings,


Please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That I’ll always remember,
And I can recall,
Whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can sing me home.

So, what’s the point? I originally heard this song in 1977 and had a copy of Kenny’s album of the same name. At the time, ‘Celebrate’ didn’t have much impact on me (my favorite song from the album was ‘Lady Luck’). However, I would rediscover this song almost 10-years later. In 1986, I was living in Colorado Springs and on my first Air Force assignment. Until this time I was never more than 2-3-hours from home, so it was easy to return for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, I was 1,500-miles from home, which is no easy drive. In December 1986, I was spending my second Christmas away. Although I had a family of my own (my son was less than a month old), nostalgia was tugging at me, then I heard ‘Celebrate’ on the radio and the song took on a whole new meaning.

This year we’re spending Christmas with my folks and extended family. And although I can ‘count on being gone’, for the next few days you can ‘Celebrate me Home’…

Celebrate me Home

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This year we took to the boat for our annual family Christmas pictures. We docked on Julington Creek, set-up the camera, then set the timer…again and again. As always there’s one or two good ones in the bunch. Don’t know if these will make the final cut (that’s Cindy’s job), but you get the picture (pun intended)…

Family Boat

…and outside the boat…

Family Boat

Getting a good picture of the boys and Charlie is a lot like herding cats…

Family Boat

We spent about 30-minutes taking pictures. In between Cindy’s arranging the boys, the dog, and the boat, I snapped the scenery…

Deck

When the pictures were done, we headed back to the marina. The sun was getting low in the sky, so we took our time. The boys napped under the watchful eyes of their best friend…

Sunset

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Linus"

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
(Luke 2:9-12)

…and that’s what Christmas is all about.

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Santa

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The lights are up…finally! For my part, I hung the lights along the roof (because to me, putting-up Christmas lights is a lot like painting the house…I don’t like that much, either ;-)) The rest was Cindy. She always does such a good job…this year she even wrapped the garage…

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

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Both of the boys had their own advent calendars this year. And they both consisted of building things with Legos. Adam’s Star Wars themed (hard to believe, right?) calendar was a collection of characters and assorted ships and stuff from the movie…

Star Wars Advent Calendar

The month culminates in this little Darth Vader Santa character on Dec 24…

Darth Vader Santa

Alex’s calendar was made by our neighbor and consisted in these clothespins that held individually wrapped packages.

Lego Train Advent Calendar

Each package contained pieces of a Lego Christmas Train and each day, Alex would open one of the packages and slowly put the train together. On Christmas day, he opened the last package, which were the stockings that go in the little wagon being pulled by the train…

Lego Christmas Train

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