Christmas 2003

Merry Christmas everyone. Indulge me as I put up some shots from one of our Christmas celebrations this season. (My standard disclaimer bears repeating – I promise I will misspell everyone’s name eventually. If I do so repeatedly that means I need to be corrected. Otherwise, consider yourself lucky.)

Our collective circumstances resulted in an interesting Christmas celebration this year. Mother has moved to Berea Kentucky since we last celebrated Christmas together down in Kentucky. Although Tom and Carol still live in Danville, it is not central for all of us – and we also have the added complication that we would need to rent hotel rooms for everyone. Becky and I are fairly central to all of the families but we live in such a small home we aren’t able to entertain everyone. Mark and Lisa’s homes are spread across three cities and two states. We’re a very complicated extended family. For all of those reasons, we celebrated Christmas on Friday, December 26th in a local Residence Inn.

Lisa and MotherMother rented one room and Mark rented another. We all brought food. We all brought too much food. That’s something we’ll do better next year. We had a whole turkey, ham, several salads, mashed potatoes, yams, several pies and (my personal favorite) cheesecake.

MarkyChristmas is a special time for all of us, but Christmas is magical if you’re four. You either believe in Santa or (if someone has spoiled it for you) seriously question the person who told you otherwise. As you get older, you expect the gifts to be bigger and better then the previous year. A tub full of crayons, markers and papers stole the show for Marky. The first gift he played with and probably the one he will use the longest. Of course, like all of us he got really cool toys as well. I’m certain that Marky’s memory of this Christmas will be one he holds special for many years.

StephanieStephanie and James were able to celebrate Christmas with us as well. We really enjoyed their company. James, I’m sorry but somehow I didn’t get a good picture of you. Of course, I have three times as many pictures as these in which you can’t tell who the subject is. I’m a seriously bad photographer. Fortunately, Becky’s very good. James might have gotten the coolest toy of the day. His radio controlled – and customizable – cars were very entertaining. I have a whole new gift giving category.

JoeyI started out on a good foot with Joey and somehow during the course of the evening I stepped on it. He did his best to avoid the camera all evening. I must have six or seven shots of his back and/or hands – but not his face. I’d about given up when Mark asked him to turn and smile at the camera. Good as gold he gave me this smile. I was impressed. As a side note, both Marky and Joey are wearing the official LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers game jersey (#23). Now I know many of us don’t remember that they still have a professional basketball team in Cleveland, but don’t tell either of these guys that.

MattMatt, as photogenic as his father, was pretty elusive. I don’t have a good picture of him – so I’m publishing this one instead. I believe he’s either helping Marky with his arts and crafts or he’s helping to put together Joey’s race track. Matt’s big present was the Lord of the Rings – Return of the King video game for Playstation 2. It should surprise no one that he has spent every waking hour since leaving the hotel to beat it. Today, three days later he’s done just that. I’m thinking Halo might be in his future after spending time playing with James on Sunday.

MarkYou’ll notice that both Michelle and Melanie have no pictures here. Although I made an effort, I wasn’t able to get a good picture of either of them. Michelle was pulling her classic “I will close my eyes every time you get close” ploy. Melanie was a good subject but the photographer was inept. Hopefully someone else got a good picture. About everyone was jumping off of one wagon or another. The evidence is sitting in front of Mark that his diet was abandoned. Becky would probably dispute the idea that she jumped off the wagon, but it’s safe to say she was dragging a foot.

So what does next year hold for us? Probably more of the same – don’t know. But things will change between now and then. Mark and Lisa will be married and potentially living in only one home. Mother will likely be back in Danville. Hopefully we’ll still be back here – but a lot can change in a year. A lot changed this past year.