Since Brian and I have been married, we’ve had 5 Christmases each year to celebrate with family. In one sense, it’s a blessing, in another it’s a lot to keep up with . Luckily, two are up here in Dallas, and the other three are in Katy/Houston. So, we usually celebrate with Dallas family first before Christmas, and then head down to Katy around Christmas eve and spend several days down there. This year we spent a week down there (part of the time Brian was hunting with my dad while I stayed in Katy at my mom’s.)
This was our first Christmas with our sweet little baby, Brady. It was fun to have a baby on Christmas, but I was still pretty sleep deprived and “out of it” most of the time while visiting with family and friends. The holidays seemed to fly by, because we pack in visiting so many people in such little time. This year we celebrated Brian’s dad’s (Clif’s) birthday on Dec. 19 at his house with Brian’s siblings and kids. We did a small gift exchange before heading out. Then, we hosted a small gathering at our house for Brian’s mom, siblings, and kids. It was fun having family over here for a casual meal and opening presents. Marilyn and Duane brought homemade chili and I made some cornbread. We kept it nice and simple . Then, Christmas Eve we drove down to Katy. Half way we stopped to feed the little critter and changed his diaper. Since it was literally the middle of Texas, there’s pretty much no where to go in and use a decent bathroom with a changing table. It aint a road trip without changing the kid’s diaper in a Dairy Queen parking lot. (On the way home we stopped in the same town, but outside the town’s court house to change his diaper/feed him. In the rain.) We arrived at my mom’s house Christmas eve and unloaded. Then, we headed over to my Dad’s & Daria’s house (which is thankfully 5 min away) to celebrate Christmas with them. We gave presents to the kids and opened some of our own before we all headed over to a neighbor’s house for a party. We enjoyed some amazing international home made dishes, but only stayed for 2 hours before it was time to head home with the baby and get him in bed. Since we were traveling on Christmas Eve we missed out on a church service, which I was kinda sad about, but we celebrated Jesus in our hearts. Christmas morning we woke up at my mom’s and opened presents, followed by a big breakfast/brunch. My mom always makes Christmas so special for us! That afternoon, we headed over to my grandma’s in Houston to meet up with the rest of the family to open presents and pig out. Almost all the cousins were there, which is so nice. We all get along so well and usually laugh 95% of the time we’re together.
Two days after Christmas, Brian and my dad and little brother headed down to his ranch to deer hunt for a long weekend. Brian came back with a big deer! We’ve got lots of deer hamburger meet, sausage, and steaks to last us until next season.
It’s crazy to think about the events in the last year. On Dec 23, 2011 on our way down to Katy (literally 5 miles from our destination) we got hit by a drunk driver. Thank God we didn’t have a baby with us then! It was surreal thinking about that event while arriving safely at our destination in Katy with our new baby on Christmas eve. He is good.
Here are some photos from our 5 Christmases this year. We are truly blessed. Sorry if I was sorta out of it, family. We really did enjoy spending time with you this year and can’t wait until Brady will be a bit over a year old next Christmas time!
This Christmas began in “2011 style” meaning that only the unexpected would happen. We were driving down dark back country highways with no moonlight, laughing and talking about an M83 song that we both liked. Brian told me to download it (on the new iPhone 4s he gave me 2 days prior) so, I excitedly pulled up iTunes on my shiny new iPhone. I was just about to hit play when brian slammed on the breaks and my heart stopped. (Flash back to 6 months ago on Memorial day – us getting hit by an 18-wheeler.) I looked up from my phone as Brian was ferociously pumping the breaks of his big GMC truck about 1/2 a second before a truck headed towards us turning across our lane crashed into the front of our truck. Everything went quiet except for the sound of crushing metal. I blacked out for a couple seconds. After everything had calmed down and I could take a breathe, it all just came flooding back into my brain. I remember the sound of Brian trying to avoid the impact, pumping the breaks, the impact from the other truck on the front/driver’s side, going down into a ditch to our right, coming back out of the ditch, ending up in a muddy field. Thankfully we could move. George ended up at the dashboard, practically in the cup holders. Presents and dirt from a plant I was going to give to my mom was everywhere in the cab of the truck. It all happend in less than 5 seconds.
The next thing I remember is turning around to assess the damage/accident/where the heck we ended up and seeing the at-fault guy jack knife his Ford truck and trailer, correct it, and speed off with chunks of his truck missing. Oh, if you could have heard me yelling out of shock/confusion. Brian had to shove his driver side door open & took off running towards him. By this time there were about 4 cars surrounding the wreck. Ok, good. Someone will stop to help us as a witness. Nope. NO ONE stopped to help us. WHO DOES THAT?! 2 days before Christmas and you witness an extremely violent hit & run wreck and NO ONE stops to help?! I couldn’t help it. I immediately burst into tears. Sure, I was grateful we just bypassed a telephone pole by a mere 2 feet at 70 mph. I was grateful we weren’t badly injured (just a few scrapes and bruises & a sore back). I was grateful our sweet dog, George, was ok. I was grateful for our big metal truck that probably saved our lives (for the second time). But everything in me was beyond frustrated that only 6 months ago we went through a big mess of a wreck, no truck for almost 2 months, dealing with all the ridiculous insurance crap, countless chiropractor doctor visits, the tension between Brian and I regarding all that mess. We had a nicely repaired perfectly good truck back for 4 months before this. Less than 2 months ago we paid off the truck by the Grace of God. Now this?! What could God possibly want us to learn from this… we just went through it?! I tried to block out these selfish “human” thoughts, but I couldn’t help it. Brian heard me crying and came running. “Honey, we’re ok… we’re ok… that’s all that matters, we’re ok.” I just covered my face and cried as he tried to console me. George was practically trying to curl up in my lap at the same time.
Brian called the police as I called my mom (who lived only 5-10 miles away from the wreck). Brian returns to the car with the best gift. The guy’s license plate was practically shaved off in the impact. Finally, a break!! Thank the good Lord, the cop that was dispatched to us caught the guy who hit us! Turns out the guy was drunk.
Over a course of a year, the Lord has plucked things from my life I think to pull me closer to Him. I’ve never thought of myself as a really materialistic or worldly person, but I’ve learned the hard way that I do rely on and put my hope in the creation and not the creator. He is placing me in the middle of certain circumstances to show me that HE is in control. HE is my hope, my protector, my savior. Circumstances will never change that. He’s taken some of my worst fears and placed me smack dab in the middle of them to show me that I CAN go through difficult trials if I lean on Him. People and things will always disappoint. The Lord will not. His timing and provisions are ridiculously better than I could ever imagine. It’s just a daily battle to remind myself of this. I’m slowly learning.
Anyway, here’s a quick snap of the aftermath of Wreck #2 of 2011. These photos don’t do it justice. This truck is seriously one tough piece of metal. For such a violent wreck, we expected the truck to be completely crushed. Thanks, GMC. There’s also a photo of the path a couple days later with the ditches filled from 2 days of rain. Crazy that we went exactly in between that telephone pole & wooden sign. I don’t like to think about all the “what ifs”…if we were in a smaller car, if Brian had turned the wheel 1 degree more, if the ditch had been dry dirt instead of soft mud to soften the impact, etc… We are very blessed.
Each year our Switch Creative Christmas party is hosted by the boss lady (Kimi) and her husband (Matt) and appropriately titled “Switchmas”. This was the 3rd annual Switchmas at their house. This year things were a bit different though. More people attended since we’ve grown a tad bit this year, there was a bar in Jones’ nursery/bedroom, and we feasted on Pei Wei in Chinese to go food boxes (my fav!) We’re usually stuffed with Kimi and Matt’s mouth watering home made lasagna and truffled mac’n'cheese, but Pei Wei was just as fun and filling!
We kicked off the party with a White Elephant gift exchange, which usually consists of a couple inappropriate or hilarious “gifts”. Jamie usually wins at bringing the weirdest/funniest/most controversial gifts. This year’s was pretty good. He framed some very awkward photos of some employees from a Switch photography project several years ago. They were golden.
After the White Elephant gift exchange, Kimi, Glen, and Matt usually hand out gifts to each employee. These aren’t just any generic gifts. They are very personalized and thoughtful gifts. I am always amazed by their gift-giving abilities. I wish I was that good at giving gifts. One year I received a gift certificate to a Spa (massage). Last year I got to choose a cooking class at Sur la Table (which then resulted in me making dozens and dozens of macaroons for the hoffice). This year I got this awesome camera with some film! I can’t wait to play with it! If anyone knows me they know I LOVE massages, cooking, and photography. See, told you they were good!