Marshmallow Mondays


Christmas in Pennsylvania: Part II
12.31.12, 8:38 AM
Filed under: Holidays | Tags: , , , , ,

Last week’s post ended with rounds two and three about to begin on Christmas Eve back in Pennsylvania.  Round two took place at Nana and Pap Buff’s house, with Uncle Brad, Aunt Jill and Cousin Bryar.  Gift opening began around 8:30am, and concluded just before 11am.

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There were SO many gifts to open up that morning.  Lily really enjoyed her new Melissa & Doug pizza set, and Rydan was over the moon when he opened up his iPod Touch, which his cousin Bryar so thoughtfully handed down.  There was a small moment of confusion, though, when Rydan opened up an Xbox 360 game.  It appeared as though Santa was playing a mean trick because Rydan doesn’t have an Xbox 360.  Hmm…

As soon as we finished with gifts, one of my very good friends, Miss Lauren Shaak, stopped by with a basket full of even more goodies.  Laur knows us so very well, so her gifts brought lots of smiles to Rydan and Lily’s faces.  It was such a treat to have her spend a few hours with us on Christmas Eve.  Lily absolutely loved her new ladybug umbrella, and Rydan was super excited about his Ninjago Character Encyclopedia.

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Round three took place at Gram and Pap Shaffer’s, which included lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins on my mom’s side of the family.  This is probably our most chaotic visit, but I can’t remember it ever being any other way.  Once again, we left with a car full of new toys.  The biggest surprise was the gigantic giraffe that my cousin Kip gifted to Lily.  It seemed to appear out of nowhere, and I don’t know whose eyes were bigger at first sight of the giraffe… Lily’s, mine, or Daddy’s.

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Daddy's reaction to the giraffe in this picture is priceless.

Daddy’s reaction to the giraffe in this picture is priceless.

I have to share this photo too.  This is my great aunt and uncle, Polly and Curt.  We surprised them with a cake for their 66th wedding anniversary.  Curt is 93 years old, and roller-skated up until the age of 87.  Polly is just as sweet and sharp as ever.  What a special blessing to share the holiday with them and help celebrate their love.

I have to share this photo too. This is my great aunt and uncle, Polly and Curt. We surprised them with a cake for their 66th wedding anniversary. Curt is 93 years old, and roller-skated up until the age of 87. Polly is just as sweet and sharp as ever. What a special blessing to share the holiday with them and help celebrate their love.

It was on their ride back to Nana’s Christmas Eve that Rydan said “Mom, Lily and I are really lucky.”  It warmed my heart to hear him say this, and I think many parents can agree that as much as we want our kids to be happy with their gifts, we also want them to be appreciative and recognize that not all kids are as lucky to have so many friends and family in their lives who love them so much.  We are truly so blessed!

On Christmas Day, we visited Pap Wiest, Great-Grandma Wiest and my two brothers, where we exchanged more gifts.  As always, Pap Wiest went overboard with his gift-giving, but he always seems to know exactly what Rydan and Lily need AND want.  From there we went to Great-Grandma Wiest’s for a huge lunch buffet, where we were joined by my Uncle Mike, Aunt Sherry, and cousins Bret and Laura.  No matter what holiday, I always look forward to my Grandma’s cooking.  It is simply the best.  The presentation, the food, the decorations… it’s always so picture-perfect and tastes equally as perfect.

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After all of that, it was back to Nana and Pap’s to meet up with even more cousins, aunts and uncles.  There were more gifts to add to the already huge collection, which I have no idea how we ended up fitting into the car to bring back to Kentucky.  Somehow we managed, even with a giant giraffe and a big wheel.

Another big highlight of our visit to Pennsylvania was flower girl dress shopping with cousin Megan, Aunt Beth and Nana.  Megan is getting married this coming June, so we made a trip to David’s Bridal and had Lily try on a few dresses.  My heart absolutely melted as I put such beautiful, fancy dresses on my little girl.  We easily found a winner, and even picked up some cute little shoes and pearl earrings.  Thank you, Megan, for choosing Lily to have such a special role on your wedding day.  I am so looking forward to seeing both of you all dressed up!

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Lily loved this little flower girl shirt.

Lily loved this little flower girl shirt.

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On top of that, yet another very special highlight for me was taking Lily to Fort Indiantown Gap to visit my Pap’s grave.  Though she had been there before, this was the first time she was  awake.  She held my hand as we walked through section 19-A, all the way to the back, and stopped a few rows in front of the line of trees that looks over my pap’s row.  I always have to catch my breath at the first sight of his name, and then I smile.  This time, I smiled even bigger, and as the tears rolled down my cheeks, Lily looked up at me and said “Mommy, okay?”  I knelt down next to her and in my heart I could feel that my pap knew we were there.  Lily’s entire demeanor was so calm and peaceful as we took a few moments to spend with her great-grandfather.  She didn’t pest me to leave, she didn’t say a word, and she remained so patient as we knelt together on the snowy ground.  As we turned to leave, she grabbed my hand once again and after taking a few steps away, Lily turned around and said “buh-bye, Pap,” and she blew a kiss in his direction.  I was so stunned at what she had done, and couldn’t help but wonder if she saw something or someone that I didn’t.  I will never know for sure, but I will forever cherish that moment, and I look forward to sharing it with Lily when she is older.

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The rest of our time in Pennsylvania was spent with our family members.  We laughed, we ate a lot of good food, we had good conversations, and most of importantly, we made some really great Christmas memories.  A huge thank you must go out to Nana and Pap Buff for once again allowing us to crash at their house.  We are truly so grateful for everything they do for us. Being able to give hugs and kisses to them for eight nights in a row was extra special for Rydan and Lily.

Yesterday, we packed up a very full vehicle and drove back to Lexington.  Rydan and Lily were thrilled to see that despite all of the gifts they had received in Pennsylvania, Santa had come to their house in Kentucky too.  So even though it was December 30th, the four of us enjoyed our very first Christmas in Lexington.  Rydan was especially excited to see that Santa had not been playing a mean trick on him because the last gift under the tree was his Xbox 360.  Photos have been added to our Facebook Page, so be sure to check them out!

From all of us at Marshmallow Mondays, we hope all of our readers had a very Merry Christmas and wish all of you a Happy New Year!  Thanks so much for making Marshmallow Mondays part of your daily reading each Monday for the past year.  It truly means so much to me!

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