Very Merry Indeed!

Barely awake – but VERY excited!

Jason and I awoke at 5:00 AM on Christmas morning. We were surprised and delighted to discover that we were the only McFarlands who were stirring in our household. Both of our sons tend to be early risers on regular days – so we didn’t expect this whole sleeping thing to last very long.

We quickly and wisely closed our eyes and drifted back to sleep expecting to be reawakened very soon. So – we were even more surprised/shocked/just plain flabbergasted that Will slept until after 7:30 AM and had to awakened by Jack! Yes – our 18-year-old woke up our 9-year-old ON CHRISTMAS MORNING!?!?!

Waiting to wake up his brother!

Santa Claus had come!

But it would seem that Santa had his work cut out for him at our house. Because Jack and I didn’t get home from church until almost 1:00 AM on Christmas morning. And Will had a really – really – really hard time sleeping and claimed to be awake for most of the night. So – there was only a very small window of time when a McFarland wasn’t wide awake at our house on Christmas night/morning. Thankfully Santa Claus is wise and talented and was able to slip in and out during that teeny-tiny window of time when all 4 of us were asleep.

The Christmas stockings had been filled to the brim with good things.   Chocolate and more chocolate and trains for Will and Sweet Tart ropes in every flavor known to humankind for both Jack and William.

There were presents wrapped in red for Will. Santa must know that orange is Will’s favorite color and red is pretty close to orange. So red Christmas paper just makes perfectly perfect sense when you think about it (long enough).

And green wrapping paper for Jack – because green is Jack’s favorite color.

This year Santa brought Will lots of really impressive ships.   He got the Yamato and the Bismarck and the Hood and the Illustrious and some other seriously awesome additions to his naval fleet. And a wooden AmTrak train set too. Our Will can be both a navy admiral and a train engineer depending on his mood.

Jack’s favorite gift was a Saint Francis of Assisi bracelet. Saint Francis is the patron Saint of those who love and care for animals. (Jack is a devoted animal lover with plans to become a veterinarian.)

Jason and I were impressed with how well Santa Claus knows our sons!

The rest of Christmas Day was blissfully relaxed and quiet. Will played with his new toys. And then he played some more. I read and read and read and knit and knit and read while drinking tea – awesome! Jack did teenager-y stuff and then went to a movie. And Jason read too – but skipped the knitting which is fine. More yarn for me!

I loved every single minute of our “do nothing – totally relaxed Christmas Day.”

Monday – was our ever so slightly bigger family Christmas gathering.

Early (really – really early) on Monday morning we set forth into the December darkness for some family togetherness and a 9:00 AM hair appointment with Melissa. Melissa is a treasured family friend and the family hair-whisperer. Melissa has been tending and taming the McFarland/Markward family locks for decades. Melissa isn’t merely the person who knows and cares for my kids’ hair – Melissa is a family institution (in a very – very good way). We have vacationed together.   Her daughter was in my in-laws’ wedding. This isn’t a casual – she cuts our hair kinda relationship!

I think the only one of us who she hasn’t gotten her hands on is Jason.   No surprises there. His hair is longer than mine these days and I am sooooo jealous!

You may think that Jack’s hair looks effortless and easy-breezy. It is not!

This hair takes care and time! This hair takes road trips!

In our rather quirky defense – we know for a fact we are not the only Richmond ex-pat parents to return to Richmond to have their children’s hair done by Melissa. At least one of Jack’s classmates at Manual does the exact same thing. We may be riding the crazy train – but at least we have company!?!?!?!?! And we always get to see Jack and Will’s Mimi and Papa after a handsome-ification with Melissa. Who doesn’t want to see their Mimi and Papa? We ALWAYS want to see Mimi and Papa! Our Mimi and Papa rock like rock stars!

After the handsome-ification – it was time for the family bonding to begin. We were off to Mimi and Papa’s house to see our people!!!!!!

This is what Nic – Uncle – Auntie and Bella look like when they are behaving themselves for a photo!

The rest of Monday was a glorious blur of laughter and happiness and chatter and chatting and joking and jesting and eating and playing and delighting in the joys of being with the people you love most in the world!

And this is Uncle showing his real side! Such a GOOF!

We introduced Caitlyn to the extended family. (She survived!) We feasted. (My mother-in-law is a fabulous cook!) We opened presents! We played a rousing game of family Bingo. We talked and caught up and made plans. We laughed. We are big on laughing.

Caitlyn cuddling Craig the Cat wearing a hat knit by Kerri. Wow – does this lady fit in with our clan!

We gave thanks for laughter and joy and happiness. We gave thanks for the blessing of family. We gave thanks for one another.

We had a very Merry Christmas indeed!

This smile says it ALL!

Christmas 2021 was gone in a blur and a flash and a zip and a quick trip to see Mimi and Papa. Truly time does fly stealthily by – but I have my memories of the laughter and the joy and the people I love the most in this world.

What was your favorite Christmas blessing this year? What will you remember long after the decorations have been stored away for the season and your life has returned to its more normal patterns and routines? What was the greatest gift of the season for you?

These are the Bingo prizes! Yes – we take our Bingo seriously!?!?!?!?!

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