We flew, on Christmas Eve, with my parents up to my brother and family's abode in NH. The travel day, sadly, felt a little short of the Christmas spirit. We couldn't help but notice the lack of joy in the airport shuffle, not to mention an absence of festivity or decoration anywhere. But that's okay, because our family felt the joy inside...we were about to be reunited again!
This was the first time that Jimmy and Charlie have been to Andrew, Colleen & Matthew's home. Madi and I had made a trip together in fall of 2009 before we adopted Daniel. At the time, we had some skymiles to use, and it was a nice Mommy and daughter weekend getaway. It was so special, on Christmas Eve, to see my brother, sister-in-law, and my nephew, Matthew, again on their home turf.
The kids were initially shy, as children tend to be, but that didn't last long at all. Once we arrived back at home, they got right back into the swing of things. Charlie loves Matthew...treats him like a big brother, and Madi always loves being with Matthew, too. We could, right away, sense that it would be a fun-filled trip. After dinner, we got the kids ready for bed, knowing that Santa would soon be on his way, and we headed to bed early ourselves.
The kids sprung up early the next morning. We had prearranged to assemble around 7 a.m. to see if Santa had been there, and yes indeed, he had! Madi got the marker maker she wanted, along with a few other unexpected surprises, and Charlie received an elf that was the only item on his list. We're still not sure if it's the elf he expected, but it's the elf that Santa gave to him, so that makes it special.
We attended Mass together on Christmas morning, which was so special. During the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass, I took notice that people from the congregation were voicing prayer intentions out loud, which they do not do at our home parish in FL. Upon a slight pause, I (loudly) blurted out "For the orphans of the world!" but since I've never done that before, I failed to follow up with "we pray to the Lord." There was a few moments (seemed like hours) of silence until everyone in the crowd finally responded with "Lord, hear our prayers." Naturally, my spontaneous outburst embarrassed Madi to no end, and my family got quite a kick out of the awkward moment. Oh well...it's about time I get to start embarrassing my kids a little!
After Mass, we headed back to the house to get into the real gift that Madi's been waiting for...the SNOW!
Even though Madi had ventured in cold territory before, she was very young, and hadn't experienced what she hoped to witness this time around. And her wish came true from every aspect.
On Christmas Day, it was all about enjoying the snow on the ground. Madi and Charlie rolled in it, rolled down it, and even learned how to creatively sled with cardboard!
Day two brought more freezing fun, and the kids thoroughly embraced a good snowball fight with Daddy.
We were also blessed, that day, with the icing on the cake...a fresh snowfall! Madi loved seeing the snow fall from the sky, and made the most beautiful snow angel ever!
Charlie was having so much fun that we caught him literally freezing his booty off! And he didn't even care. Nothing was going to stop him! We did manage to find him a belt, which helped for obvious reasons!
Day four brought a visit from my life long friend, Maureen, and her family. It was so great to have some laughs and catch up. The kids crossed another goal off their list...they built a snowman!
On the fifth day, we visited the horse, Rainbow, that Matthew frequently cares for and rides as a hobby! The kids enjoyed feeding him (and the other horses, including Spirit--Rainbow's son, pictured) apple slices and mint candies. They loved it; although Madi was a bit paranoid about losing a finger and Charlie was most interested in finding a farmer.
We also enjoyed some quiet down time together, and the boys bonded over their LEGO building skills.
Bubba is always the center of attention in the kids' eyes. But it was Jimmy who proved to be champion of entertainment this trip. The kids were constantly running, screaming, chasing, and playing with him. He's so good at being a big kid.
The day before our departure, we celebrated Matthew and Colleen's double birthday. Yes, Matthew was the ultimate birthday gift to his mother eleven years ago!
We made some great memories this Christmas in New Hampshire. Enough to last a lifetime.