Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Insanity

Once upon a time, there were two people who met, fell in love, and then got married. Both of their parents were divorced, so each of them went from two families to four families. And then the craziness of the holidays began. It's a lot of fun, what with all the extended family and relatives, but it also makes it confusing at times. Fortunately, this Christmas was spent mostly with people I know or remember. We'll leave future gatherings for me to get to know my mother-in-law's second-cousins' families, or my father-in-law's cousins' cousins.

December 23rd after I got off work we drove the 550 miles to Birmingham, Alabama. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Shannon's dad, stepmom, and their family. We went to Green Valley's Christmas Eve service. We opened gifts, ate gumbo (or chili for me since I don't like shellfish), and opened gifts. It was a lot of fun.

All of Shannon's dad's immediate family, minus his mother, who is in a nursing home. Me, Charlie (Cindy's stepdad), Meme (Cindy's mother), Lyn (Shannon's dad), Cindy (Shannon's stepmom), Shannon (Christopher's wife), Christopher (Shannon's stepbrother), Alex (Christopher and Shannon's daughter), Shannon, and Brad (Shannon's brother).

Our neice, Alex. The kids always are the life of the party.

Until you let their daddy get ahold of the eggnog, that is.

We actually didn't have any of the eggnog, but I had to get a piece of Christopher's cowboy hat!

Alex's first Christmas, and the first present she opened all by herself (well, almost).

Uncle Brad putting together the walking toy her bought Alex.

Mission accomplished!

On Christmas Day we spent the morning with the Scarbrough side of the family. Then we packed up the car and headed to Alabaster to spend a couple of days with Shannon's mom and stepdad.

The Murphy side of the family: Milton (Shannon's stepdad), Sharon (Shannon's mom), Brad, Me, and Shannon.

We opened gifts, ate Christmas dinner, and just hung out that evening, doing a whole bunch of nothing. On Friday, Sharon, Brad and I went shopping with all of our giftcards. I got a few desperately needed things and a few fun things, and still have lots of giftcard money to spend. Shannon and Milton even graced the doors of Belk for Shannon to buy a pair of shoes.

Then on Friday evening we celebrated my birthday. Milton grilled chicken and made a salad and we all ate dinner and then had birthday cake. They got me my first-ever ice-cream cake from Dairy Queen...I was super excited. chocolate chip!

Shannon's double-forking it!

Saturday we lounged around, met one of Shannon's friends for lunch, and then headed back to his dad's place. We met more friends for pizza that evening, and then I helped Lyn download a new virus protector and XP's Service Pack 3. Isn't that update three or so years old? Sunday morning we woke up way too early and headed back to Wake Forest, getting in at about 8:00 pm. It was a long day of driving, but at least the traffic wasn't too bad. Today and tomorrow we're back at work, and then on Wednesday my friend Marci comes to visit! This weekend we're headed out of town again for a wedding in Asheville and will do Christmas with my dad's family. And then we have one more week of break before our January class starts. So, before all the craziness of the new year begins...

Happy Holidays from the Scarbroughs!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Decorations

We actually decorated our Christmas tree, put up our stocking and select few Christmas decorations, and wrapped all of our Christmas presents about two weeks ago. But I'm just now getting the time to post pictures! So here's the view of our humble abode, as decked out as I can manage. Not knowing whether we can take our stuff with us overseas, I'm hesitant to buy much, although I did splurge on a new ornament today...our one for the year.

Shannon gets to put the star on the tree (until we find an angel we like, that is).

We like colored lights and eclectic ornaments. Can anyone find the Strawberry Shortcake one that was mine when I was a little girl? On the coffee table are our coasters and serving tray, last year's gift from my stepmother-in-law.

This year's gift from my ornament and stand.

Stockings. Anyone want to guess which one's Shannon's?

Our nativity.


It's been awhile. But I have a good excuse. It's called finals. However, they're over now, we're on Christmas break, and we only have about 7 months left til we graduate! Yippee! These last few weeks have been insane as we've had finals, meetings, Christmas programs, Christmas shopping/wrapping/decorating, and so on and so forth. I'm so glad it's break, but I'll be even more glad once it's December the 28th because that will be that we're back from Alabama with 2 weeks until classes start with relatively nothing planned and nowhere to go. Until then, we have plans I think 6 of our remaining 8 evenings here. And driving to Alabama and back after that. I'm super excited to see Shannon's family...just not so excited about the drive.

This past weekend our small group raked leaves for an old couple that Shannon met last year. There were 7 of us and we raked and hauled leaves for 4 1/2 hours. Check out the craziness:

The whole yard looked like this (or worse) when we began.

Hilary hard at work.

Kristel raked and raked and raked and raked...

Shannon preferred the "hog" leaf blower.

Anyone else think Allison's got the harder job here?

I fell in the ditch when we went to dump our leaves.

Last load of the day!

When we finished, the whole yard looked like this!

Group shot. I think Alex might be tired...

We had a lot of fun raking, even though most of us were (or still are) quite sore from all the hauling. It was a nice day, even if the leaves were still wet from Thursday's downpour, and we all got to know each other better and laugh a lot. There's nothing like serving alongside of people to get to know them! It's too bad we don't have the time to do something like this every week!